Norman Nawrocki is born a 'Puke' to Polish/Ukrainian Canadian parents in the immigrant, working class East End of Vancouver.He spends his childhood behind a TV dinner-tray watching 'The Avengers,' 'Bewitched,' 'Looney Toons,' and 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' With neighbourhood kids, he jumps CNR & CPR trains for fun along the docks, sells mud sharks and crabs to local cafes for spending money, and gets his first job at age 11 delivering prescription drugs on a bicycle. At 14, he writes an essay: 'Why I am an Anarchist;' raises hell in high school with an underground newspaper, attends the first ever Greenpeace demonstration (against cars), and has dreams of becoming a tennis star. He hates violin lessons, but loves Ukrainian weddings. He spends his summers on family farms in Manitoba shooting gophers.
The Higher Education
He attends Langara college and Simon Fraser University sporadically, preferring to drink beer with campus newspaper staff. He co-edits SFU's 'The Peak,' gets bored and drops out of school to edit a radical neighbourhood newspaper. He becomes a community organizer, edits an international anarchist newsjournal, The Open Road, free-lances for Vancouver's Georgia Straight, is arrested and given a suspended sentence for helping striking immigrant women luggage workers, and sees Bob Marley live, in concert. To pay the bills, he works as a ditch digger, a book seller, a steel-mill worker, a Skyride gondola pilot, a bell hop, and even a college administrator. He is fired from a ski resort for trying to organize a union.
The Big Move
A broken heart and a job offer in 1981 leads him away from Vancouver to Montreal. After a few years in public relations, he gets drunk one night and wakes up next morning with a new career: cabaret artist. During his world debut poetry reading in 1985, he downs a thermos full of Kahlua. Later, he meets a improv guitarist whiz - Sylvain Coté. Together, they form a ‘poetry/music ensemble’ and call themselves Rhythm Activism (RA).
The Rhythm Activism
The DIY twosome releases home-recorded cassettes, tours Canada in a Greyhound and, pre-Lollapalooza (1987), joins a busload of minimalist poets and musicians for the infamous 'Black Wedge Tour.' (The Regina Leader Post calls them "an all-girl band.") Later, they share European stages with Linton Kwisi Johnson, Attila the Stockbroker & Fred Frith. They play with DOA, John Giorno, Mecca Normal. They're called 'the Smothers Brothers from hell.' They play punk clubs, poetry festivals, hockey arenas and on the roof of a bus on a ferry.
After a few years criss-crossing Canada, the USA & Europe, RA evolves into a full-fledged, theatrical 'rock 'n roll cabaret/rebel news orchestra' renowned for high energy, topical, news making shows. They use costumes, masks, giant props & describe their work as 'alternative, electrified journalism.' The Los Angeles magazine, OPTION says:'Jeez these guys are powerful!" They tour Poland with a satirical cabaret called 'Welcome to Capitalism, Poland!' & score an underground hit about a Polish Fiat - in Polish - on Polish national radio.
The Band for All Ages
In 1988, Norman rediscovers his childhood violin and starts playing. RA writes and performs theatre musicals and hilarious ‘community cabarets’ - in English & French- about welfare & tenants’ rights. They work directly with community groups to tour Quebec’s poorest neighbourhoods, & perform in drag in church basements and bingo halls, reaching people who have never attended a live show. Their shows make national news, TV and print. CBC radio describes them as ‘the Brecht/Weil combo for today,’ and asks them for ‘news songs’ about the 1991 Gulf War. They release ‘WAR IS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE’ & albums to support striking students, and to protest cutbacks to social housing. They give workshops to trade unions & community groups about their creative approaches. In Europe, RA is compared to Fugazi, Chumbawamba, and Holland’s The Ex. Norman is arrested, convicted and given a two year suspended sentence for playing a kazoo during a Montreal housing demonstration. In 1990, RA’s music is played on the barricades by the Mohawks at OKA. They radio chart in the top 10 across Canada; organize and perform Québec’s first, solar-powered band show & get rave reviews in Hong Kong music papers. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the distinguished beat poet requests Norman’s poem, ‘The Black Flag’ for a City Lights anthology, saying ‘it blew me away!’.
