Indie Events Roundup April 20-26


Toronto Wordsmiths launches the new zine This Art Is Real on Friday at Blackbird! [image via facebook]

Monday, April 20


Gender Splendour, 8pm, The Central, 603 Markham St, #10

A storytelling show about gender in all of its forms.

Tuesday, April 21


Confidence Launch Party, 7pm, The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St W, free

Russell Smith launches his newest book with Biblioasis. Besides launching Confidence, the world premiere of BOYS UNDERWEAR GIRLS and big tunes from DJs Deadline and Shawn Benjamin make this a promising opportunity to get the Garrison going up on a Tuesday.

Hummingbird, 7pm, Paintbox Catering and Bistro, 555 Dundas St E, free

An east end open mic encouraging writers and performers of all ages and experiences to take to the stage! Hosted by Unbuttoned.

The Art Bar Poetry Series, 8pm, Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave, free

Rob Colman, Ian French & Tracy Hamon read.

National Poetry Month Book Launch, 6:30pm, Dora Keogh Irish Pub, 141 Danforth Ave, free

Biblioasis and Ben McNally Books celebrate NPM with a triple whammy book launch, with texts from Robyn Sarah, Robert Melançon and Zachariah Wells.

Wednesday, April 22


Theatre of the Unimpressed Launch, 7pm, Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W, free

Coach House Books launches a personal and pedagogical new book from Toronto’s indie theatre sensation, Jordan Tannahill.

Pivot Reading Series, 8pm, The Steady, 10501 Bloor St W, free

Pivot moves to the popular queer west bar The Steady with three visiting westerners: kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Jake Kennedy and Matt Rader.

Thursday, April 23


BookThug Spring 2015 Book Launch, 7pm, The Garrison, free

TEN NEW BOOKS this season from one of the coolest presses ever, eight of which launch tonight. Don’t miss out!


Anvil Press Spring Poetry Launch, 7pm, The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St, free

Poets Jeff Streudel, Melissa Bull and Kevin Spenst launch books. Hosted by Jen Currin.

Friday, April 24

Toronto WordSmiths Zine Launch and Open Mic, 7pm, Blackbird Bistro, 993 Bloor St W, PWYC/free with $5 zine

Community writers group Toronto WordSmiths ins launching its new zine, This Art Is Real! Zeinab Aidid hosts a night complete with readings by Renée Ashanta Henry, Whitney French, Leaf Jerlefia and more.

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Zine Review: Portals



Perzine, Louisa Tsui,, price not listed


In a few short pages with a few short words, Louis Tsui walks you through a whole life; a whole life of emotions and events and the process of growing up. The front cover of Portals includes a series of images that are both symmetrical and diverse. Simple lines with black and grey colouring make this comic easily accessible.

Each scene or portal takes place across two pages with one page featuring an image and the other a thought. Tsui’s age at the time of the scene is placed in brackets underneath. The images are both deeply personal, in that they portray landmark events from the author’s life, and universally applicable, in that faces are obscured and bodies androgynous.

The comic is reminiscent of Julie Morstad’s work in that the characters are at once frail and immensely present. The story is written by and about them and, though they are small and at times dwarfed by their surroundings, those surroundings were created and maintained by the characters within.

This is a comic I would pick up and read at the park alone, then in a crowded party with a glass of wine in hand, then in the dark at the back of a movie theatre. Read it differently each time and it will speak to you in different voices. (CJ Blennerhassett)

Event Recap: Drunk Feminist Films Presents Fifty Shades of Grey



by Carissa Ainslie

“Fifty Shades of fucked up” is not just one way to describe the film Fifty Shades of Grey — it’s actually a line from the movie, which made it so easy for a bunch of feminists to destroy it on Wednesday night at the Revue Cinema in Toronto.

Drunk Feminist Films began as a web series that recorded its founders — Shaunna, Gillian, Amy and Steph — playing feminist themed drinking games that critiqued big Hollywood films. This time, they went public with a live screening of Fifty Shades of Grey that sold out the 200+ seat Revue in less than 24 hours.

The screening kicked off with an intro from the collective, who announced that they are officially partnering with Revue Theatre to make Drunk Feminist Films a bi-monthly occurrence.

They were followed by a “resident BDSM expert” — game designer/artist/writer/badass Soha Kareem (who also wrote our Issue 67 cover story on Twine, read it here!). Kareem gave the audience the low down on what a healthy BDSM relationship looks like (communication, checking in, aftercare!) and explained that this is a far cry from the relationship depicted in the film we were all about to watch. “I want to stress that the tactics in this film are downright abusive,” she said, to cheers from the audience. “If you meet someone like Christian Grey, run the fuck away!”

With that, the film began, and the hooting, hollering and tampon-swinging commenced. The behaviour encouraged by the hosts was the exact opposite of what is expected in the traditional theatre going experience – audience members talked back, groaned at the movie’s most cringe-worthy lines (and there are many, including the utterly excerable “Laters, baby”) and cheered (and swung tampons like lassos) when the film’s female protagonist Anastasia Steele showed agency.

The event program also contained a list of prompts for the audience to shout during certain moments of the film – for example, we yelled “Broformance” every time a man in the film committed a feat of strength to demonstrate his manliness, “My Hero” every time a male character “saved” Anastasia, and “Lip Slip” – denoting every time Anastasia bit her lip, touched her lip or chewed on a pencil.

Most importantly, we really appreciated the literature that accompanied the program, including a glossary that defined “BDSM” and “consent”, and the obvious care that was taken by Kareem and the organizers to stress: BDSM isn’t bad, or evil, or unhealthy. It’s the emotional abuse that surrounds Christian Grey’s interactions with Anastasia – the mind games, the lack of checking in, the lack of aftercare and support – that makes this movie an inaccurate – and harmful – depiction of a BDSM relationship.

The audience was told to live tweet their comments and communicate their disgust at what can only be described as the worst movie ever, and the event ended up trending third in Canada. The format of deconstructing films by a room full of feminists works, especially if a bit of booze is thrown in to loosen the tongue. Catch the next event when Drunk Feminist Films screens Bridesmaids on June 17th.

Zine Review: Wintering Prairie



Chapbook, Megan Kaminski, above/ground press,, $4


There’s a preparatory tone in the first page of this long poem that lends itself well to the images of wintering conjured by its title (wintering: to lodge, keep, or care for during the winter). “This poem will be a long one,” warns Megan Kaminski, “will widen will drift like snow.”

That drifting is accomplished in a literal sense through an absence of punctuation and capitalization, and symbolically via Kaminski’s subject matter. Movement permeates nearly every line in Wintering Prairie: “Long shadows and sun melt spread / across lawns across asphalt / neighborhood strip mall and shop.” If it weren’t for the occasional interjection that reads like a prayer — “I carry absence / I carry want / I carry body ache / on this bright day” — Wintering Prairie might be the print version of an episode of The Nature of Things; it glides across the landscape and zooms in on a particular scene for a few moments, before flying away again.

A few cringe-worthy misspellings of “arctic” (as “artic”) aside, Wintering Prairie is a slick and evocative read. It delivers on its promise to drift, but Kaminski’s reluctance to focus for very long on any singular sketch occasionally leads to large chunks of text blowing by with little absorption. It covers a lot of ground in a short time. (Scott Bryson)

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