Category Archives: Art

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.

Smelly Blankets

I just wrote my first paper for grad school.  Yay.  It really stressed me out!  My back is all hunched up and tense.  At a certain point my knees kind of locked up and when I stood up they reminded me of the Tin Man when he’s going “Oil can!”  My ass hurt from sitting so still for so long.  UGH!

Little Mister and Posey and I went on a walk in the rain today and Little Mister HATED it!  He was walking behind us so slow like a wet turtle, I was practically pulling him along.  Poor dude.  I got so mad but I know it’s just because he doesn’t like getting that wet.  He should be glad I don’t want to move back to Vancouver or he’d be really miserable.  Poor grump!

This blanket smells.

I have class tomorrow.  My long day.  Two classes back to back!

I really hope my student loans come in tomorrow.  It’s now way past midterms, we are heading into the last stretch of school, I’m broke and frustrated and still owe 258 in rent and utilities, AND owe phone company money.  Like, a lot of money.  🙁  MONEY HURRY UP! I’m so annoyed.

I didn’t keep up with my readings for my afternoon class tomorrow, I sort of sacrificed it for that paper.  Oh well.  I hope he doesn’t ask me any specific questions.

It’s funny, I always wanted to be, like, the PERFECT student in grad school.  Like get to classes on time and stuff.

Today I went to class through a different building and got lost and I was so annoyed and I was gonna just go home but NO!  Not when I came all that way!  So I continued going through the labyrinth that is Kerr Hall and FINALLY found my class.  AND THEN!  There was about 20 minutes of new information and then the rest of the class was all about the differences between sole proprietorship, partnerships, and corporations.  And I already learned that in Praxis, so I was super bored.  Thinking to myself “Ugh!  Just get through these slides already!”

This blanket still smells.

The one good thing about class today was she told us how we should think of just getting through each six week block.  First six weeks, then reading week, next six weeks, month off for Christmas, six weeks again, reading week, then LAST SIX WEEKS!  And we are done.  So that is an encouraging way to look at it.

I threw that blanket in the corner because it really did smell too much.

I’m meeting with my Grad advisor on Thursday and I don’t have much to say to him, except I did figure out some things about my story, so that’s good? I was hoping to have a beat sheet for him, but nope.  One of my other profs made me feel better though because he said a lot of people don’t really start their projects until the beginning of second semester.

But then my prof today made me worry because I have to have a proposal approved by him by the end of this semester otherwise we go on academic probation.  UGH!  There are so many pitfalls to this getting educated thing!

I’ll be ok.  I was really worried about this other class, but I think I’ll be ok.  Maybe.  I haven’t FAILED anything yet anyway.  I really want to get done in three semesters so that I can go to Scotland for that residency when I am done!  My Mom and Auntie want to come with me for a couple weeks before the residency starts and travel around Scotland again.  Auntie has never been.  And we could go to Stromness again, in the Orkneys.  Stromness was really nice.

I’m so glad that blanket isn’t on the bed anymore.

I heard . . .

I don’t often get good gossip (I lie, I’m quiet and I get good gossip all the time) but I hear a reputable rumour that Annie Sprinkle is getting legally married within the week in a prairie city. I wanted to go see it, but I don’t have a car, or money for a bus ticket, or even the time to leave some work I’m doing. I wanted to actually meet her without running away.

And now the source of the rumour who is probably reading this is kicking my ass and yelling “Shut up Thirza!”

Hey, it isn’t secret after all! Here’s the scoop:

Annie Sprinkle & Elizabeth Stephens • Yellow Wedding #3: Courage & Power

That’s right: It’s a wedding AND a performance. Members of the Harper Cabinet are especially welcome.

Ex-porn star, sexologist and performance artist Annie Sprinkle, and sexy dyke playboy, experimental artist and professor Elizabeth Stephens are madly in love. They have vowed to have a wedding every year for seven years, partly in protest against the anti-gay marriage movement. This, the third wedding in the series, and the first in Canada, takes advantage of our laws to legally bind the two blushing brides. Be a bridesmaid, groomsman, tranny ring bearer or do your special wedding thing. Or just enjoy the show.

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!