The Sex Comedy Cabaret
In 1993, Norman writes the first of his anti-sexist, sex positive comedy cabarets:
‘I DON’T UNDERSTAND WOMEN!’ (about date rape, sexual harassment & violence against women). He plays 14 characters, uses a soundtrack, costumes, masks & giant props & turns it into an international hit, performing at dozens of college & university campuses in Canada & the USA. The Globe & Mail calls it ‘subversively powerful.’ He joins Montreal’s Bagg Street Klezmer Band as 1st violinist; RA continues touring North America & Europe; Norman continues giving solo spoken word performances across Canada & playing violin at Ukrainian, Jewish, Estonian & Polish weddings. He loves vodka and perogies. Two documentary films are produced about RA’s work. San Francisco’s Maximumrocknroll says RA’s recordings are ‘totally brilliant, absolutely essential.’
The People’s No Ca$h Circus
By the 1990s, RA has a discography of over 40 releases worldwide. Their 'folk punk,' 'gypsy grunge' 'urban rat jazz' sound morphs into Latin-tinged rock, and East European swing. They release a CD about the roots of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas Mexico and are personally thanked, along with Rage Against the Machine & The Indigo Girls, by Subcommandante Marcos. OPTION says this album 'should be required listening for members of Congress.' The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra approaches RA about writing a rock opera. The project dies for a lack of funds. In 1997, RA produces a 50 person musical 'circus' about the roots of poverty, with a 9 piece live orchestra, jugglers, clowns, dancers, acrobats and community actors. The free show attracts several hundred people each night; hundreds more are turned away. It's compared favourably to 'The Cirque du Soleil,' and is cited, incorrectly by The Globe & Mail, as the inspiration for a raid of Montreal's posh Queen Elizabeth Hotel by 100 poor and hungry people. The Paris weekly, Humanitie Hebdo calls the circus 'Astonishing political cabaret.' Local police warn audience members not to attend.
Norman's first poetry book, 'Rebel Moon' is published in the USA. CTV News, Montreal says 'This book is fabulous.'
The Sex Keeps Coming
In 1998, Norman produces another anti-sexist, sex comedy cabaret, 'MY DICK & OTHER MANLY TALES' (about homophobia) & tours Canada to rave reviews, bomb & death threats. He uses a 8' tall purple talking & dancing penis. CBC TV's Brent Bambury says 'You're a brave guy, Norman.,' while The Globe & Mail observes: 'Norman's shows do not disappoint.' He gets police protection for one show. His first poetry book in French is published. He forms an RA side-project, 'The Flaming Perogies, 'a 'divorce music specialists,' east-european dance band. The Winnipeg Sun calls RA's CD, 'Jesus was Gay' 'Mordantly funny, wickedly smart & musically fascinating.'
By 2000, he writes 'SEX TOYS!' ( sex show #3) - about sexual politics in the bedroom. He plays 14 characters, a 7' tall talking/dancing vagina, and the world's largest(9' tall) singing butt plug. He plays almost every major post-secondary campus in Canada. Grown men cry & thank him for showing them how to make up with their girlfriends, how to find their own 'G' spots, and how to please women. The Montreal Gazette comments: 'Provocative, but highly entertaining....Nawrocki is one of the most refreshing souls you'll ever encounter.' Over 250,000 people see the three sex shows. Norman is crowned 'Perogy King of Montreal' in a vodka-drenched cookoff judged by a Montreal weekly.
The Music Never Stops
By 2001, Norman joins 1-Speed Bike (the drummer from Godspeed you black emperor!) to form 'Bakunin's Bum' - a beat-heavy, drum and strings duo. They release a benefit CD for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty on G-7 Welcoming Committee Records. 'Engaging & empowering' concludes the monthly Exclaim! With his long-time violin partner from the klezmer band, he records DaZoque! - an all-instrumental east european flavoured, self-titled CD. Montreal's Le Devoir calls it 'astonishing, audacious & delicious.' The sextet plays a sold out show at Montreal's International Jazz Festival. Norman plays the avant guard Musique Actuelle Festival in Victoriaville, Quebec, and continues performing spoken word shows across Canada. He accompanies himself on his amplified/sampled violin with a vibrating dildo & other toys.
