Watching Fox 44 the other night, I noticed surprisingly in my drunken state, that I could not understand a word of the commercial lasting for around 60 seconds. I thought it was due to my then numbing mind, however after rewinding the television commercial I saw that it was in Chinese without any subtitles. I have to be honest and say that it was liberating in a way. It was as if finally a minority group in our society were being represented without having to cater for the super majority. They did not care whether you and I were interested in the product. It was irrelevant whether we understood the language. If I wanted to find out more, I would have to do research, or at least ask someone about it.

Yes there was something on my television that I did not understand, and instead of resenting the people who made it, I found myself more interested in their product and indeed it reignited my interest in all things Chinese. Culturally speaking China has a great history going back thousands of years, yet the country has seen the most dramatic fundamental changes happen in the past 100 years. The establishment of the Communist Party in 1921 and the Cultural Revolution in 1966 changed China’s cultural backdrop beyond recognition. People’s lives were also changed and copious injustices were force-fed to the population who lost much of their individual liberties for the promise of national progress.

It’s immaterial whether I’d agree with the Chinese take on Marxism, because these days I have my doubts about Marxism itself, however from an art history prospective I have never seen any group of artists find their connection with humanity and modern times more than the Chinese artists of today. What is even more wondrous is that these groups of Chinese artists are doing these great works amidst embargoes and restrictions placed on them by the government. It’s as if when artists’ hands are tied and they are more limited they manage to shine brighter and find a clear voice amidst the fog of conflict.

Chinese art that really matters today is born out of boundaries and not heartache. It is profoundly political and uncompromising. It is the new generation questioning the value system of the old, and ironically finding their way back to history. It is rebellion against collective ideology, yet it works within that framework. It is subtle and meaningful when you look at it twice, and you need to because you might otherwise dismiss it wrongfully. I have here introduced three artists that I thoroughly like myself.

Liu Bolin is a great Chinese artist who uses his own body to question the position of the individual inside a modern society. He prepares his body with paint and stickers in order to blend in with his backgrounds. He disappears, yet you can still see him, you know he is there because his work is being presented in a way that requires you to look for him. Living in any city around the world and you might encounter hundreds of people walking around at one time or other, yet you’d be hard pressed to remember their faces because you tend to be on your way to somewhere or on your way back. We have become so preoccupied with getting to places that we miss each other on the way. We have become complacent to other’s existence, and we are more ignorant because of it. Seeing these works makes you question your own preconceived values and you are searching for an individual in an urban background.

Zhang XiaogangNext artist is the painter Zhang Xiaogang whose work I came across when watching the film “Sunflower” by Chinese director Yang Zhang. The film explores the relationship between an artist father in the time of Mao and his son who later becomes an artist himself. Sunflowers are referring to the communist generation who turned toward the revolutionary party exhibiting their loyalty. However the son’s paintings when he grows up, which are actually by Zhang Xiaogang, question these loyalties and the conditions people of China were subjected to. Some people see these works as supporting the Communist ideology, however I see more of a human link within these paintings which do not adhere to the ideas of a collective. Zhang Xiaogang himself commented: “For me, the Cultural Revolution is a psychological state, not a historical fact. It has a very strict connection with my childhood, and I think there are many things linking the psychology of the Chinese people today with the psychology of the Chinese people back then”.

Final artist I want to praise is the world renowned Ai Weiwei. He has been described as an activist artist, and much of his work is about highlighting the flaws in a system that preaches perfection. He took it upon himself to collect the names of children who died in the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008 called the “citizen’s investigation”. Ai Weiwei published 5 385 names in his blog which was later shut down by the authorities. In 2010 his installation “Sunflower Seeds” was exhibited in Tate Modern Turbine Hall, and consisted of one hundred million porcelain seeds all handmade and painted. Apart from referring to the revolution loyalists, the seeds are significant in terms of exhibiting the condition of the Chinese population. He remarked that having sunflower seeds have become a favourite pastime of the people, some of whom have cracked front teeth because of it.

China’s art is now a force to be reckoned with, and they are showing the world a side of our modern times that might have been forgotten and forsaken due to shackles of cultural and social fixations.

