Censored out loud recap

Here is the line-up from last night’s amazing event, in case you missed it. Some great photos are also here.

  1. Musical performance by Bremner Duthie – Unsrer Shtetl Brent (‘our village is burning’)
  2. Introductions: MC Bob Le Drew and Kerry Pither, Chair, Writers in Prison Committee, PEN Canada
  3. Reading by Bob LeDrew from Stephen King’s Rage
  4. Musical performance by Megan Jerome – Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”
  5. Special performance by Zaganar
  6. Reading by Nichole McGill from Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak
  7. Reading by Kerry Pither
  8. Reading by Brendan McNally from the Pogues’ “Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham 6”
  9. Reading by Don Monet from the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”
  10. Musical performance by Andrea Simms-Karp – Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”
  11. Reading by Max Middle from Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate
  12. Theatre scene from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata
  13. Musical performance by Marc Nelson – Olivia Newton John’s “Physical”
  14. Reading by Sarah Campbell from The Story of Little Black Sambo
  15. Reading by Ken Godmere from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  16. Musical performance by Ben Welland – George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”
  17. Theatre scene from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House
  18. Reading by Alan Cumyn  from Mexican WhiteBoy
  19. Reading by Jenn Farr from And Tango Makes Three
  20. Musical performance by Rachel Eugster – Bob Dylan’s “Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word”
  21. Reading by Dorothy Jeffreys from Khaled Khalifa’s A Tribute to Hatred
  22. Reading by Marie-Camille Lalande from Jimmy Pritchard’s (terrible) New York City Bartender’s Joke Book
  23. Reading by David Yazbeck: excerpts from songs by Billie Holiday, George Formby, Cole Porter, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Clash, Kim Phair, Edwin Starr/Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon.
  24. Reading by Barbara Clubb from The Higher Power of Lucky
  25. Theatre scene from from George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession

Here is some information about our performers:

SARAH CAMPBELL: Sarah has been reading to children for 26 years, since her first child was born.  Her three children take pride that Mum has read so many banned and challenged children’s books to them!  Sarah has been reading to children at the Ottawa Public Library for 15 years… not hesitating to include banned and challenged books in my programs. Tonight, she has chosen to read The Story of Little Black Sambo.  The tale was written by Helen Bannerman in 1899.  It takes place in South India where Helen had accompanied her husband, a doctor with the British Army Indian Medical Service.  It is an endearing and much loved account of clever Sambo’s encounter with tigers.  Unfortunately many publications included racist depictions of Sambo.  The name took on negative connotations in the United States, where the story developed  an African American twist.  For this reason the book has been banned on and off through the latter part of the 1900s.

BARBARA CLUBB: Barb Clubb is recently retired as City Librarian for the Ottawa Public Library. She has worked in public libraries and public library agencies in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba. She is a passionate and articulate advocate for libraries and their role in literacy, life-long learning and community building. She promotes the use of new technology both as a service and a a way of achieving efficiencies .She is a strong advocate of social media to communicate with and engage citizens as well as to promote the public library and the city it services. She is enjoying her retirement doing aquafit and zumba, learning how to tap dance and doing lots more reading. Tonight, Barb will be reading from The Higher Power of Lucky by author and former librarian Susan Patron. Published by Simon and Schuster in 2007, the novel is aimed at children ages 9-12 (the tween set). It is the winner of the 2007 of the Newberry Medal. All Patron’s books are available in the Ottawa Public Library. The Higher Power of Lucky was controversial in the US because some librarians and teachers objected to the use of the word scrotum on the first page. The reference was to a dog and is actually based on a true story according to the author. Some school librarians were shocked and banned the book from being included in their collections. This incident opened up the whole debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books, and how self-censorship is practiced in schools by teachers and school librarians. The controversy raged over children’s lit blogs, but most comments were from librarian and teachers and others who supported the book and its contents.

ALAN CUMYN: Alan Cumyn is the author of Tilt, The Famished Lover and other books for adults and children, and is a past chair of both The Writers’ Union of Canada and of the Writers in prison committee of PEN Canada.

