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Solo & with his different bands
LETTERS FROM POLAND/LETTRES DE POLOGNE — CD, 2006, Les Pages Noires, Montréal
SANN - CD, 2005, LPN, Mtl
DUCK WORK - CD, 2004, LPN, Mtl.
THE MONTREAL MANHATTAN PROJECT - CD, 2004, LPN, Mtl.
DAZOQUE! - CD, 2002, Les Pages Noires, Mtl.
FIGHT TO WIN! - CD, 2001, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, Winnipeg
JESUS WAS GAY - CD, 1998, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, Winnipeg
BUFFALO, BURGERS & BEER - cass, 1995, LPN, Mtl.
MORE KICK! - CD, 1995, LPN, Mtl. / Konkurrel, Amsterdam
BLOOD & MUD - CD, 1994, LPN, Mtl. / Konkurrel, Amsterdam, cass, 1997, Nikt Nic Nie Wie, Warsaw, Poland
TUMBLEWEED - cass, 1993, LPN, Mtl.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WOMEN! - cass, 1993, LPN, Mtl.
OKA II - cass, 1992, LPN, Mtl.
WAR IS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE - cass, 1991, LPN, Mtl.
OKA - cass, 1990, LPN, Mtl.
PEROGIES, PASTA & LIBERTY - cass, 1990, LPN, Mtl.
FIGHT THE HIKE! - cass, 1990, LPN, Mtl.
UN LOGEMENT POUR UNE CHANSON - cass, 1990, LPN, Mtl.
LOUIS RIEL IN CHINA - cass, 1988, LPN, Mtl.
RESIST MUCH - OBEY LITTLE - cass, 1987, LPN, Mtl.
OVERDALE RAG - cass, 1987, Jelly Bean, Mtl.
RHYTHM ACTIVISM “LIVE” - cass,1987, LPN, Mtl.
RHYTHM ACTIVISM - cass, 1986, LPN, Mtl.
TAKE PENACILIN NOW- CD, 2005, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, Winnipeg
SPOKEN BROKEN - CD, 2004, Wired on Words, Mtl.
2 TONGUE 5 - CD, 2004, Loose Discs, Quebec
ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS - CD, 2003, ABC Records, Sao Paolo Brazil
LOVE & RAGE VOL 1 - CD, 2003, Love & Rage Records, North Richmond, Australia
2TONGUE 4 - CD, 2003, Loose Discs, Quebec
BEYOND 'MAN' HOOD, cass, 2001, Montreal Men Against Sexism Prod., Montreal
RETURN OF THE READ MENACE - CD, 1999, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, Winnipeg
PASAZEER - CD, 1999, Pasazer Records, Warsaw, Poland
FOLKOPHOBIA - CD, 1998, Tranzophobia, Chambery, France
LES MYSTERES DES VOIX VULGAIRES #3 - cass, 1997, Art as Hammer Records, Milano, Italy
LES MYSTERES DES VOIX VULGAIRES #2- CD, 1997, Art as Hammer Records, Milano, Italy
LESS ROCK MORE TALK - CD, 1997, AK Press, San Francisco/Edinburgh
KESKIDEEZ - EP, 1997, Broken Ear, California
UP TO D.A.T. - CD, 1997, Mad's Collectif, Saint-Etienne, France
KING KONK 2 - CD, 1996, Konkurrel, Amsterdam
ZOOCOMPILATION - CD,/cass, 1996, Trottel Records, Budapest, Hungary
UNIRACIAL SUBVERSION - CD, 1995, Blackbird, Hong Kong
CRISES - CD, 1994, Broken Tapes, Limesay, France
MAIS OU EST PASSE L'ANE ARCHIE? - cass, 1994, Broken Tapes, Limesay, France
POGO AVEC LES LOUPS - CD, 1992, On a Faim!, Paris
BITTERSWEET CANADA - CD,/cass, 1992, Word of Mouth Records, Toronto
ZWOLNA TAPES VOL 1 - cass, 1992, Zwolna T & R, Metz, France
NIGHTMARE ON ALBION STREET - LP, 1992, 1 in 12 Records, Bradford, England
BRAIN BATTERY - cass, 1991, Broken Tapes, Limesay, France
JUST LISTEN - cass, 1991, All Genre, Waltham, MA
LES MYSTERES DES VOIX VULGAIRES - CD, LP, cass, 1990, Divergo, Milano, Italy
SUR LA GUERRE DES SEXES (ABOUT SEX WAR) - LP, 1990, P.A.I., Paris
THEFT OF PARADISE - cass, 1988, Technawabe Sounds, Ottawa
CIA TAPES - cass, 1988, Blurg Records, Bradford, UK
VOICE OF AMERICANISM - cass, 1988, Bad Newz, New York
EXPO HURTS EVERYONE - 7”,1986, Sudden Death Records, Vancouver
VIDEOS, FILMS, DVDs
LETTERS FROM POLAND — 2006, LPN, Montréal
ECRITS ET CHUCHOTEMENTS PAGE VS STAGE, 2006, Les Filles électriques, Mtl.
