#BestDespinaEver!

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Opening nights are always such fun… Tuesday night past, I was reminded of all the opening nights that I would attend with a slightly neurotic Merlin as some show or other that he had directed was being presented to the world… As ever, it was great to see my plus one, Lucian Mann-Chomedy as the ideal partner for these occasions. Always reserved, pleasant and just the right amount of chatter and wit.

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Whilst Lucian enjoyed the pre-show lecture in the Four Seasons Centre Amphitheatre, I slipped next door into the warmth of the Sheraton Centre Hotel and warmed myself on a glass of sherry whilst finishing off 2018’s Scotiabank Giller Prize winner on my KOBO.

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What an utterly stunning tour de force. It was a moment to reflect, this Black History Month on just where we blacks are in the scheme of things. God only knows, it has been bruising to watch Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex become the print media’s most reviled and hunted fugitive from justice of that most vile creature, the racial predator.

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I was still smarting at the events of a week earlier during the winter season’s first major snowstorm. I had been recalling to friends how strange it now was, compared to my first winter in Canada. December 1, 1974 and it snowed that day more than 8 inches. Back then it generally was guaranteed to snow once if not twice weekly. Now at end of January, 2019 and we were finally having our first major snow. This was not like snow from years past… Now it was a dirty, sooty-looking hard mess that lingered, largely in part because the city has contracted out its snow removal services.

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As there are no windows in my apartment – Sol’s too damn bright by far and besides, boarded up windows afford me more art-hanging space – I got down in the early afternoon that Monday with my bike, only to be met by falling snow and several accumulated inches. Back up I went, retired the trusty chrome steed and returned and hopped into a snazzy Audi A6 Uber ride with a Macedonian whose spirit was as smooth and elegant as matchingly was his car. The mood set the tone for my day. As I am known to work 16-hr days, I called another Uber at the end of gig one whilst hoping to get to gig 2 in good time. The snow was still coming down; it was also bitterly cold and windy.

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When finally, Uber #2 arrived, cold and dark with icy pellets mixed in with the snow, the driver rolled down his passenger side window and declared, “Sorry Buddy but I am going to have to cancel this ride…” Already running late, with my wheeled suitcase at the ready, he edged along as I tried to open the door and raised his voice, his eyes almost feral-looking beneath his turbanned, narrow skull. “I said I am cancelling you. One: I never take people like you in my car. Two: you have a shitty rating… Sorry, not sorry. Fuck you Buddy.” With that, he stepped on the gas and I had to swiftly haul me and suitcase out of the way as the rear of his red older model car whose interior did have that blasted malodorous melange of curry, dirty armpit, dirty arse, smegma and whatever the fuck else that passes for immigrants of choice these days. Finally, after having struggled out onto a still-not-ploughed Bay Street, I managed to hail the fourth cab whose West African driver insisted that I call Uber and report him… Days later, I was afforded assurances that the racist Dravidian was no longer part of Uber’s fleet. Similarly, when calling a Beck Taxi with a fairly generic name as Arvin, on coming downstairs the Indo-Canadian drivers on several occasions as though staying on script would feign obsequiousness and state that they were deeply sorry but owing to a family emergency, they were having to take the cab out of service. No sooner than having refused me a ride, they would then be observed heading out to Wellesley, turning on their unoccupied light and picking up a fare off the road. As if the blasted motherfuck, the likes of your overbred arse invented Jazz.

