Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winos United

So I've recently decided to start a club about wine called Winos United. The idea is that whoever is interested can show up at somoene's place with a bottle of wine they know something about and we will all just taste wine and get drunk in an unpretentious environment. It's a brilliant idea, I know, but its one flaw is dissemination of information via Facebook. I created a group, and people just don't seem to be aware of it. I will definitely work it out by phone in future, or some other more reliable information source.

In any case, the first meeting was last night, and I'd say it was quite a success, despite the relatively low turnout. It was kind of nice, actually, tasting three bottles between four people. I would definitely like to try a few more in the future though! So y'all better come out.

As for the three wines we tried:

First we tried Concannon, ($19) a petit sirah from California. This was my (Julie's) choice. I chose it because I remember it having a very unique, almost spicy aftertaste. Sure enough, the Petit Sirah (or Durif) grapes are known for their spicy sweetness. The taste wasn't there, though, so we decanted the wine, and an interesting date aroma started to appear after a few minutes in the air. I liked this one best, but it was deemed "uncomplicated" by the others, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It was certainly easy drinking.

The second wine we tried was Cono Sur ($17?), an organic cabernet sauvignon from Chile. I found it hit pretty hard right out of the bottle, and had a textured dry aftertaste. I found I liked it more as it mellowed out of the bottle for 1/2 hour or so. (This night was definitely a lesson in letting wine breathe). I think it was pretty well liked overall. This was Chris's choice, and he chose it because there was a bike on the bottle.

The final choice was Brent's, a Shiraz from Italy called Solo ($15). It was like no other wine I had ever tried. It had an almost gasoline-like aroma with strong overtones of pine needles (to my nose anyway). It tasted uncannily like olive oil, and apparently this is because many vineyards in Italy share soil with olive orchards. I didn't like it much, but oddly made the gouda we were eating taste like caramel.

For next time, I'm hoping for more wine and more cheese. Also I wish Cristina and Alison were here for this, but oh well.

If you want to join the group, check it out on facebook. If you want to host the next one yourself, you're more than welcome to. It should happen about once a month, giving everyone some time to pick a wine and research a bit about it, as well as save a few dollars for that little bit nicer bottle than you'd usually buy for those nights when you're all alone in your bed watching weeds and a $10 bottle is the best you'll spring for. Or is that just me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


All right, so i may have been ambitious in trying to blog all my Fringe reviews, because I simply couldn't go to all the ones I wanted to with my evening work schedule. I tried valiantly to see everything that I could, but I missed a lot of the shows I wanted to see, and sort of doubt I'll get out there on the last day (Sunday) my only day off, and there are other things to do.

Besides, of the four shows I saw, three were mediocre. Last night I checked out Antigone, the only show playing at the time I could see it. It was fine. Three women in togas told Sophocles's story of Antigone, Oedipus's tragically doomed daughter, through dance and story. It was just fine, but not particularly funny or interesting or innovative.

I'm especially disappointed because I have all these starry-eyed memories of the Montreal Fringe last year. There were lots of weird and crazy shows, including some burlesque, some great comedy, and a foursome of Japanese aliens with furry vaginas that was creepy but also only 20 minutes long or so. The Vancouver fringe was also timed badly. If you put two one hour shows back to back against each other, how do you expect people to be able to see both? Very poorly planned, so despite my best intentions and a superpass, I only managed to see four. Lame!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Miss Peters's Fringe Picks and Pans: Die Roten Punkte

Two Australians pretend to be Germans in a punk band called Die Roten Punkte, or the Red Dots. The brother-sister duo bicker and squabble in between hilarious songs that could only have been improved if the words were a bit more audible. This show has been selling out and winning awards all over the place, and for good reason--it's hilarious. My favourite song was "I am not a robot: I am a LION!" This is definitely a fringe must-see, and they even have Tshirts with robots and lions on them, but they've sold all but the men's XL and XXL. What does that tell you about a show?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Shameless self-promotion

Though I will never call myself a professional spoken word poet, I do write spoken word poetry, and since I will never be famous for doing this, I should be forgiven for shamelessly promoting myself and those that support me.

This past Friday night, I went over to Co-op Radio, right in the centre of the Downtown East Side, so be a guest on the show Accordion Noir, which is entirely devoted to accordion music and miscellanea. After deciding not to lock up my bike at the bike rack on Columbia and Hastings next to a dessicated bike and a lock without its bike and bringing the steed inside with me, I sat in with Rowan and Bruce and read my poem about an accordion player who utterly seduced me, sandwiched between songs by that very accordion player. It was great fun, and do you have any idea how awesome the accordion can be? If not you should listen to the show. You can download the episode starring ME here:

Oh--Friday's episode isn't up yet. I will keep you updated. But you should listen to the show anyway.

