Sandra Alland is a writer, filmmaker, performer and interdisciplinary artist. This is where they write and post photos, videos and recordings, sometimes. More info on Sandra at blissfultimes.ca
Hi friends and neighbours and long-lost loves,
It’s been a freaking age. Hmmmmm, where to start? I never finished telling you about Zorras’ tour in Canada last September and October, and now we’re in Canada again. Dear me. Since last October, we’ve been playing and teaching all over Scotland, and in Paris, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (which I at least showed you pictures of), Amsterdam and Rome. We celebrated four years of Zorras, we celebrated three years of our queer and trans cabaret Cachín Cachán Cachunga!, and we released a new EP called Doctor Says.
I want to write about nations, and not belonging to any, but I’m very sleepy right now. So instead I’ll just tell you about Berlin. I have photos in an upcoming show called Trans* Homo at Schwules Museum, running from August to November! Zorras also just found out that Entzaubert Queer DIY Film Festival will be screening our film, El Villano, at the beginning of August. We LOVE Entzaubert. Also, Zorras are on a free downloadable compilation from Riot Grrrl Berlin that you can find here. So much goodness in Berlin. But alas we are in North America, aka Turtle Island, seeking other goodnesses — for six months.
More news as it comes in. Sending you warmth (but not this Ontario heat-wave smog-induced warmth) wherever you are. xox
Cachín Cachán Cachunga! is at The Wee Red Bar on Saturday 11th February at 7pm. Don’t miss it! There will be music, there will be film, there will be poetry, dance and burlesque. There will be DJ Leggy Pee. There will be some of the hottest and most talented trans and queer artists in the UK: Lily & Yamil, Dr Carmilla, CN Lester, Jacqueline Applebee, Nathan Gale, Robert Softley and Glasgow Glam Bangers! Hosted by Zorras, who will do two new short pieces to warm things up. It’s CCC’s THIRD ANNIVERSARY and it’s gonna be yummy! Fully accessible and BSL-interpreted, and featuring several kick-ass disabled performers!
In related news, Edinburgh Books refused to put up a poster for the event. (This is the bitching part.) The man, who failed to identify himself except as @edinburghbooks on twitter, originally accepted the poster then refused it when he read it was queer and trans. He denies having told our artist that the event was against his principles, but has failed to clarify his poster policy, except to say that he only puts up posters of events that he would personally promote. He also failed to answer questions as to whether he would promote queer and trans literature. Instead he invited us off twitter to chat at his shop — which to be honest, I have no intention of ever visiting again. If you can’t be honest in public, why would I talk to you in private? Sadly, boycotting Edinburgh Books means missing some of the West Port Book Festival.
But onward! More bitching. It looks like Bongo Club is being evicted, which adds to the growing list of wonderful indie spaces that have been forced to close recently in Edinburgh. BC may soon join Cabaret Voltaire, The Roxy, The Big Red Door and The Forest in the graveyard of Beautiful Venues Forced Out By Jerks. Sign here to try to stop it!
See above re why Zorras are seriously considering relocating. Edinburgh is getting us down, man. Not that it’s ever been especially kind to us. But sheesh. Luckily we have Cachín Cachán Cachunga! and The Scottish Transgender Alliance, and the many lovely indie artists who are struggling to keep it going here.
I’ve got a solo reading coming up at an exciting event curated by Graham Brodie. It’s on 26 January (the day after dear Rabbie turns 250-something). I’ll be reading mostly new stuff, from my project Naturally Speaking. More deets below:
26 January, 7:30pm
Canon’s Gait, High Street
In other news, Zorras are busy bees for February, and will be bringing you not one, but two (!) events, both sponsored by the brill Scottish Transgender Alliance.
1. Cachín Cachán Cachunga! queer & trans cabaret
Saturday, 11 February, 7pm-10:30pm
Wee Red Bar
Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh
For LGBT history month, Zorras bring you our THIRD anniversary event!!