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Each and every time that one experiences racial animus, is preyed on racially, it always harks back to that first winter in Toronto. My best mate from two summers earlier, when I would come to Canada to visit with my dad during school break, had been sick. After Sunday church service at Knox Presbyterian at Harbord and Spadina before returning to our beautiful home at 122 Mortimer Avenue, I would visit – my dad and I – with Tommy who was holding up at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital on University Avenue. My father explained that Tommy was sick with the winter flu, which sometimes could last for months and well beyond winter. I was a scrawny little fourteen-year-old who looked like most ten-year-old Canadian kids as I crawled the halls at Harbord Collegiate where among my mostly Italian-Canadian chums was future lawyer, Rocco Galati. As Tommy, who was a couple of years older than me, had gladly shared books with me the two summers prior that I would take to Knox summer camp and read then have a good stroke off, lusting after my inamorato, Tommy, I readily agreed to do his newspaper route for him until he came home. My first Saturday, the cart was overflowing with the thick Toronto Star newspaper and there was a good foot of snow everywhere. It was hellish but for Tommy, I was game to go the distance – who knows what hot frottage, docking and more was in the offing for having done his route for him! When I got to the northeast corner of Floyd and Bater Avenues that first Saturday to collect the funds, the door opened to a woman whose response to me was the most hideous display of the displaced madness that is white bigotry. Screaming at the top of her lungs, the woman in her upper seventies, vituperatively cursed my black bugger arse off and laid down the law. Never again, “you dirty little nigger” was I to set foot on her verandah.., I was to put the paper between her screen and front doors, knock then return to the top of her steps and wait for her to pay the bill. That first Saturday, she ripped the paper from my hand, flung the money at me. She was terrifying, in her faded blue A-line dress, black spectacles that had those upturned pointed edges at the sides; she wore faux pearls. Most of all, she wore the most hideously terrifying eyes. I remember how much they looked like eyes of a rooster, especially so for being such puffy eyes. Like the evolved, winged and feathered reptilians that roosters are, her eyes truly did look not the least bit human. She was so consumed with racial animus that it was truly frightening. By the time I made it home, I found myself regurgitating. Thereafter, every Saturday, I would take my spot at the top of the steps and consistently she would hurl out pennies mostly at me rather than the verandah where that first winter I had to suffer the indignity of picking through inches of snow on the verandah, steps and lawn to collect my money. Naturally, without fail she called most Saturdays to the Toronto Star, complaining of either not having received her paper on time or that it was missing altogether. This would mean having to buy her a replacement at the corner store, take it and only to be fed on by the hideous-of-spirit racial predator. Like a true cockhound many an indignity I suffered in hopes of my spectacled, full-lipped and scholarly inamorato, Tommy hooking up with me for having been so loyal to him. The summer prior, I had ventured to the public pool on Broadview at Riverdale Park with him and a couple of others and thrilled beyond belief was I to spy his large pendulous balls and that hammer-headed girthsome salami that pummelled his bikinis. Indeed, for Tommy I would suffer much indignity. There was a low-rise apartment building at 1111 Broadview where on the ground floor, there was another predator, this one equally septuagenarian who lived alone, smoked incessantly and always answered the door in various stages of undress, mostly ever only wearing a soiled merino. He was always a generous tipper; a whole 2$ bill in 1974/75 was serious cash. Naturally, in the pre-Ciaslis epoch old anorexic, drunken paunched predator would sometimes tug on the old bulbous semi-flaccid/semi-tumescent, though, pendulous but perfectly useless appendage, trying to lure me in. Sitting there in all that squalor and acting as though he was sugar daddy material… indeed. He was always keen on trying to grab me when giving me the “tip” and I was ever sly and crafty enough to get away from him each time. He, too, lead me to regurgitate, which I had not done since age nine and suffering my first racial attack. Of course, to this day, neither academia nor medicine will concede that there is any such a thing as the racial predator and the effects it has on those preyed on – mostly blacks – and the psyche/mental illness of those who prey on others chiefly non-blacks in varying degrees of severity based on otherness.

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Finally, the house lights went down and I was met by the whimsical vista of the COC’s production of W. A. Mozart’s glorious opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. Previously, I had caught productions of this Mozart gem in Chicago, Montréal and New York City. I was not expecting much at this rate. The Frida Kahlo connection was a bit of a stretch but the butterflies fast won me over.

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From the moment that she stepped onto stage, my spirit soared aloft higher than Mozart’s glorious music to that point had spirited me. Never before had there been so captivating a Despina. My eyes teared up and I was ever on the cusp of explosive giggles. Then what made me truly come undone was the moment Tracy Dahl took to the stage as the notary… by now, I was losing tears and beginning to emit choked snorted chuckles. Each Saturday back in 1974/75 when doing Tommy’s newspaper route, I would end off taking the Saturday Star to Giovanna an octogenarian Italian, who was plump, charming and more adorable than any mere mortal ought to be. Soon, we were fast lovers and she loved fussing over me, baking me each Saturday nice, warm, oven-fresh biscotti washed down with a glass of ice-cold “gingah raleh”… her thick Italian accent was part of her charm. Hers was a large black and white cat, simply known as pussy gatto, who always sat nesting on the armchair. Each week, Giovanna sat transfixed as I read her the newspaper; her vision was to that point fairly deteriorated. As a way of better forging our bond and because most of my mates at Harbord were Italian, for three years, I studied Italian and that really impressed Giovanna, who was simply known as “Mama Mia.”

