“new ideas need old buildings”-tile at dufferin station

i’ve already been reprimanded this week for spoiling the nba playoffs, so let me not do this to a woman’s show.

but belladonna the blest or dm st. bernard‘s sound of the beast is everything, and then eleven more everythings. do yourself a favour and go see it. please. if one of the city’s finest (the finest imo) poets can roll through (and i think he even bought a ticket because he’s not a personal friend of the inspiration’s), you can too.

ok-psa over, do what you want.

i’ve been feeling the feels since i was in montreal for a week and a half, doing everything and nothing, and with the birth of babies all around and work never ending (and still not beginning), i know it’s not an accident that i ended up in the same room as these two that i run into so randomly it’s become specific. the fact that there was a stage and words and so many ideas layered and folded into ideas that if a mille-feuille crepe cake could be a thing that could be witnessed and absorbed and spoken and felt, this would be that thing.

i’m largely not a fan of the tiles at dufferin station, especially of the two that are close together near the main entrance, one reading “blah blah blah new immigrants” and the other “occasion to turn around”, like wtf?! but i never noticed this one before, or perhaps due to its proximity to the aforementioned as well as the “lemonade living” (and i paraphrase all these tiles, except for the one that i board the train at every day on my way to work which reads “something happens here”, because, well, who has time to footnote tiles, or remember them properly and such?) i’m too busy getting to the punchline of 3/5s when it’s so meta and brilliant, when accountability happens and its calling for is further justified when the perpetrator responds by throwing her kids under the bus. when a discussion about whose lives matter is brought about without the use of those slogans so familiar that have lost their lustre, but is named nonetheless, and stories are woven so beautifully that you forget for a moment that they’re tragic but flower petals are still gentle, whether or not they’re unbreakable, and you decide, we decide-but things are complicated, and we do what we can….

(i’m writing a new piece called “poets talk in circles”….but then again, that’s been the ongoing story of life itself)

place is a thing. theatre passe-muraille is a place. it’s been one of the most reliable places that i have crossed paths with dmsb over the years, and toronto is a place-also one of the most reliable locales. it’s an old building that’s housed almost 50 seasons of new ideas, and even though it’s been fixed, i still just can’t push that door…and i’m glad that i didn’t stay away when the latest ad joined-even when she was the first person to fire me from a job at a little theatre that we both worked at in mtl-what are the chances, right?

but there are no accidents, and (the) space (between our ears) is the real place.

we gotta work on that time-bending piece, but then again-we’ve been working on that project our whole lives.

this is why i scheduled a volunteer shift on my first day back to work after a long vacation of doing everything and nothing, horny as hell but great-full for the life choices i’ve made not to have kids and a dog (though i really, really love dogs and kids). it’s nice to be able to walk in and out of that for a week, because if it was real life, i woulda had to work all day and then go home to single-mother kids and a dog.

this is why.

i live for this and i am ever great-full to this woman for reminding me to do it by doing it.

shoutout to maddie bautista-we may have only met tonight (in this life) but it’s far from over.

get out-dir. jordan peele

“i didn’t want to say it, but i told you so.”

i can’t lie. when i went to check the game 3 score before leaving the house, i thought the internet was broken. first of all-how do you even score 41 in a quarter, let alone outscore your opponent (my team) 41-17? i’ve been riding with these guys for a minute, so i know we have to be extreme and extra and extremely extra, but bruv.

i was wondering if, in addition to playing the barney theme song, jason kidd was out there stirring tea (and spilling sodas-why was derozan slipping so much?!). shit, i can’t even merge the honey in my chaga without looking both ways.

i took a wrong turn this morning, into outrement, and it felt a bit like the opening scene, though i am thank-full that i was out in plain daylight, and at night, i have a rottweiler.

officially the highest grossing original screenplay, everyone’s got something to say about this movie, and people will continue to have things to say. hopefully, that will precipitate an actual conversation one day, and not just all this idle chatter.

