Row, row, row your pub / Gently down to Supermarket

I have another spoken-word gig this week. It’s my second already of 2017 (third if you count my hosting of the Art Bar a few weeks ago). Which is kind of ironic when you consider that I haven’t written any new material in about a year and a half. Nor do I have a new chapbook or CD to launch; in fact, I still have about half a box of This Album Is NIT FENNY! copies that I’m trying to get rid of. I’ve roughly calculated that if I sell one or two more, I begin to make a tiny, insignificant profit on these things. After more than two years since its launch. Here’s hoping.

So I’m doing a mini-feature this Tuesday at the Rowers Pub Reading Series (which, ironically, is no longer at the said pub). It’s just a short six-minute set – the real features of the evening will be Jasmine D’Costa, Pamela Mordecai and Molly Peacock. I’m the special National Poetry Month mini-feature. And this brings us to the third irony concerning this gig: the vast majority of what I write is prose. (I just sort of pretend it’s poetry when I read or perform it.)
So it would have been completely understandable if this event had been happening yesterday – i.e., April Fool’s Day – but it wasn’t. But that’s okay. We’ll have fun. It’ll be a lark.

More info about Rowers at this linky-link. There’s even a Q&A section for the readers. (My answers are very short. I would have put more work into them if I’d known the other people were doing so…)

Oh, and speaking of National Poetry Month:
I just wrote and submitted a article about Toronto poetry events happening this month. Hopefully it’ll be posted soon. I thought it would have been online by now, seeing as it’s now April and two of the events I included have already passed. But keep your eyes peeled and your Refresh button clicked, and I’m sure you’ll see it.

And I’m still contributing the occasional theatre review to Digital Journal. Most recently, I saw the new Second City revue, Everything Is Great Again, and before that, it was Soulpepper’s remount of its wonderful Of Human Bondage.
Click here to be checkin’ out that stuff.

And if you really dig news stories about people getting hurt or sick on the job… you can always check out my work for Canadian Occupational Health & Safety News, some of which is posted on the OHS Canada website. Find that here.

Happy Passover, Charlie Brown!

March Breaks Bad

My website disappeared for a few days, but you probably didn’t notice.
For the second time in as many years, my domain name expired and nobody thought to tell me. Didn’t even think to send me a warning e-mail or anything. But it’s all right now. I just paid a small fortune to renew the silly thing for ten (10) (X) years. That’s a full decade more of this lovely website that almost nobody visits. Enjoy.

This Tuesday, I’m hosting the Art Bar, Canada’s longest-running poetry series.
“Whatwhatwhat?” you gasp in shock. “They’re letting Jeff host the Art Bar? But… but… but… he’s just going to make it about him, isn’t he? He’s going to tell offensive jokes the whole night and then try to force us to buy his chapbooks! Maybe he’ll slap a disabled person or something! He might get drunk and make out with a woman in public — consensually, of course, but still! What if he says ‘hooker’ again? I don’t think I could handle it. Stupid Jeff!”

I don’t think the evening will go quite like that. At least not this time.

Besides, the real reason to go is to see great poetry sets by Viral Gor (a.k.a. Virus the Poet), Diana Manole and Rocco de Giacomo. And you can win $20 for being the best open-mic performer.

Check the right sidebar for details.
If those details aren’t enough to satisfy your crippling urge for details, visit the series’ website here.

In other news… I’m back, baby.

Back in the freelance-writing game, that is. Just landed a new gig writing listsicles and whatnot about Toronto events and stuff for the Yellow Pages website. If it’s not too late, here are a couple of recent March Break-themed pieces:
“Toronto’s top March Break hotel deals and packages”
“Last minute March Break camps and drop-ins in Toronto”

Also, here’s a cover story I recently wrote for OHS Canada:
“Trouble in the Big House”

That’s all for now. Keep up the good work, laughing boy.

Another Year, Another Yen

Has it really been almost fourteen months since I posted a blog entry on this website? Could it really have been more than a year since I’ve had a spoken-word event to plug? That seems to be the case. But I didn’t do much in the poetry or lit scenes in 2016. There might have been a mini-feature at Jammin’ on the One somewhere along the way, but I didn’t feel like promoting it. There were a couple of open mics I did in New York back in June. That’s about it. Nothing to write home about. Or from home, on a website. Whatever floats your bag of wax.

2016 was a crappy year for a lot of people, and I’m no exception, but I’d rather not go into the details. Suffice it to say that a year ago, I had a spacious high-rise apartment, a steady freelance income in addition to my day job, and a healthy savings account. Now I have none of those things (except the day job, thankfully) and, for all I know, maybe never will again. There are a lot of people much worse off, sure, and we’ll all have a lot to fear when an air-headed reality-show billionaire with no political experience becomes leader of the free world in less than two weeks. But suckage comes on many levels, doesn’t it?
As a Caucasian heterosexual male, I am constantly told that I am one of the luckiest and most privileged individuals in the history of the human race. And I guess I’m in no real position to dispute that. But when I take a look around my cramped basement apartment, while worrying about how long I can keep my financial situation stable, and thinking about all the people who’ve deceived or betrayed or manipulated or taken advantage of me, sometimes I can’t help thinking: if this is privilege, I ain’t doing it right.

