The Anthropocalypse @ Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival!

Victoria Fringe Theatre FestivalThe Anthropocalypse is a prophecy of humanity’s imminent self-destruction. And The Anthropocalypse is the world’s first psychedelic talk opera – a view of the modern world through the lens of the two lone survivors of a remote region in northern BC, the Cadillac Mountains. Twisting reality into myth and myth into reality, 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac’s The Anthropocalypse presents the end of humanity in a way that is darkly comic and wildly light-hearted.

“The most viscerally and emotionally destabilizing show since dubstep, just, way better than dubstep.” ~ Magpie Ulysses

“A Spoken Word tour de force.” ~ Sheri-D Wilson

Written by Johnny MacRae & shayne avec i grec
Directed by Graham McDonald

August 21-31 @ Venue 1
The Victoria Event Centre
1415 Broad Street

Thursday, August 21 @ 8:15pm
Friday, August 22 @ 10:15pm
Saturday, August 23 @ 6:30pm
Monday, August 25 @ 6:15pm
Friday, August 29 @ 6:00pm
Saturday, August 30 @ 7:45pm

Run time: 55 minutes
Course Language

Regular $11, Student/Senior $9


Oceans in Space!

It was announced today that scientists have confirmed the existence of a frozen ocean on Saturn’s sixth largest moon, Enceladus – which has been considered by same the most likely place in our Solar System for life to exist beyond Earth. (Take that as you will.)

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech and Space Science Institute

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech and Space Science Institute

I decided to use this news as a prompt and wound up with the villanelle below, which I’m quite happy with. It’s my third in thirty poems to write this month, which I intend to post daily over at hobo.poetics.

Aqueous Solution
Don't fear our water table being broken
We've an imaginary solution
On Enceladus there is an ocean
A truly pataphysical omen
This dawning new resource revolution
Don't fear our water table being broken
As we continue to master motion
We will manufacture absolution
On Enceladus there is an ocean
It doesn't matter that it's frozen
Makes for easier redistribution 
Don't fear our water table being broken
Lies continually being spoken
Regarding the impact of pollution
On Enceladus there is an ocean
Humanity certain it's been chosen
To usurp control of evolution
Don't fear our water table being broken
On Enceladus there is an ocean






The Voice

I wrote the skeleton, or chart, for this piece while hunkered down on Salt Spring Island with Johnny MacRae in September 2012 – figuring it to be a living entity piece that would feature improvisation where the sound poem elements occur.  I was pleased with the prospect of it, but it sat nestled in a notebook for the better part of the year until Johnny and I arrived in Fort MacLeod to unleash 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac upon South Country Fair‘s Lotos Land stage in July 2013 and became a staple of our next couple months on the road, finding its legs and working quite nicely as a two-voiced piece.  Since then I’ve been performing it more often as a solo piece, but never to a recording – or not one that made me happy, anyhow.

Until the Cadillac Invitational Poetry Slam at the end of January when I performed it as the sacrifice poet for the second half of one of the greatest poetry shows I’ve ever had the opportunity to be involved with, accompanied by Johnny MacRae.  As such, I present to you an experiment in word and sound that I’ve been enjoying for awhile now.

*the piece evolved on the road with the Dope Boys to include an interpolation of RC Weslowski‘s ‘Ev Ree Bawdy Haz a Sownd.’

My 2013 Reading List

I’ve been enjoying Rusty Priske‘s reading list as he’s updated through the course of the year (and I particularly love reading his weekly comic reviews – becoming antsy, even, if lifestuff causes delays in his posting), and have been posting a monthly snapshot over on my Tumblr page, but here now is the definitive list of all the books, chapbooks and graphic novels I have read over the course of this calendrical year (single issue comics and series that I read do not appear here – this is for the long form, and collected works):

2013 in BOOKS:

