Mac’s Fireweed, Noon, Saturday, signing with me and Dave Strachan

Thanks everyone for coming out and being a part of our signing at Mac’s Fireweed!  Two anthologies I’m a part of: Tesseracts 14 and Inhuman, and Dave Strachan, who has the lead story in Inhuman, was signing too!  The Fantasy/Science Fiction community in Whitehorse is doing great!  More and more of our group are stretching their talents and skills, and turning out great stories and sending them off to publishers!  So happy that this is happening in Whitehorse!  The Yukon is building a presence in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Oh YEAH!

Tesseracts 14 and Inhuman are both published by Hades Publications and Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (for Inhuman, through their imprint Absolute XPress).

Here’s photos of us at Mac’s Fireweed, Saturday March 12.  See if you can recognize all the campadres who helped make it a great event…

 

 

 

Moose, Cranberry, and the Everlasting Dinner Party: The Boreal Gourmet, cookbook, by Michele Genest

You’ve already seen the wonderful wildberry sourdough muffins recipe which I so tantalized you with (permission granted by Miche).  Now experience what cooks and connoisseurs are talking about in The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest.  The book is more than a cookbook–it is a memoir of the cooking experience, the preparation, the friends, the mistakes, the surprises, and what might be an everlasting dinner party from recipe to recipe.

The Boreal Gourmet is a unique cookbook, with recipes that utilize all the cool things you’ll find walking around or rooted to the ground in the Yukon, but it is also a bit of Yukonalia.  It is a portrait of people living, and cooking, and eating and enjoying life, in the north.  From Geist’s review of the book:

I’ve always felt the best cook­books are the ones you open with the inten­tion of a quick browse but find your­self read­ing cover to cover and com­ing out the other end feel­ing like you’ve attended an inspir­ing din­ner party hosted by the author — with­out leav­ing the com­fort of your arm­chair. Michele Genest’s The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking (Harbour) is just this sort of cookbook. The nar­ra­tive that accom­pa­nies the inven­tive recipes oscil­lates from bush sur­vival advice to per­sonal mem­oir to his­tor­i­cal anec­dote (Klondike hope­fuls brought sour­dough starter buried in a sack of flour with them over the Chilkoot Pass) and is sim­ply a lovely read. The recipes them­selves range from the more gour­mdet — Arctic Char Poached in White Wine, Gin and Juniper Berries — to the less gourmet — Moose Lake Lasagna in a Pot (com­plete with tips on how to cook it in the backwoods) — and are com­ple­mented by Laurel Parry’s endear­ing hand-drawn illustrations.

Continue reading

Whitehorse, curtained in icefog and woodsmoke, revealed in shrouded segments

Just a reality of living in the north, these -40 nights, where the icefog and the woodsmoke turned back on the streets mingle together to hide the city.  It’s mysterious and lovely.  Dangerous to drive in.  I couldn’t see the next segment until it was revealed.  People crossed second street without tapping the crossing light button and I could barely make out their dark forms merging back in with the night.  It was like there was a wall at the back of every backdrop setting— here’s Main Street with nothing beyond it but a white wall, and now the Library and now the Bridge.  Like curtains being opened one after the other, presenting our town in segments.  It certainly robs the city of continuity, or of flow, but it really makes you think of the city in sections—as if Main street were all by itself, or the Bridge, somewhere in England, instead of Canada, the fog so thick you couldn’t tell where it was placed in the geography.

