January 5: Once again the usual suspects ring in the New Year

Every January the Art Bar team figures it’s fair play to book ourselves to face the first shaky, holidayed-out audience of the New Year.

We call this Audience Appreciation Night. It’s our chance to show everyone that our work on the series is a labour of love since we, ourselves, are poets.

This January 5 was a pleasant, intimate night – a smattering of friends sharing kind words, bon mots and an appreciation of a wonderful Toronto singing duo.

Now that we’ve done our thing, the decade is permitted to begin.

Stephen Humphrey

Stephen Humphrey used to like manipulating tape. Now he likes cutting-and-pasting digital wave-forms. Mostly he’s satisfied to edit the Art Bar podcasts, but sometimes he gets out of hand, as evidenced by the following. Special thanks for Phoebe Tsang and Keram Malicki-Sanchez, who were sonically kidnapped for this piece.


Francine Lewis

The Art Bar’s go-to person on the finances side, Francine Lewis is a prolific poet and science fiction writer. She took to the Art Bar stage twice this year as a feature: in July to launch her poetry chapbook, ‘Eurydice Dreams’ in July, and this past December, on the Dead Poets Night, paying tribute to an early literary hero, Robert Louis Stevenson.


Myna Wallin

January 5 was Myna Wallin‘s last appearance as an Art Bar board member. A busy writer and editor, Myna will devote more attention to her career. She’s got several titles to edit for the Tightrope Books imprint and she’ll soon release her first book of fiction. Meanwhile, the rest of us are scrambling around to pick up all the work she used to do around here. All the best, Myna.


Graydon James and Laura Spink

Singer-guitarist Graydon James and vocalist-multi-instrumentalist Laura Spink, pared down from the five-piece, Graydon James & the Young Novelists, bookended the night wonderfully with warm, melodic songs and wonderful close harmonies.

Rudy Fearon

Rudy Fearon is such a steady, silent presence at nearly every Art Bar night, you can sometimes forget what a wonderful performer he is, and the quiet power of his short, moving, deceptively simple poems.


Cynthia Gould

Throughout the year Cynthia Gould has given countless gigawatts of energy to Art Bar audiences and an inhuman amount of work behind the scenes. On January she gave the room her heart. In her own words, “I read really rambly, insane personal junk and I hope you’re drinking.”


Rocco de Giacomo time on the Art Bar board began at last year’s Audience Appreciation Night and we’ve seen quite a lot more of him this year. In November he was around to read from his new book, Ten Thousand Miles Between Us, and then he was back in December to read Robert Frost’s “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”. Here he is again. Luckily he owns different shirts.



One Response to “January 5: Once again the usual suspects ring in the New Year”

  1. it was an impressive night of poetry! thanks to the art bar folks for inviting us to play; laura and i had an amazing time.

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