There Is No Escape Out of Time Book Launch

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Come help us celebrate our new titles and the warm weather!

Jacqueline Valencia, There Is No Escape Out of Time (poetry)
Michael Murray, A Van Full of Girls (short fiction)
Dog the Moon, Stan Rogal (fiction)

Thursday, July 7, 2016
6:30 PM
The Supermarket Restaurant and Bar (Kensington Market)
268 Augusta Ave
Toronto, ON

https://www.facebook.com/events/1033169150113367/

JACQUELINE VALENCIA is a poet and film/literary critic. She has written for The Rusty Toque, Lemon Hound, Next Projection, subTerrain magazine, and The Barnstormer, among others. Her chapbook Maybe was selected for the 2012 Arte Factum exhibit by Poetry Is Dead Magazine.

THERE IS NO ESCAPE OUT OF TIME is an ethereal cinema of a mind, jumping through wormholes in a poet’s past, present, and future, even in space.

MICHAEL MURRAY works as a creative writer, commentator, blogger, and “journalist.” He has written for The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Hazlitt magazine, CBC Radio, the Ottawa Citizen, TheToast, as well as scores of other prestigous publications that pay extraordinary amounts of money and fly him around in helicopters.

A VAN FULL OF GIRLS is a collection of short, dizzy, funny things. It’s zippy and unpredictable, like a mongoose, but it’s dead sexy.

Poet, novelist, and playwright STAN ROGAL’s work has appeared in magazines and anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. His poetry collection Love’s Not the Way To (Bookland, 2013) was shortlisted for a ReLit Award.

DOG THE MOON is a compelling novel that offers a new look at the traditional Canadian tale of a city boy in the “wilderness,” taking aim at our literary mythology with sharp, satirical darts.

My new collection of poetry, THE ALIEN

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The Alien is an exploration in isolation, disenfranchisement, and language in a galaxy that’s disconnected with the senses. I wrote this while struggling with the world inside my head and the ones that collide outside of it. It is an end to the manifesto for me and an ode to present connective correspondence.

You can purchase it here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jacqueline-valencia/the-alien/paperback/product-22140333.html

ISBN9781329065987 CopyrightJacqueline Valencia (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)EditionSecond Edition Published April 22, 2015 LanguageEnglishPages79 BindingPerfect-bound Paperback Interior Ink Black & white Weight0.11 kg Dimensions (centimetres)10.8 wide x 17.48 tall

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25359840-the-alien

In lieu of a book trailer, I made music mix for it: https://8tracks.com/ravensee/the-alien

******IF YOU WOULD LIKE A REVIEW COPY YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT ravensee@gmail.com*****

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(About the 1st edition LIMITED EDITION PRINT: Product Details: ISBN 9781329065987 Copyright Jacqueline Valencia (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0) First Edition Published April 14, 2015 Language: English 76 pages Perfect-bound binding Paperback eWeight 0.29 kg Dimensions (centimetres) 21.59 wide x 27.94 tall: This one week limited run, due to its size, was meant to be drawn on, sketched on, create versions of the poems on, and thereby rendering it unique the reader. Like an alien it was meant to transform with the reader’s fingerprints and change with its environment and hopefully, cause a change within the reader as well. If have changed it, please send a photo to me. I’d like to see where its gone and what the book is doing.)

Some of my favourite reads of 2013.

I rarely let anyone lend me books. Every book I’ve ever borrowed has either been damaged by one of my kids or I’ve been careless and devoured it in creases and dog ears. I try to be nice to books, since they’re so wonderful to me, but books are a place where I escape to, in much the same way as I do with movies. They inhabit my headspace and everything physical I do becomes an extension of the book’s world. I live in the books I read, hence it’s very hard to select a few reads as my top favourite. I’ve decided to select a few from a pile that I read this year to recommend to you.