Montreal Comiccon 2012 was bustling with people of all ages and from all persuasions, gathering to celebrate one our generation’s greatest contributions to the art of storytelling and entertainment.

The beauty of the event was the lack of a unifying theme; indeed Comiccon covered all genres from comic books and graphic novels which in themselves can be subsections into numerous categories, to sci-fi, films and television programs which have achieved or are gaining fashionable status amongst the content savvy audiences.

In the long queues zigzagging around the building people were thoroughly excited, be they in their handmade elaborate costumes, or just wearing their favourite T-shirts exhibiting their leanings toward certain fictional story

The key word here is fictional, because unlike religious groups and cults these people are intelligent enough to know fully well these superheroes and supernatural beings have no connection to reality, and so they are indulging in some harmless fantasy.

Mike Mignola the creator of the comic book Hellboy, present at the Comiccon, exclusively made a drawing of his character eating a Montreal poutine, but I really don’t see a group of Montrealers now declaring faith in his prophecy and start wearing magic Hellboy underwear at gatherings eating poutine.

Even though I can imagine ancient and modern religions being born the same way as legends of superheroes, I just can’t envisage fans starting cults because of Superman, Batman or Wil Wheaton’s super bright character Wesley Crusher on Star Trek. But again, who would have thought people would believe in Mormonism and one of them could one day run for presidency of United State.

My point is that thanks to mass media and expansion of communication means, we can now safely say that the great David Finch is an artist and not a prophet, and comic books like X-Men are great fictional stimulation for our ever dreamy intellects, they are not holy books. I really think Homer would have loved to have Iliad or Odyssey in graphic novel forms, and if nobody has done it yet I want credit for the idea.   

Did you hear about people murdered over Green Lantern being portrayed as a homosexual? No, because reason is in control here; these books are telling us stories even though as outrageously unrealistic as an angel talking with a prophet, they are based on imagination and we are aware whilst losing ourselves in the pageantry.

Though I have always been against the celebrity cult, I am ashamed to say that Sir Patrick Stewart being at the Montreal Comiccon this year made me abandon my ethics and I was succumbed to the glitz and glamor of the great man. I have been watching him and following his career from Shakespeare, Star Trek: The Next Generation to Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”, even having a recording of his appearance in the eleventh season of Frasier in 2003.

So I paid the money at the till for a photo-op with an actor I consider one of the greatest of all time. I proceeded to queue once again, in line with many fans who I felt a great deal of camaraderie with. We shared bonds that united us, least of which was choosing to take our photo taken with Patrick Stewart instead of William Shatner.

Waiting in the line, I kept thinking what would I say to the great man? Thank you for opening my eyes to Shakespeare? No, no that would be too pretentious. Thank you for Star Trek? I guessed many of my comrades in the line would say the same. Thank him for Samuel Beckett? Suffice to say I was lost for words, and so I decided to just shake his hand and thank him for everything.

When the moment of truth arrived and I was next up to meet the man, the guard told me in a stern voice: “No touching or handshakes.” And just as I was gathering my nerves to say something, the photographer said that doomed word that shall haunt me for rest of my days: “Smile!” and the photograph of me and Sir Patrick Stewart was taken without him ever knowing who I was, or how much I enjoyed his work.

On the way home, photograph in hand, I thought about how many photos with actors must have been taken that day, and how for them it is only to feel appreciated as they should be, but how for the rest of us it is a fake memento of our starry eyed, childish wish fulfilment. All I can say is that I stood next to the man I admire, hoping it gave him some reassurance that he is doing a good job, alas I think he gets that from the awards and titles he is given, and so all our adventures that day are but a memory.

Today marks the opening night of something new in the nation’s capital—the likes of which the city has never seen before. This year in conjunction with Capitol Pride, the Cirque Bizarre boutique festival will boast four days of events, most of which will be taking place in the infamous Ottawa Jail Hostel. The House of SAS team have occupied this historic site and are turning it into a 1930s circus-themed extravaganza.

The real surprise of this mini festival will happen on Friday night as the miscreants of the Montreal nightlife institution GAYBASH will descend upon Ottawa for the first time. In fact it will be the first time Tyler and Sal take their glamorous dumpster baby of a party beyond the borders of Quebec. Anyone who has had the pleasure/horror of attending one of the terrible twosome’s parties can only help but wonder if such glorious madness can exist off the island of Montreal or if it will just crumble into sparkly dust like a unicorn no one believes in.

