S U M M E R 2 011
and the Art of Innovation
3. Point 4. CounterPoint 5. First Word 6. Sights - Angelina Coccimiglio 7. Syllables - Randall Maggs 8. Cover Story 11. Performance NB 13. Performance NS 15. Performance NL 16. Performance PEI 17. Sights - Corey Isenor 18. Syllables - Sue Goyette 19. Spotlight - Leslie Vryenhoek
21. Gallery 24. Snapshot - David Adams Richards 25. Scene - Trevor Holder 26. Shine - Donal Power 27. Sights - Lisa Fraser 28. Syllables - Beth Janzen 29. Scoop 30. Currents 31. Community 32. Click 33. On the Page 36. Sounds 38. On the Stage
40. Taste 41. Sights - Mary Carr Chiasson 42. Syllables - John Barton 43. Festival Guide 45. Showcase NB 46. Showcase NS 47. Showcase NL 48. Showcase PEI 49. Sights 5 - Gerard Kelly 50. Syllables - Chris Benjamin 51. Last Word 52. Coda
Volume 1, Issue 4 Summer 2011 Arts East is published by Nova Media Group email@example.com www.artseast.ca
Publisher: Stephen Patrick Clare Editor: Whitney Moran Designer: Mike McMahon Contributors: Kimberly Walsh, Peggy Walt, Peter Moreira, Michelle Brunet, Chad Pelley, Samantha Ostrov, Julie Meredith, Katie Tower All material contained within this publication is the property of Arts East, the contributors and the artists themselves. Any duplication or reproduction of materials is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of Arts East. Arts East gratefully acknowledges the generosity of KBC.
Point Maps & Legends First off, I would like to thank everyone for their profound patience awaiting the release of our summer issue while we have been in “dry-dock” over the last few months, refitting the magazine and making personnel changes at the helm. Secondly, a warm welcome-aboard to our new editor Whitney Moran. A resident of Halifax, she brings a fresh, strong breeze to Arts East and her ideas, energy and enthusiasm open up many exciting horizons of possibility for the publication. Ditto for our new designer (and rudder) Mike McMahon, also an HRM dweller, whose eagle-eye for detail and solid work ethic have made hoisting the sails smooth and seamless, keeping us on an even-keel while we navigate new waters. We have some new stowaways sailing with us on this voyage as well; Peggy Walt, Michelle Brunet, Samantha Ostrov, Julie Meredith and Katie Tower have all checked themselves (and their precious cargo) into our hold for a more informed, inspired trip. There are some “old-hands” on deck here also, including (Privateer) Peter Moreira, (Pirate) Chad Pelley and (Captain) Kimberly Walsh. All of this to say that, with the high-seas of publishing now sending so many vessels of infotainment to the ocean floor, it takes a crew of both seasoned veterans and spirited rookies to remain seaworthy.
The same can be said of the arts in Atlantic Canada –with the winds and waves of change pushing and pulling us from all directions, we are of good-fortune to have so many knowledgeable and experienced sailors on deck to steer us safely through the storms – they are the stars by which we chart our course. -
Ditto for the all the youthful first-mates who have taken the wheel here in recent years, feeding the fires of innovation and leading us towards unexplored lands, full steam ahead. In particular, one such young buck has helped to keep the artistic boat afloat in Atlantic Canada for nearly two decades; Rich Terfry has cruised the crest of creative endeavors from his early days slinging Joe at the Paper Chase Café in Halifax, through his late night spins as DJ Critical at CKDU in the Dalhousie University Student Union Building, to his ongoing adventures as the legendary, (other) worldly hip-hop artist Buck 65 and his current swashbuckling sonic-smithery as the host of CBC’s Radio 2 Drive. His work is both innovative and inspiring - and, as you will read in this edition’s cover story, his insight into the art of innovation is a map of sorts for those who seek to follow in his creative wake.
Enjoy the journey!
Stephen Patrick Clare Publisher
Innovation as Inspiration “Some ideas are new, but most are only recognition of what has been there all along, the mystery in the middle of the room, the secret in the mirror” ~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost Innovation at its most simplistic can be described as the introduction of something new. However, it seems to me as though the relative speed of innovation at present is unconcerned with introductions. Perhaps I purposefully keep myself out of the proverbial ‘loop’, but I feel that we are often, like awkward first dates, left without an introduction—forced to introduce ourselves to whatever “innovation” has become at any particular moment. Because of this, remaining knowledgeable or at the very cusp of what is ‘new’ has become quite a daunting task. Coming from an editorial perspective my main concern is: what is the importance of innovation in relation to Arts East? As a publication that thrives on new technology as a medium for disseminating an immediate artistic and cultural awareness of the Atlantic region, I remain very aware of the relative benefits. However, I’m also in tune to the potential penalties within the industry. For many, this means quantity (information; readership, etc…) over quality—innovation as a general concept seems to breed this mentality. This is not our mandate.
To me, innovation should breed further ‘new-ness’. By this I mean that we need not necessarily look at cul-tural and artistic objects and performances in the world as things that must adapt to our swiftly altering social climate, nor in the sense of improving on what already exists, but in engaging with that which is ‘current’ as artefacts for inspiration. As such, the way I see it my job as Editor is to introduce you, the readers—artists, patrons, and aesthetes alike—to each other. I must ensure that your eyes remain perpetually gaping open so that you may fully take advantage of the community of artistic and cultural events that await you. Participation does not necessitate creation, but does at least require consideration, contemplation, and appreciation. The purpose of Arts East is to expose you to that which may enlighten you—not in that hackneyed sense of progress, but with the intention of growing an organic community of the mutually inspired. To return to the simplistic: for you, the reader, I wish only for innovation to be synonymous with inspiration.
Whitney Moran Editor
Word By Kimberly Walsh
Books have been around for a long time, and art If anything, digital should mean instant access. even longer. The Gutenberg press was arguably But the publishing industry, for one, is waging a one of the foremost innovations of Western civili- war with itself. It’s embroiled in battles over rights, zation. Then came along this little thing called the determinations of who gets paid and how much,world wide web that opened a virtual gateway to all and on and on. And while the gatekeepers of consorts of human knowledge and interaction. tent are arguing these points, the content is finding back channels to get into the hands of the audiWe now have at our fingertips access to more infor- ence. mation and entertainment than any other society before us. From digital and interactive books, to So, let’s stop belabouring the point that DRM is interviews with artists, to music videos and more. bad and get on with it. Instead of alienating readWhat more could we ask for? ers, let’s figure out a way to compete with torrent sites. Napster didn’t destroy the music industry. Well, it was about 10 years ago when Napster What we have to remember is that for all the evils opened the Pandora’s box of the web. Since then a that were unleashed from Pandora’s box, she was number of industries have been trying contain the still able to contain hope. Ultimately, our only hope unleashed “evils”. I’m talking, of course, about the in moving forward is to innovate with the times. controversy surrounding digital piracy and DRM. Kimberly Walsh is the digital and online coordinator The million dollar question is: how do we turn the with Nimbus Publishing in Halifax. issue on its head and leverage online behaviors? Because, if we look at the facts, piracy is ingrained in the culture of a whole generation. In other words, it’s not going away. The fact of the matter is that it isn’t the illegality of the act that the end-user is seeking. It’s the content and easy access to said content that they desire.
Angelina Coccimiglio Angelina Coccimiglio, originally from Saskatchewan, is a portrait photographer in Halifax. She studies photography at the Nova Scotia Community College. www.flickr.com/acphotographic firstname.lastname@example.org
syllables “The greatest save I ever saw in hockey,” says Plante, waving pages of notes in his trapper hand, the black suit too tight and the tie too narrow, emphasizing an angular face and a startling inelegant sprawl as he tries in his chair to show Ward Cornell just how Sawchuk, flat on his back in a pileup in front, puts a pad high in the air to save the game, as Terry himself turns up. He’s come straight from the ice in his gear for a rare interview, easing himself and his leaden pads towards an awkward chair. Cables, tables, precarious lights. Disaster a stumble away, he knows about that. He’s careful too with Plante’s enthusiasm, shrugs off the compliments—the guys were clearing rebounds, the forwards picking up their man. Asked about the save, he looks away, “I stuck up a leg,” as if to say like anyone would. “He puts one on the ice it’s in. You know yourself, Jacques, it’s better to be lucky than good.” Plante resists a cozy acquiescence like a monk. He seems too open, too unguarded for a goalie. The heart of matters is what he wants to wade into, but this is Hockey Night
in English Canada. His catching hand comes up to make a point, to ask about the sudden drop in weight, over 200 pounds to 165 in a year, the trade, the brutal Boston press, the train in the night to Detroit. But Terry steers the questions off into a corner. “You do what you have to do. You know I’ve always admired you, Jacques, down at the other end.” Plante sits back, unsatisfied, and Ward murmurs something inert about grit or momentum. You see the goaltenders glance at one another, the only moment in the interview that their eyes meet. The silent exchange is arresting. They know each other’s subtlest movements in their sleep, but they’re not accustomed to being so close. You wonder what they might have said to one another, left alone, but up this close it’s better to keep side-on. That’s the message from Terry at least.
“So when you saw Keon wide open,” says Plante, “what you made was a desperate move.” “That’s it, Jacques,” Sawchuk says, all in one motion detaching his mike and rising up out of the ill-considered chair, “that’s all it was.” -excerpt from Night Work; The Sawchuck Poems (Brick Books, 2008)
Randall Maggs’ poetry has appeared in numerous reviews and anthologies. His most recent collection, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems (2008) was included in the Globe and Mail’s list of “Top 100 Books” for that year. In 2009, Night Work won the Winterset Award and the Newfoundland Book Awards’ E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize, and in 2010, it won the Kobzar Literary Award. As well, he has been a long-time participant in Newfoundland’s March Hare Festival of words and music and Artistic Director of the Festival since 2002. He lives on the west coast of Newfoundland. email@example.com
f o t r A The ation
v o n n I
Buck 65 and the
Power What Ifs of
It is a cloudy Sunday afternoon in Halifax and Rich Terfry (a.k.a. Buck 65) couldn’t be sunnier. The 39 year-old Canadian Hip-Hop artist is in his element, surrounded by both old friends and new acquaintances, including a cast of creative characters. Terfry and a crew of two-dozen are on site at a school in the city’s trendy North End district, shooting a video for Zombie Delight, the first single from his latest release 20 Odd Years. “It is so good to be home,” he says out loud to no one in particular. “Halifax still has that awesome energy for me – I can still feel it, even after all of this time.” Indeed, it has been a long - and sometimes strange - trip for the Mt. Uniacke, Nova Scotia native. After almost two
decades of making music, including both independent and major label releases, and a myriad of pseudonyms and aliases, Terfry is still going strong, keeping his finely-tuned eyes and ears firmly focused on the future and its frontiers. Certainly, 20 Odd Years is a sure testament to the ongoing evolution of the multi-award winning artist. Featuring tracks taken from four previously-released, like-titled digital and 7” vinyl EPs, as well as two new numbers, the 13-song disc showcases a string of creative collaborations with the likes of Gord Downie, Hannah Georges, Olivia Ruiz and MariePierre Arthur.
“That exchange of ideas can be quite inspiring, and it can make us push one another to try out new things.” “I think that the one question that has always driven me to move forward with my work has been What If,” he shares during a break from the day-long video shoot. “What if soand-so came in on this song? What if I took a piece of this And while that resourcefulness might not be as highly-toutedand a piece of that and stuck them together? What if I did as our hospitality, it has, explains Terfry, perhaps served us this differently? What if I take a sharp left turn with this?” better. It brings to mind the ages-old adage that courage is not an absence of fear, but rather a resistance to it. “I suppose that is true in a way,” smiles Terfry. “Still, I am hardly alone in that assessment – there are many, many great and groundbreaking artists here in Atlantic Canada that have been, and continue to be, pushed by that very same question.” Sure enough, when he is not busy writing, recording and performing his own material, Terfry pays homage to his peers as the weekday afternoon host of CBC’s Radio 2 Drive. “Jenn Grant, Joel Plaskett, Meghan Smith, Matt Mays, Two Hours Traffic – we have some of the country’s most amazing songwriters right here on the East Coast,” he notes. “And that list just keeps getting longer every day.”
