Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Volume 3 Issue 5

The Line Up

New York. The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire 1911.
The company locked the doors of this sweatshop
to control the movement of the seamstresses.
The women in this picture jumped to their
deaths to avoid incineration.


TVFP is pleased to announce a new partnership.  We were introduced to The Mindfield Artist Collection by one of our friends from The Parkdale Liberation Front.  The PLF as you know is dedicated to just about anything that involves beer and responsible anarchy.

The MindField Artist Collective is a group of artists of all disciplines. The Collective was born over several joints on the grass of Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1974.  It has been a creative force in the city for 50 years. It is now centred in Parkdale, in the city's west end.

The group, besides promoting the various works of its member artists, also manages an ethically diverse investment fund, The Nuke the Whales Investment Group. In first five years of its existence the THWIG (pronounced The Wig) has yet to produce a dividend but has contributed a multitude goats and milk cows to micro business in several countries.

The Mindfield Artist Collective debuts with TVFP with two entrées. There is a selection of paintings by the late Gil Humphrey, one of the Collective's founding members. As well there is The Church of the Lonesome Stranger, an introduction to the complex fictional work of of the late poet John Franklin, who joined the Collective in 1989.


One dead artist, one dead poet, one dead Empress. That's our line up for this month folks. Enjoy.


Gil Humphrey

detail from Broken Angel, 1978 mixed media on plywood 48" x 96"
from the collection of the Margaret Mary Tait foundation
Gil Humphrey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1952. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1975. His first one man show was critically ignored and his paintings failed to sell. After a disastrous trip to Mexico in 1977 he returned to Toronto and continued his explorations in collage.

Wing, acrylic on canvas 16 " x 20", 1981
from the collection of Edith St. Lawrence, Baroness of D'Arcy

Humphrey vacillated between complex large scale hard board panels and simply designed small canvases. By the early eighties he was an impoverished artist who could be seen pushing a grocery cart along Bloor Street, collecting glass bottles for refund. His death resulted from an altercation with a competitor over a case of empty beer bottles. Ironically the incident that led to his death took place at the corner of Dundas and Beverley Street.

Louise, dyptich, 1982, 36" x 36" collage, mixed media on canvas
from the collection of the Lavender Investment Fund
After his death in 1985 the Mindfield Collective staged a retrospective of his work. He began to sell. Proceeds from his paintings were used to set up a trust fund for his two children, Sara and Rupert.


The Church of the Lonesome Stranger

Selected Writings and Oral Transcriptions of Pastor Johnny Franklin Recorded and Arranged by 

Artist Collective


Johnny was a poet, but I don’t know that he ever published. I know he had some money from a family business, real estate or construction, I’m not sure and then cashed it all in after his wife divorced him. I got to know him because he used to come to the open mike sessions and sometimes he’d get up and read.  I didn’t like it his stuff. It was all so introspective and too stripped bare. Narcissist, I said to him. He didn’t seem to mind and I liked him because he wasn’t coming onto me. I found out he had this drop-in centre in Parkdale, a storefront thing and he had set himself up as a pastor, although he never referred to himself that way. I never went to any of services, or if I did I don’t remember. I might have gone once. I don’t know that he had any training, but I know people would come in and listen to him, because he was interesting, or maybe entertaining would be a better word. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. I got to know him in more detail through the MindField Artist Collective that used to meet at his place on Queen Street West in Parkdale.  Later he helped me through a tough time. He stuck with me when I guess you could say I was at a low point in my life. There was none of that Christ died for your sins stuff. You know the guilt thing rammed down your throat that I was used to from the residential schools along with the other shit.

