Cranking out another weekly Foofarah, despite hilarious anxiety attacks and occasional suicidal thoughts…my medal is in the mail, right? On with the show! What’s to see this week?
Well, there’s MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE wrapping up at the Gladstone, as well as MAURITIUS finishing over at Ottawa Little Theatre. Premiereing we have OIL AND WATER at the NAC Theatre, LE PROMENIOIR in the studio. Over Gatineau way, FAUSSES RUMEURS launches at Theatre de L’Ile, and at the 4th stage THE ARRANGEMENT THE MARRIAGE AND ME plays for one night only. INHERIT THE WIND starts in Kanata, the OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL plays until Wednesday at Lebreton Flats, and the 16th YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL runs this week at Arts Court Theatre! And for your dinner theatre pleasure, DIAL M FOR MOUNTIE is at the Velvet Room. Sorted!
ABORTION: Earlier this week I tried to check out a movie on my day off. And since we ain’t got no more movie theatres downtown (except the Bytowne and Mayfair, which are awesome but sometimes I want to see superheroes, right?) That meant a trek on the bus out to the boonies somewhere…I settled on Silver City, out Gloucester way. But I hadn’t planned well…that day was the day of a massive protest on parliament hill and thereabouts, by our avid ‘pro-life’ crowd, or the ‘anti-choice’ crowd, depending on who you’re talking to. This meant me being trapped on the 95 for about 45 minutes going exactly nowhere, until eventually we had to practically threaten the poor driver to let us off the damn bus. It wasn’t the best way to spend the day off, for sure, but it did give me time to think about the issue at hand. Here are a few bullet points I came up with during my isolation:
– I get where the vitriol comes from, I really do. I don’t want to get into name-calling, even IF they did make me miss Amazing Spider Man 2 that day (in the long run, a minor issue and possibly even a favour). Most of the Pro-life crowd are no more ‘anti-choice’ than the pro-choice crowd is ‘anti-life’. There are exceptions on the fringe, of course, but I do understand the core issue for a lot of them. I just disagree, is all. To me, the difference between abortion and killing babies is like the difference between scrapping a chapter in the novel you’re working on, and burning books. While tangentially related on a certain level, they are, in all important aspects, completely different animals.
– This is just a theory on my part, but something I strongly suspect nonetheless: if it were men who got pregnant, this conversation would be LONG over. A few rousing and loud speeches about personal freedom and some perfectly reasonable ‘How DARE you’’s later, and we’d all move on. The argument persists because, and this is the terrible truth of it, most of our world still holds onto the idea that women’s opinions can be summarily dismissed by virtue of the fact that they are the opinions of women. This isn’t publicly stated very often (except occasionally on Fox News), but if you look it’s pretty easy to spot. Even worse, it ain’t just men who hold this ugly idea. I think things are getting better, but too slow for many of our tastes.
– I have no children, but do have a pair of precocious Nieces whom I adore and look up to. And while I’m thrilled that my sister chose not to have an abortion during these instances (not that I think she was contemplating anything like that, this is just an example), I’m also glad that she DID have the choice. And I hope my nieces grow up to be wise, wonderful, healthy and strong women who have full access to reliable birth control and safe abortion technology so that, should the moment arise, they can make the same informed decision that was their Mothers right. And it annoys me that there are people out there who don’t want my nieces to have that right. Who think that they have the authority to preemptively make that decision FOR my nieces, without ever meeting them. All I can really ask these people is..who the Hell do you think you ARE? Trust the ladies to make their own choices, dig? And let me see shitty superhero movies if I want to. It’s MY LIFE!! Speaking of which, here’s the amazing title song to HOWARD THE DUCK:
CHUGGERS: Oh, God, the chuggers. They’re getting to me, I won’t deny it. You know who I’m talking about…the ‘Charity Muggers’, those well-intentioned young clipboard-wielding psychopaths lurking on every second downtown intersection these days, waiting with an overly aggressive sales pitch and a smile to try and get you to fork over your cash to the cause du jour. And I am officially DONE with these kids. Not that I think they intend evil or anything, just that it’s really time to retire this schtick and think of something new. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty sure I get hit up for cash MORE than enough in the downtown core as it is without a bunch of amped-up saleskids chasing me down and calling me ‘bro’ and trying to convince me to hand over my private banking information to a stranger on a streetcorner (spoiler alert: never gonna happen.) It’s gotten to the point where I’ll cross the street in a direction antagonistic to my destination just to avoid these goddamn critters. Am I just a grumpy old fuck? Okay yes, a bit, but tell me I’m alone in this, I dare you! I can’t take it no more….I’m starting to actively dislike the causes these guys are hying, just by association. I want to like Amnesty International again!! Let me walk down Bank Street in blissful self-isolation again, I beg of you! Get a new gameplan, charities, think outside the box, and more importantly, think off the sidewalks. WAY off. I’m walkin’ here. And now for something completely different, here’s some awesome fucking VENTURES goodness from my fav’rit album growing up:
CROWDFUNDER OF THE WEEK: I realized that, in my haste, I actually forgot to include one of these last week. I forgive myself, it’s a new segment..but on the other hand, I don’t forgive myself, and FUCK ME! But I’ll make it up to you, by including TWO great places to throw your money at, and both without bothering you on Bank street in any way whatsoever.