RACHEL EUGSTER: Rachel Eugster is an actor, singer, writer, & editor based in Ottawa. Upcoming projects: Putana in “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” at the Ottawa Fringe Festival with Bear & Co. in June, and her picture book The Pocket Mommy, due out from Tundra Books in Fall 2013. Which she hopes won’t be banned. Unless that encourages people to read it. As tales told on the internet have it, all Bob Dylan songs were once banned from radio airplay in El Paso, Texas, because the lyrics were unintelligible and therefore probably suggestive. As of course they are. Suggestive of love, loss, longing, and the full spectrum of the human experience. If it was four-letter words the authorities feared, perhaps they had a point. Among the ten words Dylan uses most often, six have four letters: well, just, know, like, come (well, okay), and love. (For the record, the others are got, can, one, and go.) Rachel Eugster’s work has never been banned on radio—at least so far as she knows. Her parallel careers as actor, singer, writer, and editor all revolve around something she shares with Dylan: a love of language. And though born decades apart, she and Dylan share something else: the same birthday as the monarch who lent her name to an entire era of censorship and repression: Queen Victoria. Here is Rachel, with Kevin Guerette and Mike Berrigan, revelling in the freedom to perform Bob Dylan’s “Love is Just a Four-Letter Word.”

KEN GODMERE: Ken Godmere is an actor, director, instructor, and corporate speaker. He believes in the magic of people, spirit, adventure, and literature. Ken has chosen to read from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – partly because he so enjoyed reading it with his kids when they were young and witnessing the effects it had on so many elementary school children. But mostly he wants to stand up against a wrong from the religious right — as a number of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians have had Harry Potter banished from their schools “because his magical powers go against the teachings of the Bible”.

DOROTHY JEFFREYS: Dorothy Jeffreys is a Coordinator at the Main branch of the Ottawa Public Library. She has been a Librarian at the OPL for 13 years and prior to that, taught English for several years in Japan and Korea. She is married to poet David O’Meara. She will be reading from a book by the Syrian author Khaled Khalifa. Mr Khalifa has been in the news recently on account of an Open Letter he posted on Facebook on February 8th, urging the international community to intervene in Syria to stop the massacre of his people.  Mr Khalifa, who lives in Damascus, is the author of A Tribute to Hatred, which was shortlisted for the Booker-sponsored International Prize for Arabic Literature in 2006. The book is banned in his country. In discussing the book, he denies that it is intended to advocate any particular political ideology: “Above all I wrote this novel in defence of the Syrian people and in order to protest against the suffering they have endured as a result of the religious and political dogmas that have tried to negate their ten-thousand-year civilization”.

MEGAN JEROME: Megan Jerome continues to delight critics and audiences with her original music. Following family singsongs, classical piano training and a degree in jazz piano, she has recorded three cds, which have received rave reviews, appearing on radio station charts across Canada, as well as on iTunes charts in Portugal and in New Zealand. Megan teaches and mentors her own piano students, from young children to music students at Carleton University. Megan is not only one of our most interesting artists, she is one of our most interested artists. This relentless engagement has led to collaborations on projects with musicians, choirs, dancers, choreographers and actors, including, most recently, “The Reins”, a contemporary dance work set to her songs by renowned choreographer Tedd Robinson.  Megan’s captivating performances have enchanted audiences in a variety of venues, from local and not-so-local pubs and art galleries, to New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, to major festivals such as the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, The Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Blues Festival and the Ottawa Folk Festival, where Megan received the Galaxie Rising Star Award in 2011. Tonight, Megan will be performing “My Way.” She says that she picked it because it’s an old family favourite! Every Sunday morning her brother would blast this on the stereo and they would belt it out while they made toasted bacon, tomato and cheese sandwiches!!

MARIE-CAMILLE LALANDE: Marie-Camille Lalande works at the Ottawa Art Gallery, in the Public, Educational and Community Programs department. She spends her days thinking, talking and teaching about art. And now for something completely different, she will regale you the comedy stylings of Jimmy Pritchard and his New York City Bartender’s Joke Book.

BOB LEDREW: Bob LeDrew is a communicator and connector in Ottawa who likes words, music, and freedom. Not necessarily in that order. Among his hobbies / jobs is a podcast about Stephen King called “The Kingcast.” Stephen King has been the victim of censorship many times in his career. His novella Apt Pupil was challenged because it dealt with a young California boy’s relationship with a Nazi war criminal, and his novels Cujo, Carrie, The Dead Zone, and Christine have all made it onto the American Library Association’s 100 most challenged books list of the 1990s.

NICHOLE MCGILL: Nichole McGill is a published author and digital media specialist. She’s the author of two (print) books, has e-published and Google-mapped a novel and led discussions about the role of the author in the digital world at uToronto’s School of Continuing Education, BookCampToronto and last year’s Future of the Word conference hosted by the Writer’s Union. She also adapted a short story into a film, which was an official selection in the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and is contemplating her next creative print book and e-book creation. Nichole McGill is interested in the spaces where words, ideas and technology intersect. Tonight, Nichole will be reading from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and also from “Listen”, a poem made up from excerpts of emails and letters sent to Laurie Halse Anderson. She will also be giving an update on the school board that tried to ban Speak. They ended up banning Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty Boy Summer, then two weeks later were hit by a lawsuit for covering up rapes that had happened in one of their schools.

