Friday, October 21, 2016

Thoughts on Hilary after the last US Presidential Debate

All along I have thought Hilary was the best over-qualified woman for the job of US President. She has tremendous experience spanning decades in Congress, the White House, as Secretary of State. And her focus is on, has always been on, children and families, the heart of any country, and the rights of all those who struggle under a white power regime, women, Black Americans, vets, those in the LGBTQI communities, immigrants, migrants, etc. Even her stance on trade comes from a global perspective that few would find easy to match. Her strength in the storm of invective and hate she has been subjected to during the elections has been impressive. I knew she was smart, but after the last debate with Trump, the woman is brilliant. What an incredible mind she has, sharp, witty, and an intelligence tempered with compassion that is impressive. In the debate, she took on the Donald with panache, even adapted his style of debate and shot back at him on his own turf. While I love our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and feel confident he has the good of Canada at heart, I would be proud to have Hilary as leader of my country if the US destroys itself with the wealthy but crude, womanizing, power-hungry, war-mongering, self-aggrandizing Donald of limited political and global vision.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

September 2016 Poetry & Music Salon @ Palmerston Library Theatre

Our Poetry & Music Salon on Saturday afternoon on September 24, 2016, was beautiful! Everyone, to my ear and mind, was profound, enjoyable, entertaining, soulful, and simply generally wonderful. Many thanks to our features, Michael Mirolla, Linda Stitt, Karen Lee, and Kirk E. Felix and his musical gang, Kevin Jeffrey, Sean Peever and Darlene Sacks. And thanks to former features and their continuing support for this series and who I gave 5 min spots to, Jim McCuaig, Jennifer Hosein, Karen Shenfeld and Sharon Goodier (lovely to catch up on their current poems). And, of course, our terrific open mic readers, Daniela Oana and Jovan Vuksanovich - you were amazing and will both be featured in the future. With much gratitude to Iana Georgieva, the librarian at Palmerson Library who has facilitated this event, Eric the brilliant sound man and to the Toronto Public Library system for promoting writers and readers!

Here are photos, to see everyone's names, please go to the Poetry and Music Salon photo album on G+.


If you'd like to see it again, or missed it, here it is! The full June 2016 Salon - a GORGEOUS Salon! We live in a city of talent!

direct link: September 2016 Poetry and Music Salon

In order of appearance:

1. Jim McCuaig 1:42
2. Jennifer Hosein 6:38
3. Daniela Oana 11:23
4. Jovan Vuksanovich 15:28
5. Brenda Clews 20:13
6. Karen Shenfeld 25:41
7. Sharon Goodier 29:52
8. Karen Lee (feature) 36:42
9. Linda Stitt (feature) 56:58
10. Michael Mirolla (feature) 1:12:45
11. Kirk Felix (feature), accompanied by Kevin Jeffrey, Sean Peever and Darlene Sacks 1:27:34

NEW YouTube channel: (with everything in the old one added but of course not all the view counts)
Old YouTube channel:

Bios of the Features:

LINDA STITT’S mother read poetry to her in the womb and she emerged crying in iambic pentameter.
For eighty-four years, we haven’t been able to shut her up.

The author of a clutch of novels, plays, and short story and poetry collections, MICHAEL MIROLLA describes his writing as a mix of magic realism, surrealism, speculative fiction and meta-fiction. Publications include the novel Berlin (a 2010 Bressani Prize winner); The Facility, which features among other things a string of cloned Mussolinis; and The Giulio Metaphysics III, a novel/linked short story collection wherein a character named “Giulio” battles for freedom from his own creator. Other publications include the short story collection The Formal Logic of Emotion; a punk novella, The Ballad of Martin B.; and two collections of poetry: Light and Time, and The House on 14th Avenue (2014 Bressani Prize). His short story collection, Lessons in Relationship Dyads, from Red Hen Press in California, came out in 2015, while the novel Torp: The Landlord, The Husband, The Wife and The Lover, set in 1970 Vancouver, was published in the Spring of 2016 with Linda Leith Publishing out of Montreal. The short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, featuring the best short stories in Canadian journals for that year; and “The Sand Flea” was a U.S. Pushcart Prize nominee. Born in Italy and raised in Montreal, Michael now makes his home in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information,

