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VERSeFest 2013: Day 2, 7pm

host Allison
The 7pm was sponsored by Voice of Venus. The features were: Luna Allison and Lady Katalyst.

Luna Allison
Luna Allison I’ve heard 3 times this year but each time is different, even when the set list has some overlaps.

Part of that is the energy in the room, intimate room vs. cavernous space, small group vs crowded, buzzing crowd vs. just try to impress me, I dare you sort of facial sea, familiar fans vs. whoever happens to come as curious of whatever the series puts on, as well as the energy of the night, what the group mind chemistry resonates with for whatever mysterious reasons. It all changes the loop of communication and performance.

In this case, there was also the change of elements of Luna being accompanied by Glenn Nuotio so the poems I’d heard spoken or spoken word style were presented with jazz keyboard and more sung. It changes the tone and makes different elements pop out. Her crystal voices was one of the things that popped.

She did her piece, I don’t date to domesticate which is sarcastic of the nest-making of “hovering and hoovering” where the model of couple is idealized as a permanent structure “carbon date love to prove its worth. wow, 25 years. we must be really good people”. She urged the point that short-lived relationships are also valid and valuable. Holding on past the best-before date doesn’t necessarily benefit anyone.

“I want enough space to feel we both have edges”, a relationship with openly communications on boundaries and respected permissions – “no break and enter, no combination lock, just knock”.

In another poem “Purify” she brings people into the experience of a sweat lodge arranged by a Dakota woman for a healing circle for 21 queer women and the power of support in that space. One woman wanted to run, from the scary mental space of “snot and sweat and tears” but “a friend wraps her arms around her to give her the weight to stay” and deal.

She got applause, asked for applause for Glenn then someone from the audience called, and applause for his socks. Which are rocking socks.

Lady Katalyst
Everyone has an off night. In Lady Katalyst’s case she was improvising her set list and doing it a cappella against her habit, because of some logistics difficulties. Good on her for going ahead anyway. She spoke intros off the cuff.

Because she felt she had to respond to being in a church with something to push out and give herself mental space, she started out with two poems about dicks. One was in favour of large dicks and ridiculing smaller ones. The other poem was about how she is owed oral sex regardless of how her partner feels about it and she is a martyr for giving oral sex regardless of how she feels about it. “My jaw hurts babe” understood as no but being dismissed, overridden and coercing for sex against that no is harassment and rape even if you are woman. If I were one to shout out advice to a poet on stage, and I nearly did, I would call out buy a vibrator.

The audience didn’t give the response she expected so she asked people to call back the words she felt they were shy about: dick, pussy, penis, vagina. Some obliged. There was a smatter of laughter at her poem of sexual frustration.

Comes to mind…”We are getting nowhere…It is not irritating to be where one is. it is only irritating to think you would rather be somewhere where you are not.” John Cage’s Lecture on Silence.

Lady Katalyst was incensed at men for not showing up. Why are there mostly women here?! she demanded. Naturally my response was to do what I often do in a crowd in any case: head count. 24 presenting as female, 21 presenting as males, and 2 who were ambiguous.

Data doesn’t interpret itself. Unless you mean Lt. Commander Data. We all spin what we see based on what we’ve seen, are continually making ourselves and each other by our presences and our absences.

She stated that misogyny exists. Women know it, she said. If she could ask all the women to step out of the room for a smoke, she’d talk to the men about it but they would probably only listen to other men anyway.

Ah, where to begin? Let it go is one option. Our philosophy is the same, hers and mine. There’s a problem of inequity. There’s a problem of arbitrary gender boundaries. There’s a problem of lack of dialogue.

Misogyny doesn’t descend from some male monolithic conspiracy. If we say the word, it doesn’t dissolve. Our unconscious patterning is slippery, hard to pin down motivational structures. We can attribute what becomes the aggregate pattern for immediate causes. Do women run in circles of money and power less proportionally because of daycare or pregnancy or because they are shut out of social with men and turned down in small ways?

It’s not a male problem. Women are not a helpless hapless collective innocent. It’s a human thing. Women also reenforce patterns, enforce and support the same systems as men do. Women are not part of a binary, nor are men but part of a diverse, not even continuum of gender but a 3-D range of expressing.

She said the subject upsets her so much she could vomit for an hour. She dropped a poem about a man abusing wife and kids as example of misogyny. Again, that simplifies. Spousal abuse is abuse. Does it stem from woman perceived as weaker or bully reacting from many causes? That’s much larger dialogue than a one poem.

She asked her audience who had ever been to Africa? Who had ever heard of Africville? She urged the audience to do as she does and do something each day to dismantle white entitlement and education ourselves.

Lady Katalyst
Her last poem had a bridge of “How have the many been tricked into thinking they are the few?”

This brought to mind the infographic video that has been going around about how wealth is distributed proportionally. Middle class is poorer and the poorest are far poorer than we expect.

Getting out of the usual box of daily to engage what is going on outside our individual lives is the effect communicating of any kind risks.

Related posts:

  1. VERSeFest 2013: Day 1 A circle of chat of Mike, Kevin and Max before the official opening of VERSeFest Day 1. And some Arc book table sales. Apparently the main book table sold out...
  2. VERSeFest 2013 Events It’s almost all announced. VERSeFest is rolling out its poets, more schedule of the second half, including a grand finale Sunday is now online. There’s also a 6 minute short...
  3. Dusty Owl 2013 Season of Song and Word Cathy (left) hosts, and has since 1996-99 and 2003-now. That’s 13 years, folks, at once or twice a month. The Dusty Owl has flown to a new roost in Mugshots...

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