it’s revolutionary just by being an american film about race that is set in the present, and not as another self-congratulatory “look how far we’ve come” pat on the back excuse to show black bodies brutalized in hd as a period piece. because it was made by a black director, and that director is jordan peele, it is a more nuanced look at racism than we’ve ever seen.

i am not a fan of the horror genre, i’ve never really been interested, but i do appreciate the homages to the tropes paid here. but the fact that the true horror is just lurking beneath the surface (and in gated communities) is the scariest of all. in fact, i would argue that the scariest person in the film is the young white woman, and the horror isn’t that she’s not aware of racism, the horror is that she’s complicit while masquerading as an ally.

the humour in the film comes from the conspiracy theory that these white folks are snatching black bodies to use as “sex slaves”, but the horror is when we discredit the grain of truth that lies in every conspiracy theory, and when we laugh off that feeling that “something isn’t quite right here”. even when the cops are all coloured, they’re still police. the institution is bigger than the faces. and the black people that are a bit “off” because their bodies have been snatched (and scientifically manipulated) by white people, and they are the proof that something’s up. perhaps that’s the silver lining-you can never fully hide your dirt, your deception will catch up to you.

and so there is the fear of white inferiority and the problems that exist in resource distribution that allow the imbalance of science, medicine, and legal impunity to just
“go and get” the bodies with the traits that you need for immortality. the issues of appropriation-“we want your skills but we don’t want you” as well as banking on the fact that all lives don’t matter, since nobody’s going to ask about the black ones that have been missing.

the point of technology as a weapon is an interesting one, as the phone is what keeps saving chris, and it’s what they tried to disarm while he was in the house. the recordings of recent police brutality and protests is a beginning to turning the tables on apathy and blowing the gates off our communities.

the lure of the white woman, which is driven home when he’s looking through the box of photos (of the “deer” that rosie has helped to eradicate), is one that is also laughed off, but the sociopath is real. this bitch is pure evil, as she’s able to show a human side from the beginning, and go through the motions of feeling the outrage that the cop that pulled them over was racist, or running away from the racist white people party and being the comfort to draw chris into a false sense of security, to transitioning fully into a dirty dancing watching single froot loop eating cog in the family racism wheel. and presumably, she got (and enjoyed) all that black dick (and possibly pussy) along the way. this was the white woman that people feared that hillary clinton may have been, and she may still be, but what’s the point in getting lost in coulda beens, when the reality is a whole next level of sinister?

it would seem that the raptors are emerging from the sunken place, as i’m halfway through watching game 5 (thanks mikey, for the league pass), and that the youngsters are starting to lose their grip on the ball.

also-what a difference norm powell makes in the game. it’s not a coincidence that when he’s starting, we win, and when he doesn’t play (which, WHY THE FUCK IS HE NOT PLAYING?!) we lose. i was starting to feel waves of deja vu to the past two years before this season when i was begging for james johnson to be traded so i could see him play somewhere (and now look at him in miami), but coach seems to have come to his senses, at least for the time being.

your lineups are still on scrutiny, though, dwayne.

get your exercise in.

common-the limits of men (again)

“deep as a skinny girl’s cunt”

“fuckin’ on the sink, bought my mama a mink”

“butt nekkid in the kitchen flippin’ pancakes/plus she tricking from the dough that her man makes”

“ladies get their hair done, and men, we notice/you get high grade indian weaves, at the lowest/prices, chivalry is no longer lifeless”

wow. it was so hard to just pick one lyric from this problematic ode.

