you make me feel like I am home again.

Gay Christmas (otherwise known as "Halloween") is here again. Historically my favorite time of the year. I must admit that, due to there being a million little things on my plate right now (freelance writing to make a living, dealing with my landlord repairing my deck, looking for work) I have not done much in the way of celebrating. I threw a bunny costume together last night after drinking a bottle of wine with Travis and went out to my friend Laurence's bday/halloween party at the House of Valentine. I'd really like to go to the Squalor queer metal show / Halloween Dance Party tonight, but I'm working until about midnight on the opposite side of town. Other than that, my Halloween related activities have eerily resembled work: I've been performing in a big, 4 night Halloween cabaret/burlesque show (the last performance is tonight) and planning my own Halloween house show for Sunday.

All in all I am busy busy busy, but feeling like a slacker because I have yet to find a new, full time job. It's the unemployment blues. Oh well. Into November I go! Definitely poorer, but trying not to lose my determination.

riding backwards on a pig

Since my contract ended I've been feeling myself decompressing and becoming so much happier, so much more connected to my daily experience of life. True, I'm worried about money, my future, my dad, my health, etc., etc... but at least I'm not gripped with low-to-medium-level panic and despair all the time. It just feels like all the things that suck, aren't that hard to deal with anymore. I'm trying to be patient with myself.

I've spent a lot of the last two weeks on various road trips. Being unemployed has left me with a lot of flexibility in my schedule. ML and I went up to their family cottage in Petawawa, Ontario two weekends in a row, I drove to PEI with my sister and Travis for a 3 day visit and ML and I spent thanksgiving in Ottawa with their family. I feel like I've been on the highways a lot, which has afforded me a lot of time to think about "stuff". "Stuff" like, how my life turned out, how things are going with ML, my dad's illness, my family situation, my career path, my body, my behavior, my friends and my community (of lack thereof). I've had incredibly long conversations with ML, Travis, my sister, David and Jordan about all these things. I'm obviously in search mode, trying to find answers or figure out a puzzle.

My time on Prince Edward Island was particularly nice. Fall on PEI is obviously the best time. The weather is cool but not cold and the island isn't in tourist mode so much anymore. I got to have excellent, quality time with my mother, sister and father, each individually. That was something I missed during my last trip, since it was such a busy time for everyone. I spent a lot of time with my dad especially, just him and I. He is doing okay, but the A.D. is obviously progressing. I also visited my very good friend Cliff, who is in the hospital with heart failure. It was two of the best hours of my life, honestly. I love Cliff. I don't know if he'll ever come out of the hospital, but I am glad that I got 2 beautiful hours with him, making me laugh uncontrollably from his hospital bed.

I've taken on some contract writing work to see me through my unemployment. I'm ghost writing a grant for a documentary series being proposed to Channel 4 in the UK and I'm also working on 3 different articles for 2 different magazines (2B, a Montreal-based gay mag and FRONT, an artist's mag in Vancouver). I'm remembering that I really like to write and that I need more of a creative challenge in whatever work I decide to do next. I must admit, though, that I'm not the most confident about any of this. I am hoping to get some good work out there and then perhaps I'll feel like I have better footing.

October is proving to also be extremely busy, as usual. Johnny and I are preparing to perform in another Glam Gam Production at Cafe Cleopatre, one of these huge, glitzy cabaret events. We're working on a new Nancy & Susan (the closeted housewives) piece. Also, we're planning a big MOCK OPERA halloween show here at the house for Cabaret Faux Pas. So much glamour, so little time.

Honestly, a big part of me just wants to stay home all the time, out of the cold, drinking tea or wine, crafting, writing letters, reading books, watching movies and having sex with ML!

Photos from recent adventures!

ML's cottage is surrounded by a wealth of bizarre and amazing mushrooms. One of ML's hobbies is to attempt to identify the various species. These are two of the more gorgeous and odd finds:

King Boletes

Puff Ball! They actually explode and spew out spores.

Also, it was recently ML's 33rd birthday. There were various celebrations, including a lovely late night supper at ML's sibling JJ's place. For the occassion I made a really incredible cheesecake (with the help of my new food processor!). This is me gesticulating wildly while telling some story, as is my way.

Two headed boy.

