Monday, July 28, 2014

When I was a kid in Israel we lived a 9 min drive from what is now the the Blue Line (Lebanon border) and our city was bombed by Hezbollah multiple times a week for about 10 years. Because Hezbollah rockets of the 90s/Hamas Qassams of today lack precision and are usually fired in a rush, most of the time during a "light" shelling they ended up in open fields or forests. Every once in a while, on somebody's house. Once a rocket flew into my friend's window and onto his bed and didn't explode. As kids we knew what an incoming vs outgoing missile fire sounds like and what to do during a chemical weapon attack. One time my little brother unknowingly dragged an old landmine from a cave he was playing in with his friends and put it under our house and a special unit came with a little robot to disassemble it. Still, somehow in the entire 10 years I've lived in Israel under "constant bombardment" I only knew 3 people who died by missile fire, 1 person who died in the IDF (it was a suicide) and though the situation created crippling panic and fear, even then I was sure it was way worse on the other side as I watched fighter jets flying back and forth.

We received a pretty great “progressive” education in a kibbutz and many of my friends and their parents spoke Arabic and had Arab friends / business partners / close neighbours but in other parts of my life Arab Israelis were always considered second class citizens even (especially) by the many new immigrants who “naturally” fell into shitty nationalism in order to assimilate. Palestinians were THE mysterious enemy, mysterious since the only time we heard about them was when they bombed “our” cities”. There was no mention of them anywhere else and the buildings they had to abandon fifty years prior to that were on the outskirts of towns, near dumpsters and "dead" unused land. We grew up with “mavet le aravim” (death to Arabs) as a default choice for graffiti, seconded maybe by “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman” (religious graffiti “a sort of rallying cry for returning to traditional Judaism”, pictured above).

I blocked an old friend of mine recently and his last words to me were “go spread your Palestinian propaganda elsewhere, I don't need a friend like you” “your freedom fighters shot a missile into my house and now I am a REFUGEE, I can't go back to my own house for an entire WEEK.” A quick glance at his Facebook page revealed him cuddling a comfy pillow back at his mother's house where he decided to spend his time as a “refugee”, titled “no place like mom's”, followed by photos of him cheersing and laughing over drinks at our old neighbourhood bar. I wanted to tell him about a dear friend of mine whose grandmother walked from Palestine to Jordan barefoot in 1948 to save her family from being bombed by the Palmach, but I kind of couldn't stand looking at his smug little face cuddling the pillow so I just blocked him.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



In 2003 I was 22 and worked at a sex store with a bunch of other dysfunctionals like me and a boss who was misogynist and sexist and aggressive and violent. He was a real "nice guy". He was also really into paintballing and sometimes took us on paintball trips. One time I walked upstairs to the storage area and found a blow up doll hung from the ceiling by its neck, he put a wig on her and was shooting at her whenever he had a bad day. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

YUULA 1992
My first therapist was named Zehava and she was the best one I ever had. I was thirteen, full of hormones and going through emotional hell and I literally lured her in during one of the routine assessments at school by alluding to a "problem". I knew if I mentioned the "problem" she would request to see me, and I really wanted that to happen but was too shy to ask. During our meetings I talked about everything but the problem. The problem didn't matter anymore because I had Zehava. I talked about my interest in conspiracy theories, that I wanted to be an artist, music I liked, how much I wanted to get out of this shit hole of a school. But mainly I talked to her about my boyfriend and our tumultuous relationship that included a love triangle starring my best friend. I think in retrospect, I just really needed someone to talk to and reflect. An adult who can listen to me and give advice. I was living in a backwards country where at age fourteen I had no resources or support with stuff like sex or pregnancy or suicidal thoughts. At my school you wouldn't even discuss it with your friends, and I had lots of friends but felt very alone. When I was fourteen and a half, a condom broke and I was so terrified of pregnancy I made a suicide pact with myself if I ended up pregnant. I wasn't. At the same time, out of desperation, I wrote a letter to the local teen magazine that had a sex advice column on the back page. It was summer and I couldn't see Zehava and I asked the columnist whether it was possible to have an abortion without parental consent. Three months later the magazine finally printed my anonymous letter but it didn't matter anymore. I moved to a different school and all those messy secrets came pouring out into the ears of my new best friends who were more into high school drama than judging. We all benefited from each other. 