(sigh).

it was probably fitting that this album prompted a man whom i experienced in a particularly stunted moment to reach out to me because a good common album reminded him of me.

my conflict over rachid was immortalized in writing during my freelance stint in montreal, and one particularly scathing album review (for which one now, i have no idea), and this latest album (that i’m late to, i know), falls right into formation.

it must be said, too, that this man’s breadth of work and the variety of styles/positions that he has held has now, in my opinion, put his body of work in line with madonna‘s. what i perceive as common not knowing who the hell he is from moment to moment could really be common being all of the things, all of the time.

i have listed a few of the lyrics that have always just rubbed me the wrong way, but it’s undeniable that he has always held my attention enough to keep listening. so, there are so many lyrics and songs that i’ve loved, and water for chocolate will always be one of my favourite albums.

i couldn’t get a proper version of da struggle, but key and peele completely captured his likeness, and i think, even more aptly, with his name, captured the problematic “border” between “conscious” and “jiggy” rap. this is a line that common has always straddled, and that is why his bullshit gender politic is always so disappointing, because he’s otherwise, so very good.

the fact that this song features bj the chicago kid only annoys me more because it reminds me that the only song that i hate on his otherwise brilliant album is “it’s a woman’s world”. is there something dillusional going on in chicago’s feminism?!

i must also say that noID is flawless. the beat part of the rap equation is very, very strong, on this project and the one before that. he’s a bigger man than most for picking up the pieces after being left for ye, and staying in the shadows of producing may be the most feminist aspect of this album.

it is also something of note that pops is gone, and it’s officially the end of an era of albums punctuated by a daddy outro. i was sad to learn this in the song, and acknowledge that it must be hard to lose a parent who obviously had so much of an impact on his life and work.

which brings me to the song with nas that came out at the same time as “otis”, and the contrast between that other ny/chicago rap duo was mostly about how those other doods were just rapping about their money and these two were “conscious”. the bigger contrast for me was that these two were examples of men who clearly had their fathers, and jay-z and kanye famously did not. so perhaps that has no bearing whatsoever on your relationships with women, or it has everything to do with your relationships with women. but, jay-z could only commit to beyonce after his dad died, so perhaps common can actually evolve now that his is gone?

“i said i got my SAG card, baby i’m an actor”

“think they be mackin’ but they actin’…”

well, he is starring as a rapper having a mid-life crisis so…perhaps he knows all about this?

(sigh).

my next lover must read

books. regularly. independently and habitually. because they love reading. period.

not because of me. because you haven’t gotten around to it yet, but you’re tired of just sitting there like a dummy when you take the subway with me because i’m winning by reading.

not because you think you’ve reached your limit of reading-you’ve read books before, you even own books, have a shelf full of them! you’ve done it before, you know what it’s about. you read magazines, you’re good.

DEFINITELY NOT because you think you’re somehow qualified to write a book BUT YOU DON’T READ.

DEFINITELY NOT because you’ve designed course outlines and you’re good with the books you’ve chosen and there are no current books or any that have come out in the last 80 years that would also work in the syllabus and could possibly be more inspiring to your students because they speak more directly to their experience. you believe that they should meet you, you shant meet them. (this is what teachers who don’t read sound like)

you don’t have time to read.

but you have watched all the tv shows/movies/porn that has been produced in the past ten years

but you are fluent in emoji (though you can’t spell)

but you send 10,000 text messages a day (to me alone, who knows how many others to how many others?!) and they’re all full of emojis and misspelled words

my feelings on “common interests” with a romantic partner have shifted over the years. there was a time when i pondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of hip hop was a must. lately, i’ve wondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of basketball is a must.

i have come to the conclusion that neither of these things are a must, as i have homies and friends who can fulfill this for me. and when it comes to lovers, my conversation needs to be shifted to shared values.

because reading is about coping with life, making the most of it of what we’ve got, and learning to adapt.

because reading is about imagining your ways out and in.

because reading is about creativity because it is creativity-with every single page.

because reading is about being the solution instead of sustaining the problem.

because reading is agency, activism, escape and (the) rest.

because reading is education, freedom, choice, and listening.

and these are all my values, and because you can’t truly love me if you don’t love to read. books. regularly. independently and habitually. because you love reading. period.