Unemployment spreads like cancer. One of my roommates is also on the hunt for new work. Another is enrolled in a government program to improve his French/employability. Now that BOTH jobs AND good weather elude us, the apartment is bustling with roommate nesting. Christine made vegan gingerbread men yesterday. They had multi-colored sprinkle panties and chocolate chips for eyes. David and I got drunk on the cheapest 1 litre bottle of wine available on the Montreal market ($8.50! what a steal!) and played cribbage, discussing the awesomeness of (and practical worries involved in) anal sex.

I went to another job interview today. The office was one of the most depressing spots I'd ever seen. I tried my best to jump through the hoops they laid before me, but the combination of knowing that I was wildly over-qualified / over-competent for the job and knowing that I would be miserable working there made for a less than convincing performance on my part. Half of me hopes that I don't hear from them so that I don't have to turn down work that I desperately need, the other half worries that I won't hear from them and then I'll feel like shit for not getting offered a job that I feel isn't worth my time.

So now I find myself doing freelance writing for magazines and other people's grants while secretly wishing to get a grant of my own or, failing that, a winning lottery ticket. Funny side note: The lotto commission just posted an ad looking for someone to fill a generic admin post and I actually decided not to apply because I think that if you work for the lotto commission than you are disqualified from winning. Oh me and my sad sad dreams of un-earned wealth.

Thank goodness that it's date night. All I can think of if riding over to ML's house with my high heels in the flashy red toe-straps of my bike and ML waiting for me on their porch in a button-up shirt and bow-tie. Oh not-so-young love, you keep me swimming up stream!

i ask myself

And so now it's Monday. I am out of a job. I spent 2 hours making latkes this morning for everyone at the House of Speculative Fiction, simply because I had the time. Now I'm lingering in the big wicker chair next to the back door reading a wonderful book, feeling cold but too stubborn to miss the last bit of fresh air before it gets so cold that even the thought of opening the door feels like hypothermia. The good lord gave us hot tea for just this reason. ML downloaded a playlist of recommended listening, the best of the upcoming Montreal Pop Festival as told by the excellent mp3 music blog Said the Grammophone, which is making me feel happy and okay. My weekend was a terrible roller coaster of intermittent tears, panic, happiness and despair. I feel the toll of my work, of good intentions, of feeling like old ghosts are my best companions lately. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel a little lost. Saturn Returns indeed.

Favorite song from the playlist, for your listening pleasure (the video is just a (bad) still photograph):


you came from the outside, you stay on the outside

August was lots of work, followed by my first vacation in 3 years. Pervers/Cite was incredible, but somehow felt like it had less dynamism than last year. The big Cabaret Faux Pas that I organized with Jordan at Cleo's was a massive success, selling out (250 capacity) and then having to turn about 60 people away at the door. The performances were magic, the dance party fierce and everything worked out in the end (despite the venue being sketchy to us, the security staff being intimidation machines who obviously were on a power trip, the head house queen being a sneaky meanie and one of our performers being a righteous bitch with a show-stopping coke problem). In any case, the vogue troupe Kiki House of Pink Lady gave a performance that brought 250 to their feet (literally) and totally changed MTL forever (imho).

Other Pervers/Cite High Points:
- The vogue workshop given by the pink ladies where 20 of us learned how to work it from the cunt (best workshop I have EVER attended).
- Sitting on Jordan's face, in retribution for having forgotten, as hostess at Faux Pas, to mention that I had been the co-curator/organizer for the event.
- hanging out with damien luxe and talking shop
- visit from Zinnia(!) which resulted in a 3 hour brunch where some really amazing things got talked about and realized.
- Heavy Filth, all lady metal band from Toronto

Right after Pervers/Cite, ML and I got into their car and drove to PEI (along with Laurence who caught a ride to Moncton). We spent 10 days visiting my family and having a generally wonderful time, on a real, REAL vacation (100% NO WORK, a first for me in 3 very long years).

Again, since I love point form, are my fav moments:
- Trying to get ML to pet one of the horses at the barn, but ML preferring the barn cats.
- The first race ML ever watching resulting in my father's horse winning and all of us running to the winner's circle to have our photos taken.
- The gold cup & saucer parade, which included little toddlers dressed as oysters for the oyster festival float.
- Riding 35kms to the beach on our bikes (4 hours) and then spending the rest of the afternoon until almost sunset, reading books in the sand
- Taking a 2-day 80km ride along the transcanada bike trail, from St. Charles to Charlottetown, with a stop for a night of camping on Travis and Reece's newly purchased land, Homo Hill.

