Field Notes

Memoirs, video games, and sex workers? Kerri Breen has it covered.

Star-studded childhood

Greg Malone’s memoir, You Better Watch Out, is a collection of stories from before he was born all the way to the end of the awkward years, junior high.

“I didn’t intend to do a real detailed history, it was sort of an emotional history,” Malone says. “It’s a childhood… perspective. But then when you get it all done, oh lord, then you can’t make mistakes. So then I had to go back and check names and facts and places.”

There are some names in the book the CODCO hero definitely didn’t have to check, though. Malone’s best friend as a St. Bon’s student was his future collaborator Andy Jones. Andy’s sister Cathy Jones and Premier Danny Williams are also in the book as children. And Malone’s girlfriend was now-NDP leader Lorraine Michael’s little sister.

The book, which Malone worked on for two years, is a very loving portrait of St. John’s in the 1950s and 60s. His parents raised him and three other charming boys on Mount Royal Ave.

At that time, the east end was the new chic place to live, your religious denomination was still a big deal, and teachers were allowed to hit you with stuff. Ouch!

“It’s a story of survival, really,” Malone says. “You don’t know where you’re coming from and what’s going to hit you.”
This is what the book’s title references. (“You Better Watch Out” is also the name of one of the stories). The book is for anyone who likes to read about little things, the childhood dramas that end up determining your whole life.

“I really like the intimacy and the naivety of the childhood world,” Malone says. “There’s a certain candor and innocence to it.”

For love of the game
Remember The Wizard? Well, apparently real video game competitions generally aren’t about pimping out your weirdo brother for cash.

Travis Bailey, founder of NewfoundLAN Gaming (NLG), says tournaments are a good opportunity for gamers to connect, have fun, as well as compete.

“My friends and I have been LANing for years,” he says. “People have such a great time when they all get together in one place, as opposed to playing online.”

NLG is hosting console-based gaming competitions starting during the last weekend of February.

Bailey has a prize sponsorship from Hooked Up gaming café and he plans on putting a lot of cash into the other prizes. He is hoping to host events like this every second month.

Don’t be totally discouraged if you know you aren’t the city’s superlative Smash Bros. player though.

“I’d like people to know that, even if you don’t think you’re the best, it’s still a great time just to play,” says Bailey. “Competition only makes you better.”

Check out the Facebook group for more details: www.tinyurl.com/nlgaming

Nan’s little sex workers
What would you do with a hundred sex workers and a video camera?

Artist Peter Kingstone boldly chose to get them talking about their grandmothers.

100 Stories About My Grandmother shows a side of sex workers that most have never seen. It takes them out of their marginal occupational context and instead shows their identities through the discourse of common familial experience.
The point: To challenge people’s perceptions of who sex workers are.

“I wanted the audience in particular to come see these videos and recognize that these are just individuals who have grandmothers,” Kingstone says. “To think of them as people instead of a problem in society.”

His video installation has opened in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Fredericton, and Edmonton, and is making its way to St. John’s at the Eastern Edge from March 7 to April 7. You’ll be able to enjoy the videos in a simulation of Nan’s living room—candy dish included.

Kingstone will also be showing his feature Astounding Adventures of Strongman and Quickboy with PFLAG and the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador on March 6.

Silly scrilla
St. John’s only comedy club is participating in a national contest that will mean a big payout for one comedian.
Comedy’s version of the Giller Prize, Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off boasts a $25,000 prize and a chance to be broadcast on the Comedy Network.

It’s up to each club to pick a finalist to send off to Toronto. At the St. John’s club, a panel of judges is whittling down the longlist to the best eight comedians. The chosen ones will compete at a final show on March 11, where our Toronto-bound delegate will be chosen.

“I believe the person who wins this contest will go to Toronto and make a very big noise there, if not win the whole damn thing,” says Yuk Yuk’s general manager Bill MacIntosh.

The prize potential is just one perk. The opportunity for exposure and practice also makes the contest worthwhile for comedians.

“Part of Yuk Yuk’s mandate is always to encourage and develop local talent, and that’s one of the aspects of the job that really appealed to me,” he says.

MacIntosh, who started as a comedian in Ottawa in 1993, says the local comedy he’s seen so far has been of a high caliber. He says whoever wins should be very proud, because it’s not going to be easy.

Up to something field noteworthy? E-mail kerri@thescope.ca