I always giggle a bit when someone says they never get starstruck no matter who’s around at a particular time. I firmly believe everyone has at least ONE person that makes them amazed and act funny around. I’ve even had people be starstruck around me, which makes me totally shy and embarrassed. The funniest was the morning I was having my usual coffee at the cafe across from my apartment, I liked going there because they had a plethora of magazines to read and enough counterspace to read the Georgia Straight while also eating a panini sandwich. I was minding my own business when a woman suddenly looked at me and said “You’re famous!” I said “No I’m not.” “Yes, you are! I’ve seen you somewhere, where was it?” She might have been referring to the one Georgia Straight article talking about me and several other Vancouver aboriginal filmmakers. Other times I’ve been introduced to people and they’re all “ooh, the famous Thirza Cuthand.” I’m only mildly famous and only with people who go to film festivals. Sometimes I try to pick someone up and then suddenly they hear my name (there aren’t many Thirza’s) and start talking queer film, sigh!
My friend Cease told me a great starstruck story about our friend Paul. It seems they were staying with Fairuza Balk while on their great American road trip. They were taking this whole crashing with a movie star thing in stride until Paul saw a photo on Fairuza’s fridge of her standing next to someone who looked familiar. “Who is that?” he asked Cease. “That’s Shelley Winters.” “Oh my God!”

I was going to put a picture of Shelley Winters here but I have a hard on for Fairuza so to hell with her.

I have been star struck myself on many occasions. The first time was when I skipped Art History Class to go with some friends to Kate Bornstein’s talk at the SFU bookstore. Kate was talking about the destruction of gender and people’s ability to recreate themselves as whatever they wanted and then used my hair and ambiguous gender as an example of what she was talking about. My hair was blue and yellow at the time in my favorite dye pattern that looks like a sunrise. Anyway, I immediatelyturned pink because even though I often had weird hair I preferred being a wallflower. Then she seemed to want to save me by saying it didn’t mean she wanted to sleep with me, which made me go even more pink.

Kate Bornstein: Inspirer of Pinkness

My next starstruck moment has a really boring ending. I saw Annie Sprinkle at the San Francisco queer festival, Frameline, while we were both speaking at a conference. She smiled at me and I was terrified and ran like the wind. I wish I hadn’t done that.

“Brave Sir Thirza ran away.” “I didn’t!” “Bravely ran away, away.”

Just after I got dumped out of the hospital I went to a retrospective of my work down at the University of California at Riverside. A guy was there who looked totally familiar, and he also seemed totally sweet and approachable. I struck up a conversation and discovered I was talking to James Duvall, who played Dark in Nowhere, which happens to be my favorite film. He also got his dick cut off by skinheads in The Doom Generation, was killed in May, and played the role of Frank the Rabbit in Donnie Darko. He was probably the most fun “star” I’ve hung out with, we had beers and joked about different things and talked about the profession of acting and then he offered to be in my movies. He’s a nice guy, I like him. I’d definitely work with him.

James Duvall/Dark being dominated in Nowhere

All of this culminated in my most star struck moment to date. It was my BFA grad and I had to sit through a long boring ceremony EXCEPT Sally Potter was there getting an honorary degree. Sally Potter directed the one film I watched OVER and OVER during high school, Orlando, with Tilda Swinton. In my media studies class I wrote a paper on “The Gaze” in Orlando, which was probably my best paper ever because after that I got lazy. Sally Potter did a great thank you for her degree where she proudly proclaimed that she never went to school and she didn’t think people should feel they had to get an advanced degree.
After the ceremony I was hanging out with my Mom and friends and Mom pushed me towards Sally Potter and told me to tell her how much I liked her film. So I did, I felt very shy, she was most gracious and congratulated me on my film degree.

Sally Potter’s Orlando

Shyness and being starstruck, it goes both ways. One night in Montreal me and two Finnish girls met the beloved Julie Doucet at a group show she was in. She is most well known for her comic Dirty Plotte, which we all loved. I think we just looked like the most unusual tiny fan club and it turns out Julie Doucet is terribly terribly shy.

Which leaves me with my last statement. Celebrities, no matter how they are famous or what they do, have a persona which is completely different from who they really are. I can be all radical and running around with no clothes and talking about sex, but in real life I’m too shy to ask for a kiss, have unwillingly ended up with a career of celibacy, and only run around naked with the blinds drawn unless I’m terribly drunk. So don’t assume anything about a famous person’s character until you meet them, and if they suck, well, you can always watch them on television or read their work.