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As the opera progressed, Ms. Dahl as the notary, dashed and took cover beneath the table at which point, I buried my face in the program with explosive laughter. Straight away, I was reminded of each Saturday when the ever silent pussy gatto would bolt from the armchair and take cover beneath the sofa where I sat as Giovanna began an explosion of long-winded farts. Even the singer’s voice sounded much like Giovanna’s as she sang the role of notary. Remarkably, it was as though she was channelling Giovanna. In that moment, I was healed of the bile, which the recent Uber incident had caused to surface, bile that dated as far back as 1974.

In the end, Tommy’s parents sold their house and it was not until a couple years later that I discovered from the neighbour next-door that Tommy, who had never returned to their Mortimer and Logan home, had died of Leukaemia. Indeed, the winter flu was my dad’s way of protecting me from the callousness of having to lose a friend so early in life.

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Apart from the catharsis that Tracy Dahl’s performance personally effected, I don’t think that it would be biased of me to state that hers was the runaway performance in the COC’s fantastic, and fast-paced I might add, production of Cosi Fan Tutte.

As ever, mischievously push down and melt with laughter in celebration of the joy that is life and start having yourselves a most glorious of flying dreams. Thanks for your ongoing support of this happening astral joint on this side of the astral plane. I love you more.

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.

Dolphin House Pets and Glimmers of El Greco’s Muse (Redux)

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On the cusp of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition opening this month, I am repost this blog.  Do please enjoy.  

Whilst the Moon transited both Libra and my fifth house, these next dreams occurred on October 1, 1989.  Too, it was the seventh anniversary of that magical, and a bit cool, Friday evening in Hell’s Kitchen when Merlin and I would meet… yet again. 

Of course, at the time, he was rather ill with full-blown AIDS and horribly suffering from Candida.  However, as I have known more than 200 persons to have passed of AIDS, Merlin’s AIDS-related illnesses were mild manifestations of what can eventualise with AIDS.  I have always been grateful for that. 

These dreams – one a touchstone dream with Olaf Gamst’s old-souled son as he was during a life when he was an assistant, muse and lover of El Greco’s, the other a dream set remotely in the past on this planet or possibly on another world where the indigenous folks were decidedly extra-human though Sol III human-looking enough – were welcome inspiration. 

Too, the dreams were dreamt during the second sleep cycle that day.  Back then, I took naps as often as I could afford.  Merlin fainted several times each day and the sheer gravity of what we moved through was exhausting at times.  As he would have it, no one knew that Merlin fainted multiple times daily. 

At the time of these dreams, I had taken to the pyramid to meditate with crystals and eventually ended up privately crying at the share stark finality of what imminently loomed on the horizon.  Thus, sleep was a welcome refocussing of my energies – if only briefly.  Of course, sleep and its elixir, dreams, ever kept me focussed, inspired and aware of the macroscopic. 

 

In this the first dream, I see Eleanor Bissell – my Canadian-History and English teacher at Harbord Collegiate Institute; she was doing some gardening in a blue dress that was floral-printed.  This garden had tall old trees in it.  There were hydrangea plants – large ones at that.

I went over and I greeted her and said, “Hello, Mrs. Bissell.”

I told her who I was and she had on her glasses and her breath was short.  She was just the same as when I knew her in the waking state.

 

This dream, the second, was set in another time and another place.  I was captured by this man in a castle-like dwelling.  A very Moorish setting, like in Spain, it was; it was not Moorish architecture like in Northern Africa but it was more so in southern Spain.  Perhaps, it was Andalusia or thereabouts.

It was brown stone which had been burnt by the Sun for years and years, tens of millennia, as a matter of fact.  I got captured and I was taken back into a room with a man; he was saying to me, “Of course you’re mine.  You’re 63%!”

This percentile was supposed to signify, if you like, being bad or evil.

He was describing things to me because he was the epitome of what one would consider evil.  I was saying, “No I’m not.”

I was saying that I didn’t want to be there and wanted to be let out.

The thing is, it was not me; rather, I was the son and he was a bronzed person; he was very swarthy but not Black.  I was his offspring; I was, in fact, his son.  Then some people came in and they were all there and I asked if I could get out with them.  They, however, said no that I couldn’t because they were alright.

They said that they were all 50% and that I was not.  I supposedly had to be 50% and therefore, as I was his son, I had to stay there with him.  I was really upset and somehow I managed to be stealthily taken away during the night, after the father left, by a woman.

She wore long flowing garb and she was again very Mediterranean or Middle Eastern-looking.  She had long limbs and café au lait complexion.  She told me how it all went that I was her son, by the same man, and that she was one of his many lovers.

