Sadly missed, I’ve been a friend and associate of Jamie Reid’s since 1994 after returning to Vancouver from an expatriate stint in Los Angeles, having gone down there with my band to become a rock star. Obviously, that didn’t pan out but all in all, it was a marvelous experience.
Eight months pregnant, I founded the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre, a literary arts organization whose mandate was to utilize and develop what was then new media and technology for the language arts. We published a multimedia online zine, used videophones to link poets and audiences site to site and provided a venue for videopoetry. Michael Turner helped plug me back into CanLit and told me about Jamie so I contacted him along with Neil Eustache, Sheri-D Wilson and Alexandra Oliver to invite them to read at our debut Telepoetics link-up at the Western Front. To say Jamie was adventurous would be understatement. He agreed, participated enthusiastically and was always a big booster, not just for me and the Edgewise but for pretty much everyone involved in Vancouver’s literary arts scene. For your information, The Edgewise ElectroLit Centre archive is now housed at Simon Fraser University Library Special Collections in Burnaby. It is open to the public and contains several videos of Jamie in action, as well as many other esteemed Canadian poets and artists.
On Thursday I will be reading and helping to launch Anvil Press and Jamie’s posthumous collection, A Temporary Stranger at The Cottage Bistro on Thursday May 25th at 7 PM. Jami Macarty will host a full roster of readers including: Carol Reid, Patrick Friesen, Karl Siegler, Dennis E. Bolen, Stephen Roxborough, Donato Mancini, Heidi Greco, Eve Jospeh, Joanne Arnott, George Bowering, Chris Turnbull, George Stanley, Renee Rodin, Lary Bremner, Mike Barnholden, Maria Hindmarch and moi. “This is sure to be a packed event, celebrating not just the new book, but everything Jamie, so arrive early to secure a seat.” Hope to see you there.
Canucks won their do or die match against Chicago! I don’t understand why they can’t play that well consistently. I suppose beating the Hawks in two more games is within the realm of possibility but seems unlikely. Funny, I try to ignore hockey but you know you’ve got it bad when you find yourself actually reading the Sports section. I always manage to get caught up in the excitement, recently and entirely sucked into Team Canada-Olympics games. I can’t help it; it’s in my DNA according to my long gone mother Corona Beliveau, second cousin to the great and beloved Montreal Canadian Jean Beliveau, still going strong, last I heard.
They do share the same thick, dark hair and good looks but I took everything Ma said with a grain of salt. She was also Irish, a real queen of blarney and consummate storyteller. I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons I am a poet. She also said my grandmother Genora Beliveau, would throw empty mickey bottles at the opposing team’s players, ejected from more than a few games. Grandma was quite the spitfire, sadly dying of cancer when I was just a toddler. On that note, Happy Mother’s Day! My boys took me out to dinner, a nice break from the routine.
I did go out Saturday night though, to W2 and Jamie Reid’s book launch for Prez, his Lester Young book, Prez being Billy Holiday’s nickname for the legendary saxophonist. Kim Goldberg opened with a performance of poetry from her book Red Zone, shining an unerring spotlight on Nanaimo’s homelessness and urban decay. Pete (Trower) read some of his musical jazz poems and Jamie read from his lyrical homage, backed sublimely by Craig McCaul on guitar, Niko Friesen and Jen Hodge on bass. I met fellow ROCKsalter George Payerle and got to visit with pals Daniela Elza, Kagan Goh, Warren Dean Fulton, Shannon Rayne, Carol Reid and Kedrick James, a superb master of ceremonies. A fabulous evening and as Jamie said, “Dancing until the dust rose in clouds from the floor, / they put sweet rhythms into Lester’s horn.” Pete remarked he was happy to see young people playing jazz. It’s not going away. Jazz will always have its aficionados, just like punk rock, the Vancouver breed immortalized in Susanne Tabata’s Bloodied But Unbowed, premiering at DOXA Documentary Film Festival this Thursday. I’m sure to run into some of my punk rock homies though DOA is on the road, not surprisingly. Susanne got in touch with me at one point for an interview as I was in the 45s with Randy Rampage and Brad Kent but the meeting never happened. Story of my life, I swear! Surely I’m not the only one. Reportedly there are over 100 hours of out-takes.
Oh well, it’s a . . .