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May 2006
May 29th, 2006
This is What a News Release Almost Looks Like - Anyhow, it has the Important Details Except Where To Drink After the First Show, Which has Yet to be Determined, but is Some of the Most Important Information

For Immediate Release
Notorious Edmonton Book of Poetry Set to Hit the Stage

(Edmonton, AB, May 29th, 2006) Mingus Tourette's inflammatory book of prose-styled verse, nunt, has been adapted as a one-man show for NextFest 2006.

The play, newly entitled Postcards From Hell, was adapted by U of A Drama graduate Charles Netto, who will also star in the show. It opens Friday June 2nd at the Azimuth Theatre, and will be directed by noted actor and director, Jason Carnew.

Tourette’s book, released in late 2004, polarized readers and reviewers with its visceral description of a man destroying himself on a liquor and sex-fuelled blitzkrieg of America. It was later short-listed for the Writers Guild of Alberta 2005 Stephansson Award for Poetry. Hailed alternately as exhilarating, misogynistic, brilliant, and pornographic, people either loved it or hated it. It’s expected that the stage version will generate the same type of reaction - and the conversation that goes with it.

Postcards from Hell runs approximately fifty minutes, and will appear four times throughout the festival. Show details follow.


Postcards from Hell

Don't miss the exciting world premiere of Postcards from Hell at NextFest 2006...

In a twisted crusade to purge himself of the woman who haunts him, Mingus Tourette tears across America on a journey of ritualized drinking, womanizing, apostasy, violence, and near-fatal self-destruction. A year later he wakes up in a bathroom stall and desperately scrawls out his memories on the walls – leaving scattered postcards of his journey behind him. Alternating between startling obscenity and quiet humanity, Tourette tries to sew the pieces of his bitter self-imposed exile together and find
meaning in the spiralling madness that's enveloped him.

Based on the poetry of Mingus Tourette
Adapted by Charles Netto

Charles Netto
Brian Bergum
Nathan Durec

Director: Jason Carnew
Designer: Kaelin Elliot
Stage Manager: Allie Bailey

Friday June 2 – 7:30pm
Sunday June 4 – 7:00pm
Wednesday June 7 – 8:00pm
Sunday June 11 – 7:30pm


The Azimuth Theatre
11315 106 Ave
Edmonton, AB

This show runs as a part of NextFest Emerging Artists festival, for more information:

May 28th, 2006
The Oil Frenzy

If you're an E-Ville expat, you're missing an exciting time. Hockey is everywhere. People are actually burning things in the streets. I was at Babiak's inaugural Passa Tempo Salon on Wednesday, and mostly we talked about the games. There were at least two fellahs with Masters degrees, a PhD, a novelist and an economist, and all were giddily discussing the way Peca is finally fulfilling his potential.

It is good though, especially for guys like Unkle Pat, who have been dying with the Oil since 1991, when it went real bad for a real long time. We used to quote Renton from Trainspotting while commiserating over jugs at the Purple Onion - You have to worry about some fucking football team that never fucking wins. Cause that's what it was - the hockey version. Smytty, flying straight down the wing to the World Championships every year. The last time the Edmonton Oilers went to the Cup Final, neither Unkle Pat or I could get into a bar. Despite the childhood memories of the Gretzky glory era, our entire drinking career was spent watching the boys lose.

So, it was good last night. Because the fear was already haunting the streets that somehow we might let Anaheim win four in a row. To humiliate us as the first team in thirty years to blow a three-nothing series lead. But we didn't let them. Torres potted the winner and the fellahs dug in hard to protect the lead. And now - the Stanley Cup playoffs. Believe it or not. So cheers to that.

Of course, they had to send in the fire trucks and the riot police at two in the morning to clean up the Whyte Ave victory parade, but that's us, isn't it? If character is defined by action, you have to note— E-Ville will classily cheer the American anthem, it will sing the Canuck song loud enough to drown out the guy with the microphone, and when it wins, it will run around Whyte high-fiving itself until somebody lights something on fire in the middle of the street. We like our hockey, our beer, and our riots. And also - theatre. Lots of it. Lots of homicide. Lots of winter. And lots of art festivals. Contradictory, but that's character, isn't it.

So bring it home, boys. They may say they want it in Carolina or Buffalo, but they don't know the meaning of the word.

May 26th, 2006
the big fat news: postcards from hell: slight update return

In short, my old book nunt is being adapted for the stage. It will be a one-man play, as a part of NextFest. It will run in early June. Four times. It'll run just under an hour. The adapted version will be called Postcards from Hell. There is one star (who also adapted it), two supporting actors, a director, a stage manager, set designer, a small budget and a dramaturge. They are all young professional theatre folk.