MUSIQUES REBELLES - 2002, Productions Multi-Monde, Mtl.
THAT'S THE WAY WE TIE OUR SHOES - 1996, Unbend Films, Amsterdam
ALIVE & KICKING - 1995, LPN, Mtl.
DINNER FOR DISSIDENTS, 2009, Les Pages Noires, Montreal
LUNCH FOR INSURGENTS, 2009, LPN, Mtl
L'ANARCHICO E IL DIAVOLO, 2007, Editrice il Sirente Società Cooperativa, Rome
BREAKFAST FOR ANARCHISTS, 2006, No Bar Code Press, Montreal
L'ANARCHISTE ET LE DIABLE, 2006, , Lux Editeur, Mtl,
THE ANARCHIST & THE DEVIL DO CABARET, 2003, Black Rose Books, Montreal/New York
NO MASTERS! NO GODS!, 1999, Smarten Up!/ Get to the Point Publications, Vancouver
CHASSEUR DE TORNADES, 1998, Edam/LPN, Mtl.
REBEL MOON, @narchist rants & poems, 1997, AK PRESS, San Francisco/Edinburgh
RESIST MUCH - OBEY LITTLE, 1987, LPN, Mtl.
RHYTHM ACTIVISM 'LIVE', 1987, LPN, Mtl.
Norman Nawrocki's biography
Norman Nawrocki is born a 'Puke'
to Polish/Ukrainian Canadian parents
in the immigrant, working
class East End of Vancouver.He
spends his childhood behind a TV dinner-tray watching 'The
'Looney Toons,' and 'The
Ed Sullivan Show.' With neighbourhood kids, he jumps CNR
& CPR trains for fun along the docks, sells mud sharks and
crabs to local cafes for spending money, and gets his first job
at age 11 delivering prescription drugs on a bicycle. At 14, he writes an essay: 'Why
I am an Anarchist;' raises hell in high school with an
underground newspaper, attends
the first ever Greenpeace demonstration
(against cars), and has dreams of becoming a tennis star. He hates
violin lessons, but loves Ukrainian weddings. He spends his summers
on family farms in Manitoba shooting gophers.
THE HIGHER EDUCATION:
He attends Langara college and Simon Fraser University sporadically, preferring to drink beer with campus newspaper staff. He co-edits SFU's 'The Peak,' gets bored and drops out of school to edit a radical neighbourhood newspaper. He becomes a community organizer, edits an international anarchist newsjournal, The Open Road, free-lances for Vancouver's Georgia Straight, is arrested and given a suspended sentence for helping striking immigrant women luggage workers, and sees Bob Marley live, in concert. To pay the bills, he works as a ditch digger, a book seller, a steel-mill worker, a Skyride gondola pilot, a bell hop, and even a college administrator. He is fired from a ski resort for trying to organize a union.
THE BIG MOVE:
A broken heart and a job offer in 1981 leads him away from Vancouver
to Montreal. After a few years in
public relations, he gets drunk one night and wakes up next morning
with a new career: cabaret artist.
During his world debut poetry reading in 1985, he downs a thermos
full of Kahlua. Later, he meets a improv guitarist whiz -
Sylvain Coté. Together, they form a ‘poetry/music
ensemble’ and call themselves
Rhythm Activism (RA).
THE RHYTHM ACTIVISM:
Rhythm Activism's first show, 1985
The DIY twosome releases home-recorded cassettes, tours Canada in
a Greyhound and, pre-Lollapalooza (1987), joins a busload of minimalist
poets and musicians for the infamous 'Black
Wedge Tour.' (The Regina Leader Post calls them "an
all-girl band.") Later, they share European stages with Linton
Kwisi Johnson, Attila the Stockbroker & Fred Frith. They play
with DOA, John Giorno, Mecca Normal.
