This week I feel sexy in…

Fringe Festival Green!

Admittedly, I’m not usually big on t-shirts in summertime, but this baby comes with status!  This is the first time in four years that I taken part in an Ottawa Fringe production. I knew that was the right decision, but I also knew that if I wasn’t involved with the festival in some capacity, I would have the sad.

Those of you who have attended  Ottawa Fringe know that the whole operation would pretty much crumble if not for the crack team of volunteers who make sure that tickets get sold, artists are paid and the courtyard remains a hip-happening good time.  They’re a supremely cool gang and I aspire to be supremely cool…if only by association.  I decided to enlist and join the volunteer ranks.

Am I ever glad I did. Yesterday was my first-ever shift working box-office at one of the venues. I had a blast! The work (with mostly involved processing tickets) was delightfully low-pressure. My favourite part was chatting with patrons as the purchased their tickets, hearing their recommendations for shows they’d loved…and rantings about shows they did not.

I also enjoyed prancing around in my t-shirt, which as you can see says I’m straight up legit.

 

But with a big t-shirt comes big responsibility. It is forbidden to wear the volunteer t-shirt on Fringe premises when off-duty, lest one become mad with power. One may not consume alcohol or drugs while dressed in volunteer green. Whatevs. I’m high on handing on tickets and hanging out at the uber-exclusive Volunteer Headquarters AND the fact that my shirt is so big…I don’t need pants!

 

Speaking of no pants, those of you who aren’t Fringing tomorrow night should come out to Babylon for the biggest Burlesque party of the year. That’s right, tomorrow is the Fifth No Pants Dance Party.  I’ll be on stage with my fellow Lily Ladies, dropping my drawers – and most of my other garments – for one hell of a good time!  More details can be found here or on the cheeky poster below!

 

DANCE SHOW!

I’ll tell you what’s hot – the weather!

*Snare drum*

My sympathies to those of you who are sweltering in this heat wave. Personally, I live for weather like this! I’m toasty warm and having the time of my life at Fringe.

I always had it in my mind that I would do a blog review or two during the festival. Once I start Fringing it’s hard for me focus on anything else so I figured if I wrote about “sexy” shows, thus combining my mandate as a sex blogger with annual Fringe obsession.

Prior to the festival, I’d pegged one or two shows that seemed to fit the bill. But now that I’m the thick of it, it seems this whole dang festival’s gone straight up sexy.  Even sweet, lovely Vernus has got some fire in the old loins! Here’s a little taste of what’s hot at this year’s Ottawa Fringe.

2020

In an earlier post, I confessed that I had a big, fat bias because of my big, fat love for playwright J.P. Chartier.

I LOVE YOU J.P!

2020 is set in eponymous year 2020. Doctor assisted suicide is legal and pair of brilliant scientists have developed a method of extracting a lifetime’s worth of  memories, thoughts and secrets from a patient seconds before they die.

As a person, J.P. is the living embodiment of optimism and joy. His script on the other hand, has a dark undertone. I’m always impressed with people who can tap into other parts of their psyche through their art.

Also? Dude can write some monologues! I can’t have a character speak more than four consecutive sentences before the whole thing falls apart. That’s why my playwriting is all banter all time time. But 2020 has some pretty rad speechifying. I was super impressed.

2020 also has some very intriguing ideas about marriage, infidelity, secrecy, death and the ethics around what is very literally intellectual property. It’s ambitious – perhaps a bit overly ambitious for a script confined to 60 minutes time slot. I hope J.P. continues working on the show. In a non-Fringe forum, he could expand the script and give his concept the room it needs to grow.

But solid performances, some neat AV effects, hot make-out scenes and some good old fashioned nudity make 2020 a worthwhile Fringe endeavour!  Catch the final performance at The Arts Court Theatre this Saturday at 10 p.m!

Dead Wrong

Oddly enough, I wish this particular piece of theatre had been less…well…theatrical. But that’s only because Katherine Glover excels at both writing and storytelling. Seriously, girlfriend is riveting. The lighting cues, costume changes were all (minor) distractions from the only thing I wanted – to listen to Katherine’s fictional interpretation of gripping and tragic real life stories.

