Posted By Sandra Alland

The lovely Karen Miranda Augustine has interviewed me for The Artist's Business Digest, about my micropress sandraslittlebookshop.

In other news, you can now download Zorras' songs online from CD Baby!

In still other news, here is my article in Xtra! about the censorship of queer and trans art in Glasgow.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

There's something in the air lately... something kinda like hope. After helping kick the Nazis out of town the other day, I found out there's a new indie bookshop in Bruntsfield called The Edinburgh Bookshop. Then today I went by The Forest Cafe and discovered that their renovations are complete and Snip & Sip is up and running!

Snip & Sip is run by Magda, a wonderful hairdresser who will cut your hair and give you vodka, all for a very reasonable price! Also she plays the music of local indie musicians while she cuts (and you drink). On the beautiful shelves around her shop are publications by The Forest, as well as indie books, zines and CDs. It is divine. Go there! 

no

snip sign

snip chair

snip books 

pretty no? All those yummy zines and CDs and books!! xoxo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

The new issue of Matrix is out! And there's an online component that features a short film by me and two recordings by Zorras from our CD, We Apologise For Any Inconvenience. Click here to visit Matrix New Feminisms Online.

In other news, there's a trans forum in Edinburgh this weekend sponsored by Scottish Transgender Alliance. Information here.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

I want you to order these fantastic new zines published by Nine and www.jinxremoving.org You will not be sorry.

The first is Sex Industry Apologist. This zine contains Nine's bang-on critiques of media representations of sex work, and of the crap attitudes of mainstream feminists and other sex work abolitionists. The zine is also chock-full of Nine's brilliant reflections on her experiences working at a project for sex workers -- ranging from racism in sex work to the necessity for a sense of humour in a world full of assholes. Nine has a sweet knack for making her argument in a convincing way, without leaning to extremism or forgetting to allow for people's distinct situations in life. Plus she's damn funny.

The second zine is The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka. Poprowka is a pseudonymic queer trans woman who wrote for Scotland's The Skinny for two years. Her "scathings" (which are remarkably lacking in the bitterness one might expect from that word) cover such topics as trans representation in the media and pop culture, passing, the separation of trans identity from sexuality, and the right to change your gender on official documents. I was especially pleased to see Poprowka's excellent critique of Edinburgh Festival's Ladyboys of Bangkok and the "cloying stench of the freakish" in the way the show is presented to the public... that show's marketing has always left me feeling a bit sick. Poprowka writes about difficult (and sometimes enraging) topics with balance and an admirable thoughtfulness. She also switches between personal essays and media critiques with ease and skill.

Nine will be reading from Poprowka's work at the next  Cachín Cachán Cachunga, 16 February at The Street in Edinburgh.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Two nights ago, Zorras performed at the Freshers' Week event for Edinburgh University Feminists. EUF are the best! Self-described as "a friendly group of feminists who campaign on issues related to women's rights and breaking gender binaries," they certainly know how to throw a party. The space was great, the mocktails were delicious (I could swear there was rum in that mojito), and the games were hilarious (Throw the Ring Around the Papier Mache Penis, and Pin the Strange Assortments of Body Parts on the Body!). Also, there were crackin readings from the zine, Speak ("an anonymous compilation of sexual experiences"). If you're a student at EU, check them out -- all genders welcome! Next meeting at 1pm on 22 September in the Chaplaincy, and there's a social on the 23rd at 6pm in the Teviot Writing Room.

Speaking of feminists, I've been reading the latest issue of Canada's Open Letter journal, which focuses on women's feminist poetry in Canada. It's quite a tour de force, edited by Kate Eichhorn and Barbara Godard. More indepth thoughts on it soon... it's made me quite emotional in many ways, as it's the first time my work has been been taken seriously in a critical light... and more importantly, the first time this has happened for many writers who have written and/or published way more/longer than me.

xo

 


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Last night I rented Ari Folman's stunning and shattering Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary about the devastation of the 1982 Lebanon War. It's one of the best films I've seen in a long while, though it left me drained. An Israeli soldier suddenly regains his memory after 20 years and has to come to terms with a devastation he helped bring about. The film is a rare glimpse into the confusion and ignorance of young soldiers sent into battle without the slightest clue of who they are trying to kill or why.

