Last week, we gave you a heads up about the very first “What We Talk About” event, the new monthly lecture series at No One Writes to the Colonel. Now, please allow us a chance to rant and rave about how awesome it was.
More user-friendly than a poetry slam, a little more academic than an open mic night, and at times, funnier than stand up comedy, the event series presents a fun platform for an uncharted form of entertainment in Toronto: oral storytelling.
The three lecturers of the evening included Jen Dzerowics, co-founder of Project Neutral, Jennifer Cowan, writer and Ryerson University instructor, and Adam Nayman, The Grid film writer and Cinema Scope editor. Each lecture was about 15 minutes each, ranging in scope from preteen novels to 70’s slasher films.
Jennifer Cowan spoke animatedly about her experience of Judy Blume’s novels as a preteen, sharing how stoked she was to read about Katherine and Michael getting it on in Forever that she didn’t even pick up on the fact that one of the major subplots was that one of the characters friends was struggling with the fact he was gay. Blume’s books were groundbreaking, bravely using the word “period” and introducing a lot of readers to masturbation. A member of the National Coalition Against Censorship, Blume paved the way for provocative, honest writing about coming of age issues. I was probably most scandalized when Cowan told the audience that some of Blume’s novels have been updated to accurately portray new developments in feminine products over the years. (A lot has changed since waist belts were involved – no wonder young Margaret was so adamant on reaching God. SHEESH!)
Film buffs and horror geeks would have loved Adam Nayman’s interpretation of Black Christmas, touching on murder by unicorn toy and “the calls are coming from inside the house!” trend in horror films. Jen Dzerowics’s lecture about her pilot initiative, Project Neutral, brought the issue of climate change a little closer to home as she spoke about her project’s aim to use Riverdale and the Junction to prove that a zero-footprint neighbourhood can exist.
The next event is on February 16th, and the theme is “Love Triangles”. Intrigued to watch three people spill their guts about complicated situations and unrequited love? Heck yeah you are! Get your tickets now at Rotate This or starting Februrary 1st at Soundscapes, $5 per ticket. Doors open at 6:30, and the event starts at 7:30. Ready those hearing flaps for some exciting stories!
~ Kait Fowlie