“We inspire one another and challenge one another to take risks and grow. And that is true of all artistic disciplines here; musicians, writers, photographers, painters, whatever - we seem to bring out the best in one another.” Newfoundland and Labrador visual artist Esther Squires knows the importance of that influence. “In a smaller place, artists are more likely gravitate to one another,” says the St. John’s native, who is the daughter of renowned NL painter/sculptor Gerald Squires. “We will all get together over a drink or two and talk shop; what’s new, what we are working on, who’s doing what, etc. “That exchange of ideas can be quite inspiring, and it can make us push one another to try out new things.”
Part of that explosion of creative output, he believes, comes from having such a tightly-knit artistic community in Atlantic Canada.
Scott Brewer of Fredericton shares the sentiment. The 31 year-old digital designer and graphic artist recently started attending “Lan Parties” in the New Brunswick capital.
“There is a really strong sense of collaboration here - one that you would have a tough time finding anywhere else in the country. It could be some sort of regional, cultural thing - we work really well together and have learned to help each other out as a people through the years.”
“A bunch of us nerds get together with our laptops once a week and go crazy surfing the internet for new ideas,” he laughs over the phone. “It is a little like treasure hunting, and that gold can often turn up in our creative work over the coming days.”
Technology has also aided the efforts of Catherine Keller, an aspiring fashionista from Summerside, PEI. “I use my computer exclusively when putting my pieces together,” shares the 25 year-old brunette. “In fact, I don’t do anything by hand at all anymore, except when I am actually stitching the finished work together for a real-time showing.” The internet has also allowed her to keep a watchful eye on the latest trending from the ever-evolving world of hautecouture - despite the relative isolation of island life. “I suppose that I am a bit partial to the more outrageous stuff,” she smirks, listing Gerlan Mercel, Isaac Mizrahi and Alexander McQueen as current influences. “And then I can post my own outlandish creations and portfolio online for prospective clients to see.” Those innovations, says Rich Terfry, are a sign of the times. “What we are witnessing here is a changing of the guard. Younger artists have way more tools available to them than the previous generation had. We can do more, see more, hear more, feel more and, ultimately, create more than anyone that came before us.” Still, he says, when it comes to that creativity, there is no substitute for real life experience. “My advice to other artists here in Atlantic Canada is to get out there and see the world. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new ideas and emotions and different encounters – itcan only take your work to new and exciting places. “And, in a sense, that is our job - to both reflect the times that we live in, and to some degree, to betray the times that we live in.”
“Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new ideas and emotions and different encounters – it can only take your work to new and exciting places.” Brewer was recently contacted by a major New York multimedia firm about some well-paying contract work. “They found me online,” he shrugs. “These guys do serious, edgy film-stuff and animation for markets in India and China, and this is a real opportunity for me to make a name for myself in this industry. This is very, very cool for me.”
As the make-up artist applies the last bit of blush to his cheeks before he shuffles back to the video shoot, Terfry pauses, looks up at her and asks quietly “What if we tried putting it on this way this time?”
Performance Sappyfest 2011: With or Without You What other festival have you ever heard of refer to itself as “a wedding reception with 40 great live acts and no vows?” Relying heavily on word of mouth, Sappyfest has grown steadily from an audience of about 250 in 2006, to over 1500 at last year’s “Swamp Magic.” Creative Director Paul Henderson expects an even greater turnout this summer for the festivals sixth offering: “With Or Without You.” Taking place during its usual time slot of the last weekend of July (July 29th to 31st) in the nostalgia-laden, sepia-toned artist’s hub of Sackville, New Brunswick the festival offers live music from a diverse and eclectic collage of genres. Always dynamic, this year’s musical menu includes everything from soul to folk to electronica to indie rock to “weird jazz, and some of the best singer-songwriters you've never heard of,” making it Sappy’s “most diverse lineup ever.” Opening with Charles Bradley and his 7-piece soul band from Brooklyn, NY—a “long-standing goal” achieved by festival curators with a penchant for 60’s soul music—other acts include established artists in the Canadian indie scene such as The Sadies, Owen Pallet, Rich Aucoin, Ladyhawk, and The Burning Hell to members of Sackville’s musical royalty including Shotgun Jimmie, Pat Lepoidevan and Julie Doiron, out-of-town curiosities like The Woodshed Orchestra, Hooded Fang, and Little Scream, while opening our ears to new bands like Halifax’s polished garage-pop trio The Long Weekends. As a registered non-profit organization, the focus for Sappyfest has never been fiscal in nature. Having never emphasized promotion through advertising, Henderson accounts for Sappy’s organic growth in popularity by stating that the festival is “…still able to draw more and more people to Sackville because the product itself is just so wonderful,” recognizing that he and his team have “really found a niche in the market simply by not knowing any better, building a foundation with family instead of investors, and thinking about artists first.” Ultimately, choosing to depart from the monolithic appeal of an ‘industry festival,’
Sappyfest alternatively claims to “offer respite for both artists and audience from the incessant branding and celebrity glitz that surrounds some the higher profile events in this country.” Also unlike most festivals that have experienced similar growth over the years, the landscape of Sappyfest has retained its foothold as one of the essential charm-factors of the festival itself. According to Henderson, the backdrop of the cozy, academic and artistic haven of Sackville allows Sappyfest “to combine some of the attractions of a folk festival, like a big main-stage tent and natural beauty with the walk-ability, intimacy and electricity of urban, multi-venue rock festivals.” Because there are myriad ways to approach this festival, whether you set up a tent, sleep in your car, stay with friends, or book a room at a nearby hotel, in the end the common tie between Sappy goers is a mutual appreciation of music, visual art, good food, better beer (Picaroons is exclusive), and community. Most importantly, any avid Sappy goer’ will tell you, that this is as much a festival for the artists and musiciansas it is for the paying crowd. For Henderson, the success of Sappyfest is best summed up in few words, “Ultimately I think we're doing it right. We've created the festival we and our community want to go to.” Sappyfest also features a “Zine Fair,” Artist’s Market, and runs concurrently with the Ok Quoi? Arts Festival presented by Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre (July 25th –30 th). To purchase festival passes, $99, visit www.ticketpro.ca or Thunder & Lightening Ltd. in Sackville, NB. For up-to-date line-up and festival information, visit the Sappyfest website: www.sappyfest.com. Also check out Sappyfest on Facebook.
Performance OK. QUOI?! Struts its stuff for a 7th year
Occurring July 25th–31st (with minimal Sappyfest overlap) is the 7th annual Ok. Quoi?! Festival presented by Struts Gallery and Faucet Media Arts Centre—a week-long interdisciplinary celebration of performance and media arts with a focus on new and experimental works. Festival Programmer Andrew Maize concisely describes the spectacle as an opportunity to give “emerging artists a chance to develop their practice through workshops with new materials and by working and exhibiting alongside their professional peers,” both local and international in scope. “Ok.Quoi?! is an exploration” continues Maize; “[b]y exploring venues beyond the gallery walls, the festival is accessible not only to artists, but to visitors and townspeople making it an enriching experience for all.” As usual, this year’s schedule promises “a plethora of programming including screenings, broadcasts, exhibitions, residencies, concerts, artist’s presentations and workshops.” Maize envisions Ok. Quoi?! as an effort to break down the ‘fourth wall’ of performance by saturating the community with interactive art forms, explaining insightfully that the festival “…changes the way we experience the space around us by providing a new road map to explore by, creating pockets of interest and intrigue, highlighting aspects of town easily dismissed.” Having experienced steady growth over the past seven years, Ok. Quoi?! continues to host an eclectic mixture of return festival-goers and curious newcomers. A number of factors are to thank, including the dynamic selection of artists’ contributions and a constant stream of new artists-in-residence, participating artists and community groups “[who] all bring with them a variety of workshop opportunities, activities and skills sets.” Additionally, the festival has also noticed an increase in support from the local businesses that stand to benefit economically from Sackville’s unique brand of aesthetic tourism.
Miscellaneous Marching Band, 2010 Intriguing additions to this year’s festivities include “a series of audio walks created by local artists that will be broadcast on the local community radio station CHMA 106.9,” as well as the opportunity for mem-bers, visiting artists and locals to participate in “an amateur shortwave radio station, a 24hr film making co-ambition and an experimental jam night with live audio and video processing software.” The all-ages festival will also feature an increased focus on youth programming this year by offering workshops in animation, audio fieldrecording, screen-printing, zine-making and kite building in support of a mandate to “engage youth in contemporary art practices.” Young artists will also be given the opportunity to participate in the festival “…by having their work screened alongside professional artists and by setting up a booth to sell their t-shirts and posters.” At once baroque and humble, the festival promises to delight and confuse, educate and elucidate. In closing Maize offer these simple words, “I’m not sure if for these reasons we stand out among other festivals, but I do know that there is something special about the experience of a small town being swamped for a week with artists.”
Performance Dog Day Deforms
After a series of disfiguring rearrangements and amputations, Seth Smith and Nancy Urich ripped out the heart of their Halifax-based quartet Dog Day and moved to the country. They hid away for the winter. Nancy figured out drums. They got chickens. And they wrote, recorded and released Deformer. Recently Urich spoke with AE about the new recording. AE: What was your concept and/or musical direction with Deformer? DD: We just wanted to make songs that were still Dog Day, with the nature and solitude of living in the woods mixed in. We made it a bit more stripped down, sort of like our first EP Thank You. AE: How has becoming a two-piece affected the music on this new album and what do you see as the musical direction of Dog Day? DD: The music has become a touch scrappier considering we are now just guitar and drums, we removed the smooth instruments, keys & bass, tho they do show up on the album here and there. The musical direction hasn't changed that much, we still want to make the same gloomy pop music we always have, and we'll just keep doing it because it's what we do. AE: What can fans expect from the East Coast tour this August? Any further plans to tour? DD: We are really excited for this East coast tour. We're going to play lots of new songs from Deformer, and some oldies too, from each of our previous releases, plus maybe even some surprise covers. Also we will be playing all the shows with Vancouver's Apollo Ghosts, who are known for their caped adventures on stage. We plan on doing Ontario and the rest of Canada this fall. We've got plans to hit the US again, the West Coast and the East Coast, and there are possibly even some Christmas Euro-dates in our future. AE: What is your writing process? DD: Seth writes the songs, sometimes they just pop in to his head, sometimes they come from older reworked songs. He comes up with the bones, then both of us play around until it feels right. The recording process is usually the final moment for a song's writing process, and even then it's hard to let it go and call it done. Even a finished recorded song ends up changing as time goes by, as we tend to add extra parts etc.
AE: What influences you? DD: We are big fans of lots of different types of music over the years. Seth loves bands like the Replacements, TV Personalities. I am just new to drumming so I've been taking my cues from the Wipers and Bonzo mostly. What happens to us everyday influences us. Also nature, and being isolated. AE: How has Atlantic Canadaâ€™s art scene helped or hindered you as artists? How has it changed since the band formed initially? Where do you see it going? DD: Halifax has a great music and arts scene, it has always been an inspiration to keep making music. So many great bands have come and gone, currently their seems to be an explosion of great bands in Halifax - Bird World, Cousins, Duzheknew, Cold Warps, Bad Vibrations - the list goes on and on. Back in 2005 when we started Dog Day the scene was still quite good, though I actually can't really remember what was happening then. I remember going to lots of shows at the Khyber. Halifax has lost some venues but I think that only makes the shows that do happen of a higher quality. I grew up in Cape Breton where the scene was amazing when I was in high school. People were always throwing shows, we had a bunch of bands who would release tapes and demos, we had Gobblefest. There was a real sense of community there. Atlantic Canada will keep on making good art forever, I'd say.
