Sunday, January 30, 2011
Rafaela Vidinha met me at a street corner in the east end of Toronto and walked me around the back of the factory where she lives with lovely people. We sat in her studio space, hanging out with puppets and she told me the story of bringing foam and fun fur to life.
"...you don't need to see them blink to believe they are beings.
theres a certain moment where your mind needs to fill in the blank" (Rafaela Vidinha)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
For this episode I interviewed 12 people about crafts they remembered doing as a child. I wandered around the University Centre on the University of Guelph Campus and spontaneously asked people to do an on the spot mini interview.
Childhood is often when people trust their weird facinations.Theres something beautiful and deeply serious about this practise. I want to get back to that. I want to get back to taking my weird creative interests seriously, and making things over and over without worrying or over analyzing too much.
Thanks so much to Gabriella, William, Kevin, Jan, Jessica, Melanie, Nick,Alex, Melissa, Dean, Patrick and Nicole for telling me about popcicle stick boxes, hand drawn Pokeman,homemade recipe books, pastry, paint by number (horses), felt stars with glitter glue, painted clay pots with glued on googly eyes, fireworks drawing explosion (big black blob), edible finger paint, home made weapons, knitting, crochet, quiliting, toilet paper tube men and shrunken styrofoam faces.
I love dressing up my golden retriever, Logan. We go to parties wearing matching bandanas. I love pets in clothes.
For this episode of These Things That People Make, I interviewed two super creative awesome pet clothing designers:
Cyndi of Missteawinkie (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Missteawinkie?ref=top_trail) and Sarah of the Swayze (www.theswayze.com)
Both of these fabulous people are making custom dog clothes that people can afford. They are innovators, committed to their own styles, and they are pushing past conventional, predictable pet outfits into really interesting stuff.
They're also both extremely nice, and charming. Check out their stuff, and check out the interview! Cats in Vests! Dogs in leather jackets!
Monday, January 17, 2011
Dave End changed my life in a significant fashion. That would be a big thing to write about here in this blog. I'm not normally so personal. Ever since I played that talk with Linda Barry I just want to type whatever comes into my brain. Its an interesting urge to interact with as I write these blog posts.
Dave End and I did a phone interview about a year ago.
I know him because onetime he played a show in a kitchen in Griffentown, Montreal, and the place was filled with straight skinny white indie rock boys and we bitched about it outside on the street. Actually Dave was talking about how the show made him feel and I was understanding. The next day Dave and 3 of his friends and me and a baby had a picnic in the park.
When we returned from the park, Dave sat on the couch in the livingroom of the house I was babysitting in, and talked about wanting to play shows specifically for queer youth. At the time I was setting up a lot of shows in tiny to small venues. It had never occured to me to play a show especially for queer youth. I looked at him, sitting on the couch, and said I would set it up.
We chose a very difficult weekend for the show. It was Pop Montreal. Pop Montreal is a festival with way too many indie rock bands not getting paid enough all playing in too many venues all over Montreal at the same time. Needless to say, there was a lot of competition that night. It was really hard to find a venue, and in the end, my dear friend Liam Michaud arranged for us to play in the daycare where he worked at the time at the Green Centre. It was not an easy to find location at all. It was tucked away, on the edge of Westmount, on third floor. All the logistics came together just a few days before the show. Dave was going to drive all the way from New York City. Some of my friends in Queer Concordia did an amazing job of promoting the show. They made presentations in their classes and handed out flyers. I gave a workshop with my buddy Judy about Homocore music at project 10 in some kind of connection to the show.
When the show actually happened, it was full of people I'd never met. What a great feeling. We'd managed to fill the space, and the show itself felt like magic.
Dave and I ended up going on a few tours together after that. We'll go on more.
Driving for hours with Dave End is one of my favorite things to do in the world. He uses words so well.
Okay. I should probably tell you a bit about this interview in particular. Dave End is an amazing seamstress, in addition to being a very captivating performer. A year ago we did a phone interview where day talked about constituting your own reality through sewing your own stuffed animals.
We talked about fat activism and sewing your own clothes and sewing images,feelings, and comforts you want around you.
This December my partner and I traveled to the Adirondacks to visit my fabulous lesbian aunts who I love so much. I'm so lucky. I'm going to open a file on them in the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. I'll tell you more about that some other time.
Right now I need to tell you about Norman. He's an amazing woodworker. I'm going to back up my storytelling a little bit. We took a very early greyhound bus on Toronto to Syracuse. Elizabeth and Marybeth (the dream aunts) picked us up and informed us we were going to Marybeth's Christmas family dinner, and off we went. I'd never met any of Marybeth's family before.
