“This is Not A Reading,” Toronto

October 12th, 2006 | Uncategorized

I did a really fun event last night with Ivan Coyote in Toronto. This great indy bookstore Pages produces something called the “Not A Reading” series. I think the idea is, it’s not just people reading from books but doing some element of performance as well. Which I qualified for with my powerpoint show. It was held in the bar of a groovy hotel, and the audience was very hip and jaded. The place was packed, with people sitting on the floor and standing in the back and spilling beer. The brilliant comedian Elvira Kurt emceed. Ivan did not read from her just-out first novel Bow Grip, but performed three amazing stories. Then there was a break, then Elvira performed more—a very funny bit about now nice it would be if adults could get carried around in those baby slings—then I read.

I don’t know what it is about Toronto, but for some reason I’m like a rock star here. I mean, people like me well enough in the States, I’m not complaining. But in Toronto I get a subtly different response—there’s an actual thrill in the air. It’s great, but I never know quite what to do with it. Like, afterward, some of the people who came up to get their books signed were so flustered to meet me they couldn’t speak clearly. Rock star!

It was a great evening. But it sucked the last drop of life out of me, after a day spent traveling from Michigan and doing an intense interview with the editor of the magazine Exclaim! and going to bookstores and signing stuff. I got 5 hours of sleep before starting out on my journey home.

I’d show you pictures, but I left my camera in Toronto. I’ve been doing so well keeping track of all my electronic devices and chargers and batteries on my travels—I think forgetting the camera is a sign that I’m finally starting to unravel.

17 Responses to ““This is Not A Reading,” Toronto”

  1. Jill says:

    In my mind, you are a rock star, and when you came to Seattle, I was pleased with myself that I was able to utter coherent sentences at you. 😉

  2. Randee says:

    Dude, your the only person that I actually own(ed) almost everything you have ever done. You are a rock star to me anyway, when I evacuated to Atlanta after the hurricane the first thing I bought post K was your book.

    I bought Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out for and a couple of days later I harassed the staff at barnes and noble and made them track down your book, it wasn’t even on display the first day.

    I used to be a performer and when people are nervous around me it makes me nervous too so I try not to do that to other people but trust me I’m screaming on the inside at a deafening tone.

  3. Kate says:

    Great appearance at the Gladstone last night–it’s true, you’re totally a rock star in Toronto! I suspect that ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ has always been particularly resonant here because our queer and academic communities are both pretty large, and quite intertwined. Or maybe it’s just because we’re Canadian and socially engineered to be nice. At any rate, I was one of those people that lamely blanked out at the book-signing table (although I did remember my name, so I guess it could have been worse); hopefully I can redeem myself now by thanking you for coming, and for telling you how much I loved ‘Fun Home’.

  4. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    Yeah, we think you’re a rock star up here in Canada! Doesn’t that make you want to go to *more* Canadian cities instead of just Toronto? *grin*

  5. Jaibe says:

    I got totally flustered when you signed my book in SF. But they’d told us not to talk to you because the line was too long, fortunately.

    Hope you didn’t lose many pictures!

  6. Deb says:

    What does that feel like, being such a big star and having all your stuff finally taken seriously? I DO have everything you’ve written, and though I haven’t had the honor yet, I will eventually get to meet you. Enjoy the ride!

  7. JenK says:

    Heh. In Seattle, I cut short my comments for fear of sounding like a stalker. 🙂

  8. Deb says:

    LOL Jenk!

  9. AK says:

    I’ve gone through two digital cameras in the past two years. People drop car keys off at a lost and found, but not so much luck befalls really expensive electronic devices. Somewhere in Atlanta, someone has high resolution images of me being way too intoxicated. Hope your camera isn’t gone forever, merely across borders.

  10. Cate says:

    You were terrific last night, Alison — I was so happy to see you read after adoring you for years :-). I’m both “hip and jaded” and starstruck by you :-).

  11. pd says:

    We have Elvira Kurt’s CD and saw her Comedy Central show (on her web site). Never laughed so hard.

  12. Jill says:

    It’s true! Here in Canada you are a Rock Star! If you come to Edmonton Alberta I promise that more people will be too flustered to talk to you!

  13. Sarah says:

    You were wonderful last night! I’d looked forward to the event for weeks — hope you come back soon.

  14. Alex says:

    Yeah, this is bang-on. You’re a total rock star here. I really enjoyed your reading, as did my friend, who got her copy of Fun Home signed and floated down the street afterwards on a semi-literal cloud of air. Your work is also a great inspiration to us both.

    … sorry to hear that Pearson got you. I hear they’re trying to fix the place, but probably not very hard.

  15. mary anne says:

    Well, it would make sense that you are the rock star in Cananda. Is not comedy even more elevated there than here? All those Canandian comedians? Saturday Night actors et. al.

  16. Douglas says:

    Watching Elvira Kurt I was struck by the similarity of cartooning and stand-up comedy as artforms. She uses a lot of rhetorical gesture and posing to create characters (her Hungarian mother reading fairy tales was really good) and maybe it was just because the overhead spotlight was angled a little too low but she seemed to do a lot of her piece bent forward at the hips, as if she were addressing the audience through a square ink frame, like Mo.

  17. Zoe says:

    It was a pleasure to meet you and do the Q&A thing..though it made me terribly nervous.

    This is my blog, if you’d like to keep in touch: zoewhittall.blogspot.com