BRENDAN MCNALLY: Brendan McNally organizes the House Band Reading Series. Tonight, he will be reading the Pogues song, “Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham 6.”

MAX MIDDLE: Poet and artistic director of Ottawa’s AB Series, Max Middle will be reading an excerpt from Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters tonight. Ursonate is today considered amongst the greatest works of 20th century sound poetry. Based on traditional sonata form, Ursonate consists of four movements, of an overture, a finale and a cadenza in the fourth movement. Schwitters regarded the work as being inseparable from his wider art practice, which he referred to generally as Merz. The first publication of Schwitters’ notations for the Ursonate was in 1932 in the periodical Merz. Following persecution by the Gestapo under the Nazis, Schwitters was forced to flee Germany in 1936. Schwitters’ Merz paintings were displayed by the Nazis as part of their 1937 ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition.

DON MONET: Don Monet is a long time Ottawa artist, curator and activist. With writer Becky Rynor he is co-owner of the Cube Gallery. He has organized and curated dozens of political exhibitions and shows at Cube as well as at artist run centres like SAW, 101 and Mayworks Art Festival. Hi exhibits allowed visual artists to tackle such issues as the Quebec Summit, the bombing in Yugoslavia, war in Lebanon and support charities like Doctors Without Borders and War Child.  Cube has been host to a number of writing friendly events over the years from poetry salons to book launches. Don is reading “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols, which was released during Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.  He chose it because in his days at Ryerson Radio and Television arts he played it in his first class as a proof he was pretty cool.  Also it is the Queens Diamond Jubilee this year – marking 60 years of her reign.

MARC NELSON: Born and raised in Toronto, performing and living in Ottawa for 10 years, Marc Nelson writes a wide variety of music from country and Celtic to pop and reggae. In 2004, Marc received the Pineview School Volunteer Award for his help with the Pineview School Choir in Ottawa Ontario. In 2005 Marc released his first Kids Music Album entitled “Mister Marc’s Marvelous Melodies.” He has performed at every type of venue imaginable, from beach bars in Barbados and Mexico to Irish pubs in Thunder Bay and Kingston, to weddings, curling rinks, legions, youth centers and even a few funerals. He will be performing Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.” He’s not even sure why but always wanted to wear a headband while performing.

ANDREA SIMMS-KARP: Andrea Simms-Karp is an indie roots powerhouse, drawing on folk, pop and classical vibes to create a sound both fresh and familiar. The Ottawa native grew up taking classical voice lessons, singing in choirs, and getting steeped in folk music. She’s been stunning local audiences with her clear voice and unique style in live shows for over a decade.

BEN WELLAND: Ben Welland is a singer and songwriter from the band, Sadie Hell. He is performing George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” because when he looked at the list of banned songs that Cheryl provided when she approached him to participate in Censored Out Loud, “I Want Your Sex” was the most obvious choice! There are still countries today who would ban a song with a title like that, or much like what the US did in the 1980’s, require that the artist overdub the word “love” in place of the word sex if they were going to play it on air. Says Ben, “I, personally, don’t have much of a connection to the song, probably because I grew up without MTV, though MTV would only play the song after the “watershed” each night when they assumed the most impressionable of minds had gone to bed. In my household, our only source for music videos was Video Hits, a Canadian program, and while I can remember them playing “Faith” on the show, I don’t ever remember rocking out to “I want your sex” at 4pm on a weekday in rural Ontario.”

DAVID YAZBECK: David Yazbeck takes an active interest in the local Ottawa arts scene, especially music.  For over seven years he has produced and hosted the Thursday Morning Special Blend on CKCU (93.1 FM), which focuses heavily on arts and social justice issues.  David was also one of the founding writers for North by East West, a blog dedicated to Canadian music, writes occasionally for Ottawatonite.com.  Since 2009, David has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Ottawa Folk Festival.  Since 2011, he has acted as a juror for FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings).  In his big boy job, David practices as a labour and human rights lawyer, and he often involved in free expression cases. Tonight, David will be reading excerpts from songs by Billie Holiday, George Formby, Cole Porter, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Clash, Kim Phair, Edwin Starr/Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon.

Thank you to actors Natalie Fraser, Lori-Jean Hodge, Chris Ralph, John Muggleton, Tess McManus, David Whiteley, Christine Hecker, Tim Oberholzer, Rachel Eugster, Zach Counsil, and Teri Loretto-Valentik.

A special thank you also to technicians Chris Wardell and Maggie Matien, and library technician students Anna Cameron, Jen Darling, and Tori Murray for all their help!

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