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Monday, September 30, 2013

See ya in church, Al

 Were Al Purdy to be associated with any church, it's likely to be the Gothic church in Ameliasburgh, conjured so ominously in the poem 'Wilderness Gothic'.

Saturday, September 28 changed all that, as the talented actor/director Richard Turtle presented David Carley's one-man play 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel' at Jeff Keary's performance venue in the 1849 former Methodist Church in Rednersville, Prince Edward County.

Richard did a superb job, moving smoothly from monologue to Purdy's poems. He was Al. I'm quite convinced I cannot do this man or the performance justice. So look for and don't miss Richard and 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel' when it comes around again....A-framer Michele Lintern-Mole is exploring opportunities with Richard.

Jeff and Tracey Keary with Eurithe Purdy 

Eurithe Purdy graciously attended, queenly in an overstuffed armchair; I hope its comfort compensated for all those eyes turning to gauge her reaction at Richard's line "I wouldn't want to go to jail for killing a thing like you!"

"I'm used to it," she said afterwards,with characteristic understatement.

Eurithe contributed two jars of hand-picked homemade wild grape jam to the silent auction. Yesterday some lovely folks in Toronto enjoyed it on their breakfast toast.
beer bottle & plaid jacket...

...and Al Purdy

 The Methodists were not a musical bunch, much too sober for that in the day. So it's as well that the superb acoustics of the church/studio were saved for today's congregations who enjoy jazz evenings and a variety of other performers at Active Arts Studio. At Saturday's Purdy Celebration, guitar player/singer Morley Ellis entertained - and what that man can't play...! His last song by the Travelling Wilburys, travelled with me for several days afterwards. Look for Morley, a Marmora boy!

Martin Durkin, Crazy Irishman

 Courageous the poet who agrees to read opposite Al Purdy. Martin Durkin, another local boy returned to his native Stirling, read from his work - and it stood up! Chris Faiers has long known Martin, and suggested he read at the event. Good writer. Good reader. It's the Irish in him.

Martin's work appears regularly on his CrazyIrishman blog, and recently poet Chris Faiers featured two of Martin's 'soup poems' on his Riffs and Ripples from Zen River Gardens site.
Kelly Bacon & Martin Durkin, Chris Faiers, Richard Turtle
And behind the scenes the usual suspects set up shop with a silent auction of signed Purdy titles, copies of the A-frame Anthology, and the Lowthian print of the A-frame. Raised five hundred and fifty bucks toward the A-frame restoration. Did OK.

And the most astonishing and gratifying thing about this splendid day was the generosity of folks. Everything: Jeff and Tracey's venue, Richard's acting and his sound technician's expertise, Martin's reading and Morley's playing - all this was done gratis, time and talent donated to support the A-frame cause. And in the same spirit, the folks who came donated freely and graciously.

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