SCENE April 2024

Page 1

CALGARY’S GO-TO GUIDE TO GOING OUT GRAND DISAPPOINTMENT THE GRAND THEATRE FACED CLOSURE LAST MONTH. CAN IT BE SAVED? EVENTS THINGS TO DO PROFILES MUSIC BREWERIES MEET OUR FIRST “SCENESTERS” DANDY & BLINDMAN BREWING TEAM UP WHALE MUSIC AT THE JACK VENUE REVIEW: FESTIVAL HALL CUFF AT 21: BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER 04.24 ISSUE #42
2 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024 R.A.P. FERREIRA PINK MOUNTAINTOPS POST-MODERN CONNECTION BLACK MOLD JAIRUS SHARIF AMOS THE KID AMY NELSON ORA COGAN CISTERN FLORIDA BC FOLD PAPER IVYTIDE ALADEAN KHEROUFI LUKA KUPLOWSKY S A R G E A N T X C O M R A D E S T A R P A I N T E R S T I L L D E P T H S J E D A R B O U R B A B Y J E Y T Y S O N R AY B O R S B O O M B L U F F I N G C H A I R M A N C HR O ME H A R V E S T T HE DE NIM D A DDIE S DI A L UP F E MI L I QU O R M OUN TA IN O R A N J E PA L L O R A M A N D A P E N N E R M I C A H S A G E S U N D E R E R T R I B E .14 91 25 LINEUP 40+ Artists 10 VENUES Night INDEPENDEN T MUSIC & FOOD FE S T I VA L 40 ONL P R O U D LY S U P P O R T E D B Y INTERN ATION AL AV ENUE 17 AVE SE & AREA MORE ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED TICKETS ON SALE NOW ETGD.CA FIRST WAVE AVAILABLE AT ALL VENUES FOOD PLATES $ SATURDA

We acknowledge the traditional territories and the value of the traditional and current oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Tsuut’ina, the Iyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Otipemisiwak Métis Government of the Métis Nation within Alberta District 6, and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

10 COVER

The Grand has had a long history of financial challenges, including its recent public airing of a lease renegotiation. Only one thing seems clear — the arts funding model isn’t working.

4 ACT 1, SCENE 1

What to see, what to do and what’s on stage in April.

9 BEER SCENE

Dandy and Lacombe’s Blindman Brewing have teamed up in a unique partnership that will help both succeed.

14 SCENESTERS

Meet some of the folks who make Calgary’s arts and culture vibrant and exciting and get their recommendations of things to see and do.

Stafford Arima, Russell Broom, Amy Hef, Lisa Jacobs, Kay L, Lachlan Muir, Dan Owen, Jasmine Palardy, David Sidjak, Garrett Smith, Salima Stanley-Bhanji, Lili Yas Tayefi and Shelley Youngblut

22 CUFF PREVIEW

The 21st Calgary Underground Film Festival is bigger and better than ever with 11 days of film you won’t see anywhere else on the big screen.

26 MUSIC SCENE

Arts Commons premieres the film and concert adaptation of the award-winning Secrets of the Whales with a full orchestra and Jann Arden narrating. John Wort Hannam and T. Buckley are The Woodshed — you can step into their musical stylings on April 20.

28 Venue: Festival Hall

30 Cam Hayden

3 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
redpointmedia.ca 1721 29 Avenue SW, Suite 375, Calgary, AB, T2T 6T7 The Scene is a member of the Alberta Magazine Publishers’ Association and abides by its professional standards. Published 12 times a year by Redpoint Media Group. © 2024 By Redpoint Media Group. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Publisher and Acting Editor Käthe Lemon, klemon@redpointmedia.ca Founding Editor Mike Bell Designer Kris Twyman Print/Digital Production Manager Mike Matovich CONTRIBUTORS Tsering Asha, Kirk Bodnar, Sarah Comber, Cam Hayden, Benjamin Heisler, Nathan Iles, Caroline Russell-King, Jared Sych, Krista Sylvester, MaryLynn Wardle, Alana Willerton Client Support Coordinator Alice Meilleur Senior Account Executive Jocelyn Erhardt Account Executives Nadine Benoit, Vicki Braaten Administrative and HR Manager Tara Brand CEO and co-owner Roger Jewett President and co-owner Käthe Lemon Design Director Steve Collins
CONTENTS
5 1 7 17 2 8 9 12 7 6 1A 215 36 Ave ne congResscoffeeyyc.com
Stafford Arima, artistic director of Theatre Calgary, with a few of his favourite things. Meet more of our Scenesters starting on page 14.