Since returning, it's been a mad dash to complete work and tie up loose ends with my government contract. After 3 gruelingly traumatic years working in this archive, my contract is officially over on Oct.1 (though I've actually already completed my work as of yesterday and am free already!). It's scary to be out of work and looking for something new because I am the type of person who needs to nest and be stable, but I have to admit that ending this contract is the best thing that's happened to me in a long time. I realize now that I have been HATING my work for the last year and a half, that I've been suffering from vicarious trauma due to reading so many reports of abuse, that I've been isolated and really struggling, that I've hated my work so much that logging in caused panic. And now? Now I realize that I should have left a long time ago, but better late than never.

At the moment I am trying to no dwell on all the negative shit that's come from that work and all the bad things than I feel have been happening a lot lately. Instead, I am trying to look at the good things in my life and get stoked on new adventures and changes for the better.

Oh, and another awesome thing of late? Jordan and I got "platonic married" in the portuguese park as part of Coral Short's platonic marriage project at the La Centrale gallery. It's all about celebrating the bonds of friendship... and let me tell you honey, we looked FIERCE!

Our vows were: "I promise to always tell you when your outfit is ugly, when your romantic choices are stupid and I promise to never ever forget cream for the tea." It was beautiful. We exchanged apartment keys instead of rings!

love those heels, btw. i've owned then for 3 years and this is the first chance i've had to wear them... i guess a closet goth like me needs to break out the colors and whites a bit more often...

Thank goodness for my facehusband!

*both photos are by Diana Le Niezet

Leave my head demagnetized

Working on a new performance piece. It's going to be the opening number for this giant cabaret that I am organizing with my friend Jordan Arseneault (Toulouse LePage).

We're bringing in this incredible vogue troupe from Toronto called the Kiki House of Pink Lady

(warning, the sound on the video is loud loud loud)

I am extremely excited, but also extremely busy with the amount of work involved in a huge production like this.

In other news: My professional life is a nightmare. I am seeking new work rather desperately. I've had a first and second interview with a company that I'm really excited about and I've got my fingers triple crossed. In my personal life, I continue to be so incredibly enamored by ML. My relationship with them is incredibly functional AND passionate. I had gotten to the point where I didn't think that was possible.

It's nice to be surprised.

i think they've got the alias that you've been living under

So there was this dirtbag party that my friends and I threw (at people) on Friday. It's been a long time since I drank 5 beers, DJed with my top off, made out on the kitchen floor and went home at 6am. I'm an old Nana now, with hip problems! I was out of commission utterly and completely the next day. I've never been so fucken useless! But thank goodness for the incredible friendship that has sprung up between Jordan and I! The constant debrief helps keep me grounded. I feel like talking to him helps me see the overarching comedy and tragedy that is my life, this city and our "scene".

In other news, I am talking care of Zoe Casino's two pitbull/boxers, Basil and Streets, for 2 weeks while she is away in Europe. I'm staying at her place up in the semi industrial warehouse neighborhood between little italy and parc extension. I have breakfast and tea at the pick up every morning... it makes me want to live up in this neighborhood... maybe I'll move here next year.

Zoe is pretty protective and attached to her pups. She has babied and loved them for nearly a decade. She seemed pretty freaked about leaving them for 2 weeks to tour her Rover P. Machinery performance art project in Europe. So I decided to help ease the separation anxiety by writing a private blog for her about the dogs while she is away. She'd like me to take it public, but I'm still not prepared to share it on facebook. But I will post the link here. So for all you who want to hear about dog walking, furry nighttime cuddles and sidewalk throw up, here you go:

The Basil & Streets Diary


and streets

tip on the tightrope

I've been terribly absent from writing here, which I always feel bad about because I like creating some record of what's going on with me so that I can look back and remember. So I guess I've got a little catching up to do.

News in my life:

- About 2 months ago I built myself a fixed gear bike out of a teeny tiny red myata diamond frame that ML found for me. ML explained everything that I had to do in detail, but let me do the entire build. It was incredible and I love my new bike (which I have lovingly named Red Emma). I ride it everywhere and am rediscovering my love for biking fast and furious through traffic downtown and empty streets in the middle of the night.

