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Gachet Salon

May 19, 2012 7:30 pm
Gallery Gachet
Gallery Gachet
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88 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A Night of Interdiscinplinary Performance

Sat May 19th
Doors: 7.30pm, Performances: 8pm
$10 Cover Charge

Gachet Salon Is excited to present the Vancouver launch of Montreal poet Michael Lithgow’s new collection of poems Waking in the Treehouse (Cormorant Books, 2012). Michael lived in Vancouver throughout the 80’s and 90’s and many of the poems in his new book are set in Vancouver.

Joining Michael on the bill for the evening will be Gachet Salon host poet / singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo, free music improviser and bassist Torsten Muller, British folk singer-songwriter Leonard Pennifold, country singer-songwriter Shiloh Lindsey as well as East Vancouver folk singer-songwriter Christie Rose.



His poetry has appeared in Arc Magazine, The New Quarterly, Fiddlehead and CV2. Selections of his work have been included inUndercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry (Cormorant Books, 2010), and Rutting Season (Buffalo Runs Press, 2009).  His first solo collection, Waking in the Tree House, was published in Spring 2012 by Cormorant Books. He is a contributing editor at ArtThreat.net and a research associate with the Canadian Alternative Media Archive. Michael is a PhD candidate in the School of Journalism and Communication studying aesthetics and dissent in digital and performance cultures.

On “Waking in the Tree House”// Cormorant Books

The poems in Michael Lithgow’s first collection carry us on a stream of sensory impressions towards some heightened awareness. In a voice characterized by curiosity, astonishment, and candour, the poet records what passes through him in settings as various as a derelict rooming house, a hospital room, a junk shop, a Cape Breton farmhouse, the old Jewish Quarter in Cracow, a Montreal bus during morning rush hour. Lithgow’s poems gravitate towards darker terrain – not at the expense of humour and irony, but with an energetic interest in the beauty of what time does to things, and a pleasure in language that searches for meaning a little beyond the bounds of the ordinary.

A rescue

It started with drinks.  And when we tippled past
the cages of chickens surprised to see the driver
unhitch his truck and drive away, we were left alone
with our consciences. One of them kept screaming
as we rattled the cages.  We grabbed

randomly and quick – two battered birds in a box
and ran.  The smell was wretched.  Surprisingly,
there is cosmic certainty in these things. Saving two lives
makes one’s feet lift off wet pavement in a light rain.
It’s corny, but the universe does notice –

The rooster grew taller than my waist and chased
everyone from the yard. A force. A noisy prize. And finally,
a gift.  We left him on a farm. The hen died of foot fungus.
But not before she learned to roost, laid eggs we ate
with guilt, learned her name, came when called

and sometimes took dust baths under the roses –

The desire of everything   

What was the fascination with fire telling us?
A crackling in the heads of 11 year olds,
stuffing ping-pong balls with matches,

igniting words written with butane in mud,
on sidewalks, in sandboxes – watching something alive
burn from dead grass. There was a recipe

for gunpowder – kitchen alchemy, with sulfur scraped
from match-tips, burnt wood, sugar and saltpeter
in a bowl, moving the metal spoons slowly.

I loved that my fingers could snap ghosts
from almost anything, that liquids burned,
that we could burn and watch our fingers in flames

like Johnny Torch –  flame on!
before burying our hands in the sand.
I loved that we could reach past ourselves

with gestures as sublime and ridiculous
as we were, that we held a key to a beautiful secret.
I liked it more than smallness and boredom,

more than my room,  more than my paper route.
A lot more than my paper route.
More than discovering a world of exhaustion,

of people who spelled magic wrong –
I mean, who spelled it in a way that didn’t spell
the desire of everything (almost everything)

to burn, burn, burn.

Rodney DeCroo
Vancouver based singer-songwriter and poet by way of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has released six critically acclaimed cds and tours regularly throughout Canada and the US. He’ll be performing songs and poems from his most recent album Allegheny which is being transformed into a live multi-media theatrical production set to premiere in February 2013. In a recent review in the Georgia Straight Mike Usinger wrote:

“Raw, captivating, and essential, Allegheny rebrands DeCroo as an artist determined to challenge himself and his fans. In doing so, he’s produced what will be remembered as one of the best, most unflinchingly honest records of the year. If the singer, poet, or whatever you want to call him somehow isn’t on your radar yet, this is where you really need to ask yourself why. Allegheny is a flat-out devastating record.”

His second book of poems “Allegheny, B.C.” will be released in 2012 by Nightwood Editions.

Torsten Muller
Free music / jazz improviser bassist who has performed concerts all over the world with a diverse array of gifted improvisers including Evan Parker, John Russell, Jon Rose, Joelle Leander, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Lol Coxhill, Alexander Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens among many others. Torsten regularly performs at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and is co-curator of the annual TIme Flies Improvised Music Festival.

Shiloh Lindsey
Hailed as “The Whiskey Sipping Darling of the Vancouver Country Scene” she pours her heart out via her own brand of alt-country music. After five years since the release of her stunning alt-country debut, For My Smoke (produced by John Macarthur Ellis – Be Good Tanyas, Dustin Bentall), Shiloh released her second album Western Violence and Brief Sensuality in 2010 to highly positive reviews.

Her music is for somewhere between that after-hours moment in the dimly lit bar when Johnny Cash comes on the jukebox for the last time, and that instant when the sun first starts to turn the sky from darkness to dawn.

Leonard Pennifold
Was born in Brentwood Essex England. He started writing songs at the age of fifteen & has been obsessed with that activity since. Although he has mainly played solo acoustic, there were various rock’n roll bands, most notably Raw Venus a punk’n roll band, in Toronto. He merges folk, rock’n roll, punk, pop etc & other idioms.
Christie Rose
Is a Vancouver songwriter and artist.  Since settling in the Lower Mainland in 2005, she’s been performing locally, finding her place within the community of artists and musicians rooted in East Vancouver.  A recent review from theindiejam.com describes her songs as “authentic”, and her sound as “mature and elegant, yet powerful, and containing some unmistakable wisdom.”  Christie is currently at work writing a new set of material, with a heavy influence of country, blues, and folk music. These songs are lyrically driven, aiming for honesty and poetry, and finding the melody on which to hang the words.”

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