Another Weekend in Outer Space

Jupiter Ray Project

The Jupiter Ray project is a band. They played at Irene's on Sunday night. They have a cute lead singer named Shannon. She is married to the guy who sings beside her. He has a good steady government job. The band has enough material for one set, so for upcoming performances, we can expect opening acts. (Like Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club who are worth seeing on their own.) Their name came from a TV show with a cult following, maybe the Simpsons. They fired one of their first drummers because he was too heavy (with the drumming, this wasn't a weight prejudice thing) and there are no hard feelings.

[How do I know all this? I ask questions. I was really smooth with the marital status: "Is that tall, attractive, blonde woman the lead singer for the Jupiter Ray Project?" I asked one of my informants. Upon being informed that she was, "What does her husband do?" See... That's the smooth way to find out if she's single.]

Here are some of the ways their music has been described by others:

  • Folk rock;
  • Country rock;
  • Canadian roots;
  • Melodic, rythm-centered, moody, often trippy, usually acoustic, roots-based music;
  • Roots-rock-reggae with a touch of ska and soul; and
  • Soulful country.
These are all fine with me. If the band is called something like "the Cowboy Junkies"...

But when they're called "The Jupiter Ray Project", I want laser beams, lyrics about robots and DNA and a theremin instead of a fiddle. (Even if it is that incredible Michael Ball fellow playing the fiddle.)

Plan 99

Given the disappointment at Irene's on Friday, I was pessimistic about the Plan 99 reading on Saturday. It was in this bar on Elgin Street called the Manx. Still, Plan 99 is from Outer Space, so perhaps I'd be in luck.

And I was! Being completely unfamiliar with this Manx place, I had no idea that it is the closest thing Ottawa has to the Mos Eisley Cantina.

This fellow Steven Ross Smith began reading what we'd been told was "poetry", but I quickly realized it was something entirely different: viral software intended to shatter a human brain into a Tralfamadorian time warp where all of a life's moments happen simultaneously.

I innoculated myself from this by jotting lines down as I was able to catch them:

the contest poem is an unfettered dog...

recombinant dna alphabet drives me...

maze, a white-tipped sea...

five and a half decades slipping away...

Then Shane Rhodes read his viral programming. His work had more of a narrative flow and would have been less effective at creating time rifts, but most of the audience had been weakened by Ross Smith.

"The only way I've found to kill cockroaches is to tell them tales of depravity."

I was excited that he would be reading about the Birth of Venus until he mentioned it was a pretentious poem about a Botticelli painting, not an ode to the creation of a planet.

"How pretentious can you be when it's printed on napkins?"

But he ended the poem with the words:

"...uranium collapses on a deuterium core."

So it wasn't a total loss.

Oddly enough, he described his concluding piece as a country/western poem. In my experience, the old west and outer space often do not mix well (every cowboy plot episode of Star Trek, new or old, sucks.) But it's been suggested I should be more open-minded (i.e. FireFly).

Before leaving the Manx, I should point out that the art on the wall by an artist named Jenn Farr made me nostalgic for a number of alien planets I've visited.


The Independent Observer said...

Gee, sounds like a fun weekend, Dwarf. Perhaps next time you could invite some of the other ESIs along.

4th Dwarf said...


Your Blackberry must be acting up.