This year I chose the worlds carefully, mostly because I found myself with no time to dedicate to “just books.” Luckily some of these were up for review and at least one was read because I had an interview to prepare for. My picks were culled from a need for pleasure than anything to do with what people would enjoy or not enjoy (although I do have a vivid memory of being very angry with a certain unnamed book this year). Through my activities and work, I reconnected with reading as a writer and being a writer as a reader.

Without further ado, here are some of my picks from 2013.

1.

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PostApoc by Liz Worth

I am tired of dystopian scenarios, but there’s something about them keeps pulling me back. In PostApoc, dystopia isn’t an end result, it’s a reality that has slowly been building up in the now.

Ang is a Torontonian teenager who explores her inner world by ambling through life. She isn’t coming of age. She isn’t looking for love. She might be looking for a connection, but at the core what she really needs is a reason for it all. The world is literally falling apart around her: people are disappearing, friends are decaying, the moon quietly falls into the ocean, and ghosts become wails in the night.

Worth experiments with stream of consciousness and surreal imagery to anchor her readers through the poetic medium she so deftly employs in her narrative. Much of Toronto is transformed into a fantastical Goreyesque dream world where anything ghastly that can happen does. The end of the world is not as frightening as it is palpably sad. I couldn’t help but think of my own children left alone with only their instincts to guide them. My heart raced as Ang traversed the despairing pages wishing I could comfort her in a motherly embrace.

PostApoc is a new way of looking at tomorrow. We can only hope that no one is left.

2.

 9780385677806Drunk Mom: A Memoir by Jowita Bydlowska

“I’m exactly like the baby. Pounding his heels against the mattress when distressed. Give it to me. Give it to me right now…Now. Now. There is no waiting, no biding time. The wanting is enormous; it swallows him whole in lung-emptying breaths.

I get it. I get the screaming baby.

Because my wanting is just as powerful.”

Oh man, I get it. Reading that while going through bouts of depression, I felt it. I felt it hard and I still do. There’s something about Bydlowksa’s prose and the images that she evokes that makes her condition universal and relatable to anyone who’s struggling with issues.

Drunk Mom is the raw account of Jowita Bydlowska’s wrangling with alcoholism as a mother. After witnessing my twitter feed go off the charts with people condemning or praising Bydlowska for this book, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I’m so glad I did.

It’s a refreshing release from the self-conscious writing I’m used to in mother confessional blogs. Women are people. Mothers are people. We all have our flaws and make our mistakes. Maybe it’s social media that makes it acceptable to be so blatantly honest online and in print, however, has literature hit a new low because of it? Hell no! As writers, we need change; as readers we need to read new things and new perspectives. Mothers never get to give new perspectives because what is expected of us blindingly shadows who we really are.

With each misstep the author takes the more human she is, and with each step she makes towards sobriety, the more fragile her existence becomes. I’d love every new mother to read this account. It’s not all about alcoholism, but a unique depiction of motherhood. Does this make Bydlowska a tendentious writer? Does it really matter that much? Isn’t it time we cast off the apron strings and stop replacing them with the unrealistic superhero cape?

I put my foot down and say, YES.

3.

KateCayley_coverWhen This World Comes To An End by Kate Cayley

I was browsing the poetry section in the bookstore one day and came across this collection of poems. I’ve always been curious about how this section in the bookstore is divided up. There are “Poetry” books and “Canadian poetry.” How do you discover or explore new poetry if all you get is the spine or the cover of the book to go by? This one has a picture of a horse diving into water in a supposed outdoor carnival trick. In my head, that horse made it quirky so I bought it. I love quirk.

“The slender scaffold bridges out

over the lake, the horse

halfway through a tense and sunlit dive, 

its freakish grace transfiguring 

the crowd, a trickle of the mildly curious.

Close your eyes.” -The White Horse Divers, Lake Ontario, 1908

See, that’s not quirky. That’s a poet’s view of a horse diving into the water as a carnival trick. That’s beautiful. Each of Cayley’s poems are like stories pulled out of a photograph or a situation. I found out that the poet is a playwright, and I can imagine setting and tone through the first few lines of the poems. I found myself letting go, watching the images pass by as I read the lines. Her codas don’t reach for more nor do they leave you hanging; she lets you run through the structure of her verses as if they were pictures strung together on a mantlepiece.