GAYBASH will be an injection of the truly bizarre that Ottawa doesn’t know it needs—much like an unexpected enema washing away the endless boredom of day to day life. We believe in unicorns and we believe in Tyler & Sal.

The lineup for the night brings together some of Montreal’s biggest names such as SHAY DaKiss and B’UGO. Headlining the event is international sensation Cazwell, who is making his way from NYC. Tyler & Sal have also decided to fill a few vans full of their loyal followers, and ship them over.

A rumour is even spreading that Roze and Rhonda (the internationally ignored celebrities )of STILL NOT FAMOUS will somehow make an appearance. This will be difficult—but not out of character—for the pair as they are never invited anywhere important, and seem to miss the party even when someone forgot to take them of the e-vite list. If it does happen, we will be surprised they got their act together enough to leave the house, let alone the province.

Either way, nothing can ruin this night of d-botch that many are waiting for with gin-soaked baited breath. It promises to be something new for Ottawa, something of an adventure for the GAYBASH crew, and definitely not something to miss for the rest of us. So dust off that top hat and we’ll see you in Jail.

For full event listings and tickets, check out their website.

Photo by Chris Zacchia. For photos from previous GAYBASH events, check out our Facebook photo gallery.

What do a dancing techno robot, an abject mustache salesman and a kidnapped actress all have in common?

Well…not really that much. Except they are all part of the collective of strange personalities found at New Faces of Comedy set.

The Mainline Theatre hosted this show for Zoofest, and let me tell you, it was full of nonstop laughs! Many of comics acted like masters of character sketching…and if this is any indication about the new age of comedy, then the Mayans would have to agree – It’s going to be a very, very funny thirty thousand years!

Sponsored by the website collegehumor, the show is characterized as non-stop weird comedy adventure through the minds and personalities created by these new comics.


I sat there, part of the rows of chairs surrounding the stage, amazed at how fluid the show was and how easily the comics moved through different personality traits and ticks at the flip of a coin. And let me tell you, many of these personalities had some serious ticks!

The New Faces of Comedy Charcter show was kind of watching Saturday Night live – which was pretty cool. The audience was in on the fun with rapid non-stop assaults of laughter, during which I almost cracked a rib.

There was never a pause long enough to give the audience a little time to catch their breath. I was at times finding myself on the verge of tears. Even a few times, I was caught by my companions side glance, picking a tear drop off my cheek.

In between acts, the Comics, as some deranged or abject characters, appeared before our eyes.

There were a few performers that had pre-taped audible tracks that introduce tracks, but some, like the dejected mustache salesman (Tim Ballz), whose dyspeptic state slipped through his pitch from time to time, only relied on their monologues.

The show started with an awesome performance by Tim Ballz, whose characters had the crowd hurting with laughter. Especially his mustache salesman and the doctor telling the patient that he/she has tested positive for every disease known and unknown to man.

Tim ballz was definitely one of the highlights, but was followed by the incredible Rebecca Bloom, who played a traumatized kidnapped actress.

Her character tried to put on a performance to show off her talents to the audience, but really she only showed off her repressed trauma, provoking a hint of uncomfortable laughter.

Here’s a list of other comics I saw that night who put on outstanding performances:


Sam Richardson
Playing his uncle who likes to eat chips, taking a McDonald’s filet au fish and 2 liter bottle of cola out of large chip bag while giving life advice, Sam’s set was pretty funny experience. Let this be a lesson to you: be careful who you take advice from!  Also his impression of an African family man taking his children for night out at the movies was excellent.

Griffin Newman
Griffin Newman played the bar mitzvah boy. At first it was hard to digest, but as it went on it got heavy on the Jewish puns and pretty funny

Lauren Lampkus
Being the cute girl of the group, she was able to throw the audience off by how erratically comically spontaneous she was during her performance. She was the funniest stripper I have ever seen, giving one audience member a gyrating paroxysm of a lap dance he will never forget.

Natasha Rothwell
Her call in “knickers” sketch was just too much. At times I felt a little uncomfortable by the repetition of this word by a lady trying to sell “knickers” on television to fund-raise for the Republican Party.

