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Mods on Scooters - Image from Museum of London

Mods & Rockers Invade Brighton Beach
I was first introduced to the Mods & the Rockers at age 14. I was taking part in a programme at Carleton University that aimed to give High School students a taste of undergraduate education. With permission from your High School, you were able to apply and select a course from any number of interesting academics on offer.
Mods & Rockers on Brighton Beach
20th Century Youth Subcultures” seemed to leap off the page at me. It was a fascinating two weeks glancing over the origins of western youth subcultures from music and style, to representation in popular film and culture. Excellently taught by the Professor who’s name eludes me now, the course was responsible for introducing me to a variety of musical genres and subcultures, specifically that of the Mods.

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Weekend Wanderings - Whitefish Island

Ice Ridden Soo Locks
Chunks of ice in the locks, the final remnants of a terribly long winter. What a year for us to move to Northern Ontario. Still though, no regrets whatsoever. I’ve been dying to get out and properly explore, and this past weekend we were finally able to in between scattered light rain showers.

We didn’t venture too far, but went trekking around the Batchewana First Nation Whitefish Island Reserve which is slowly coming to life again now that Spring is finally here.Beaver Damsj-whitefish-island Read More »

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Bill Hicks quote - It's just a ride and we can change it any time we want.

It’s Just A Ride

Bill Hicks Ride Quote

I love this quote from Bill Hicks and come back to it often, it’s a comforting reminder when life can feel like it’s getting the better of you at times.

Sometimes getting where you’d want to be can be a slow build, and often the route you take is not the most direct.

This has really been the case for me these past few years. At times I’ve felt frustrated and that I’ve been bouncing around with no real direction or concrete strategy in place to get where I wanted to be.

When I was younger, I had everything clearly mapped out (or so I thought), and like some invisible list was ticking things off as I went along. Move to Europe. Check. Attend Theatre School. Check. Create a Theatre Company with my friends. Check.

Check. Check. Check. Checccc….Whoaa…aaahhhh….ARGH.NO![CRASH@#$!%^!&]

That’s the internal sound of the rug being pulled out from under you.

And just like that life goes topsy turvy, upside down and your best laid plans are scattered all over the place.

No amount of planning can ever really prepare you. And that’s just part of the journey.

It’s taken awhile for me to get off that dirt road so to speak, and back onto a smoother path.

The hardest thing I found was to stop fighting against change and things I couldn’t control. When I finally acknowledged this and worked with or around challenges presented instead of against them, it became a lot easier to manage and navigate a new route.

Most importantly, I tried new things and took some chances.

When you’re attempting to get out of a situation and not sure where to start, sometimes just the simple act of something new will help guide you. It may not work out as you intend, but putting yourself out there and being open to possibilities really does have an incredible effect.

And it won’t necessarily be overnight. It’s taken a year and a bit for myself to really start to see change, but a few small acts got the ball rolling and here I am now, about to head off to a new locale for further adventures.

So if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or directionless, just keep going and try something new – it could be something as small as taking a knitting class, or learning how to code a website. Whatever it is, new opportunities will present themselves if you’re really open and ready for them.

And remember, to quote the brilliant Bill Hicks“Don’t worry, don’t be afraid ever because this is just a ride.”

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Oz

1980's Kids

Proof that once upon a time I was taller than my little-giant Brother. It’s 11am in Australia, so it’s officially my brother’s birthday now. I really miss him, but adventures in the land down under are to be had, and this also means I totally have a couch to crash on in the Southern Hemisphere now too.

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Sloan Twice Removed

Chris Murphy reading fFiction in Ottawa, 1995Chris Murphy & Friends reading fFiction in Ottawa, 1995

While packing for a Summer away I inevitably got distracted. At first it was geeking out on Bloglovin’ (no Google Reader, no!), but then when boxes of half forgotten treasures were cracked open and aired for the first time in years after being in storage, all was lost for any packing efforts. What I rediscovered  in those boxes was a trove of cassettes, gig tees, mixed tapes, old photographs and zines.

Furnacefest in Ottawa, 1994Furnacefest, Ottawa, Canada. July 2nd, 1994

It’s been almost 20 years since I went to my first concert – a festival in a parking lot in Ottawa called “Furnacefest” (not to be confused with the one held in Alabama in the 00′s). Created by Ottawa band Furnace Face with the intent to showcase local and national bands while getting the chance to headline their own festival, it was a pretty fantastic first concert experience.

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Sparkly Devil - Live for joy

Sparkly Devil at the Hubba Hubba Revue by Patrick McCrackenSparkly Devil at Hubba Hubba Revue, DNA Lounge, San Francisco, California, 25 May 2013. Photo Courtesy Of: Patrick McCracken

Writer, burlesque rebel, opinionated loudmouth, sparkle addict, Crossfitter, wreakor of havoc.

That’s how Sarah described herself.

She was all of those things and so much more.

I’ve been trying for the past few weeks to make sense of what happened in the early hours of May 26th, 2013. And still nothing does. The facts are there. The cold, immovable truth that my friend was killed in a car accident outside of San Francisco returning home from a performance at the Hubba Hubba Revue. Bones, her loving (and perfectly matched) husband critically injured.

And there it is. It takes a second for the news to be told, and a lifetime or more to process it.

The past few weeks have frankly, sucked.

They have been the suckiest suck suck that ever sucked, for me, and for a lot of people who knew and loved Sarah.

My friend Patrick likened this to a Tsunami. This all encompassing wave of grief that just hits you out of nowhere, drags you under, and suffocates you.

