Betty Burke

AM signals from a parallel present

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Summerworks Sunday: Betty Burke plays closing party- FREE!!

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Pretty soon Betty Burke will play a show that charges admission, but this Sunday you have another chance to see us for zero dollars. Since we have taken on austerity measures (see the post about Max Weinberg’s replacement jumping on stage), we are able to pass on a significant savings to you, the music consumer. All we ask is that you laugh at some of our jokes- and support the Summerworks Festival!

In revoking Summerworks’ Heritage grant at the last minute, the federal government has given the fest a whole lot of community goodwill from audiences that aren’t usually drawn to theatre. I like to be optimistic about these situations, so I wonder, could this be a moment that politicizes an art form that has been… low on activism… in recent years? My friends in the orbit of the notorious Vinge & Mueller theatre circle might protest, but I am speaking of the Canadian context. I don’t doubt the confrontational cred of the creatures currently inhabiting Berlin’s Volksbuhne. Their last Ibsen show caused a national debate about arts funding in Norway.

In any case, art is a route to the truth, and if it offends on occasion, that’s further proof that we have witnessed something greater than mere entertainment. Here’s to Summerworks for giving us more than entertainment.

We hope to see you at the Summerworks closing party, this Sunday, August 14 at 6 PM in the MOCCA parking lot, 952 Queen Street West, Toronto. We play early, so don’t doddle!



Written by bettyburkeband

August 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Resist! Refuse! Rebel! -Saturday in Hamilton

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BB will be playing the Resist! Refuse! Rebel! event on Saturday, May 28 in Hamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood. The venue name alone has me excited, because “Ain’t ain’t a word because it ain’t in the dictionary!” Ever been scolded with that one?

We are excited to be playing with the punk band Rackula, and Sarah Mangle. The All Ages event starts at 8 PM and costs 5$. It has an old school feel to it, bringing me back to my days as a young promoter in Eastern Ontario. Calling all punks!!

Sarah Mangle is a friend of BB band members, plus, the members of Rackula all look like the spiritual sisters of Jo Snyder in her Sixty Stories days. You can take a punk out of Winnipeg, but you can’t take Winnipeg out of punk. Punk is full of Winnipeg.

This event is especially close to Betty Burke’s heart because it is in honour of Sexual Violence Awareness month. You can’t open a newspaper lately without seeing a story about a woman being blamed for being assaulted, a judge bringing back the ‘drunkenness defense’ or, as was the case with that New York Times piece, a girl’s mother being blamed for her child being gang raped. Erin and the organizers at the Hamilton Sexual Assault Centre are working to raise awareness at a time when gender non-conformists being attacked and women’s rights are being rolled back – with columnists telling us that if our ankles are showing, we’re asking for it. Welcome back to the 1980s. Remember that great song “Youth Against Fascism” (Ian MacKaye’s only appearance on a major label release, up to that time- maybe since?) – “I believe Anita Hill.” Sing it.

See you there.

One more grim reminder that feminism is still relevant

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This week’s controversy over the New York Times Article “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town” is another grim reminder of how persistent sexism is in North America. A child is gang raped, the mother is blamed, and the child’s clothing choice is blamed. Sympathy is expressed for the poor attackers, who must “live with this the rest of their lives.”

A lot of excellent blog posts have been written about the article, and there have been calls for demands for an apology from the Times. If you haven’t read the article yet, have a look. Amazing, isn’t it?

I’ve attached the above photo as a call to arms. It was a message written on the bathroom wall at the Sudbury Townhouse. When BB played there on our tour with Woodpigeon last year, Holly Andruchuk, Kenna Burima, Kathryn Aedy and I were all struck by the anonymous truths, warnings, fears, insults, secrets, and poems scrawled on the stalls and mirrors; the ladies toilet at the Townhouse is like a mini museum of girl to girl knowledge sharing. While the world is littered with articles like “Vicious Assault…” cultivating self-respect and mutual respect is a form of resistance.