Take, for instance, the example of this one that we've attended recently, on a still-cold-as-hell night of February: held at a venue known as the Lion D'Or...
That old-style, on the smallish side, ''traditional'' cabaret which tries, through its variety of staged shows and events, to keep the tradition of the classic cabarets of auld alive and well - well into the twenty-first century...! This ''Golden Lion'' here is achieving just that and, along with other lions to be found on this northern islet of all manners of urban pollution (and they are the Humble Lion, the one found on Mount-Royal and Lionel-Groulx college...) it is, overall, somewhat changing my opinion and views of the old Mont-Réal borough (in the British sense; all about certain special rights, eh)...!
But that's another story...
Of course, it's all in French (or Franglais - on occasion. But truth be told, this is à cent mille lieues de Sugar Sammy; fear not)
A wide selection of authors and selected quotes are read to the few, the proud, the elite that showed up on that cold night as on other such nights before: it is all fine and dandy whenever it is about local scribes' words, read in a decidedly-québécois tone. However, when it comes to the fine citations of what few truly illustrious authors such as Fernando Pessoa that were selected for this night, one wishes one could read the original text all by ourselves, without the ''help'' of these readers... It doesn't matter that you don't know Portuguese...!
For I do... ;-)
But that's another story...
And speaking (figuratively, quite evidently - duh!) of which, it irks the pundits in the crowd (oh, my; there were so few of us there!) when they overpronounce the vowels in a name: it's Pessoa (Pessoo-a, with a barely audible ''a'' at the end; and don't anybody dare jokingly infer there's ''pissou'' in there or I... não sei o que é vou fazer...!) not Pess-ô-ah... mas que porra mesmo! Desculpa... And speaking of that - overindulging in Oscar Wilde quotes that have nothing to do with the theme of the evening, just to keep the crowd awake, interested, stimulated (...) or simply excite it (!) seems to, well, cheapen the overall purpose of the exercise (which was to generate funds for an organization that specializes in helping out the despaired and derelict on the islet in question - six months at a time. Six months/one evening; seems like not even remotely close to being enough in order to deal with the calamity of a ''nation'' plagued by one of the world's highest suicide rate amongst young males anywhere; but, as we'll repeat further down in this piece, it is certifiably better than doing absolutely nothing at all.)
The readers, perhaps molded after or handpicked according to previous models of the sort found here and there in la Francophonie and beyond, are adequate, nothing more - alas, not spectacular. One had hoped to hear something far more lively than the old Nuits de Poésie recitals... Not so. Perhaps it has a little something to do with that Québécois accent of theirs...? To be honest, they all have it but two: Winston McQuade, it is a testament to him, bears no accent at all (not even an English one, which one might think would be the case due to his name and ancestry) while Kim Thuy also an adopted national, quite obviously, has, somehow, an International French stance that is much in-sync with my very own...! The rest of the ''reading cast'' (see the ''official'' menu below this dew - it is all blue! You can't miss it: though it misses the name of one David Goudreault, slam poetry specialist made in Quebec and last-minute addition...) is obviously all ''Québécois Pure Laine'' - and if, outside of the area or, even, simply off the islet, no one has any idea who Winston is (former TV host and cultural aficionado) or Kim (an author) it goes at least ten-fold for the rest of them, from Claudia to the one credited with ''the idea'' here, Alain... The former has been known for her love of books for the longest time; she even authors them, too. She doubles as a journalist who frequently involves herself in good deeds of the sort. The latter (with a name such as Labonté - for goodness' sake!) is a philanthropist and entrepreneur, who loves to write too. Laudable, all around, absolutely (which entirely legitimizes the simulpost here as well as, originally, on THAT blog over there!) but, oftentimes, such efforts go completely ignored - just as the notoriety of each reaches a negligible percentage of the masses out there...
They do say that nul n'est prophète dans son pays, however...
They still gathered all together for a good cause, which is so honorable indeed; with the entire exercise judiciously ornamented, also, by musical pauses inserted exactly at the right time - which is, basically, whenever a succession of odd quotes has been read out loud leaving the inquiring minds in the audience wondering ''why in blue heavens did they choose that over, well, millions of other possibilities, really...?'' But that's another story - yet again.
Instead of a rather mindless quote from either one of them reformed ''vagrants'' or well-known sources of witticisms in writ (Oscar Wilde, Bernard Pivot, Socrates himself) it would have perfectly been suitable here to have included actual poetry, true lyricism from former homeless men who have been ''discovered'' for their way with words and given the chance to exploit their God-given talents, at long last. One or two very famous examples come to mind: most notably, this one right here who rose from his ashes like the proverbial phoenix after a long descent into purgatory ended when he was salvaged from it by a mere passerby: maybe the name will ring a bell? It is Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho. The passerby, Shalla Monteiro, did much more than help him out for a maximum of six months as those ''intervenant(e)s'' du Tournant do; she set up a Facebook page for the man so that his poetry would get to be read not just for one night either and not only one or two lines of it, but all of it, all the time. Even the peeps behind facebookstories.com were so impressed (they have to be happy to see such kind of free publicity arise virtually out of nowhere: what a comforting thought to learn that social media, especially their brand of social media, can be used to attain such heights, change someone's life, all for the very best?) and the amazing story has been circulated around ever since. I cannot believe that Kim, Alain and the rest did not find a single quote from Raimundo's writings to be ''percutant'' here, and they'd rather quote Plume Latraverse and Woody Allen - three times! It is probably true, too, that the customer-base of that Tournant place is not as literally-gifted as Sr Sobrinho; they have other talents that need nurturing and, within a six-month timeframe, it needs to be done FAST... There are follow-ups though; but that might be hardly enough. Oh well; it is not our focus of attention here today...