Dead Wrong is the story of Megan Shephard, a woman who survives a brutal physical and sexual assault. After a harrowing trial which results in her rapist’s conviction, Megan is still left with the harrowing task of rebuilding her life. But just as Megan begins to find peace, new information surfaces, indicating she may have accused the wrong person.

There’s nothing erotic or pleasant about this one. It’s a deft script that manages to explore a survivor’s trauma, the psychology of memory, racism and the failings of the legal system. It’s thought-provoking, moving…and pretty disturbing. While my issues with the production elements are minor quibbles, my one major criticism is that there is no trigger warning in the Fringe program or the one I was given at the show. I was given the heads up through word of mouth and Twitter but I think a formal warning in print would be most appreciated.

Dead Wrong has one more performance this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Academic Hall. It’s definitely worth seeing. Consider your emotional safety if you do.

Heterollectual

DANCE SHOW!

I LOVE dance!  There are people in this world who can twist and twirl and leap and lunge and not fall ass-over-tea kettle and that is AMAZING to me!  I wish I were a dancer. I probably could have been a dancer if not for that thing where I’m an un-coordinated lunatic.

When I saw the video preview of Heterollectual and realized it was a DANCE SHOW, it went straight to the top of my must-see-list. Dance makes it good. I could even get on board with the Twighlight series if it had a dance number!

Heterollectual is a bit like this blog. It’s about sex, love and relationships…but better because it’s a DANCE SHOW! Admittedly, the first ten minutes or so were a little unsettling for me. The movement was more subtle and subdued. Not at all the boogie-fest I was expecting But then…

They fully went for it! The six performers from Pollux Dance went balls to the wall for 45 solid minutes of DANCE SHOW epicness! These people are brilliant and gorgeous and HOLY CRAP, ALL THE WORDS FOR GOOD!

The dance is punctuated by recordings of people musing about their experiences with love, sex and heartbreak. There are funny bits, weird parts and heart tugging moments. Also, mannequins. Towards the end of the show, the dancers themselves have a few lines of dialogue. Some people have told me they found the sudden change in protocol jarring or baffling. I personally didn’t care. These people can do whatever they want because ZOMG, DANCE SHOW!!!

A quick aside  for choreographer, Leslie-Ann Glen. It was a pleasure meeting you in the Courtyard yesterday. I wanted to speak with you but you made a DANCE SHOW  and are therefore eleventy times cooler than me. I let my intimidation get the better of me.

Heterollectual a.k.a DANCE SHOW has one more performance this Sunday at 5:30 in Arts Court Theatre.  Now on to the next review. I need to wrap this up so I can watch the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

Little Lady

I have to admit clown/physical theatre isn’t my favourite medium. I’ve got a bit of a lazy brain that tends to prefer straight up narrative to interpretive storytelling. So while I didn’t love Little Lady, that isn’t due to any flaw in the show  – just my own personal preferences.

Sandrine Lafond has a body that won’t quit. And I’m not talking about her appearance (although she is cute as all get out). I’m taking about her exceptional physical control. She spends most of the 45 minute performance with in grotesque but impressive contortions. That in and of itself made Little Lady worth my time.

The story (I think) is about a Little Lady who growth into a full grown woman is affect not only by the biological changes in her body but by the influences of external imagery, social expectations and pressure. The results are sometimes painful and at other times delightful. Like I said, I *think* that was the story. The play itself is highly abstract, so I had to go away and think about it for a day before I settled on an interpretation.

Hmm…a show that made me think. That’s probably not a bad thing, is it?

Fringe veteran Brian Carroll asked me if I thought Little Lady was an appropriate show for pre-adolescent girls. I do. The form might be a jarring, especially for youth who haven’t seen a lot of theatre. But Sandrine Lafond is very engaging and the show isn’t long. At the very least Little Lady would be a new, interesting experience for a young person. At best it could provoke some valuable discussion about puberty, femininity and body image.

You still have three opportunities to see little lady at The Arts Court Library, Friday at 8:30, Saturday at 9:00 and Sunday at 4:30. (Pro tip. Come early. Sit up front.)

Vernus Says Surprise

Still the best thing ever. I now find very old men sexy. Writer/performer Ken Godmere is a genius. Director Tania Levy is a master.