They're called 'the Smothers Brothers from hell.' They play punk
clubs, poetry festivals, hockey arenas and on the roof of a bus
on a ferry. After a few years criss-crossing Canada, the USA &
Europe, RA evolves into a full-fledged, theatrical 'rock 'n roll
cabaret/rebel news orchestra' renowned for high energy, topical,
news making shows. They use costumes, masks, giant props & describe
their work as 'alternative, electrified journalism.' The Los Angeles
magazine, OPTION says:'Jeez these guys are powerful!" They
tour Poland with a satirical cabaret called 'Welcome
to Capitalism, Poland!' & score an underground hit about
a Polish Fiat - in Polish - on Polish national radio.
THE BAND FOR ALL AGES:
In 1988, Norman rediscovers his childhood
violin and starts playing. RA
writes and performs theatre musicals and hilarious ‘community
cabarets’ - in English & French- about welfare
& tenants’ rights. They work directly with community groups
to tour Quebec’s poorest neighbourhoods,
& perform in drag in church
basements and bingo halls, reaching people who have never attended
a live show. Their shows make national news, TV and print. CBC radio
describes them as ‘the Brecht/Weil combo for today,’
and asks them for ‘news songs’ about the 1991 Gulf War.
They release ‘WAR IS THE HEALTH OF
THE STATE’ & albums to support
striking students, and to protest cutbacks to social housing.
They give workshops to trade unions &
community groups about their creative approaches. In Europe,
RA is compared to Fugazi, Chumbawamba,
and Holland’s The Ex. Norman
is arrested, convicted
and given a two year suspended sentence for playing a kazoo during
a Montreal housing demonstration. In 1990, RA’s
music is played on the barricades by the Mohawks
at OKA. They radio chart in the
top 10 across Canada; organize and perform Québec’s
first, solar-powered band show & get rave reviews in Hong
Kong music papers. Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
the distinguished beat poet requests Norman’s poem, ‘The
Black Flag’ for a City Lights
anthology, saying ‘it blew me away!’.
THE SEX COMEDY CABARET:
Rhythm Activism: Norman Nawrocki & Sylvain Côté, 1986
In 1993, Norman writes the first of his anti-sexist,
sex positive comedy cabarets:
‘I DON’T UNDERSTAND WOMEN!’
(about date rape, sexual harassment & violence against women).
He plays 14 characters, uses a soundtrack, costumes, masks &
giant props & turns it into an international hit, performing
at dozens of college & university campuses in Canada & the
USA. The Globe & Mail calls
it ‘subversively powerful.’ He joins Montreal’s
Bagg Street Klezmer Band as 1st violinist; RA continues touring
North America & Europe; Norman continues giving solo spoken
word performances across Canada & playing violin at Ukrainian,
Jewish, Estonian & Polish weddings. He loves vodka and
perogies. Two documentary films are produced about RA’s work.
San Francisco’s Maximumrocknroll
says RA’s recordings are ‘totally brilliant, absolutely
THE PEOPLE'S NO CA$H CIRCUS:
RA's first gig in Montreal, 1985
By the 1990s, RA has a discography
of over 40 releases worldwide. Their
'folk punk,' 'gypsy
grunge' 'urban rat jazz'
sound morphs into Latin-tinged rock, and East European swing. They
release a CD about the roots of the Zapatista
rebellion in Chiapas
Mexico and are personally thanked,
along with Rage Against the Machine &
The Indigo Girls, by Subcommandante
Marcos. OPTION says this
album 'should be required listening for
members of Congress.' The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra approaches
RA about writing a rock opera. The project dies for a lack of funds.
In 1997, RA produces a 50
person musical 'circus' about the roots of poverty, with
a 9 piece live orchestra, jugglers, clowns,
dancers, acrobats and community actors. The free show attracts
several hundred people each night; hundreds more are turned away.
It's compared favourably to 'The Cirque
du Soleil,' and is cited, incorrectly by
The Globe & Mail, as the inspiration for a raid of Montreal's
posh Queen Elizabeth Hotel by 100 poor and hungry people.
The Paris weekly, Humanitie Hebdo
calls the circus 'Astonishing political cabaret.' Local police warn
audience members not to attend.
Norman's first poetry book, 'Rebel Moon'
is published in the USA. CTV News, Montreal says 'This book is fabulous.'
THE SEX KEEPS COMING:
In 1998, Norman produces another anti-sexist, sex comedy cabaret,
'MY DICK & OTHER MANLY TALES'
(about homophobia) & tours Canada to rave reviews, bomb &
death threats. He uses a 8' tall purple talking & dancing penis.
CBC TV's Brent Bambury says 'You're
a brave guy, Norman.,' while The Globe
& Mail observes: 'Norman's shows do not disappoint.'