KAREN LEE: poet / vocalist / actor / voiceover artist
“I love sound. I specialize in voice. I articulate creative vision.”
Karen Lee is most captivated by Voice. Sound. Beat.
Art speaks freedom, bondage, fear, truth and the struggle for truth.
Her voice beats raw and bold in its telling.
Classically trained, soulful soprano, she vibrates a rich lower register. Collective credits span live, solo, session, choral, wedding, theatre, lm, TV, radio, commercials, new media.
Karen Lee’s Rewind My Selecta and Naked are published in Black Girl Talk (Sister Vision Press), 1995.

KIRK FELIX is a Richmond Hill-based singer/songwriter who considers himself an “Old Folkie.” He believes that a “good song” is one that has a catchy tune and sends a message many can relate to. He has always loved Folk Music. He’s performed at coffee houses throughout the US, Europe and the Far East in the early 70's. He opened for John Denver in 1972. He performed at Winterfolk 2016 as part of “The Best of Dr. B’s Acoustic Medicine Show and in April as part of the “The Out of Towners” show at the Free Times Café on College St. This is a monthly event that is sponsored by the Best of Dr. B’s Acoustic Medicine show. Kirk appears regularly at many Open Mics in the GTA and York Region. He along with Tom Hamilton recently appeared on Rogers Daytime, in the York Region in May. He recently appeared was on the Diva and Don Early Morning Show on Whistle Radio CIWS 102.9 FM. Kirk recently appeared at the Words and Music Salon hosted by Linda Stitt at Vino Rosso`s on Bay Street and at the Plein Air Garden Concert Series in August Kirk released his only LP -“For My Friends” in 1972.

He re-released his original album as a CD in April 2016. This has been re-titled “For My Friends-Kirk Felix 1972 Revisited.” Kirk is currently in the studio, recording an album of all original works, to be released in the Spring of 2017.

Facebook Group Page:

Organized, hosted and videoed by Brenda Clews:

Monday, October 03, 2016

'Tidal Fury' inspired a cocktail: the Sea Cube!

Now *this is a review (the best! lol!): Tidal Fury has inspired a cocktail: The Sea Cube!! Tequila, seaweed, sea salt, chillies, limes and mangos, oh yum! You can read one of the poems, On the Beach (I performed it at RAW Artists presents VERVE!), *plus download a PDF of the first 14 pages - a good taste of Tidal Fury indeed! Sea Cube Cocktails anyone?!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Self-Portrait painting nearly done!

Self-Portrait, ©Brenda Clews, 2016, 20" x 16" x 1.5", oil on canvas.

It is if-y to post something not-quite-but-almost finished, and yet I am so close to the end... the veil needs to be defined more, and the photo of the painting was taken in the last rays of sun in downtown Toronto and that light caught the paint at an odd angle and made some glistens that don't belong there. I want one side of the face to be becoming perhaps a white mask and 'that other' side of the face to be rather strange, sinewy, the skein of colours almost nice, but also like the sinews and muscles underneath the skin. A face lit by a light that is composing it on one side while it is twisting on the other and undoing itself in a skein of muscley colours. Yet oddly polished too - as if this is an ordinary state (which it is). A self-portrait.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

VERVE Showcase was Wonderful!!!


Verve Showcase on August 25th was a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who came out - so good to see you all! The art in the room was fantastic; everyone was so friendly; the musicians rocked; the fashion runway show at the end was darling. It's hard for me to gauge how my performance went, but I seemed to have the attention of most of the people in the room, about 300-400 people at that point. It was an amazing experience to be performing on a runway in a mask and a headdress with my Split Mask and book trailer videos on three screens! (I stripped the sound in the videos and performed poems.) I sold books, raglan tees and a painting, which made it a lovely evening. The last photo in the row above is from the end of the night looking down on the floor from my artist's spot upstairs. On the aftermath of Verve, yeah, I'd say, a beautiful evening.

Cate McKim wrote a fab article on RAW Artist's Verve Showcase  highlighting some of the artists and offering a slideshow from the evening. Check it out. Thanks Cate! [Cate gets the photo credit on the 1st two photos of me on stage. Mucho gracias.]