This was the first book I’d ever read entirely on the subway in one day. As more passengers got on the train, her writing affected me so much that I was making stories out of the minutiae around me. A spider I named Aldous, kept staring at me daring to meet it’s gaze, but Cayley’s book pulled me in that he got bored and left. I missed my final destination.

4.

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Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland -I read Girlfriend in a Coma, Microserfs (my favourite so far), and this in preparation of my interview with Coupland this past Fall for 49thShelf.

This book might have offended me a few times, but it was its offense that made me keep reading. Have you ever read something and said, “How dare they?” and it just made you want to find out where the author was taking you?

Raymond Gunt is a first rate scumbag. Bad things happen to Raymond, but he’s also an inconsiderate instigator. As a photographer he’s sent to an island to film a Survivor-type reality show and recruits his exact opposite, a charming homeless man named Neal. There are nuclear effects and filthy sexual shenanigans which lead our anti-hero from catastrophe to catastrophe to head shaking embarrassment. It’s hilarious.

Coupland is a master at quick dialogue. Much of this book reads like an extended British comedic sitcom where the characters know exactly what to say and when to say it. Punchlines are the realm of Raymond, but Neal is like every character in The Young Ones, full of the real chill pill that makes one sit back and say, “What hell am I getting so worked up about?”

Worst. Person. Ever. is an experience that made me stifle a giggle even when no one could possibly read what I was laughing at. Why was I laughing? Why wasn’t I outraged? Parsing that afterwards was the most fun I’ve had in the afterglow of reading.

Coupland keeps up with the times and isn’t afraid of trying something different. Try it, maybe you’ll like it.

5.

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Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis by Robin Richardson

I want to stroll through New York City when I re-read this book of poetry again. Robin Richardson is my new Jack Kerouac/Charles Bukowski pastiche artist.

“Bye , Baby Bunting,

father’s gone a-wheeling

through the Western 

dives; bronze pocket-

watch to crown a stack 

of poker chips. He listens

to the breathing of each

bluffer. Even masters 

have a tell.” – Mother Buzzard

Richardson’s words encapsulate moments and posits them as a David Lynch-like  confessions. You know there’s something beyond the metaphors, beyond the non-sequitosr, but you don’t reach out for the otherness; your forced to stay within the phrasing. Ghosts, graves, waffles, and film dwell in fluid verses and her timing keeps a steady rhythm reminiscent of a beatnik drawl. This book is wonderful to take with you during a rainy night or a relentlessly sunny day.

P.S. And also look at that cover. How could you not buy a book with that cover?

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Those are the few on the top of my head. Of note, here are some reviews I put up for books that I’ve read this year that made an impression on me, but are not from this year.

1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/590648487

2. Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde edited by Bill Nichols:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/637315274

3. Of Lamb by Matthea Harvey:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/246484437

4. Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist’s Maze by Thomas Allen Nelson: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/612154574

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/500137812

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My interview with Douglas Coupland is up at The 49th Shelf

Check it out here: http://49thshelf.com/Blog/2013/11/06/Douglas-Coupland-on-Writing-Hard-to-Like-Characters-Mentors-and-Poetry-A-Guest-Post-from-Jacqueline-Valencia

And his Halloween costume according to his twitter: https://twitter.com/DougCoupland/status/396147696961998848/photo/1

Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby film review.

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Last night I took myself to the Humber Cinema to watch Baz Luhrmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s style is what I came to love about the book. He had a way of writing perfect sentences.

“They were sitting at either end of the couch, looking at each other as if some question had been asked, or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.”

Or my favourite line:

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

Fitzgerald’s novel portrayed a world full of extravagance, and all that jazz,  but one that lacked substance and purpose. The only deep jewel worthy of noting in it, according to the narrator Nick Carraway, was Gatsby, a self-made man who’s greatest trait was his faith and hope in a dream; to be with his one true love, Daisy.