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words by John Bemelmans Marciano
A Ballad of Billy Barker by Robin Skelton
The Master and Margarita by Edward Kemp (adapting Mikhail Bulgakov)
All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen & Jory John
Dreams Are More Real Than Bathtubs Susan Musgrave & Marie-Louise Gay
Paper Nickels by Corin Raymond
Green Light :: Stones & Trees by Brian Brett & Allan Safarik
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut
Jazz by Henri Matisse
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist
The Sweet Taste of Lightning by Sheri-D Wilson
I Grew Up Right Beside You by David Delisca
The Continual Condition by Charles Bukowski
The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty
The Song of Solomon
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
In Search of Midnight: The Mike McGee Handbook of Awesome by Mike McGee
Bread, Wine and Salt by Alden Nowlan
Black Magic: A Pictorial History of the African-American in the Performing Arts by Langston Hughes & Milton Meltzer
You’re In Canada Now… Motherfucker: A Memoir of Sorts by Susan Musgrave
Ritual Murders by Steven Ross Smith
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
s/he by Saul Williams
Road Dancers by Alden Nowlan
Will Ye Let The Mummers In? by Alden Nowlan
Island by Alistair MacLeod
Blind Zone by Steven Smith
Star Trek: Book of Opposites by David Borgenicht
Gentleman Practice by Buddy Wakefield
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Ravensong by Lee Maracle
The Lords and The New Creatures by Jim Morrison
Tarantula by Bob Dylan
The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Festival Man by Geoff Berner
Mental Fight by Ben Okri
Rosshalde by Herman Hesse
Syzygy by Michael G. Coney
Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter by S. Bear Bergman
Glitter in the Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing by Mindy Nettifee
Wild Ducks Flying Backward by Tom Robbins
How To Tie A Bow-Tie by Dia Davina
Scarlet Wrench Conservatory by Duncan Shields
Late Night Knife Fights by Cathy Petch
Songs From Under the River: A Collection of New & Early Work by Anis Mojgani

2013 in Graphic Novels:

The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts by Paul Pope
A Contract With God, and Other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner
New York: The Big City by Will Eisner
Midnight Days by Neil Gaiman
Wolverine: Logan by Brian K. Vaughan
Jan’s Atomic Heart by Simon Roy
Orbiter by Warren Ellis
Batman: The Black Casebook
March -Book One- by John Lewis
Usagi Yojimbo -Book One- by Stan Sakai
Look Straight Ahead by Elaine M. Will
Witchling -Book One- by Renee Nault
Sweet Tooth: Unnatural Habitats by Jeff Lemire
Black Dynamite: Slave Island by Brian Ash
American Vampire Anthology
Sacrifice by Sam Humphries
Ronin by Frank Miller
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa
Revolver by Matt Kindt
Decade: Celebrating Ten Years of Dark Horse Short Stories
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek Tiwary
Wet Moon -Book One- Feeble Wanderings by Ross Campbell

Express Yourself!

"Microphones" {Subsculpture 10} by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

“Microphones” {Subsculpture 10} by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Drawing upon a decade of experience, I’m excited to be offering up my first Express Yourself! Spoken Wordshop Series in Victoria through January and February of 2014.  Drawing from firsthand experience attending and facilitating workshops through the years, I have devised a course that will provide easy access to the most neophyte of newcomers to spoken word, while offering exercises and insights into the process and its possibilities that will benefit any/every level of experience:

Week 1 :: INTRODUCTIONS & EXPLICATIONS :: Get to know the group, our goals and get comfortable in the space. Improv-based games and light writing exercises will ease us into gear.

Week 2 :: WORDS & SOUNDS :: Here we’ll dig a little deeper into some meatier stuff, expanding into sounds beyond words and exploring poem types and tropes.

Week 3 :: IMITATIONS & RIFFS :: Not only a great form of flattery, but an excellent chance to explore other voices and styles. In humour, seriousness, both or neither.

Week 4 :: COLLABORATIVE WRITING :: With a stronger foundation in our individual voices we’ll now explore means of writing and performing in pairs.

Week 5 :: PERFORMING THE HELL OUT OF IT :: A performance intensive, taking what we’ve written and bringing it to life onstage – exploring dynamism and dissonance in order to find our comfort.

Week 6 :: MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT :: Here we add a whole new level to our spoken word, exploring how it intermingles with music. Guest musician TBA.

Express Yourself! is set to take place from 6pm-8pm Monday evenings at the Fernwood Community Association boardroom from January 20th through February 24th, at a cost of $125* for the six weeks. This course is open to any and all interested parties with no prerequisites.

If you would like to register, or have any questions, please send me an email.

shayne avec i grec is a two-time M Award nominee for Victoria’s Favourite Spoken Word Artist, the Poet Laureate of the Brandon Folk, Music & Art Festival, one of 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac and a representative of The Dambassadors. He has been writing and performing poetry for over a decade, and touring to do so for over eight years. He is also a facilitator for the Victoria Poetry Project’s Raising Voices program, which puts poets in schools throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

*…if $125 is cost-prohibitive for your participation, some subsidization is available, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line – I’d rather have you join than not.


Je me souviens

CFSW 2013

A little over a decade ago while I was hosting a weekly open mic at Zona’s Bistro in Canmore, Alberta I met Drek Daa, who was in town visiting some mutual friends.  Recognizing my fresh excitement for spoken word and slam poetry, he told me about the Canadian Spoken Wordlympics happening that autumn in Ottawa and recommended I come check it out if I could.  I was due to head down to California in mid-September, and thought about making my way to Ottawa from there, but wound up living in my tent on a beach in San Pedrito instead.