He gets police protection for one show. His first poetry book in
French is published. He forms an RA
side-project, 'The Flaming Perogies,
'a 'divorce music specialists,' east-european dance band. The Winnipeg
Sun calls RA's CD, 'Jesus
was Gay' 'Mordantly funny, wickedly smart & musically
By 2000, he writes 'SEX TOYS!' (
sex show #3) - about sexual politics in the bedroom. He plays 14
characters, a 7' tall talking/dancing vagina, and the world's largest(9'
tall) singing butt plug. He plays almost every major post-secondary
campus in Canada. Grown men cry & thank him for showing them
how to make up with their girlfriends, how to find their own 'G'
spots, and how to please women. The Montreal
Gazette comments: 'Provocative, but highly entertaining....Nawrocki
is one of the most refreshing souls you'll ever encounter.' Over
250,000 people see the three sex shows. Norman is crowned 'Perogy
King of Montreal' in a vodka-drenched cookoff judged by a Montreal
THE MUSIC NEVER STOPS:
By 2001, Norman joins 1-Speed Bike
(the drummer from Godspeed you black emperor!) to form 'Bakunin's
Bum' - a beat-heavy, drum and strings duo. They release a
benefit CD for the Ontario Coalition Against
Poverty on G-7 Welcoming Committee Records. 'Engaging &
empowering' concludes the monthly Exclaim! With his long-time violin
partner from the klezmer band, he records DaZoque!
- an all-instrumental east european flavoured, self-titled CD. Montreal's
Le Devoir calls it 'astonishing,
audacious & delicious.' The sextet plays a sold out show at
Montreal's International Jazz Festival. Norman plays the avant guard
Musique Actuelle Festival in Victoriaville,
Quebec, and continues performing spoken word shows across Canada.
He accompanies himself on his amplified/sampled
violin with a vibrating dildo & other toys.
THE FILM, THE PLAY, THE BOOK:
Norman is one of four Quebec artists featured in a 2002
Radio Canada TV documentary about 'rebel music.' He's commissioned
by CBC Radio to write a series of
six 'telephone theatre' plays about
the life of a talking payphone in one of Montreal's poorest neighbourhoods.
He continues to give workshops across the country at universities,
colleges about 'Creative Resistance:
how to use music, poetry, theatre & humour to address serious
social issues,' and lectures as well on questions of literature,
music, and popular theatre. His newest book, 'The
Anarchist & The Devil do Cabaret' (Black Rose Books,
207 pages) is published and is his first foray into the world of
short stories. Critics love the book and call it "an anthem
for social justice"(Amazon.ca), and "outrageously funny
& profoundly moving" (Vue, Edmonton).
LESSONS FROM A 7ft PENIS:
Norman starts 2003 touring a new solo talk/performance ,‘Lessons
from a 7ft Penis.’ It’s an
hour-long motivational presentation that showcases some of the best
material from his ‘sex’ shows,
and summarizes his experiences touring North America as
a giant, talking, dancing penis, butt plug and vagina.
DaZoque! plays the prestigious Guelph
Jazz Festival & Canada’s largest Ukrainian Cultural Centre
in Toronto, The St-Vladimir Institute.
Norman continues to tour Canada with his newest book, performing
live readings while accompanying himself on violin. In Montreal,
he reads anti-war poetry on a street
corner for his largest ever audience: a 200,000 strong peace demonstration
against the war in Iraq.
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO MONTREAL:
In the Summer of 2003, Norman has his first brushes with 'Hollywood.'
As an 'extra' during Montreal area feature filming, he gets pushed
to the ground by TIM ROTH and merits
a thumbs up from ANDIE MCDOWELL
for portraying a distraught farmer father opposite her (in the film
THE LAST SIGN); gets to make out opposite gun-toting
ANGELINA JOLIE, KEIFER SUTHERLAND
& OLIVIER MARTINEZ ( in the film TAKING LIVES); and gets
a nod & a wink from LL COOL J
( in the film SLOW BURN). In none of these scenes is he allowed
to wear his giant, 7ft purple talking penis costume. He finds a
1956 PHILLIPS portable turntable in the alley & can finally
listen to his collection of vintage XAVIER
2004 MUSIC EXPLOSION
DaZoque! performs 70 minutes of traditional, Ukrainian/Canadian, vodka-friendly, 'DaZoquified' dance hits to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Vladimir's Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Toronto. They learn that their name, spelled backwards in Ukrainian ('Zadoque'), means 'buttocks.' DaZoque! celebrates with a collective spanking. Their live show awaits a CD release as 'Perogy Party Hits Vol 1: spanking music.'