Tony Cavalero
Tony played a versatile lot of weird characters. The techno-robot, being one of my favorites. however the gay Confederate general supporting his troops was comical beyond belief.

Greg Worswick
Views on dating were extreme, but as he demonstrated while gyrating, they might actually work.

This was one of  the best showcases I saw by far at Zoofest. It was fun to be there and the Mainline was an excellent setting for comedy. I like how most comics were thrown off guard by facing an audience on three sides which i quite enjoyed as it added intimacy to the whole production.


Young Lungs

Young Lungs
Young Lungs – Photo by Chris Zacchia

I am presently writing from Hamburg, Germany where I’m spending my holidays discovering bands and venues and drinking a whole lotta beer. Right before leaving on a jet plane (more like 3 planes with a helluva long layover), I got the chance to catch one of my new favourite Montreal bands: Young Lungs. That night the St. Ambroise Center was host to four bands who delivered rockin’ tunes on a hot summer’s night: ELK, Kurvi Tasch, Young Lungs, and Year of Glad.

The St. Ambroise Center is a nice cozy venue where I’d seen songwriter circles and workshops in the past. Given the difference in decibel levels,  I was worried that these bands might find their sound drowned out or distorted like crazy by the dimensions of the space. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Center was rad for bands with a complex sound and actually gave some songs an interesting texture. The delicious McAuslan brews were also a great part of the evening and I treated myself to a few. The lighting, which was great for concealing my awkward dance moves, was not great for photographs and so apologies for the lack of photos.

The first band to play was Elk, a four piece from Toronto and the Niagara Region. They are Michael Price (guitar, vox), Kyle Connolly (guitar vox), Benjamin Pokol (bass, vox), and Josh Korody (drums, vox).  As they began to play, projections of random and out of context clips were projected behind the band (and on the drummer). These dudes delivered what can be described as a spin on a 60’s garage band. Their set was quite fun and had me up and dancing despite my exhaustion and emo predisposition: they got a smile on my face and a twist in my hips. It’s hard to find comparisons for their sound but I’d say a hodge-podge of The Kinks, The Who, and some new spin on the Mod sound.

Kurvi Tasch was up next and they are a three piece who refer to their music as ”rock pop post-apocalyptic sludge”. This totally fits with the bizarre video projections accompanying their tunes. These projections, which were trippy and great for creating a dystopian mood, were also kinda distracting from the music at times – especially when a naked woman shot fireworks out of her boobs.

Back to the band: From what I heard of their set, which was all of it, I got the impression they were going for some sort of retro vibe, not a very difficult observation but nonetheless. From their Facebook page, I’d refine that statement to ‘post-retro’. I’m not sure what post-retro is, but whatever it is it sounds good. Kudos. Their set wasn’t as conducive to dancing as Elk but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their sound got tighter with each song and I’d definitely like to see where it goes in the next few years.

Young Lungs-
Young Lungs- photo Chris Zacchia

This was my second time hearing Young Lungs rock out and I was not disappointed in the least. Young Lungs were by far my favourite part of the night, making me wanna pick up my brand new electric guitar and jam till dawn. For a three piece, their sound is full and contagious. Gervais Robinson (drums, vox), Guillaume Carroll (bass, vox), and Justin Ross (guitar, vox) delivered a high energy, no-holds-barred set. Their three voices, performance style, and ‘power through’ percussions give them that sumthin’ sumthin’.

Watch for a video interview with these crazy dudes coming out in the next few days on FTB.

Full disclosure, I didn’t stay till the end of the show. I know, I know, very unprofessional. But I had some goodbyes to give to some loved ones and was all rocked out for the evening. Not a good enough excuse, I know. Year of Glad, I.O.U. You can check out their stuff at

Esmeralda at ARENA

Lady Josephine as a Centaur
Lady Josephine as a Centaur

Last Friday I was transported back to 8th century BC when some of Montreal’s burlesque beauties took the stage as Ancient Rome’s most desirable (and devious) personas. Cirquantique, Montreal’s newest burlesque and circus company, presented its premiere show ARENA at the gorgeous Bain Mathieu. Combining both burlesque and circus acts in the spirit of Ancient Rome, ARENA was sexy, seductive and above all, a spectacular show.