A couple of years ago a therapist told me that our physical irrational fears really symbolize other aspects of our lives that we don't want to deal with. At the time I thought she was a flake. Her theory was so obvious I suspected that she didn't want to take the time to really dissect my clearly very complex issues. She spoke to me in a soft voice sort of like you would speak to a baby and I didn't take her seriously. I called her "the hippie" to my friends. I told her: I've been having this dream, I'm standing in an open space with nowhere to hide in the middle of a storm and there's hail and lightning and I'm frozen and she said: replace the lightning with bombs and it all makes sense, and I thought what a cliche. Until last week when I actually got to stand in an open field in the middle of a lightning storm. I still remember the way my face contorted because it was shaking and I was crying and had no control over it. John said it looked like "deep fear" and I believe it. The hippie  knew I wasn't into her theories, she said: think about your situation as a child, the odds of getting hit by a bomb were higher than ever getting hit by lightning. The lightning was just an abstraction.

I hope you have someone to talk to when something goes wrong because it's important.

I spent a few hours re-reading Under the Sign of Saturn (Sontag) because I was looking for this one passage:

Fascist aesthetics include but go far beyond the rather special celebration of the primitive.....More generally, they flow from (and justify) a preoccupation with situations of control, submissive behaviour, extravagant effort, and the endurance of pain; they endorse two seemingly opposite states, egomania and servitude. The relations of domination and enslavement take the form of a characteristic pageantry: the massing of groups of people; the turning of people into things; the multiplication or replication of things; and the groupings of people/things around an all-powerful, hypnotic leader-figure or force. The fascist dramaturgy centers on the orgiastic transactions between mighty forces and their puppets, uniformly garbed and shown in ever swelling number. Its choreography alternates between ceaseless motion and a congealed static, ‘virile’ posing. Fascist art glorifies surrender, it exalts mindlessness, it glamorizes death.

I've been thinking about monumental art or monuments in general - gestures, fashion, architecture, cold tones, red and black, goth, slick black lines, uniforms, religious symbols, shamanism, heroism, displays of power, large masses of uniformed people standing against large stone monuments, Game of Thrones, Dune, etc... fascism was so aestheticized and this aesthetic still exists and is prevalent, I guess now in a different context, I guess when you aestheticize people and politics, when you express power visually, then you are in trouble. Still, it makes me cringe.

In the 1990s our town didn't have real cable but there was a man who would come to your house and physically adjust your antenna to receive the signal he transmitted from his own house. He was mostly very busy (drunk) and we received all kinds of garbage, cartoons, action movies, porn, sometimes in the wrong time of day. On the weekends before 5pm he would broadcast The Wall by Pink Floyd a few times in a row and we would watch it endlessly because there was nothing else to watch. I was too young to understand what it was about, but watching hammers marching on screen and hearing Israeli planes bomb Lebanon at the same time made so much sense together and even though I didn't understand the meaning of the film I understood that those two things were the same.

Here's a lil song for you. I'm back in Toronto at my home, by my desk, find me here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 10.30.47 PM
Barb Lindenberg and I made a video together with a group of dancers for her piece ANIMALS, it will be screened at the dance: made in canada / fait au canada Toronto-based biennial festival of contemporary dance, August 14-17, 2013. Click the title for more information. 

I thought about this the other day: you know when you have an intense relationship with a person, physical or even emotional, and then a year passes and you ignore each other on the street, maybe a slight nod, no phone calls, no emails and that's it. I don't mean a one night stand but a friend or an ex lover. As if things ended so awkwardly that now neither one of you wants to acknowledge it by engaging in conversation. Actually probably you just lost interest in each other. I know everyone does it, I do too, but isn't it weird? I thought about this because the other night I had a sexy dream about an old lover and in my dream I was so happy, mostly because I knew it was a dream and I could do whatever I wanted with no reprecussions, but in the morning I woke up and felt kind of grossed out and embarrassed. What's up with that.

It's the end of summer and I hardly picked any wild flowers or had gone to the movies or any parks, someone take me to the ravine please I want to pick some flowers before they die!

Monday, July 15, 2013

typed on Isla Craig's typewriter

typed in this room at this time

Thursday, May 9, 2013

We made this video last month with Isla and Mairi Greig. Isla is one of my oldest friends in Toronto so this was easy. Mairi is a dancer with the Toronto Dance  Theatre. I've been thinking a lot about dancers and how dancing takes so much commitment and is a way of performing that doesn't necessarily provide the same instant gratification as for example being a "famous" musician / artist (maybe I read into it too much?). Not to undermine anyone else's hard work. But dancing seems to be mostly about honing your skill and endurance and determination because so many dancers I know practice within a professional peer group that doesn't coincide with their social circle. It's like a secret world or something. Anyway, I'm obviously so impressed by that. 