However, he was never supposed to have a child by her; as a result, when she became pregnant because he so loved her, he broke with tradition and he had her put up in this particular part of the castle.

It was really fortified and very abandoned-looking but she held out there.  Nobody ever came to this part of the castle and it was very terraced and had a lot of inner walls in it.

The walls here were of a slight sandy colour and we were alone at nighttime.  As we were talking, there was battle going on behind us over in another part of the castle; the battle occurred in another part of the fortified town that supported the castle.

There were a lot of cries because there was battle going on.  You could hear a lot of horses neighing and cantering, as in the Crusades, if you like.  I don’t, however, recall having heard any gunfire.

She was telling me not to worry because he would never harm me.  Said she, I was quite well protected.  He did love me in spite of his cruelty and there was no way that he could hurt me because she was fiercely protective of me.

If he had done anything to me, she would be forced to expose him and he knew and feared that eventuality.  She told me to just go on outside and play.  So, I went out into the yard and it was a wonderful elaborate garden – very organic.

It had this pool and there inside were dolphins.  I went in to play with them.  It was a muddied pool but very large like a manmade lake.  They were playing with me as I frolicked in the water with them.

One of them had its fluke pressing down on my bum from above me.  Whilst sandwiched between them under the surface the other used it nose to push up against my breastbone and solar plexus; thus, they propelled me through the water at great exhilarating speeds.

It was a beautiful sense of motion because, of course, they travelled quite fast and they always stayed clear of going out too far.  There was a point at which they had jokingly made a fast turn and I hadn’t caught up.

So I went to stand up and it turned out that it was a very large pool and a rather deep, deep pool.  I panicked when I broke surface and they assisted me back to the shallow area.

When I came back indoors both the father and mother were there now – the swarthy humans, that is.  I said to them that there was something here in the pool a big opening, you could feel it.

I also sensed it from the dolphins as being something in the pool that they themselves feared.  The father figure was laughing and told me not to worry about that because he knew, of course, what it was.  The mother had remained quite silent and looked at me, all the time, because she was slightly to his left and behind him as he spoke.

All three of us were next in a room in the castle and, somehow, the dolphins were here as well.  There was a break in the floor, a wide open hole, and they came up and were swimming and churning up the same muddied-looking dark water.

A man then entered who looked like and was, in fact, the American actor who starred in the film, Paris, Texas.  I think that the actor’s name is, Harry Dean Stanton, but I am not certain of that; he is a scrawny, hard-faced, thin-lipped man.

He came in and had a gun and said, “I want to get paid.  I’m doing work in this building and I’m not getting paid.  I’m tired of being held up here.  Deliver!  Or else I’m going to take you out and shoot you.”

It was an interesting-looking silver gun.  I was standing up on a cabinet and he went to shoot me but I knew that he wouldn’t shoot me.  He had, in fact, turned the pistol so that the two shots rang off to my right.

What surprisingly came out, when he fired the shots, was water; however, it had light in it.  It was like lasered water and it shot out in a large chunky jet and went almost instantaneously to the wall and crashed there.

He shot rounds of it and both parents remained absolutely icy cool; they paid him very little mind.  Later on, the mother telepathically told me not to worry because he couldn’t harm me; too, she telepathically shared that I was not to move and give in to fear.  I was not to show any signs of panic.

*This was clearly a civilisation which was set here on Earth long millennia before the current ape-central, fear-ruled madness we now know.  This was a time long ago in human history when there was contact between both humans and cetaceans.  Telepathy was de rigueur; too, psychic abilities were more evolved then.

Perhaps, this was an Atlantean society or some other civilisation which predated the Atlantean.  The persons were seemingly of Mediterranean extraction and it was, however, definitely not Egyptian.

I would guess that it was post-Egyptian – the latter having occurred easily more than 60 thousand years ago; although, Europeans in their racist elitism – never having had anything to rival pyramids in Europe – reworked the agedness of Egyptian civilisation to their ends.

**I am now left to believe that this was in some way an Extra-Human civilisation where the humans closely resembled Earthly humans.  They were, however, swarthier and were archly telepathic.

Too, their foreheads were also considerably higher and had a slight concave look at the top.  Dolphins, it seems, were kept as indoor pets – just as cats and dogs are for humans.  Hence, there was the watering hole, which led to a vast underground network, where the animals could come and go from the fortified castle to the ocean, however far off.  END.