What to do in April

FILIPINO RESTAURANT MONTH

This month, experience Calgary’s delicious Filipino dining options during the third annual Filipino Restaurant Month in Canada. Throughout April, Calgary restaurants taking part in the event offer special prix-fixe menus that showcase the great flavours and ingredients in Filipino cuisine. Visit filipinorestaurantmonth.ca for a list of participating restaurants.

CALGARY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

Back for its 21st year, the Calgary Underground Film Festival returns from April 18 to 28 with a full lineup of films and events. Get a festival pass to catch some of the best international independent films out there. Visit calgaryundergroundfilm. org for this year’s film lineup and tickets and read more on page 22.

TASTE OF BRAGG CREEK

On April 26, venture out to Bragg Creek to learn more about what the Alberta hamlet’s food scene has to offer at this evening event. Held to support Easter Seals Alberta’s Camp Horizon this year, Taste of Bragg Creek features local restaurants and liquor businesses you can get samples from with tasting tickets. Visit tasteofbraggcreek.ca for more information.

AGGIE DAYS

The Calgary Stampede’s Aggie Days is a free event that invites guests to learn more about agriculture and farming, see farm animals up close and check out events like a stock dog competition and extreme cowboy racing. Held at the Nutrien Western Event Centre at Stampede Park, Aggie Days is open to the public on April 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit ag.calgarystampede.com for more information.

CALGARY EXPO

Neve Campbell, Dermot Mulroney, Dee Bradley Baker, Justin Briner, Neil Newbon, Sam Maggs — these are just some of the celebrities, voice actors, anime guests, gaming stars and comic creators you can see at this year’s Calgary

Expo. Running from April 25 to 28, the comic and entertainment expo promises an exciting mix of panels, retailers, workshops and events like the free Pow! Parade of Wonders that brings cosplayers and fans alike to Stephen Avenue. Visit fanexpohq.com for more information and tickets.

CAVALRY FC 2024-25 SEASON HOME OPENER

The Cavalry FC soccer team starts a new season this month, and you can catch the home opener on the team’s home turf at Spruce Meadows on April

28. Grab some snacks from the concession area and cheer on the team as they take on Vancouver Island’s Pacific FC team on ATCO Field. Visit cavalryfc.canpl.ca for tickets and more information.

BELTLINE URBAN MURAL PROJECT (BUMP) MURAL TOURS

Every year, Calgary becomes a little more colorful thanks to the BUMP Festival, which has helped create over 270 incredible murals and artworks painted by artists from around the world. Now, you can learn more about them on

the new BUMP Classic Tour, an outdoor Beltline mural tour that shares the stories behind over 20 pieces of art. The tours run on Saturdays and Sundays and take up to two hours to complete. Visit yycbump.ca for more information and tickets.

MURDER AT THE PARK: ON TRACK FOR TREACHERY

Get ready for a mysterious and fun night at Heritage Park’s murder mystery experience, which returns on April 5 and 6. Featuring a three-course meal, Murder at the Park: On Track for Treachery

4 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
ACT 1 SCENE 1
PHOTO: JEVAN BAILEY Beltline Urban Mural Project (BUMP) Mural Tours running Saturdays & Sundays

invites guests to get in on the action and help solve a murder mystery throughout the evening. Single tickets and tickets for tables of six are available. Visit heritagepark.ca for more information and tickets.

HOUSE OF SKATE

Calgary finally has a roller skating destination again. House of Skate is a new roller rink in southeast Calgary where you can take classes, pop in for open skating or sign up for special events. There are adults-only skating sessions, nights dedicated to specific music genres and family

skate times. Bring your own skates or rent skates and safety gear at the facility. Visit houseofskate. ca for more information.

SELMA BURKE

Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Projects have teamed up for the world premiere of this play about Black American sculptor Selma Burke. Running from April 2 to 27, the production examines Burke’s life and her impact on both the early 1900s Harlem Renaissance movement and the design of the American dime. Visit albertatheatreprojects.com for more information and tickets.

Direct from your radio pals at 90.9 FM, here is a snapshot of the current artists & albums topping the charts at CJSW. Tune in, turn it up and enjoy.