The audience was greeted with lavish set design, including four large roman-looking statues that stood on each side of the stage, while the Montreal-based band Street Meat played in nothing but their togas as people filed in and mingled beforehand. Then, a few beautiful ladies in crisp white goddess dresses emerged from below carrying tray after tray of roman-inspired appetizers. Not a single table was left bare. I snacked on grapes, olives, brie, baguette, dates and nuts while watching (er, listening to) half naked men play music—and the show hadn’t even started yet! Off to a good start.

Lady Josephine opened the act with a sexy hilarious act in true Josephine style. No, the tall blonde beauty did not embody the spirit of a love goddess, a seductive siren, or even a sprightly river nymph; instead, she ambled on stage as a gangly centaur, in a costume that included hind legs and a robust rump. Lady Josephine is one of my favourite burlesque performers on the scene right now; she’s captivating to watch and her acts are always intelligent, hilarious, sexy and original.

Sucre a la creme
Sucre a La Creme

Another performer whose creativity and wit result in sexy, hilarious acts is the drool-worthy dish, Sucre A La Crème. Gracing the stage as a sculpture of a beautiful roman goddess, she came to life on a rotating pedestal and chiseled off her pasties for some titillating humor.

Miss Bloody Mary Anne wasn’t the only one to get a little wet after she performed her erotic roman bath act. Playing a captured concubine who decides to embrace her captor’s lavish lifestyle, she splashed around and stripped off her toga beneath a steady stream of water, before completing her cleanse with an oil rub down.

Two of Montreal’s burlesque-scene vanguard, Miss Sugarpuss and Bon Bon Bombay, were part of the show’s stellar roster. In a hilariously dramatic act, Miss Sugarpuss played a she-wolf who fights off a hooded intruder, while Bon Bon Bombay closed the show in a soft and sensual act as Aphrodite.

Lili & Titoo at Arena
Lili & Katoo

From the circus side of things, Lili and Katoo were total show-stoppers. These two women showed off their incredible acrobatic strength, in a performance that appeared effortless and graceful.  Dressed as gladiators, they used the trapeze and their own body strength to create a truly awe-inspiring performance. Aerial rope climbers Natalie and Jon performed a breathtakingly beautiful act in perfect unison, one of the most stunning acts of the evening.

Esmeralda at ARENA
Esmeralda at ARENA

The multitalented Esmeralda impressed everyone with the newest trick up her sleeve. I’ve seen the dark haired beauty perform hoops and burlesque, but she upped the ante Friday night with her sexy pyro act. Before seductively dragging a flaming wand across her bare arms and legs, she tilted her head back, opened her mouth, and wrapped her lips around a ball of fire.

Miss Bloody Mary Ann
Miss Bloody Mary Ann being doused in Olive Oil

Montreal has always had a hot burlesque scene, and it just keeps heating up; Cirquantique’s first show was smouldering—can’t wait to see what it produces next!

Photos: Chris Zacchia

Miss Sugarpuss
Miss Sugarpuss


Bon Bon Bombay
Bon Bon Bombay

The Flaming Lips

After missing the past few years of Osheaga, I happily accepted the offer to cover the festival’s closing day. Reportedly, the attendance for the weekend topped 80,000, an impressive feat given that the festival is only in its sixth year. It certainly has grown since 2006, adding an extra day and a Piknik Electronic stage to further the exciting, diverse roster of local and international talent.

The Sheepdogs

Photographer extraordinaire Chris Zacchia and I arrived just in time to catch the end of the Sheepdogs’ set. The hard working four-piece from Saskatoon deem themselves rock revivalists, drawing from the classic Southern sound of bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Allman Brothers Band, and giving it a modern spin on tracks like “I Don’t Know” and “Please Don’t Lead Me On.” Expect big things from these boys in the future: they just landed their bearded mugs on the cover of a little magazine called Rolling Stone after winning a contest to find the best unsigned band in North America. Check out ForgetTheBox’s exclusive interview with singer Ewan Currie!

For the rest of the day, we bounced between the main stages and the smaller stages, soaking up the blissful sunshine, which even received a tribute from American rockers The Eels, covering Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime”.

