August 21st, 2006

Mark!

Whyte Ave.

I walk up and down the avenue in a daze. Edmonton at night, especially on the weekend, is a completely different place; a spectre of itself, a massive illusion perpetuated freely by its own denziens. Outside the Princess II Theatre, girls swing their hula hoops to the beat of conga drums. A pair of security guards hold fast the doors of the 7-11, only allowing a certain number of troublemakers to enter and purchase smokes at a time. Inside the Commercial Hotel's blues club, bikers drink and women dance as a frenzied performer slaps out a hectic six-string bass solo. In the back alley, I hang out with a rapper and his stoned cohort while Anton smokes and talks to a woman in Calgary on his cell. Yes, the same Anton from Stealing Venus, which I have perhaps mentioned but not talked up. Go see it. His one-man impersonation of a high-class heist, complete with slow-motion smoke bombs, is worth double the price of admission.

But I forget myself - Whyte Avenue at night is like a snowstorm of decades, all intermingling and informing the society we're shocked to have found ourselves in. Am I ready? It's showtime again. Perhaps I'll never get to finish my thoughts. Perhaps that's the power of this city. It keeps jarring me out of where I am and pushing me into where I'm going.