TJ Dawe, Chris Gibbs, and Totem Figures

Chris Gibbs Everybody!

It’s been awhile since I have mentioned anyone from the fringe. You know, it is so easy to suck right into yourself like a little rolly polly. You know those little black bugs that look like something that would inspire a Jim Hensen puppet from The Black Crystal? You know the ones I’m talking about; you poke them, and they roll right up, and you can’t get them to open again, even when you set them on the ground, and stare at them for a really long time. That’s what I’ve been lately. “Ouch, no, the world hurts, I’m just going to hang out in here for awhile”. Next thing you know, six months have passed and you forget you ever did anything before you curled up. Thankfully TJ Dawe sent me a link to his webpage and podcasts, Totem Figures.

If you have never heard of TJ Dawe, here is a good opportunity to check out one of his many impressive projects. I had the chance to meet TJ while I was on tour with Inviting Desire in Edmonton. I went to see his show, Totem Figures, and I just fell in love with his writing and his ideas. The funny thing about meeting TJ is that he is one of these guys that asks you a lot of questions. I mean really asks you questions, and he is really listening. I was certain he was taking mental notes, like he has a guy sitting at a desk in his head furiously typing stuff down on an old manual typewriter, like something out of Naked Lunch, “Get this into the files man you never know when you can use this.” It is not extraordinary that a man like TJ would come up with a project like Totem Figures. What’s extraordinary is that people don’t generally think to ask someone, who is your Mount Rushmore your totem figure, and what an interesting thing to learn about a person. Thankfully TJ does ask.

Totem Figures interviews various people, (so far every podcast I have listened to has been from a performer) and asks them who made an impact on their lives, and how or in what way. They can be someone famous you’ve never met or someone close to you, and not famous. The podcasts are based on TJ Dawe’s play Totem Figures. I’m going to interject here – I don’t want to give away too much about the play because you should just go listen to it yourself, but, Star Wars, hello, major impact. I think I got something like five Totem Figures out of that movie alone. Plus, tater-tots (for me) have a direct link to Empire Strikes back. All I’ll say is: Ice planet+ need to keep Luke warm= uh, tater-tots. That’s all you get. The latest podcast interview is from Chris Gibbs. I love Chris Gibbs; I could get a button. Chris is a genuinely kind, kind-hearted person, and it was wonderful to get to chat and have coffee with him. He is a truly funny man, and talented performer. You should jump over and listen to the podcast and watch the youtube clips. Afterwards, you should check out the rest of the podcasts, and get introduced to some talented people, and listen to who inspired and influenced their lives.

I leave you with my Totems: Marilyn Monroe, Star Wars (pretty much Han and Luke), Bugs Bunny, Vincent Van Gogh, Carol Anne from Poltergeist, River Phoenix as Chris Chambers from Stand By Me, The Forest Scene in The Hobbit or “the forest”, Alice in Wonderland, John Belushi (and the first cast in the first season of SNL) and my aunt Gay-Linda.


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