Performance Seth Smith breaks down Deformer “DAYDREAM” – This song first showed it’s self in a jam, halfway into a practice. I was psyched on Nance’s swinger beat (she was in a Bonham phase) and wanted to track it right away before it got too used up. I stole some lyrics from an old song I had that never made it, and it fit nicely. It starts with an old recording Nance did of one of Woofy’s classic Dog dreams. He talks in his sleep, but you really can’t make out a word he’s saying - it’s all gibberish. “PART GIRL” – One of the first songs we tried as a two piece. Wrote this after getting accepted into a musician’s residency in LA. We were stoked at the idea about getting away for the Winter. It was our first US tour as this incarnation and was still kind of an experiment. The song deals with that stuff I guess. “EUROZONE” – Playing Europe always feels so out of reach when you’re a dirt poor indie band. We have a real blast playing there, but haven’t been back for a couple years. I wrote this song to take us back there. Sort of a Field of Dreams Kinda thing. “Build it and they will come.” “I WANNA MIX” – This was one we recorded as a 4 piece on the scrapped album, that just wasn’t working out for some reason. We pulled it out one day and shook it up – Nance sang and I hit the drums, and it seemed to fit better. The song’s about messing around and trying to make things work so i guess it did. “WHAT SHE SAYS” – Wrote this after finding a cool riff on an acoustic in the kitchen. Kinda wrote its self once I got started. One of the first tracks we recorded on the album and were still figuring stuff out, so it’s a looser track. Just another ramblin’ song about gossip. “SOMEBODY” – This was an old song that we tried as a full band at one point, but I felt it just sounded better as an acoustic track since that’s how I met it. Kinda about our friend Stan.
“POSITIVE” – I wrote this song in 5 minutes. One of those tunes that was given to me from outer space. It was during a real bummer time and was just a cool song to talk to when I needed to cheer up. “SCRATCHES” – This was the first song that we finished. I wrote it in bed, while tying to go to sleep for three hours. Wanted to give it lazy melody and a fast strumy rhythm so it would feel sleepy and anxious at the same time. I ripped the chorus line off “Anxiety” on New Problems. I figured no one would notice. Put a sample in it from a sci-fi flick because it was stuck in my head. Suiting right? “BLUISH GREY” – This was the last song we did.It was tracked and mixed a couple days before we sent off the record. Wanted another Nance track and a non guitar track. We used Nancy’s sketchy old Space Echo on the vox and drum fills to trip the song out a bit. We live right on the ocean and when the fog rolls in, it’s like your instantly teleported into a dreamy void. You can really get lostin it. It kinda plays on that theme. “NOTHING” – This song’s my first hater song. Our friends Cold Warps and Bad Vibrations had a couple and I thought I’d try it out. Feels good to get that stuff off your chest. I recommend it. Musically was pretty inspired by JT IV. I think Nannie was drummin’ along to the Wipers at the time so that may have rubbed off a little too. “MR. FREEZE” – Wrote this one in LA after hangin’ out with our pal Norwood Cheek, Superchunk’s old videographer. Wish it could have lasted longer… Woofy got to have some words at the end. Finally! “IN THE WOODS” – This was before we got our house in the woods. We were touring a lot and the idea of moving to the country seemed very appealing. We really needed a break. Wrote the main riff this with the Nils in mind. Used my homemade Yin-Yang pedal on the guitars to give em a melty feel. Oddly enough, I wrote the bridge part during the Thank You sessions. Wow… full circle.
Performance Good Folk
The Folk Arts Society (FAS) is a not-for-profit organization that has been active in the music community of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1966. The FAS hosts and organizes an annual folk festival and a folk night every Wednesday in St. John's. Both functions showcase Newfoundland talent and contribute to the development of promising artists. The FAS also conducts several workshops annually to highlight and explore the cultural traditions of the Province.
Recently AE spoke with Tracey M. Waddleton, General Manager for the Folk Arts Society, about the organization and the 35th Annual Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, which runs from August 5–7 in St. John’s. AE: How has the organization's core mandate changed over the years? TW: The mandate of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society is to preserve, promote and transmit the traditional folk arts of the province. In recent years, our focus has been on transmission of traditional/folk music to the province’s younger generations. We have increased performance opportunities for youth performers and expanded our event programming to include acts that will draw younger audiences to our events. AE: How has the festival expanded during that time? TW: We are seeing increased interest and involvement from youth both in the St. John’s area and across the province in general. It’s a very exciting time! The festival is being embraced by the public in a whole new way. It’s no longer seen as just a series of evening, mainstage concerts. Patrons are excited about the experiences available to them at our smaller stages and tents, an area we’ve been developing throughout the years. AE: What kind of feedback are you getting on this year's festival from participants, public, etc..? TW: The feedback so far has been wonderful. The 2010 Festival was named Event of the Year by the City of St. John’s and we received the Best Volunteer Opportunity award from local arts magazine The Scope, so we’ve had a great response from media, sponsors and to our call for volunteers. Of course, there’s a lot of buzz around the performer lineup! There’s something for everyone at this year’s festival. AE: What does the future look like for both the organization and the festival? TW: As it stands, the future of the Folk Arts Society and the NL Folk Festival is incredibly bright! Our success in 2010 allowed us to produce increased opportunities for musicians and the public in 2011. It’s all about appreciation for who we are as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are part of a distinct artistic culture, and it’s important to the Folk Arts Society and its supporters that this culture is not lost with our younger generations or as a result of the evolving provincial economy.
Of course, The Folk Arts Society is a charitable organization, so our capability for impact and success is largely dependent on availability of government funding. AE: What are your thoughts on the current state of NL's arts scene? TW: The arts scene in NL is pretty rockin’ right now! The St. John’s music scene, as one strong example, is happily saturated with talented musicians. Any given night downtown there are between three and twenty high-quality music shows to choose between. You always feel like you’re missing something by choosing one show over another; it’s a wonderful problem to have! This is not new, of course - we’re a musical bunch. What is new and exciting is that the rest of Canada is starting to see that there’s something unique happening on this island. Hopefully this interest will lead to more opportunities for our local artists to present their work across the country. AE: What are your thoughts on the current state of Atlantic Canada's arts scene? TW: Distinct cultural music traditions have been developing across Atlantic Canada for hundred of years, under heavy influence of the Scottish, Irish, British, and French settlers who made this area their home. Although easily accessible when listening to trad/folk coming out of this area, the influence is not lost in the alternative/metal/rock/ pop work coming out of these four provinces. It’s an interesting evolution, and one that should be garnering greater attention from the rest of the country.
Performance There is nothing like pulling a few strings to get a good party started. A good time is likely to be had by all at this year’s Atlantic Fiddlers Jamboree, which runs from July 29 to 31 at the Centre Expo-Festival in the tiny harbour community of Abram-Village (pop: 266) along the Southwestern coast of Prince Edward Island.
“I think that audiences will be amazed by how present fiddle music is, not only in this particular community, but across the entire Atlantic region,” shares Aucoin. “And they will certainly be inspired by the large number of young and talented musicians who have are determined to keep this tradition going for many years to come.
Now in its 24th year, the annual musical event features a number of professional and amateur fiddlers, along with a “And,” she smiles, “I know that they are going to enjoy thevariety of informative workshops on step dancing, fiddling party.” and accompaniment. “This year audiences will have the great pleasure of being entertained by some very experienced fiddlers from PEI, Quebec, New-Brunswick, Maine and Nova Scotia,” says Colette Aucoin, chair of the jamboree’s organizing committee. Indeed, this year’s line-up features a literal who’s-who of the string-slinging world, including Brenda Stubbert and Kimberley Fraser (Cape Breton), Frank Ferrel (Maine), Alexandre Deraspe and Louis-Charles Vigneault (Magdalen Islands) and Melissa Gallant, Nathalie Arsenault and Pepeto Pinto – all from PEI. The 2011 PEI Tourism Award recipients - brothers Peter, JJ, Kevin and Brent Chaisson – will also be performing. Other entertainers scheduled to appear over the weekend include Anastasia DesRoches, Peter Arsenault, Louise Arsenault, Keelin Wedge, Trevor Profit, Samantha Gallant, Brandon Arsenault, Jessie Francis, Ian MacInnis, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, Rémi Arsenault and Roger Arsenault. A selection of step dancers and dance troupes will also take to the stage at various times over the 48-hour gathering. After an official opening and reception on Friday night, attendees can expect a bevy of all-day musical events for both Saturday and Sunday, including concerts, jam sessions, brunches and barbeques.
Corey J. Isenor
Corey J. Isenor, originally from Enfield, Nova Scotia, now lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. He recently graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts. His current studio practice has concentrated heavily on drawing, a bit of sculpture and multimedia work with a focus on exploring abstraction, the natural environment and the relationship between the two. www.wix.com/cjisenor/corey-isenor
The light of the moon ricochets off the bulrushes and projects itself into a moose. Your foot on the brake is doing mouth to mouth. C’mon. The minute is overweight and sweaty. All you see is a wonderment of nonchalance. This beast has swallowed the woods and is transporting them across the highway. You hunch, convinced you could drive under it. You hunch because you’re facing something both horny and holy. Doesn’t everything important start with that same impulse? Your heart in the passenger seat
needs its asthma pump. Have you seen its asthma pump? Your heart in the booster seat kicks the back of your seat: Are we there yet? The night is looking out the window at its own reflection. You call out to your angels, you pray for giant cartoon hands to pull this moment from its bones. This is how you were raised. Desperate. You are not in good shape and now you are skidding. Up close the moose is an elegance of scraggle and you succumb. To die with this new idea of beauty. The car is a curtsy before everything wild on a trespass of highway. And you are the chosen apology. Your hands loosen. When you look back up to it, it’s no longer there, and days later: was it ever? -excerpt from Outskirts (Brick Books, 2011)
Sue Goyette Sue Goyette lives in Halifax and has published three books of poetry and a novel. She currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University. www.brickbooks.ca
Spotlight Leslie Vryenhoek Leslie Vryenhoek is a St. John’s-based writer whose fiction, poetry and memoir have been published and broadcast nationally and internationally. Her work has won numerous awards, including the Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem in 2010, Arts & Letters Awards in both fiction and poetry, and the Dalton Camp Award. In 2009 she published Scrabble Lessons, a best-selling anthology of stories. Her newest book, Gulf, is a collection of poetry that explores the nature of longing and belonging in a transient world, and how the displaced fool everyone until they feel at home. Recently AE’s Whitney Moran spoke with Vryenhoek about the book and the craft of writing. AE: There appears to be a heavy autobiographical element to Gulf. What inspired you to put this collection together? LV: There’s a journey in the arc of the book that loosely follows my own in terms of geographic residency and displacement, but I would note there’s as much made-up stuff in here as in any work of fiction. (For example, I don’t actually know anyone who’s ever stolen a faucet from Home Depot. Honest.) Real life can just make such dull reading, and I believe one should never let facts stand in the way of good sound in a poem. The themes in the book are close to my heart—displacement, belonging, how we define home in such a mobile culture. Also, I wrestle with the question of whether we should define home or the related concept of who is native to a place, or if that is just a way of excluding, of saying some belong and others don’t. I think in some way I am always writing about belonging, about that search for tribe and root. Moving six years ago to Newfoundland, where the sense of being from vs. being from away is still a part of daily conversation, brought these issues to the fore in my thinking, and I decided to tackle them through poetry. I had originally planned to write a more external, almost political (for lack of a better term) book, but the poems that emerged were really more personal, more engaged in an internal dialogue. AE: What was the most challenging and/or rewarding part of the process? LV: I enjoyed the whole process. The most challenging, I think, was having to abandon that original vision of the book as an exploration of larger socio-political issues around coming and going, immigrating and making a home—I wrote several of those poems, and I just couldn’t get them to ring. The most rewarding part was seeing the new shape, the new arc of how the book would be. It was an all-atonce blast, a real high - that and writing the Jacques Cartier poem, New World. I had so much fun writing that.
