Betty Burke

AM signals from a parallel present

Posts Tagged ‘Sea Snakes

Idus Maia: Betty Burke confronts the brutality of May

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Spring has made a tentative entrance, and the trees are green again in Toronto. Hibernation time is over. With renewed vigor, the members of BB have returned to our instruments to prepare for a round of shows.

On Sunday, May 15th, we will make our return to both Wavelength and the Holy Oak Cafe, thanks to a gracious invitation from curator Doc Pickles. This is the “IDUS MAIA” edition of Wavelength, so in homage to the Roman empire, we’ll do a song about Pompeii, a tribute to historian Pliny the Elder. Pliny was a naturalist, a diarist, an observer, and most of what we know about the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD comes from his nephew Pliny the Younger. Despite surviving the eruption itself, Pliny the Elder died soon after because, as a brother from CUPE* put it, “he got too close and stayed too long.” So, we know little of the Elder’s observations of the event, and gather our wisdom from the Younger, who ran to safety and lived to tell. With the tune “When the Wind Blows” BB will sing the verses of an imaginary post-humous plea from Pliny the Elder, reminding us that history is only retrospective, while “the future is unwritten.”

According to Doc Pickles, “May 15 is a strong candidate to be Canada’s climate-appropriate Ides of March. Idus Maia is the anniversary of 30,000 workers walking off the job in Winnipeg in 1919, a dark event in our history culminating in the RCMP opening fire on innocent citizens. May 15 is also the date of Louis Riel’s surrender, the Metis leader and was convicted of high treason and despite the fact that the 6 (white, Protestant) members of the jury recommended mercy, Judge Hugh Richardson sentenced him to death, and as a martyr Riel remains a contemporary folk hero until old imbalances are balanced.” (Incidentally, I went to high school with two of Riel’s descendants, and I can testify that their surname commanded respect.)

In addition to visuals by General Chaos, the Idus Maia Wavelength show will feature some old friends from Sea Snakes in their new band Misere, as well as the Al Purdy influenced folk group Hobson’s Choice.

The event begins at 9PM at Holy Oak Cafe, 1241 Bloor St. W., and is PWYC.

Our next gig after Idus Maia will be in Hamilton on May 28th at This Ain’t Hollywood. It’s an activist affair, and we’re honoured to take part. May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month, and Erin from the Hamilton and Area Sexual Assault Centre has invited us to play an event to raise awareness. We will be posting more details as the event draws near.

Following the Hamilton show, we’ll be playing a book launch for Heather J Woods’ Derby novel “Roll With It,” soon to be published by Tightrope Books. The launch will take place in Toronto at Revival, 783 College Street, on June 9th. We love literary events, and hope to play more of them in the future!

With winter gone, and the dust settled on the results of yet another federal election, our focus is back on music, so expect more blog posts and more gigs soon.

Thanks for visiting the site!

*CUPE is the Canadian Union of Public Employees.