In other news, this Thursday 9 April, Zorras play Muse-Ic at The Bongo Club with Ex-Men and Shell-Suit Massacre. It should be a swell night of spoken word bands. Only £5/4, starts at 9pm.

Friday at 8pm is the launch of the latest issue of Lock Up Your Daughters in Glasgow, a great wee zine of queer women's stuff. There's an interview with Zorras in this issue, too! The Flying Duck, 142 Renfield Street.

In still other news, I saw a short theatre piece collated and directed by Stef Smith, Breaking Binary. It was part of Queen Margaret University's presentations, and explored gender variance and transsexuality through several monologues by various writers. A very brave piece to do in Edinburgh, kudos to Smith for that! The piece was visually quite stunning -- different images were created using plastic wrap to divide the space (and performers), and the audience sat on all four sides of the stage. Some of it was bit heady and didactic -- it was hard to know who the intended audience was... I think this a wonderful introduction for non-genderqueers or people not aware of the issues, but perhaps slightly preaching to the converted otherwise. Also it was occasionally confusing in terms of who was talking and when we were listening to a new character -- though I personally love pieces that are not 100% clear and spelled out, this can be problematic with issue-based work if the director wants to say something specific. Overall the piece featured good performers, fairly solid writing, and imaginative direction!

xox

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Zorras are playing at Museum of London Thursday, February 5th at 6pm. More info here: www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/EventsExhibitions/Events/LateMoL.htm

In other news, Zorras have completed the first edition of their new chapbook/zine-like entitiy, Maricón. Hand-painted and handmade from recycled materials. Featuring work by me and Y. Josephine. Only 30 copies in existence. Get yours for only £4! Email zorras@blissfultimes.ca, or Edinburghers can come to Zine-o-rama this Sunday, February 8th at the Forest Cafe, between 10am and 6pm, to buy one live!

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

What a great thing Tam Dean Burn has going on in Glasgow, with Malcolm the fantastic sound guy, and Sonic Sinema who screen awesome visuals throughout the night. Check out Manifesto Politikal Kabaret at the Tron Theatre if you get a chance. Really dug Sparrahawk and Glasgow Glam Bangers. I also loved the photocollage piece The Thin Green Line Or: How I Tried to Stop Worrying and Love Neoliberalism. Thanks to the Glasgow contingent for coming out, especially my fam who made the journey from Drumchapel. 

man1

In other news, here are some things I've been reading and digging:

1. Lock Up Your Daughters: This is Glasgow's fantastic queer zine. The latest issue has loads of great interviews and reviews.

2. A lovely German I met sent me a copy of Die Krone & Ich: Drag King-Magazin. It's mostly in German, but there was a wonderful interview in English with Susan Stryker, where she compared transsexual identity to immigrant identity.

3. A sweetie from Ottawa named Sean Zio has published a lovely chapbook of his young adult story, Skin Ego, about a teenager and his struggles with "seen and felt identity." sean_zio@riseup.net

4. In Toronto, John Barlow gave me a gorgeous chapbook that Rose DeShaw produced... it's poems made out of Barlow's emails. There's some hilarious and smart stuff. Here's a choice tidbit from "Poetry's Reputation":

Fear not for poetry's reputation.
Poetry's reputation is terrible.
We really can't trouble at this point.
Poetry's been more effectively
de-reputationed
than communism or the
universality of unions.

5. Did I say yet that ryli skelton launched a new poetry chapbook in Toronto? It's called The Cusp of Chaos, and you can get it at This Ain't the Rosedale Library in Toronto or Word Power Books in Edinburgh. Skelton is one of my favourite writers and people, please check him out.