AE: Why the title, Gulf? LV: I had and discarded several titles on the way to Gulf, but it just felt right. There are several geographic gulfs in the poems—the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and there’s a line in My Parents’ Past about the US/Canadian border: “that thin line a wide gulf”. But beyond that, there’s the whole implied gulf between longing and belonging, between being home and the search for that place. AE: The poems in Gulf focus largely on the importance of artifacts; ‘minutiae’; small details. Can you explain their significance in relation to the concepts you explore throughout the collection? LV: I was trying to in some way say—as the first poem does rather outright—that what we think of as that sense of being “home” is really locked in those small memories, those sensory experiences – in the poems, those are rendered in the taste of dirt, a particular crack in a tile, the smell of a bathing cap, and the very specific feeling of the earth beneath bare feet. Home as an emotional landscape doesn’t look like the outline on a map, a geographic designation—it’s much more personal , much smaller.
20 AE: There is an ever-present sense of nostalgia weaved throughout these poems, which becomes most clear in “Longing” What role did nostalgia play in writing these poems? What do you feel is the role of nostalgia in this collection? LV: I suppose nostalgia is one of the key experiences that I wrote the poems to invoke—though until you asked me this I hadn’t even considered that word . I think it relates again to those sensory experiences—that a familiar smell, a taste, a sound can unlock an emotional memory that leads to the feeling of nostalgia for a time before. And that’s a thing—nostalgia—that is both very personally rendered, but also very easily manipulated to include some/ exclude others. AE: Stars, constellations, clouds, the sky, Aurora Borealis— throughout all four sections of the collection these types of images remain frequent. What is the significance of this common thread? LV: What’s in the sky has a sameness, a constancy – no matter where in the (northern hemisphere) you are, the constellations and the clouds look pretty much the same. (Aurora’s doing a different job because she’s more geographically specific, and in the poem where she appears she’s actually reordering the stars, messing things up a bit.) Also, the stars lend themselves to the notion of fixed point and navigation—one of the reasons I needed to summon my pal Cartier was because he had an astrolabe to help him sort out the stars, navigate by them, on his sea voyages. AE: What made you want to become a writer? LV: I’m not sure I ever made a conscious “I want to be a writer” decision. It’s just something, in one way or another (for better or worse), that I have always done. Poetry was a much more deliberate choice. Although I wrote and read poetry when I was young, for a long time as an adult I steered clear of it—I really had no path to it. I think it thought it was beyond me, beyond real grown-up modern life. And then I happened to start, quite unintentionally, writing it again (secretly), and stumbled one day into a poetry reading, and that led me to come out of the poetry closet and take a class at Memorial University with Mary Dalton. There was, in all that, a kind of giving myself permission, and the really lovely thing about it was that I had no expectations of poetry (as I once had for my prose writing) so it has just been joyful. AE: What is your poetic process? LV: Some days it’s sit down and write until something emerges. Other days the process is happening somewhere in my deep brain, and I don’t know until the lines start dropping into my mouth (I talk aloud a lot) and then I have to write them down. (These are, respectively, what the amazing Patrick Warner calls a “cold start” and a “hot start.”) Either way, the first go-round is just a lump of sounds, images and ideas that then get worked and molded—some more than others, but there’s always a lot of manipulating (aloud, aloud,
aloud) until it really starts to take shape. (I feel a little like I’m describing how things are made: “Then the poems sit on a conveyor belt until they are cool…”) AE: Why do you think Atlantic Canadians enjoy such a vibrant literary culture? LV: I’m so new to this region I dare not dive in too deep – my sense is that it’s because there is both the grace of close community— there’s a lot of talking and listening going on--and the appreciation for expressions of self that are not always measured monetarily. AE: How do you gauge a ‘good’ poem? LV: I’m stymied by this. I wish I could craft a definitive equation – something like Sound + Rhythm + Meaning + Sensory image + Originality = Good Poem…. but then there are probably a thousand examples that don’t fit the equation, but are great poems. AE: What happens now? Are you working on anything new? LV: I’m working on a number of projects (including supporting myself!). I’ve turned my attention right now to writing narrative, which is a whole different kind of fun. Nothing is really far enough along to talk about yet, though. AE: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? LV: You’re either a writer or you’re not. If you think you are, be honest with yourself about whether or not you have the stuff. It’s rare for a writer to achieve anything that we recognize as success,financial or critical. For every writer who is gliding on the updraft of their talent, there are a hundred more dealing daily with rejection, criticism and poverty. If you want to do this, it should be because you absolutely must. And even then, remember: enthusiasm is not talent, and neither is desire. -
WEEK Photos by Whitney Moran Julie Meredith Katie Tower
June 13âˆ’19, 2011 Halifax, NS
David Adams Richards AE: What inspired you to write Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul? DR: The idea of relations between first nation and whites has been an ongoing concern for years - but it is a human story first and foremost and I think a good one. AE: What was the most challenging aspect of the process? DR: Making sure that all the characters retain their humanity in spite of, or because of, their flaws. AE: What was the most rewarding part of the experience? DR: Writing is, in fact, its own reward. AE: What did you learn during the process? DR: That, after 40 years as a professional writer, I am still devoted to the work. AE: What has the response to the book been like so far? DR: Good. AE: Do these opinions matter to you? DR: Depends on who holds them. AE: What happens now? Are you working on something new? DR: Yes I have two more books done. AE: What made you want to be a writer? DR: I suppose life itself made me want to be a writer - it is the only thing I have ever wanted to do.
AE: What books or authors have most influenced your life? DR: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Conrad, Faulkner, Henry James, Bronte, Nowlan, Macleod - very many. AE: What makes a good book? DR: The life the writer is able to breath into it. AE: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? DR: A writer should write what he she feels not what people tell them they should feel. AE: Why do you think that Atlantic Canadians enjoy such a vibrant literary culture? DR: We tell the best stories - the ones with the most heart overall.
Scene As the provincial minister for Wellness, Culture, Sport, Parks and Tourism in New Brunswick, Trevor Holder has his hands full. Recently the life-long resident of Saint John stopped just long enough to speak with Arts East about the state of the arts in his home province. AE: Why do you think that your province enjoys such a strong arts community? TH: New Brunswick has so many positive assets when it comes to our involvement in the arts. Not only do we have a privileged position within Canada as the only bilingual province in the country, but we also boast four universities, one of which is francophone, as well as the NB College of Craft and Design. We are also fortunate to have many nationally and internationally recognized arts institutions here, like the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Symphony New Brunswick, and acclaimed artists such as Measha Brueggergosman, Herménégilde Chiasson, Shirley Bear, Edith Butler, Antonine Maillet, and many more. I also have to commend the leadership of the Acadian community, especially in the cultural sector. In New Brunswick, we also recognize the importance of culture at the municipal level. Many New Brunswick cities have developed cultural policies and public art programs. Some municipalities have been named Canadian Cultural Capitals by the government of Canada - Caraquet in 2002 and 2009, Sackville in 2008, Fredericton in 2009, and Saint John in 2010.
tural policy, and put in place tax incentives for artists.
AE: What more can be done in this regard on a provincial level? TH: We need to keep encouraging and supporting the arts and culture because they play a crucial role in our communities. We will be promoting careers in the arts as a viable career path and encouraging partnerships with community colleges and universities. Of course, we also need to support the continued development of strategic partnerships between the province, regions and municipalities. -
AE: In your opinion, why is arts and culture important to the people of your province? TH: Culture helps us define who we are as a people and permeates the daily lives of New Brunswickers. We take pride in our roots, natural environment, cultural heritage, diversity of contemporary cultures, and the creative work of our artists.
AE: In your estimation, what more can be done in this regard on a regional level? TH: Partnerships, initiatives and collaborations between arts organizations and institutions, industry and governments are very important, as well as export and training opportunities and tools for online training and education. We also need an augmented Atlantic profile for cultural tourism.
AE: What is your government doing to support and promote the arts? TH: Along with maintaining our focus on current initiatives, our government is committed to developing new programs that encourage and support New Brunswick artists and musicians, including partnerships with public schools. We will also recognize the professional status of New Brunswick Artists, renew the provincial cul-
AE: Who are your favourite local and provincial artists? TH: It’s hard to pick just a few, but some that I greatly admire are David Adams Richards, Flo Greig, Wayne Curtis, and Richard Flynn. I’ve also recently become familiar with the francophone group La Virée, and attend the Saint John Theatre Company’s performances on a regular basis. There is certainly no shortage of talent here in New Brunswick.
SHINE Poetry Goes Guerilla
It’s poignant, colourful, and may contain a poem by your neighbour. “Open Heart Forgery”, a monthly homemade poetry journal, has earned its place on the literary countertops of HRM cafes and bookshops over the past year. Creator Donal Power opens up to Arts East. AE: Where did the initial concept for “Open Heart Forgery” come from? DP: I’ve always been a fan of ‘leafleteering’… Trotsky was pretty good at it and I was a big fan of Trotsky. I always liked that idea of ‘getting the word out’, and even though presentation is good, I thought it was more important to get the word out in an easily reproducible form so that people could - be heard and so that people who didn’t read poetry could get exposed to it. Donal Power
AE: OHF claims to “energize Halifax writers from the grass roots up”. How is the journal is accomplishing this? DP: I think it is starting to energize people and giving people a venue to be heard. It’s discouraging to write and not have any place to get published and often people will be writing secretly, but suddenly when they’re published they’re ‘outed’ as a writer and it kind of makes them feel like they are legitimized and hopefully encouraged to keep going AE: The website describes OHF as a “guerilla poetry journal”; how would you describe its place within the Halifax arts scene? DP: I’m not sure, I think that part of the idea is that people should feel that they can publish themselves and use everyday office equipment for the purpose of propagating art: fax machines, photocopiers, they can all be used for good and not evil… and this is the greater good! And I guess I hope that people will copy the idea if they want to start up their own OHF, but the other goal is to encourage people to find their voices, to get their voice heard.
For more information visit www.ohforgery.com
AE: You have some new endeavors lined up—tell us about them? DP: There’s a new South Shore OHF launching for people living in Queens and Lunenburg county. There’s an anthology launching in March for the collective writers in 2010 and more OHF to come out every month. To stay current you can join the Facebook or Twitter groups for updates. And if you’re interested in starting your own version anywhere in the world: contact us! Find a photocopier, a fax machine, anything!
Lisa Fraser Lisa Fraser is a Nova Scotia-based visual artist. Currently she lives and works in Fall River, near Halifax. www.wanderluststudio.weebly.com
syllables Lavender for Gabi Oh darling you are always lavender lavender the white and the purple the open beaded blooms I come to your home and you are watering the lavender It grows in a row, along your picket fence The sun is shining—my bright friend— and you are the most beautiful one Once we bought geraniums and I was astonished you stuck yours in your window box at once no fuss—the practical thing with grace—then inside for a glass of wine while I always gardened with a text a master plan, building something for centuries to come not potting blooms for one warm summer
Your body lasted only one warm summer
But I see you now with a book you turn you head, perceive my tears pause in your reading and look down your glasses as you so often did, with a mock frown
Beth E. Janzen
Go on with it you say There is only one Water the lavender
Beth E. Janzen is the author of Night Vanishes (Saturday Morning Chapbooks, 2004) and The Enchanted House (Acorn, 2006). She is currently revising two manuscripts: How It Is (fiction) and Research on my Twin (poetry). She lives in Charlottetown. www.bethweb.ca
Scoop Cleaning house with Joel Plaskett Nova Scotia’s Joel Plaskett is back in action this summer, playing select shows around the region and across the country in support of his latest release, emergency’s, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations; 1999-2010 – an eclectic collection of b-sides, outtakes and rarities. Recently AE spoke with the multi-award winning singer-songwriter about the new compilation. AE: What motivated you to release this recording now? JP: After Three came out (2009), I toured that record a lot and was pretty tired when it was all said and done. I need some time to recharge my batteries and start writing songs for the next Emergency record which will be out this fall. AE: How did you go about choosing the material for this collection? JP: There is always a lot of spillover material when I make a record – stuff that doesn’t quite cut it or suit the sound or vibe of that particular collection of songs at that point. In some cases these were tracks hung around for years in one form or another and I felt that it was time to clean out the closet so that I could focus on new material.
contrast them against the finished recordings. It was a little humbling to hear some of those awkward first steps, but in the end it really gave me a fresh perspective on how I have evolved as a songwriter. Hopefully people who pick up the recording will see it in the same forgiving light.