My tsunami moment happened the other day when I saw a woman crossing the street who looked like Sarah – same killer curves, bold red lips, bleached blonde hair and a leopard print coat. She was going into a Tim Horton’s here in Toronto. Logically, of course I knew it wasn’t her. But I tried to get across the street to see none the less. A car passed by blocking her from my line of sight and then she was gone.

And that just did it. In that moment it really hit me that she was actually gone.

Cue pouring rain, and me sobbing in the street looking like the soggy bastard love child of Marc Bolan and the Crow.

I walked home in the rain half crying and half laughing at the absurdity of thinking I saw Sarah in Tim Horton’s, and what her reaction would be to find herself haunting a donut shop in Canada.

Suffice to say there would be a lot of expletives from Sarah in my imagining of this.

At After Dark, San FranciscoAfter Dark, San Francisco 2007 accosting Sparkly while doing a Zoolander. Sarah’s expression is the best.

So I’ve tried over and over again to write about Sarah and these recent events. It’s a pretty impossible task, and I can’t even begin to simply sum up such an absolutely brilliant, sparkling and inspiring life as Sarah’s. Nor do I really want to.

What I can do, is write about those little moments, those random things that you remember about a person. Like the daft road trip film I wrote with Sparkly as one of the main characters, or the fact that Sarah was the first person to send me a Gmail invite (my password for the longest time was  her stage name Sparkly Devil), that her wedding invitation was pinned by my desk at work for years – Sparkly and Bones embraced – always giving me hope for a whirlwind fairytale romance of my own, or hearing about the epic “Sephora Glitter Battle” between Diana and she in Las Vegas, envisioning mountains of red glitter covering the two of them.

All these little moments in between the bigger ones that define and make a person who they are.

The first time I met Sarah in person was one cold, oddly snowless winter over ten years ago in 2002.

sparklydevil_chicagoSarah with Carie & Ismene in Chicago, 2002.

We had become fast friends online through various newsgroups, as well as following each other’s LJs where her wit and humor really shone as she shared the adventures and nuances of her life with friends.

At the time I was living in the UK and had a vacation to Chicago coming up. When Sarah found out I was headed stateside she told me she was going to drive from Detroit to Chicago to meet me and we could hang out.

That was the type of person she was, to drive across states to see a friend from afar. I remember being floored by this; she was always one of the cool kids to me. Sarah said she needed to test drive the new VW Beetle for an article she was writing and it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

Article or no, the fact that she drove 4 hours there and back to spend a weekend with someone she hadn’t met in person yet really touched me.

Sarah & I Hamming It Up In Chicago, 2002Sarah & I, Dorking it up in Chicago, 2002

The trip was fantastic, and meeting Sarah was an absolute highlight. I adored her. It’s too rare in this life to come across someone like Sarah. After that trip I would subsequently get to see her again several times in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Too few but brilliant times I’m so incredibly glad for.

It’s upsetting and sadly unsurprising to see some of the articles coming out now in the wake of her death, tabloid and sensational elements painting a one dimensional picture of who she was.

Yes, Sarah was a Burlesque Star and absolutely beautiful.

Sparkly Devil performing at Little Minskys in San Francisco

Sparkly Devil, Little Minskys, Club Deluxe in SF

She was also an accomplished journalist with a razor sharp wit, fiercely intelligent and articulate with a fantastic knack for swearing like a sailor in all the right places.

Sparkly Devil, Photo By Patrick McCracken

Sparkly Devil Burleque Performance at Little Minskys

She was an incredibly creative performer with perfect comedic timing and an explosive presence on and off the stage.

Sparkly Devil Photo By Noctopia

A glamorous pin up with a deep seated respect and sense of history in regards to the Burlesque movement. She championed this history and educated those unaware of the roots and trailblazing creative efforts of Burlesque performers of yore. She was at the forefront of this revival long before it was the cool thing to do.

Sparkly Devil by Patrick McCrackenPhotos Courtesy Of: Patrick McCracken

The articles out there focusing on a sensational story don’t convey what I loved about Sarah. She defied convention and you couldn’t pigeon hole her.

I loved that she was a Feminist and a geek, who delighted in Bruce Campbell leaving her a voice mail. How infectious her energy and enthusiasm was, and how she was always doing a million different interesting things at any given time. She led by example and was an incredibly inspiring woman and I admired her greatly.

Was. Man…it’s still really hard to use past tense now. Sparkly *is* inspiring and will continue to inspire me in how to live passionately.

Sarah – the original Bullet Bra Bombshell. Brains, Bawdy and Beautiful.

I am so glad I had the chance to see her perform in person. The above photos are from that night in April 2007 at Little Minsky’s shot by our talented friend Patrick McCracken, who photographed many of Sarah’s performances. That evening Sarah made sure I had the best seat in the house, right up front by the stage where I was treated to a special performance. The club was packed, and it was clear why after Sparkly Devil’s show.

Sarah and I may have lived thousands of miles apart, (the curse of making friends online is often the distance), but my life is that much more sparkly and better for having known her.

I can’t even begin to piece together all the wonderful things she was. Simply, she was my friend, fiercely loyal and so big hearted with such a wicked sense of humor. I am going to miss her so bloody much.

Live for joy.

Sarah, no one could ever accuse you of anything less.

 Please consider donating to The Bones & Sparkly Legal and Memorial Fund.

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First things first, but not necessarily in that order.

- Doctor Who