Featuring Performances by
Jacq Applebee, Dr. Carmilla, Nathan Gale, Glasgow Glam Bangers, CN Lester, Lily & Yamil, and Robert Softley. + Short Films by Ania Urbanowska & DJ stylings by Miss Leggy Pee
Hosted by Zorras
More information at http://www.blissfultimes.ca/cachin.htm
Access Info: The Wee Red Bar is fully wheelchair accessible. Films are subtitled in English. The event will be BSL interpreted.
2. Zorras’ Gender Diversity Arts Workshop & Performance Opportunity
Saturday, 25 February, 2pm-9pm
Oasis Youth Centre, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, Scotland
To participate in the FREE Workshop and dinner before the performance you need to register in advance. To just be in the audience for the performance from 7pm to 9pm there is no need to register in advance. Travel & childcare are covered within reason.
Workshop is free & taught by Zorras. For Trans People & Allies.
Evening Performance £3/2 featuring
+ those workshop participants who wish to perform
The Oasis Youth Centre is fully accessible.
Well, yes, I’m still updating you on the summer and autumn. It’s just that so much happened. Where did I leave off? Hmmm…. I think it was post Edinburgh Book Festival and pre-Canada. No! It was post-ConVersify and Cachín Cachán Cachunga! Argh, September is a blur.
So, Canada. Zorras took off for our first visit to Turtle Island sometime in mid-September. Shortly after landing we took an only-slightly tacky trip to Niagara Falls, then performed at the SUPERB Grey Borders Reading Series in Saint Catharines.
Highlights of the night were:
1. being piped in, which has never happened to us in five years in Scotland (sadly my father videotaped this but my camera broke. there will likely be many references to my camera breaking throughout this post. boo)
2. performing at the gorgeous Niagara Artists Centre (photo by Amanda Roth)
3. hearing Aisha Sasha John and Shannon Maguire for the first time
4. Y breaking in the wild drum kit my father built for her (photo by Amanda Roth)
5. meeting Eric Schmaltz, Phil Miletic and Lindsay Cahill
6. Y signing autographs in blood after playing “Head Games” without a pick.
That night we got dropped in Toronto, and the next day we did a live interview and performance for Facing Out at the brill Toronto Women’s Bookstore, with fantastic host Annemarie Shrouder. It was a blast, and I was thrilled to see so many old friends there.
(photo by Susy Alvarez)
Before the show, we also did an interview & video performance for the lovely Black Coffee Poet. You can check it out here.
After the show, a friend threw a wee party for us and we found out just how expensive booze and taxis have become in TO. (plus how long you have to wait for both). When we finally got there, the party was ace.
I think the next day we dropped by Word on the Street to visit a few indie presses. Then I was flying solo at Mutual Readings at The Secret Handshake. Hosted by bill bissett and David Bateman, it was quite the night. I read mostly new stuff, and was thrilled to hear Charlie Huisken, david tin mouth and a host of other writers. Sadly, my camera broke again. Someone lovely named Y was one of the first people to bother filming me reading — but it all got erased. Perhaps it’s for the best lol.
So then… are we still in September? Uh… yes! I remember. We then caught the train to Montreal. Ah, Montreal. What a city. And lucky us, some of our loveliest friends happen to live there so we got to spend five glorious days in hot hot weather — the first time I’ve been truly warm since 2007.
In Montreal, Zorras went on Vince Tinguely's wonderful radio show, then we did a benefit performance Vince organised at Casa del Popolo. The lovely Ariadna Battich joined us, too!
This was our first chance to collaborate with our multi-talented friend Gord Disley. He joined us onstage for our weird sound-poetry piece, “Able” — and it was magic! Check it out here (though I’m cheating because this is actually a different gig in Ottawa later and he’s playing guitar instead of bass guitar but I don’t have video of everything cuz…. my camera broke. So just pretend ok.)
Here is a picture of the real location (& you can even see Battich at her computer), taken by the amazing Samantha Bennett.
Okay, well, that’s only the beginning of the late-2011 update. Cuz then we went back to Toronto and on to Cobourg, Kingston, Ottawa, Birmingham & Liverpool. But those are stories for another day.