The Film, The Play, The Book
Norman is one of four Quebec artists featured in a 2002 Radio Canada TV documentary about 'rebel music.' He's commissioned by CBC Radio to write a series of six 'telephone theatre' plays about the life of a talking payphone in one of Montreal's poorest neighbourhoods. He continues to give workshops across the country at universities, colleges about 'Creative Resistance: how to use music, poetry, theatre & humour to address serious social issues,' and lectures as well on questions of literature, music, and popular theatre. His newest book, 'The Anarchist & The Devil do Cabaret' (Black Rose Books, 207 pages) is published and is his first foray into the world of short stories. Critics love the book and call it "an anthem for social justice"(Amazon.ca), and "outrageously funny & profoundly moving" (Vue, Edmonton).
Lessons from a 7 ft. Penis
Norman starts 2003 touring a new solo talk/performance ,‘Lessons from a 7ft Penis.’ It’s an
hour-long motivational presentation that showcases some of the best material from his ‘sex’ shows, and summarizes his experiences touring North America as a giant, talking, dancing penis, butt plug and vagina.
DaZoque! plays the prestigious Guelph Jazz Festival & Canada’s largest Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Toronto, The St-Vladimir Institute. Norman continues to tour Canada with his newest book, performing live readings while accompanying himself on violin. In Montreal, he reads anti-war poetry on a street corner for his largest ever audience: a 200,000 strong peace demonstration against the war in Iraq.
Hollywood Comes to Montreal
In the Summer of 2003, Norman has his first brushes with 'Hollywood.' As an 'extra' during Montreal area feature filming, he gets pushed to the ground by TIM ROTH and merits a thumbs up from ANDIE MCDOWELL for portraying a distraught farmer father opposite her (in the film THE LAST SIGN); gets to make out opposite gun-toting ANGELINA JOLIE, KEIFER SUTHERLAND & OLIVIER MARTINEZ ( in the film TAKING LIVES); and gets a nod & a wink from LL COOL J ( in the film SLOW BURN). In none of these scenes is he allowed to wear his giant, 7ft purple talking penis costume. He finds a 1956 PHILLIPS portable turntable in the alley & can finally listen to his collection of vintage XAVIER CUGAT LPs.
2004: Music Explosion
DaZoque! performs 70 minutes of traditional, Ukrainian/Canadian, vodka-friendly, 'DaZoquified' dance hits to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Vladimir's Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Toronto. They learn that their name, spelled backwards in Ukrainian ('Zadoque'), means 'buttocks.' DaZoque! celebrates with a collective spanking. Their live show awaits a CD release as 'Perogy Party Hits Vol 1: spanking music.'
Norman, with New York trumpet prodigy, Aaron Shragge (ex-Montréaler) & soundscape engineer/DaZoque!/Loco Locass guitarist Gregory Anderson Smith forms an experimental, instrumental jazz improv trio, 'The Montreal Manhattan Project.' Normbo plays sampled viola & cello. The MMP release a dark & haunting debut, self-titled album, & perform a few rare, live shows in Montréal, christening a new underground venue, 'The Dirty Brown Door.' The way cool, super talented harpist from the Québec Symphony Orchestra, Isabelle Fortier, joins Norman to form another new experimental, un-named contemporary music duo. Isabelle plays her harp through distortion pedals & a guitar amplifier, using metal objects and a whip. Norman adds amplified violin & viola, bells, whistles and French texts. Norman continues solo music/spoken word performances & his 'sex' shows across Canada.