 

Almost instantaneously, in this the third dream, I was in another scene; it was one in which I was playing and my companion was Lars Gamst.  We were drawing, in fact, we were painting.

Lars said to the same actor, Harry Dean Stanton, who was now with me in this new dream – both the parents, incidentally, were no longer about.  Lars wanted the actor to assist him by editing.

The guy misunderstood him and didn’t know what was what.  What Lars was doing was covering the painting with a black wax and, later, he was then going to strip it off.  So he needed the actor to go and get the chemicals and equipment to go and strip off the wax.

He was somewhat impatient that the guy was so stupid and didn’t understand; Lars had had to spell out what he wanted.  I was trying to explain to the guy what to do and what Lars meant, as well as, the process involved.

When he did go away to get the things, I came over and approached Lars and assisted him in the painting of the work that he was doing.

*A rather insightful dream this one and the energies with Lars were, as ever, pleasant and sublime.  I find this a rather telling dream too because, in later years, on having Lars’s Michael Overleaves charted, I would learn that not only is he an old soul – first level old slave and entity mate to his equally old-souled father (Olaf Gamst) and sixth cast artisan like myself but he was the favoured muse of Doménicos (El Greco) Theotokópoulos and his chief assistant.

Naturally, for Lars to be so immersed creatively in a painterly fashion – in the dreamtime – was truly about revisiting a skill and time in the past which brought him great fulfillment both spiritually and creatively.  This was so clearly an astral plane encounter between us.

Being in Lars’s presence was quite expansive; you could actually feel his soul being deeply creative.  So fully dilated were his pupils, Lars’s eyes were almost pure black.  He was terribly eccentric and clearly there was much bleed-through from his having been greatly inspired in that lifetime by El Greco.  He worked feverishly with great attack.

He quite appreciated the fact that I was not a dolt and could be of able assistance to him.  This was such an astral plane encounter that it was as real and connected as that time we rode the subway together and the connectedness we shared blew my mind.

Incidentally, in that sixteenth century lifetime, Lars was much younger than the great artist and they did have a passionate relationship.  I have a distinct impression that there was a bleed through of what Lars looked like, in that lifetime, as his features were not as they are now; he was more Latin and darker, strong-nosed.

It was an aquiline nose.  Too, he was robust-energied and had massive hands like those of a sculptor’s.  Terribly expressive and passionate, too, were his hands.  END.

 

I was on the phone whilst speaking with Owen Hawksmoor, in this the fourth dream, and I could see about his apartment as we spoke.  I was calling him because I wanted to get laid and I was really raunchy and stir-crazy but he was not up to it.  I start calling him on it and I told him, “Oh yeah, why don’t you get up and go to the bathroom?  And drop your teeth in the glass of water, on your way, before you come back?”

In a very sarcastic manner, I had laced into him to which he responded by being coolly dismissive of me by broadly laughing at my desperation.

Somehow, Pandora da Braga was part of this dream and she had an awareness of my play for Owen and my resultant rejection.

 

*Featured art:  Santiago el mayor by El Greco.  At the time of the dream, Lars appeared as he did in a past life; his was a strong aquiline nose in the dream.  This look features prominently in many of El Greco’s works.  In that past life, Lars was a favoured muse, assistant and lover of El Greco’s who was in a recent incarnation the sublime American artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. 

As Lars is a slave soul, the look of St. Francis and also the look of Christ carrying the cross are those of a slave soul; at least that’s my impression.  Since, Christ was a seventh level king soul on his last life, the El Greco Christ of the aquiline nose is decidedly not a king soul and more so a slave with priestly airs.  Perhaps, this is how Lars looked then. 

What I also love about this particular El Greco painting is that the green draping proves an evocative prelude of things to come, as it were, with regards Georgia O’Keeffe’s sublimely sexualised flower paintings. 

For that matter, I love how Georgia O’Keeffe’s sensual masterpiece, Jack in the pulpit No. IV is a reanimation of El Greco’s Christ on the cross which is in the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan

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Art:  Santiago el Mayor

Oil on Canvas

97 x 77 cm

1610 El Greco

Provenance: Museo del Greco

Christ on the Cross

Oil on Canvas

95.5 x 61 cm

1600 El Greco

Provenance: National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan

Jack in the Pulpit IV

Oil on Canvas

40 x 30 Inches

1930 Georgia O’Keeffe

Provenance: National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C.

Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow

Oil on Canvas

48 x 30 Inches

© 1923 Georgia O’Keeffe

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© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.