I wished I’d had my camera the whole time, but it was hard enough driving your truck through the fog.  It groaned and squeaked as if it were thirty years old instead of five.  My friend says she won’t drive after it dips below -35C.  “Everything on your car breaks.”  And I saw, like an ambulance for vehicles, five or six tow trucks dragging perfectly good-looking cars and SUVs–just reminding me that even good cars in bad weather can break.  The air is filled with particles–mostly smoke because the smoke from homes hits a certain layer of air and bounces back.  You can see that everyone’s smoke flatlines at about 100 feet, going sideways, and coming back down, like we’re attacking ourselves.  Certainly Riverdale has been warned about woodsmoke pollution….but at -40, who’s listening?  (And -40 is where all temperature worlds, both those who live in Fahrenheit and those who live in Celsius, meet)

It’s interesting to think of the city all divided up into parts, separate sections outside of their context.  Like the world ends at the end of the street.  In some ways it was like speeding through the countryside of Texas and seeing each section as if it were its own small town strung together like pearls on a string heading towards the big city.

I saw Raoul Bhaneja’s one man version of Hamlet tonight, so I’m really enjoying language.  Makes me want to read, or see, Shakespeare more often.  Also makes me think of transitions–from one street to the next–from one scene to the next–my whole town was in crossfades.

Eisenhower and Churchill: UFO cover up?

Released in a wave of declassified UFO documents in England comes this gem: that Eisenhower and Churchill purposely covered up UFOs.  There was a short time in US history where talking about UFOs wasn’t censored–especially the military.  People in the military left and right were commenting on “saucers” and technology from “Mars”–and then, it’s said that Eisenhower decided to hush the whole thing down.

This New York Daily News article talks about a letter declassified in England:

A letter sent in 1999 by an unnamed person from Leicester, England, relays a story he was told by his mother, which came from his grandfather, who claimed to have witnessed the alleged cover-up.

“It is claimed that my grandfather, [REDACTED] was present during a debate between Winston Churchill and Mr. Eisenhower during World War II involving making a decision about an unexpected incident,” the letter states, dated Sept. 20, 1999.

The incident in question took place off the English coast and involved a Royal Air Force bomber crew, which was returning from a “photographic mission” in either Germany or France.

“The aircraft was intercepted by an object of unknown origin,” the letter explains, “which matched course and speed with the aircraft for a time and then underwent an extremely rapid acceleration away.”

Photos and/or film were supposedly captured of the object, which “hovered noiselessly” and seemed metallic.

The incident sparked a discussion between Churchill and General Eisenhower, presumably via telephone, who commanded the Allied forces during the later period of the war.

According to the letter, the grandfather who witnessed the conversation heard Churchill state: “This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic amongst the general population and destroy one’s belief in the Church.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/08/05/2010-08-05_winston_churchill_dwight_d_eisenhower_covered_up_ufo_sighting_in_england_letter_.html#ixzz18FjARGfF

 

The story is backed up in several other newspapers–the document is real.  Now if the story is real, that’s another matter.  But if it is, then it will go well with this 1952 UFO buzz of the White House.

 

 

You want the truth?  We’ll get as close as we can.  Come to Longest Night, Dec 20, 21, 8pm, Yukon Arts Centre.

We’ll be talking about visitation…. aliens, UFOs, and the sightings that started them all.

 

 

 

 

Researching for Longest Night (Dec 20, 21): We Are Not Alone

Researching for Longest Night, I was told that Daniel Janke wanted real reports of UFOs during my segments.  Over the last week of researching,  I’ve become a bit jittery.  There’s a lot more than I really want to think about.  Check out this footage from NASA.

 

Don’t know about you.  But when I come across video footage from NASA, I start to believe.  Don’t know if you already believe or not.  But we’ll be looking at several high profile cases at the Longest Night performance this year–in between puppetry and music–since their theme is We Are Not Alone.

I’ll post more research here and let you know how it’s coming.  But you can come see the finished product DEC 20th and 21st, 8pm.  Yukon Arts Centre.  Tickets available now.

Howls and Hell Yeahs: The Celebration of the Life of Reid A. Parent

I just returned from a beautiful service honouring the life of Reid A. Parent, a 25 year old man who touched the lives of tons of people before his untimely death in a car accident.