I hate love stories like this. I disliked Romeo and Juliet. I love how Hamlet how wrote it and the witty characters around the actual story itself, but I don’t understand infatuation as the basis for a tragic love story. In fact, it isn’t a tragic love story: it’s a story of fools who failed the Darwin test. Therefore, when I say that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels, it’s because it is one of the greatest visceral portrayals by a writer of a story of privileged fools who failed at reason.

Baz Luhrmann did an awesome job of this in his version of Romeo and Juliet. Clair Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio were the Teen Beat epitome of cool when they were cast in it. I consider it one of Luhrmann’s best films because in the end of it Romeo and Juliet could be seen for what they were: young children who sadly got caught up in the tangles of misunderstanding and chance. I wanted to yell at the screen, “No!” and cried pitifully as if they were my own kids. All the pomp and circumstance in it propelled and supported the story.

In The Great Gatsby, DiCaprio does an impressive job as a mature and independent Romeo as Gatsby. He’s all fire and drive, which I think he brings to most of his roles these days. Carey Mulligan embodies Daisy like a well-fitted glove. Daisy is an empty vessel and her passions are sapped from the life others or people around her. As her body is adorned with the the jewels and flash of the times, Mulligan, is also visually, a great feast upon the eyes. However, maybe it’s because I’ve enjoyed seeing Mulligan play such strong characters in the past that every so often I’d find it out of place to find something genuinely human about her portrayal as Daisy, or may be it’s because she’s just that good of an actress.

Tobey Maguire does a good job of playing our eyes in the story as Nick Carraway: goofy, wet at the ears, and full of promise, but no direction. I just never understood the subtle nuances to his dopey character in the movie. Even his alcoholic writer trope was a little too laughable for me to take seriously, which is odd considering I totally empathized with him in the novel.

This movie is lush and wonderful to look at though. The ambrosial Gatsby parties are full of champagne, streamers, fireworks, and colour. The zooming camera shots take you falling over and flying up among the skyscrapers in a bustling city. The camera dances around art deco sets and in and out of New York City in the roaring 20s and pauses for just a few moments among the still life, but potboiler of industry. I expected nothing less from Luhrmann’s visuals. I found the soundtrack (executively produced by Jay-Z) to be rather imposing and it didn’t suit the movie at all. Was Luhrmann trying to jarr us with this or was it meant to add a statement about modern life? With the resurgence of ragtime and 20s music, due to this movie and videogames like Bioshock, you’d think it would have been more suited to modern adaptations of popular songs from Fitzgerald’s time.

I think Luhrmann made The Great Gatsby: an adaptation of the Jack Clayton version (the sets were almost exactly the same, only with a bigger budget) as a stunning music video with little music.He failed at what I view The Great Gatsby at being: a literary feast of  a love story congruent to the empty truth in the American Dream.  I wasn’t within and without, nor was I simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. I was watching and simultaneously waiting to be given something besides the few minutes of drama in a hot NYC hotel room that I got out of this.

One thing that Luhrmann succeeds here at though: getting the youth of today to read a classic and perhaps think about it in terms of the loss of focus in our social media run society today. He did something similar with Romeo and Juliet. I think as a film watcher though, I’m still waiting for him to surprise me with Strictly Ballroom again.

P.S. And why was Carraway reading Ulysses while he was still at Yale (banned book back then)? I want the copy seen in the film! It’s big, green, and awesome looking.

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Here, play the video game:

http://greatgatsbygame.com/

Or read the book: http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/The-Great-Gatsby.pdf

Re-typing – I am rewriting Joyce’s Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

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On this day, the 35th day of re-typing Portrait Of The Artist As a Young Man, I am taken aback by how much it has become a part of my every day. After making my breakfast, I sit at my desk and do my re-type. I then post it to my personal twitter as a link, and post an interesting quote from the day through my StephenDedalu account.

