A Dose of Midas: The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour literary cabaret stopped off at Montreal's Casa del Popolo on Monday for a night of everything you might expect from a cabaret. Except for drag queens. Nevertheless, this reading series meets live music meets whatever form of media you can think of had its deeply entertaining moments.
Presented by Edinburgh-based Forest Publications, the event started off with host Ryan Van Winkle telling jokes interspersed by long silences occupied only by his slow sips of white wine. After getting us laughing, he read some of his own poetry, namely a poem titled "100-year-old Ghost" that immediately showed the breadth of his poetic ability in the simplicity and profundity of his observations.
After quieting the room, Van Winkle told the compulsory masturbation jokes to ensure that we didn't take him too seriously. I guess there lies a certain humility in talking about hating yourself for masturbating after completely captivating an audience.
The multi-disciplinary evening was somewhat uneven in that one performer completely compelled me just before the next dropped my attention and left me watching the crowd's reaction instead of the stage.
While the evening's musical performances by Tessa Kautzman and Statue Park left me somewhat uninspired, Taperecorder, composed of one man and a lot of electronic toys, a guitar and a mandolin, was pretty entertaining, although somewhat out of place.
However, Taperecorder's keyboard sitting on top of a skateboard deck did sort of summarize the spirit of the event for me: anything goes and anything can find a common thread if you look for it.
I got very excited when I walked into the second room of Casa del Popolo and saw a white projecting screen. It might be a nostalgia-tinged reminder of high school, note taking and simpler times, but that white screen got me pretty jazzed. And dear lord did its usage not disappoint.
Right before the end of the first set of readings and music, a video called "Backstreet Warlords" was projected, which was kind of exactly what it sounds like. Actually, there was no way I could have predicted that I was about to witness the Backstreet Boys' video "Drowning" dubbed over with a warlock-style threatening call to battle, the highlight of which being AJ telling us that "my cock will dig your graves". It was like dreams I never knew I had were coming true.
Cartoonist Dan Meth's various series projected onto the screen were also a highlight for me. He messed up the whole first series about unfriending people on Facebook because he couldn't find the proper notes before saying "fuck it" and just tossing all of his papers into the air. That gesture portrayed the true essence of the night and in the end, he was hilarious.
At its best when the participants didn't take themselves too seriously, The Golden Hour was a melting pot (or maybe mosaic, this is Canada after all) of almost all the forms of artistic expression one could think of. Plus the Backstreet Boys.
Photos courtesy of Jessica Mailas