We arrived at the house. All the streets in the neigbhourhood were named after fruits. After consuming adequate amounts of coffee, we settled into a gift giving frenzy which was really interesting because I was meeting all these people for the first time. There were three very cute dogs shuffling around. Gifts everywhere, lots of excited voices, and Norman, Marybeth's dad. He was sitting next to us, and then he disappeared for a few minutes, and returned with a plastic container with homemade wooden pens in it. We're allowed to each pick one. He has another of container of wine stoppers and ornaments. We're invited to take one of those too.
Norman has made different family members mini wooden replicas of buildings that have been significant in their lives. Buildings where they work, places they used to live, bars they frequented. They're great.
After most of the gifts were given out, Norman showed us two doll houses that he has made for his daughters. He's been making doll houses for 40 years. Initially, when Norman started talking about the doll houses and showing them to us, I asked him if we could do a radio interview right at that moment, and he said yes, and I ran out to the car to find my audio recorder.
The interview is what happened after this moment.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
My roomate Aj completely surprised me this December by turning our kitchen into a production facility for 900 cookies, chocolates, and scones. Over 20 variety. In This episode of These Things That People Make we brought you a baking show. Listen to an archive of the show to learn about how to make caramel chocolates (turtles) and stained glass star cookies. Aj is a baking wonder. Not only did all the food look so pretty. It also tastes great. You should come over sometime, and taste for yourself.
Why does it feel like 1997 wasn't that long ago? and yet, here we are. somewhere in the future.
In this episode of These Things that People Make, I sounded like a show on WFMU. I read the show titles and descriptions from a CFRU listening guide put out in 1997.
It was a fun show. pretty ridiculous.
I mean, thats one way to re-live history.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
On November 10, 2010 Maclean's published an article originally titled "Too Asian?". The article is terribly racist, suggesting there is an "Asian" take over of Canadian Campuses, creating hardship for upper class white students who want to have a party experience at university and are faced with "Asian" students who want to study all the time, and not have any fun creating an uncomfortable environment of "segregation". The article implies that all "Asian" students are also new immigrants to Canada, or international students, erasing Canada's immigration history. Maclean's should be extremely embarrassed to have this article exist with their name attached to it. Unfortunately they don't seem embarrassed, and instead issued another article 'explaining" their original article, which didn't seem to explain anything at all... but instead introduce some other ridiculous arguments.
This episode of These that People Make featured a youth tube video created by the Youth Coalition against Maclean's "Too Asian http://www.youtube.com/user/YCAMS#p/a/u/1/XnRTyRevm7Q and a radio documentary response created by Spitfiyah (CKUT's Women of Colour focused show) in response to the article. Give it a listen: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/3042-1-Too_Asian_Talkback.mp3
Criticism to this article and its sentiments continue in full force.
Every so often I host a show where I read exciting call for submissions to you on the air, hoping to inspire you to get involved and write things! Here's the call for submissions I focused on during this show:
1. Awkward Sex 'Zine
Sex can be awkward. Even women who feel sexually confident and powerful have at least one awkward sexual tale to tell. But what makes sex awkward? How does awkward sex make us feel? How do we deal with that awkwardness? We're looking for stories and artwork from women of all sexualities that deal with these themes (and/or others). Identifying details about people should be changed to protect their privacy. Please include a short bio & use a pseudonym if you wish! Deadline: Dec 15, 2010
2. Signals: A Radio Zine needs submissions!
DJ Frederick is issuing a call for submissions for the 2011 issue of Signals: A Radio Zine. Looking for personal essays that involve radio related topics, interviews, and articles about any and all aspects of shortwave listening, free / pirate radio stations, community radio, low power radio and the “underground” era of FM radio. Radio related music, cd, or book reviews welcomed. Artwork, fiction, poetry and any unusual topics are appreciated as well. Please limit to 1,000 words. Send submissions to: email@example.com
3. CompZine about Bras, looking for submissions:
Possible things to write about: -first bra, favourite bra, why you love/hate bras -bra washing tips, bra fashion tips -historical facts/essays about bras -where you buy bras and why -dealing with having an odd bra size -to wear a bra, or not to wear a bra? -any interesting personal story relating to bras, bra shopping -have you ever been professionally fitted for a bra? -if you’re a male, what do you think about bras? -comics and artwork! (please note the zine will be black and white photocopies and 1/2 sized)
Please send submissions/questions to: petitspoissons AT gmail.com and put BRA ZINE in the subject line. No fixed deadline…as soon as I have enough material I will print the zine.
Elizabeth J. M. W.