I mentioned earlier that I would open up my word processor and type whatever came to my head. More often than not, when not inspired, I found myself either retyping the page again somewhat or ended up doing my own rewrite of the page. To my surprise, I’ve continued to rewrite each page a day. I didn’t plan on it, but it’s been a far more interesting result in this experiment. Here’s the first page I re-wrote:

“A long time ago in a dimension very unlike our own there was an intergalactic space ship gliding lazily among the stars and this spaceship that was gliding lazily among the stars met a little watery rock named Tormance….

Her mother told her that story: her mother looked at her as she held her in her arms: she had big eyes.

She was Tormance. The spaceship landed by the fields where outsiders lived: they sell pies.

There’s a room where the light won’t find you

Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down

When they do I’ll be right behind you

 

She sang that song. That was her song.

So glad we’ve almost made it.

 When you wet the bed first it is warm then it gets cold. Her father changed her diaper. Baby powder.

Her mother sounded lighter than her father. She played Tears for Fears on the mini stereo for her to dance. She danced.

So sad they had to fade it

Everybody wants to rule the world

Uncle Charles and Dante clapped. They were older than her mother and father but uncle Charles was older than Dante.

Dante had two gadgets on her person. The wrap on her wrist was a windup watch to tell time and the”

I have a few constraints with what I’m doing here: Stephen Dedalus is now Stephanie Dedalus.Whenever the father is referred to, I’ve changed it to the mother. Any political conflict I find has been replaced with analogue versus digital (or something to that effect). Instead of Ireland, I’ve made it Toronto-like (not quite Toronto because I would like for any reader to place it anywhere if possible).

Those are just a few things I’ve changed so far. Keep in mind that my re-write will be influenced by everything that is around me when I am doing it, mostly because my writing environment tends to be a busy space. For example, the passage above was written while my husband played Bioshock: Infinite and I have also been watching a lot sci-fi movies lately (ok, when am I not watching sci-fi?).

One thing I want to note here are the amount of discussions this whole project has created for me. Since I’ve started I’ve had some interesting thoughts and debates on copyright, artistic development, realistic versus expressionistic portraiture….all stemming from people asking me about this re-type.

Why are you doing this?

Why not?

What are you going to do with this?

Writing.

How is this your work?

Well, every day I write a page….

And we go from there. It all depends on who I am talking to, of course. People I know ask me based on how it helps me develop. Writer folk ask me about copyright and uncreative writing. Artists ask me about Joyce’s and my own methods of creating a portrait on a page or a personal narrative (ie. how this re-type is influencing my blog and poetry). The discussion can go from something very innocuous to something heavily involved and complex. I like the answers coming out of me and the questions people elicit on top of my own questions.

Re-typing is a whole other ray in the spectrum of reading and I can’t imagine what will come out of this re-write. I’m going to wait until I finish re-typing this book before I decide what I am going do with the re-write. For now, it is titled “Portrait,” and I will continue it along with the re-type. I hope one day, regardless of how stream of consciousness or cut-up or whatever happens with it, that I can share it with you.

Keep a look out for an upcoming blog post: Film: Why Conan the Barbarian is my Citizen Kane 

Art Exhibits, Feminism, Launches, and a tiny bit of Thurston Moore

Photo on 2013-04-03 at 4.49 PM

 

I am tired.

After many months of writing, painting, preparing, drawing, and oh heavens, winter weather, I have a bit of time to relax. Last month I participated in the Feminist Art Conference, read my first conceptual piece at an event, released my new chapbook The Octopus Complex, and opened my first solo art exhibit.

1. The Feminist Art Conference

The two pieces I had displayed are part of a series I’ve been working on for a while. The series is entitled “SLUT” and although I’ve been painting them out of therapy, at their core, they’re a way of expressing an empowerment.