Miss Peters's Fringe Picks and Pans: Mating Rituals of the Urban Cougar

Andrea Thompson is a professional performance poet, and during her hour-long show, explained, among other things, how choosing this ludicrous career means you can do pretty much anything else and your family will forgive you since it can't be worse that professional performance poetry.

As I've mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of one-person shows. I like plays to take me away with them, not necessarily to be spoken to. This one came at a bad time, too, filled as it was with meditations on getting older, choosing a career, and breaking bad love habits, things I have been thinking about a little bit too much lately as another birthday is on the horizon for me, which always sends me off the deep end of an existential crisis.

That being said, she was funny, and her poems were great. One, called the Gospel of Thomas, has a guy at a New Year's party catching her pretending to talk on her cellphone as the clock strikes twelve to avoid the humiliation of not being kissed at midnight. He then goes on to peg her as a poet, the type that probably falls in love with a volleyball. You know the drill: "Oh perfect orb of light, signifying action and team cooperation! What a beautiful sphere!" Poets are the worst at falling in love, because they so hate to see the world in its mundane ordinariness, and this makes for a frabjus first two weeks into a relationship, and a devastating middle and end. I have been known to be guilty of this in my misspent youth (so quickly fading) and have certainly fallen for a few of said poets, who found me to be the most wonderful volleyball at first and then kicked me over the fence when they found out I was merely human.

Blogs are great because you can do things like write theatre reviews and actually vent about your own feelings.

Anyway--Andrea's show is recommended if you like one-woman shows, performance poetry, and life meditation. If you prefer one-man shows with sports and mascots (shudder), check out Mr. Fox. (See below!)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Miss Peters's Fringe Picks and Pans: Mr. Fox

The beauty and the beast of the Fringe Festival is that you know almost nothing about a show before you go to see it, and it is usually either horrible or brilliant. I took just such a risk last night, the opening night of the Fringe, with Mr. Fox, a show by Fringe legend TJ Dawe, and Some Other Guy Craig Landucci.

Before I review the show, there are several things you should know about me as an audience member:

1. I don't much care for sports.
2. I don't much care for classic rock.
3. I really hate annoying radio djs.
4. I don't usually like one-man shows. You're stuck with the guy for an HOUR.
5. I have an irrational fear of mascots. A really big irrational fear.

This show was:
1. About sports.
2. Included copious amounts of classic rock.
3. Featured annoying (really, really annoying) radio DJs.
4. A one-man show.
5. About MASCOTS.

I hated it. I was convinced the one man was going to put on the mascot costume he was going on and on about in between annoying radio DJ impersonations, and was so nervous about that I actually ensured there were enough chairs and tables around me that if he did, he couldn't touch me. The show's one saving grace? He never put the costume on.

Caveat: if you like the aforementioned five things, you'll probably love this show. Then again, you probably also love beatboxing and killing kittens.

Monday, September 01, 2008

dirty girls!

Right....the mud wrestling!

Thanks to my obliging commenters, who gave sound advice and reminded me about one of the most interesting nights I have been out to in a long time. Mudwrestling! Thanks Sean.

As a sidenote, thanks to the advice of said commenters, I will now need some company to "scout" new jobs, especially at the Railway Club, where they apparently have this thing called Cafe Scientifique on the third Tuesday of every month with various guest lecturers and academics and discussion. I need more quantum physics in my life. Who's up for some "research"?

Back to the mudwresting. On Friday night at the Wise Hall, we showed up to a sadly only half-empty club and an excellent DJ whose name I never found out. The cabaret opened with Jillian Deri (i think that was her name?) doing this thing called "curtains" where she climbed up and down and swung and twisted on these long red curtains hanging from the ceiling. It was incredibly hot, and I REALLY want to learn how to do that. She was followed by a string of burlesque performers, including Malaika Millions, who was surprisingly embarrassed when her cross-adorned pasty fell off to reveal her naked nipple! Later came Jenny Magenta, who pulled off her long gloves with a splash of glitter, at which Alla turned to me and said, "I wish all my clothes would do that when I took them off!"

All these wonderfully different shaped-and sized- hot mamas were incredibly inspiring. Especially sexy--it was almost impossible to get my jaw off the floor--was Diana something, who did a mix of Michael Jackson tunes and some amazing dancing. I thought immediately, Ok, where do I sign up? I want to be a burlesque dancer. Cristina, ditch advertising school and move here so we can start a burleqsue troupe together!

Anyway, topping off the already awesome night was some serious mudwrestling. The girls jumped right in, finally making way for the Slam's own RC Weslowski, who lost his pants in the mud pit (and didn't seem to mind), and S.R. Duncan, who I'd never met before but was pretty hilarious writhing around in a pit. That's about all the words I have left to describe this event, so I'll leave you with the videos.