4. Riot Grrl
i'm finally putting pen to paper to create another (but new nonetheless) riot grrrl zine. i'm after submissions from all riot grrrls and boys anywhere in the world!
here's what i'm looking for:
articles/stories on any of the below topics:
* how you first discovered riot grrrl
* what riot grrrl means to you
* how riot grrrl has helped you and your grrrlfriends
* how has riot grrrl/feminism changed the world in your point of view
* important issues that still need to be fixed
* grrrl love
* stomping out grrrl hate
* being a grrrl in the punk rock scene
riot grrrl manifestas
grrrl bands in your area (if possible, include link to their site/myspace/facebook/etc.)
you're also welcome to include photos of you and your grrrlfriends to accompany your articles/stories!
all submissions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
deadline for issue #1 - 15th Jan 2011
5. [[[ SUBMIT TO UPPING THE ANTI ]]]
Pitches due December 3, 2010; first draft due January 7, 2010
*WHO WE ARE*
UPPING THE ANTI: A JOURNAL OF THEORY AND ACTION
is a radical journal published twice a year by a pan-Canadian
collective of activists and organizers. We are dedicated to publishing
radical theory and analysis about struggles against capitalism,
imperialism, and all forms of oppression.
In our first ten issues, we've published articles by and interviews
with renowned activists and intellectuals, including Aijaz Ahmad,
Himani Bannerji, Grace Lee Boggs, Ward Churchill, Michael Hardt,
John Holloway, Sunera Thobani, Andrea Smith, and many more.
We have covered a wide variety of topics including Palestine solidarity
activism, trans politics and anti-capitalism, anti-war activism, Indigenous
solidarity, contemporary feminist organizing, and activist burnout.
In every issue, activists and organizers reflect on the state of
contemporary organizing in Canada and beyond. We publish theoretical
and critical articles, interviews and roundtables. UPPING THE ANTI
also includes a book review section where activists assess new writing
on the Left.
*CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS*
We are currently looking for story ideas for ISSUE TWELVE, which will
be released in APRIL of 2011. If you have an idea for a story you
would like to see published in our journal, please send us a one page pitch
by Sunday, December 3, 2010. In addition to the pitch, please submit a short
writing sample (max 1,000 words).
In your pitch, please provide a brief description of the topic of your
investigation, your main questions, an account of how you will address
these questions, as well as a brief biographical note.
Before submitting a pitch, we encourage you to read back issues in
order to familiarize yourself with the kind of writing that we
publish. We also encourage you to have a look at the UPPING THE ANTI
writer's guide, which can be downloaded at http://uppingtheanti.org.
Pitches should be for original stories that have not been submitted or
published elsewhere. Please do not send us a pitch that you have
simultaneously sent to another publication.
Although we will consider all pitches, we are especially interested in
stories about the current economic crisis, contemporary labour organizing,
feminism and women's struggles, dis/ability, international solidarity work,
mobilization strategies, marxism and anarchism in the 21st Century, activist
interventions in art and culture, and struggles around questions of sex and
We will review your pitch and provide you with feedback. After a pitch
has been approved, writers are expected to submit their story by deadline.
Deadline for first drafts for ISSUE TWELVE is January 7, 2011.
Please submit all pitches and direct all queries to email@example.com
6. Calls for submissions
The Toronto quarterly issue #7
Send us your BEST poetry (4-6 poems), short stories (1-2 stories max, 500-3000 words), artwork, and photographs. We prefer that you copy and paste your poetry into the body of your email or send as ONE attachment in word.doc format. Send ALL short story submissions as a word doc. attachment. Any poetry or short story submissions sent as multiple attachments or not in word.doc will NOT be read.
If you have a novel/poetry book, a poetry/music cd or dvd that you're interested in having us review, please email us your query to thetorontoquarterly@hotmai
l.com with REVIEW REQUEST typed into the subject box. BOOK and MUSIC REVIEWS submitted will be considered for publication.
Send us your ARTWORK and PHOTOGRAPHY. Send in high resolution (jpeg file). We will consider all artwork submitted for the COVER of TTQ7.
ALL SUBMISSIONS should contain a short biography (5-6 lines MAX) stating town/city you reside in, previous publishing accomplishments, educational background if so desired. Please DO NOT send us a novel about yourself. Make it interesting and promote your books and/or webpages if desired.
PLEASE: ONE submission per issue. Multiple submissions will NOT be read. Be sure to send us your BEST work the first time or wait until the following issue to submit again.
We DO NOT publish previously published works.
PLEASE NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS
ALL RIGHTS and COPYRIGHT upon publication in TTQ7 remains with the author.
PAYMENT: Each contributor to TTQ7 will receive a FREE e-book of TTQ7 as payment. It will be emailed to the contributor as a pdf file.
ALL SUBMISSIONS should be emailed to: thetorontoquarterly@hotmai
SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 28, 2011.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Elisha Lim and I sat in their bedroom and recorded this interview about the Illustrated Gentleman Calendar. This is a calendar that I am really excited about. It hangs between my bed and my bedroom door at eye level. A perfect place for a sexy hand drawn calendar about fashion strategy.