I’m not usually keen on describing what an art work is; my joy in art is to explore a piece with my own experience and interpretation. I post up two of the works that were selected for the conference:

“SLUT” water color and ink on yupo paper. 9 x 12

SLUT by Jacqueline Valencia

“Claudia” acrylic on canvas 24 x 30

Claudia by Jacqueline Valencia

I also had the pleasure to be on a panel called “Creating Our Own Narrative: Responding To Gendered Violence.” It really opened my eyes to how privileged we are in Toronto to hold an event like this. Bangladesh-writer Aliya Khan spoke on how academic women in her country are pressured into submitting to pre-arranged marriage regardless of their choice or their education. It’s something we take for granted here, especially if someone says,  “Just leave. Marry whoever you want. Or don’t get married.”

Aliya says it’s just not that easy. You are exiled and cast aside by your entire family and culture if you attempt to make your own choices. There exists very little support for the independent woman.

Another one of the panelists Danielle Nicole Smith (click on her name for her work), data mines MRA (men’s right activists) comments on feminist blogs for her artwork. When asked how she felt about the backlash to her work, she said in her young life she was already tired of explaining Feminism 101 to folks. She didn’t feel she needed to apologize for wanting to be respected, for fighting for equal rights, or for simply existing.

And it’s all true.

I did speak as well, but my memory of what I said is a blur. I got to converse with poet Andrea Thompson about our own experiences being of mixed race. It’s one thing when we talk about feminism, and it’s another when we talk about feminism as a black person, but it’s also quite another when “this is what I talk about when I talk about feminism as a mixed race person.” I haven’t talked about these issues in a long time and I was glad to be in a space where I could.

Photos and more on the conference at their tumblr and website:

http://factoronto.tumblr.com/

http://factoronto.org/

2. The Octopus Complex

The launch for my new chapbook was at Q Space and it’s my first chapbook with a publisher: LyricalMyrical Press.

I’m very excited about it and the launch for it was splendid fun. Here’s a few photos that my friend Tanya took that day.

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The Octopus Complex can be purchased from my backpack bookstore and soon at Q Space bookstore. As usual, all hardcovers will be for sale while a pdf version is free. Still working on digitizing it with a Creative Commons License so y’all can read it and remix it if you’d like (just send me your works so I can see them!).

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3. Charlie And Crush Are Here the Art Exhibit at Playful Grounds.

Here are some pieces I did for it :

“Emily” acrylic on cardstock with acrylic on frame 7 x 12 SOLD

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“Crush Letters” ink on paper with frame SOLD

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“Charlie Scream” acrylic on canvas 12 x 16 ($400)

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“The Kiss” acrylic on canvas 12 x 16 ($400)

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To see the rest of them you’ll have to go to Playful Grounds this whole month of April to check them out! http://nighttime.playfulgrounds.com/art-openings.html

I will have prints made and originals up for sale at an online store (and the online portfolio http://jacquelinevalencia.carbonmade.com/)  I will be setting up soon.

Photos from opening night:

Salt Circle performed. It was an amazing set! Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/saltcircle?fref=ts

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My reading.

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The art crowd.

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And a clip of one of my readings that night. Thanks to Henry Martinuk

P.S. I finally saw Thurston Moore in concert with Chelsea Light Moving this weekend.

PhotoGrid_1364781417083There are NO WORDS, man. No words.

I went absolutely nuts when they played “Burroughs.” NUTS, I say!

At the beginning of this post, I said it was tired and I had a bit of time to relax. By time I meant a few hours. I’m painting a more realism based work at the moment and working on a few submissions. Look for “Charlie and Crush Are Here” the graphic novel the exhibit is based on in Summer 2013. And guess who qualifies now to be a full member of the League of Canadian Poets?

And of course, Getting Inside James Joyce’s Head is still continuing.

There’s no stopping now.

Onward and forward, my friends.

Book: The Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project Vol. 2

If you’re looking for a book of illustrations, may I suggest the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project Vol. 2? I’m in it!

 

You can order it in the link below.

http://shop.brooklynartlibrary.com/index.php?product=3055-VOL+2.+Distance+%26+Time%2FTime+and+The+Way+We+Travel

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