- Sadly, since the build, my sciatic nerve/hip problems (on my right side) have gotten much worse. The pain comes and goes, but when it's there, it seriously limits my mobility. I limp quite noticeably and painfully. At first it only affected my walking, but it has recently begun to impede me from riding my bike. I feel like I am slowly slipping into a state of in(dis?)ability. It's been pretty depressing and scary. It's frightening to feel like your body is slowly becoming something that you have no (or limited) control over.

- Things with ML are going really quite well. Basically, ML makes me extremely happy all the time. Sometimes it seems a little surreal to have landed in such an ideal romance that involves all good things (so much love, affection, wonderful sex, comedy, comfort) and none of the bad things that tend to drive me insane (fighting, passive aggressiveness, boredom, bullshit games, lack of communication). I keep waiting for the "honeymoon" to end, but the months keep passing and the goodness keeps lasting. And now that the one year mark is past? I guess I feel like maybe I should stop waiting for the other shoe to drop...

- My good friend Sylvie left town to head back to Vancouver. Before they left, they tattooed a beautiful Underwood No.5 typewriter on my left forearm. It's stunning and I am really happy every time that i look at it.

- Matthew, Daniel and Johnny Forever have all moved out of the House of Faux Pas. David is still here with me. There are 2 new folks who have signed on as housemates: Mikel and Christine. The house has had a very rough winter of discord and then a weird period when people were dispersing and the house became quite a mess. Now things are being pulled back together and new friendships are being built. It's an interesting process and I am trying to reconnect with why I love living here.

- After a long winter of not visiting PEI due to financial constraints, I finally went "home" for 4 days to hang out with my folks and sister. It was a quiet trip although there were a couple highlites: going to see a Regis & Kelly taping in Charlottetown, going to the Summerside Lobster Festival and having a beautiful supper at this magical little restaurant called "the pearl" with my sister, travis and reece.

- In early spring I performed in a 3 day burlesque show called "The Bare Necessities". I did 2 pieces: A comedy number with Johnny Forever and Laurence Laurence Laurence that saw the return of our popular characters, Nancy & Susan, the closeted housewives. The other number was a solo piece to Tina Turner's "I Can't Stand the Rain" which went very well despite how incredibly nervous I was. My conclusions? Comedy is so much less scary! If you fuck up in comedy you just need to come up with a clever line and work it into the plan. But if you fuck up during a serious "sexy" burlesque number, you can't really save your ass by yucking it up. I think that my performance work is getting better all the time though. I am learning to be more comfortable with myself, to take things further, to trust myself more.

- I have been performing more in general... I am trying to find my voice a little more, but I think I'm perhaps a little caught right now... It's sort of like writer's block.

- I've jumped back into community organizing. I'm currently working on getting Cabaret Faux Pas back into the swing of things (with the help of my very good friend Jordan A.), organizing the yearly Pervers/Cite festival and learning the ropes with the already established Against the Wall Sex Party Collective. I am trying to put down more roots here in Montreal and be more grounded. I am rusty though. I have to remember how focused you have to be to keep juggling so many responsibilities. I think that my life has gotten a little blurry in the last years. I am pretty sure that taking on the contract that currently pays my bills had a lot of negative effects. Working from home, without a schedule, not being connected to the fruits of my labour, it has made me feel a little lost. I have to remember that my life is building and growing and going somewhere... it's not just a passing of time for no reason whatsoever.

- I've been having a generally eventful summer, but I've been trying to also embrace a more relaxed life. I am tired of feeling like I need to rush to keep up with the rest of the queer world in order to qualify as someone of merit. Don't get me wrong, I love to get dolled up and spend the whole night on the dance floor, but I think I'm realizing that I need to let myself walk a little slower if that's the pace that feels best. I need to stop trying to be someone else, someone I perceive as more interesting or attractive than I am. I am trying to have lots of tea with friends, take small trips, develop meaningful relationships, read more books, write more letters, cook more meals, make more art, be more politically connected....

- I have a new pet. Her name is Wilhemina (Mina for short) and she is a hedgehog. She's still a pretty huffy little lady, but we are slowly becoming friends.

That's pretty much it. I'll try to be here more from now on.