JOHN ARTHUR SWEET
Monologist. Spoken word poet. Writer. Editor. Translator. Queer guy.
My poster for Prague Fringe 2023.
May 28, 2023: In Prague, the morning after my last show. Artists often say we don't focus that much on reviews, that it's just one person's opinion. That's true, but when a reviewer "gets" what you're doing and expresses it in writing better than you could do yourself, it's a wonderful thing. And that's how I felt about this review: Prague Fringe 2023 – Day 5 – Prague Youth Theatre Blog (wordpress.com)
April 25, 2023: Just two days till I take off for the UK! I did a radio interview with Melita Dennett in Brighton, about my upcoming show at the Brighton Fringe (and, a bit later, at the Prague Fringe). You can hear the interview here: Tuesday Live in Brighton 11.4.2023 with Melita Dennett on RadioReverb by RadioReverb | Mixcloud It's about two-thirds of the way through the hour-long show (sorry, but I don't see any time indicators). An interesting interview that made me think about things I don't explicitly discuss in the show (internalized homophobia, the effect of AIDS on my personal story).
March 21, 2023: Yet more news! I can finally share the news that I will be doing a show at the Prague Fringe, May 24 to 27! It will be my fifth time there. It is such a special festival in a city that is like no other. More news when I have it!
March 11, 2023: More news! After the Brighton Fringe (May 5 through 14, see below), I will be moving on to Paris, where I will be performing as an invited guest of Paris Lit Up, an English-language spoken word event, on May 18. More on this anon! (And I still have another piece of news I'm keeping up my sleeve!)
March 1, 2023: News! I will be performing at the Brighton (UK) Fringe in May. (And there's more news I can't tell you just yet. What a tease.) I will be doing 12 performances of my new two-part show (i.e., 6 performances of each part) in a minuscule space (my favourite kind). More news soon! But if you're really keen, there are already tickets available: outside, in the laneway, under the stars - Brighton Fringe
What this means, concretely, is that the day of King Charles III's coronation, 76 kilometres south of Westminster Abbey, I will be in a pub talking to people I don't know about my early gay misadventures. Yeah, sounds about right.
January 7, 2023: HAPPY NEW YEAR! BONNE ANNÉE 2023!! I've posted three new MiniReviews: a novel, a play, a film. They're all Gay (sorry, LBT). And they're all Good. Not great, but definitely good.
So, attendance at the performances announced on October 25 (below) was, let us say, underwhelming. But hey, I got in some much-needed rehearsals and received good feedback. So, onwards and upwards!
October 25, 2022: BIG NEWS! So, after two and a half years of pandemic, I'm finally ready to do a full-length show again. Or, really, two full-length shows. Or, to be precise, one very long show divided into two parts. I'd love to share it with you. The performances will be very Relaxed (i.e., you can eat and drink, move around, leave), they will be Accessible (they're free, and the venue is central, although there is a flight of stairs to climb to the third floor), and it's all very Modest (as Leo Tolstoy said, all real art is modest). Please come! Details here.
September 14, 2022: Gosh, it's so long since I've posted a MiniReview of anything. But I recently read a MAJOR piece of queer lit, Colm Toibin writing about Thomas Mann in his latest novel, The Magician.
25 août 2022: UNE GROSSE ANNONCE! Je ferai partie des participants dans le spectacle Je te réponds ce soir au Festival international de la littérature en septembre. Tous les détails ici: JE TE RÉPONDS CE SOIR - Festival FIL (festival-fil.qc.ca). Je le savais depuis un bon bout de temps, mais c'est juste cette semaine que le secret se révèle. Pour moi, ce sera un mélange de trois de mes passions: 1. La littérature. 2. Le spectacle théâtral. 3. La langue française.
On se voit au beau Lion d'Or le 29 septembre!
May 21, 2022: It's the long weekend of La Journée Nationale des Patriotes here in Quebec, and much as I respect Quebec's distinctness, it's Victoria Day weekend for me, or (it's even better in French) La Fête de la Reine. And in fact the Royal Family features a wee bit in the novel I just finished reading, whose main character warmed my heart by getting up early to watch Prince William's 2011 wedding.
May 15, 2022: I've really not been posting many MiniReviews recently, have I? But here's one. And another to come in a day or two (a book). Honestly, Jan/Feb/Mar were just rough, and then April I was busy with (yes!) performing a couple of times, and a wee trip, and just getting back into some semblance of a coherent life.
April 7, 2022: Things are really heating up! I have TWO gigs lined up. (Can two things be lined up? Hmm.) On Saturday, April 23, I'm going to be performing at Word & Music at Mainline Theatre. And then, on May 1, I'm going to be a featured performer at the Accent Open Mic series. These will be my first live performances in over two years!!! It will be so nice to hear rustling and smell lovely human smells and see (hopefully) eager faces before me and trip getting onto the stage and have problems with the mic and all those things I've been missing.
January 31, 2022: The exciting announcement that I hinted at on December 5 was about a theatre festival that has since been cancelled. I also had another possible announcement about another theatre festival, but that's not going ahead either. And a spoken word event is cancelled too! So begins 2022. It will get better, right?
January 2, 2022: Happy New Year! Bonne année. Buon anno. Wishing everyone a touch-feely, squishy, tactile 2022, sans masques, with lots of pawing and breathing on one another, without fear.
I decided to start off the New Year with a bang: a rare 3-star review!
December 5, 2021: Happy Holiday Season! Been watching films and such, including a couple of classics from the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s: Swoon and Poison. And I may have an exciting announcement very soon!
September 25, 2021: I see it's been almost a year since I've reviewed a book! It's been all films and plays since October 2020. Maybe the pandemic has made me reluctant to commit to a novel? I have read some novels in the past year, but they weren't LGBTQ (including that awful novel by Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop). Anyway, I've got a new review of a novel by Christopher Isherwood that was first published in the year of my birth. Also, a review of a fairly recent (by my standards) Israeli film.
May 4, 2021: As someone who believes passionately in the value and role of art, why have I not been missing the live performing arts all that much during the pandemic? Some thoughts.
November 16, 2020: I read Hanya Yanagihara's looooong novel A Little Life. Find out why I find it astonishing that it's been called the Great Gay Novel here.
November 4, 2020: Review of Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance. Is this THE great gay play?
November 2, 2020: Since there's no theatre happening these days, I wrote a little piece of theatre, about theatre; it's here. It's in the same form as a piece I recently wrote for the Quebec Writers' Federation, which can be found here.
Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.
— Thomas Mann, Death in Venice