Artist in Residence: David McGimpsey

Artist in Residence:

David McGimpsey

January 18, 2009

Indy Adieu

It has been a wild limo ride, my friends, but now the driver is reminding me that it’s a rental and that gyro stains “just don’t clean themselves.” I learned much in my tenure as the Indy Artist in Residence. For example, did you know that Mentone, Indiana is the home of the “World’s Biggest Egg.” That’s a hell of an egg. 2009 promises to be a super year, full of butter sculptures and exciting new flavors of zero-calorie soda water. Hello blackberry currant fizz! Let’s all enjoy and I wish you all the best. “Ô vous tous, ô nous tous, ô les pécheurs tristes, Ô les gais Saints, pourquoi ce schisme têtu ? Que n’avons-nous fait, en habiles artistes, De nos travaux la seule et même vertu ?” -Verlaine… Read more.

January 16, 2009

Indy Disco!

Like all kind-hearted citizens I have been thinking about the power of a weighty goose and attentively watching The Real World: Brooklyn. I have learned much from this year’s stunning video foray into when callow twentysomeths “get real” and that is Mormons love eye-liner too! Did you know Brigham Young practically moved the whole Latter Day Saints religion to Salt Lake City just to use eye-liner without the constant ridicule and persecution of East Coasters? It’s a fact! Here’s another fact: gyro is delicious. I have often wondered why gyro slices are not a breakfast staple and why nobody has really perfected a hearty winter “gyro soup.” It’s cold in the offices of the Indy-Artist-In- Residence floor these days. Did I forget to stoke the coal heaters? I know I was supposed to stoke coal and am generally proud of my coal-stoking acumen, but I got fixated on this ad which proclaims “Everybody loves pasta!” It seemed like such a presumptive claim, I… Read more.

January 13, 2009

Indy Mania!

In my years raising miniature donkeys for State Fair competitions, I learned one valuable lesson: that is, the name “Pico” is not as original name for a miniature donkey as you might think it is. … Read more.

January 12, 2009

Indy Away

I have eaten a sub! Aw ya. Not just any sub: a Royal Sub. 2009 is going to be an awesome year. I have already discovered that it is perfectly acceptable to name an employee by their place of employ. For example, if you go to Starbucks and there’s no cream in the creamer, it is perfectly acceptable to say to the barista “Excuse me, Starbucks, but there’s no cream in the creamer! Thank you, Starbucks.” I have some shoe troubles, I’ll admit, but I will not let that hamper my 2009, already off to a grindingly good start…. Read more.

December 28, 2008

It’s been an Indy Christmas

The arrest of corrupt Illinois official (a tautology perhaps) Rod Blagojevich had me thinking these last few days about the beleaguered tenure of city hall magnate Mayor McCheese, once the beloved disciplinarian of McDonaldland. Perhaps sensing the corrupt ward-boss ways of Chicagoland may be under heavier scrutiny for the next four to eight years, Mr. McCheese continues to keep a low profile. The Press, for its part, does little to challenge the absentee head of city government with questions which have long consternated the electorate. Mr. McCheese has yet to answer questions about whether his support is basically for the simple cheeseburger or the quarter- pounder with cheese. Prone to shows of robber-baron era ostentation, firmly wearing his purple velvet top top hat while sticking out his bright yellow gladhand, Mr. McCheese has come under great scrutiny and has, to his political opponents (some suggest this is all part of a political power play m…Read more.

December 13, 2008

Indy Adventure!

I’ve seen some pretty questionable tourist attractions: The Lincoln Watermelon, the miniature golf Aztec pyramid, the shrine to Conway Twitty but there is no tourist “attraction” more utterly appalling than the Charmin’ bathrooms in Times Square. These are ostensibly public restrooms which are actually a long, delayed, immersion in the advertising campaigns for Charmin’ bathroom tissue. The cutesy pictures of bears who have to pee, the loudspeakers blaring the Charmin jingles and the incredible long haul up escalator after escalator only to wait in line to use a bathroom stall pointed out by Disney-happy Charmin shillers. It’s not just something which makes one acutely aware of the prerogatives of advertisers it is an experience wish makes one gratefully realize nothing is that important. You’re better off taking a leak on a cop car. The line-ups are less at half-time at the Giants game. … Read more.

