Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toil or Trouble

Sit up straight.
Pain is a most intimate experience. We fight with pain on so many levels. Personally it can be paralyzing towards growth, moving on, up and beyond. Reach on. Globally, pain echoes much quieter in our heads, then how it does outloud in fact. Listen and you will hear the sound of violence towards one another inflicts a universal, mortal wound. Recklessly, physically we toss aside others pain to put ourselves first. We beg for mercy, mentally. We are not unprivileged. The fact that you are reading this shows that you have the access to learn, and therefore change. If you choose to live ignorantly, you can be blind towards all that is unfair to anyone but you. Stop waiting, start thinking. AIDS, WAR, ABUSE, RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, the refusal to know RIGHT from WRONG. So much violence, so much pain. Will it all be worth it in the end if you never really cared for anything but trivial conquest. When did we all get so sacred and let these fears justify becoming so consciously dumb.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Term Twister: Oatmeal Dreads

Oatmeal dreads refers to white people with dreadlocks. One may ponder where this phase comes from - I am here to tell you the thought is quite simple. What is the whitest thing ever? Oatmeal. So therefore when white people attempt to pull off the dread locks, this metaphor allows you to move beyond the racial profiling that is so strongly associated with dreads, to the hauntingly colourless, loose mess on their heads. Please. I see them everywhere. Ya still white! Booyaka-sha!

Screening Nandita Das' "Firaaq" at The Toronto International Film Festival

Co-writer and Director, Nandita Das

Screening a film at the Toronto International Film Festival is a cool experience. You get to be the lucky one that sees a film that even few industry insiders have had the chance to get their hands on. A small t.v., a set of headphones, and I was ready to go!

So I arrive excited and ready to analyze. Notes prepped in my Sandro Botticelli notebook from the Uffizi gallery, my mind racing, both nervous and excited to see the film written and directed by a woman that I admire: Nandita Das. This is the first directorial effort from the formidable force in Indian film, and a valiant effort it is indeed.

Unfortunately I can't give you the juicy details of the film, but I can tell you it is worth the gander, so see it when it hits TIFF in a week! Pick-up a copy of my review and interview with Nandita Das in The Festival Daily (I will be sure to let you know when).

To a humbling experience that has got me thinking about what to say about this wonderful, thoughtful and intellectual film.


You can only know that which you choose to learn. If you play it safe, you will never know the spontaneity which is life. Every moment if different, unless you choose to be stuck in a moment past. Move past the obstacles of yesterday to fulfill the potentials of tomorrow. Contribute to the spirit that is alive. Within your belly there lays the power to make, with your own hands, with your own mind, a masterpiece. Do not fight invisible forces that prevent you from leading a happy life. Life is too short to waste a minute, an hour, a day. Allow your creativity to flow without restrictions, and do not be dented by the rejection of others, no matter how much you are misunderstood. Your mind and heart must remain free, so as to proceed indefinitely.

I want to be the first breath you feel when you think of kindness. I want to be the last breath you appreciate before you leave me alone. I will not sink without making a ripple in the calmness of the water of the infinite mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ring Master

I try and flick her off, but she turns me on. Such sweet, delight, delight. I lick my hands to taste her near, and she melts with such tenderness, all over my face...all over the tip of my luscious and vivid dreamscape. The longing the lusting, I can't explain. She is completely capable of making me temporarily insane. It's the way she moves, it's the way she glides across my fantasies. When I see her, she is not real, because it is not possible for her to be real. Real is flawed, she is not. Could this be real, to feel? I feel for you. I do.

I miss her, though I barely know her, I think of her. Kissing her, knowing her. Feeling her. I just wanna make love, make love to her. Feel the freeze of my heart melt when she holds me close. Feel the anxiousness of my mouth burn, when she lays her words accross my mind. Her, her voice that tranquilizes my sorrow, sorrow.
I have fallen without knowing who she really is. She inspires me.

I know I must seem like a fool. But only if you knew the things I want to do to you. Reclaim you, praise you, fame you, un-tame you.

I want to be close to you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TIFFin Around Town

What do you get at the House of Provocation. Toronto revealed! Through my eyes on the stars. On-screen or in front of me? No one knows yet.

