Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maya Lila

Friday saw me at the Dancehall in Talbot Street for the launch of Joan Davis's two books, CD, and DVD of "Maya Lila" (loosely translated from Sanskrit as "illusion" and "play"). Together they document and celebrate her research, art, and work "bringing authentic movement into performance." Joan Davis holds iconic status here as the woman who single-handedly brought contemporary dance to Ireland. Now she is pioneering this incredible new work which involves breaking down the barriers between dancer/performer and audience/witness. I've been fortunate - and honoured - to take part in this work as a member of the witnessing audience of many "offerings" at Joan's beautiful centre on the side of Bray Head, also as someone who participated in workshops on authentic movement for my own delight and experience, and finally as a writer who gave input into the practice of adding words to movement. (Over the years Joan slowly added objects, sound, music, and words). At the launch, slide images of the performances were projected onto walls and ceiling, while sounds and music reverberated throughout the gallery. There was also an installation of a tree with animal skulls and various objects used in the performances. True to Joan's form, we were not passive observers in attendance. Tiny flashlights were left throughout the room to allow us to peruse the books despite the dim light. Eventually we were drawn into circles around hosts who were dressed in white ponchos, and we were invited to discuss the work and to write comments on the cloth. Finally, after short speeches and long drawn-out applause for Joan - she deserved it! - we were given carrot soup with fresh coriander and cream along with pastries stuffed with goat's cheese and roasted vegetables. This, too, was typical of Joan as delicious food is always served at her offerings. She is goddess, earth mother, artiste, shaman, and Isadora Duncan all wrapped up into one!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wintry Work Day

Finn is in the kitchen working on her Leaving Cert art project. I just cleared and washed a set of bookshelves and hacked a woodworm-ridden skirting board off the wall. The wall will have to be plastered and painted in a day or two when it dries out. I'm supposed to go to a dinner and dance tonight but, you know, I have a feeling that I am going to keep on pottering through the day. There are all these little jobs I want to have done before the Christmas (there, I've said it) preparations begin. Here's a feather amidst autumn leaves on a woodland path in Dunderry. I'm using the photo for my screen wallpaper at the moment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back to the Gym

Finn and I headed off this evening to the big public gym at Loughlinstown. We spent a good three hours there including sauna and showers. I really like it, but I think it might have been a bit proletarian for milady. She prefers a private membership in the Royal Hotel's gym with swimming pool, lawdy-dah. (Guess what she's getting for Christmas.) But me, I like the idea that I can come and go when I please for a fiver and not be pressured by the question of whether or not I am using the gym enough to warrant the hefty fee! Different strokes, I guess.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cats and Dogs

Canadian cats are not as vicious as Irish ones. Go figure. I guess the aggression has been bred out of them. My friend in Toronto who has cats lets them outdoors and they don't come home beaten up (like poor Emma, who recently got clawed down her back as she tried to run away from some brute) or dead (like poor Hamish). My brother brought his cat - along with their dog, Moose - to Canada when he and his family returned after twenty years here. So the Irish cat has not only whupped all the cats in their neighbourhood into abject submission, but also the raccoons! (She probably considers them a breed of wonky-looking Canadian felines.) They should rename her Maeve, after the warrior-queen, or Grania, after the pirate. Meanwhile, Moose still looks up at the sky whenever an airplane goes by. A lot more goes on inside our pets' heads than we can imagine.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Cat Lovers

http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=FMXCuW9LDps

This is a dotey little animated short my buddy Dave sent me, created by English artist Simon Tofield. No cat lover could resist it. Meanwhile, have to report I am still utterly off time zone. I'm getting things done but I am awake till all hours of the morning and can hardly drag myself out of bed at a decent time. Haven't even had my breakfast yet today. Sigh. Anyone got a natural remedy?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yeah ...

Still jet-lagged and not sleeping. See below.

FREE YOUR MIND!

I was just reading one of my favourite bloggers - Paddy K in Sweden - and discovered that he no longer watches television. Many of his readers commented to say the same and I had to get in there and add my two cent worth (no 's' on euro cent). I disconnected our NTL cable several months ago when that company decided to charge an extra 2 euro to all customers who refused to sign up for direct debit. That kind of corporate blackmail just pissed me right off and I told them where to shove etc After the first two days of severe withdrawal, Finn and I are doing just fine. But NTL are not. They have been sending me increasingly hysterical letters asking about service problems, offering package deals, inquiring if I need anything. I have taken to sending back these regular letters with notes on the envelope, e.g. "Not Interested." "I have a life." "No longer a zombie." "Join the rebellion!" "Free Your Mind."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jet Lagged!

Well it's just 4:00 in the morning and I am bug-eyed. Can't sleep. Arrived home yesterday at 5:00 a.m. and spent most of the day lolling about, hoping I would be back on schedule today. Nope. Firstly, must say the Aer Lingus flight across the ocean was, as always, like a magic carpet ride. Utterly smooth and comfy. Irish pilots rock. Here are the highlights of my trip in no particular order:
1) Fun with my CANSCAIP peers
2) Fun with my siblings - met the two artist sisters together, then the manager sister for lunch, then the two brothers in the east end for dinner
3) Fun with my dearest friend who put me up in her house on Brunswick Avenue (setting for Dana's house in The Book of Dreams)
4) Fun meeting a certain Canadian filmmaker/producer for coffee and chat (watch this space)
5) Fun meeting old friends, including an old boyfriend who's still a cutey-patootie.
Yes, indeed, it was fun all round.
Now I really must get back to work. Soon as the jet lag eases off.

Friday, November 02, 2007

In Toronto's Fair City

Enjoying crisp sunshine, multicoloured autumn leaves, eggs florentine, schmoozing with my peers (CANSCAIP supper last night at Sharon Jennings' house). Tomorrow the conference at Victoria College, then visits with family and friends. Pics to follow when I get back home! This is coming live to you from a library at Spadina and Bloor. Now heading over to the Native Centre to buy jewellery and Christmas cards.