We wish you a merry fitness / And a happy new YOU!

2014 is over. It is now 2015.

It was a year of stuff and things. It was a year when we lost some talented folks too soon, including Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Nik Beat. It was a year when liking a Woody Allen movie became a virtual hate crime. It was a year when bad people killed other people and stuff blew up, which happens every year anyway. It was a year that included the hundredth anniversary of World War I and the seventy-fifth anniversary of World War II, but hardly anybody noticed.

It was also a year when I somehow managed to remain employed full-time for the entire twelve months, and when I also wrote a lot of other stuff online. I went to New York City twice, and I attended tapings of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, saw Chris O’Dowd and James Franco act on Broadway and even got Bryan Cranston’s autograph. I even did karaoke in Montreal a couple of times, goddamn it. I played lots of board games, ate too much pasta and drank too much cider.

How is 2015 going to be any different, you ask? Okay, you didn’t ask, but tough. How?

Because I’m about to release a new album.

My third spoken-word album (not a physical CD this time, but a download card from the Internet) is going to be titled This Album is NIT FENNY. For those whose jaws are now hanging in lost, distressed bafflement, “nit fenny” is stuck-up-reactionary-college-student-ese for “not funny”. To demonstrate, say the title out loud in a whiny voice with your teeth clenched.

The album will be funny, of course. At least I think so. The usual suspects won’t. Hence the title.

But before the new album comes out (sometime before May, I anticipate), there’s one thing happening that also happened in 2014. And that thing is this: I’m featuring at Outrageous, at the Central, once again.

Hosted by the unbearably sexy Elizabeth Burns and attended by some loud, crazy kids who don’t like the quiet reverence of conventional poetry readings nor the militant political correctness of the slam scene, Outrageous is Toronto’s most out-RAAAAAY-jus spoken-word show. I’m there near the end of this month; look for me doing some of my more irreverent material.

And I’ll be doing other gigs later on. Not all of them local. Check the right sidebar yourself, because I can’t do everything for you, now, can I?

I’ve written some new reviews and op-ed pieces for Digital Journal too, so make with the clicky and have a good read.

Eat your fish heads. They’re good for you, Shorty.

Here’s a doggy.

Welcome to the title of U2’s second album

And welcome to fall. It’s pretty warm for the beginning of October so far. Climate change, man. Get with the thing and whatnot.

I have only one spoken-word gig this month, and it’s a small one. I’m reading my story “Nick Bland, in: Da Screwy Dame” at Hot Sauced Words: Poetry Noir, which is a special film noir-themed edition of the series. The story, and other readings, will be intros to some of James Dewar’s famous Poetry Theme Challenges (I would guess the theme for mine will be femme fatales).

The night is hosted by Romeo Satin and features the Satinettes.
Speaking of whom… why does Pelayo Matute always disappear every time Romeo’s in the room? It’s very odd. I’ve been trying to get a photo of them together for years, but it never gels. It’s like that Superman/Clark Kent thing. Could it be… No. No, it couldn’t. Pelayo doesn’t have a moustache.

I suppose I should give a Trigger Warning for this story. So:
Trigger Warning: “Da Screwy Dame” includes mild 1940s-style misogyny. Also a scene in which a cat gets threatened with pistol-whipping. Oops, just spoiled one of the jokes.

Halloween is coming up. Do you like scary things? Do you? Then read my new Toronto.com article, “Haunted Places in Toronto”. I also did a recent one about corn mazes in the Greater Toronto Area. And check out Digital Journal for some recent theatre reviews.

Stay classy, Biff.

Happy Civic Holiday, George Bailey!

I hope the Civic Holiday Gnome left some civics in your panties this morning, buster.

I only have one feature gig on the horizon this month. But that’s fine, because it’s going to be…

OOOOUUUTTTTTT – RAAAAAAAAAAY – GEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s how you’re supposed to say it.

Yes, I’m featuring in the infamous Outrageous poetry and music series at the Central in three weeks.
My dear old friend Cynthia Gould, of Some Words Spoken and High Heels Lo Fi fame, is another feature. The show also has Joseph Ianni, Londzo and Open Market, with an open mic, hosted by Elizabeth Burns.

You should go, damn you.

