My latest love/obsession/project (as of Saturday)

Waiting for some friends to grab their tickets at the Metro, the concept of ‘planking’ all of a sudden clicked for me. I was standing in front of the stair well, looked down and thought, “I want to plank on this railing, I wanna see what it feels like to interact with this space in an entirely different way.”

I’d first heard about planking years ago when everyone else did, it was an internet meme, and I thought it was dumb, just plain pointless really. Then this summer at a music festival, a friend of mine was like “lets all plank on these tables”, and we got about 6 or 7 people doing it at once (some strangers even!), lots of people were taking photographs and then I thought, “well this is actually super fun! it’s like performance art!”

I’m suddenly fascinated by it’s imagery; striking, whimsical and surreal, yet so simple it takes less than a minute to create. I also really like this idea of examining and challenging everyday life, and the patterns we follow. Why wouldn’t I do this? It’s like a way to re-connect my body to the space I’m in, which feels especially important in places like the metro and busy city streets, where everything can feel a little too systematic.

Also, I generally like to look like I’m a witch at all times.

A friend of mine sent me this clip of ‘The Office’ on Planking – hilarious!

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6am bored at a weird party bathroom photo shoot.

(post haunted house acting) (hiding from frat boys) (plotting my escape)

(This week I was in a theatrical-improv theatre-fetish-haunted house called ‘NO!’ at Theatre Saint Catherine. Each of the nights, after parties and ongoing to all morning parties included, were probably the most fun I’ve had since moving to Montreal.

There were really intense bondage tables, topless girls digging blood out of pumpkins, wind up tap dancing dolls who get slaughtered, a drag couple doing a scene I didn’t see with whipped cream and dildos, various insane clowns, a magician with his mouth sewn shut, a girl staple gun-ing her own thighs, ect. I developed the character of a psychopathic ghost clown teenager who mentally manipulated patrons, sobbed hysterically, mimicked her suicide by self strangulation, taunted and strangled her girly clown sister, stalked groups moving through the house by using secret passages to be constantly appearing in every room, trying to touch their faces from behind a curtain and spent the whole time staring at them like an haunted & possessed but curious virgin. ahaha. so so fun. Everyone was so freaky and beautiful and wonderful and hilarious and loves to dance till all hours. Halloween is just the all time best time of year. I’ll post more photo’s soon.)

Being Barbie

Tonight and tomorrow night I’m doing a performance with Fada Dance, for our year end show called ‘What’s in the Closet, What’s Under the Bed’, as a Barbie doll. In the piece each of us are a different broken toy, the other girls are: a robot, a soldier, a strawberry shortcake doll, a ballerina, a jester and a raggedy anne doll. As a part of our preparations we did a free writing as our toy, here’s a snip-bit from mine:

“I was created to be a role model, the ideal, beautiful, successful, a blank slate for imagination. As children, girls love me, but as they grow older, they begin to compare themselves to my plastic flesh. I was cast in a mold, I cannot control the way that I look, but I’m not trying to make anyone feel self conscious. Soon, I was labeled as a ‘bad influence’ on self perception and body image, and the girls who were once my best friends prefer me forgotten.”

I’m really interested in what it would feel like to literally be a Barbie. A large theme in our piece is that these toys have been left behind, no longer a part of children’s lives (like Toy Story). There’s a real nostalgic heartbreak in that reality manifested in any aspect of our lives, like when people or homes or toys that were once dear and close to us are no longer. But if we leave those people, homes or toys on a bitter, resentful note, than the pain becomes much deeper, and I feel like Barbie really gets hit hard with bitterness and resentment more than maybe any other childhood friend.

Barbie is caught between this idea of condratictory messages about beauty, and that is something that I can relate to. It’s something I feel is paralelled in the messages we send girls and women about their (our) own bodies, Barbie aside. We are told and taught and taunted, to be beautiful, cute and sexy, but still approachable, still relatable, still exsisting under this metaphoracle bar of attractiveness. The message is that we’ll never be enough, but we can still be too much.

In my opinion, Barbie gets too much blame, and what I believe is actually responsible, is the ever encouraged idea that women are meant to be like fantasy; the idea that the ideal woman looks like a mini nymph from your favorite fairy tale and that we need to look a certain way in order to receive the love that we deserve.

If we taught our children that women (and men) don’t have to have shiny hair and perfect skin, that we’re humans with mortal bodies that hold tension and experiences and love and grief, that we have fantasies for a reason, as a wonderful way to escape reality; then I don’t think we’d ever have to resent Barbie and her proportionately 18 inch waist, just like we don’t resent Mr. Potato Head because he can wear his feet on his head.