Norman, with New York trumpet prodigy, Aaron Shragge (ex-Montréaler) & soundscape engineer/DaZoque!/Loco Locass guitarist Gregory Anderson Smith forms an experimental, instrumental jazz improv trio, 'The Montreal Manhattan Project.' Normbo plays sampled viola & cello. The MMP release a dark & haunting debut, self-titled album, & perform a few rare, live shows in Montréal, christening a new underground venue, 'The Dirty Brown Door.' The way cool, super talented harpist from the Québec Symphony Orchestra, Isabelle Fortier, joins Norman to form another new experimental, un-named contemporary music duo. Isabelle plays her harp through distortion pedals & a guitar amplifier, using metal objects and a whip. Norman adds amplified violin & viola, bells, whistles and French texts. Norman continues solo music/spoken word performances & his 'sex' shows across Canada.
DaZoque! receives a Canada Council grant to create a French musical about housing rights. They collaborate with a radical, Québec-wide coalition of over 100 housing rights groups, 'FRAPRU' ( 'People's Rights Over Urban Development'). For over 20 years, FRAPRU borrowed Québecois traditional and pop songs, re-writing the lyrics to address questions of tenants' rights & social housing. They sing them during street demonstrations & occupations. DaZoque! re-writes & rearranges some of these songs and composes and writes new ones. They help organize a FRAPRU choir of 12 tenants' rights activists and hire a choir director. The band expands to 10 musicians. The Montréal performance of 'FRAPRU en musique' is a huge success, and is repeated in Québec City & Sherbrooke. Political activists reluctantly agree: music is fun.
Meanwhile, Norman releases his first ever solo CD, 'Duck Work.' The anti-war, anti-Empire spoken word/music album is cited as one of the top 10 local releases by The Montréal Gazette, alongside CDs by the Arcade Fire, The Dears, and Sixtoo. Three of the city's top recording engineers & producers - Larry Cassini, Gregory Smith, & David Sturton - help make the album a critical, dance and DJ friendly masterpiece. "Heavenly looped violins, warm percussion & insightful spoken word...Never a dull moment on the disc" - Urbnet.
The Québecois ska compilation 2TONGUE #5, includes a new contribution from Bush's Bum: 'Une messe pour les masses' (A Mass for the masses). Norman revisits his childhood church experiences - Baptist by chance.
For the fifth annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Norman brings together seven local anarchist musicians, and songwriters for 'Music, Anarchy & the Word,' a panel discussion/show. The singers are articulate about the why's, hows and tribulations of anarcho songsmiths. The audience sympathizes.
Norman creates a new solo show spoken word/live music show based on the life of Mohamed Harkat
, an Algerian and one of 'Canada's Secret Trial Five'
detained under Canada's Security Certificate
. He reconstructs Mohamed's pre-prison life as a personal diary and accompanies the text with new, Arabic inspired loops, samples & viola.
2005 THE DEVIL SIGNS A RECORDING CONTRACT
Norman begins recording a new, solo spoken word & music album with letters from 'The Anarchist & The Devil Do Cabaret.' Concordia University's School of Community & Public Affairs invites him to teach a grad-level course: 'The Arts, Radical Social Change, & Community Economic Development'. Norman rediscovers the pleasure of academia. On tour performing his sex shows & 'Creative Resistance' workshops across the country, he by-passes the Shania Twain museum in Timmons. He buys his first set of cowboy boots - used - in Sudbury.
With the help of three local musicians, 'Duck Work' hits a Montreal stage as a live band. For the 6th annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Norman pulls together a panel discussion/ reading with six, hot, local anarchist authors of fiction ( Peter Dubè, Bruno Massé, Tara-Michelle, Vincent Tinguely, Claudine Vachon & David Wormaker). Anarchist fiction rocks the house.
Bored Chapman Stick Bass man extraordinaire, Sylvain Auclair joins Norman (violin/viola) to form SAAN - a new improv duo. They make funny noises in the studio and release a limited edition self-titled debut CD.