Barb Lindenberg and I will be working on a video from her spring performance Another Thousand Mountains this month and I'm really really excited. Here is a link to her work and here is another video she was in recently. BYEEE FRIENDS HAPPY SUMMER sorry I don't have anything dramatic or gossipy to report! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mami was an Israeli rock opera before my time (late 1980's). I was a child when it was first performed and the timing was meaningful because it came around year 20 of the occupation. During high school I remember hearing the Rape Song at dance parties in the kibbutz and everyone, boys and girls, sang along screaming the words. I just stood there feeling fucked up because it's a dark and terrifying song and the ease with which the kids yelled out the words tells a lot about that particular time and the culture I grew up in. The story is about a poor Jewish waitress from the south who moves to Tel Aviv and has to work to support herself and her disabled husband who was injured in the war until one night she gets raped by seven angry Palestinian waiters at her shitty little restaurant. The rape part is marginal to the entire story that ends with Mami being brainwashed by doctors and the media and then eventually sent back to forever live in her poor hometown. I still remember all the words to the song.

From HaAretz:
"His (Hillel Mittelpunkt) rock opera, "Mami," which he wrote and directed 16 years ago, was also a big hit with the IDF, though in a somewhat different way. A few years ago, Mittelpunkt met Ehud Barak. "He came up to me and suddenly started singing, `Mami, Open Your Legs,'" the playwright recalls. "I was quite amazed and asked him where he knew the song from. He told me that the cadets at the training center sing that song when they do their morning run."

Mami (Sweetie)
"The Rape Song"

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Listen for a moment
Before you pull down your pants
Ishmael and Isaac were brothers
And we have one father in heaven

You were born in a refugee camp
Hot summers
Cold winters
I was born in a development town
We were born the same
I've been used and abused like an Arab worker
Over the counter at the gas station
You are down
I am down
We're both fucked

Sweetie oh sweetie
Your sad story put depression in our hearts
Only, there's no choice
We are determined
Tonight we'll redeem our honour
You banished our children in the name of demography
You stole our fields in the name of geography
You closed our schools in the name of pedagogy
You called us Nazis and cockroaches out of demagoguery
We'll fuck you sweetie oh sweetie in the name of ideology

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Listen for a moment
Before you pull down your pants
Ishmael and Isaac were brothers
And we have one father in heaven
It wasn't by my girly hands
That your children were banished
It wasn't my sealed mouth
That said "cockroaches" about you
They weren't my tired feet
That marched in Hebron and Nablus
And it's not my husband in his wheelchair
Who is your Zionist nightmare

Sweetie oh sweetie
We'll fuck because we've been fucked
Your government is our tragedy
Sweetie oh sweetie
We'll fuck because we've been fucked
Your government is our tragedy
The Palestinian people aspire to be free
Do not take this rape personally

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nader Hasan at Whippersnapper, 2 yrs ago (photos c/o Whippersnapper)

Nader has a show at AGYU now - go see it. My faves: a digested dollar bill still smeared in shit, a long carpet made of flags of the world's 100 wealthiest countries (not included at AGYU) and some dead mice still in mouse traps rotting away in clear boxes. I envy that kind of comfort with physicality because I can't do it. Something happened in the past ten years and now the idea of poking holes in a closed biological system makes me sick to my stomach. So, no gory movies and I will probably never become a nurse. Not so bad. Anyway.

The other day while waiting for a streetcar in Chinatown this random guy joined me and my friend. He was carrying a plastic bag and a travel mug. He walked up to the nearest little tree, you know, the wimpy trees they planted along Dundas, and ripped off a branch to hang his bag and his mug on the remaining stump. He said "oh fuckit I got tired of carrying that shit with me all day" as he dumped the branch onto the ground. He wore a baseball cap that said "GREEN POWER". At first I thought it was about weed but no it was green as in "environmentally friendly". He told us a story about beating up a guy who was ogling his thirteen year old daughter, again I thought this was somewhere in the distant past but no, he removed his glove and produced bloody knuckles and then a so fresh it's still crusty tattoo of a naked woman with large balloon breasts who he said was his "woman". When he picked up his plastic bag there were tall cans of beer inside. He seemed upset about everything. It's not uncommon. Life is pretty fucking hard for people my age with thirteen year old daughters and bloody knuckles. I didn't feel mad about the tree anymore.

