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Abra Cadaver Cabaret – Deal with the Devil

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a particularly lame human when it comes to horror.
My mother and sister loved the genre; they’d tuck themselves into our basement TV room for entire rainy afternoons watching classics like Children of the Corn, The Shining, and It. They couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
Meanwhile, I would lock myself in my bedroom, on the top floor of the house, and refuse to come out until the last of the VHS tapes were safely in their sleeves on a stack on the kitchen table. They would continue, through the years, inviting me down to their scare-binge sessions, hoping I would grow out of it. I didn’t.
Fast forward almost two decades later, and I’m doing something my six-year-old self couldn’t have dreamed.

I’m in a horror cabaret. Tomorrow night, to be specific.

Local enchantress Voodoo Pixie approached me shortly before the start of the Fringe Festival and asked me to be part of this year’s instalment of Abracadaver, the highly anticipated annual Vancouver horror cabaret.Known for being a creepy blend of magic, burlesque and theatre all wrapped up in a year-specific theme, AbraCadaver is slated to break a new frontier this year and add live music to the mix. Last year’s theme was’Mental Institution.‘ This year’s is ‘Deal with the Devil.’ (Think southern belles tempted by sin …) I’ll be reading a monologue written by local writer Billie Taylor inspired by the story of Faust, from the perspective of the overlooked Gretchen.

Will I be any less scared by the show, watching from the wings? Dear god I hope so. I’m still that lame six-year-old, locked in her bedroom at the first mention of a Stephen King movie.
Event info can be found here, and ticket info here.

See you Saturday!



Cabaret Du Passé: Transformations

Somehow the whirlwind of Seaside Stories of Terrible Things is already behind me (with 5 out of the 8 nights sold out or oversold!), and I’m on to the next project!

This week, I’m taking on two things that definitely mark the beginning of Fall: a night at Cabaret du Passé and a full-day WordPlay workshop in West Vancouver. It’s shaping up to be a wonderfully busy week.

This time last year, I was invited for the first time to join the dazzling crew of burlesque performers at Cabaret du Passé to share poetry on the Guilt & Co stage; I felt it was quite successful. I shared ‘Scrap Metal’ as my first piece, which seems to be a consistently solid choice for a burlesque crowd, with my second piece being ‘Mason Jars’. Truth be told, I had never before performed alongside burlesque performers, and I hadn’t attended enough burlesque-type events to be able to gauge the type of crowds they attract. My shortage of erotic poetry (and by shortage I mean complete lack) meant I had to settle with the next best thing: a love poem. As some of you may know, my love poetry dwells in the realm of forever love/loss, and my relationship poetry dwells in the realm of being scorned, repeatedly. I chose the former over the latter, and I felt it went over well enough all things considered, but made it a goal of mine to dive into writing erotica to suit the next gig better.

Fast forward to today. I have a new piece that I’m contemplating reading, definitely fitted to the night, or a cover piece I’m also entertaining, Last Love by Rachel McKibbens. The latter hits hard, and is a piece that sticks with everyone who hears it, regardless of their interest in poetry.

I’m bringing both to Cabaret du Passé, and plan on testing the waters with the audience’s mood to previous acts. I shall keep you posted on the final decision!

For more information about the event, visit the Facebook page:

– Savage

Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday August 27th, to 100.5 FM!


Somehow, some way, July scurried under the door, with August hot on its trail. We are nearly flipping our calendars to September, with the countdown to the opening night of the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival now at a mere 10 days away.

How. Did. That. Happen.

To really cement the reality of the Festival being so close, the SSTT team has been busy madly chipping away at costumes, tech rehearsals, prop purchases, and, excitingly, a whole ton of publicity! Just today, actor Vinnie Riel, who plays Solomon Shackleforth in the play, took part in a photo shoot for the West Ender magazine, slated to hit the newsstands next week. To add to this, Julia and I will be guests on Randy Jacob’s radio show WaxPoetic tomorrow afternoon to talk about the production. WaxPoetic takes place between 2:00 – 2:30 on 100.5 Co-Op Radio, so be sure to tune in to listen to Julia and I’s (hopefully) witty banter and discussion of SSTT with Randy and his co-host Pamela Bentley!

To stream it live, click the link above!



Tickets for SSTT now on sale!

Apologies for the healthy delay in posts!

August has been downright chaotic. But in all the best ways.
SSTT is costumed, off-book, blocked, and nearing its first instalment of videography with Alexandra Caulfield and Ryder White, of Caulfied-White Productions. Even more exciting is that tickets are now on sale through the Fringe website! Important things to note: as with the purchase of tickets to any Fringe production, you must become a member first. Online, this means creating an account and including the ‘membership fee’ ($5) with your ticket cost. In person, it means seeking out a Fringe Info tent and buying a membership directly. Additional note: We have limited capacity (hoorah for Alder Bay’s Secret Staircase!), so be sure to grab your tickets quick!

– Savage

Vancouver Fringe Festival: Seaside Stories of Terrible Things

This summer is shaping up to be a busy one.

Amidst my writing projects and that lovely post-graduation existential crisis (i.e. May & June), I was approached by local writer/director/burlesque performer/powerhouse Julia Mauro to take part in her debut Fringe production, Seaside Stories of Terrible Things.

Slated to tell three interweaving nautical ghost stories, SSTT is part of the Fringe Onsite program, a branch of the Fringe I was (sadly) completely unaware of until this Spring. Following a (non-lottery!) rigorous application process, Fringe Onsite features a group of budding artists who create scripts, cast, crews and whole productions from scratch in seven months; each year is given a theme to work their production around. This year, the theme is ‘Adaptations’.