AE: Do you have a favourite track? JP: There is an earlier version of Extraordinary on there that AE: Some of the songs are quite raw. I kind of like more than the finished version that ended up on JP: Yeah, some of them are just demos and are a little Truthfully, Truthfully (2003.) There is a spontaneous, almostscratchy for sure – mostly because I am playing all of the in- blurry kind of raw energy to it that we never quite nailed down struments on them. I see them as sketches that were even- in the final studio version. There is a really messy version of tually fleshed out into proper and more definitive recordings Drunk Teenagers that I like a lot too. over time. Some of the others were limited releases, like the song On the Rails which was done exclusively for the CBC. I AE: Will we see another volume like this at some point? re-mastered everything, but nothing was re-recorded JP: Not likely, but if there is, it won’t be anytime soon. For now I’m pretty content with the housecleaning I’ve done with AE: They certainly give some insight into your this one. creative process. JP: I think so. It was actually pretty cool for me to go back and listen to some of this stuff – there are pieces there that I had not listened to in a long time – and then to compare and
-Federal government funding of $28,000 was announced in Church Point on July 22 for the Maison la bouche rouverte, which will allow it to host the Festival de la parole de la Baie Sainte-Marie over the next two years. The festival will be held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 this year and from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1 in 2012. A slate of professional and emerging storytellers, poets, and writers from Nova Scotia, elsewhere in Canada, the United States, and Europe will share their art through performances, workshops, and activities with youth in the region.
-The Maritimes' only native art gallery will be moving to a new home, only a few weeks after being evicted over concerns about late rent payments. Pascal Pelletier, the owner of the Klu'skap Native Art Gallery, said his gallery will be moving to a new home on Main Street in downtown Moncton. Pelletier said the new gallery will be larger, giving it more room to work on permanent displays and to showcase larger work. The first exhibition to be held at the new location will feature the art of Alan Syliboy, an internationally recognized Mi'kmaq artist.
-The 6th annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala will be held on October 28, 2011 at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. Members of the creative community will gather for an evening of celebration, networking, and performances as peers are recognized for their achievement and contribution to Nova Scotiaâ€™s arts community.
NL -The French Shore Historical Society has officially opened a Centre for Textile Art in the community of Conche. The Centre will encourage the art of handmade textile crafts and promote the art and history of textile-based traditions, especially of the Northern Peninsula. It also sponsors exhibitions, conferences, symposia, oral history projects, publications, fellowships and grant funded initiatives. -The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC) has awarded $125,000 to 14 professional festivals from across the province through its Professional Festivals Program. Grants help support costs related to artist fees, technical costs, venue rental, administration costs, workshop sessions and travel expenses. The NLAC receives an annual contribution of $2.1 million from the Provincial Government for granting programs, program delivery, operations, and communications. Some of the festivals that have received funding this session include the New World Theatre Festival (Cupids), the Tramore Festival of the Arts (Cuslett), and Writers at Woody Point.
-A new federal tax credit for arts education for children is expected to give programs at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown a boost. Parents can use the tax credit to get back as muchas $75 a year per child. They would need to spend $500 per child to get the full credit. Costs can add up to $500 quickly, particularly if a child is taking private lessons. The Children's Arts Tax Credit can be claimed on the 2011 personal income tax return. -The P.E.I. government has reinstated its publishers assistance program, following a meeting between the Island's publishing commu-nity and the culture minister. The $10,000 grant was brought in a couple of years ago to help P.E.I. book publishers, but the provincial government dropped the funding saying only one or two companies had accessed the money. Culture Minister Robert Vessey said the budget for the program, and how much each publisher might receive has not been decided yet, but he said money should be in their hands in the next two months.
Community Patrons Neptune Theatre “An investment in Neptune Theatre is also an investment in the community” For the past 28 years Halifax’s Neptune Theatre has been inspiring its local community through a mixture of fringe and nationally renowned theatrical productions. You too can help inspire audiences by supporting a world-class theatre nestled in the heart of downtown. Offering a range of corporate and custom sponsorship opportunities, patrons receive access to many benefits including: Brand awareness through media, on-site hosting opportunities, complimentary ticket services, and employee ticket discounts. www.neptunetheatre.com
Volunteers Atlantic Film Festival
‘The Atlantic Film Festival Association brings the cinematic world to Atlantic Canada and showcases our ever-expanding film and TV culture to the world, in order to inspire, enrich, enlighten and entertain audiences everywhere’ The Atlantic Film Festival Association (AFFA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the facilitation and promotion of the film industry in Atlantic Canada. Whether you’re interested in becoming part of the film community, learning about the business, giving back, or exposure to local film and video, there is a position for you! The association is currently looking for volunteers for the 10th Viewfinders International Film Festival For Youth, as well as volunteers for the Atlantic Film Festival in September. www.atlanticfilm.com
Contest Remember “Mystery Bags”? We’ve got an art-lover’s collection of books & music to give away to one lucky Arts East reader. Simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in one sentence what art means to you. We will choose a winner on August 25, 2011 and contact directly the person by e-mail.
Each month Arts East scours the internet to bring you the most timely and relevant resources online.
Wiki Word: Chapbook
A chapbook is a pocket-sized booklet. The term chap-book was formalized by bibliophiles of the 19th century, as a variety of ephemera (disposable printed material), popular or folk literature. It includes many kinds of printed material such as pamphlets, political and religious tracts, nursery rhymes, poetry, folk tales, childrenâ€™s literature and almanacs. Where there were illustrations, they would be popular prints. The term is derived from chapmen, a variety of peddler, who circulated such literature as part of their stock. The term is also in use for present-day publications, usually poetry, of up to about 40 pages, ranging from low-cost productions to expensive, finely produced editions. -Wikipedia
Website: www.heroyalmajesty.ca Her Royal Majesty is a quarterly literary and arts review edited, designed and defined by a collection of writers and artists living in Paris. The magazine creates a space for a new generation of international artists to express itself in a tightly cu-rated issue focused around a particular theme. The publication was founded in Halifax in 2008 and has grown from a zine designed to serve the local community into an international literary arts magazine.
Blog: www.inkwellboutique.blogspot.com Purveyor of specialty paper goods and handmade goodies for your home. All handmade with love, by artists, designers and craftspeople from around the corner and across the world. We also offer custom letterpress printed personal stationery. -
Facebook: New Brunswick College of Craft and Design Twitter: @top100books Linked: www.theguildpei.com www.parisalamode.com www.galleryconnexion.ca www.livebaittheatre.com www.writers.ns.ca
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By Valerie Compton Goose Lane Editions / 240 pages / $19.95 Set in rural Charlottetown, Valerie Compton’s novel ebbs and flows from present to past, like the washing waves over tide road, a sandy causeway that brings both hope and isolation. Sonia MacAusland’s daughter Stella has mysteriously vanished and speculations range from runaway to murder. Unlike some predictable television crime drama, when readers think they’ve solved the case, new, unexpected details are revealed. Compton brilliantly composes an esoteric journey, telling some scenes through emotion and illustrated prose, allowing readers to tap into their imagination and create their own particulars regarding events. Whether one of the book’s characters has enhanced or diminished vision, descriptions appeal to all the senses so that the narrative is tasted, heard and felt. Perhaps, Compton’s most valuable theme is the elasticity of one’s memory - how recollections are distorted or buried deep down under masses of guilt, insecurity and perception. As readers travel to forgotten landscapes, from the home of a lonely lighthouse keeper to a farm kitchen of the 1960s, they learn alongside Sonia how to forgive and even appreciate themselves. The real gem of Tide Road is, just like memories never come back to us in chronological order, nor do the intimate de-tales of Sonia’s intimate past. – MB
By Mike Holmes Invisible Publishing / 232 pp / $24.95
Up until now, I don’t think I had ever really given comic books a chance. But as I read Mike Holmes’ True Story, I found myself thinking “Okay…just one more…”, until I went through the entire book of over 100 comics in one sitting. Holmes is akin to a documentarian in touch with the human experience. Most of the true stories he transforms into graphic tales are contributed by complete strangers who become famous after their strip is published in The Coast. This volume, a compilation of the weekly comics, also has some new additions from fellow cartoonists and other luminaries, as well as blurbs of what contributors experienced after their story was made public. For True Story, Holmes has chosen the most hilarious, glad-that-didn’t-happen-to-me, style stories. Also included are accounts of crazy coincidences or serendipitous events and even pent up secrets that providers just had to get off their chest. You won’t be thinking “I guess you had to be there” (except for maybe a few stories) because Holmes encapsulates the value of each tale through his chosen words and illustration. After reading about a dude that mistakenly “sexted” his sister, a woman that defends herself by chasing after some creeps in a rickshaw, Paul F. Tompkins’ caviar-infused wet heaves or Kate Beaton’s near fatal ending, you will think to yourself, “What stories do I have to tell?” In the words of Mike Holmes, “Everyone is a story teller”. – MB
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By Pamela Callow Mira / 512 pages / $9.99 Kate Lange has a great job, a bubbly personality, a loyal dog, a stylish fixer-upper in South End Halifax and a nasty habit of getting entangled in grisly murders. We learned all that last year in Pamela Callow’s wonderful debut murder mystery, Damaged. Now in its sequel , Indefensible, the junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm must defend her personality-challenged boss, Randall Barrett, whose ex-wife dies mysteriously while visiting Halifax from Toronto with their two children. Randall had left Toronto for Halifax after being cuckolded by Elise, and now she has come to Nova Scotia for a summer vacation. On the night of her arrival, she argues with Randall in front of the kids and hours later falls from a balcony to her death. It sounds like the run-of-the-mill fodder for crime fiction, but in Callow’s capable hands Indefensible exceeds the expectations of the genre. What makes Callow’s Kate Lange series so irresistible is the empathy she develops for her characters – all the characters. Whether it’s Lange or her questionable men she chooses as lovers or the unfortunate Elise, Callow makes us care about the people who populate her pages. Man, woman, child or dog – yes, even dogs – we care about them because the author is so adept at bringing them to life. Above all we care about Lange herself, and we care about when Callow will grace us with the next book in this splendid series. – PM
By R.W. Gray NuWest / 157 pages / $17.95
More luscious than lyrical, and served up with a minimum of filler, these stories go down well and linger. If you’re looking for fresh, crisp, and engaging short fiction, this one is a pleasant surprise. The title, Crisp, is taken from the title story “Crisp,” a story in which two brothers watch their father get burnt to a crisp in a car, and the younger brother takes up hurling rocks at the firemen who subsequently “service” their mother afterwards. It’s a fantastic, odd, and unforgettable story. Crisp would also be the right adjective to describe Gray’s luminous writing in these stories that “confront the unspeakable parts of memory, meditating on characters caught in isolation and struggling to make sense of grief, disappointment, and the occasional dinner party gone all wrong.” Quite simply put, R.W. Gray is a great and engaging writer, and this book ties with Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting as the best book of short fiction by an Atlantic Canadian in 2010. It certainly shuffles Gray into the fold of the country’s most exciting short story writers. There’s something both visceral and ethereal that emerges from Gray’s diction and tonality and handle on what makes people tick and tock and tumble and fall down, and stand back up. Chiefly, in most of Gray’s stories, this is lust, longing, and desire, be it from a grieving widow attracted to her priest, or a straight man momentarily attracted to his wife’s ex. – CP