Today I'm painting while listening to Lenny Bruce all day. If you want something from me let's meet up tomorrow. Free all day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Those of you who know me in real life also know that I work as a communication assistant/ speech facilitator to the most beautiful woman in town - Anne Abbott. Anne is an artist who was born with Cerebral Palsy and she is non verbal. Which means that she is exactly like you except she can't talk. She's also one of the funniest people I know and when we're together we crack jokes and laugh 90% of the time. Dark inappropriate jokes that I hope no one else will ever hear. Which is why even though some of the text below sounds so brutal I was laughing throughout the entire thing, I could imagine her telling me the same stories and cracking up. Anne uses a speech board to communicate. The board contains an alphabet, QWERTY style, and a whole bunch of expressions that she uses often (two of my faves are "people, what a bunch of bastards" and "quick, the lorazepam"). The way it works is, Anne points to words or letters on the board spelling out what she wants to say and you repeat out loud after her so that she knows you're following. I don't know what I would do if I suddenly lost the ability to speak but somehow Anne makes it seem so easy. When we're out adventuring together we often have to deal with people who aren't used to Anne's communication style and it can be hilarious because they start assuming all kinds of shit about her that isn't true. But it's OK because we usually just roll our eyes at each other and Anne smiles and laughs and we're off to the next thing. You can meet Anne in person every Saturday 8am-3pm at the South side of St. Lawrence market in Toronto where she sells her work, drinks lots of coffees and solves crossword puzzles. I'm usually there too! OK. This is taken from Anne's blog which you can also access here. BYE!

Can We Talk?

Today I went to the U of T's speech pathology department and, with Sarah's help, I gave the following speech:

  Hello, my name is Anne Abbott and this is my communication assistant Sarah.  Sarah will read a speech I wrote beforehand, and then I will answer any question you may have.
  When people ask me what the most difficult thing about my disability is, I always answer quickly and without doubt. "Not being able to talk," I tell them. "That's the most frustrating thing I have to deal with in regards to my disability."
  Even as a child, I was a social, outgoing person, I always wanted to interact with people, to connect with them, to share with them. I wanted desperately to communicate with my family and friends.  Before I learned how to read, I used hand gestures to try to convey to them what I wanted or how I felt.  It was like playing charades 24 hours a day, and this form of communication was, to say the least, very unsatisfying.
  When I learned how to read at the age of seven, one of my teachers had the bright idea of giving me a "speech card", which was a piece of cardboard with the alphabet written on it, so that I could point to letters and spell out words and sentences.
  This type of communication was definitely an improvement, and I took to it like a duck to water!  Admittedly, there were a few drawbacks to this method, though.  For one thing, I wanted to use big, important words like my older brother and parents did, but I often misspelled them.  Needless to say, by trial and error, I became a good speller in spite of myself.
  Great lovers of books and word games, my family had no trouble communicating with me with the speech card.  My closest friends learned how to communicate with me this way too.  Some of them had no problem figuring out what I was trying to say, while others stumbled over words, forgetting what letters I pointed to and in which order.  I learned how to be patient with people, to spell out the same words over and over for them, and to rephrase what I was trying to say if they just couldn't grasp what I was spelling out.
  It was strangers with whom I had the most trouble communicating.  Whenever I'd go into a store at the mall, a sales person would usually come up to me and ask what I wanted, could they help me in any way?  When I signaled to them that I wanted to spell out words on my speech card, they would give me blank stares or call another sales person over to help them figure me out.  As if they thought I was hearing impaired or not quite right in the mind, they would then discuss between themselves how terrible it was that I was alone, that nobody was with me to take care of me.  Was I lost?  What was wrong with me?  Feeling rather frustrated and humiliated by this, I would usually end up by giving up and leaving the store.
As a young woman, I yearned to be more independent.  I wanted to do my own banking, to purchase food and clothing by myself, to be able to travel on Wheel Trans on my own.  I just wanted a chance to lead a "normal" life like everybody else.
  To be able to do this, I felt, I needed a different method of communication.  I had seen Stephen Hawking on tv demonstrating how he communicated with his speech synthesizer, and I longed to find a way to get one for myself.
  I went to see some people at the Bloorview MacMillan Rehab Centre in Toronto and asked them if they could help me with my problem. Unfortunately, they told me I was too old for their program.  They suggested that I buy a child's toy called a Speak & Spell from Canadian Tire and use it as a communication aid.  It didn't say the words, they told me, but it had a screen that held eight characters at a time so people could see what I was spelling out to them.  Better than nothing, I gave it a try.
  A year later, the Bloorview MacMillan Rehab Centre contacted me and told me that they had lifted their age limit from their program, was I still interested in getting a speech synthesizer for myself?  I gave them an emphatic "YES!"
  Since then, I've had six different types of speech synthesizers, including three laptop computers, all of which gave me great independence.  Finally, I was able to get my own apartment, do my own banking; and go out shopping for things I needed.  In fact, when I got married 18 years ago, I used my speech synthesizer to say my own vows.
  Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to owning a speech synthesizer.  Like everything mechanical these days, they seem to like to malfunction at the damnedest times!  About 15 years ago, at a conference in London, Ontario, I had programmed a speech into my speech synthesizer and just before it was my turn to speak, my speech synthesizer decided to die on me. I, of course, had to ask someone to read my speech for me instead.
  Another problem with speech synthesizers is that some of them don't pronounce words very clearly.  For instance, there was one, where, if I spelled “buses” the correct way it would pronounce it "boosus".  If I misspelled it on purpose by adding another "s" -- "b-u-s-s-e-s" --  it would pronounces it correctly.  Sometimes, however, even creative spelling doesn't work.  I used to spell the word "loonies" every way I can think of and it still sounded strange to me.
  The mis-pronouncement of certain words and phrases has landed me into a lot of trouble over the years. There was one time, in Loblaws, for instance, I was doing my shopping and had several packages of meat in my lap, and I wanted someone to help me put them into the bag on the back of my wheelchair.  I caught the eye of an elderly gentleman and spelled out to him on my speech synthesizer, "Can you please put these things into my bag for me?"  Somehow he thought I meant I wanted to be lifted further back into my wheelchair.  I shook my head adamantly, trying to signal to him that this was not what I wanted.  He didn't seem to understand this, however, and kept trying to grab me under the arms and lift me upwards.  A crowd soon formed around us and some of those people joined in to help the elderly gentleman.  Finally, I broke free of their grasping hands and repeated my message.  Fortunately, someone in the crowd with good ears understood my message and helped me put the groceries into my bag.
  I must admit that of all of the speech synthesizers I’ve had throughout the years, laptop computers included, I really prefer using my speech card when I'm communicating with the people I know best: my family and close friends.  I've heard that a lot of non-verbal people like myself feel this way.  Using a speech synthesizer takes a lot of energy and I think most people who use these machines get worn out quickly, just as I do.  On the other hand, using a speech card to communicate takes less time and energy because the person you're talking to knows you so well they almost read your mind.