                                           Cheryl Red Feather,poet and ex-junkie


“I thought sodomy was just for homosexuals,” she said.
“Why do you call it sodomy?”
“Well I don’t know. What should I call it?”
“The connotation is that it’s sinful.”
“God thought so, didn’t he?”
“Maybe God was making an allegorical point to do with self absorption. Remember he nuked Gomorrah too. How long have you been married?”
“Forty one years. We were married in our teens.”
“And in the course of forty years you never talked about anal sex?”
“Oh no. Why would we. It never came up.”
“But it’s come up now?”
“Oh yes it has.”
“And it’s a problem.”
“Oh it is. You see my husband grew up on a farm.”
“Before we go on, may I ask confirm where this started?”
“I can’t say, really. I just woke up one morning and wondered what it would be like. I asked my husband about it, you know, we’ve always been able to talk. I think that’s why we’ve lasted when so many of our friends and acquaintances have fallen by the wayside. Of course we have our faith.”
“I’m curious why you wouldn’t speak to your priest, Father Simeon?”
“Oh, he’s a bit of a prude, you know, any anyway what would a priest know about this sort of thing?  And besides, Mandy, over at the hairdressers, said you were the one to talk to. You know being divorced and having children and a girlfriend.”
“You told Mandy.”
“Not in so many words.”
“Mandy said I had a girlfriend.
“Not in so many words.”
“You think I’m qualified to talk about anal sex.”
“Well, I could be wrong.”
“So where are we now?”
“As I said, Pastor Marty, my husband grew up on a farm.”
“You see what I’m getting at.”
“Why don’t you just ask him?”
“I can’t.”
“But you talk.”
“We do, but I don’t want him to lie to me.”
“Does he ever lie to you?”
“Not that I’ve noticed.”
“Do you ever lie to him?”
“If I have he’s never mentioned it.”
Mrs. Philips shifted in the chair. She crossed her legs. It drifted in, the thought, you know, she was a little over dressed, the skirt was riding up on her thighs, there was the big splash of red lipstick, she was flirting with me and I was kind of into it. Welcome lust. I let go my desire for security and survival. I let go my desire for esteem and affection. I let go my desire for power and control. I let go my desire to change the situation.
“At this point Father Simeon would be dishing out the Hail Marys.”
“Do you love your husband?”
“I’m used to him. I don’t know that I love him. Maybe in the beginning. We were just kids in a small town. When I got pregnant I did the right thing and agreed to marry the bastard. He was handsome and he was funny. He could tell a story and he could make me cry. I loved that in him. I still do I suppose. No I still do. We have a good business in plumbing. I run the office, Hank runs the show. We’ve raised our children and we’ve saved for our retirement. I don’t know what I’m saying really except that I can’t stand to be in the same room with a man who was out in the field shagging the sheep.”
“It was a sheep farm?”
“No it was dairy. I don’t even want to go there.”
“Do you want me to talk to your husband?”
“What would that accomplish?”
“Well maybe he wasn’t up in the fields shagging the sheep.”
“He was, maybe not in the fields. They had barns. I was knocked up in a barn.”
“Your husband’s barn?”
“Not necessarily.”
“Benefit of the doubt on your husband?”
“What I wanted to know is can I switch churches? If you’re actually a church. Mandy said you were.”
“We’re more of a way station, a rest stop on the path, but we don’t turn anyone away.”
“I appreciate that.”
“May I ask you one thing?”
“I think I’d be more comfortable, don’t you?”


I cooked the heroin and loaded the syringe. I shot her up.
“What did you finally come up with?”
“I talked about Jesus being born in a manger. I embellished it a bit. I got her to admit that all life is sacred, sheep are alive, ergo sheep are sacred.”
“You convinced her with a syllogism.”
“A valid syllogism.”
“It worked.”
“We’ll see. Actually I think she wants to change husbands, but doesn’t quite know how to go about it.”
The take-out pizza arrived. Vegetarian and pepperoni.
“I don’t know that my half counts as vegetarian, being enclosed in the same box with those pig meat vapours,” Cheryl said.
“Cast comes off tomorrow?”
“It does,” she said, “I appreciate, you know, helping me out. It must be hard. I’m sorry.”
We watched Netflix’s House of Cards. Cheryl said, why is it we love reptiles? Well birds are reptiles, aren’t they? She said, I mean real reptiles. She yawned. She fell asleep on the sofa. I tucked her in. I wrapped up the leftover slice of vegetarian pizza and put it in the fridge. The fridge was empty. I went home with the slice of pepperoni in my pocket.