December 10, 2008

Dawning Indy Memories

Alice Cooper’s appearance on the Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour demonstrates one of the harshest axioms in show business: nobody, not even the king of shock rock, can touch a hair on Tony Orlando’s head. It was the third and final year of Tony Orlando and Dawn’s amazing variety show and I was just a kid. Sure, I could have been enjoying the outdoors, playing baseball, helping folks, but we could get CBS through an antenna on our TV so what use were the outdoors to me? Little did I know both Tony Orlando and Alice Cooper were going down. After just two seasons, The Tony Orlando and Dawn show was redubbed the “Rainbow Hour” to give the show more of a counterculture edge. After the strange luster of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” faded and as Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent were seemingly less interested in bringing solidarity to “Dawn,” the show would try to be a bit more hip. George Carlin became a regular cast member and now Tony would sing “Hard Rain… Read more.

December 9, 2008

From the Indy letter files

Dear Heartless WC Network Executives, I am writing to express my displeasure at the news of the recent cancellation of the sitcom Reba. I received this disconcerting news as I was reading a newspaper in a doctor’s office (nothing serious: just elective foot remodeling) and the headline of that paper (I think it was the San Mateo Freebee) said it all: “Show Canceled.” I could hardly believe my eyes. Saddened, I asked Dr. Poncho’s receptionist, Marlene, if she had ever watched this glorious sitcom about a struggling divorcee played by country music superstar Reba McEntire, and she just looked at me like I had robbed a liquor store. It was a strange attitude for Marlene to cop, I thought, considering when I asked her if I could use her lip-balm she said “Knock yourself out.” Anyways, I will not ask you to explain the reasons why you would do this to me or to Ms. McEntire for that matter as I imagine your explanation will be like when I told my boss that… Read more.

December 8, 2008

Keeping it Indy Since December the One!

Why are NFL wide-outs such divas? Can anyone tell me? I spent my weekend the way I usually do: enjoying sports on television and making something from my favorite book: Cooking with Dr. Pepper. It’s the holidays, so it is time for a little mulled Dr. Pepper. It is cold outside. It’s time to stay indoors and reflect upon the year that has passed and indeed upon all the years which have formed one’s own registers for happiness or happiness’s opposite, Oshawa. When I look upon the world and summon together every scrap of knowledge I’ve either studied or picked up, I keep coming up with the same conclusion: At least Terrell Owens never shot himself in the leg when his team was 11-1. … Read more.

December 5, 2008

Indy is as Indy does

French Lick, Indiana. My favorite Larry Bird moment, like most indy-culture readers in Canada, is when Bird stole the ball off Isiah Thomas in the closing seconds of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals. My favorite Johnny Most moment (Most was the gravel-voiced play-by-play announcer for Boston) is when Most went to the doctor with some ear problem, wanting a new hearing aid, and the doctor discovered that the old hearing aid was lodged deep in Most’s ear canal. Now that’s hard livin’ Saw that Xmas ad for the electronics retailer in French last night and if there’s one thing I can say is that thing is equally offensive in two of the three official languages of this country. Note: I know Welsh is the official language of Prince Edward Island, but I have yet to see the ad in Welsh…. Read more.