No matter where we were, the quality and range of the music was impressive. Not only did the bands I went to see deliver, I was also introduced to a number of other interesting sounds like the melodic harmonies of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and the darkly magnificent rock of White Lies.

The Pains of Being True at Heart

As with nearly any major outdoor event, rampant corporate sponsorship permeated the site, causing the singer from Scottish band Frightened Rabbit to ponder, “why the fuck is it Budweiser?” An interesting question, given the myriad of local and Canadian brews who could have been wetting the whistles of the thirsty party-goers.

A cloud of smoke wafted above the crowd as Cypress Hill took the stage at 4:20, banging out a selection of timeless stoner classics and crafty new cuts. Beirut proved that accordions have a place outside Weird Al albums and Polish weddings, and Crystal Castles crammed the Green Stage with a sea of pumping fists and clapping hands.

A straw hat-clad Gord Downie and company further cemented their place in the Canadian rock canon by proving that they belonged amongst acts with members who probably weren’t even born yet when the Hip started playing together. The highlight of their hits-driven set included an incendiary mash-up of “New Orleans is Sinking” and “Nautical Disaster.”


However, all of this was just the warm-up for the mind-blowing journey we would take with day’s headliners, The Flaming Lips. In town for the Just for Laughs festival, roast master extraordinaire Jeffery Ross took the stage and asked “Are you ready to go to another fucking universe?”

While their recorded music is always top notch in featuring layered strings and synths paired with silly yet poignant lyrics, where the Lips really shine is their live show… or should I say psychedelic wonderland which includes rainbow confetti, oversized multicolored balloons, giant hands that shoot green lasers, costumed dancers, and powerful strobe lights. To top it all off is lead singer Wayne Coyne’s infamous “space bubble,” a human-sized hamster ball that he walks triumphantly above the crowd in, allowing his fans close enough to see the puckish grin on his face.

All these gimmicks aside, Coyne has an incredible stage presence where he puts every ounce of joy, and in the case of Sunday’s set, melancholy into every moment of the performance. For Sunday’s performance, they played their 1999 masterpiece ‘The Soft Bulletin’ end-to-end, with Coyne musing on the emotional task of reflecting on about overcoming the inescapable sadness of the inevitability of death, reflected in the lyrics. During an emotional rendering of “Waiting for Superman,” the mic cam captured tears in Coyne’s eyes.

Instead of dwelling in that sadness, the Lips and crew celebrate joy with their live performances. At the end of their set, Coyne called a young man and woman out from the pack of Wizard of Oz-themed dancers, and married the two of them right there at the front of the stage, proclaiming: “By the power of the Flaming Lips, the power of the universe, the power of Montreal and the power of LSD, I now pronounce you man and wife.” They followed this up with a most jubilant rendition of one of their most well-loved songs, “Do You Realize?”

It was a perfect ending to a perfect day, and I can’t wait to see what the Osheaga planning team has up their sleeves for next year!

Photo courtesy of Simone Rochon

Isn’t it just about that time where everyone feels like getting out of the city? Look no further than Les Territoires’s exhibit Ascension for a beautiful visual and mental escape. The exhibit is set to open at the gallery this Thursday and will feature drawings of untouched landscapes and the artist’s impressive large-scale reconstruction of a mountain out of polystyrene.

Being the centerpiece of the exhibit, the mountain is an accurate depiction of Rochon’s world view in which her artistic output is inextricably tied up with the desire to recreate natural beauty and the inescapable need (at times) for using synthetic materials to reach new creative heights. While fully acknowledging the contradiction in using light-weight synthetic material to represent a landscape, Rochon aims to illustrate the longing for the natural while grounded in urban surroundings and materials.

See you at the vernissage Thursday August 11  starting at 6pm to view what Les Territoires describes as a “phantasmagoric” season debut!

Ascension @ 6pm, Les Territoires Gallery (372 St. Catherine W. suite 527, metro Place-des-Arts).

For those of you who don’t know, Papirmasse is locally run art collective run by Kirsten McCrea. The goal of the collective is to bring unique and affordable art to the masses. Papirmasse is also heavily involved in the Montreal art community as we have showcased with their appearances at Puces POP and Montreal Nuit Blanche.

