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
So I hardly ever blog these days, bad me. To update you, Turtle Island was swell. I performed at VERSeFest in Ottawa, joined onstage by the brill and dear-to-me Gord Disley at the end. I really enjoyed For Body and Light —spoken word & music by Ian Ferrier melded with dance choreographed by Stéphanie Morin-Robert. Plus, it was interesting to be in Canada as an Official Scot, gave me lots of musings about nation/nationality and perceptions of personhood. Now in both my countries I’m from Elsewhere.
Then I did a wee reading in Montreal at Litpop, shared the stage with Eileen Myles, Jon Paul Fiorentino and Jonathan Ball. Great readings all around. In Cobourg an accidental meeting between my dear friend Stuart Ross and me with my dear friend bill bissett resulted in the birth of The Three Ferretpersons, a strange new sound poetry collaboration. We did our first public performance at The Human Bean. Good times. It was sad to say adieu to everyone, though I can’t say I”m sad to leave behind the cold and snow (it’s APRIL ffs).
Now that I’m back in Edinburgh I’m gearing up to read and screen a film at Pussy Whipped Festival, then the big Filmhouse screenings and performances, Who’s Your Dandy?, on 17 May. I’m super-excited about Who’s Your Dandy?, as it will feature film/poetry/singing from the amazing Andra Simons (with Joao Trindade), music from the dazzling Lake Montgomery, and the new work of my new interdisciplinary collaboration They They Theys.
Plus I’m lucky enough to be screening films by Erica Cho, mihee-nathalie lemoine, Sophie Norman, Tina Takemoto, plus more TBD. It’s going to be SO GOOD. Get your tickets HERE.
Til next time. xxx
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.
There are way too many things to tell you… Zorras have been going solid since July. I forget what July was, but I know it was something. I remember playing the wonderful jazz-heavy night, Click Clack Club. The rest is a blur. Oh, wait! I remember. It was BERLIN!! How could I ever forget Berlin???? (though it does explain the blur).
Zorras performed at Entzaubert Queer DIY Film Festival. It was uber-brilliant. Four days in the woods with radical queer and trans folk watching INCREDIBLE films (and they screened my short, Slippery). Then we got to perform outside on a very large stage, and it didn’t even rain on us.
(Zorras at Entzaubert in Berlin)
Then I produced An Edinburgh Zine & Small Press Fair at the (now so sadly departed) Forest Cafe. It was awesome. Also, because that wasn’t enough work, oh no, I curated a poetry event the same night, called Faceplant. Also cracking.
Then we performed at Inky Fingers, also at the lovely late Forest Cafe. Very fine.
Then we decided it was a great idea to go off to London on a mini-tour. Great times were had at Apples & Snakes, Wotever at Hot August Fringe (RVT), Well Furnished (a squat that got evicted the next day but has prevailed in a new space), Fox and the Teller's beautiful series in Abney Park Cemetery, and Sage & Time.
(Zorras in Abney Park Cemetery Chapel)
In London, we also paid our respects at Amy W’s home. And we met the inimitable musicianist Holly Hayes, and we just had to make a film (click on it) with her and the amazing Debra Duong, in 24 hours!
Dear gawd, are we still in August? Yes. So then we came home and read/performed at Edinburgh Book Festival with the lovely Words Per Minute folks. There was some Drama, on- and off-stage ;-) It was grand.
(Zorras at Edinburgh Book Festival, photo by Chris Scott, who incidentally was *not* involved in any drama, not him)
So then we decided, with persuasion from the brill Scottish Transgender Alliance, to produce the latest installment of our queer and trans cabaret, Cachin Cachan Cachunga! (someone tell me how to make Spanish & French accents on here or I will scream). It was Epic. We even got a wee article in The Skinny.
Then I agreed to be a chair on a panel for Lila Matsumoto's very cool poetry conference at University of Edinburgh, ConVersify — the very next day! No rest for the wicked, my mother always says. I didn’t know what a chair was really, but some lovely woman — who was desperate to find more work/talks by women and thought I was maybe giving a talk so approached me — ended up instructing me on the time-honoured position of Academic Time-Keeper. And no one sat on me, hahaha I kill myself.
The talks were good, though there was one guy discussing Irish pastoral and anti-pastoral who kinda lost me. Very specific references, you know? Anyway, we stayed on time and I dug the talks by Eva Ulrike Pirker and Ishaq Tijani (he discussed gender & poetry in Muslim Spain). Success.
Then that night Zorras performed at the ConVersify live poetry event. Nathan Gale joined us onstage. It was cool. Loads of great folks, including ShellSuit Massacre. We had a good gig, excellent tech at The Caves. Also it was sweet having the computer onstage with us. Smooth running. (Though there needed to be fewer shouty men and more shouty or unshouty women poets, sorry had to say it).
More things happened in September, a lot more, but we were in another country across the ocean so I’ll save that for another day. Phew.
It feels good to be back. Blogging, I mean, not so much in Edinburgh. Sorry, Edinburgh. Though thanks for being sunny, that was cool of you.