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Open Heart Forgery: Year One Anthology Edited by Donal Power Open Heart Forgery Publishing / 107 pp / $10 A textual collage of established Halifax writers, newcomers, closet-poets, and everything inbetween— Donal Power’s guerilla poetry journal Open Heart Forgery gets a face-lift as a professionally published anthology of contributions from 64 HRM poets from the journal’s first year. Power’s initial concept behind the monthly journal was to encourage new writers to the Halifax arts scene; he claims “…it’s discouraging to write and not have any place to get published and often people will be writing secretly, but suddenly when they’re published they’re ‘outed’ as a writer and it kind of makes them feel like they are legitimized and hopefully encouraged to keep going”. Now Power has not only ‘outed’ many talented poets but published them as well. An eclectic collection diverse in form and content, the anthology proves Power’s initiative successful in digging up some brave and tender new voices, and will surely encourage others to come out of the woodwork. – WM
Gulf By Leslie Vryenhoek Ooolichan / 80 pages / $17.95
A ‘gulf’ can be thought of as something that separates-- a division on either a geographical or even personal scale. A fitting title for her first poetry collection, Leslie Vryenhoek’s Gulf (Oolichan Books, 2011) explores the permanent state of transience and quest for sanctuary implicit in the life of anyone who has never safely used the word ‘home’. Focusing on the importance of minutiae as remnants of the past, the speaker asks, “What if home is just/the taste of dirt/in the woods behind the house/on Clairmont Drive?” In exploring numerous nostalgic artefacts such as this, Vryenhoek addresses the concept of belonging in myriad ways: from those exterior subtleties of citizenship provided by accents, arbitrary borders, and the metric system to the physicality of home as building with the clever assertion, “Home Depot is not your home”. The end result is a poignant navigation of identity through the recollection of details. With each poem functioning as an integral relic in the suitcase that is the collection, Gulf itself becomes a sanctuary for the uprooted. Entirely salient, Vryenhoek’s debut leaves an impression of permanence in a culture of temporality. – WM
Joel Plaskett Emergencys, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations; 1999-2010 New Scotland Records As a compilation of “demos, outtakes, rarities and B-sides” from the last decade of Plaskett’s east coast nostalgia-rock—the poetic yet humorous title is an apt representation of all the roads this local musical hero has traveled. A Deeper and rougher collection of 20 recordings pulled from the archives—from Khyber demos to “album outtakes”—“Emergencys” showcases a playful artistry that has become Plaskett’s claim to fame. With the fable-like observation that fans have come to expect, songs collected on “Emergencys” are at once lullabies and rock anthems, making it a choice album anyone who wants to sway to music that laps gently, familiar and consistent like a rolling wave. Songs vary between those that can be ingested slowly like a fine ale, from “Extraordinary” (2002) to the saxophone-heavy Southern-rock inspired “Blood in My Veins” (2005), and those that—like messages in bottles—bob gently in search of a receiver on another shore (“Romantic Riot” 2004, “Nothing More to Say” 2004). Ending on an ironic note with 1999’s “Waiting to Be Discovered”, “Emergencys” pays a humble yet celebratory tribute to the impact Plaskett has made on the East Coast music scene and internationally, and primes the listener for what’s yet to come. – WM
Hey Rosetta! Sonic Records
Newfoundland’s wunderkinds returned this spring with “Seeds” after a three-year hiatus following the ultra-successful “Into Your Lungs” (2008). Maintaining the best of HR’s uniquely contagious east coast folk-pop rock sound, “Seeds” is also more versatile and upbeat than previous albums. As usual, front-man Tim Baker’s haunting and guttural voice is paired with a poetic, lyrical maturity that still manages to pluck away at the heartstrings. Musically bipolar, songs like “Young Glass” and “Bricks” approach balladry but remain danceable. With the album title as a reflection the band had of itself as an entity that floats through cities “trying to build something” for their fans, HR has definitely proven their musical and lyrical growth and— through consistency of sound with a dash of experimentation (“Downstairs”)—shown they are perpetually in bloom. – WM
Jenn Grant Six Shooter
/ Honeymoon Punch
The inside of Halifax-based singer-songwriter Jenn Grant’s new album reads that it “was made in a cabin on Lake Deception in rural Nova Scotia in the spring”, which isn’t surprising. It evokes the feeling of youthful, relaxing summer fun reminiscent of the 50s and 60s with playful lyrics to match. A breath of truly creative fresh air, the songs combine unique, dream-like instruments, Grant’s soulful folk-style voice and progressive beats. The sound somehow celebrates the vibe of East Coast indie-pop culture and motivates the listener to believe in its progression. – SO
54.40 • BIG SUGAR • THE TREWS MATT MAYS • PLATINUM BLONDE HEY ROSETTA! • THE STANFIELDS and more!
RE • JULY 29-31 GLASGOW SQUA
TICKETS ON SALE NOW Available at all TicketPro outlets, online at ticketpro.ca or visit: jubilee.ns.ca | facebook.com/JubileeNG
A NOVA SCOTIA SIGNATURE EVENT
Sounds Dog Day / Deformer Fun Dog Records
Talented husband and wife duo Seth Smith and Nancy Urich of Dog Day are set to re-arrange your world on August 2nd with the release of Deformer. The first record on their new, homebased record label, Fun Dog, Smith also produced and mixed the album and, along with partner Paul Hammond—the other half of screen-printing art team, Yo Rodeo www.yorodeo.ca also created the original album artwork. A true labour of love, the follow up to 2009’s indie success “Concentration” brings the band “back to basics”. Despite a Pigeon Row Records press describing the band’s recent reformation from a foursome to a twosome as “a series of disfiguring rearrangements and amputations”, Dog Day fans will find the same catchy, fuzzy romance, haunting, garage-esque vocals, and youthful musical simplicity combined with a heartbreakingly adult lyrical perspective. Bookended by the sounds of a dog dreaming, Deformer is a wellrounded album that provides the lullaby tone and cozy familiarity that similarly keep fans in a perpetual lucid, musical daydream. Peppered with songs reminiscent of past albums (“Daydream”; “Eurozone”) danceable summer jams (“I Wanna Mix” ; “Part Girl”) as well as strippeddown indie rock tunes (“Bluish Grey” ;“Mr. Freeze”) Deformer is versatile and eclectic, an ideal companion for any activity from deep contemplation to an impromptu dance party. – WM
Jill Barber / Mischievous Moon Outside Music Although Jill Barber’s retro-folk charm remains in her newest album, the musical composition of her songs seems to have matured. The album is a modern take on soulful fifties jazz with its sweeping symphonic melodies. Each song has the romantic, dream-like quality of a Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald tune, the perfect accompaniment for Barber’s soulful voice. The blend of genres and playful dynamics of this album lend it a universal quality, making Barber a uniquely rich small-town-Canadian artist. If her 2008 album Chances hasn’t broadened her audience, Mischievous Moon certainly will. – SO
Jimmy Swift Band When all is Said and Done… Produced by Aaron Collier, the newest album includes his rhythmic keyboard style and Mercer’s intricate guitar riffs—only this time with more of a twist. If you can imagine a backdrop of funky pop/dance beats and ambient instrumentals with the band’s usual gritty rock style, you might begin to imagine some of these songs. Each one is unique, in true JSB style, and the band even brought back some of their older tracks to remix. The album proves that as the culture of music progresses, JSB’s creative scope will expand to incorporate it. – SO
Stage on the
The Fly Fisher’s Companion Written & Directed by Michael Melski May 9, 2011, Neptune Theatre, Halifax
In the Director’s notes to The Fly Fisher’s Companion, award winning playwright, screenwriter, and film director Michael Melski describes his newest play as “not really written, but bequeathed as a gift” from his grandfather. In a similar act of artistic generosity, Melski offers his audience a calloused yet tender two-act production, allowing us too to consider ourselves in receipt of a profoundly resonant, theatrical gift.
Premiering at Ship’s Co. Theatre in 2005, The Fly Fishers Companion conjures a tradition of storytelling as entrenched in Cape Breton as the Margaree River itself. It is this tradition and its landscape that serve as the thematic fulcrum for a beautifully layered exploration of the endurance of friendship through the devastation of time and the possibilities of memory. Featuring two lifelong friends on one last fly fishing trip, Don (John Dartt), an arthritic businessman who rediscovers and revitalizes himself in the waters, real and imagined, of the Margaree and Wes (Don Ritchie), a terminally ill writer with a child-like curiosity and open-mouthed admiration for life, The Fly Fisher’s Companion baits and hooks you from its first line. Whether reminiscing on boyhood highland adventures, salting old wounds, or bickering like an old married couple, Dartt and Ritchie give performances that are believable on a visceral level-- down to each wrinkle in every facial expression, every guttural word, each profound silence. At moments the characters approach melodrama by soliloquizing amidst unnecessary musical accompaniment, but with the dexterity of any good fly fisherman, Melski just as soon releases us, undercutting these moments with that dry Caper’ wit that reminds us not to take life (or death) too seriously. Fishing jokes and anecdotes abound in this play amidst tales of war, infidelity, and death. With the sport of ‘catch and release’ as the central metaphor, I was continuously reeled in by the rough elegance of Melski’s writing and the honesty of the relationship Dartt and Ritchie shared on stage. Like all truly successful works of art, The Fly Fisher’s Companion also left me to contemplate the heavy philosophical questions the lingered beneath the surface of the performance like the salmon Don and Wes continued to chase their whole lives. Featuring an intricate and elaborate set draped with the nostalgic minutiae reminiscent to anyone familiar with the trappings of an East Coast cottage, be sure to scour it before the dialogue begins, as you will find it quickly fade into the background. – WM
Dedicated to the Revolution
Performed by Small Wooden Shoe May 22, 2011, Neptune Theatre, Halifax
Imagine if Canadian indie rockers Broken Social Scene were to put down their musical instruments and take up theatre-company props and you might get some idea of how Week 2 of the SuperNova Theatre Festival kicked into gear at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax last night. Dedicated to the Revolution is a unique collection of inspiring - and often quite amusing – improvisational vignettes brought neatly together by Toronto’s Small Wooden Shoe. Spanning the seven most important scientific revolutions in history (Gutenberg, Copernicus, Newton, Industrial, Darwin, Nuclear and Information) the company’s seven young actors take turns explaining the relevance of each innovation to our everyday lives. Using clever and creative ‘round-the-house props, including tin-cans tied with string, badminton birds, drawing boards and Jenga blocks, the troupe did well to challenge our perceptions about progress - at one point even suggesting that perhaps we have not actually evolved at all as a species over millions of years, but have merely changed – an important distinction. While fresh and fluid for the majority of the 90-minute performance, the piece did weigh down on occasion under the weight of numbers – literally – as cast members worked out complex mathematical equations on drawing boards while audience members waited patiently. Still, and to the crew’s credit, the unique stage layout and myriad of background activities never took away from the dissertation and dialogue. And although inter-actor, on-stage chemistry does not appear to be mandatory for this particular production, it was still at hand throughout much of the performance, particularly during the numerous musical interludes – a nice break from the sometimes heady material. Kudos to the crew at Eastern Front Theatre for challenging us with something a little out of the ordinary – and although seemingly scattered at times, Dedicated to the Revolution carries enough sure and recognizable signposts to keep audiences engaged, entertained and enlightened. – SPC
So…what about love?