Based on my past attendance at this series, I gather that this is the one show where I get to do all my “offensive” material. The reason I am putting “offensive” in quotation marks is that I don’t really think I’m all that offensive – at least, not in comparison to past acts I’ve seen at Outrageous and some of the stuff we’re seeing on prime-time TV these days – but numerous slam poets and activists I’ve crossed swords with would highly disagree with me.

So I suppose that my Outrageous set should come equipped with a Trigger Warning. So:
Trigger Warning: My feature set at Outrageous will upset you if you do not have a sense of humour.

See you there. Have mercy on the boy.

Happy Canada Day, Moose-Gutting Doug. Molson me an Anne Murray Mountie, willyas?

Happy Canada Day.

I thought of writing silly stuff about Canada Day, but the post I did for last year’s was so silly and wonky that there’s no way I can top it. Don’t believe me? Here it is.

Do you like poetry? Do you like comedy?
Then chances are, you’re going to like Cometry Poedy. That’s the poetry-comedy show I’m headlining at the Central (upstairs) next week. You’ll also get to hear sets by Shirley Whalen, Jerms Rebell, Dagmar Morgan, Cheyenne Alvis, Joshua Elijah, Blakc Zeus, Elizabeth Burns and Todd Owen Daniel Downey. Click here for the Facebook event page.

That’s all I got this month in terms of spoken-word gigs.

Journalism-wise, though, I’m still busy these days. Here’s a link to my recent OHS Canada article about how workplace fatalities in British Columbia tend to get off the hook in terms of criminal charges, especially when it comes to exploding sawmills. On Toronto.com, I’ve got new pieces about local dog parks and splash pads. And click here for a couple of new Digital Journal stories.

Now, go and celebrate Canada Day.
I recommend you start off with a few songs:

June is the Junest month, breeding / Beaches full of redheads tanned…

It’s June, and it’s my first post since the end of February.
Not only that, but it’s a Sunday afternoon in June. There’s a song in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical that declares that ice cream is wonderful on a Sunday afternoon in June. (Also, do take note that even the most respectable have been known to eat ice cream.) Therefore, I command you to eat ice cream. Right now. As I’m writing this, pipsqueak. Now.

#amitoocanadianforyou

What have I been doing over the past three months? Well, I did a couple of cool features in the States back in April – one in the Village in New York City, the other in Amityville on Long Island. Yes, that Amityville. With the scary house and stuff.
I’ve also continued writing articles and reviews for Toronto.com and Digital Journal. Click on the links in this sentence if you want to find out where to pick berries in the Toronto area, or what I really thought of Robyn Doolittle’s Rob Ford book, or of the book about the making of The Room, or of the movie The Grand Seduction, or of Judith Thompson’s recent solo show.

Or don’t, if you don’t want to. Nobody’s forcing you.

You can also read my recent article about the Lac-Mégantic disaster last year, “Off the Rails”, which was published in March. I interviewed Olivia Chow for it, among other people.

But now it’s June, and that’s all in the past, so let’s focus on what June has in store. And it has stuff in store indeed, it sure does.

First up – next Sunday (another Sunday afternoon in June), I’m embarking to the distant, exotic land known as… Oakville.

That’s right. Oakville has a literary series. Actually, it has more than one, but the one I’m talking about is the Oakville Literary Cafe, in which I’m featuring with fellow Toronto veteran Norm Cristofoli, plus a special featurette by Shelly Sanders and an open mic. Here’s a PDF flyer for the show you can download.

The following Sunday (yet another Sunday afternoon in June), I’m returning to Plasticine Poetry Series at Pauper’s Pub. It’s my fifth Plasticine feature, but it’s also only the second time I’ll have been to the series in the past two years or so, as I’ve been trying to avoid some silly drama. Kate Marshall Flaherty, Jim Johnstone, Sonja Greckol and Marni van Dyk are the other features, and David Bateman hosts. I believe it’s also the last one that Michael Fraser is organizing, before handing the series’ reins to other folks.

And then, on June 24 (a Tuesday, which has nothing to do with Anne of Green Gables as far as I know), I’ll be appearing once again on the CIUT spoken-word radio program HOWL, hosted by Nik Beat. You can listen in online at this link: the show’s on at 10:00 p.m. EST, which is 7:00 p.m. PST or 3:00 a.m. the next morning in England.
Trigger Warning: I’m considering performing “How to Become a Deranged Leftist Reactionary”, a piece I wrote specifically to piss off the slam folks.

That’s all for now. Now get outside and enjoy the lovely day.

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