Tired, store, and still vaguely pink, I am here Monday morning to declare the launch a mighty success. Between the fabulous entertainment, real actual food, and crantinis (masterfully shaken, not stirred, by Colin Martin and Jordan Nail), we put on one hell of a party. Donato Mancini flew in rom Vancouver to read from his book Ligatures (NeWest, 2005). The largest piece he read, the "Ligatures" section in the book of the same name, was extremely interesting to hear -- I'd read it multiple times before, and had decided it is definitely a piece served well by performace.
The Jagatha Christies, Sandy Lam and ryan fitzpatrick, entertained a screaming, rock-oxen-throwing crowd with a combination of original numbers and cover. Check them out on their website and buy their CD. Ed and I are thanked in the liner notes. Also, the songs on it are pretty good too. I do declare the Jagatha Christies need to perform IN PUBLIC more often. Special thanks to ryan, who rocked through a terrible injury sustained when his Attack Guitar Case mistook him for a turncoat bassist. We wish him a speedy recovery and a successful reconstructive surgery.
Neil Scott wowed the crowed, reading from his forthcoming novel (New Star, 2007), Wonderfull, which he describes frequently as an autobiogrpahy full of lies. His reading was marked by the particular, swollen quiet of people listening to a good story very carefully. When his reading ended, the audience applauded frantically, as though their adulation could convince his to read just a little longer, just as it has revived tinkerbell. Ed, who manned the merch table, reported later that he repeatedly disappointed people by having to tell them he didn't ahve a copy of Neil's book for sale and that they'd have to wait til it was actually printed. There's a book launch I wouldn't miss for the world.
After all the splendiferous entertainment, dj Ben Sargent got everyone who felt they could sacrifice the dignity up and dancing. Unless it is swing, my dancing makes me look like an epileptic ostrich. I hope you were all amused.
The party finally began to wind down around 1am. Thank you to everyone who bought issues and subscriptions and chapbooks and the CD. You're supporting some great artists and wonderful people who deserve the cash and the recognition. Special thanks to everyone who drank heavily -- there was remarkably little alcohol to pack up at the end of the night. My feeble lats and delts, and Jordan's chassis, thank you.
Thank you everyone for coming and making this launch worth months of planning and oodles of hard work by the collective, the board, and all the incredible volunteers. Sometimes your sheer awesomeness overwhelms me.
The afternoon before the launch, the infinitely generous Jeremy drove me to pick up Donato at the airport. Donato and I then spent a couple of hours wandering around the city, visiting galleries, poking around interesting little stores and studios. While I was working very hard to exude a force-field of Zen energy, my stomach felt like a brillo pad of pure stress. I wanted, so bad, for everything to turn out well (and it did).
Despite being in this very tense and scratchy place, when the subject of community came up, I couldn't help becoming animated. I couldb't help telling hom what a supportive, brilliant, vibrant community this was, and how lucky I felt to be a part of it.
The next day, just before he got back on the plane, Donato thanked me for the invitation -- and said I had been absolutely right. We have something very special here.
Thank you, literary/art community of Calgary. You're all, together and individually, a treasure. There is nowhere I would rather be than here.