Wowza! What an Opening!

Running Late, 2016. Cotton, balsa wood, acrylic paint, glue.

[Image: a quilt hangs on a gallery wall. The quilt has a dark green w yellow dots fabric background. There are scattered patches of #kente style cloth cut in squares, rectangles, and triangles appliquéd on top of the green background. There are three clocks made of small wooden spoons painted gold. The first, top-center-left, contains all 12 hours and is set to 9 o'clock. The 2nd, bottom left is set to 1:14 and is missing the hours 3, 5, 10, 11. The third, bottom right, is set to 10:38 and is missing the hours 11, 12, 3, 4, 5, 8. In the center of the left and right edges, half circles of gold spoons fan out toward the middle. In the upper right corner, 5 spoons are placed in a tight diamond formation, some point towards the center and some point away. Along the bottom, a brown ribbon with images of silver spoons in various sizes. The piece is quilted with long diagonal lines and intersecting circles.] 

[Image: a quilt hangs on a gallery wall. The quilt has a dark green w yellow dots fabric background. There are scattered patches of #kente style cloth cut in squares, rectangles, and triangles appliquéd on top of the green background. There are three clocks made of small wooden spoons painted gold. The first, top-center-left, contains all 12 hours and is set to 9 o'clock. The 2nd, bottom left is set to 1:14 and is missing the hours 3, 5, 10, 11. The third, bottom right, is set to 10:38 and is missing the hours 11, 12, 3, 4, 5, 8. In the center of the left and right edges, half circles of gold spoons fan out toward the middle. In the upper right corner, 5 spoons are placed in a tight diamond formation, some point towards the center and some point away. Along the bottom, a brown ribbon with images of silver spoons in various sizes. The piece is quilted with long diagonal lines and intersecting circles.] 

Omg that was the biggest night of my life/career !(?)!

Thank you. Thank you! Thank YOU to everyone who was there in body and spirit that night. I'm still spinning!!

Countdown!

You know me and blogging. It's like me and everything else. Slow and a little wobbly. 

I'm currently in a state of constant excitement/anxiety/stress/nervousness/confidence...like a scorpio feels smoothie.  

My first solo art installation, Point of Origin,  opens in 27 days and I thought it might be nice to have some energy abuzz along the ride to the end. 

So follow me at @patchworkpoetics over on instagram for some work in progress and other bits and bobs. 

Show Details (official promo is imminent)

Opening Reception: Thursday July 24 7-9pm

Artist Talk: Tuesday July 19 5:30-7pm

 

Tangled Art Gallery 

Studio 122 ( main floor )  

401 Richmond Street W  

*this exhibit includes two (2) touchable pieces of work and audio description for all works. All events associated with this exhibit will be barrier - free and will have ASL interpretation. We request that you help us make these events scent free.

For more info: www.tangledarts.org  

Tel 647 725 5064

Email info@tangledarts.org  

*info on coming scent free: 

Many people including the artist live with multiple chemical sensitivities that are activated or aggravated by exposure to things like perfume, cologne, and most common cleaning products as well as scented lotions shampoos laundry detergents or softeners hand sanitizers. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation or cognitive distress and in sine cases seizures.  

Some tips for keeping the space as scent free as possible are to wash anything you're going to wear that night in unscented detergent or baking soda. Don't wear perfumes, colognes, body spray, aftershave,  etc if you can avoid it. If you're gonna come with a fly new manicure, give it a day or 2 to off gas.  That's off the top of my head but please check out these tips and tricks compiled by some genius sick and disabled queer folks in the world. Thanks!

Billie has a few links to choose from and lots of helpful info. 

 http://www.billierain.com/downloads/

 

Reading at the Toronto Queer Zine Fair Open Mic!

Excited for my upcoming reading (with new material!) at the Toronto Queer Zine Fair's open mic happening this Saturday March 5 at D-Beastro (details below).

I'm pumped to be sharing and reading again and starting off the year with my first performance being with other artists that I really love, admire, and respect. Lynx Sainte-Marie and Amrit Brar are both really talented, babely, creative creatures, check out their sites and work! And if you can make it on Saturday, you're in for a lovely night of qtbipoc brilliance.

 

LOVE BEYOND THE BINARY: TQZF Open Mic

When: Saturday, March 5th 2016
Doors at 6pm
Open Mic 7-10pm
$5/PWYC/No One Turned Away
Where: D-Beastro Cafe - 1292 Bloor St W (just east of Lansdowne)
Closest accessibile subway station is Dufferin Station.