DaZoque! receives a Canada Council grant to create a French musical about housing rights. They collaborate with a radical, Québec-wide coalition of over 100 housing rights groups, 'FRAPRU' ( 'People's Rights Over Urban Development'). For over 20 years, FRAPRU borrowed Québecois traditional and pop songs, re-writing the lyrics to address questions of tenants' rights & social housing. They sing them during street demonstrations & occupations. DaZoque! re-writes & rearranges some of these songs and composes and writes new ones. They help organize a FRAPRU choir of 12 tenants' rights activists and hire a choir director. The band expands to 10 musicians. The Montréal performance of 'FRAPRU en musique' is a huge success, and is repeated in Québec City & Sherbrooke. Political activists reluctantly agree: music is fun.
Meanwhile, Norman releases his first ever solo CD, 'Duck Work.' The anti-war, anti-Empire spoken word/music album is cited as one of the top 10 local releases by The Montréal Gazette, alongside CDs by the Arcade Fire, The Dears, and Sixtoo. Three of the city's top recording engineers & producers - Larry Cassini, Gregory Smith, & David Sturton - help make the album a critical, dance and DJ friendly masterpiece. "Heavenly looped violins, warm percussion & insightful spoken word...Never a dull moment on the disc" - Urbnet.
The Québecois ska compilation 2TONGUE #5, includes a new contribution from Bush's Bum: 'Une messe pour les masses' (A Mass for the masses). Norman revisits his childhood church experiences - Baptist by chance.
For the fifth annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Norman brings together seven local anarchist musicians, and songwriters for 'Music, Anarchy & the Word,' a panel discussion/show. The singers are articulate about the why's, hows and tribulations of anarcho songsmiths. The audience sympathizes.
Norman creates a new solo show spoken word/live music show based on the life of Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian and one of 'Canada's Secret Trial Five' detained under Canada's Security Certificate. He reconstructs Mohamed's pre-prison life as a personal diary and accompanies the text with new, Arabic inspired loops, samples & viola.
2005: The Devil Signs a Recording Contract
Norman begins recording a new, solo spoken word & music album with letters from 'The Anarchist & The Devil Do Cabaret.' Concordia University's School of Community & Public Affairs invites him to teach a grad-level course: 'The Arts, Radical Social Change, & Community Economic Development'. Norman rediscovers the pleasure of academia. On tour performing his sex shows & 'Creative Resistance' workshops across the country, he by-passes the Shania Twain museum in Timmons. He buys his first set of cowboy boots - used - in Sudbury.
With the help of three local musicians, 'Duck Work' hits a Montreal stage as a live band. For the 6th annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Norman pulls together a panel discussion/ reading with six, hot, local anarchist authors of fiction ( Peter Dubè, Bruno Massé, Tara-Michelle, Vincent Tinguely, Claudine Vachon & David Wormaker). Anarchist fiction rocks the house.
Bored Chapman Stick Bass man extraordinaire, Sylvain Auclair joins Norman (violin/viola) to form SAAN - a new improv duo. They make funny noises in the studio and release a limited edition self-titled debut CD.
On the west coast, Norman discovers the joys of playing with G7 Welcoming Committee Records label mates, the quite melodious and heavily tattooed Submission Hold. Later, he works with the 'Vancouver Strings X6,' a hot string sextet, featuring Vancouver violin icon 'Sexy Pierre Lumoncel.' Norman introduces a privileged Montreal audience to his favorite virtuosic Ukrainian/Canadian band, Edmonton's Kubasonics. There's talk of an Edmonton/Montreal new alternative Uke/Canadian music festival to come. DaZoque! works with La Maison Virevolte (a family drop-in centre from the poorest part of a south shore suburb) to produce a concert with a 20 voice women's choir, and a new, expanded DaZoque! Former Rhythm Activism guitar god, Sylvain Côté, and bassist, Sylvain Auclair join DZ for the fun. The choir members, mostly poor, single moms, re-write popular Quebec songs to describe their lives as women living on welfare or with low-paying jobs.
Never bored Norman plays the role of 'Eddie,' an alcoholic, Saskatchewan Ukrainian Canadian farmer discussing art, in a Montreal theatrical show. Local film-maker wizard, Donald Goodes, bases the show on a film-script. Eddie was his uncle.
