Walking up Bishop Street, the quiet dark of evening in warm Summer. The Poster
for infringement Festival Montreal mounted on a sign on the porch of the old
Brownstone. The night started at 8:00 p.m., the small space filled with people,
and a powerful lineup of musicians, comedians and Poets. The night was hosted by
Laurence who introduced the event, featuring international artists.
First up was Ra’akone, a local infringement regular who dramatizes his humourous and quirky poetry. Dressed in a sarong he began with “Be Normal” a diatribe about correct behaviour, to be followed by ”Into the Woods” and “Go to the Bar”. Next was a local legend Peter Spiritwalker, critiquing everyone in his satirical protest poetry. “Me and Mrs. Jones” featuring government corruption and hypocrisy was followed by a second poem about violence and racism, then Montreal the Beautiful Island City about greed, “sucks the blood out of people” and global economy/global catastrophe. The last poem was titled “The Ugly Nazi Separtist Quebecois” highlighting hypocrisy and madness that Canada calls itself a democracy. Laurence, a local poet known for his humourous oblique rhyming verse with an activist bent recited “It’s a tax” and “P Attacks I”. Stephen B. Fraser, another local talent recited his beautiful repetitive play on words in a dramatic style also with an activist bent that was very captivating, beginning with “This mojo in my engine” “Mojo blues of mine” “The mojo that runs my engine” in a deep guttural hum. “Ritual of the Black Ahmen” and “Instances of cheap deep substances” (O Fuck yeah) followed with “The Bread of Death” and “shooting religion”.
Sunshine a very wonderful music duo from Buffalo, played some great melodic acoustic tunes featuring guitar/ukele and sweet voices. Robert a young comedian from Britain introduced his set with Why? how he had done a search engine search with just the word why and proceeded to read off the titles of books beginning with Why? Then he headed into a comic prose set of parallel conversations beginning with wasn’t it unusual that you never see parallel conversations written down? The first hilarious conversation was between him, a couple of patrons and the server at a fast food restaurant, between talk about their orders was a conversation about organ donation, leading to seemingly inappropriate juxtapositions of talk and humour. The second offering of prose was a conversation between him and his dental hygienist, she is pregnant and disillusioned with politics and as they discuss this she is also discussing the state of his teeth creating a comedic row. Next, a truly great Poet Masha Bronnikova originally from Siberia and lately of Europe and now Montreal. She begins the show with a map of the world folded up like an airplane and holding it in her hand she makes motor noises and flies it through the air, then the poetry starts, a reciting of different place names that have all known war, it is not comedic but rather a political action on violence. “poetry is crisis” “you have no structure”, she recites several poems in beautiful cadence with an activist bent. Then Jason from the punk band sic, takes the stage with his friend playing guitar, after a comedic introduction on how the band name is a copyright infringement and may be known as sik. He said he had entered a poem in “the worst poem ever” contest and won beginning with “I have my hat” a 3 line poem that was indeed the worst poem ever. To get the audience in the mood he said “imagine you’re all drunk and there’s lights everywhere”. What followed was “Instant Lobotomy” – “don’t blame your conscience because I know you don’t have one” and “BLT’s and Dacquaries” – “mermaid gave me an STD” (this song was considered too hardcore for the band) and “Prostitution Bus” – “got sick at Burger King” “only $1.99” “never tasted so good”. Jason plays in bars in town with his band, a truly great largely undiscovered local talent. Deep pause. Then I was introduced by Laurence and read for the first time anywhere, “It’s a desoto world” – “this is not a democracy” “f the whiteface apocalypse” followed by a handful of smaller poems from The Grif and Other Conversations: even more poetry from the street (and then).
All too soon the night of magic was over, people stayed around to chat, Josh Stone, a comedian from Buffalo was back for the infringement but in the audience. Slowly people began to disperse into the quiet of the Summer night.
infringement Festival Montreal