Category Archives: Art practice

The Old Razzle Dazzle

I haven’t performed in a while. Actually I don’t remember the last time. Actually I probably could remember if I really thought about it but I don’t wanna. OH right, in Regina.

I am performing tomorrow in Prince Albert at the Mann Gallery. I need still to write my monologue and make a simple powerpoint. I have props. I have some ideas floating around my head. I am going to adapt it to a video after I’m done. I really need to write. I’ve been so resistant to it today. Which is why I am writing here, because sometimes blogging helps kick start my creative thinking. Now you all know my secret! This entire blog is actually creative process byproduct. OKAY and also an experiment into private/public boundaries and crossing them.

I’ve been on a higher dose of Wellbutrin for a while now (well probably not even a week yet I think I started on Friday or Thursday) and I am still mildly weepy at times. Which is awkward. Like I don’t even know why sometimes, it just comes and goes. I’ve been posting silly gifs and videos about depression on my Facebook. Cause I have this strict rule about not making the casual fb follower feel responsible for solving my mental health problems. I do have a small circle of friends I talk to about this stuff. And I have a therapist. So it’s not so bad. And I have this blog, which has been handy over the years. And I have meds.

Anyway, I still get nervous when I perform. I’m not so nervous about screenings, which I am also doing tomorrow. I don’t have as extensive a performance history as I do a filmmaker attending screenings history. Plus it’s just easier to sit back and listen and watch something you’ve already finished and made and don’t have to do anything else for but answer questions. I’ve always used written notes for performing. It sort of helps.

Anyway, tomorrow I am going to do a live infomercial/motivational speaker inspired performance about a fictional 2 Spirit Dating Website. That gives gifts for joining! I hope it goes okay! I already did write a script for the video, I just need to adapt and expand on it. I’m aiming for ten minutes, then about 35-40 minutes of my favourite videos. After tomorrow my main reason for being in Saskatchewan is FINISHED and I can go meet up with friends and do social things AND work on finishing my video game. I have a small handful of people I want to see.


I wrote most of my blabby blab! I’m gonna finish it in the morning. I simplified the powerpoint to ONE slide (of a Dollarama dreamcatcher). I think simple is better. I have all these props I have to use anyway.

I also have to plan out my video screening. I haven’t decided which ones to show. I have a few ideas though.

God I’ve been busy. It’s good though, I like being busy as an artist/filmmaker/whatever I am.

OH I got a message that Boi Oh Boi is going to be screening at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival in Glasgow on Oct 1st in a program about butch/masculine women. So that’s pretty awesome. Also there might be a chance to go there for another thing next year, BUT it is all depending on funding and stuff so nothing is for sure. But it would be cool to travel again soon.

Little Mister is being SUPER cuddly with me right now. When I packed up my bag and got ready to go to the cab, the pups both automatically got into their kennels because they wanted to come with me. They are so smart. And sweet. I think Little Mister is so happy that I brought him on this trip back to Saskatoon. He missed me when I was in Berlin I am sure. Poor lil guy! Sometimes he is very independent and doesn’t care so much about cuddles. Plus I think he likes playing with the other two dogs here.

Anyway, tomorrow I have to be as brilliant as I can be! I hope it’s fun, I think it will be. And plus it helps me advance my script for my video. I might just make one more 2 Spirit video, because I applied for two grants to do two videos last fall and only got the small grant from Toronto Art Council. I hope that’s okay. Anyway, yeah, it might be a really solid video now based on this performance.

Extended stay

I changed my flight home.  It was supposed to be the 27th and now it is the 31st.  I’m going to get in to Toronto at 10pm.  I will probably miss New Years.  But that is ok.

Christmas was weird.  My nephew was with us and was atrocious.  He had a cold and bitched and moaned about everything.  All his presents were boring and he wanted a million presents and he hated everything including us. I really reconfimed my desire to remain childless.

Also it was our first Christmas without Grandma.  So that was kind of sad.

My so called best friend and I had a fight over text a couple days before Christmas.  She was so cold and selfish and making everything about her and acting like her grief was more important than mine and I just wanted to see her.  Anyway, I got fed up with her shit and unfriended her on facebook.  She was never a good friend anyway.  All she did when we hung out together was tell me about all these men from POF she’s been having sex with.  She’s such a fucker. SO SELFISH! And no compassion.

I am getting excited about school again.  I’ve solved my script problem of needing a more impressive ending. And I’m kind of glad I am working on something more commercial, because even though I’m some kind of video artist, I ALSO want to get into the Industry. I’m glad I didn’t go to another art school for my masters.