Spoken Wordlympics

In 2005 the festival, renamed the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW), came to Vancouver.  I was a few weeks into calling Victoria home and hoping to eventually start a slam in town when RC Weslowski asked me if I might help put a Victoria team together to come take part in the festival.  Having no regular spoken word events in town at the time, RC agreed to come over and help us run a slam-off to form ourselves a team.  The show also happened to mark The Fugitives‘ second trip over to play solstice café, and brought a goodly number of people out for the proceedings, but before that night half the members of what became the first Victoria Poetry Slam Team had never even been to a slam — we were as green as could be, and eager for the experience of it all!  We came, predictably, sixth out of six teams, and learned a lot in the process.

(L to R) shayne avec i grec, Blank Space, Inspacific, strong.cottonwoods & Dragon

(L to R) shayne avec i grec, Blank Space, Inspacific, strong.cottonwoods & Dragon

Since Halifax in 2007 I have been to every CFSW with the exception of the 2010 festival in Ottawa (a fiscal reality choice between attending the festival or embarking on the first 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac tour with Johnny MacRae) as a coach, host and bout manager for the slams at the festival.  CFSW is one of a couple key events I look forward to every year – a glorious family reunion filled with words and new faces in cities seen in a different context.  The dance around the country of the changing host cities is part of what makes the festival so exciting from year to year – each city puts its own personality into the mix to create a festival that is national in scale, while bringing as much local flavour to the mix as can be.  I do my best now to schedule the rest of my year around it, wherever it’s scheduled to be.

This year, as I begin preparing for the fact I’ll be in Montreal this time next week, I find myself on a team for the first time since 2005, and in away it feels like the first time ever (in addition to having no illusions about winning, the ’05 team had no inkling of strategy – most of us only had our two poems for prelims, a couple of us had three).  I’m simultaneously excited and terrified for this!  Working with Jeremy Loveday, Morgan Purvis-Bellamano, Pamela Stewart and Johnny –often from the road– has been somewhere between a thrilling challenge and a challenging thrill.  The friendships at the foundation of this team have made some of our risks far easier to take, while also making some of our barriers more difficult to hurdle.  But we’re doing it!  Together.  I have a very strong love for the 2013 Vic Slam Team and each person on it (special shout out here to our coach, Scott Thompson a/k/a Scott Awesome).

(L to R) Pamela Stewart, shayne avec i grec, Morgan Purvis-Bellamano, Jeremy Loveday & Johnny MacRae (Photo by Aaron Mercer)

(L to R) Pamela Stewart, shayne avec i grec, Morgan Purvis-Bellamano, Jeremy Loveday & Johnny MacRae [Photo by Aaron Mercer]

No matter what the scores say in this silly game we play, I’m honoured and blessed by this experience and immensely stoked for what’s to come!

Next transmission will be live from CFSW 2013 in Montréal.

À bientôt.


The Captain of The Paradise

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
everything goes on
just like it always has

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
it’s been a bad few years
for bridges in this city

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
it’s done this now
for eighty-nine years

in the shadow of this bridge
sat a man for a time
holding the surname of the voice

he’d been a painter
a construction worker
and a California love-in-er
but in the shadow of this bridge
he was the mayor of a block
the Pirate of Pandora
the Captain of the Paradise

in a world that’s learned
to overlook one another
he took the time
to make us notice
the beauty we are
surrounded by

hurling barely decipherable compliments
at everyone walking through Pandora’s Box
breaking anybody’s attempts not to notice
the philosopher pirate smiling beneath his tree

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
the wind,
it has taken my smile

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
is it a good day
or a bad day today, Louie

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
this is the capital
of the paradise!

what was it like
to be a noble on the streets
what was it like
to live so far away from the woman you married
what was it like
to be simultaneously adored, ignored and despised
what was it like
those sober moments of moonlit intoxication

through your blue eyes smiling
you etched yourself into so many hearts
with but a snapshot of your story
the one you wanted to tell
the one you told in everything

and it wasn’t always easy
never is

we all have demons we can’t outrun
we all have memories we’d like to forget
of others and of ourselves
we all get dirt in our crinkles

but you’d always wash up well after-the-fact
no matter how long it took
and come back fresh
more alive than most of the people
who go through great pains to look clean

you owned your dirt
your demons
your skin

you owned you
more than anybody else ever could
you owned your smile
bright, mischievous and knowing
and leased as many other smiles as possible
from all around you on any given day

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
everything goes on
just as it always has

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
sooner or later
it’ll come to an end

the bridge goes up
the bridge goes down
the wind,
it has taken my smile

it has
for real

and i hope it will carry it to me
wherever i go in the world

Jean Luc Lavoie
Louie, my friend
Oh captain, my captain

Rest In Paradise

Jean Luc (Louie) Lavoie :: 1951-2013

Jean Luc (Louie) Lavoie  ::  December 14, 1951 – August 29, 2013