I sat in on a run of the show this weekend. It's a strange time listening to actors say things that came out of Gander's mouth five years ago. Or listen to the director refer to me in the third-person, while I sit there. As a character. As a fucknut.

It's looking good, though. Get yerself ready.

May 19th, 2006
big weekend - the ways, the chapters, the drinking

Tonight: Wayne and the Ways rock the Reds after the game. Don't forget.

Tomorrow: Because of some perverse desire to sell books rather than burn them, Mingus Tourette appears at the West Edmonton Mall Chapters for a massive chunk of the afternoon. And maybe part of the evening. Starting at about one. Or so.

He'll have his signs, and yes, he'll write a poem for you if you buy a book. Unless he's swamped by autograph seekers or busy mounting sandal-wearing groupies in the back aisle. Or reading. Or fist fighting. Or going blotto. He may bring a few drinking buddies and women to get into it. They'll try to be discreet about their liquor, but it'll be painfully apparent.

Or, he'll be alone, oddly enough. He's a shitty salesman, so that won't work out so well. If you feel like saying hello or punching him in the face, try introducing yerself or taking a run at him. But if yer holding a weapon, he'll break your nose and probably punch a hole in yer skull with a bookcase. Rock.

Next week: big news. Really.

May 18th, 2006
obviously, E-Ville won something.


I smell like crowd.

Me and my publisher headed down to Whyte to catch the riot after the game. No looting, but it was still fun to high-five painted strangers running down the middle of the street. Not to mention swaying with a throng of sweaty men chanting "Show Your Tits" to coy nymphytes floating magically in a shopping cart above the din.

A photo says it best sometimes, late at night. More to come over the next few days.


May 16th, 2006
poetry best sellers

I saw Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing on the bestseller list. It was on the Fiction best seller list. Not the Poetry Best Seller list.

Because there isn't one. Because Poetry Best Seller isn't even an oxymoron, it's an aberration. Whether or not the books are in major book stores.

Just noting.

May 15th, 2006
Mo Blood on the Ice

Rumours abound that Fernando Pisani was inspired to score his 6th and 7th goal of the playoffs by Blood on the Ice. Just doing my part.

Nice to see some near riots on Friday night. For the record, I had nothing to do with either stabbing. 50 arrests! That's more like it, fellahs. Keep it up!

Hocky Related Trivia: my old ambulance spent many a night in the Coliseum, waiting to take injured Edmonton Oilers to the hospital. True story. The blood of Oilers lies in the belly of my ride. Probably a lot of Smytty juice in there somewhere. Fine with me.

A couple of announcements: I'll be appearing at the West Edmonton Mall Chapters this Saturday to write some poems for anyone willing to pick up a copy of my book. God willing, this will be my last appearance with that book, ever. Except maybe when the play comes out. In June.

Also, noted novelist Wayne Arthurson's band, The Ways, is playing at Reds this Friday. They will rock you. Check them out.

Blood on the Ice, baby. Here we go.

May 11th, 2006
Blood on the Ice

After Ryan Smith got some teeth knocked out in last night's game, I knew that my brilliant new poem should win the Journal's hockey poem contest. The radio announcers incessantly repeated the phrase, "blood on the ice" as they looked for Smytty's incisors. I felt vindicated. And hopeful. Because so far, the only other contest poem of note is a limerick about Toronto. I don't which is worse; writing limericks or writing them about those miserable Maple Leafs.

So, you still have time to enter, if you feel up to it. And, you can read about how psychotic I am about line spacing. But you know, spacing is important. Important enough to send a journalist a full graphic rendition of how the poem should look when asking him to repost it. But I digress. In the tradition of Pinky, RIP MoFuck Mobile, and other gargantuan Tourettian works, I now give you my latest exercise in genius:

Blood on the Ice

In Germany
they clap for pilots
after a good landing

we scream thank you

at the bus drivers
after proper steerage
through the salt-stained slush.

But then
we have Ice in our blood
thick, coppery,
Keeps us
screaming when
the blood on the ice

isn't ours.

Yes. God Bless you, Fernando.
This is your crusade.

Rubber in the Net.
Oil in the Cup.
Blood on the Ice.

Whatever it takes.

May 9th, 2006
TL's spoken word blog

It came and went, but there's some interesting thoughts on the TL Cowan blog at the Calgary spoken word fest site. Especially her closing thoughts on critiquing spoken word as an emerging genre. And defining it. How it's different from poetry. If it is.

Is it?

Are you a spoken word artist, or a poet? Or both? What makes the difference? Microphone presence? Is that it? If so, how does spoken word differ from a cappella hiphop? Without the needle drops? Or, as TL asks,

"Is spoken word meant to be understood as every-person’s poetry? Is the difference between spoken word & other literary/performance forms the difference between accessibility & obscurity, between the intelligible & the unintelligible? Or is the distinction more nuanced that this simple dichotomy?"