  I guess the best and simplest form of communication would be to actually be able to verbalize for myself.  Since no one has figured out how to make this possible yet, I'll just have to use the tools at hand, imperfect though they may be, until something better comes along.

  Thank you."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Isla and I are working on this thing and I am so excited. That day was dark and blue like someone knew we were hungover and dimmed the lights and that was OK because it looked very beautiful.

I've had these fantasies about having a baby ever since the late 2000s. Maybe it began when I saw how people without children can get lonely when they reach fifty or sixty and that scared me. Or maybe because not many people in my "community" have kids and it seemed like a different and exciting thing to do. There's something instantly grown up about a person with a baby even if the person is a teenager. It means responsibility and commitment or something like that. I don't have a huge amount of either in my life and sometimes I glorify it. I've never wanted to have kids before. I remember the moment it happened too. I was living with Amy Lam in Montreal and while showering I thought "why not?". And I sort of became obsessed with the idea of having a child as a goal even though in real life, I probably have hung out with a real baby no more than a handful of times. I don't even know if I like them. When I get interested in other people's babies it's because they represent some sort of a potential (cliche, sorry), like you can see the wheels turning in their little heads and learning and growing taking place right in front of you like a stop motion film of a flower blooming. I have two fears: I have a baby and I hate it OR it dies. Not really sure how to deal with either.

I'm reading "A Guide For The Perplexed" by E. F. Schumacher (found it in on the sidewalk) and it talks about the narrow mindedness of the belief that science is truth because "materialistic scientism" (the science of how inanimate things "behave") follows a policy of leaving something out if it is in doubt. So I guess essentialism for inanimate objects? He gives the example of maps and how they often leave buildings out for political or cultural reasons (churches, ruins of cities occupied and destroyed, etc) and how even though these things exist in your life, they are not recorded. It made me think of a great book I read a long time ago - "Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948". It's a little memoir by a man who in his childhood accompanied his father (famous geographer) while he "traveled through the "Holy Land" charting a Hebrew map that would rename Palestinian sites and villages with names linked to Israel's ancestral homeland". This also made me think of the ruins on the outskirts of our town where my siblings and I used to play as children. The ruins as we were told in school were Roman and ancient and so when we found coins, articles of clothing and furniture inside we were thrilled. In reality those were the remnants of Al Bassa - a Palestinian village of about 3000 people that was completely destroyed by the Israeli Haganah in 1948. "Completely destroyed" - with the exception of a few buildings in the area where the local dump is currently located. You can read about Al Bassa and other places like it here.