Mom and I went to see Into The Woods on Christmas Day.  Turns out the movies are packed on Christmas!  I was entertained. Boxing Day my Auntie Lori and I went to see The Imitation Game.  That was also good, almost made me cry!


While they were trying to crack the Enigma code, they realized they needed to figure out a few constant words being used in the messages.  As it happened, the weather report always ended with “Heil Hitler” so they just had to put that in and Turing’s machine would crack the code everyday! It’s kind of funny to think that Nazi’s saying that phrase would cost them the war.


It’s funny, I really like being a filmmaker. My Grad advisor tells me to go watch movies for inspiration, even bad ones. Which is fun. I’m totally fascinated by films.

My ex-friend used to try and get me to complain about being single with her.  But actually, I don’t really care anymore. I mean love is fun and all, but god, it’s fine being on my own.  I still have orgasms and stuff.  And anyway, I’ve always been more interested in my career.  It’s way more fun and doesn’t let me down. I’m happier just hanging out at home writing, snuggling the dogs, watching shows on Netflix. With the occasional trip to a film festival. Or opening. Or whatever. Being single doesn’t feel like falling into a void or anything.  I don’t feel like I am Less-Than or anything.

I’m excited about the future. I’m not sure what is gonna happen, but I think good things might happen. There is still moving into the co-op, whenever an apartment comes available. And my next contracts/jobs. I’m taking Audio Post Production and Sound Design next semester, so maybe I could get a job doing that. We will see!

It would be nice to sell a script for a million dollars or something too.

Anyway, tomorrow we are going to the casino and then Night at the Museum!  So I should head to bed!



Sleepy sleepy sleepy and bloody

I got my period so today has been SUPER SLEEPY!  Like, really sleepy.  I slept until 2pm and then I woke up and went back to napping at 4:15 until 6.  It’s day two so I keep having to empty my diva cup.  I’ve emptied it about three times already today.  And I will have to empty it again before bed.

SO for those reasons, massive blood loss leading to anemia because of fibroids, I am getting an ablation.  I had a gynecologist appointment a week or two ago where I had to repeat over and over that I didn’t want kids, cause I don’t, they are super annoying.  And anyway, I think after the 6th or 7th time I said I didn’t want kids they accepted it (there was a student with my gynecologist) and so I am being scheduled for getting my uterine lining burned out sometime in March or so.  They are going to give me a prescription for a thing I will put up my vagina by my cervix so that they don’t “damage me” too much.  I assume it’s gonna soften up my cervix and make it more dilated or something.

I hope it works.  I am tired of my period.  It’s better now with a diva cup, but it’s still such a drag.  I mean, emptying that thing FOUR times in one day is kinda insane.  Like, it holds about an ounce of fluid, that’s A LOT!  And I want to avoid a hysterectomy, because I’ve seen the side effects of having a uterus removed (incontinence and I also think it affects your orgasms a bit) and I don’t want to go through that.  So HOPEFULLY this will work out.

Next day———–*******************

So I am still super tired.  AND I got the results from a 2 hour blood test I had to take on Friday.  I had to get my blood taken then drink this orange “pop” and then hang around waiting. And then they took my blood again and let me go.  ANYWAY, my blood sugar is high.  So I have to go in and talk to my doctor tomorrow.

I don’t want diabetes, but it felt kind of inevitable.  I’m even on a medication that causes diabetes, AND I am First Nations, so it just felt like I was gonna get diabetic.  I have to start living more healthy.  I should exercise too.

Thursday I am going to Kingston, and then to Toronto, and then home.  That might be fun, I hope so.

I should publish this post and go read up on type 2 diabetes.

Red Queen White Queen

I made a video in 1999 about Through the Looking Glass as a take on race, with Alice as a biracial girl, the Red Queen as a Cree woman, and the White Queen as, well, that’s obvious. But the whole time I was remembering an old made for t.v. version made with Carol Channing and assorted people I don’t know circa 1985. I never found a clip until YouTube came along, I was beginning to wonder if it was all in my head. There are a bunch of clips but this one is the most relevant since the video I made was basically just this scene. Only different. There was no singing. And race politics were involved.

By the way, Carol Channing is a pale person of colour.

My tape can be found through Video Pool Distribution.

Bitch Slap Joni Mitchell

This mini press release is going to show you how much of a flake I can be. A group show I am in at the Mendel Art Gallery here in Saskatoon will have it’s opening on January 19th, at 7pm. I will be showing an as yet unnamed video installation work which textually poaches the Miracle Worker bitch slap scene and through the use of an experimental soundscape and text discusses abuse towards the disabled masquerading in the guise of treatment. I do not remember the group shows name, but my friend Megan Morman is also in it. Megan, what is the name? Adrian Stimson is the curator. I may buy contact lenses with my artist fee. The Mendel often has crowd overload at their openings, so if you can’t find me go look under the banana tree in the conservatory. I drink Corona. My other friend Rebecca Belmore is having an opening then as well from some of her work in the collection. I have no idea if she will be attending.