Elisha is extremely charming, and talented and a great dresser. Also a really insightful writer. I want to dwell on that for a second. Elisha has a really wonderful poetic way with words, and that makes interviews with Elisha and reading Elisha's work so remarkable and great. Great drawings, yes, but also fantastic word combinations, that should not go under-complimented.
The illustrated Gentlemen walks you through the whole year, trying on clothes in places we could never afford, lingering in stores and trying on hot clothes (and looking so good) while the staff are often rude or hostile - because they don't think Elisha and their friend should be shopping in the men's section.
Its a calendar where we learn about Elisha's interactions with friends, family and inspiration (this sentance is really cheesy, but its true!!!) and learn style tips. Its also about more than that.
Its a great concept, and a great thing.
Now get yourself to the men's section dressing room, or wherever you dream of shopping, with the best things you can find.
(image from http://www.nomorepotlucks.org/article/chance-no-13/illustrated-gentleman)
Lynda Barry. What a wonderful, inspiring, brilliant, hilarious, enthusiastic person. What a dream.
The day Lynda Barry spoke at the Harbourfront Centre for the International Festival of Authors (Oct. 30, 2010), I spent a bunch of time at the Pearson Airport. My friend Anna Leventhal was flying across the Atlantic Ocean to visit her friend Suzy who makes feminist dolls. Or at least she used to, when we were both in art school.
Anna brought me a t-shirt from her radio show, Venus, which airs on CKUT in Montreal and is over 10 years old (of which I am a big fan, and have been for years!). I was wearing a sports bra, so I just took off the shirt I was wearing and put on the Venus shirt. The man in charge of keeping that area of the airport cafe clean and orderly got really pissed off at me and told me there were families around. Families scared of sports bras!
And then I took the long bus back into Toronto and gradually realized that I didn't really know where the Harbourfront Centre was, and I wasn't sure what subway stop to get out of, and If i didn't run from where ever I got out of I was going to be late and miss the beginning of Lynda's talk! All the Sky Dome tourists really pissed me off as I ran. They walked so slow, their heads rolling around on their shoulders as they looked up at all the shiny tall buildings. I really had to pee. My friend Laura Mac was waiting for me in the lobby. There was no time to pee! We ran in and sat in the front row of the theatre.
I don't air talks on this radio show, normally. My usual format for These Things that People Make is interviews I do myself. And I don't aspire to be the Globe and Mail, or the CBC, or whatever more mainstream things exist (who are media sponsors of the Author's Festival) but Lynda Barry's work is raw and deeply sad sometimes and honest and great. And I didn't want to miss the chance to hear her and see her face, and record it to share it with you.
Me and Laura held hands as we listened to her. I fumbled with the recorder and half way through the talk a festival staff told me I wasn't allowed to record it because i didn't have a media pass around my neck (I had been given permission to record, but was only given comp tickets, no media necklace). Eventually she let me keep recording. (hooray!)
Soon I'll interview Lynda Barry for real. Sometime soon. She said she was into it, when we talked to her after the show in the book signing line up.
Until then, I have this great talk that you should listen to right now, if you haven't already. it will make you want to draw. trace you hand, and make a turkey smoking a cigarette.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
These Things that People make has be so lucky to feature so many rad people on this show over the year and a half that it has existed.
To celebrate These Things that People Make, and to invite people to donate to the CFRU funding drive (that took place on air from Oct. 23 - 31, 2010), I played excerpts from some of those great shows, featuring:
Rebecca Singer - talking about how to knit your own beard.(originally aired in April 2009)
Elisha Lim - 100 Butches! (this interview took place June 2009)
Liam Michaud - The Prisoner Correspondence Project (originally aired Summer 2009).
Claire Barrera - When Language Runs Dry Zine:a zine for people with chronic pain and their allies (originally aired (Feb. 25, 2010)
Dave Roche - About My Disappearance (originally aired March 18 2010)
Caleb Latreille, Liv Carrow, Griffin Epstein and Aaron Mangle: HOUSE SHOWS!(originally aired Jan 21, 2010)
YAY! There are SO MANY PEOPLE doing SUCH GREAT THINGS, making INSPIRING, CHALLENGING and much needed THINGS. I love it. Keep it up people, and thank you.
(and thanks for donating to the funding drive!)
Halloween can be a fun time.
For this episode of These Things That People Make I asked several people to tell me about their childhood or adulthood Halloween costumes. That was really great! Costumes are fun.
Homemade identical dad and kid costumes, wishes for homemade costumes, limited Hallowe'en costume choices mandated by controlling siblings, dressing up as famous people who you don't actually know anything about, Christmas themed Hallowe'en outfits, costumes that prevent you from fighting back like you usually do, this episode illustrates that real life is often weirder than any fiction than we could make up.
I'm going to start planning next year's Hallowe'en costume now... so I come up with something really amazing....