I was Deep Throat. Actually… no, I wasn’t. April Fool!

This Sunday, I’m back at Storytelling at Caplansky’s, also featuring Megan Fraser, Dom Paré and John Hastings, with an open mic, and with author Michael Wex hosting.

Seems like it’s the only performance series of any kind in town that wants to feature me these days. And as long as I get free smoked-meat poutine out of it, I ain’t complaining. No sir, I ai not.

Not that I’m still avoiding all local poetry events. I’ve been out to the occasional one in the last two months – just to listen, not to perform. But as I ranted about a few months ago, in a post on this site that I’m sure almost nobody has read, I’m still a bit uneasy about the Canadian slam community’s tendencies towards humourless PC groupthink, and the witch-hunt mentality that comes out of it. There are times when the slam scene seems like a truly hateful, reactionary community to me, viewing everything in black-and-white, looking for excuses to be outraged and taking everything you say so damn literally. And it’s heartbreaking to see a (former) friend or two being sucked into the indoctrination.

The best way I can think of to sum it all up is: It’s just no fun anymore.

I think my problem is that I see spoken word as an art form, and nobody else does. To most of the slammers, spoken word is either a pulpit or a cult-like form of group therapy. Thing is, if I wanted to preach, I’d become a minister, and if I wanted to lose control of my emotions and revel in everybody’s shared vulnerability, I’d join a support group. I don’t go to literary events for these things. I go out of love of writing and, to a lesser extent, of performing. But while every slam has some variation of the slogan, “The points are not the point, the poetry is the point!”, I don’t think poetry is the point at all. It reminds me of when I co-majored in creative writing at York University and all the instructors and students tried to force me to be a minimalist: just like back then, everybody’s trying to eliminate everything that I find fun and enlightening about writing.

But while I’ve put spoken word aside temporarily, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. On the contrary, I’ve continued to contribute articles to Toronto.com and Digital Journal.

Check out my recent articles for the former: “Toronto’s Best Staycation Destinations” (a guide to 2013 March Break hotel packages, now outdated), “The Best Bookstores in Toronto” (a three-part series), “The Best Spas in Toronto” and “Toronto’s Bookstore Cafes: From Comics to Cappuccinos”. In addition, a series of golf-related stories I wrote for them in 2010 have recently been updated and re-posted for some reason.
And you can read my most recent Digital Journal reviews and stories at this link. My review of the movie Mad Ship got more than two thousand hits in less than twenty-four hours, for no apparent reason. I have no clue what I did right this time (especially since it was a negative review). Maybe it got linked on some Rotten Tomatoes-type site?

That’s it for now. Time to find out if April truly is the cruelest month.