On the west coast, Norman discovers the joys of playing with G7 Welcoming Committee Records label mates, the quite melodious and heavily tattooed Submission Hold. Later, he works with the 'Vancouver Strings X6,' a hot string sextet, featuring Vancouver violin icon 'Sexy Pierre Lumoncel.' Norman introduces a privileged Montreal audience to his favorite virtuosic Ukrainian/Canadian band, Edmonton's Kubasonics. There's talk of an Edmonton/Montreal new alternative Uke/Canadian music festival to come. DaZoque! works with La Maison Virevolte (a family drop-in centre from the poorest part of a south shore suburb) to produce a concert with a 20 voice women's choir, and a new, expanded DaZoque! Former Rhythm Activism guitar god, Sylvain Côté, and bassist, Sylvain Auclair join DZ for the fun. The choir members, mostly poor, single moms, re-write popular Quebec songs to describe their lives as women living on welfare or with low-paying jobs.
Never bored Norman plays the role of 'Eddie,' an alcoholic, Saskatchewan Ukrainian Canadian farmer discussing art, in a Montreal theatrical show. Local film-maker wizard, Donald Goodes, bases the show on a film-script. Eddie was his uncle.
Meanwhile, Montreal almost witnesses a one-show only reunion of the legendary Rhythm Activism. RA last played together in 1998. The idea is born. The ultra-hip, orgy of word-power, Montreal's 'Festival de Voix d'Ameriques' invites Norman on stage. The venerable weekly Montreal Mirror says: 'Every city should be so lucky to have a Norman Nawrocki.' Hee hee!
THE KIDS, JAMES BOND, & SOAP in 2006
Nawrocki playing 'Uncle Eddie' in a dramatic reading of Donald Goode's film script, 'Uncle Eddie's Guide to Art Appreciation'
Norman starts teaching kindergarten, primary and secondary school students across Québec as part of a provincial government program to parachute artists into schools. He teaches everything from short story writing to improv theatre, comedy, & conflict resolution. He's blown away by the kids' creativity, and shocked by the workload of teachers.
In a locally shot movie, Norman stars 50 feet away from the new, unpopular James Bond replacement (before the dude got his JB part). At home, Norman fends off a hungry squirrel that tries to gnaw through his front window. Among his more memorable performances, he entertains Polish students at the Polish Consulate in Montreal. The students applaud Norman's efforts and his vodka tinged Polish humour. He records and releases his 19th album, 'Letters from Poland/Lettres de pologne' - a 14 track, English/French/Polish spoken word cd with tons of new music. Norman plays piano, accordion, tsymbaly and strings, while his Dad sings a genuine Polish drinking song.
Norman re-writes an act from one of his older musicals ('Eddy - The Guy over There') for Montreal's first ever Anarchist Theatre Festival. 'Overdale' is a short, 15 minute piece about resisting gentrification in Montreal and the shortage of affordable housing.
Montreal’s Lux Editeur publishes L'Anarchiste et le diable Voyages, cabarets et autres récits, a 300 page French translation of Norman’s book, The Anarchist & The Devil Do Cabaret. The
French press says: “Fascinating!” (Radio Canada), “An impeccable translation” (Le Couac), while Télé-Quebec TV calls Norman “One of the new generation of distinguished Quebec artists carrying the torch of socially relevant work.”
Handlers for Sophie Paquin, a Québec TV soap star, hire him to play violin for her show. She nods and smiles at him on set. He ignores her. On the set of I’M NOT THERE, in between takes, Norman pulls out a chair for Cate Blanchette to sit on. He’s convinced she really is Bob Dylan. Norman spends his nights perfecting his popcorn recipes while watching The Office, Myth Busters and Good Eats on TV.
At the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities national conference, Norman is nominated as one of the top speakers for the year, alongside George Strombopolous, a hypnotist and a drag queen. Back home, Norman plays his first Moroccan baby party for a friend's newborn. At the Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, Norman breaks the Festival record for carrot cake consumption in a single sitting. He swears it was the best carrot cake ever.
For Montreal’s first ever International Anarchist Theatre Festival, Norman directs his one-act play, OVERDALE, based on the infamous mass evictions and demolition of the former inner-city artists’ neighbourhood (late 1980s) and the subsequent trials. To protest Israel’s bombing of Lebanon and raise funds for relief efforts, Norman organizes a huge Poets Against War! night with Tadamon and 30 Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Syrian, Palestinian, Pakistani, Jewish, French and English local poets and musicians. Audience members rate it as one of the highlights of the city’s vibrant spoken word scene for 2006.