Anyway. Never mind all that.
I have two gigs this month. And I’m out of practice in performance, and I haven’t even written any new material in more than a year. But they should be fun.

This Tuesday, I have a feature at the Art Bar.
You thought the Art Bar was dead, did you? No siree Roberto. It was in the ICU for a while, but it rose from the ashes like Lazarus to mix metaphors like a Colossus. Now it’s at the Free Times Cafe, without the government funding, but still determined to be the best Art Bar that ever Art Barred. Lucy Brennan and Marc di Saverio will be the other features, and you can win $20 as the best open-mic performer.

Later on, I’ll be helping JOTO host Damon Lum celebrate his birthday in a show at the historic Arts and Letters Club, where they say the Group of Seven used to paint. (Ernest Hemingway briefly was a club member there in the 1920s, but the cheap bastard never paid his dues. And was never heard from again.)
Tessa Stone, Pelayo Matute and other friends will be performing as well. I am crossing my fingers for free chips and pretzels.

Happy New Year. More imaginative posts to come later on. Don’t wig your gig.

Get Hot for Project HOTS

The Horseshoe Tavern is an iconic Toronto venue that has hosted performances by musical acts ranging from the Rolling Stones, The Police, The Talking Heads and The Ramones to Bryan Adams, The Tragically Hip and Blue Rodeo. Or so Wikipedia tells me.

And now… I’m about to add my name to that illustrious list.

Because I’m doing a short (ten minutes) set next week at the Horseshoe, as part of Project HOTS – a fundraiser show to raise money to buy food and winter gear for Toronto’s homeless population this winter.

The show also features Cynthia Gould (of High Heels Lo Fi fame, performing a solo set), Lizzie Violet, Heather Babcock, Cate McKim, Kat Leonard, SuperTash and a whole whack of other local poets and musicians.

Come out and support a good cause.

If you don’t come, I’m just going to have to assume that you don’t like the homeless. No, just kidding. But do come. Details on the right sidebar here. And here’s the Facebook event page.


It’s too late to go out for Halloween, but it’s not too late to read my most recent article, “Haunted Places in Ontario”. It’s actually an update of Craig Clark’s listsicle from last year – I just added a lot of other spooky places across the province. Read it… alone, late at night.
Also, look out for an upcoming piece by me about places to go in Toronto over the holiday season.

And check out recent reviews I’ve done for Digital Journal. My pan of the Full House musical received more than five thousand hits, which wouldn’t be much for the Toronto Star or New York Times website, but it’s a lot for me. I also wrote about Kim Novak’s appearance at TIFF.


Waiter, waiter, there’s soup in my fly

Hey squirt.

Two features coming up later this month… but first things first.

First of the firsts:
Did you catch this swell review of my CD, This Album Is NIT FENNY! on Cate McKim’s arts blog, Life with More Cowbell? If you haven’t, well, there it is.

Second of the firsts:
Summer is the best time for cruising. No, I’m not talking about the notorious 1980 movie. I mean literal boat cruises. I wrote an article on those for, and you can peruse said article at this link.

Second of the second of the firsts:
I also wrote a handful of reviews for Digital Journal in July. There’s one of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, two of this year’s Shakespeare in High Park productions and one about a book about the making of an unfinished Orson Welles film. You can catch those ones right here.

By the way, the Watchman review got reprinted on Business Insider. Don’t believe me? Check it out here.
Also, the Welles article has five hundred and sixty-one “likes”. Which is all the more impressive, considering that only three hundred and seventeen people have actually read it. Methinks people have been liking posts of the piece on Facebook without actually clicking on the link. (I don’t know what you thinks…)

And now. On with the shows, this is it…

Later this month, I’m doing a gig in Richmond Hill with Valentino Assenza, Anto Man-Ming Chan, Pat Connors and someone or something known as Glowie. Plus there’s an open mic. It’s at a bar called Yogi’s. I don’t know yet if they serve pickanick baskets. Or catcher’s mitts.

A week after that, I’m doing Lizzie Violet‘s monthly series at Hirut Restaurant in Toronto’s east end. Also taking the stage are Philip Cairns, Arlene Paculan and Anastace Krieger. No open mic this time. But lots of great Ethiopian food and a friendly atmosphere.

Wanna go to one of these? More deets on the right sidebar.

Happy Simcoe Day! I’ve been practising my Simcoe carols. You?

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