First up is the amazing Natalie Joy Quesnel: Mom, teacher, artist, and Executive Producer of the Fringe Festival in our Hearts. She’s got a fantastic-sounding new one-woman show coming to the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year, FIRST WORDS, and is looking to shore it up with a little funding, and you all WANT to help her out with that. Dramaturged and directed by the incredible Emily Pearlman, sound by Steve Goddam Lafond…it is gonna be SOLID. Check out her page, watch her video, and then please, help out in any way you can. I’m very proud to call this wonderful lady a friend, and can’t wait to see this show. You can’t either. Skip the next take-out latte and help a true artist out…you’ll be glad you did.
Second is one that you may have already seen around, on account of the whipsmart production team at work behind it, but it’s such a great cause I have to pimp it a little more. Nancy Kenny is a longtime friend, and the reason I have cat hair on everything I own, and she’s going on the road this year with her great show ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (which I’ll be seeing for the 6th time at the end of this month). But more than that, she’ll be taking a crew along with her on her cross-Canada tour to create a feature-length documentary on the Fringe circuit life, called ON THE FRINGE. And folks, this is a movie that NEEDS TO HAPPEN! Nancy is a passionate performer, and has the tenacity and the drive to do this right…and with the team she’s assembled (including director Cory Thibert of May Can Theatre and Wolf Pelt Productions), I have all faith this will be a movie that we can ALL be proud of…the Fringe circuit is one of the most beautifully unique things about Canadian Theatre culture, and I can’t wait to see it documented in the way it deserves. You can help. Donate what you can, share the link even if you can’t spare the cash, tell your friends all across this land…the doc will be following not only Nancy, but fellow Fringe vets like Jem Rolls, Martin Dockery, Venessa Quesnelle, and who knows who else. Help out, gang…it’s the right thing to do.
And now, to help soften the blow of what comes next, fucking Guitar Wolf:
NOW, ABOUT THAT ‘SUICIDAL THOUGHTS’ REMARK IN THE OPENING PARAGRAPH: Okay, not really, okay? Take it easy. I mean, yes, I DO think about it. Kind of in an abstract way, though…trust me, my fear of death is WAY too high to ever seriously contemplate the S word. But I will admit, when my mood gets progressively darker and I grow more isolated (kinda like is happening right about now) that thought just creeps into my mind, like a terrible TV show running in the background and I can’t reach the remote. I wrote a shitty piece of poetry about it called THE WORD when I was a teenager or thereabouts, and since I can’t find the original (I actually looked), here’s the gist of it:
There’s this word that pops into my head from time to time. Suicide. I don’t like the word. I hate it. I would never, ever do it. Not if my life were a million years. Never. I want to LIVE.
…but then, if I hate it so much…why is the word there, at all?
Jesus. How annoyed am I that I’ve made exactly zero emotional progress from my teen years to now? Still the same dumb loner, still not understanding at all why ANY of you would like me, ever. If you all disown me, I understand. I certainly wouldn’t have the patience for my bullshit that you all seem to have (thanks very much for that, by the by). In the meantime, here’s some apropos Suicidal Tendencies coolness to play us out this week:
Peace, love and soul, Ottawa…and I’ll try and be a little more positive next week, deal? Deal.
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)