2007: UKRAINIANS, ITALIANS, ALBERTANS EMBRACE THE FORCE
For the 24 hour Night of Philosophy marathon at Montreal’s University of Quebec, Norman gives a multi-media presentation in French about visual art called The Anarchist Aesthetic: Anarchy & Art, 1865-2007. Albertans in Lethbridge pleasantly shock Norman by embracing his SEX TOYS! performance and calling for more. He promises to return once he satisfies the masses from Sudbury to Corner Brooke NFD, who can’t get enough of his Lessons from a 7ft Carrot show. Meanwhile, at the highly respected and fun-loving Montreal luthier of Wilder and Davis, Norman plays his vibrating, dancing dildo in a frying pan balanced on his violin. The luthiers chuckle, applaud and drink more beer.
With artists like Josh McPhee from Just Seeds and Benoit Tremblay, Norman organizes Montreal’s first ever Art + Anarchy 2007 exhibit of politically engaged visual art in a 10,000 square foot loft space in the Mile End. The mega exhibit of over 250 pieces of art with film screenings, book launches and conferences draws a few thousand spectators and the support of a local micro-brewery. Montreal’s legendary ‘cabaret rock ‘n roll band/rebel news orchestra’
Rhythm Activism (Norman, Sylvain Côté, Luc Bonin, aka Urbain Desbois, & Wilf Plum), reunite for two scorching shows with old pals / touring mates, the ultra amazing The Ex from Holland. Meanwhile, the exquisitely well-strung DaZoque! (with guest artist Brian Cherwick from Edmonton’s The Kubasonics) help Torontonians party and dance at the city’s annual
Ukrainian Festival at Harbourfront. Still on the Uke wavelength, Norman appears in red
polyester plaid on a panel discussing 'Memory Everlasting: Post-Peasant Cultural Sensibilities,' at Thompson Rivers University. Unable to say no to any reasonable publishing offer, Norman’s newest 80 page collection of rebel verse, fantasy and short fiction, Breakfast for Anarchists, is published by No Bar Code Press. Oakland’s AK Press can’t say no to any project including Norman, and releases Art, Anarchy and Activism, a CBC Radio recorded CD.
Calgary’s super cool Arusha Centre books Norman and his fake giant male member into the glorious Plaza Theatre to help locals make more love and eat less meat. Italy calls, and Editrice Il Sirente, the reputable Italian book publisher, books Norman into the ultra chic Rome Book Fair to launch the Italian translation of his short story collection, L’Anarchico e il Diavolo Fanno Cabaret. Norman tours Italy and makes the cover of Panorama – Italy’s hottest glossy weekly - just below the photo of Obama the war-monger. Italian critics adore the book. Norman falls in love with Italy, Abruzzo, Mierto, tomato sauce and everything Italian and becomes an Italophile. He returns home to watch every movie ever made with Sophia Loren. He starts writing a first novel inspired by current and historical Italian events. It’s also a love story about an Italian and his Roma refugee girlfriend.
IN THE 2008 HOUSE:
MC NN, ANARCHY, ITALY, THE ROMA
Norman joins Montreal’s hottest pianist, Stefan Christoff, in a benefit cabaret to support Abdelkader Belaouni (Kader), a blind Algerian refugee marking his 2nd year anniversary of imprisonment within a church resisting deportation. Ever in demand for his sartorial smarts, Norman MCs a night of radical marching bands and plays his kazoo with the 50 brass and woodwind musicians. Later, cleverly disguised in his giant female and male member costumes, he MCs the Dead Doll Dancers Cabaret at Montreal’s celebrated drag queen epi-centre, Café Cleopatra. The queens are floored.
Outside the bar scene, Norman continues to work with elementary and secondary school students and teachers and expands his repertoire of workshops to include clowning. One delighted teacher says: “In two hours Norman took classes with limited (if any) experience with clowns, and enabled them to create a show. What was accomplished in that short time was amazing.” Norman is photographed with his 250 star clown pupils wearing red noses.
Outside the classrooms, Norman sits on a Canada Council for the Arts Music jury recommending money for his peers. Over the years, he himself receives several awards from both the Canada and the Quebec Arts Councils. For the Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival, Norman performs dramatic extracts from his novel-in-progress, Cazzarola! The docu-drama deals with the earliest resistance to Italian fascism, including a failed 1926 assassination attempt on the life of the dictator, Benito Mussolini, and the persecution by Italy’s neo-fascists of Roma refugees living in squalid camps across Italy today. Montreal indie filmmaker Steve Patry makes a documentary based on Norman’s performance called Cazzarola! ou la résistance contre le fascisme.