The next night I was back at Verve Showcase to celebrate my niece, Tara's showcase! Took a double selfie... and we were lit up by purple lights!

As I made my way around the venue, enjoying every artist, the whole shebang of everything, what a great venue, Strike Boogie struck in the midst of transformation (that's him in the photo below), oh wow, wow! And Philip Cairns came, and, yes, he got some fabulous bling!

[A friend took video of my performance and I was waiting to meet and get it before posting. So I will be posting more photos later and possibly video, depending on how it turned out.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Verve Showcase Thurs Aug 25th & some raglan tees!


I would like to thank everyone who purchased a ticket to Verve Showcase!!! So happy! Looking forward to seeing you all!!! ❤️ I will be performing two multi-media poems on stage, and will have an artist's display upstairs by the bar on Thurs Aug 25th. With 700+ people expected, it's gonna be a big, wild art party!!!

Verve Showcase
8pm - 1am
The Mod Club
722 College St
Thursday Aug 25 (my night) and ticket good for Fri Aug 26th too
(If you thought to come, and hadn't got a ticket yet, you can pre-purchase right up until the event for a bit cheaper - and can also get a ticket at the door.)

I was told it best to also offer prints at Verve Showcase. But the cost of giclee prints, prohibitive, and which drawings or paintings to choose? So, I thought, wearables. Even I would buy a nice t-shirt. But I like sleeves! I found a local company that did raglan tees. Their reviews were great. I took the plunge. I bought 40 raglan tees in different sizes, but I'll have less to sell at Verve because I am keeping a bunch (for myself, and my family). The quality of the cotton is good, the print is excellent and the style is very comfortable. I hope to have enough tees to sell for the next year or so, but who knows, they may prove popular. These are beauts. Somewhat promo for my new book, Tidal Fury. The tees are for selling at art shows, though - I cannot imagine selling them at poetry readings! 😊📱❤️ (And I won't be too embarrassed to post this and leave it up, I won't.)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"My Studio" Ha!

"My Studio" - or what my apartment turns into when I am painting. I can't have guests when I'm working on paintings since there is literally no room. The set-up works, though, and I get paintings of all sizes done. These small canvases (16"x20"x1.5") are almost finished - but not quite yet - especially the one on the right needs more hours. I am very busy this weekend socializing and won't get much done, and these will not be dry for Verve Showcase on Thursday, but that is no reason not to finish them anyhow.

Close-up Portraits of Women, last one *almost* finished

Have re-painted this gorgeous face multiple times, and maybe finally almost there (painted while watching Bolt's astounding final race in the Rio Olympics). Tomorrow have to work on the eyes when hopefully the paint is a little drier. The flourescent daylight bulb in the studio light picks up the blues and accentuates them. Nice effect though. 16"x20"x1.5", oil on canvas. © Brenda Clews 2016

I did a series on the masculine in watercolours and so I thought, I'll do a series on close-ups of women's faces in oils. Oils are harder to work with in the style that I am doing but perhaps the end result is satisfying in different ways - these paintings are much smaller than the sizes I usually work in, and the oils are lovely, thick, rich and there's nothing like the fragrance of oils in your studio (which is what my living room becomes when I'm working).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Unfinished Self-Portrait, Close-ups of Women Series

Self-Portrait, unfinished (the fascinator has a veil that has yet to be painted in), ©Brenda Clews, 2016, 20" x 16" x 1.5", oil on canvas.

About 12 hours later:

The middle one not finished. The fascinator on the one on the right has a veil to come. Night-time photos (not the best). Close-ups of Women. Each painting is 16" x 20"x 1.5", oil on canvas. ©Brenda Clews 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bänoo's Portrait almost done

Portrait of Bänoo Zan, 2016, 16"x20"x1.5", oil on canvas. ©Brenda Clews 2016. Photo taken inside with room light and colour-corrected (this is not the official photo which I will take when the painting is complete and dry and varnished).

Struggled with this all day and am okay with it now. A few touch-ups to do, but it is essentially done. I don't think it will be dry for Verve on Aug 25th, but... used water-soluble oils, so you never know. I still have two more portraits to do. I wish I hadn't been so busy in the last few weeks, not just with people and events, but with stress from same.