All Ages!
No Alcohol Served.
Gender Neutral Bathrooms.
(barrier free location, ASL interpretation available)
 

Featuring Special Guests

Amrit S. Brar
mel g campbell
Lynx Sainte-Marie
...AND YOU!

sometimes we create binaries in our own alternatives to existing normalized narratives.
<3 let's break that down <3.
there is validity wherever we are at.
love goes beyond just chosen family and romantic love.
there is intention in the love and relationships that we create for ourselves.

xox

 

Source: http://torontoqueerzinefair.tumblr.com/

2 Upcoming Shows!

There is a deeper and more reflective post to come, it is brewing. There has been so much movement these last seasons that I am looking forward to updating y'all on, but for now...

I am SO excited to be performing in not one but TWO disability arts shows in the next month!
I get to share the stage with some pretty phenomenal folks including E.T. Russian, Loree Erickson, and Rosina Kazi of LAL. I had the pleasure of working with the Performace Disability Arts (PDA) Collective last year at the 2014 Mayworks Festival for Crip Your World: An Intergalactic 2QT/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza and first discovered Ellery's brilliant genius almost 5 years ago when I saw my first Sins Invalid show in San Francisco. 

It feels like such a gift to be able to share space with such wonderful creators, and to be able to share some of my (new!) work with audiences. Grateful to get to transition through the seasons by offering some of what I've been up to lately. Please find the info below.

---


 

SHOW NO. 1


Friday, October 23rd 2015
7-9pm
The Artist's Newsstand
22 Chester Avenue (Chester Subway Station)
Toronto, On

https://www.facebook.com/events/1628534070730708/

 

Extra! Extra! *Be* all about it! 

Disabilty Arts Showcase: Crip Magic and Revolutionary Love!

Join the Performance. Disability. Art (PDA) Collective in celebrating sick and disabled queer brilliance and revolutionary love. This evening of performance and video will feature: Tamyka Bullen, Melannie G Campbell, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Syrus Marcus Ware and more!

We are thrilled to be part of The Artist Newsstand! We are very excited about bringing art and activism together to celebrate....and call for the need for accessible transit options in Toronto!

We will be meeting at Broadview subway station at 6:45 for a procession to Chester Subway. Broadview is an accessible station. We will head east on Danforth to Chester subway (about 3.5 blocks). The TTC is -on a stop by stop basis- creating accessible subway stations. Wheelchair and scooter users and folks who have pain and mobility challenges often have to hopscotch across Toronto to try and use the few accessible stations available. Chester Subway is one of the many inaccessible stations waiting transformation. 

As a result, we want to meet in solidarity at Broadview station, one stop away and fully accessible, and walk/roll together to the Newsstand. We want to arrive together to the performance, fully of love, solidarity and resistance. 

Planning how we will get to where were going is a part of our experiences of art and performance in Toronto- yet it is often invisiblized. No longer! We welcome everyone to join us in this experience.

Bring art, posters, flyers about disabled resistance and resilience. We will walk/roll at an accessible pace, on the sidewalk, and have cars/ vans available for folks who cannot walk three and a half blocks. 

You can also just meet us at Chester Station at 7:00!

Once we reach The Artist Newsstand we will share some video, performance and ASL poetry. Participate in an evening of crip public love with lots of PDA: Performance! Disability! Art!

Access info: 

Please join us for the procession (see above), or meet us directly at the station.

Nearest accessible station: 

Broadview (3 blocks west of Chester avenue). Pape is also accessible, about 4 blocks east of Chester. The doors to the station have no push buttons but we can have volunteers on doors to make sure that they are propped open or someone can be there to open them. 

If you are planning to take ttc directly to Chester, there are about 30 stairs from the platform to street level. There are escalators that go in an upwards direction, also.

Once you arrive at Chester station, the newsstand performances will be on level ground, street level. 

There are no public washrooms at the station-FYI.

The performances will have sound, and we are in the process of confirming ASL interpretation. 
There will be some video work, all captioned. 

This project is made possible by support from the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

 

 

SHOW NO. 2

Saturday, November 7th 2015
7-9:30pm
Unit 2 -  163 Sterling Road
Toronto, On
$5-10 (no one turned away)

TEXT(ILES)
an evening of comics, poetry, and conversation by and with mel g campbell and ET Russian.