I've been busy working on a million new things and even though I complain a lot about 15 hour work days, I secretly love it. I discovered that the secret to sleeping well at night is not a daily two hour workout at the gym, as I previously thought, it's working your mind until it slips into a coma. I started a new interview project and the first one of the series will be posted this week!

I have been thinking about dance a lot and I only want to listen to Koudlam these days. Here, you can listen too. BYE!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

With Helena at her stable 2 weeks ago. It was so cold the horses refused to do anything! Do you know that if you own a horse you have to clean its penis every once in a while? I'm going to convince Helena let me film it. 

When I first visited the stable I photographed the horses because they're enormous monsters with giant eyes and I've never been comfortable around them before. But this time I got to look around and I think I understand it a bit better now. While Helena was riding I walked through the stable and wanted to touch everything. Owning a horse seems to be half about the horse and half paraphernalia, which somehow makes it instantly "sexy"?! Anything that involves prolonged tinkering with, taking care of or admiring of equipment, especially when it's fancy and made of leather/  natural materials/ metallic / etc seems fetishistic to me. Don't you think? All those straps and harnesses. Imagine the people in your life (or yourself) who are into guns, knives, power/surgical tools, photographic/ video/ film/ printing/ sound equipment and their relationship to these objects. So, horse riding is the same just more expensive. That was my great discovery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


When I was seventeen my best friend beat me up outside of my house late at night and I cried because I thought I deserved it. He was a man, and a twin. He was a year older, wore a denim jacket and had a greasy ponytail that he was proud of. Him and his twin brother lived in a subsidized house just like the one my family lived in before my parents bought their little apartment, with their father who was a taxi driver and an alcoholic. Their dad used to be very wealthy and live in a mansion on top of the mountain (literally) but then his wife had divorced him  and he was left with nothing. So he drove a cab at night. One morning my friend woke up and his dad was in the living room holding a gun to his head. Everyone owns a gun in the Middle East. When dad was in a good mood he'd bring us dinner and we'd hear him sing in the kitchen. When he wouldn't come home for days I would go over and bring my friend a sandwich and help him do his laundry. He didn't know how to. It was a strange relationship because I came from a relatively stable home and didn't always know what to do, but we were close and those details didn't matter.

My friend, maybe because of his father or by nature, had a misogynist streak. He hated women. He hated beautiful women but not smart women. He thought himself smart and found all women inferior to him in that department. But he was short, shorter than me, and even though he was attractive and had a string of interesting, beautiful girlfriends, he hated himself. He would only talk about his girlfriends in physical terms. "Her butt is like two apples squished together in her panties" "too bad she's so dumb and needy" - shit like that. I thought it was a normal way to think. Most Israeli men are pigs. At least the ones I grew up with were.

Our friendship ended quickly one night when I slept with the girl he used to date, a girl he met through me. She was my friend and neighbour. She was young and somewhat inexperienced so he regularly manipulated her and then bragged to me about it. He tortured her. The girl and I didn't do it to spite him, it was just something that happened and afterward we laughed about it and thought it was innocent and funny. They were broken up at the time. It didn't have any significant meaning to either of us and we continued with our friendship just like before, until he found out. When he found out he went straight to our parents to inform them of what transpired and then waited for me late at night outside of my house to beat me up. He grabbed me by the throat against the wall and punched me hard in the stomach a few times. He used to work out every day. He was wearing his favourite shirt, the one I washed a million times, and all I could think about was his terrible breath. He figured I was scared enough so he let me go and I flicked my cigarette at him because my hands were too shaky to do anything else. I thought I deserved it. Later in the week he brought over a portrait he painted of me, in which a horned shadow figure (the devil)  drags souls into a deep dark hole in the ground. He said that was the epitome of me and signed it with a cheesy R.E.M. lyric: "This One Goes Out To The One I love". She was no longer allowed to see me after that. They got back together and he "protected" her from me on her way to school, at social events and in our neighbourhood. After a while I stopped trying. 

