You are currently viewing archive for July 2009
Posted By Sandra Alland

The launch went swimmingly, thanks to everyone who came, and to everyone who bought a CD! What a party. How did we all fit in there?


Rebeca Pla's smallest theatre, featuring Zorras!



emergency tuning by the great Andy D!


and Super DJ Lily!

For upcoming gigs with Zorras, go here.

There will be more random observations about the world and its wacky inhabitants, coming soon. After I have recovered from dancing...


Posted By Sandra Alland

So today, after giving more blood than I thought possible, then getting some ultrasounds and two chest Xrays (they screwed up the first one, thanks for the extra radiation folks!), it seems pretty darn likely I have not only fibromyalgia, but also rheumatoid arthritis! I also have something called... I forget. It's like "floppy joints." lol. Seriously. But I already knew I was superflexible and doublejointed, and that it could cause pain (as well as pleasure...), I just didn't know it was a syndrome. Such fun.xox

Posted By Sandra Alland

Hi there,

So the rain has been the worst I've seen it since moving here two years ago, which has meant a lot of pain -- especially in my feet. I've been having a hard time walking, so the lovely Y bought me my first walking stick (thanks babe!).

Oh, what a fascinating wolrd we live in. I now get stared at A LOT, which is strange and annoying. But I also get treated super-nice, like bus drivers actually stop the bus for me, and cars wave me across the road, and bus drivers also wait until I sit down before roaring off from the curb. If only such courtesy was just naturally provided...

The cane itself is actually pretty sexy, though I'm not quite sure I've mastered my technique (or that sexy is a good thing to look for in a cane lol). My foot is hurting less, but now I'm developing some worse-than-usual hip pain. Argh. We shall see if the good overpowers the bad here... in the meantime, it's at least a great (if somewhat depressing) study of human beings...


Posted By Sandra Alland

The most recent exhibits as part of Sh[OUT] at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art are full of intriguing and powerful stuff. Please check them out!

There's Made In God's Image (Anthony Schrag & David Malone, in collaboration with Metropolitan Community Church, Quest, Al Jannah and individuals from a range of faiths). These works explore faith and LGBTI issues. The photos that most interested me were by the Muslim participant (names are missing from the website, in some cases purposefully I think...), I liked that he not only explored issues that pained him but also had some fun. I was also drawn into the Bible-eating and participatory Bible-rewriting project by a young Christian woman. Overall I would have liked to see more of a focus on the quality of photographs in the show, but I also understand that the content was the more important issue here...

And then there's Rendering Gender (David Sherry, in collaboration with Transgender Alliance's Transforming Arts). Here's the link to some images from Rendering Gender, although it attributes the artworks to David Sherry, when they are in fact from a variety of people... I liked almost everything in this exhibition... but the work that affected me the most was by Kristi Taylor, who contributed stunning and often hilarious drawings, as well as a sculpture and video, about her experience as a trans woman. Taylor is definitely someone to watch. Her work truly made my day.

Okay, gotta fly.


Posted By Sandra Alland


I remember a huge debate in beginner-level Spanish during my Popular Culture class at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico -- about a blind photographer who was exhibiting there at the time (uh... around 1999). Could a blind person "take credit" for photos they couldn't see? Since photography is a "visual" art, blind people should naturally be excluded. Etc. Bla bla bla.

I also remember: a) realizing that we were never presented with information about artists with disabilities back at school in Canada (thanks Javier the Mexican Supertutor!) and; b) trying to think of the Spanish word for Shut up you able-ist Canadian wankers...

Anyway, Rosita McKenzie is a blind photographer who worked with six other visually impaired people to create Revealed, currently showing at North Edinburgh Arts Centre. I didn't love that the show was really difficult to get to and super-difficult to find, even for someone who can see perfectly well. I also didn't love that they had closed 3 hours early and started cleaning the floors with superbleach because they assumed no one would come on a sunny Friday. I *did* love that they let us in (even though the superbleach almost made me pass out).

It's odd with blindness... seeing folk are suspicious. How come you're looking at me if you're blind? Why does it seem like you can see where you're going? Well, that's because "blind" doesn't always mean completely blind, in fact many legally blind people have times of day, or certain ways, of seeing things. I've heard stories about blind folk being questioned about taking their canes into Edinburgh museums because security guards decided they were "faking"! (and their canes could be used as weapons to attack the displays?)

Anyway, this group is made up of people with various kinds of blindness, and various ways of seeing (or visually imagining) the world around them. My favourite photos were by Andreas Gartner, for me they were the most poetic.

I also liked the recordings by Rachel O'Connor and Jules Rawlinson, though they were a bit hard to hear and only one speaker had a seat next to it and you have to run from one speaker to the other (at opposite ends of the room, which is a bit hard on a fibro-gal). Perhaps most interesting of all were Camilla Adams's tactile interpretations of the photos. Adams worked closely with each artist to create touch-interpretations of the photos. It's a whole new way of  "looking" at art, one I'm curious to feel more of.

Anyway, this show is well worth the trip past Telford College into the boarded-up buildings of Pilton.



Posted By Sandra Alland

Another indie bookstore gone, and in Toronto where there was the most hope... read about it here and here.


Posted By Sandra Alland

Tonight is the opening of Revealed: Photography for Visually Impaired People. It's sponsored by the fantabulous Stills Gallery, but is taking place at North Edinburgh Arts Centre. More info here.

In other news, the lovely Marusya Bociurkiw just departed from Edinburgh... she cooked Zorras a delicious salmon dinner last night. Thanks M, for wonderful soul-boosting food and conversation --you have no idea how good that visit was for Zorras! Check out Marusya's adventures in food and other things on her delicious blog, Recipes for Trouble.



Posted By Sandra Alland




In other news, I am in love. With my TENS machine. It's a funny wee machine that looks like a walkman and has electrodes you stick to your (and your friends') body parts, and they give little jolts that produce endorphins and confuse your body out of pain. And you can wear it anywhere! Except in the shower. And leave it on as long as you want. No cure so far, but it's pretty darn swell... my deepest gratitude to the nurse who gave it to me.

In less happy news, it is the Year of Homecoming, which is the year when Scotland supposedly welcomes back all its people who've been spread across the globe. That's not the bad part. The bad part is that today, like many other days in the past two years, I was told to go back to my country. A woman almost ran me over with her car, and then of course was angry at *me* and then heard my accent and well... welcome home, Sandra, welcome home...

But I can't end on a note like that. So. I will say this instead -- thanks to The Street and Trendy Wendy for sponsoring our CD launch. The Street truly rocks. Go there.

Posted By Sandra Alland

Here are two really good websites for the street community, particularly in Canada. and

They are also worth visiting to see excellent models for peer support through online social networks. And there are some excellent videos on homelessness and the working poor.

In other news, I'm looking for collaborators for a photo and zine project for my job at Sh[OUT]. Click here for details.




Posted By Sandra Alland

Jordan Scott is an awesome Canadian poet. Go here to see an interview with him on youtube about the poetics of stuttering. Thanks to my friend L for sending it to me.




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