Play It LOUD-“Caniculares dies” 09

Ugh. Caniculares dies. Dog days of summer! Staying cool isn’t easy today. I am relatively used to it, having lived in southern California for so long but still, these low 30 temperatures are brutal. One of the worst aspects, besides the fire hazard, is the perspiration. I’m just sitting here and sweating as if I were hiking up a hill. I wash my hands all day, still feel grimy. Think I’ll do my workout after the sun goes down. Fortunately, things usually cool down around here at night. It’s much worse back east, heat and humidity relentless.

I can’t seem to get the video shoot off the ground, feeling vexed that certain aspects are not coming together. I need a costume sewn, was given references to two people on the island but they aren’t getting back to me. So screw the Great Gatsby spoof, I won’t bother with the period piece clothing, will just dress us in white for the picnic scene.

I want my own camera, instead of having to rent one, so have been putting out feelers. A film producer friend said you can find high definition cameras for around $500-800 nowadays so why not take the money I would spend on a rental and buy a camera? Another friend with a HD camera has volunteered to help so as soon as I can get the logistics figured out, we can go ahead. At this rate, I will be happy if we get it shot by the end of summer, even by the end of September.

Got my high maintenance hair done and went to the opening for Bev Davies’ Play It LOUD photography exhibit at Chapel Arts on Friday. It seems each time she has a show, I am treated to a new photograph of my band the 45s. Wish I had time to digitize our cassettes. I have to find an assistant! It occurs to me that I could get Junior to do it! Why didn’t I think of that before?

I managed to drive into the city in my hot car, meet up with Rhonda and Pete for dinner at the Alibi Room. Rhonda had never even heard of the place! Pete and I remember it as the old Archimedes Club because, like the Railway Club, it was always open late. It’s situated right next to the train tracks on Alexander Street, at the end of Gastown. It’s never difficult to park there, another thing I like about the place. I was able to hitch my trusty steed right out front.

We had a lovely dinner, I got to catch up with Rhonda, one of my favorite humans on the planet. She told me all about her new boyfriend who calls her constantly but insists he doesn’t want a girlfriend and if he did, she would have to be a young babe. “You deserve better,” I told her. “Come away with me, let him miss your lovliness for a while.” Men. So many harbour an innate sense of entitlement, no matter what they look like-fat, middle aged, balding, whatever. I have no idea what this guy looks like, maybe he’s a doppelganger for Brad Pitt, in any case, they think they should be sporting arm candy. Assholes. Fortunately I have a man who loves me for me and cuts me a wide berth.

Anyway, Pete, Rhonda and I ventured over to the opening at Chapel Arts, a really cool space smack dab in the middle of a hooker stroll, a really skanky area. I was nervous about parking my car but the worst thing that happened was a maple or some tree shad sap all over my windshield. The space itself is fabulous, used to be a mortuary, and they did a great job of converting it to an art space. There are several floors of gallery space, a billiards room and a theatre downstairs. I’d love to do produce an event there but it would be hard to get people to attend though Bev’s show had a good turnout.

I ran into many old school punk rocker comrades; Brian Goble, aka Wimpy of the Subhumans, Diane and Walter, Dennis Mills, Tabitha Montgomery, Carola and Jim Cummins. Interesting to note that all of us have become reacquainted through Facebook. Pete had a good time and ran into people he knew from the Railway, even sold a couple of his CDs. Tina Schliessler came too with her friend David Hauka who she has been telling me about. He has made a horse themed film so we discussed that, and my project. It seems he is going to introduce me an equestrian friend that helped him immensely with his project. Serendipity and a good argument for getting out more. You run into like-minded people-artists and can talk shop, make vital connections. That only happens face to face, in the flesh.

Edgewise ElectroLit Centre comrades Steve Duncan and Carol Ann McMillan visited recently. I hadn’t seen her in nearly ten years! Talk of an Edgewise reunion, we’re all spread out but maybe next time Andrea and or Alexandra are out here on the west coast, we can host one. They biked over after taking the Granville Island Water Taxi. I don’t think they realized how long it would take to bike all the way across the island but they made it. I said, you know, you can sleep in the house. They both looked at me like I was crazy. “Are you kidding? After we hauled this bloody tent all across the island?” Steve did most of the heavy lifting in that department but they were happy to be here and we all had a great time at dinner together later, reminiscing, catching up and exploring the seminal influence of the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre and its programs. CarolAnn, since we last saw her got her teaching degree and has been foster parenting. I really admire her contribution; doubt very much that I could ever do it. Steve seemed fine, thriving and top of things in his Commercial Drive world. I learned he is an island boy,  from Vancouver island, the Parksville-Ladysmith area.

Man I need to make these entries more frequently. The Write On Bowen Festival turned out to be a positive experience despite some problems, glitches, frustrations. I don’t know why I thought I would escape them just because AURAL Heather would be performing on my turf. The festival is only in it’s second year and so the artistic director-God bless her— wasn’t prepared for our rock and roll-ness. They’re used to dealing with poets and writers reading their works from text, so didn’t ask the soundman to stay throughout the performance to mix levels, which came as a complete shock to me. I was very discouraged after the first week of people coming up and saying, “I couldn’t hear the words.” If I tried to explain my situation, I only come off as sounding unprofessional, so I have to bite it. Yeah, I could give up on AURAL Heather and the whole idea of fusing poetry and music but I like to sing, to rock out, so I will persist and if people don’t, or can’t get it, fuck ‘em. Also, and despite sending a rider along, I didn’t get a room with the blinds that I need to facilitate my workshop, SIDEWAYS-Alternatives To Print. If I’m to be successful in convincing participants that video is a viable alternative, it has to look good! I did sell some CDs and books and received quite a few enthusiastic responses. I have to keep that in mind.

I got to go see Public Enemies with Lucas and Josef and double swoon over Christian Bale and Johnny Depp though I was not overly impressed with the movie and thought the love story especially was lame. Like bill bisett said, the earlier version with Warren Oates was executed so much more effectively.

Working on the galleys for Three Blocks West Of Wonderland! Excited, happy but feeling dread as well, nervous about sticking my neck out, the inevitable bad review(s). I’m an outsider. My poem in the recently released anthologies, ROCKsalt and Verse Map Of Vancouver never gets mentioned but Russell Thornton-one of my most highly esteemed Canadian poets-gave it a thumbs up so I’m happy:

“Fierce, racy, full of stiletto irony, verve — yet rife with sensitivity — Heather Haley’s Three Blocks West of Wonderland is a highly fuelled poetic ride. Her LA, southern BC coast, energy haunted world draws you electrically in and does not let you go. Like the subject of one of the elegies in this collection, Haley stirs you, “provoke[s] the atmosphere.”

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