Vernus Says Surprise has three more performance at Studio Leonard Beaulne, Friday at 10:00, Saturday at 5:00 and Sunday at 1:30. Go see it. If you don’t, I will weep for your loss.

You may be thinking, ‘A courtyard – you’re crazy! That isn’t sexy. It’s just an open space partial or completely enclosed by walls or buildings. Stop talking crazy!’

I feel where you’re coming from, but this ain’t your grandmother’s medieval castle, cobble-stoned, fountain-feature courtyard. This is the Ottawa Fringe Courtyard – a mecca of food, drink and sexually charged energy that only happens for ten days every year!

Please don’t misunderstand me. There are no orgies nor are there and overabundance of sloppy pubic make-outs*.  But there’s something. People hug more, smile more and look at one another with sultry appreciation. The writers, directors, performers and producers are alight with creative energy.

Also? There’s booze. Thus far I’ve been driving and therefore, not drinking but even without the social lubricant of alcohol I’ve been feeling the Courtyard high and enjoying myself immensely. With so many people I like (and like like) milling about, I’ve been having an awfully good time between shows – while honouring all the agreed upon boundaries of my marriage, of course.

In fact, what I enjoy most are the conversations. Take last night for example.  I spent several hours indulging my socially promiscuous side with Wayne, Jan, Stylin’ Jes and Gametes and Gonads wunderkind Jeff Leard. Topics of conversation included:

Boobs!

Where to buy a life-size condom suit. (The answer is eBay!)

My Fringe crush on Vernus superstar Ken Godmere.

Boobs!

My general crush on Fringe CEO Natalie Joy Quesnel.

The yays and nays of open relationships.

Post-coital neuroses.

Stylin’ Jes and her hawtness.

Men who look mighty fine in a pair women’s pants.

Wayne and his hawtness.

The effect of pubic grooming as it relates to oral sex.

Also? Boobs!

Breasts and flirting are by no means mandatory in the Courtyard. But my friends’ conversation is indicative of the general relaxed, feel-good attitude that epitomizes the Courtyard experience.  The combination of good people, good food and a whole lot of theatre coalesce in a perfect blend of summer bliss.  It’s a mighty good feeling!

So if you’re in my neck of the wood, come on down to open space partially enclosed by the walls of Arts’ Court. There are no cobblestones or fountains, but there is one hell of a good time!

 

After a romantic, food and wine-filled weekend trip to Niagara Falls, I’m back in Ottawa and ready to get my Fringe on! After unpacking (read: throwing my travel bag in a corner) and getting the house in order (read: throwing a stack of mail in a corner), I kissed my family good-bye and set off for The Courtyard a.k.a Fringe central!

While I’m behind the pack in terms of the number of shows I’ve seen, diving into the Fringe fray on day 5 has it’s advantages. There are 52 shows playing at this year’s festival. That’s far more theatre I can handle (though thanks to The Man of Man’s and his mad skillz of Fringe programming, it *is* possible for the hard core amongst you to pull it off!) I need to pare down my options to a more manageable selection and happily my pals who have been fringing since day one, were eager to tip me off to what’s hot and sexy at this year’s festival!

Gametes and Gonads

My friends Gord and Tracy were emphatic about the high quality laughs in this one-man show about the epic life and death struggle of sperm and ova. My pals talked this one up to the hills, but I was like, “Guys, you had me at ‘it’s takes place inside the uterus’.

2020

Disclosure: I’ve worked with 2020‘s author, J.P. Chartier on two of my own plays. Further disclosure: J.P. is one of my favourite people. Yet more disclosure: He touched my boobs. Additional disclosure: I liked it.  So, yes, I may have a bias, but friends and critics who’ve praised J.P’s futuristic drama about assisted suicide are not. Is a play about suicide sexy? When it features Mr. Chartier in all his full-frontal naked glory – you bet your sweet bippy it is!

Heterollectual

It is virtually guaranteed that if there is dancing, I will like it.  Kevin “Visitorium” Reid tried raving to me about the extraordinary talents of Pollux dance and the beauty of their show about love, lust and other heartfelt things, but I was like, “You had me at sexy dancers doing sexy dances about sex.”

