Polite Exorcism: Laurie Anderson at Théatre Rialto (Montreal)
It ended with a hug. I should build up to this, so let me explain: on a Wednesday night during the city’s annual Pop Montreal festival, Laurie Anderson, accompanied on stage by Rebecca Foon and Colin Stetson, dry ice, programmed noises and odd sonic textures, performed a set at Theatre Rialto that felt more cathartic than most other concerts I have attended in this city. Some performances do leave you wanting more. The performance at the Rialto felt like an exorcism where the demons knew they had to run.
Tsukudani (pronounced “Skoo-Dan-Knee”) is still my favourite rite of passage with food, and the most interesting marker in my travels and choice of diversions. I was raised in a family with many challenges that were usually gastrointestinal (green bananas, fish heads and various unique tubers and vegetables were always on our plates), but there was nothing to compare with the challenge of tsukudani. It was a meal that my mother would not prepare; it was a dish she still has not forgiven me for enjoying.
He just wanted to stay in, but there was no choice. With a day off from school, Michael had to clear snow off the sidewalk, driveway and front steps before his stepfather came home. And he was done, but his mother noticed that their neighbours were very quiet that afternoon. No car leaving the house early that morning. No tire tracks or footprints in or out of the house. He looked over and sighed deeply.
Unofficial Report Document: Okay, I am writing this to cover my own ass if any of this comes out. I was engaged by Captain K_____________ on a mission to retrieve an object on a post-apocalyptic Tier-4 planet and the mission went very badly. This is how I am interpreting it. This document will be stored with my other papers, so I do not expect to have this timestamped beyond the safe where it is kept and the lodging where I awaited my instructions. Again, I was taken onto a mission by a senior officer. I followed orders. I obeyed.
The Nobel Prize Lecture
The following is an official transcript of the Nobel lecture given on Dec. 10, 20--: Ladies and gentlemen, your majesties, and my fellow laureates: I must say that I still feel as though I have been having a long and beautiful dream these last few months. Nothing can prepare the writer for the moment – a vivid point of realization - when he discovers that his chosen profession was not a mistake or a whim that would have been best left to adolescence. For that, I thank the academy. I thank you all.
I Am Not Her Negro
This was the scene. I had just watched the movie “I Am Not Your Negro” at the AMC Forum in Montreal. I quite liked it; many of the clips used to trace important moments in the life of the writer James Baldwin were material I had seen online or on TV programs too far back in my youth to forget them. What surprised me the most was the general premise of the movie: Baldwin intended to write a book based on the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. He knew all three men. He understood what they represented for black America and how they were molded and formed by their relationship to white America. And he saw that all three men wanted the same things: respect, opportunities, and hope for themselves, their communities, and their families. Those dreams would not always be granted in their lives, but it was earned in their deaths and the legacies they left to be discussed and debated. The moments when Baldwin’s own responses to their losses are shared by Samuel L. Jackson are very moving; some of the most powerful moments in the film have no visible action on the screen except his voice repeating Baldwin’s own deep feelings. And because of these moments, I considered the film a true success. The audience seemed to feel that way, too, although I could not measure all of the individual opinions next to mine. It was a movie I had to watch without being conscious of any after-credits discussion about its merits, problems, and what it was all meant. I never thought about what it meant. I thought about how I felt. I thought about James Baldwin. I thought that I had to see it again.
They were all so proud of him. He was the first one in his family to go to university; the first one to have a degree from anywhere besides high school or community college. When they arrived home from the campus, most of the relatives who were in town greeted him and his mother and brothers. People he knew as uncles gripped him with dangerous handshakes; the women who were known as aunts embraced him, smiled and went back to unwrapping casseroles and plates of still steaming piles of food. They all wanted to see the diploma he still had in the envelope, and he had almost forgotten about the gown and the mortarboard in a plastic bag until they all began making requests for him to put them both back on and pose with his degree without his family. They all wanted to remember this very special moment in their lives.