10 March 2007

Purple Lipstick and Oilers

Purple Lipstick (DVD), 6 minutes
Heather Haley
Visible Verse Productions
Bowen Island, BC

Oilers (mini-CD)
Vince Tinguely
Montreal, QC
[no date: 2006 or 2007?]

For me, timeliness is an important factor in attempting to give coverage of publications. Just before Christmas I read a newspaper review of a poetry book published one and one half years earlier. Here are two publications recently received. Both of these poetry recordings deal with sociopolitical issues through decidedly different approaches.

While I was in Serbia in the autumn, I received several emails from Heather Haley along with word that I'd receive a copy of her latest videopoem, Purple Lipstick, in the mail. Of course, that meant that I wouldn't actually receive it or have a chance to view it until after my return . . . You can watch it online through the video's page of her website: www.hshaley.com/video1.html.

Purple Lipstick addresses domestic violence through a haunting video with slow echoing guitar and voice-over by Heather Haley. The poem is from her book Sideways (Anvil Press). Purple Lipstick is a first person narrative that starts with, "I am . . . I am one of those women who wait . . . wait . . . until my husband kills me . . ."

The video has been written up elsewhere since its release and screening last year. I don't need to replicate those efforts. Suffice to say that both poem and video grabbed my attention. The video, with its effective and creative use of lighting and focus suggesting much that isn't visible, is more tightly located within the family dynamics, sometimes counterpointing images in the poem voice-over, sometimes emphasing the poem. Overall, this is a powerfull short film.

I received an envelope in the mail from Montreal poet Vince Tinguley with a copy of Oilers, his newest release, with photocopied liner notes, masking taped to a strip of corrugated cardboard. Vince is a true D-I-Y poet/artist that I've known for at least 20 years since we were both living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has self published several poetry chapbooks. One of his current blogs is confessions of a welfare artist. This mini-CD is available for purchase through Distroboto art-vending machines in Montreal.

Oilers tackles human responsibilities towards the earth and people especially in matters of politics, and war. Tinguely uses not just his own writings but appropriated media sound bites and politicians reconstructed. One of the best of the bonus tracks here is a cut'n'paste reworking of Stephen Harper talking.

The title track, or single, "Oilers" is a weighty 8m 15s poem about our unconscious dependence and consumption of oil, oil products, exploration and exploitation of oil resources in Canada and the world. It's a truly amazing barely-restrained, almost deadpan, rant/send-up, mixing personal tales and hard stats, about what Tinguely calls the world's biggest "drug." It must be amazing to hear this performed live but to do that would take serious consumption of oil.

T-shirt: Pennsic XXXII
loc: Fredcriticalcondition
temp: -2 C
sound: Talkin' Roots—Volume 1

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