It’s eerie timing, I’ve been working on this video for three months and then this whole Ashley thing exploded.

By the way, if anyone has found Joni Mitchell’s face please bring it with you.

Straight people Parties

Eeeenh! I ended up at a straight person party last night, I mean UBER straight, as in a flood of spritzheads came tumbling out of a clown car and then chattered very loudly for a very long time about nothingness. I’m not sure how straight people do it, but they can have like, a two hour conversation about NOTHING! What the hell? It’s kind of amazing to watch, if dreadfully boring.

I have a new favorite film magazine. It used to be Filmmaker, which is a really good magazine, but with a specific way of looking at film, more of a how was it made, why did you write it this way kind of approach. I used to get a magazine from Kodak that was quite excellent in it’s own funny way. It was like “Oooh, House of Flying Daggers was shot with a 55mm lens and on 800T film,” kind of thing. Which is good in it’s own way, if you’re shopping around for the perfect speed of film to get a certain look. Actually I should get Kodak to send me that again. And then I was into Res, because it was more about digital film and video culture and a bit hipper, and the layout was spectacular, but it only comes out four times a year. Creative Screenwriting is okay. But CineAction, that is my new favorite. It’s not all “this is a 400 speed film” or “he wrote the entire script sitting on the toilet” or anything, it’s actually a critical look at films. This issue analyzes V for Vendetta, examines the work of Michael Moore, and links pedophile hysteria with a Post 9/11 world as seen in Palindromes.

We got my dog a shock collar for his barking, but it’s not working, I think it’s not on properly.

I also recently got a double issue of Social Text composed of queer theory essays including the amazing Judith Halberstam writing about White Masculine Gay Male Shame. I love Judith Halberstam. I used to have Female Masculinity and it was my favorite book about being butch, but my mom’s cat peed on it and no one can save it now. So in the garbage it went while I cried and cried.

Sometimes when I’m around very young people I feel like a pervert with a corrupting influence. I don’t know why. Maybe because they are young straight vanilla people and I am very much not.

I bought out the lesbian vampire erotica at McNally Robinson. I’m surprised there’s actually a decent queer section in Saskatoon. When I was a teenager I had to get the bookstores to order in all my lesbian erotica. And a book with me in there is on the shelves. Even a picture!

I got a nice artist fee from being part of a DVD collection of video art by women which is being marketed to universities. Which is why I could afford the freakin’ EXPENSIVE E bra.

Oh man, I’m trying to watch Party Monster, but jesus christ it annoys me. I haven’t been this annoyed with a film since the last time my deadbeat cousin crashed our livingroom and spent 72 hours watching every boy film on the movie channels. I nearly hit him in the head with a remote control and whacked him around with a broom. Male entitlement pisses me off. Anyway, I’m going to start watching Art School Confidential instead, Party Monster may remain forever unwatched.

Beheading Holofernes

I didn’t get into Berlin. Bah! I’m applying to Outfest next, who actually likes me, but I’m not sure if they will take me. The deadline is at the end of January. Toronto’s deadline is in the middle of January. And I need a grant soon to work on something, but I don’t want a bunch of money to make a short. I know, maybe that is bad. But maybe I also just want to keep writing.

I do have an idea for a story that is REALLY dark, creepy, and terribly violent, with the climactic scene referencing Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemesia Gentileschi. There’s also a scene where a woman comes screaming out of the bushes with a knife in her head. People are going to think I’m seriously fucked. It’s a take on missing/murdered Aboriginal women, but with an I Spit On Your Grave approach to it. Hence the Gentileschi reference. No cutesy funny Thirza, I’m sorry, it will happen again someday. If this doesn’t creep you out, the film I want to do after this WILL end up giving you nightmares.

Anyway, for those who haven’t seen Judith Beheading Holofernes, here it is:

There are some who say this painting was created to deal with Artemesia’s rape by Tassi, who offered to marry her so that she would not have a damaged reputation or be considered damaged goods. When she charged him with rape she was tortured to make sure she was telling the truth. Tassi was a serial rapist and had also raped his sister. Oh, go google it, it’s an interesting story. Anyway, he was found guilty but got a slap on the wrist. Some things never change. Artemesia went on to have a running theme in her work of rape as seen from a female perspective. Of course this was all buggered up in a film made about her where Tassi is her passionate lover who mentors her in painting. That’s fucked up, ugh, I could go on and on about the sickness of a filmmaker who would glorify and romantize rape even admist copious evidence of Artemesia’s thoughts on Tassi. ANYWAY, as you can see, she painted Judith being totally unafraid and determined to behead Holofernes, which was a far cry from other Judith paintings where she turns her head away to avoid seeing the horrors of being an assassin. And this is a good example of why therapy as art is relevant.