December 4, 2008

I Am Indy, Hear Me Roar

There’s one thing I always feel when I stare out over the expanse of a great American cornfield. I think, “Jesus, it sure would be nice to rent a crop duster and hunt Cary Grant down in these fields.” I think the way Cary Grant was portrayed in The Flinstones (as “Cary Granite”) always made me suspicious of his reputation and have often thought him overrated. Pepper Martin, on the other hand, vastly underrated. One respects the might of mighty corn. It is responsible for Corn Flakes, Corn Puffs and Corn Chex. That’s a hell of an achievement, if you ask me. It seems like it’s holiday time, the season for the celebration of the prettiest baby in Bethlehem. I am trying to put together of things I want because as much as I enjoy giving I gotta say I really enjoy the taking. …Read more.

December 3, 2008

Indy Artistry

I am grateful for all the generous commentary vis-a-vis the Tony Stewart – Kyle Busch debate. According to the constant play of very irritating ads for a large electronic products retailer, it is Christmastime. You can also tell it’s christmas by the welcome reappearance of gingerbread latte in everybody’s favorite coffee retailer. I am dissatisfied with their “Coffee Mint” flavor because everybody knows that mint comes after coffee. Not with coffee. AFTER. Combining the pleasure of mint with coffee is like smoking while you’re having sex. Fun, sure, but wrong. Wrong. There actually is a place called Santa Claus, Indiana, somewhere in the “mutton belt” in the south part of the state where, coincidentally, Abraham Lincoln spent his adolescence. Abe liked to read. When time came for the family to rid their farmland of snakes, Abe always had his nose in a book which some of his relatives perceived as pure reluctance to participate in normal … Read more.

December 2, 2008

Racing Through All Indy Options

My favorite racecar driver, after Lucky Jackson, the fictional driver Elvis portrayed in Viva Las Vegas, is Tony Stewart. I may switch to Kyle Busch so I’m wonder if Broken Pencil readers could make a case either for or against this monumental shift in allegiances. Marion, Indiana, is the birthplace and final resting place of James Dean, the Hollywood icon who knew a thing or two about the glory inherent in a fiery car crash. Visiting James Dean’s gravesite in the simple town cemetery is, after buying popcorn in Amish country, the best way to spend an afternoon in the state which gave us both Larry Bird and James Dean. The one thing I noticed about Dean’s grave is that the stone was covered in lipstick prints, which brought a suspicion to a fine, tender point: even decades after his death, James Dean is getting more action that you. … Read more.

December 1, 2008

More Indy Fare

One thing I’ve never done in my life is criticize New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. I have, however, frequently criticized his more popular brother Peyton Manning who is the chief ball- hurler for the Indianapolis Colts. Some of the more unfortunate things I have often called Peyton are “Gomer” and “Loser.” Calling somebody “Gomer” is not quite an insult when you’re standing in a cornfield. When you escape Indy and get into Hoosier country, in the town square of Gomerville, you can feel bad about saying such things about one of the Mannings (who are from Louisiana anyway). I’m sorry, Gomer. I’m sorry, Loser. … Read more.

December 1, 2008

Keeping It Indy

Indianapolis is the only city where I have had deep fried macaroni. I know I did not dream this. It was a roadside stand near the Speedway, home-made root beer and, like a beacon of gold, written in chalk on the specials board, “Deep Fried Macaroni.” I need not comment on whether this item was good: it was balls of mac n cheese, covered in batter and deep fried. This was, I was certain, the completion of Columbus’s dream. … Read more.

December 1, 2008

Hello Broken Pencil Readers

I have been an independent artist longer than you have been a sandwich artist. During my tenure in this capacity I have learned a great deal about the arts, namely the paintings of LeRoy Neiman spruce up any collection. I once wrote a film script called “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn featuring the Harlem Globetrotters” and though I was upset the treatment never went into production, I also learned a valuable lesson about being a corporate artist. It was explained to me, by an internet therapist, in this way “To create a cultural object which is admired by many people not only requires thoughtful collaboration but winning looks!” So, apparently I am an indie artist, which doesn’t even mean I’m from Indiana. If I was from Indiana I would be a Hoosier artist and that sounds kind of dirty. “Indy”, we all know, means you’re from Indianapolis…. Read more.