Meanwhile, Montreal almost witnesses a one-show only reunion of the legendary Rhythm Activism. RA last played together in 1998. The idea is born. The ultra-hip, orgy of word-power, Montreal's 'Festival de Voix d'Ameriques' invites Norman on stage. The venerable weekly Montreal Mirror says: 'Every city should be so lucky to have a Norman Nawrocki.' Hee hee!
The Kids, James Bond & Soap in 2006
Norman starts teaching kindergarten, primary and secondary school students across Québec as part of a provincial government program to parachute artists into schools. He teaches everything from short story writing to improv theatre, comedy, & conflict resolution. He's blown away by the kids' creativity, and shocked by the workload of teachers.
In a locally shot movie, Norman stars 50 feet away from the new, unpopular James Bond replacement (before the dude got his JB part). At home, Norman fends off a hungry squirrel that tries to gnaw through his front window. Among his more memorable performances, he entertains Polish students at the Polish Consulate in Montreal. The students applaud Norman's efforts and his vodka tinged Polish humour. He records and releases his 19th album, 'Letters from Poland/Lettres de pologne' - a 14 track, English/French/Polish spoken word cd with tons of new music. Norman plays piano, accordion, tsymbaly and strings, while his Dad sings a genuine Polish drinking song.
Norman re-writes an act from one of his older musicals ('Eddy - The Guy over There') for Montreal's first ever Anarchist Theatre Festival. 'Overdale' is a short, 15 minute piece about resisting gentrification in Montreal and the shortage of affordable housing.
Montreal’s Lux Editeur publishes L'Anarchiste et le diable Voyages, cabarets et autres récits, a 300 page French translation of Norman’s book, The Anarchist & The Devil Do Cabaret. The French press says: “Fascinating!” (Radio Canada), “An impeccable translation” (Le Couac), while Télé-Quebec TV calls Norman “One of the new generation of distinguished Quebec artists carrying the torch of socially relevant work.” Handlers for Sophie Paquin, a Québec TV soap star, hire him to play violin for her show. She nods and smiles at him on set. He ignores her. On the set of I’M NOT THERE, in between takes, Norman pulls out a chair for Cate Blanchette to sit on. He’s convinced she really is Bob Dylan. Norman spends his nights perfecting his popcorn recipes while watching The Office, Myth Busters and Good Eats on TV. At the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities national conference, Norman is nominated as one of the top speakers for the year, alongside George Strombopolous, a hypnotist and a drag queen. Back home, Norman plays his first Moroccan baby party for a friend's newborn. At the Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, Norman breaks the Festival record for carrot cake consumption in a single sitting. He swears it was the best carrot cake ever. For Montreal’s first ever International Anarchist Theatre Festival, Norman directs his one-act play, OVERDALE, based on the infamous mass evictions and demolition of the former inner-city artists’ neighbourhood (late 1980s) and the subsequent trials. To protest Israel’s bombing of Lebanon and raise funds for relief efforts, Norman organizes a huge Poets Against War! night with Tadamon and 30 Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Syrian, Palestinian, Pakistani, Jewish, French and English local poets and musicians. Audience members rate it as one of the highlights of the city’s vibrant spoken word scene for 2006.
2007: Ukranians, Italians and Albertans Embrace the Force
For the 24 hour Night of Philosophy marathon at Montreal’s University of Quebec, Norman gives a multi-media presentation in French about visual art called The Anarchist Aesthetic: Anarchy & Art, 1865-2007. Albertans in Lethbridge pleasantly shock Norman by embracing his SEX TOYS! performance and calling for more. He promises to return once he satisfies the masses from Sudbury to Corner Brooke NFD, who can’t get enough of his Lessons from a 7ft Carrot show. Meanwhile, at the highly respected and fun-loving Montreal luthier of Wilder and Davis, Norman plays his vibrating, dancing dildo in a frying pan balanced on his violin. The luthiers chuckle, applaud and drink more beer.