This was probably my favorite painting in Art History. If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it. Oh never mind, that’s a terrible joke.

I don’t know if it will get funded. Native women beheading a white man on screen might push too many people’s buttons, even though Native women are killed on screen all the time. It would be such an excellent image though. So yeah, I want to write that story while I wait for funding on my other film’s production to come through. I would apply to the Canada Council for production funds, but sadly 60 000 is not nearly enough. A screenwriting grant on the other hand would give me a year to write this next script. A year of writing, what a dream!

Log of a Creative Process

Make coffee. Realize milk is spoiled. Drink coffee black. Sit down at computer. Drum fingers. Write two sentences then erase in a fit of pique. Hit edit undo in case sentences turn out to be useful later (they aren’t).

Read disturbing news items. End up playing iSketch for an hour.

Drum fingers. Write same letter over and over. Get frusterated and pound keyboard. Go make coffee. Remember as it’s percolating that there is still no milk.

Tell characters that they’re fucking around and pissing you off.

Write blog entry. This is easier. Hit publish. Go back to script. Drum fingers some more. Oh joy, you have to go pee. Read magazine and forget you’re sitting on the toilet.

Lunch. Eat some bananas and leftover casserole. Get grumpy at poverty and lack of a variety of comestibles.

Play with dog.

Spend half an hour reading online articles about writers block.

Write something terribly revealing, cry, then save to journal and vow never to read it again.

Chase away roommate coming up to you and yammering on about there being only one roll of toilet paper in the house and wanting you to pay more for the toilet paper because you pee too much. Yell “I’m in the middle of a creative process!” Be mocked.

Go for walk, start laughing at your own jokes and creeping out passerby. Characters start babbling. Go back to computer and write ten pages. Be shocked when you find one of your characters going awol and doing their own thing. Yell “Cut it out!” and get strange looks from roommates.

Think about horribly dramatic traumatic climax, jot down a few words about it, remind self to write scene tomorrow, even though you won’t because you feel guilty doing that to your characters.

Get tut tutted for having a trashy office area with food wrappers every where.

Spend rest of evening watching reality television and wondering why independent film isn’t respected as much as it should be.

Anal Sex, Nukes, and Montreal Pick up lines

I had a weird night last night where I couldn’t really sleep, one of those thinking too much nights. Then I had some fuckin’ WEIRD dreams!

First I dreamt I was hanging out with some gay men and suddenly I was having anal sex and I was all “Holy shit! I’m having anal for the first time!” And then I was “Holy shit, this is amazing!” And then it was all “Oh fuck, is he wearing a condom? He had better be wearing a condom. I don’t think he is. Woah that was nice. Oh shit, what do I do? Should I risk it this one time? He hasn’t come yet, if he pulls out will it be okay? I don’t want this to stop, oh what a quandry!” I’m hazy as to the particulars of my gender in my dream. I think I was a boy, but I don’t know if I was a bio boy or a trans boy.

Then I was in Montreal and I was a visiting artist, and all these beautiful femme women kept doing these sly pick up lines with me. But I swear to fucking god, it was the exact same line all the time, and they were saying them in front of each other, it was like they were all scheduling in a sex session with me before I left town. I think I even ordered a drink with some francophone name that was especially for slutty visiting anglos.

A side note, how come Montreal is the epicentre of beautiful femmes? Paris is the same. And it’s not that all the femmes are Montreal natives, it’s like there’s some femme magnet pulling them there. Kind of like Vancouver is the butch epicentre of Canada. I heard it had something to do with French feminism, but I don’t really believe Luce Irigaray is what convinced gorgeous women to converge on Montreal and Paris.

And then suddenly I was in snowy mountains all dressed in guard gear with some other guy and we saw a plane go over head and started talking about the goddamn Americans and what they were doing to the world when I glanced up and saw a mushroom cloud. I sat up and yelled “They’re bombing us!” and my friend said “What the hell are you doing, get down!” and he jumped on top of me and held me to the ground while nuke charges started heading down the hill towards us. Boom boom boom boom and just when I was wondering how much it would hurt I felt this intense heat and then the sensation of being dematerialized. It felt so real that I woke up right away and tried to figure out if I was dead.