Anonymous filmmakers flood YouTube with Norman clips. The internationally renowned human rights group, Everyone Group from Italy, asks Norman to record the English vocals for a memorial video poem written by Italian writer, Robert Malini. The poem, Makwan: Letter from Paradise, is about a young Iranian man, executed by the State because he was gay. It is part of a presentation to the Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels advocating the abolition of the Death Penalty.With the support of the Québec Arts Council, Norman returns to Italy to complete research for Cazzarola!, perform, and give workshops from Corsano to L’Aquila. He visits a Roma refugee camp in Rome and interviews dozens of refugees. They ask him to take their story to the people of Canada.
DIM SUM, LUNCH, DINNER,
HONG KONG DEBUT 2009
On tour in Hong Kong, Norman loops and samples his violin for patrons of a rowdy downtown jazz bar, gives a workshop for the local Indie Media Centre, then dazzles the indie music crowd at the Wanchai Art and Culture Outreach Centre. Local music legends, including the legendary Lenny Guo from Hong Kong's legendary Blackbird band join him on stage. Norman meets dozens of other artists, writers, actors and musicians, and writes about his Hong Kong adventures for the anarchist quarterly, The Fifth Estate. After overindulging on extra spicy Singapore noodles, he impulsively buys golden sneakers and joins Facebook. Back home Norman's Brainfood Trilogy poetry collection is completed. Volumes 2 and 3, Lunch for Insurgents, and Dinner for Dissidents join his Breakfast for Anarchists opus, which was described by Broken Pencil as “The reality of the daily news fused with imagination and hope.” The three 80 page books are 'incendiary poetic collections of insightful commentary, oral molotovs and daring fantasies.’ Each includes incredible visual art by renowned artists like Gord Hill, Poderiu, Tanya Willard, David Lester, Maurice Spira, etc. Dinner for Dissidents also contains a killer Perogy Party recipe.
Norman tours Canada to support the books and gets audiences to sing along, stomp their feet,
drink vodka, and perform with him. Cities like Toronto experience unprecedented, one poet/triple book launch extravaganzas. Totally addicted to the academic lifestyle, Norman teaches new courses about community-based arts and social justice at Concordia’s School of Extended Learning, and continues to tour Quebec public schools inspiring new, young writers who keep asking him to write books for kids.
Always thinking in triplicate, the artist known as Norman gives Quebec City a taste of his Lettres de Pologne violin performance during the day with a workshop about socially engaged art, a Cazarolla! solo theatre performance at night, and a brand new L’Art et L’Anarchie hier et aujourd’hui knock ‘em dead audio-visual talk next day about the history of anarchist visual art.
The big fight for the little Parc Oxygène in Norman’s Montreal neighbourhood heats up. The Parc was created in the 1990s by local residents who, after years of inaction by the City, took direct action themselves to dig up and transform a piece of private property that had become a dangerous alley, into a precious little inner-city green space for the use and benefit of all. The Park is threatened by a major condo development and the residents, including Norman, fight back.
2010 WREXPO 86 RETURNS,
SUMMER LOVE-IN BLOOMS
Norman’s infamous TYRANNOUSAURUS WREXPO – THE SPIRT OF ’86 wall poster poem is reproduced by a Vancouver artist and plastered all over the city for the 2010 Olympics to remind locals of ‘other’ points of view. The poster poem had originally been wheat-pasted across Vancouver in 1986 to denounce the damage wrought by the ‘86 World Fair. Norman fantasizes about assembling North American anarchist writers of fiction in one room. Thirty of the anarcho literati (poets, playwrights, novelists, etc.) respond and gather for a first continent-wide meeting during the 2010 Montreal Anarchist Bookfair to plan future literary mayhem.
The Atlantic Council for International Cooperation invites Norman to give the keynote speech and a workshop at their 35th anniversary symposium, ‘Zen and the Art of Public Engagement’ on the bucolic campus of the University of Prince Edward Island. He devours two lobsters, drinks countless ‘growlers’ full of fine, local micro-brew, and encourages East Coasters to keep singing, dancing and making merry in their quest for social justice. In the on-going fight to save Parc Oxygène in his neighbourhood, Norman pulls together a Summer-long Love-In, People’s Art, People’s Park Arts Festival. It’s eight weeks of outdoor poetry, music, theatre, visual art, comedy and dance in the park, with dozens of artists contributing to the event. The park is cited by a local daily as one of the ten hot green spots worth fighting for by citizens.
Videos & Films
ALIVE & KICKING - 1995, LPN, Montréal
THAT'S THE WAY WE TIE OUR SHOES - 1996,
Unbend Films, Amsterdam
MUSIQUES REBELLES - 2002, Productions Multi-Monde,
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