With artists like Josh McPhee from Just Seeds and Benoit Tremblay, Norman organizes Montreal’s first ever Art + Anarchy 2007 exhibit of politically engaged visual art in a 10,000 square foot loft space in the Mile End. The mega exhibit of over 250 pieces of art with film screenings, book launches and conferences draws a few thousand spectators and the support of a local micro-brewery. Montreal’s legendary ‘cabaret rock ‘n roll band/rebel news orchestra’
Rhythm Activism (Norman, Sylvain Côté, Luc Bonin, aka Urbain Desbois, & Wilf Plum), reunite for two scorching shows with old pals / touring mates, the ultra amazing The Ex from Holland. Meanwhile, the exquisitely well-strung DaZoque! (with guest artist Brian Cherwick from Edmonton’s The Kubasonics) help Torontonians party and dance at the city’s annual Ukrainian Festival at Harbourfront. Still on the Uke wavelength, Norman appears in red polyester plaid on a panel discussing 'Memory Everlasting: Post-Peasant Cultural Sensibilities,' at Thompson Rivers University. Unable to say no to any reasonable publishing offer, Norman’s newest 80 page collection of rebel verse, fantasy and short fiction, Breakfast for Anarchists, is published by No Bar Code Press. Oakland’s AK Press can’t say no to any project including Norman, and releases Art, Anarchy and Activism, a CBC Radio recorded CD.
Calgary’s super cool Arusha Centre books Norman and his fake giant male member into the glorious Plaza Theatre to help locals make more love and eat less meat. Italy calls, and Editrice Il Sirente, the reputable Italian book publisher, books Norman into the ultra chic Rome Book Fair to launch the Italian translation of his short story collection, L’Anarchico e il Diavolo Fanno Cabaret. Norman tours Italy and makes the cover of Panorama – Italy’s hottest glossy weekly - just below the photo of Obama the war-monger. Italian critics adore the book. Norman falls in love with Italy, Abruzzo, Mierto, tomato sauce and everything Italian and becomes an Italophile. He returns home to watch every movie ever made with Sophia Loren. He starts writing a first novel inspired by current and historical Italian events. It’s also a love story about an Italian and his Roma refugee girlfriend.
In the 2008 House: MC NN, Anarchy, Italy, the Roma
Norman joins Montreal’s hottest pianist, Stefan Christoff, in a benefit cabaret to support Abdelkader Belaouni (Kader), a blind Algerian refugee marking his 2nd year anniversary of imprisonment within a church resisting deportation. Ever in demand for his sartorial smarts, Norman MCs a night of radical marching bands and plays his kazoo with the 50 brass and woodwind musicians. Later, cleverly disguised in his giant female and male member costumes, he MCs the Dead Doll Dancers Cabaret at Montreal’s celebrated drag queen epi-centre, Café Cleopatra. The queens are floored.
Outside the bar scene, Norman continues to work with elementary and secondary school students and teachers and expands his repertoire of workshops to include clowning. One delighted teacher says: “In two hours Norman took classes with limited (if any) experience with clowns, and enabled them to create a show. What was accomplished in that short time was amazing.” Norman is photographed with his 250 star clown pupils wearing red noses.
Outside the classrooms, Norman sits on a Canada Council for the Arts Music jury recommending money for his peers. Over the years, he himself receives several awards from both the Canada and the Quebec Arts Councils. For the Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival, Norman performs dramatic extracts from his novel-in-progress, Cazzarola! The docu-drama deals with the earliest resistance to Italian fascism, including a failed 1926 assassination attempt on the life of the dictator, Benito Mussolini, and the persecution by Italy’s neo-fascists of Roma refugees living in squalid camps across Italy today. Montreal indie filmmaker Steve Patry makes a documentary based on Norman’s performance called Cazzarola! ou la résistance contre le fascisme.
Anonymous filmmakers flood YouTube with Norman clips. The internationally renowned human rights group, Everyone Group from Italy, asks Norman to record the English vocals for a memorial video poem written by Italian writer, Robert Malini. The poem, Makwan: Letter from Paradise, is about a young Iranian man, executed by the State because he was gay. It is part of a presentation to the Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels advocating the abolition of the Death Penalty.With the support of the Québec Arts Council, Norman returns to Italy to complete research for Cazzarola!, perform, and give workshops from Corsano to L’Aquila. He visits a Roma refugee camp in Rome and interviews dozens of refugees. They ask him to take their story to the people of Canada.