Dead Wrong

Dead Wrong doesn’t have a trigger warning. I’ve been told that it should. Word around Fringe is that Dead Wrong is an affecting, disturbing and extremely well-told story about a woman who survives a sexual assault and testifies against her rapist, only to discovered she may have accused the wrong person. Katherine Glover has been given high praise for both her performance and her script. I’m inclined to give this one a try – though I may have to bring a friend for emotional support.

Bonus Straight From The Horse’s Mouth Personal Recommendation

I did get to see one show last night. Vernus Says Surprise! is a sweet, simple story about a sweet, simple old man. And, peeps, I absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve had the privilege of working with writer/performer Ken Godmere in the past, so I knew this would be good.  I expect to laugh. I did not expect I would gasp, groan, squeal with delight, fist pump, cheer or dissolve into wordless tears at the end. But I did. I highly, HIGHLY recommend that my local peeps go see Vernus Says Surprise!  Meanwhile those of you in Regina, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton get ready…’cause Vernus is coming to town!

 

 

 

I'm turned on already!

Did you know that Ottawa Fringe has a repuation for being the sexiest festival on the Canadian Fringe circuit? Not only does the Ottawa Fringe Festival generate %100 box office revenues for participating artists, but local economists estimate that the arousing nature of this particular event generates over 5.2 billion* dollars for our cities condom, vibrator and lube industries.

The Ottawa Fringe was my impetus for launching this blog, almost three years ago, so it only seems fitting to take this baby back to her roots. This week I’ll be bringing you the hottest, most sultry, most scintallating news from the festival! Check back daily for tantalizing beer-tent fashions and my 2012 Fringe crushes! I’ve also hooked up with  Ottawa’s sexiest theatre blogger, Kevin “Visitorium” Reid to bring you reviews of the Fringe’s most saucy offerings!

So stay tuned, peeps! We’re taking it to the Fringe!

* Estimate based on author’s anecdotal perception of sexiness
 

Summer is coming.

YES IT IS!

I know Ottawa’s been chilly and grey and I’ve been forced back into my winter jackets. Yes, I saw the SNOW Monday morning. I don’t care! I’ve lived in this city long enough to know that there’s always one last gasp of wintry weather before soaring temperatures and sunny skies banish the blustery, cold bravado once and for all.

These grey clouds won’t dampen my optimism. May is but a few days away. I saw tulips in the park! THE TIME IS AT HAND!

Almost-summer is when I usually start gearing up for the Ottawa Fringe Festival. This year I decided not to submit a production, opting instead for a slightly more relaxed start to the season. My shrink says it’s important to take a break every now and then, which is true. But after four years, I’ve come to expect a surge of activity around now and I find I’m jonesing for some kind of new project.

Fortunately, I may have found just the thing.

Recently, my friend Ruthanne and I were discussing the fact that while we’re pretty passionate feminist, we haven’t actually read a ton of feminist literature. Without the demands of a show to prepare for, now might be the perfect time to rectify that situation. My first impulse was to dive into the hard-core canon and get all up in the Friedan and DeBeauvoir. Then I remembered that I suck at dense intellectual lit. The fatigue associated with being a working parent has compromised my reading comprehension. Plus, I have a bad habit of being distracted by shiny things.

But I do like to read, especially in bed and it’s a practice I’d like to rekindle. After doing some browsing online and looking through some of my old “To Read” lists, I put together a list of feminist-focused titles that are meaty enough to raise my girl-power cred, but light enough to be digested by my work/parenting addled-brain. So this summer (IT IS NIGH), imma be boning up on my fem-lit. Here is:

My Fabulous Feminist Summer Reading List

And…in case in case all the easy summer reading leaves me blissfully un-agitated, I’ve added this highly rated anti-feminist selection:

In the interests of getting gold stars from my therapists I’ve no goal other than “read whichever of these books I want”. But I will blog about what I do read, and let you know what I thought.

Also? I do have one other project in the works, but I’ll tell you more about that on May 1st. Stay tuned!

Do you have a favourite feminist author? What are you reading and doing this summer? Are you excited for the warm weather (any day now) or are you sad to see winter go?