IWD 2017

“we won’t be equal until men are equal”

as my facebook wall invariably fills with multi-culti cartoon women lifting each other through the same sanctioned comment square, i listen to the bust magazine recommended inflection point podcast as curated by lauren schiller (interviews with women who are challenging status quo).

i think about my youngest women’s studies professor when i got my degree in 2003, and how radical she was to suggest that women’s studies will need to evolve into gender studies in order to survive and stay relevant. i don’t know that that’s happened, and as folks drag sophie trudeau for suggesting that we should celebrate men who are feminists, or the next generation of boys coming up as promising potential feminists (because we raise them to be or just by virtue of seeing more women life-ing in different ways than generations past), i still wonder if it (we) will.

i didn’t make any sweeping declarations this year. i celebrated bright and early with sharon, my yoga teacher, who decided to change her life and offer an 8am class that fits so much better into my cicadian rhythms, and then discussed how menstruating makes us better with susanda, the acupuncturist that we all have a crush on. i had a private celebration with the women who help me heal and release, and i don’t think it’s an accident that they’ve become more prominent in my life within this year.

and then of course, anne-marie slaughter‘s quote (above).

here’s a great article that she wrote.

she is completely correct-until childcare and child-rearing is normalized for men, women will have to “choose”. we can’t really discuss “women’s work” without discussing “work” in general, and then it all rolls out into birth control and access, poverty and single mothers, prison and the school system and (the lack of) food politics-if you can’t make a diagram that connects all of these points directly, you qualify as needing a lesson in intersectionality. but don’t ask a woman of colour to explain it to you, there are a lot of resources on the internet. TONS.

i met someone who is so mad because she was wrong, she “didn’t think he would be that bad when he got into office”, that there would’ve been someone to rein him in.

w       o        w.

again, wealthy white women who voted (or would’ve voted if they were americans) one way, and then turn up at a march on washington a few months later-you fail. and unless you are interested in doing your due diligence in learning where you fit in on the accountability/benefit spectrum of the bridge of our backs, i am not interested in sapphosizing with you. it’s 2017-your microagressions are so fucking old.

all of us are smarter than one of us.

but we still have to learn to check ourselves and be checked ourselves, because womens-we are still wrecking ourselves, and it’s no kind of good for our healths.

meeting sook-yin lee*

“don’t get mad”

but, she never remembers me. and i’m not mad, per se, i’m just bewildered. but it just goes to show, we don’t all have the same priorities, and the things that stick out for us are different than the things that stick out for others.

here are the significant “first-time” meetings of sook-yin lee from my perspective:

-i was probably 8 years old when i saw her on tv, on this magical new station called muchmusic, and not only was i captivated by her asian-canadian face and presence, she was sitting on the edge of a desk talking about eating chicken feet (my favourite dish that i ate with my grandma) and then she took her foot in her hands and mimed eating that. i was incepted with the drive to fill this space in popular culture that was being carved by this woman

-15 years into this quest, when i printfiltrated my way into being the music editor at ricepaper, i pitched a story/interview about the above experience to uncomfortable faces because they had already done a story and had a large beef with her over it-oops. not only did i miss that, i missed that whole part of research into the magazine i was contributing to (which in itself is a large part of the asian-canadian narrative). a rookie mistake that is quickly rendering itself obsolete now that people seem to be caring less about legacy and more about texting than text.

-when i finally moved to toronto ten years after that, i was at the reference library when noticed a woman cloaked in a heavy aztec poncho in the dead of summer, made eye contact with her, and before i could talk to her about the garment that was somehow working (my unspoken understanding is that we are west coast sartorial sisters)-she gave me a handbill of her movie year of the carnivore (she was flyering like spike lee!) and i told her the chicken feet story and told her that i intended to stalk her and be part of her then radio show, DNTO. her response was “not if i stalk you first”. i was smitten.