The anal sex part felt real too but I didn’t wake up to see if there was really a dick up my butt.

Child Sexuality (or: Thirza’s Vagina Shot)

This is something I’ve thought about for a long time, especially when I was making teenage lesbian videos and the fucking Alberta government outed me in high school because I was supposedly making a child porn recruiting video. Whatever. Then I was still thinking about it when I was nineteen only with the additional issue of chasing older lesbians who were running away for fear of the pedophile label attaching itself to them. But mostly I wanted to talk about teenagers wanting to fuck and why the hell is that wrong? Thus came “Untouchable.”

So I went as far as I could for someone with no sexual partner at the time and flashed my pierced vulva for the camera in what has become the one defining image people remember when they think of my work.

Why? It’s just a vag. Honestly, I think compositionally I’ve come up with more lush lyrical imagery. It’s practically at the point where it’s Thirza’s Vagina Shot, like you could write a queer videos of the 90’s essay on it. In fact someone did.

Then I tried to stick the final nail in the “queer youth” coffin with “Helpless Maiden Makes An ‘I’ Statement” where I juxtaposed a break up monologue with Disney Witch footage. On one angle it was a commentary on BDSM relationships, on another it was about sexualized images in children’s entertainment.

I got into shit for my early work, mostly because I was young and talking about the homosex. I was considered an anomaly in the queer community for coming out at fourteen. Shit, now we have queers coming out when they’re nine. The queer community has to do outreach to these folks, even at risk of being called pedophiles. I don’t mean slippery dick outreach, I mean having safehouses for youth who are running away from homophobic homes, and alternative schools for queers (there are some but not enough).

But child sexuality of all types is criminalized in our society, ironically under the guise of protecting children. I will get to why I think that is a fallacy in a moment.

Currently an issue of Blackflash is coming out where yours truly did a small artwork for (it’s a postcard, send it to your friends!) and it was the Sex/Love issue. One of the articles was about Child Sexuality and featured artwork from luminary folks such as Robert Mapplethorpe. Work which could be found in various galleries around the world. I was going to post a link to it here but probably because of child porn laws on the internet no one can publish it online anymore. It was of a little girl where you could see up her skirt. Nothing ultra provocative, nothing more scandalous than any pics most people have of themselves as children (yes, remember all your bathtub pictures you hide from your friends!). In fact, Diva magazine caught up with the little girl now all grown up (and a lesbian btw) who says it’s her favorite photo of herself as a child.

ANYWAY, Blackflash was set to publish when all the publishers got snippy and refused to reprint the images. Everyone was upset, including myself when I heard. I have in fact had the vice squad run off with my videos to inspect them for child porn (yes, police have seen the vag shot image which has defined my career). There was some rabble rousing, but I think in the end everyone felt pretty powerless to put up a fight. I mean, how long did the Eli Langer case drag on?

Child Porn laws always sound like a good idea on paper, but when new parents are being dragged away from the local one hour photo store for taking pictures of the twins having a bath, you start to notice how the lines are blurry.

I knew it was going to happen, but it didn’t make me less sad. A thirteen year old girl had sex with a twelve year old boy, and currently they are trying to decide how to try her since by law she is both a perpetrator and a victim. Her boyfriend is also considered guilty of being a sex crime perpetrator. People would say “Dear lord, she was thirteen! That’s too young these kids nowadays blah blah blah.” Actually, if you get people drunk/stoned and ask them when they lost their virginity, you’d be surprised how many will say a number between seven and thirteen. And not just people in my age group either, I know people much older than me who lost it at a really young age.

I’m not going to debate when the “proper” age to lose one’s virginity is, truth be told I felt a bit long in the tooth when I lost mine. But the fact is kids are doing sexual things and then turning pink and saying “nothing” when you ask them what they’re doing. I mean, under the law this girl’s being prosecuted, a kid can be charged for MASTURBATING! I’m serious. That means I was a criminal for 11 years of my life!!!

“Protecting” children, doesn’t. It criminalizes natural child behaviour. It criminalizes art work. It criminalizes child sexuality at a time when children are just naturally going about their sexual development. It keeps kids from being able to learn about safe and healthy sexuality, or even engaging with communities they belong to, namely the Queer community. Sexual predators hunting children still get around it. They don’t have to go ogle the local exhibition of Mapplethorpe or Langer, they can just hop on Myspace and write up a bogus profile. They can just wander back and forth along a playground. They can just offer to babysit to help out a frazzled single mother.

People always support laws “protecting” children, until they get caught in a loophole.

Now I really must go and have a shower and wash this famous vulva of mine.

(This is me at nineteen in Untouchable, my vulva is lower down, as is the fashion.)