Listening for the Chord Changes

Yesterday was fun!

I dropped in on Dean at O’Neill High School and gave his class an impromptu lecture on the film industry in Toronto.  I already knew most of the class, and it felt great beyond words to see them all again.  I talked for half an hour and then we set out to read an episode of ‘Hog Town’.

At this moment, the 6th period guest speaker had arrived.  Krystal was there to pitch the class on attending the Vancouver Art Institute.  She came early so I gave her one of the roles.  She was more than game, though slightly nervous.  I warned the class beforehand that there’d be some f-bombs dropping, and Krystal had ‘em all.

“Welcome to Joe’s Condoms, Vacuums, and Stradivarius Appraisals.  Fuck ‘em, suck ‘em or play ‘em, we got what you need.”

She had to say that line three times in two minutes.  Then, 20 minutes after that she’d be giving a professional presentation on why attending the Vancouver Art Institute would be a good idea for their futures.

The class loved it.  They sort of bonded with her as well.  Her presentation seemed to go well, and afterwards we all went for beers at The Last Straw.  Dean paid for drinks.  That was our fee for showing up and making his day.

From there I headed to Crave to help out with the February production of the Vertigo Reading Series.  Things started off with musician Ryan Anderson playing a 25 minute set.  Fionncara McOine and Ken Fox followed with poetry of their own.  Ryan came back for intermission and then I got to take the floor.  It wasn’t scheduled, but being able to insert myself in the line-up was a privilege I felt securing indulging, given I was co-producing it.

The theme was Valentine’s Day.  I asked Ryan to play something melancholy.  He hadn’t heard the poem before.  I had no idea what harmonies would leap from his guitar.   He began playing, and then words came out my mouth.  I read ’22 Hours’, a previous blog entry dedicated to The Girl.   I would listen for chord changes and proceed with the next sentence.  Ryan would listen to my sentence and make a chord change.  It was perfectly spontaneous and the crowd was quite moved.  Never done anything like that.  I was quite moved as well.  Wish she could have seen it.

Two more poets, Caitlin Ward and Bernadette Wagner, followed us and we capped the evening by 10pm.  From there it was off to my friend’s friend’s tattoo parlour for some back room drinks and thinks.  Tara, Vertigo’s host and co-producer, was there along with her sister and a Ukrainian model/musician named Yanina and the shop owner Shawn.  We stayed up til late and had a great time.  It was a perfect cap to a completely serendipitous day.

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