Stay tuned for my journey covering The Toronto International Film Fest. I will be writing on the TIFF, Canadian Film Programmes Blog. Please be sure to add comments to the post, and I encourage you to engage with the handful of wonderful Canadian and foreign films at TIFF that are being screened.

Also keep your eyes peeled on the Festival Daily, which can be picked up at various venues from September 4-13, to see some more of my thoughts, reviews and experiences. I encourage you to participate. The Toronto International Film Festival stats shows that there is a palette of variety to every film taste. I am yet to know what lays ahead for me. You are welcome to find out with me!

HERE at T H-O-P, comfy and tucked in with a dash of heightened sensation--is where you can get ME covering the experience of ME covering TIFF 08.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fighting Souljer

Into a dark space, falls the light of truth.
As one leaves, another enters with the vigor that the first, the second and the third lacked.
A smile tosses and turns, before settling into a position that realizes that life must go on. Through the withered leaves that collect at your feet, above the clouds that hide the flashes of lightning that may strike at any given time.

I would rather be lonely than sad.

Mountains rise, rivers dip. I have learned that through it all, in my heart and mind, I must learn to co-exist. I don't want to say something, or feel something without the intention of knowing that is it something I will fight for. I don't care to hustle, only to gain nothing that I can hold beyond that which is tangible. I care to give, but expect little in return-besides uncompromised respect.
A friend is all I need. Someone who makes a promise that they can keep. Someone that can hold my head up when it hangs from sorrow. Someone who wants to stay in touch with humanity and the prosperity of soul. Someone who cares for me.

I thought I knew them. I really thought I did.
I knew nothing at all until I accepted the truth. The battle does not always end in glorious victory. That does not equal defeat, but change.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Half a Century of a True Icon: Madonna

Today is like an auspicious and religious holiday for me. I have been aware that this day has been coming for about a month, and it seems quite surreal. Madonna is a true icon of the 20th century. Whether you hate her or love her, there is no denying that she is there, she remains relevant and more than anything, she can out dazzle any of the new generation of pop stars that are half her age.

There are so many things that I look up to in Madonna. Mainly her ability to command attention on issues that may lay latent of taboo with concepts of Western perception. Arguably you can say that today everyone acts like Madonna on stage. Choreographed routines, sex, costumes, lots of Hard Candy for your eyes. These performances are made by her visions to be the best show around. They are flashy, full of images, videos and with a powerful production team and dancers to maximize the capacity of the overload of senses, live. They also cost an obscene amount of money to go see; but it's worth it. Trust.

Madonna, in her resistance to criticism (though at times it was merited), and her refusal to back down from following her own path, has made herself a continuous work in progress. She is the Mother of Reinvention, and images and ideas are her weapons. It seems both critics and feminists alike have varying opinions on how she has effected popular culture and aggressively take notice of her appropriation of different cultures, religions and traditions. However the mere fact that it is even a cause for discussion, shows just how much she has impacted our culture, fashion, sex, sexuality and boundaries. She was not a suffragist, but she suffered for showing an assertive sexuality and a female power. She was not a Hindu, but she wore the marking of Ganesha and chanted in Sanskrit with respect. She was not....but there are so many things that she is. An envelope pusher, a traveller, a student, a motivator.

Madonna has kept her spotlight for close to 30 years, because of her ability to tap into the human condition. What makes people uncomfortable? What provokes people to think beyond their own experiences and comfort zones? If diversity and acceptance is our goal, "Whys it so hard to love one-another? Whys it so hard to love?"

I admire Madonna, and I am grateful that I was able to discover her as someone I respect for in terms of achieving success through art. Yes she is popular culture, but her work is remembered for her showmanship in the art of performance. There is nothing comparable to the rush of a live, Madonna concert. There is frenzy in the air, drags decked out in their favourite look of hers, and every person possesses a unique memory of remembering when they first saw her rolling around the stage in a wedding dress at the MTV Music Awards in 1984. She is a chameleon of images and the ultimate performer of images, within the intellectual persona of herself.

From molto italiano eye brows in "Papa Don't Preach", to the first appearance of the corset and the brunette hair in "Open Your Heart." To the emblem of Christian ideology becoming a central theme in her performance, starting with "Like a Prayer," to the cinematography that would immortalize her face as an figure of contemporary female strength and power, mixed with classical beauty in "Vogue" and "Bad Girl." To the incarnation of her the Queen of the Dancefloor in "Hung Up," and her pushy, do it attitude in "Give it to Me." The list could just go, "on and on, and on."