I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 

The solitary grain of wheat that does not go to seed represents the ego, aka the false self, the needy and the greedy. The solitary grain remains locked in the ego prison of anxiety and fear. It takes its pleasure in the treasures of the world that are in and of themselves transitory. However if the seed dies to itself it is reborn into a new life that contains new seeds in abundance. So by dying to the false transitory self is to be reborn into the present, eternal and abundant life of God.
However what if the seed is genetically modified and pesticide resistance? The seed modified seed represents an increase in yield. The seed feeds more people even as the pesticides used in this agricultural program find their way into the food chain with potentially dire health consequences. So the toxic seed feeds more people, extends their lives, while poisoning the environment. Is it better that this seed should never die?
What this is really about is exegesis. I mean an exegesis that ignores the evidence, the hard science and the ethical consequences of the evidence is to my mind serious flawed. It is completely open and vulnerable to serious criticism. So there’s a kind of dialectic here; the parable informed by the anti parable producing a parable that satisfies the realities of post modern consciousness.

I say to you unless an organic seed  .  .  .



I have a few announcements before I get down to serious. The first announcement is that our friends the Capuchin monks are looking for help with their kitchen, either in the form of a cash donation, a food donation or a few hours a week of your time. Now one of the more historically minded of the congregation happened to mention to me that the Capuchin monks are renowned for rending the flesh of their dead and making furniture out of the bones. This is true. I have visited the Capuchin museum on the via Venuto in Rome. I would say that it’s not for everyone. However the only thing our particular Capuchins are rendering is chicken, beef and fish bones for soup. I myself will be serving tables there as time permits.

The second announcement concerns Sunday School. As you know we don’t have a Sunday School. However certain members of the parish see this as a grievous fault of my ministry and are determined to correct that fault. Well, let me re-state my position as simply as I can. If you can come up with a curriculum that doesn’t reek of Soviet Comintern brain washing I’d be happy to consider it. Until then Margaret will continue to look after your kids with her beautiful, loving and undiscriminating Christian embrace.

Third announcement. Somebody shredded both of the ball hockey nets. I have a pretty good idea who was involved. Now here’s my conundrum. I don’t think you’re stupid, but shredding the nets was stupid because you didn’t accomplish anything. The kids will still make fun of you and your mother. They’ll still make fun of your sister and on and on. Mr. Ridley over at the Home Hardware has replaced the netting. I’m not locking them up inside as some have suggested. So, Mr-or-Miz-know-who-you are sharpen up your blade they’re yours for the taking. Or you can come and talk to me man or woman in training to man.

Finally whoever has been sending me threatening emails and spray painting six six six on the back door I get your point. If you really think I am one of Satan’s earthly minions you should a) learn how to spell Satan, it is s-a-t-a-n not s-a-t-e-n and b) I know who you are anyway and if you don’t stop I’ll call the police and tell them you’ve been threatening to mow my head off and c) why don’t we have a chat, talk about it, face to face, human to human. This is a one time offer that expires at sundown today.

Okay and now ladies and gentlemen, the sermon. Whoops, I seem have left the sermon in the other room. Darn. Instead we will now have the sacrificial joke. Henry, you’re up.


A French Fry walks into a bar and says, I’ll have a dry martini, one olive. The bartender looks at the French Fry and says, I’m sorry we don’t serve food.



Your colour red
Was lost in a field of red
Blood on your lips, red
On the field of red

You died in pieces, in places
I was unable to discover
You died and left only traces
Of love and an old lover

The closeness of you takes me
The way the moon takes the sea
I rise up, rise up, rise and see
The empty sky, the empty sea


Victoria, Empress of India joins TVFP with another anecdote from her long reign as Queen of the British Empire.

We were having a small luncheon, just Albert and us, when the news came that the Emperor Napoleon III had found himself rooms in Chislehurst or thereabouts. Albert, being German, was somewhat circumspect. Of course I understood. All these entanglements. 

"My darling," I said, "why wasn't Jesus born in France? Because he couldn't find three wise men and a virgin."

Albert found that most amusing. He tapped his tea cup with his sugar spoon heartily, causing alarm with the service.

"My darling," he said, "what is the first thing the French teach their children in school? We surrender in German."

I thought that was rather good. Ha, ha.

"Dearest Albert," I said, "one of my generals told me, in confidence, after we had thumped the Russians in the Crimea that going to war without the French is like going hunting without an accordion."

We both laughed, "ha, ha. Ha, ha."

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