1. The Dead South* - Chains & Stakes (Six Shooter Records)

2. Osmanthus** - Between Seasons (Self-Released)

3. Magnolia Buckskin** - In The Round (SelfReleased)

4. Dial Up** - Dial Up (Self-Released

5 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
)
Hot Garbage* - Precious Dream (Mothland Records)
Allison Burik* - Realm (Self-Released)
Erin Ross** - The Wind Will Lead Me Home (Random Orbit Records)
Various Artists - Solidarity Soundwaves (Gaza Fundraiser) (4000 Records) 9. Victrix** - I Saw Me EP (Self-Released) 10. Toxic Fem** - Toxic Fem Just Won’t Shut Up! (Self-Released) 11. Helena Deland* - Goodnight Summerland (Chivi Chivi) 12. Brass Lip** - Volume 1 (Self-Released) 13. WACK** - Lateral Adderall (Self-Released) 14. Chemtrails - The Joy of Sects (PNKSLM Recordings) 15. Grazia - In Poor Taste EP (Feel It Records) 16. TR/ST* - TR/ST EP (Dais) 17. Shygirl* - Club Shy (Universal Music France au Québec) 18. IDLES - TANGK (Partisan Records) 19. Yirinda - Yirinda (Chapter Music) 20. Health - Rat Wars (Loma Vista / Concord) 21. Lori Yates* - Matador (Self-Released) 22. PACKS* - Melt The Honey (Fire Talk) 23. Okan* - Okantomi (Lulaworld) 24. Jake Ian* - Lawrence (Lee Ridge Recordings) 25. Bry Webb* - Run With Me (Idée Fixe Records) 26. Little Misty* - Nowhere Land (Self-Released) 27. Bloodshot Bill* - Psyche-o-Billy (Goner Records) 28. Golden Lava Club** - The Big Dance (MAJE Records) 29. Lodgepole Kind** - Hard Time (Be Kind Recordings) 30. The Uranium Club - Infants Under the Bulb (Anti Fade Records) ** Local * Canadian
5.
6.
7.
8.
CJSW April Chart
Calgary Expo, April 25 to 28. PHOTO: DAVID KOTSIBE PHOTO: CAITLIND R.C. BROWN Calgary Underground Film Festival, April 18 to 28 at the Globe Cinema.

Onstage in April

PAVEL KOLESNIKOV IN RECITAL

With a variety of waltzes and nocturnes, this recital from award-winning pianist Pavel Kolesnikov will be a magical evening of music. April 2, 7:30 pm at the Rozsa Centre, 206 University Court NW, honens.com/

LIL XAN

Kick off the first weekend of April with a bang when SoundCloud rapper Lil Xan brings his hard-hitting rap and emotional lyrics to Calgary as a part of “The Return” tour. April 5, 10 pm at Modern Love, 613 11 Ave SW, modern-love.ca/

SLED ISLAND ALL-AGER RAGER

This multi-venue musical bash is a chance for people of all ages to get a taste of what Sled Island is all about. You might even catch the writer of this article headlining the Pin-Bar show with his band, Brain Bent! April 6, 2 pm at Pin-Bar (501 17 Ave SW), Sloth Records (736B 17 Ave SW), and Loophole Coffee Bar (750 10 St SW), sledisland.com/

ANASTASSIIA ALEXANDER + RICARDO SANCHEZ

An explosion of Flamenco guitar and dance will

take over the Congress stage during this all-ages event. April 7, 2 pm at Congress Coffee Company, 1A-215 36 Ave NE, congresscoffeeyyc.com/

JENN GRANT

Presented by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Jenn Grant’s eclectic blend of piano songwriting and indie-pop soul will light up Calgary’s historic Inglewood district. Learn more about Festival Hall in our venue profile on page 28.

April 12, 8 pm at Festival Hall, 1215 10 Ave SE, calgaryfolkfest.com/

TEMPO: A SYMPHONY OF EDM

Performed by the Electronic Symphonia orchestra, TEMPO is an exciting mashup of electronic dance music and elegant classical instrumentation.

April 13, 9 pm at The Palace, 219 8 Avenue SW, thepalacetheatre.ca/

EAGLES DOUBLE HEADER

In a fun coincidence, Calgarians will have two chances to celebrate The Eagles in April – much to the chagrin of The Dude. Arts Commons will pay tribute to the legendary rock band when their Classic Albums Live series takes on “Their Greatest Hits,” including Hotel California. Speaking of Hotel California, a cover band of the same name that bills itself as “The Original Eagles Tribute” band recreates the eponymous band’s smooth

EDM, FLAMENCO AND OPERA ARE JUST THE TIP OF THE MUSICAL ICEBERG THIS APRIL IN CALGARY

soft rock to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino. There’s plenty of room at the Hotel California any time of year… but especially in April.