Written by Andrew Chandler, Garry Williams and Amy Reitsma May 25, 2011, Neptune Theatre, Halifax
The witty, wacky and sweetly eccentric production “So…what about love?” - which originally debuted at the Fringe Festival in Halifax in 2009 - opened to a packed and enthusiastic house at the Neptune Theatre as the SuperNova Theatre Festival continued its final week of performances.
Written and performed by Andrew Chandler, Garry Williams and Amy Reitsma of DaPoPo Theatre (Halifax, NS), the play features three quirky lovers, Helen, Larry, and Willie who suddenly find themselves on stage, nearly naked and expected to perform a musical about love. So, in a pseudo improvised, parodic pageant of ironic musical scores scattered between nostalgic monologues these endearing characters literally bear it all, exploring the arc of like, love, lust, and loss and the unfortunate side effects.
Armed with clever props and costumes, a backdrop of burlesque minimalism and their own personal pianist, the characters spout spontaneous songs and long-buried stories on everything from childhood fairytale fantasies to the disillusionment of adulthood. Showing themselves at their most vulnerable, the cast immediately develops a committed relationship with the audience, holding our attention until the very last tableau. As a result we too have engaged in an exploration of relationships as performance in this clever postmodern romp that still leaves room for optimists. At once both comedic and dramatic, “So…what about love?” leaves a bittersweet taste, like any love affair ended, and the temptation to return for more. – WM
Brightest Red to Blue Written by Graham Percy, Directed by Natasha MacLellan May 26, 2011, North Street Church, Halifax Poetic. Macabre. Deliriously funny. Forerunner Playwrights Theatre’s premiere of “Brightest Red to Blue” is at once “a drunken howl at the moon” (Playwright’s Notes) as well as a physical and philosophical rumination on the plight of the failing artist at the loss of his Muse. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Jeremy Webb), desperate to once again don the laurels of a poet, hatches a plan with his counterpart and pre-Raphaelite brother Algernon Swinburne (John Beale) that involves a séance, gravedigging, and domestic disputes with his dead wife and former muse, Lizzie Siddal (Jamie Konchak). Seasoned and impeccably cast, “Gaby” bursts on stage appearing like a Victorian junkie from a Tim Burton film and performs with an innate artistry and conviction—always maintaining that telltale Rossetti stare—while Swinburne keeps the audience enraptured with his quirks, quips, and astounding facial expressions that only improve as the wine in the graveyard flows. The set is brilliantly comprised almost entirely of a palimpsest of paper covered in Rossetti-inspired images and text, turning the stage into a veritable collage with the impression that the characters are literally walking between pages. While they’re not busy digging up poems these
lively and captivating characters are struggling to capture beauty and truth in paintings and conversation. Most of all this small but intrepid production left me with the impression that I had truly witnessed something unique, fleeting as a flame, and as such impossible to capture in words. Instead I quote a line from one of Lizzie’s final monologues that sums up my Rossetti-inspired writer’s block, “paper is so frail don’t you think? For all we ask of it?” – WM
Naked Written by Lisa Rose Snow, Directed by Richie Wilcox July 18, 2011, Bus Stop Theatre, Halifax To become naked is an act of perpetual revealing. Beginning with the parting of a shower curtain (doubling as a projector), Lisa Rose Snow’s vibrant and intelligent re-working of the 2010 Fringe hit Naked—part of the Queer Acts Theatre Festival running from July 18th-22nd—plunges the audience into an intimate encounter between Vanessa (Lisa Rose Snow), curious agoraphobic tub-dweller and Mary (Stephanie MacDonald), embittered, feisty tub-scrubber as they shed layers of themselves on stage. Centering on the act of performance and the stripping off of those caustic socio-cultural masks and other tangible tokens of identity that we fashion ourselves with, this hour-long dialogue-driven romp is physically and emotionally cathartic. Fuchsia wigs, layers of crinoline, bland maid’s garb and repressed sexual and emotional urges are stripped bare, leaving the characters exposed, poised for an exploration of that most basic human condition, loneliness. These two incredibly talented actors grope for answers with a chemistry that drips with sexual tension and intrigue as they explore the topics of lesbian panic, insecurity, jealousy, and love to reveal their interchangeable nature as well as the truth that lurks behind the curtain of superficial identity. Presented in a single act with a minimalist yet aesthetically engrossing set, the claw foot bathtub becomes a feminine space of revelation, engulfing the characters and forcing them to submerge into each other. Snow’s deviously humorous script paired with Wilcox’s graceful direction offers a darkly witty, self-deprecating take on need that crosses social and sexual boundaries. An astounding tribute to this year’s Atlantic Pride Week theme, “Better Together”, Naked is at once queer and quotidian— artfully and enthusiastically showcasing the human experiences that connect us all. – WM
1685 Argyle St., Halifax 902.407.7472
By the time you’ve sat down to order in the ambient, candle-lit and stone-walled rooms of Pipa, you won’t feel like you’re in Halifax anymore. I relished in the idea, ordering a full-bodied glass of South American Shiraz (though it was a toss-up between that and Portuguese sangria), and gazed in awe at the menu. I’d never seen so many unique, cultured, and intriguing items listed in one place.
The chicken piripiri ($16)—a dish from the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique—was delicately cooked. The marinade is unlike anythingEuropean that I’ve tasted—it’s listed as “spicy chili pepper” but is hardly overwhelming, and is balanced by sweet undertones that preserve your appetite for flavour when your stomach is full. The taste paired wonderfully with my rich and harmonious Shiraz.
The food is colourful and aromatic. We tasted the mango, black bean and avocado salad ($8)—a heaping, well-balanced assortment of flavour for the senses with sweet mango and savoury baby greens.
The white cheese mousse ($7) dessert is an exotic and bold blend of tangy and sweet. Served in a martini glass, the evenly layered creamy cheese mousse and sweet guava sauce is irresistible.
The soup of the day ($6) embraced the heartiness of a traditional Portuguese kitchen. It was a simple but delicious mix of potato-based broth with onion, garlic and cuts of spicy Portuguese chouriço sausage.
The food at Pipa is unique in style and substance, and the service is excellent. Warm and personable, our server answered all of our questions and interested us in the culture behind the menu. The overall experience is great for anyone who enjoys comfort, a bit of escapism and exotic, innovative meals. But when you go, be warned—it will take more than one trip to try everything you want to. – SO
The full-sized grilled chouriço ($8)—served sautéed and flaming—and chicken coxinhas ($7) were bold and piquant. Both were well-cooked and tender and were perfectly seasoned to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Mary Carr Chaisson Mary is a graduate of Mount Allison University’s Fine Arts Program (1994). She is a visual artist and a pinhole photographer. Mary has been working with pinhole cameras since the early ‘90’s, and uses two wooden box cameras. Pinhole cameras are constructed from materials such as boxes or cans, which are made light-tight. A piece of brass or pie plate serves as the camera lens. The aperature is created by inserting a stick pin directly through the material. The visual effects are interesting, and always a surprise for Mary. Mary works in the “old fashioned
way” by today’s standards using film in her pinhole camera, developing it, and then creating prints by hand in her darkroom. Mary enjoys taking pictures of old buildings, landscapes, floral and fauna. She likes to explore textures, reflections, shapes, and tone in her subject matter. Mary’s work is in private and public collections in various parts of the world. She was recently featured in a group show in Italy, and will have a show this July at Howes Hall Gallery, Brackley Beach, PEI. www.pinholephotography.com
syllables From a Portfolio of Japanese Erotic Prints
Of vapid sweat from which unfeeling flew you blow me slow, attentive eyes not shut so jarred, I jerk awake at once, your blue unquestioned stare inclined to move from nut to hip, its line inscribed in spry woodcut metrics up my torso to lips and brow till I can’t turn my gaze from yours, my butt ensnared in dampened linens, cracked window agape behind your head—a jack-pine bough averse with wet it shakes through summer screens in place beyond the snows, I note, till now— unloosed by gales—the way my body leans
inside your own, a woodcut graven fresh of men not prone to spoon, who fast enmesh.
la vie bohème
On the lazy Susan, mugs I gave you turn still spin for years beyond my first trip away from home Vancouver, sea open to the heart’s landlocked thrill. Mugs fired for short hours of holding so long to fill hands drawn to clay time-stained a fading prairie loam. On the lazy Susan, mugs I gave you turn still. Mugs are made for filling, hummed as I re-instil songs once riffed beneath the train’s observation dome (Vancouver, sea open to the heart’s landlocked thrill) Nancy Sinatra walking boots on your brilliant floors as my unfurled map tamped rings of tannic foam. On the lazy Susan, mugs I gave you turn still.
John Barton John Barton’s ninth book of poetry is Hymn (Brick, 2009). Winner of three Archibald Lampman Awards, an Ottawa Book Award, a CBC Literary Award, and a National Magazine Award, he lives in Victoria, B.C., where he edits The Malahat Review. At present, he is writer in residence at the University of New Brunswick for the 2010–2011 academic year.
Well for days they might stand empty, but nothing will deglaze the leaves’ predictive swirl, la vie bohème— Vancouver, sea open to the heart’s landlocked thrill. I still make tea how you showed me, the morning chill shocked from a china pot by water boiled to OM On the lazy Susan, mugs I gave you turn still. Vancouver, sea open to the heart’s landlocked thrill.
1 1 0 2 R E SUMM FESTIVAL GUIDE:
Prepare to be overwhelmed by what awaits you in the Atlantic region this summer!
New Brunswick Ok Quoi? Arts Festival / July 25–August 3 / Sackville
7th Annual interdisciplinary festival featuring contemporary film, music, audio art & performance through screenings, workshops & concerts. www.strutsgallery.ca/okquoi
Sappyfest / July 29–31 / Sackville
Music. Art. Community. Taking place “With or Without You.” www.sappyfest.com
Miramichi Folksong Festival / July 31–August 5 / Miramichi
Family-friendly; singers, dancers, fiddlers & food! Free for children under 12. www.miramichifolksongfestival.com
Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival / August 4–7 / South Shore Music & merriment in picturesque Lunenburg. www.folkharbour.com
MFEST / August 7 / Dartmouth
Halifax Pop Explosion brings it in the off-season, presenting Broken Social Scene, Hey Rosetta! In-Flight Safety, Carmen Townsend, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and more at Alderny Landing. www.halifaxpopexplosion.com/m-fest
Dutch Mason Blues Festival / August 12–14 / Truro
3 Days of “Blues, bikes & BBQ”. Get back to your musical roots. Truro Exhibition Grounds. www.dutchmason.com/festival
Kempt Shore Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Festival Aug 19–21 / Kempt Shore
A three day family event in Kempt Shore, Hants County over looking the beautiful Minas Basin featuring seven of the Maritimes best bands in bluegrass and oldtime music. www.novascotiabluegrass.com
Hopscotch Urban Arts Festival / Sept 3–10 / Halifax
This free festival is a celebration of traditional Hip Hop culture and self-expression in Halifax, featuring Bboys, Emcees, DJs and Urban Writers. www.hopscotchhalifax.com
The Halifax Club
w/ Shari Graydon, Sheree Fitch, Carol Bruneau and Dawn Rae Downton Tuesday, August 16th, 12pm-2pm The Halifax Club, 1682 Hollis St, Halifax.
1 1 0 2 R E SUMM FESTIVAL GUIDE:
Prepare to be overwhelmed by what awaits you in the Atlantic region this summer!