Using Noh scripts, fairy/folk/wive’s tales, and good ol’ lifeguard safety manuals as source texts, Julia has crafted a haunting narrative of the ephemeral link our hearts make to the intangible, and the karmic consequences of underestimating the sea. (As an added bonus, I was able to help contribute original writing to the script!)

Be sure to keep tabs on our WordPress blog, as well as our shiny Facebook page.

– Savage

CBC Canada Writes NonFiction Longlist announced…

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.27.06 AM
My new life rule will involve sleeping more often; every time I wake up I get AMAZING news.

Almost six months ago, I submitted my nonfiction piece Four Photos’ (a slimmed down version of ‘Five Photos, One List’) to the CBC Canada Writes NonFiction contest. The wait was pretty rough (not actually, I’m just impatient); it was the first non-fiction piece I felt was genuinely tight enough to send out to magazines and contests, but the fine print on other contests I eyed stated I couldn’t double submit something that was longlisted elsewhere. To be safe, I had to wait until Canada Writes announced theirs before taking my piece anywhere else.

Four Photos was a piece I’d read at Outwrite, the BFA Reading Series the UBC CRWR Department held last year, as well as at the BFA/MFA Grad reading held this past May.

The clear point of this post is to say it made the cut! I got to wake up to see my name among thirty-four others in my first nonfiction longlist! The shortlist will be announced July 16th. I can definitely wait for that.

The full list can be found here.

– Savage

Scrap Metal to be featured a Beantown Cabaret!

Yesterday morning, I woke up to this in my inbox:


There are few things that I’m okay with seeing on my computer screen before I’ve properly woken up and had my morning cup of tea, but this is definitely one of them.

For those of you who don’t know, Evita is among the tribe of Lindy Hop instructors that teach and perform internationally, and who I would quite simply refer to as a Lindy celebritiy. Her and Michael came to Vancouver back in January for Rhythm City Mess Around, one of the city’s bigger Lindy events, along with Remy Kouakoua Kouame, Jessica Lennartson, and Mikey Pedroza. It was at the RCMA Saturday night cabaret where I had possibly one of my best performances of Scrap Metal to date (perfect venue & sound, exact audience the poem was written for, and amazing energy to build on), and Evita approached me after to buy a chapbook. Fast forward to one morning in late June, and I suddenly find myself on a phone call from Beverly, Massachusettes where Evita’s just finished track placements for Beantown Camp and has an exciting idea for the event’s Sunday night show.

She explained that the finale of the show will be a tribute to Frankie Manning (one of the founders of Lindy Hop), in that all the dancers involved want to communicate to the audience how they inspire one another, the way Frankie inspired them, and they ultimately want to inspire the world. From the Beantown website:

In tribute to Frankie Manning and in celebration of his 100th birthday this year, Beantown Camp 2014 will be dedicated to Frankie and all that he gave us. Frankie was an incredibly special person and we were honored to have him be a part of Beantown for many years. We are grateful that so many people got to meet him, take class with him, hear his stories and Shim Sham with him. We’ll always cherish all of the wonderful times and remember his warmth, spirit and that infectious big laugh. Frankie really could light up a room as he spread joy everywhere he went. As we keep Frankie in our hearts, we’ll endeavor to carry on his legacy as best we can.

Evita said Scrap Metal, a poem about falling in love with a dancer and what it means to be audience when someone steps onto a stage and does what they were put on this earth to do, was a perfect tie-in to Frankie’s memory. She asked if she could use the final segment of the poem in the finale. I was more than happy to oblige; one of my dance heroes was sharing how my writing inspired them, I was probably visible from space with the amount I was glowing.

I forwarded her a few voice memos of how I read the section she had in mind, along with a typed version for her to memorize. We ended the conversation talking about how she wants to do something bigger with the poem, something involving more time and collaboration with the Syncopated Dance Company her and Michael run back in New York City. I shared how Lola Frost interpreted the piece in her Longform Burlesque act back in November, collaborating with DJ K-Tel, voice-over recordings, multi-media projections and silk displays, and Evita buzzed.

In short, I’ve had a good couple days. If anything, it’s things like this that give me more incentive to return to spoken word full-force. I shall keep you all posted on that front.

P.S. If you’re looking for print copies of Scrap Metal, they can be found in my newest chapbook Torches. I’ll be doing a new batch of Torches mid-July, so send me a message on the Contact page and I’ll put in a pre-order for you! In the meantime, you can find my performance of it with Francis Arevalo and a small cameo by Lola here.

– Savage

Interview with Audrey Niffenegger

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to (virtually) catch up with acclaimed author Audrey Niffenegger (Time Traveller’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry) for It was both fascinating and terrifying experience, being able to directly communicate with a hero of mine, all the while being convinced I would say or do something that would offend her horrifically.

I will add no further preface. Distance has made me borderline convinced it was a solid interview.

Take a look.

(picture used with permission)

– Savage Interview for ‘Class of ’93’

I’m a firm believer that a tidy and user-friendly interface trumps chronology of information any day. This will now be reinforced by the fact this post is specifically designed to allow readers to easily access my interview with for Class of ’93 (from a little over a year ago…)

Vain? Possibly. Furthering my candidacy for being a regular contributor to Absolutely.

The interview can be found here.
And a spontaneous photo of myself and the BNPR Festival’s dramaturg, Matthew Willis, can be found immediately below this sentence.


– Savage