Papirmasse’s mission being to bring cheap art to everyone operates a subscription service that for 5$/month delivers a new and unique piece of art by a local artist directly to your door. The program has feature great artists such as: JP King, Jeff Kulak, Chloé Beaulac, Matt Hovey, Alan Ganev, David Orfé, Kirsten McCrea as well as many others. Their latest project (and the plan for the summer) is a special “Post Cards” issue. Papirmasse is calling for submissions from you! Below is the official call out from the Papirmasse website, take a look and send in your postcard!

What did you do on your Summer Vacation? POST CARD Art Contest!

Deadline: postmarked July 31 2011

Papirmasse is putting out a postcard issue to celebrate the summer! We want your laziest, tawdriest, sexiest, slummingest, most adventurous summer stories and images. Did you climb a mountain? Throw up at a wedding reception? Win a national election? Whatever the case may be real or fictional we want to see it.

You can submit either a short story (max. 300 words) or a visual image. Read on for details!

How to submit:

This is a postcard issue, and we want you to submit by mailing us a postcard!

Artists: mail us a 5.25 x 7.25 inch postcard that visually addresses the theme of what you did on your summer vacation. Don’t worry about making it too literal we like a little imagination. On the back please include your full name, website (if you have one), mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Writers: send us a story on a 5.25 x 7.25 inch postcard, max 300 words. It can be either typed or handwritten, and all forms of writing are accepted. On the back please include your full name, website (if you have one), mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Please note that the final print size will be 5×7 inches.

Send entries to:


372 Ste Catherine Ouest, Suite 408
Montreal, Quebec H3B 1A2


c/o Kasini House
PO Box 1025
Burlington, Vermont 05402

We will select the top 10 submissions and print them as our September issue!

And now for the good stuff:


All selected contributors will receive a free postcard pack and will have their art distributed to hundreds of people all over the world.

1st Place will also get a free subscription to Papirmasse and a 2009 folio!

2nd Place will also get a free subscription to Papirmasse

3rd Place will get a free 2009 folio

Mail art your heart out and tell us how you spent your summer!

Deadline: postmarked July 31 2011

For more information please contact Kirsten McCrea at

Please note that entries will not be returned and that by submitting you grant Papirmasse the right to reproduce your work in physical and digital format. All reproductions will be credited to the artist via the name submitted on the application.

As a dog person, I wondered why I was face to face with a cat which, according to the ribbons pinned on its ten foot long, state-of-the-art, clear plastic living environment, was an “International Winner” and “Supreme Grand Alter”.

The prestige of its titles and glamour of its home came off as rather comical, since the award-winning competitor was attempting to escape right in front of me. It stared at me hopelessly, begging to be freed, while incessantly swiping and clawing at its plastic enclosure. I could feel its pain, and I wanted to help it in its conquest — but I couldn’t (due to the padlocks on the zipper).

Proud letters identified this breed as a Selkirk Rex (fun fact courtesy of The Ultimate Cat Book: “not taken seriously until 1950”), and below read what first appeared to be the title of a documentary concerning the dramatic tales of Mel Gibson’s career: “Dramatails Lethal Weapon”. It was, in fact, the unfortunate name of the little guy.

Thankfully, Dramatails Lethal Weapon had the wherewithal to fashion a sign below his name relieving the observer of any potentially awkward exchanges and confirming his Mel Gibson fan status: “…but you can just call me ‘Mel’!”

Dramatails — or Mel…I guess — was one of close to a hundred cats on display at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds for the Commencement Cat Club’s 2011 cat show. This year’s theme: the Roaring Twenties, even if the only clear example of this was one cat wearing a red flapper dress, though the intent was questionable.

Even amidst all the razzle-dazzle, my interest waned, causing me to instead peruse the free book exchange which hosted an odd, yet fitting mixture of cat books and erotic fiction (e.g. How to Tame Your Pussy).

Admittedly, the constant competitions, occurring at a rate of dozens per hour, engaged me slightly more than the literature. I sat in a seven person crowd awaiting the judge’s decision on Best of Breed for the Maine Coon, or Coon Man to the purists (Fun Fact courtesy of The Ultimate Cat Book: “Winner of the Madison Square Garden Show of 1895”). Behind the judge, Coon Men were placed in cages to await their turn to be inspected.