Dim Sum, Lunch, Dinner, Hong Kong Debut 2009
On tour in Hong Kong, Norman loops and samples his violin for patrons of a rowdy downtown jazz bar, gives a workshop for the local Indie Media Centre, then dazzles the indie music crowd at the Wanchai Art and Culture Outreach Centre. Local music legends, including the legendary Lenny Guo from Hong Kong's legendary Blackbird band join him on stage. Norman meets dozens of other artists, writers, actors and musicians, and writes about his Hong Kong adventures for the anarchist quarterly, The Fifth Estate. After overindulging on extra spicy Singapore noodles, he impulsively buys golden sneakers and joins Facebook. Back home Norman's Brainfood Trilogy poetry collection is completed. Volumes 2 and 3, Lunch for Insurgents, and Dinner for Dissidents join his Breakfast for Anarchists opus, which was described by Broken Pencil as “The reality of the daily news fused with imagination and hope.” The three 80 page books are 'incendiary poetic collections of insightful commentary, oral molotovs and daring fantasies.’ Each includes incredible visual art by renowned artists like Gord Hill, Poderiu, Tanya Willard, David Lester, Maurice Spira, etc. Dinner for Dissidents also contains a killer Perogy Party recipe.
Norman tours Canada to support the books and gets audiences to sing along, stomp their feet, drink vodka, and perform with him. Cities like Toronto experience unprecedented, one poet/triple book launch extravaganzas. Totally addicted to the academic lifestyle, Norman teaches new courses about community-based arts and social justice at Concordia’s School of Extended Learning, and continues to tour Quebec public schools inspiring new, young writers who keep asking him to write books for kids.
Always thinking in triplicate, the artist known as Norman gives Quebec City a taste of his Lettres de Pologne violin performance during the day with a workshop about socially engaged art, a Cazarolla! solo theatre performance at night, and a brand new L’Art et L’Anarchie hier et aujourd’hui knock ‘em dead audio-visual talk next day about the history of anarchist visual art.
The big fight for the little Parc Oxygène in Norman’s Montreal neighbourhood heats up. The Parc was created in the 1990s by local residents who, after years of inaction by the City, took direct action themselves to dig up and transform a piece of private property that had become a dangerous alley, into a precious little inner-city green space for the use and benefit of all. The Park is threatened by a major condo development and the residents, including Norman, fight back.
2010: Wrexpo ’86 Returns, Summer Love-in Blooms
Norman’s infamous TYRANNOUSAURUS WREXPO – THE SPIRT OF ’86 wall poster poem is reproduced by a Vancouver artist and plastered all over the city for the 2010 Olympics to remind locals of ‘other’ points of view. The poster poem had originally been wheat-pasted across Vancouver in 1986 to denounce the damage wrought by the ‘86 World Fair. Norman fantasizes about assembling North American anarchist writers of fiction in one room. Thirty of the anarcho literati (poets, playwrights, novelists, etc.) respond and gather for a first continent-wide meeting during the 2010 Montreal Anarchist Bookfair to plan future literary mayhem.
The Atlantic Council for International Cooperation invites Norman to give the keynote speech and a workshop at their 35th anniversary symposium, ‘Zen and the Art of Public Engagement’ on the bucolic campus of the University of Prince Edward Island. He devours two lobsters, drinks countless ‘growlers’ full of fine, local micro-brew, and encourages East Coasters to keep singing, dancing and making merry in their quest for social justice. In the on-going fight to save Parc Oxygène in his neighbourhood, Norman pulls together a Summer-long Love-In, People’s Art, People’s Park Arts Festival. It’s eight weeks of outdoor poetry, music, theatre, visual art, comedy and dance in the park, with dozens of artists contributing to the event. The park is cited by a local daily as one of the ten hot green spots worth fighting for by citizens.