Newfoundland & Labrador Rising Tide Theatre Festival / June 14–Sept 4 / Trinity Bight
The 32nd annual award-winning blend of drama, culture and history performed by more than 40 of the province's finest artists both offstage and on. www.risingtidetheatre.com
Beyond The Overpass Theatre Festival / June 15–Sept 24 / Gander
Beyond the Overpass Theatre Company continues their tradition of keeping theatre alive in rural Newfoundland. Presenting both internationally recognized and new creations from Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest. Eleven productions & 100+ performances: www.beyondtheoverpass.ca
George Street Festival / July 28–August 2 / St. John’s
27th annual celebration in true Newfie style—6 days of great music—on “the biggest little street in North America”. Fea- turing Dropkick Murphys, Great Big Sea, Hey Rosetta, Trooper, Plants and Animals & more! www.georgestreetlive.ca
Gros Morne Theatre Festival / Aug 4 & 5 / Cow Head
“A lively mix of drama, dinner theatre & Newfoundland’ times.” www.theatrenewfoundland.com
Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival / August 5–7 / St. John’s
Head to Bannerman Park for “music, dance, and everything in between.” Featuring famed local folk talent & nationally acclaimed musicians, including the Barra MacNeils, Basia Bulat and The Good Lovelies. www.nlfolk.com
Prince Edward Island Irish Heritage Folk Festival / July 25–30 / Tignish
Celebrate the bicentennial of the arrival of the Irish with ceilidhs, traditional Irish food, and music from the acclaimed Irish Descendents. www.tignishirishfolkfestival.com
Highland Storm Festival / July 5–Sept 1 / Cavendish Beach
The Summerside College of Piping presents this brand-newproduction of Celtic music and dance, with artistic direction provided by world-renowned dancer, fiddler and choreographer Stephanie Cadman. www.cavendishbeachevents.com
New Brunswick Sixth Annual Culture Crawl Series / Aug 4 & Sept 1 / Fredericton
Indulge yourself with this self-guided tour of 15 participating Fredericton art galleries and studios who have dipped into special collections and archives as well as offering up fantastic new exhibits for the curious eye. www.fredericton.ca
L’Acadie des Terres et Forets / Until August 8 / St. Jacques
Celebrate 400 years of Acadian history through song and dance at this prestigious spectacle at the théâtre du Parc provincial de la République. www.acadiedesterresetforets.com
The Bricklin / Until August 7 / Fredericton
Home-grown musical comedy and “automotive fantasy” detailing the historical journey of the famed NB sports car through 70’s pop & funk-inspired tunes. Fredericton Playhouse. www.theplayhouse.nb.ca
Magnetic Hill Music Festival / July 30 / Moncton
U2 & Arcade Fire light up the neighbourhood for the night. www.magnetichillmusicfestival.ca
Tay Creek Folk Festival / August 12–14 / Moncton
Folk, classic rock, country, celtic, blues & bluegrass; music workshops, craft sale & free camping at the Taye Ridge Farm. www.taycreekfestival.com
New Brunswick Summer Music Festival / August 15–27 / Fredericton Professional, classical chamber music festival featuring top Canadian & regional talent. www.nbsummermusicfestival.ca
Larlee Creek Hullabaloo / August 19–21 / Perth-Andover
An eclectic mix of the finest in East Coast musicians, including Carmen Townsend, The Divorcees, Thom Swift & Slowcoaster. www.larleecreekmusic.ca
Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival / September 13–18 / Fredericton
Greg Allman, Taj Mahal Trio, Morgan Davis, Garrett Mason, Gypsophilia, Old Man Luedecke & Rose Cousins to name a few. www.harvestjazzandblues.com
Nova Scotia Shakespeare by the Sea / Until Sept 4 / Halifax
This year’s Shakespeare offerings include two problem plays: Measure for Measure and The Comedy of Errors, and the all-ages Robin Hood. Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park. www.shakespearebythesea.ca
New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee / July 29–31 / New Glasgow
The Trews, Matt Mays & Big Sugar headline. Big names for little money. www.jubilee.ns.ca
The Baltimore / July 28–30; August 4–6 & 11–13 / Yarmouth
Th’Yarc Playhouse re-presents an historic musical about a mutinied ship told from the perspective of the sole survivor who may or may not be the captain’s wife. www.yarcplayhouse.com
Halifax International Busker Festival / Aug 4–14 / Downtown Halifax
A myriad of national and international performaers take to the Halifax waterfront for 11 days, with hundred of shows on outdoor stages. www.buskers.ca -
Ignite the Spirit: Fundraising Concert / August 5 / Truro
Blue Rodeo, Jimmy Rankin, Carleton Stone & The Heartbroken perform at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Grounds fundraise for the Ignite the Spirit Campaign. www.marigoldcentre.ca
Bear Falls Music Festival / August 12–14 / Queens County
Inaugural Bear Falls Wilderness campground music festival, featuring Christina Martin & guests. www.bearfalls.com
The Elisabeth Bishop Centenary/ August 19–21 / Great Village
A gathering of writers, musicians, painters, actors, film-makers and other artists presenting readings, workshops, exhibitions and concert performances in celebration of the centenary of Elizabeth Bishop’s birth. www.elizabethbishopcentenary.blogspot.com
Newfoundland and Labrador Delivery / Until August 28 / St. John’s
“A mingling of the scared with the profane,” Jason Penney blends video, performance art & sculptural installation exploring “space, camp, spiritual longing, and [a] mummified chicken burger.” www.therooms.ca
Southern Shore Dinner Theatre / Until September 10 / Ferryland
A traditional Newfoundland ‘time’ including a musical pre-show, live theatrical comedy, scrumptious entrees and desserts in honour of Irish culture in the colony of Avalon. www.ssfac.com
Sarah Harmer / August 3 / St. John’s
Join Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer and special guests Sherman Downy and The Ambiguous Case for a Theatre Newfoundland Labrador Fundraiser at the Backlot, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. www.theatrenewfoundland.com
Theatre Newfoundland Labrador Double-Bill Aug 4 & 5 - Cow Head / Aug 10 - Cornerbrook / Aug 12 & 13 - St. John’s
Theatre Newfoundland Labrador and Second Storey Theatre present a Youth Theatre Exchange Project double-bill featuring two North American premieres: “With Cruel Times In Between” based on various works by Al Pitman, and “Chasing A Sound Like Rain.” www.theatrenewfoundland.com
Tuckamore Festival/ Aug 7–21 / St. John’s
Come celebrate the tenth anniversary of this two week chamber music festival featuring performances by talented emerging pianists and string instrumentalists. www.tuckamorefestival.ca
Writers at Woody Point / Aug 16–21 / Bonne Bay
A festival combining literature and music organized and presented by Friends of Writers at Woody Point. Hosted by CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, this year’s line-up features Emma Donoghue, Wayne Johnston, Kathleen Winter, Hey Rosetta! and more. www.writersatwoodypoint.com
Prince Edward Island Anne & Gilbert: The Musical / Until September 25 / Summerside
Depicting the complicated relationship between L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables and sweetheart Gilbert Blythe. www.harbourfronttheatre.com
The Full Monty / Until September 2 / Charlottetown The Confederation Centre presents this popular strip-tastic production. www.confederationcentre.com
Come All Ye / Until Aug 27 / Charlottetown
A new show that is uniquely P.E.I. Both ‘Islanders’ and ‘CFAs’ (come from aways) are welcome to experience “a genuine Island night of entertainment.” www.confederationcentre.com
Separate Beds / Until Sept 4 / Charlottetown
“A High Seas Comedy” exploring two relationships, one “perfect” and the other “stormy” as the couples embark on a Caribbean cruise. www.charlottetownfestival.com -
The Heartbroken / August 4 / Hunter River
Damnhait Doyle, Stuart Cameron, Blake Manning and Peter Fusco take to the Harmony House Theatre stage. www.harmonyhousetheatre.com
Songwriter’s Series / August 5 / Charlottetown
Come out for a memorable evening of songs and stories at The Guild, featuring three PEI–natives; Nathan Wiley, Nikkie, and Jordan Cameron. www.theguildpei.com
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story / Sept 9–Oct 8 / Charlottetown
An encore performance after 2010’s sold-out showing, The Charlottetown Festival presents “The World’s Most Successful Rock n’ Roll Musical.” Covering three pivotal years in the life of Buddy Holly and featuring 20 of his greatest hits. www.charlottetownfestival.com
Gerard J Kelly Gerard J Kelly is a Newfoundland Artist who has exhibited in Kilkis, Greece, Istanbul, Turkey and, most recently, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. www.geraldjkelly.com
syllables Spiral I was late to the clinic and my adjustment counsellor was pissed. Wasn't that just like me? On account of my oppositional complex. I just had to stop for that quick hit in the drive-thru alley with the junkies.
But if Daddy hadn't screwed up my order I wouldn't have had to shoot up twice. I'd sleep on a feather mattress instead of this old gym-mat.
Chris Benjamin Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist and fiction writer. His critically acclaimed first novel, Drive-by Saviours, was selected for the Canada Reads 2011 longlist. His first book of nonfiction, Atlantic Canada's Sustainability Innovators, will be published by Nimbus in Fall 2011. He is currently the Sustainable City Columnist for The Coast. www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com
Word By Peggy Walt
A World of Books In my day job I’m the Executive Director of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA), established over 20 years ago to promote and market the books published here. Changes to the economy, bookstore closures, the appeal of big box discounts, authors happy (or not), fluctuating (or nonexistent) government support…watching the book business is kind of like watching the stock market - who’s up, who’s down, who took a hit, or who had a hit. When I used to work in government, I was told by a high ranking federal official that Canadian publishers are “stubborn, highly individualistic and generally, peculiar,” but that the publishers in Atlantic Canada were the “most stubborn, most individualistic and most peculiar” in the country. Having worked with them for close to 20 years both in and out of government, I now interpret this as a compliment to our publishers’ tenacity, flexibility, entrepreneurship, and genuine love of books. The community here is pretty tight. We all read many of the same publications, attend library and other cultural consultations, lobby our elected officials, cheer on our authors, and participate in events like Word on the Street, the Atlantic Book Awards (mark May 19, 2011 on your calendars!), Hackmatack, the Frye Festival, and more. We bump into each other at signings and launches, and watch what the rest of the world has to say about our books. At the APMA, we’re surrounded by books and catalogues as we prepare for our twice annual flyers and three issues of Atlantic Books Today. We attend professional development seminars, try to keep up on ever-changing technology (who’s doing E-books? who’s not?), liaise with our sister organizations across Canada, and respond to new ways to market the great books coming out of our corner of the world – Twitter this, Facebook that! So I sometimes wonder if I am crazy, because in my volunteer life I work in a library. A specialized library, to be sure, but still another world of books. It’s the library at Shaar Shalom Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Halifax.
The Shaar’s had a library since it began in the fifties. Jewish books aren’t easy to find in the Maritimes, and many were lovingly donated two mark a special occasion like a bar or bat mitzvah, graduation, or to mark the achievements of someone in the Jewish community. There are books on Israel, the Torah (Bible), Jewish holidays, art, fiction, history, cooking, lots of kids’ books (both picture and YA) and the Holocaust. There’s the “older” collection, catalogued on cards in a little box by former volunteers, and the “newer” collection, most of which is now captured in a database on a donated computer. We purchase new books from local bookstores or on-line, and hold a book sale each Hannukah.The library has also become a repository for books that congregants can’t house any more, e.g. life-long collectors who are downsizing. We get Jewish encyclopedias (thanks, we’re maxed), and lots of books on politics in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. It’s perhaps a collection unrivaled in Atlantic Canada with several thousand titles. The Hebrew School kids take books home to the delight of parents and grandparents, reading or being read to about Jewish sports stars, bat mitzvah ballerinas and pigs who wish they were kosher (seriously). When I began volunteering at the library, it was a little… disorganized. Kind of like a secret garden. Somehow I knew that beneath the misshelved titles, dust, and boxes and boxes of donated materials (National Geographics, anyone?), there would be beauty, truth and fascinating worlds waiting. And I guess that’s why I do it. Because ultimately if you love books, you can’t stay away from them, whether they are a dusty 50 years old or older, on an E-reader or in your stack of “must reads.” You love them, and you just can’t wait to see what treasures you’ll find next. Peggy Walt is the executive director of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association
“Whatever happens a world will end. And another one will begin” — Thomas Wharton, Salamander
Summer 2011 - Arts East is Atlantic Canada's only all-arts e-magazine