I used to fight hard for friendships even when they were obviously toxic. I don't feel that way anymore. Your friends aren't supposed to make you feel guilty, awful or inferior. And if they do then fuck em. When someone is so insecure that the only way for them to feel good about themselves is put you down you should leave them behind. You aren't meant to be friends. 

A week before my family moved to Canada he graced me with his presence and delivered another painting. On the back it said "I forgave you two". I'm pretty sure I threw it out. The girl and I are alright, by the way. 

This is what I stayed up thinking about until 5am last night.

On that happy note, here's a nice song for you! Bye!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Holy eff, that guy's smug face!!?? Gross.

In the meantime in Canada: the mayor of Toronto still beats his wife and the police fail to catch a couple of rapists who've been around since the summer and managed to attack 11 women in 2 months, pretty much all in the same neigbhourhood. Good night!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Does anyone want to lend me their library card? I need to watch some Kazuo Ohno videos.

I want to write but feel too happy to. I can't write unless I'm enraged about something, what's up with that? Life is great!!!!!!!!!!!! It's fall!!! My best friend moved here!!! I am subletting Xenia's studio above Katharine Mulherin's for a couple of months!!! And generally every time we're in a transitional season I get so excited, it makes me feel like this

at least the thrashing aspect of it. Everybody needs some thrashing every once in a while, no? BYE!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is part of something that started in 2010 and still goes on. I'll post the whole thing slowly as it comes along.


I like cold hands on my face. 
I am five years old and I anxiously wait for my mom to come back from work. She is a nurse and often makes house calls in the afternoons. I imagine the awful things she must be doing to her patients; needles, swabs, rubbing gross ointments on their wounds. I hate the word "ointment". And "cream". When she comes home she stands shivering in our red wallpapered hallway wearing her thin coat and pink felt toque and I run up to her and hug her. She presses her cold face against mine and kisses me. I love that feeling every time. 


My father is a sailor. When I am finally born my mother sends him a telegram asking him to return from the sea, and he does.

My father's early CD collection consists of Julio Iglesias and Ozzy Ozbourne. It is simultaneously super cool and embarrassing to have my friends browse through it when they come over. Dad blasts Iglesias on quiet Saturday afternoons for everyone on the street to hear because since the very beginning of his childhood he always wanted to be seen as a rebel. It is a vain attempt because most of our neighbours are Sephardic Jews and they really enjoy that kind of music. I am proud of my dad, he is tall and strong, has long wavy hair tied in a pony tail and he drives a red car to work. I don't realize then that all those are glaring signs of a mid-life crisis. 

Later on he really gets into the Allman Brothers and we begin shopping for music together in the nearby town. On the drive home we listen to Nina Simone really loud and he gives me a smoke as we speed along the Mediterranean shore in his red car. It makes him feel like a cool young dad and I feel like some sort of a fucked up teenage outsider from a Terrence Malick film. I don't even like Terrence Malick but I still smoke the cigarettes with secret pride. My mom doesn't get involved because she knows how much those afternoons mean to both of us.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Oz Studios 134 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, 

September 6th – 16th, 2012

Opening Night Reception (Free Admission)
Thursday September 6th, 7:00 – 11:00pm
Featuring Structure of the Master Plot, an improv music performance at 8PM, directed by SookYin Lee featuring Valerie Uher, Adam Litovitz, Mani Mazinani and Brandon Valdivia.

Emerging from a filmmakerʼs imagination, the exhibition explores the narrative possibilities of sequential photographs. Solitary figures navigate a mysterious world in search of connection.

Curated by Rafi Ghanaghounian of Keep 6 Exhibits.
Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections.

New World

Opening Reception Fri Sep 7, 7-10pm
Paul Petro Contemporary Art

980 Queen st. West
Toronto, Canada

Morley Shayuk is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist from Aurora, Ontario. 


The Blankket (Steven Kado) with Isla Craig, Shahin Etemadzadeh, Mani Mazinani, Charlie Murray, Owen Pallett, Matias Rozenberg and Val Uher. 

A "2003" performance will be preceding performances by Wyrd Visions and Mt. Eerie.
You can also listen to it here.

DOUBLE DOUBLE LAND, 209 Augusta. Tues Sept 11, 11pm. 
MUSIC BY Man Made Hill/Tenderness/Phedré/Thom Huhtala

Heather English, Lucinda Johnston, Suzanne Miller, Will Groenewegen, Julia Vally, Elena Hidalgo, Jiva Mackay, Vanessa Maltese and Jessica Cimo

A struggling artist working in isolation from reality begins to see her artwork as the symbolic bridge to her subconscious. Dis-caract takes us into Natalie's surreal and idealized art studio, only to find a handful of equally estranged performers that are caught in a tornado of bizarre creativity.