It is difficult to choose which siren was the most well-suited or a joy to listen to with this event, as far as the accompanying singing voices go: Coral Egan's voice is clearly the better one, however Mara Tremblay's lyrics seemed to fit the bill on another level - and not just because they were in French either. A guitarist was on hand just to play along as the readers were doing their thing: that helped immensely, at times (again, the choice of quotes was not always so judicious... Music salvaged the moment... But we're repeating ourselves now, are we not? That's a definite no-no for an LPP...!)
And so LP left the LPP a tad disillusioned with such events overall: for they are but a drop in the ocean of sorrows that they are trying to sponge out. It is, of course, better than doing nothing at all. We departed the Lion D'Or voicing our concern and wish that other, age-old charitable organizations could be so... inventive themselves. One comes to mind immediately: the KofC. Ah, if only they were so enthused to combine arts and chivalry, charity and literary wit, what a wonderful, wondrous fundraiser it could be...? But that's another story - one last ''other one'' yes! Thanks to Marie-Noelle for making us know about this soirée and listening intently, at the end of it - and to Isabelle, for pretending to listen for the littlest of whiles, too! (More on that - in the comments section!)
Too bad we missed out entirely on that backstage confessional thing though...
Maybe next time...
Vendredi, 07 février 2014
Au profit de l'Auberge du coeur Le Tournant
AVEC KIM THUY, CLAUDIA LAROCHELLE,
Le vendredi 7 février 2014 à 21h au Lion d’Or à Montréal aura lieu un événement inédit : PARTY PYJAMA LITTÉRAIRE avec les auteurs Kim Thuy, Claudia Larochelle et Alain Labonté. À cette occasion, Winston McQuade, la poète Janick Belleau, et les chanteuses Coral Egan et Mara Tremblay s’ajouteront à la distribution. Céline Lamontagne assurera la mise en scène.
Dans une formule cabaret et une ambiance chaleureuse, ce PARTY PYJAMA LITTÉRAIRE sera un moment unique où la littérature sera à l’honneur. Vêtu d’un pyjama, un verre à la main, le public n’aura qu’à se laisser bercer. Dans des textes tantôt connus tantôt inédits, chacun se verra transporter dans l'univers de la jeunesse, de l'utopie de la différence et de la proposition de vivre autrement. Plusieurs segments littéraires seront enrobés par des chansons qui nous plongeront au cœur des thèmes proposés.
*Cette idée un peu folle de passer une soirée en pyjama, à découvrir des textes et de nouveaux auteurs, nous est venue il y a environ une année. Et quand on a une idée dans la tête! Laisser la voix porter les mots jusqu’à soi : N’est -ce pas apaisant et magique? de dire Kim.
*Et puisque les gens ont l’habitude de lire avant de se mettre au lit, cette fois-ci, nous nous chargerons de leur faire la lecture et de les conduire aux portes de certaines réalités qui touchent chacun de nous, très près ou de loin. Les sujets abordés les emporteront assurément dans des images émouvantes* de souligner Claudia.
Une expérience unique : le confessionnal
Avant le spectacle, à l’entracte, et à la fin, il sera possible, pour un don volontaire, de se présenter au confessionnal le temps d’un court texte lu et chuchoté à l’oreille. De Balzac à Bobin, de Laferrière à Mauriac,…. Un moment littéraire choisi et interprété que pour vous!
*Pour chacune des soirées PARTY PYJAMA LITTÉRAIRE, les profits seront versés à une cause qui nous tient à cœur. Ici, c’est L’Auberge du cœur Le Tournant qui héritera des bénéfices. Cet événement du 7 février 2014 proposera un forfait VIP qui comprendra souper-spectacle-confessionnal et……..une paire de pantoufles en phentex tricotées par nulle autre que le Cercle des Fermières de L’Avenir. Réservez dès maintenant votre PARTY PYJAMA LITTÉRAIRE au profit de l’organisme que vous aimez* de dire Alain.
21h (portes 20h)
spectacle seulement : 40$
en prévente par ICI
ou à la porte le soir du spectacle en argent comptant
Forfait VIP : Souper au Petit Extra, spectacle, pantoufles et confessionnal : 125$
en vente uniquement à l'auberge du coeur Le Tournant