When I listen to Madonna I feel empowered as a woman. I feel like I wanna dance. I feel free. I want to sing, because I can. I ponder about my agency and how one can become a piece of art in themselves.

To the lady that inspires me, pushes me and aids me to not be afraid, I say, Happy Madgeical 50th! With much due respect and love.

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”
-Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beach Break!

Hi kids! I just wanted to let you know that I will be absent for a week or so. I have left you with many yummy readings, so enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

I will return shortly, or if I get access to know I'll try!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Banshee Crab/ Moon, Silver, Cardinal, Water

The Vestal Virgin pulls the Banshee Crab aside, towards her work layer
I know what you are trying to do! Nurture me. I am not as sensitive as you are often very conservative and old fashioned. I am not saying that is bad. I respect that. I don't think that it is is really...just that you need someone who can feel things like you. I know that you deserve someone who will build a home with you, sit beside you and look at you and appreciates you. Someone who has the time and wants that like you do. I have so much work to do, so many things to do. You are highly aware of what you feel...more than what you think. I don't think that this is the best for you. It's just are...well, You. There is only one You. I know you won't forget me. You're not like that. I have tried, and I can't find a balance.

The Banshee Crab emerges from her shell
You are even lucky that I was trying to nurture your lazy ass. I know that you think that you are capable. The truth is you are as far as routine, but you have no danger in love. You are safe. You live in a stale room, and your feelings remain in a closet. Are you even a lesbian? You frankly have a problem trying to express yourself. I maybe old fashioned, but I know what I want... and you know what??? I know what I deserve and it is someone who can build a home with me. Feel love with me. Put me first. Appreciate me. But you think this too. I know that you think I'm crazy. But I have felt all this...and you. Through and through. I have thought, and I think. I just choose to feel as well. I think it is time I protect myself for once. I feel its time that you need leave.

[ZAP! silence may not be golden afterall]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


My curiosity has once again brought me back, like an addiction, as it has time and time again. I reach in my pocket and feel around for my pack of cigarillos. The flicker of the flame let the intoxicating flavour dance around my palette with such sweet delight. It was only once a month that I was able to catch a glimpse of my favourite performer, Androgania, at the Velvet Bordello. There is just something so enticing, so evasive and elusive about Androgania. I just can’t explain… or put my finger on what it is, but I needed to see Androgania again. Anxious to sneak into my private booth, I reach into my pockets and discretely pull out the appropriate amount that would permit me to press myself against the thin glass barrier that stood erected between me and the tip of my fantasies.

I feel the sweat beginning to mount its tension as I approach closer to the ticket booth. The ticket attendant smiles at me, and I try to look as though I had not been at every one of Androgania’s performances in the past eight months. Avoiding eye contact, I thank him and slither myself towards my booth. I had always been a fond of the atmosphere at the Velvet Bordello. Both women and men alike were packed in like canned fruits waiting to be tasted in ripe and syrupy perfection. There seemed to be no definable lines of who is permitted into this dirty little sanctuary. I shyly pass a woman who had caught a finely dressed gentleman’s favour on her knees just outside my booth.

“Excuse me,” I mumble, again avoiding any sort of eye contact. This place reminds me of a abstract cross between a fantasy Moulin Rogue and the reality of house where you saw men leave with devious smiles on their faces, only a few short minutes after their arrival. The Velvet Bordello is an escape – an escape from the noise of the city, the indifference of men in suits, the clapping of women’s heels and the yelling of the street vendors trying to sell you crap that you’d never use.

I take a breath, and the scent of sweat lingers in the booth from the drippings of the person who had sat there last. The booth is quite simple, about the size of a small bathroom stall, and the walls made of purple velvet are adorned with gold figures of faces and forms that looked like they were trying to escape the clutches of fiery hell. I am not sure if they are being expelled, or they are being drawn into the fire. But either way, each time I could not help but be transfixed by the expressions on their faces.

