Sunday, July 26, 2009



After kicking off the summer by playing the Fringe Festival circuit (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg), singer-songwriter Aspen Switzer

is back in BC, playing a few gigs with her trio, Thistledowne. Today, they played Kelowna Arts and Music, aka "Summer in the City".

Thistledowne is Aspen, with Jessa Koerber on keyboards and vocals (you really want to hear her bust loose), and Jesse Lee on guitar, bass, and vocals.

Next, they'll be in Salmon Arm for Roots and Blues, August 14-15. This is what it says about them on the website:

Aspen Switzer’s voice will stop you in your tracks. Filled with longing and an ethereal yet grounded quality, it is powerful, subtle, pure and haunting. Aspen is accompanied by Jessa Koerber on keyboards and mandolin and Jesse Lee on guitar and bass. The trio adds seamless harmonies for a full and luxurious sound, balancing the charm and warmth of old time music with the contemporary.

Aspen Switzer and Thistledowne are playing Idlewild Festival, held in the park of the same name, in Cranbrook, August 22.

And heads-up—here's another date for Kootenay Thistledowne fans: Saturday, September 12, they'll be at the Vallican Whole in Winlaw. (Well, Vallican, actually.) Time and money to be advised. The Whole is a great venue for a performance like these three will put on. Don't miss it. Put it on your calendars!

Here they are, playing a house gig last year,

only they'll look a little different this year as Jesse, who also plays bass in a reggae band, Brian Rosen and the WhatNow, grew his hair.

And now, the saga of the jackets. One was left here after Wendy Morton's workshop a couple of weeks ago. This past Friday, Nanaimo poet and one of the instigators of that city's very popular WordStorm monthy readings, Cindy Shantz, and her husband found themselves in Castlegar and dropped in for a visit. (We love it when that happens.) While they were here they got a tour of Ted's shop.

After they'd left, another jacket appeared. Now there were two.

When she discovered hers was missing, Cindy sent me the following,

Oh to be abandoned
in Castlegar today,
surrounded by other jackets
left in the same way.
It seems our poet owners
have such random minds that we
are left behind to wonder
when our owners we will see.

to which I replied:

I love it when my poet friends
drop in to shoot the breeze.
We laugh and look at fonts and things
and then we go climb trees.
And when they go, they're sure to leave
an unexpected treat,
a book of aphorisms, perhaps,
or slippers for my feet,
a hat of many colours
or a picture for my wall...
I just wish they'd stop leaving clothes
that don't fit 'cause they're small.

I'm happy to report that both jackets have been returned to their rightful owners (assuming Canada Post gets it right).

Pyjama parties are still the best! My writing group disbands for the summer, citing too many interruptions (usually in the form of very welcome company and lots of outdoor parties as this season is all too short) to carry on, but this weekend five of us managed to get together in New Denver for a potluck dinner,

a walk, breakfast when Panini's opened, buying the odd thing at the market.

Ran into Ross Klatte and his wife, April, just as we were leaving. It was full-on summer in New Denver. A bit of the main street was blocked off for what was purportedly an antique market but there were people selling paintings and dresses, whirly-gigs and soaps, and all manner of books as well.

New Denver is nothing if not accommodating. You can figure out how far you are from just about anywhere!

These shoes were outside the Hidden Garden Gallery where several of Judy Wapp's latest photocollage concoctions are on display.

Picked up a copy of Sean Arthur Joyce's new book, Star Seeds (New Orphic Publishers).

There are some lovely poems in this collection. Here's one I like very much.


You made yourself invisible—
a lace moth trapped in agate
a fugitive ray of light
in a house of glass—

holding your breath
against the world cracks.
But then I saw you
wake from your spell—

visible as song
on the spring air,
luminous as sun
on a snowdrift—

a beauty so ordinary
I almost missed it.

I was sorry to miss Art's launch last month. It was one of those days when I had to go to Nelson twice and the launch would have meant a third trip, and we had company who'd just pulled in. But thanks to the wonders of YouTube, here he is, reading because I am empty, one of the poems in his new book.

Over and out. Out into the sunshine sort of out.


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