And what does the 'every-person' truly perceive? It wasn't too long ago that I thought 'spoken word' was just something that Henry Rollins did when he wasn't singing Black Flag songs. The poetry and spoken word community may have debated this ad nauseum, but has Joe Culture noticed and figured any of it out?

If spoken word is every-person's poetry, does 'every-person' actually care? Do you?

May 8th, 2006
daily haiku - this week

for those so fickle
that they forgot about

this is a good week
to remember - the lost art
so often fucked up

by clever shitheads
who make dumbass poems
about their computers

thinking that
it's all about the syllables

when really
it's all about the spring buds
and sunset falcons

Yeah, this week's haiku
brought to you - by Mingu
Tourette, bitches.
owning motherfuckers since
double aught six

May 3rd, 2006
MetroHucksterism: My New Column

So E-Ville wins the hockey game, sends Detroit home to hang itself, and we party like it's 1999. Or rather, 1998, the last time this city won a Stanley Cup series. Overall, I was cataclysmically disappointed. For a city that threw a good solid riot in 2001 over bad draught beer and some police cockeyes, we really underdid ourselves. Sure, the old squaddies had to lob a couple of tear gas canisters at the crowd, and a couple of puck hoochies showed off their sunny-side ups, but I give the celebration a solid D-minus - a real embarrassment for our fine town.

There was no chutzpah, no preparation, and no dedication to proper civic boosterism after the win. This was our moment to really say, "We're mad as hell and we're gonna do something about it!" But what did we do with this golden opportunity? Nothing. A prime example was this sorry display quoted in the Journal:

"Some fans tried to light a Calgary Flames flag with lighters in the middle of the intersection."

Tried to light a Calgary Flames flag?

If we're going to live up to our moniker as "The City That God Abandoned", we're going to have to do much better than that. There should be no trying to light a Calgary Flames flag. As Buddha would have said, there must only be doing.

As a man who has burnt his fair share of flags (Calgarian, American and otherwise), I have to admit something woman-ish: a flag is an easy thing to burn. Like fist-fighting on ice, it might look tough, but it's really quite the lark. In addition to your flag of choice, all you need is gasoline mixed with a splash of diesel, a good-sized flag pole (an aluminum tent-pole is a fine substitute) and a pack of matches. Or rather, one match. Or even one spark. And she'll go up nicely.

So yobbies, when the Flames or the Sharks roll into town this weekend, I suggest you be ready. We cranked it up beautifully in '01 for the love of the game, and you're telling me we can't get it straight when it counts? The one fellow with the aluminum sign had the right idea when he declared, "Better dead than any shade of red." But we know that words are cheap, and if you want to say something, it's best said with fists and darts. But that requires commitment, foresight and loyalty. Something, that I hate to say, has been sorely lacking in our recent performances. But I know we can do better.

Chains, diesel fuel and bricks, lads, they never go out of style, and I know that you know what needs doing. So when the next win comes, or hell forbid, the next loss, let's show 'em that E-Ville still knows how to party like the world is ending, like the Millenium is here, like we're on old-fashioned Gretzky time, partying like it's 19 motherfucking 99.

I'm Mingus Tourette for MetroHucksterism. And I. Am. E-Ville.

May 1st, 2006
Big Bookstore Minutes

Besides bullshitting with table-mate Lynn Coady and Wade Bell, and watching my sign fall over repeatedly, my three favourite moments from this weekend's Chapters appearance were:


Passerby Woman picks up book, reads a bit, looks at me and says, "You're not a happy man, are you."

I am angry, but have nothing smart to say. I want to sting her with a retort about being happier once she is gone, or yell at her to stop molesting my book. But maybe she is right. Maybe I am no happier than when I was drunk every night, punching holes in walls and running into street signs. Still, I reserve rights on judging my happiness.

Later, I tell security I saw her shoplifting.


Bent old woman pushing a walker with a basket stops in front of my table. She picks up a postcard. Looks at the cover image. Turns postcard over. Reads it. Shakes head in disgust and throws it back on the table, upside down.

Later, when she is studiously perusing a gardening book , I slip a copy of nunt into her basket. She does not notice. It is a local copy, so it will not set off the door alarms. When she leaves, the book is still there in her walker, pink and ready. Waiting.


I write this poem in a customer's book and wink when I hand it back to her, closed. Though she is wearing an engagement ring, our finger's linger on the spine as she takes it from me:


The Housewife's Domestic Budget

you wish you spent more money
on laundry

you like blood on the sheets
or at least

you would.


But What Happened Last Month? By God, Find Out Here!