The lights dim and the tableau vivant takes position on the stage. I cross my legs…I know it is time. The first bead of sweat drips down my cheek, slips under my shirt and melts down the length of my back. The lights come on and I push myself as close as I can get to the glass without pressing up my nose and leaving marks of my anxiousness. The tableau vivant remains in pose, brightly costumed in regal adornments that look authentic to another time and place. But they are present only to bring a living picture to Androgania’s entrance. A white glove appears from behind the large, draping purple curtain. I swallow. The music resonates a rustled jazz sound through the speaker in my booth: “mon amour vous êtes retourné à mes chambres pour remplir avec mes plaisirs” (my love, you have returned to my chambers to once again fill up with my delights). I can’t blink; I am transfixed watching the subtle movements of Andogania’s white glove. Then, as a servant tends to a master, Androgania comes around the curtain with such control. She is there to please her audience—and I hope especially me.

All in black, Andgorania begins to move by swaying hips in a repetition that I quickly loose count of. The music taunts me: “vous ne savez pas qui ou que je suis, mais vous savez que vous me voulez” (you don’t know who or what I am, but you want me). Androgania’s lips are blood red and I think of her kissing me and leaving the colour of desire all across my face. Androgania seems to be well endowed by the lump I see in the front of his black trousers. I have never wanted something so bad, but I am not sure what it is that I desire at all. I become jealous when Androgania caters to the spectators on the other side of the circular room, all neatly tucked into their common-place booths. I had paid more-- I wanted Androgania more. In that instant, Androgania turns with a side step and begins to make neat circles round and round, until Androgania halts in front of my looking-glass. The music makes love to my ears and for the first time, Androgania stops, leans forward and looks right at me. “Si j'étais homme, me vous permets de soignez pour vous? Si j'étais femme, aurais-je privilège pour vous tenir? (If I were a man, would you let me care for you? If I were a woman, would I have the privilege to hold you?) I am mesmerized as I silently mouth, “Yes.” A slight, cheeky smile appears on Androgania’s face, then a spin, a bow of the head, and with a turn my dreams rush out between my legs.

I close my eyes as I feel the release of such a pure delight. How could I feel ashamed of fulfilling my mind and body with such a sheer emotional high? I watch while Androgania continues to walk around the room, and I can see that there is not as much care as when I was near. A top hat on the head, skin as soft as a pearl fresh out of water, Androgania’s image remains imbedded like a drill of deep discovery, within the concaves of my deviant head.
I light a cigarillo and took a profound breath. What a virile damsel in distress.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ever Wonder? Bog Bodies

A bog body is a human corpse that has remained preserved for hundreds, sometimes thousand of years in the bogs (wetland) of Northern Europe, Great Britain and Ireland. The difference between finding a ordinary human cadaver vs. a bog body is the quality of skin and organ preservation that is in tact, due to the wetlands ability to conserve human flesh in such a unique manner. The moist atmospheric conditions of the areas where bog bodies have been found, show that the acidity of the water and the consistent dampness and coolness of the temperature help to mummify the body. The bog body receives very little oxygen, and the skin of the body changes to appear tanned. The skeletal preservation, on the other hand, seems to suffer from a archaeological standpoint, as the acid in the peat dissolves the calcium phosphate of bone. It is not however impossible for forensics to determine the marking that often led the individual to death, as often forensic pathologists have found savage broken bones, contusions and visual markings of severe torture on the bog bodies.

Grauballe Man, found in Denmark, dated to 290 B.C.

For an archaeologist and a historian, these remains provide a great depth of understanding into the lifestyle, class, appearance, diet and fashion associated with these individuals that lived during the Iron Age (around 12th century B.C.). Fragments of last meals have been discovered in the stomach cavity, and can be analysed alongside teeth to determine the age of the individual, and what the person ate throughout their lifetime. Radiocarbon dating can be used to determine the age of burial, age at death and many other candid details. At this time close to a thousand bodies have been found within these regions and combined with modern science, have been able to reveal individual detailing such has facial quality and hairstyling, alongside the more habitual behaviours of the civilization as a whole.

The Tollund Man, found with rope around his neck in Denmark, dated to 4th century B.C.

Many of these bodies have been located around areas that would have marked tribal borderlines during the times in which these individuals would have lived. Theory has been evoked that many of these individuals could have been sacrificial sacraments made to the gods by the Kings of these tribes, to prescribe him and his people triumph in the harvest of the comings seasons, victory at battle and to protection of their lands.