The little creatures were a sad sight, trapped and unaware why they were imprisoned. All five “contestants” handled the unfamiliar cages much like shroomers would: either by frantically ripping at the bars or just chilling in the corner, staring into space with wide eyes.

One by one, the judge would remove them and examine them on the table. The cats could not have appeared more unwilling to participate, impatiently waiting for the rub down to end while half-heartedly attempting to launch themselves into salvation off the table’s edge.

This was all too much for me, because in the end, cats aren’t my scene — they just don’t give a fuck. I mean, I probably wouldn’t either if I was relegated to the rather demoralizing role of filling the void in a spinster’s heart by stepping in as a self-cleaning alternative to a husband.

I wanted to love it, but the clear frustration and lack of enthusiasm coming from the subjects made for an awkward show. As one of the few lonely souls not presenting a cat, I was seen as an outsider — a situation not helped by my poorly-timed outbursts of laughter, and being the only person in the 15-45 age group.

But my experience did end with a proper farewell. It was from a woman in a denim jacket featuring a spray-painted tag on the back immortalizing Xanade, the Black Persian in her arms. She stopped her brisk pace for one second to acknowledge me with eye contact (simultaneously with Xanade, naturally), high off a Best of Colour placing, and boasted, “That’s my chunky monkey, winning it all!”

And then off she went, becoming one with a sea of cat-ladies.


Not Without My Cat Image from

“Brownies” image

Sometimes intentions get shot to shit. What was supposedly a bi-daily article on the Infringement Festival quickly became derailed as the momentum swept us all up and threw us down a flight of stairs. But alas, it was my fault. I seriously underestimated Infringement’s power to bend somebody’s life around it for the duration of 10 days. Ah yes, it has been an interesting and frequently hypnotizing event, and as it draws to a close this weekend, I’m left with a sore liver and a headful of craziness.

Opening weekend came to a dramatic and controversial boil as Infringement went mano-a-mano with the Fringe’s appropriation of Parc Des Amériques. It was a nasty scene with bad vibes abounding, and the inherent political undertones are edging me towards silence on the whole affair. Not because I dislike argument, but because I just don’t feel like stepping into that particular pile of shit right now. I’m fresh off the boat and wearing fresh shoes.

Right before the much talked about (talked is putting it nicely) shenanigans between the two festivals, I took a stroll down an alleyway. Not any alleyway, mind you; the Dumpster Dive Art Drive had moved in for the afternoon. The goal: converting a seemingly innocuous alleyway into a provocative art gallery.

Everyone was in great spirits. Wine flowed, and even the artistically inept among us found inspiration in the assorted melange of waste. It was fascinating as people on their leisurely Sunday meanderings unexpectedly and unwittingly found themselves in a surreal gallery. If you missed it and are intrigued, as you should be, a second Dumpster Dive Art Drive is taking place on the final day of Infringement, Sunday the 26th.

The 21st and 22nd saw me in a rather more serious mood as documentaries around the theme of cultural resistance were shown. First, I saw some shorts, including explanatory pieces on culture jamming and a heart-breaking 20 minute film,  Remembering Bagua, which examined the violent conflict in Peru that took place in June 2009. For the most part, I was genuinely surprised to see this story unfold – a  testament to the truth of it being a criminally under-reported event.

The following evening I went to a screening of Into the Fire, which looked at the G-20 riots in Toronto and the suspicious and despicable activities of authoritarian figures over those few days. It was a disturbing piece and portrayed the closest thing to a dystopian Orwellian police state that I have seen. It’s an important film and should be spread and shown to as many people as possible. There is tremendous power, after all, in directing the world’s line of sight.

Next up was a vernissage in the impressive Xpression gallery. Organized and executed by artist Christine Rigby, the event was extremely successful. Free booze (for a small donation of course) lubricated our artistic appreciation. The art itself was impressively eclectic and professional, and all agreed that it was a beautiful exhibition.

And so, having had a rather respectably cultured couple of days, I checked my schedule and saddled up for a debauched end-of-week music orgy. Interested?

Don’t go too far honey, I’ll be right back.


Photos from Infringement facebook page.