Reid was the main speaker at the event.  His words were all over the program–several of his journal entries revealed a creative, philosophical man who loved others and adored life.  His Sweater Video gave a discussion of how most people will lie and tell you that your sweater is beautiful, even if it’s the ugliest thing on earth, but that his own mother sincerely believes any sweater on him becomes beautiful.  I love the shock on his face when he realizes his mother honestly believes in the beauty.  Other videos of him rapping and singing were played.  Pictures of him showed a life of daring himself to be himself in all situations, and a life of making sure that he found “the goodness in other people,” as his stepdad, Darrell Hookey remarked.  His family and friends had the funniest stories about him–stories where he turned life into a beautiful game, and made every moment count.  Reid was there–all over the place–and he said his peace, and keeps saying his peace, through those who loved and knew him.

I am so glad there are celebrations of life–like participatory memoirs, we get a full picture of the life of a person, and get to celebrate what he gave that life.  It was horribly short, but it was grandly full.  And the proof was in the hundreds of people who showed up in Whitehorse, not to mention the hundreds that showed up in BC for the first memorial service.

His sister, Leah, another beautiful soul, said all she could do was howl–and so she invited us all to howl.  And we did.  All of us.  Howled like a pack of wolves who had lost their leader.  It seemed to me that Reid led a lot of people away from the brooding part of life into the happiness part.  Darrell Hookey challenged the crowd to live lives that took in every moment.  He didn’t accept our little silent nods.  He said we should answer that challenge the way Reid always did, with a “Hell yeah!”  And so he posed the question again, and pointed to us, and just like our earlier howl, we responded with a hearty “HELL YEAH” as we promised Reid, and ourselves, that time would not get away from us, that we would live full lives, and that we would love others as part of living full lives.

So many funerals can be much more final, more, shall I say, depressing, but this one was full of pain, yes, but was also full of celebration and promise–as Reid now inhabits all of us through his stories, his videos, his music, his writings, his friends, his family.  Reid goes on in particle form, or as the emcee said, he goes on in “seed” form…planting a renewed, and vigorous, life-living plant inside of us.

Go out there and howl, and let your yesses be Hell Yeahs. And give people enough of yourself that when you leave this Earth, you leave behind a garden of goodness and good stories.

God bless you, Reid Parent.  God bless you Darrell and Daisy, Leah, and all the relatives and all the friends who carry Reid’s seeds of joy.

________

Another moving tribute from the Yukon News.

“Adopting My Mother” radio series is up

Hi Folks, if you look under Radio Series, you’ll see I finally put up the 5 parts of “Adopting my Mother.”  It was my first radio series.  Be kind.  I had a lot of fun with it, but it was my first foray into radio series.  It tells the story of when my birthmother found me, when I was 30.  What follows is me getting used to having another mother, or trying to figure out how to fit in a person into my life who had a very important role in creating me.  It’s not easy adopting a new person into your life–when you have a mom, a happy life, and you think you really don’t have to know where you came from or your own history….

But it’s interesting how much that beckons when you’ve never really known where you came from….. or why….

And suddenly here’s someone who can tell you everything…  and they’re only an email away.

Come listen to “Adopting My Mother” on the Radio Series page.

For the Love of Whitehorse: Why I Live in the Wilderness City

Occasionally, people will ask me why I’m here.  They don’t mean I should leave– only what it is that keeps me here.  It’s good to think about why you live in the place you do.  You can always say that work brought you here, or love, or you were raised here, or it’s all you know… but I can’t say any of these…  so I start thinking about why Whitehorse is the perfect city.  

Whitehorse has some very unique qualities.  In a nutshell:  It functions as both the capital and largest city of our territory, while maintaining many characteristics of a small town.  It has the cultural capital of a city 10 to 20 times its size, compressed in a small area, as it is home to a surprisingly large number of artsy folk–musicians, artists, writers and our ilk.  Whitehorse is drenched in pivotal and interesting history.  Finally it is surrounded by extensive wilderness that affords outdoor enthusiasts a vast playground, and keeps folks green-minded.    Continue reading

Aboriginal Playwright Reading Series begins Wed. June 23

Gwaandak Theatre is putting on a reading series this summer in Whitehorse, featuring three plays written by First Nations playwrights, borrowing the skills of some local First Nation actors—some who are brand new to the theatre stage.  I’m excited to see these plays put on as readings.  They’ll really showcase what aboriginal playwrights are doing in Canada.  