David McGimpsey

David McGimpsey is regarded by many as one of the funniest writers in Canada. He is the author of the poetry collections: Hamburger Valley, California, Dogboy and Lardcake (ECW Press), as well as the award-winning critical study, Imagining Baseball: America’s Pastime and Popular Culture (Indiana University Press). His book of short stories, Certifiable, was published with Insomniac Press (2004). His most recent book of poetry (his fourth) is Sitcom (Coach House, 2007). Critically the book was very well received. Sitcom was shortlisted for the 2007 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the ReLit Award. The Washington Post said: “McGimpsey displays erudition, clever insights and a knack for the wickedly funny wisecrack”, while another capital rag called The Ottawa Citizen said, “as funny as David Sedaris, and more inventive.” This past summer, Nathalie Atkinson wrote about Sitcom in The National Post declaring: “Given that McGimpsey manages to do this while name-checking Gilligan’s Island, Annabeth Gish, Mary Tyler Moore and the Fonz and keeping up the iambic pentameter, I say give this man the Leacock medal, already.” On November 22, 2007, Jacqueline Turner of The Georgia Straight noted: “McGimpsey manages to dredge up every television reference you’ve ever forgotten, and spins them into a Hawaii Five-O libretto that’s immune to limitations of form, content, or even just good taste. In fact, his poetic argument is that there’s no such thing as good taste. His writing embraces the full range of cultural references at work in contemporary society, and blends them together without mercy.”

What can McGimpsey offer the $&@*#! lowlifes who read Broken Pencil as the indie artist in residence? Hope? Fake Tony Danza hair samples they can sell on Ebay to pay for their BP subscription addiction? More practical advice? Illegal counseling? He teaches creative writing at Concordia University and is a member of the rock band Puggy Hammer and is on Facebook. The band Puggy Hammer has another member named Jason Camlot, who is also a poet and teacher in Montreal. David McGimpsey ‘s travel writings frequently appear in The Globe and Mail and he writes the “Sandwich of the Month” column for EnRoute magazine.

In a 2005 interview with Jon Paul Fiorentino for The Danforth Review, McGimpsey discussed the clattering intersection between laughter and poetry. “[B]oth depend on timing as much as what is being said. Poetry without timing is prose, comedy without timing is The Mike Bullard Show. The way tensions shift in poetry–from premise to killer line–the reflexive views, and reinvention of terms, often work in the same as comedy’s set-up, act-out, punchline, callback, and shift. The set up of a joke drifts one way–you know, like ‘that Ben Affleck is one lucky guy’–and the punch draws it back the other way–like ‘yeah, I wish I got paid to look into Matt Damon’s eyes.’

Says McGimpsey fan and photographer John W. MacDonald, “There are a only few people I would love to be able to write like. David McGimpsey is one of those people. I saw him read at the Ottawa International Writers Fest last fall and he was very much a comedic highlight of the event. I remember saying in my blog about the panel he was on: “The assembling of writers for one event must be difficult. Again, tonight’s 5:30pm event was no different. David “Pass-the-peanut butter” McGimpsey was paired with Donna “I’m-originally-from-Newfoundland-so-don’t-hold-it-againstme” Morrissey, and Beth “How-did-I-get-stuck-reading-with-Mc- Gimpsey?” Powning. A stand-up comedian meets a dramatist and a writer who remembers her grandmother. Interesting combo.” McGimpsey recently edited the highly eclectic anthology Dingers for DC Books. The anthology culls essayists, fiction writers, and poets who all write about “baseball’s combinations and forms, seeking to plumb its meaning as a game and maybe metaphor for Life’s deeper truths.”

McGimpsey is the only author to ever review his own book in an issue of Broken Pencil. If you can find the review, you can read it. We might even give you a prize, but we doubt it. Hint: the review is not in this issue, nor is it on this page. Send him a joke and for a small fee of $US856 he will read it. Twice.

What’s an Artist in Residence
and how can I be one?