-i saw YOTC on opening weekend, maybe even twice, even though i was broker than broke that first year, and was blown away by how complete and completely amazing it was. i immediately went back to the library and took out shortbus, because i hadn’t seen that, and squealed when i saw that i had the same vibrator that she was using on the bathroom floor. (i still miss that vibrator and still haven’t been able to find it).

-last year on mother’s day, after a week of getting myself ready to see the apology, i was in the building with so many amazing women, and talked to her extensively afterwards, and she asked me if i also worked in the industry.

-last week, with the cbc director that uttered the opening quote, she introduced herself (again) and though she was comfortable enough to let me stroke her rabbit fur head lining (and i was comfortable enough to do it), she asked me if i was working in the building.

over the last seven years, we have crossed paths many times, and have shared nods and smiles, which i thought were of recognition, but maybe were just of friendliness or mutual style appreciation. or perhaps they were of recognition, not of me personally, but of the fact that we have people and realities in common, and that’s ok.

i sense that people might have a similar kind of experience/expectation of me as a result of the work i do that leads to long-term shallow deep interactions with folks. i am very great-full for the opportunities to be extremely present with people, from whichever side they come. i am sorry for the woman that insists that she knows me (and my “twin sister” who told her i was “going on a trip to china”)-i didn’t see you at yoga because i take my glasses off and i’m there for yoga.

i’m very glad that i keep arising to meet my s/heroes, and that new ones that i haven’t met yet are making more art and music and doing the good work every single day. the matriarchy is possible.

*in reading this over after it went live, it seems that i’m a bit obsessed with syl. i am not. i just have a very efficient card catalogue of a brain, and though i focused in on this person and our interactions to write this blog post, i do not constantly have this running on a loop. i am obsessed with everything, and can basically pull this up for anything that has made an impact on my life. example categories: favourite black thought lyrics, scottie pippen statistics (including clyde drexler‘s height because, you know, the 1990-91 blazers vs. the bulls, obviously), the motorcycles that i’ve been on in every city that i’ve lived in, dogs of the junction, apples i have tasted (oh, juliet, i still remember you), so many details about so many things.

super man in the roti shop

“i think you’re used to getting your way”

i love a lot of things about working from home, not the least of which being going to grab a goat dinner because i got a surprise arrival last night that explains my friday night twitter rage against russell westbrook (not that that’s not justified everyday) and why i was ravenous yesterday. sometimes, you just need some red meat protein.

it was a long line, one that i suppose is customary at lunchtime, and i had lots of time to reflect on the day that i’ve already had, and how to maximize the part that remains.

i also got to witness the most important customer service life situation that i have in years.

there was a particularly ruddy man sitting in front of the door, demanding that folks get him napkins while he ate with his mouth open, jabbing at his phone with his disgusting roti fingers (how much you wanna bet that this is one of those non-hand-washing mofos that i caught shit-handed at the airport?). nearing the end of his meal, he started to complain about people who were holding the door ajar because the lineup snaked outside of the restaurant.

then, my hero spoke up. a gentle giant, calm and strong, this man said the following to mister red:

“yes, there’s a lineup. yes-it goes out the door”

“you’re a customer and you’re entitled to your opinion, but we’re customers too, so we can stand in line inside”

“if you don’t like it, i suggest you choose another seat.”

“i don’t think you’re used to people talking back to you. i think you’re used to having your way.”

“you’re being a prick”.

“see what happens? don’t be a prick then.”

he held his own, looked him in the eyes, kept speaking the truth, and never meeting red at his blustery level, or escalating. my favourite was the hard stare directly at him as he made a production of swearing and swirling his jacket arms as he left.

winner winner, roti dinner.

this was so inspiring and simple, not just at work, but in life.

i love him.

this is the calibre of man that can stay in my matriarchy.

the other one-y’all can have him.

(maybe chrisette michele needs him for something for her inauguration set)