In a queer collusion between comics, cripness and creativity these two artists will offer an intimate showcase of their work and invite the audience to engage and exchange in a conversation about community and collective care, race, disability justice and the medical industrial complex through the portals of poetry, textiles and graphic art.

Seattle cartoonist and author ET Russian will give a visual reading of comics, poems, and essay excerpts from the Ring of Fire Anthology and recent works. Toronto poet mel g campbell will present poetry, comics/zines, and share some of their fiber art creations and practice.

ACCESS:
- ramp at entrance; barrier free space; (small) accessible bathroom
- scent free event
(http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/files/how2bscentfree.pdf)
- Nearest accessible subway station is Dundas West (can walk from
stn or take 168 Symington Bus 2 stops to Symington & Bloor. OR
take 505/506 east or westbound streetcar to Sterling Road.
*streetcars on this route have steps.
- Google Map Directions from Dundas West Station
- ASL to be confirmed (readings will be projected)
- please email mgc@patchworkpoetics.com with any questions or further access needs

 

[Image description: a B&W illustrated banner featuring 2 smiling folks. On the left mel g campbell; on the right E.T. Russian. the text written between the 2 faces reads “TEXT(ILES) an evening of comics, poetry and fabric works Nov 7th @7pm]

 

my break-up with Bjork.

I have been avoiding coming back to and finishing this post. Kind of like dirty laundry – once it’s done I will feel better, cleaner. But just as I sometimes have to put off the washing for the sake of my physical health/capacity, writing this and thinking through all of these feelings is a workout for my emotional and mental health/capacity. Taking it slow, but here goes…

Dear Bjork

though it pains me to say this: I think we should see other people. it has been a long, beautiful run and you’ve been there for me during some really tough times. 
ok. 
this isn’t entirely accurate. I’ve actually only seen you three times in my life; twice at home in Toronto and most recently, in New York. 
and you? 
well that’s the thing, you don’t seem to see me at all.

if folks in my life know one thing about me, it’s that I (used to) love Bjork. LOVE Bjork. Like…lovvve her. 
We share a birthday - a fact I have joked made us celestially linked. The first two times I saw her live, I cried, unpredictably and uncontrollably. The first time it happened the friend I was with held my shoulders gently and asked if I was ok. The second time, I was ready – sort of. So when my eyes welled up at the grandeur of Cosmogony, I let the tears fall calmly and felt gratitude that art had the capacity to crack me open like that. 

I’m a performer and, at least 4, if not 5 of my recent routines have been choreographed to her songs. It became a trademark of my stage name and me. I was endlessly inspired by the ways her songs and the sharpness of her lyrics could both cut through and heal my heart.

It was luck, and love, and the generosity of close friends that found me in NYC to see her perform from her newest album, Vulnicura. I traveled and attended the concert alone. I told everyone I knew that I was going and each time was met with equal measures of excitement, because that person knew how much such a trip would mean to me. I saw her at the NY City Centre seated in a comfortable mezzanine chair with a great view of the stage and a friendly guy with binoculars to share sitting beside me; a marked difference from catching interrupted glimpses of her while simultaneously squeezing closer to the stage and trying not lose my balance. I stayed with family during my visit and as was reported to me the next morning, I was so blissed out from the concert that I gave a clear and emphatic declaration of my adoration as well as swooned on and on about her hallowed onstage presence – in my sleep!

The morning after the concert, a Thursday, I awoke with vociferous whispers evaporating back into my unconscious and a new, abounding love and admiration for her artistry.

Exactly one week later, on another Thursday morning, I began the day with her energetic ripples smacking me in the face as I received alert after alert reporting that Bjork had recently said the n-word in a magazine interview. In the interview, she was speaking about the sound system at a venue and she quoted/repurposed an infamous Yoko Ono quote stating “sound is the n****r of the music world, man.” 

Since I was a kid, whenever I have come across that word, particularly if I’m reading it (as opposed to hearing it in song) I have an involuntary physical response. As if suddenly electrocuted from within my own body I jolt from an internal twitch, and a hard kick inside my chest interrupts my breathing and pulse. 