PS please someone in Montreal can you lend me a bike?!

On the log at 5am. Helena took this. Those are black flies all over my back.

I've taken a long hiatus and that hiatus must end.

Sometimes I go back and read my journals from two, three years ago (like this one) . My life was in such turmoil  then but it was fruitful. I'm very happy these days but maybe happiness isn't always the ultimate goal. A while back as I was going through the ending of the most harmonious relationship I've ever been in I said to a friend "But X is the best and I love him so much why not stay together then?" she said "Maybe you don't want the best." And it's true. I hate drama but I love conflict and don't want to be fully satisfied because satisfaction equals death. You stop looking, not just around but also at each other. I didn't use to be like that, when we first met I craved that kind of satisfaction.  It's a new feeling. I changed a lot. Some days it makes me feel like an awful person but those days are rare now.

The thing is, so much time is spent in your twenties figuring that shit out and asserting yourself and negotiating the kinds of relationships you want to be in that once you turn thirty you feel entitled to be selfish, picky, to get exactly what you want or nothing at all. At least I do. Why not be honest? They'll all find out what you are anyway. So what if you're fucked up. Everyone is.

I'm looking for a date to go see the new Haneke film BTW.

I'm also looking for a person to help me with work. It will be almost 99% physical, which basically means focusing and releasing the shutter when I tell you. I will do the same, or an equivalent, for you. I need a person to work with ASAP, until at least the end of fall. Someone who is serious and can commit. If you're not serious then I probably won't be. And then what's the point? Thank you and good night.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Let's leave Middle East politics out of this because mine are in the right place, trust me.
But, this used to happen on average 2-4 times a week when I was ten to nineteen years old. Please watch, don't skip.

By age sixteen I didn't bother going down to the bomb shelter anymore because the idea of being stuck down there with our annoying noisy neighbours was less appealing than just waiting it out. The attacks were usually preceded by a large number of IDF planes flying over our city into Lebanon (to bomb) and then flying back. And then fifteen minutes later the missiles and sirens. The planes would fly back and forth all day, pretty much at any given time, like 4am on a school night. Our city was evacuated and empty for weeks at a time, our neighbours died, and one time late at night my mom and I drove home through a flurry of missiles in the rain, terrified and crying, and the road was peppered with giant smoking holes. She picked me up from a sleepover because she didn't want me to get hurt. 

It's infuriating to think that bored families from the suburbs, or wherever the fuck they come from, pay money to see a bunch of assholes fly in a diamond formation over my house during the Toronto Air Show. The first time I "encountered" the air show I almost barfed on my then boyfriend in his Parkdale home. I was hungover and sleepy and I thought the house was being bombed. It is the dumbest, most outdated and offensive "tradition" kept by and for ignorant, proud (and mostly white I presume) Canadians who've never experienced war. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When I was a teenager I became an insomniac and pretty much stayed that way to this day. That's why this morning I went and bought a big bag of lavender tea, which BTW I'm drinking right now. Here's what I've used so far to treat the insomnia: valerian, lavender, magnesium, melatonin, 5htp (tryptophan), lorazepam, oxazepam, clonazepam, valium, imovane, trazadone, alcohol, marijuana, sex and exercise. When friends tell me how they've slept in until noon I get jealous because most days I only get seven hours. I don't feel tired or anything I just wish I could stay   in bed  longer, like other people. It seems so relaxing. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I have been listening to this on repeat for two days now. What a woman. Holy shit.

If you haven't watched the full Michael Bryant interview on CBC yet you can and should do it now (LINK). He even complains about being charged "too quickly" by the Toronto Police. I've never been more uncomfortable watching someone talk for an hour. How long do you think he spent preparing for that interview? A well practiced lie is still a lie. He is the worst piece of shit and someone should stop him. 

I've been having lots of memorable conversations with my grandmother about her life during the war, about politics, Marx, women, our parents, rules and breaking them, literature and religion (my entire family is atheist). I started interviewing her about our family history (LINK).

She is my only remaining grandmother, in a way we are closer in thought and values than my parents and I, and when I talk to her I feel sad thinking of all the people who leave their parents/grandparents in old age homes without ever finding out much about their lives. Go talk to your grandparents now! They're smarter than you think. 

I am going to have the nicest day today. Pictures later. Here are some more videos for you. All from Toronto.