February 11

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Missing Michael Green

DOWNTOWN

I would like to express some thoughts on Michael Green’s passing, not as his friend or colleague – sadly, I was neither – but as a fan.

Michael was a fearless, funny and completely absorbing performer. When he was on stage, I could never take my eyes off him – even when he stood there naked, as he occasionally did. (My friends and I used to joke that we’d seen Michael naked so may times we could draw his penis from memory.) Every Michael Green performance felt like an event. Each show felt like something necessary to witness, to ponder and discuss. His work on the stage was a gift.

So, too, was his work as the curator of the annual High Performance Rodeo. For years, the Rodeo has stood as the only good thing about January in Calgary. Each year, HPR offers up a necessary dose of creative nourishment after the weeks of pallid Christmas clichés. As a writer, the HPR was and is a reliable inspiration for me. The Rodeo makes me want to work. Whatever I create each February is thanks to Michael and his fellow Yellow Rabbits.

The Rodeo, of course, will go on. So, too, will the Rabbits and every other artist Michael has left behind in his broad wake. They will continue to create and inspire. Everything they put on the page or on the stage will, in some way at least, be part of his legacy.

I extend my sympathies to all those who were close to Michael Green – his family, his friends, and his co-conspirators. But I pity, too, those who did not know him. Those who never saw him act or sing or wail on the stage. Those who never sat as audience members of the shows helped create and curate. These people have also suffered a loss. But unlike the rest of us, they don’t know what they have missed.

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