While my body tried to resist the thrashing in my gut, my mind tried briefly to disbelieve it. Lost in translation? No. 
Misinterpretation? No. 
No. 
No. 
No. 
She just said it. She thought it (believed it). Didn’t see a problem, and said it. 
Put it out there and carried on and as of this writing, has not commented on or apologized for it. Though to be truthful I doubt that an apology or an explanation (gross!) would do much to salvage my respect for her. Online folks were calling her out and categorically going through other problematic issues with her. Folks were loudly proclaiming that this is why they don’t fuck with white or non-black artists and this is why they’d never listen to her again. 

Me?
I cried. A lot.
I got angry. 
Then sad. 
Then heartbroken. 
Then angry, again. 
Then sad again, for a while. 

this is what it felt like (stay with me here)…

My heart was an egg.
Bjork comes up  - crushes it in her fist.
My heart bleeds gold through her fingers.
Then?
She slaps me across the face with a slimy hand.
Turns and walks off giving me the finger over her shoulder.
and I
Am left standing there with egg all over my face.

Through my tears that day I went around my home and took down every Bjork related image, piece of art, ticket stub, and placed it in a box. I think at the time I thought I might return to it when some kind of amends between her and I could be made. Now, a couple of weeks later, I don’t imagine that to be a likely scenario. 
In between the sadness and the rage I felt palpable waves of humiliation. Everybody knew how much I was into her and it felt unreal that in addition to the dealing with my feelings of betrayal, I would have to swallow my tongue in my friendships and artships and my life in general. Perhaps another reason this has taken me so long to complete. 

To give an idea of the impact – before that day, I listened to her every. single. day. I had certain albums for particular seasons. I had dreamplans of visiting Iceland (partly because I just really want to see that landscape and black rock mountains…) mostly due to its relationship to her work and its inspirations. 

I haven’t touched one of her songs since. I tried, a week or so later to listen to one of the songs that was a go-to days before. A song that would jazz up my day and sprinkle glitter around my feet. Less than 30 seconds in my head was on the table and I was sobbing and ripping out my headphones. 

A lot of my life up until recently had been surrounded by and infused with whiteness. From the homogenous suburb where I grew up to the crunchy-granola college town I went to for school, I was almost always the only black person and if I wasn’t, the numbers rarely reached beyond what I can count on my two hands. It takes a lot of work and process to breed blackness in where whiteness has taken residence (see: gentrification) but I feel blessed that my life has become deliciously darker as I’ve gotten older and more intentional with the souls that surround me. 

However, as I immerse myself in this beautiful ancestral renaissance I am also witness to the complete disregard for black life in the world. Whether it’s within the injustice system in Canada and the US, the deliberate defunding of services for and by black folks, or the tearing up of our cultures into malleable, easily appropriated mouthfuls for white and non-black bodies to devour. 
And above all, daily, daily I witness the methodical, repetitive, systemic, blatant, and horrifyingly familiar murder of Black trans women, Black men and women, Black queer and trans spectrum folks by agents of the law (cops, security guards, border patrol, judges, wardens, social workers, psychiatrists…). 

My blackness is beautiful and magic and beloved. And it is constantly under attack.

Art, music, poetry, and dance are all ways my communities use and I and have used to survive and heal from the tyranny of white supremacy. The art and artists that get us from day to day in this unrelentingly violent atmosphere are the ones I want to be giving my energy to. Making, viewing, and supporting these survival offerings is what keeps the blood flooding my veins at the same time as the blood of our dead continues to flood the streets.

Being a black Bjork fan felt innocuous before, it feels impossible now.

There is no room in my universe for Bjork and her casual racism. 

Break-ups are hard. But sometimes they are so very worth it.

pain day

[Description: close up of a gray colored winter coat wearing a lilac colored button with the words "pain day" in red letters.]

...like I was saying...

It's taken three days to write this rant. Started off as an IG post, then an email, then blog, back to IG and now here we are.

I am in deep fibroflareland and this season does not lend itself to a visit  that is full of long baths, massage/body work, and reflection on the meaning of pain. This is a dense forest voyage through all manifestations of pain that my body can create: constant dull aches; sharp, breath-stopping stabs; radiating beacons of burning that swim over the fascia of my entire body, unpredictably and with variegated intensity. Bone spurs akin to a rubber-mallet-drill-bit burrowing hollows into my skeletal structure.

To all the dear friends who have helped me pack and move and unpack and generally held me throughout the last transitions, hi! and thank you again. I just wanted to let you know me and the cats are getting acquainted with our new home slowly but surely.