And speaking of skelton, the next post will feature pics and more from his great night in Toronto, The Secret Ingredient, as well as youtube footage of the fantastic Pockets, who we bumped into on the always entertaining last train from Glasgow...

xo

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

redness


Well, thank you Canada for the week of gorgeous summer weather! And thanks to all the beautiful friends who came to my gigs and hung out with me in the sunshine in Kensington Market or Lawrence & Orton Park. It's been nice to be warm (even when it 's cold, you Canadians have this great idea of *heating* your homes!) and to have my clothes dried in a dryer, oh my.

Some things I've loved since being here:

1. Dead Cars in Managua by Stuart Ross. A beautiful collection of poems by one of Canada's best writers. It's also one of his most personal collections... and there are pictures!

2. Cusp of Chaos by ryli skelton. Skelton's latest chapbook of poems... he's a supertalented up and coming writer who mixes humour and loss in divine ways. And he has a delicious touch of weirdness. Get it at This Ain't the Rosedale Library.

3. Shameless Magazine. Shameless is always yummy, and the new publisher and editor are doing a great job. I especially dug publisher Stacey Mae Fowles' piece on self-harm.

4. Mutant Superpowers and Lithium Pills: Bipolar Adventure Stories. I picked this zine up at Toronto Women's Bookstore. It's by Sascha Scatter of The Icarus Project, and is an engrossing account of personal thoughts on mental health, creativity and the medical system. Also superb details about community activism and peer support.

5. Auk/Blood by Tagaq. I have to give Tagaq's latest CD a few more listens for a final verdict. But of course she is brilliant. Listening to her can never be casual (which makes it a bit hard to throw into a party shuffle!) but if you have time to sit down and really listen, this CD is gorgeous, like going to a trippy opera. Tagaq often works with a dj, and has quite a lot of different and wondrous fusions going on. The only stuff I'm really not crazy about are her collaborations with Buck 65. It feels like she's just backup for his tracks, which doesn't do her justice. Also I find Buck 65's rhymes rather simple and cliche.

I want to talk about the gigs I read at, cuz everyone was so grand, but I will save that for another post, so I can add pictures. Okay? I'll miss you Canadialand.

As for the rest of you, I'll see you on the other side of the pond soon.

xo

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Of course I left my longjohns at my folks' house and then the temperature dropped and it starting snowing! Argh.

I'm reading at 8pm tonight at Pivot at The Press Club on the north side of Dundas just west of Bathurst.Free! Hope to see you there. Please bring wool clothes and brandy.

In other news, This Ain't the Rosedale Library's new home on Nassau Street in Kensington Market is drop-dead gorgeous. If you haven't visited, do! And it's not just pretty, the books are delicious.

This Ain't

Speaking of delicious books, I just started reading Toronto playwright Claudia Dey's first novel, Stunt (Coach House). Wow. The way Dey uses language makes me so excited I might pee. What a writer. Please check her out.

Here's Charlie and Jessie hard at work:

Chas and Jess

In not so happy news, the endless condominium blight at the Lakeshore made my eyes bleed, and I was sad to see so many new chain stores on Queen (The Brick for gawd's sake?) and College. Also, why on earth did the AGO spend millions on this montrosity?

ago

 

 

ago2

Here' s me and R. selling books at Canzine last Sunday. Long live indie culture! Thanks to those kind folks who bought my books. Also I traded a book for two chapbooks by the supertalented Tomori Nagamoto -- Bittersweet Hotel #101 and #501. Each chapbook consists of images and words depicting a different guest at the hotel. Nagamoto's drawings are stunning, and the text is bittersweetly  wondrous and sometimes superbly funny.

canzine

Art from Kensington and Dundas West:

toronto art 2

 

toronto art


And something must be said about Toronto's amazing food. Doubles, empanadas, Pho Hung's soup, John's Classic pizza, veggie dogs & burgers, oh how did I survive without you?

Warm kisses from the great white north,

SA

 

 


 

 

 
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