The first of the readings (June 23) is Sixty Below, Leonard Linklater and Patti Flather’s play, produced down South.  It  had an extensive run up in the Yukon as they both took the play to the communities in 1999.   It has a Yukon setting and was hugely popular when it toured.  And now gets a special reading this Wednesday night.  

“Sixty Below is the story of Henry, fresh out of jail and ready to straighten out his life. Of course it’s not that easy: his old buddies just want to party, his girlfriend’s moving ahead of him, and then there’s the ghost of Johnnie, everyone’s hero, who just won’t leave the northern lights. And to top it all off – the longest night is just around the corner. Cast features Kevin Barr, Boyd Benjamin, Jared Lutchman, Rae Mombourquette, Sean Smith, and Ciara Stick. Reading is directed by Mary Sloan,” says Sarah Moore, Gwaandak Theatre’s publicist.   

The second (July 7) is a play from Kenneth T. Williams called Bannock Republic, using characters from his earlier play, Thunderstick.

Bannock Republic tells the story of Jacob, a videojournalist for APTN, Isaac, a new chief—both friends in the earlier play– and introduces Destiny, a woman and third party representative, who comes to financially take over the reserve drowning in debt.

The third play (July 14) is Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters featuring “seven of the greatest roles ever written for women,” Flather says.  Highway’s work, probably the best known of the four playwrights, was produced in Toronto, earned several Dora awards for theatre, and featured a hilarious knock-down drag-out fight between all seven women. 

Gwaandak Theatre believes all of the plays capture the strength, resiliency and humor of aboriginal culture despite adversity, the affects of colonization and discrimination.  “And these plays, they don’t hold anything back,” Flather says.  “They celebrate the human spirit.”

Linklater and Flather formed Gwaandak Theatre back in 1999 to remount Sixty Below for a millennial production.  They felt like there was a need for a company that would focus on underrepresented groups—specifically First Nation groups—and give them a professional theatre company to tell, and produce, their stories. 

Williams believes that what Gwaandak Theatre does is extremely important for every community. 

“There are only a few professional Aboriginal theatres in Canada,” he says.   “Yet, there are many exciting young Aboriginal playwrights in Canada like Tara Beagan, Waawaate Anishnaabe Fobister and Kevin Loring who are shaking things up in the theatre world.   Mainstream theatres are paying attention to us, and that’s great, but it would be unfair and unrealistic to ask them to program an entire season to just Aboriginal writers. It’s about showing the diversity of writing within the Aboriginal community, it’s about sharing stories and learning from one another.  The other benefit is to inspire young Aboriginal people to be theatre artists. Theatre is a great profession. And we need more Aboriginal theatre artists.”

The plays are for everyone—both First Nation and non-First Nation.  They do contain mature content so parental discretion is advised.    Come to the Old Firehall downtown at 7:00 (doors open) for a 7:30 start:

June 23:  Sixty Below

July 7:  Bannock Republic

July 14:  The Rez Sisters 

(part of this post comes from an article written for What’s Up Yukon, slated for Wednesday June 30–“pre”-printed here with permission)

“The Song of Sasquatch” up at Joyland

“The Song of Sasquatch,”my poem/story of bigfoot romance in the style of Song of Solomon, is up at Joyland: a hub for short fiction.  Joyland is unique as an online fiction magazine. It has editors associated with a certain geographical place and all the stories come from writers associated with that place. Occasionally, editor Kevin Chong says, they like to pull a few writers from outside.  Thanks, Kevin, for pulling me in!  Enjoy!

_________________________________________________