Unfortunately though I'm experiencing seriously heightened fibro symptoms and as a result can't do much nesting, settling, getting any work done and am hella struggling and kind of sad, stressed.

I've run out of things to ask for help, feel amazingly abandoned by my doctors who spend my appointments lecturing me about why the pain treatment I ask about is not matched to what I actually need. Every day has been a struggle this year and it is really bringing me under.

You [doctors] know and concede that my condition is chronic, lifelong, and changeable. You encourage me to remain active, not to get too down about life. You consistently refuse to provide me medication to treat the acute, and frankly horrifying, episodes of pain I experience that increase dramatically during the winter months. You chastise me, saying that I’ve done so well with my pain without meds up to this point and I don't want to go down the pain meds route… addiction etc, withdrawal and so on. 

So instead you prescribe me daily, long term open ended drugs that affect my neuropathy and stay in my system, causing a whole host of side effects. These drugs do next to nothing to help on days when every function of my bod is excruciating. You want me to remain active, be social, congratulate me on maintaining work commitments but offer no aid so that I might continue said commitments without compromising my health and comfort.

I'm being reminded of loneliness and the isolation of being in this particular life/body/city...I'm reminded of my two failed care collectives, how they dissolved without much warning when my circumstances changed. How as a result it has gotten harder to ask for the amount of help I actually need sometimes. Interdependence can be a wavering thing. Like poly it can be beautiful and life giving when it's working - potentially heart wrenching and dwelling in the pits of misery when it isn't. 

I wear this button because every single day is a pain day for me. Every single day. Sometimes I hope this button will help communicate to those around me why I move the way I do, take the time and space I do, am the way I am.

So that maybe when the bus driver doesn't lower the platform on my way in, maybe they'll lower it on my way out after seeing how hard it was. Or maybe when I drop my cane in the subway station and stand looking down at it and around at the people passing by and ignoring me - maybe someone will see my button and help me. These dreams have not yet come true.

I am lucky enough, blessed enough to have some very solid chosen family in my life. Folks that have listened while I wept on the kitchen floor, sat through moody tirades, given my mutual crip hustler pep talks…all this week alone! Waves of gratitude for the love I have in my life that gives balm to the wounds inflicted upon me by illness and systems. 

Tired and wanting to put this piece and myself to bed, I’ll end with this quote from my musical mentor’s newest album: 'love will keep us safe from death'* . <3

 *Björk “notget”. Vulnicura (2015)

inch by inch, day by day, moon by moon.

(from monday january 05 2015)
As the home I am sitting in creaks and knocks around with the force of the winter wind, the January sky is Springtime blue. Bright and clear but for a few less than substantial white clouds. Yesterday was a real day of capital W Weather. It snowed for a few hours, then rained for a few hours, then windied about for most of the night. Looking out at the calm sky it is hard to believe the whole country was under warning of sever winter weather just one day ago. God is change.

Walking home in the briskness of it last night I was continually arrested by the magnificence of the moon. How appropriate that a day demanding pause and stillness in the wake of a deluge of icy waves would have as its coda a full and piercingly bright moon in Cancer . I don’t know the last time  I have felt this much movement in my spirit, this much renewal in response to our cosmic shifts. The combo of this new year and this weeks full and water moon is both gently and forcefully reminding me to move with the shifts in my tide. This year feels SO different each day. New learning each day like never before. 

As I often am, I have been inspired by one of my possibility models adrienne maree brown’s blog and her detailing of her creative shifts. In hope of grounding myself more in ritual and reflection, I hope to write slightly more frequent posts. Practicing releasing things into the world as they are, without strenuous perfection and negotiations of worth.


here goes…till next time.

xom

 

a new beginning

What better way to start this next decade of my life's journey than with a new site, new blog, and new connections!

Everything in my horoscope and tarot readings is pointing towards the ending of old cycles and the start of new ones. My Saturn Return is finally over (phew! tho Saturn isn't out of my wheelhouse yet). Though Toronto Autumn was characteristcally brief and winter is upon us in all its freezing cold glory, I am still feeling the transformitive energy of the season, and loving it! I bid adieu to my 20's yesterday and am beyond ready to embrace this new chapter. More than one dear friend has told me that the 30's are glorious, fruitful, and packed with opportunities for growth. Cool! I can't wait.

Welcome  to Patchwork Poetics and stay tuned for more posts to follow...

xom