April 18, 7:30 pm at Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 8 Ave SE, artscommons.ca

April 27, 6:30 pm at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, 3777 Grey Eagle Dr, greyeagleresortandcasino.ca/

BLUE JAY SESSIONS

Singer-songwriters across a variety of genres come together for a weekend of intimate live performances, with Sunday featuring local drag queen superstar Valerie Hunt as host.

April 19-20 at 6 pm, April 21 at 11:30 am at The Prairie Emporium, 334 53rd Ave SE, theprairieemporium.com/

CORRUPT W/ PRAYER HANDZ AND NITESHADE

Get ready for speaker-blasting bass and hip-shaking grooves when UK electronic artist Corrupt lands in Calgary. April 20, 9 pm at Sub Rosa, 200 8 Ave SW, subrosayyc.com/

TORI KELLY

The Calgary stop of Tori Kelly’s “Purple Skies” tour promises an electric night of soulful singing and irresistibly catchy pop music. April 21, 8 pm at Macewan Hall, 434 Collegiate Blvd NW, machallconcerts.com/

DAS RHEINGOLD

Calgary Opera presents the first part of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle of mythological operas, with powerful music from The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. April 20, 24 and 26, 7:30 pm at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave NW, calgaryopera.com/

INSOMNIUM WITH OMNIUM GATHERUM AND WILDERUN

Metal heads are in for a treat when Finnish metal band Insomnium makes a rare Calgary appearance this month. April 22, 7 pm at Dickens Pub, 1000 9 Ave SW, dickensyyc.com

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAYS FESTIVAL

From an album release show for Delirium Street Party Brass to an Ironwood performance from the Tina Hartt Quintet, this multi-day shindig promises to be as bold as the music it celebrates. April 26 - 30, Multiple venues, jazzyyc.com

CODY JOHNSON

The country anthems of Cody Johnson’s “The Leather Tour” will be a great way to enjoy a little Stampede spirit in the spring. May 2, 7:30 pm at Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise SE, scotiabanksaddledome.com

6 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
1 SCENE 1
ACT
PHOTO: NEIL ZELLER PHOTO: JAZZYYC PHOTO: DEE DEE MORRIS PHOTO: GEORGE DIMITROV John Raggensack at International Jazz Days Festival Sled Island All-Ager Rager Jenn Grant Anastassiia Alexander + Ricardo Sanchez

us and be a part of Alberta’s largest two-day fundraising cycling event in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Last year, over 1,200 cyclists joined us at the start line in Strathmore, Alberta, raising over $5.6 million for Albertans facing cancer. And in 2024, we will do it again. We will push for more, for those who can’t. We can’t stop. We just gotta do it.

7 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024 JULY
 21 WEEKEND, 2024 REGISTER AS A TEAM OR AN INDIVIDUAL RIDER REGISTER TO RIDE Join
TourAlbertaForCancer.ca 780-643-4584 FREE REGISTRATION USE CODE: YYCSCENE ©Mike Tan 403-294-9494 acpresents.ca Public Sector Support Media Sponsors Hospitality Sponsor Classic Albums Live Supporting Sponsor ACP Special Presentation Engagement Sponsor Secrets of the Whales ACP Signature Series Presenting Sponsor Classic Albums Live TD Amplify Naming Sponsor Narrator Sponsors Rodney & Karen McCann Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons APRIL 18 APRIL 21-23 Engineered Air Theatre at Arts Commons APRIL 26 & 27 GET TICKETS NOW! National Geographic Film Concert: Secrets of the Whales l special presentation Wakefield Brewster Presents, Pt. 3 td amplify Eagles: Their Greatest Hits classic albums live THIS MONTH with Arts Commons Presents Live narration by Jann Arden
20
8

Crafting Collaboration

DANDY BREWING AND BLINDMAN BREWING ENTER INTO A NEW PARTNERSHIP

Over the past few years, the hospitality and food and beverage industries have faced some real challenges. That is probably putting it lightly.

First came COVID, and then the tidal wave of inflation saw prices go through the roof. Businesses that successfully navigated these treacherous times were forced to make tough and at times creative decisions and ultimately learn how to do things more efficiently, and effectively. “Pivots” have become the necessary components of business success in our current economic environment.

Dandy Brewing (2003 11 St. S.E.), is one local business that has faced the challenges of the past few years head-on, embracing change with creativity and courage. And in perhaps its most innovative move yet, Dandy has just recently announced a new strategic partnership with central Alberta’s Blindman Brewing (3413 53 Ave., Lacombe).

The partnership is the first of its kind in Alberta. Mergers and acquisitions within the beer industry are nothing new, but to be clear, this is neither. Instead, this is a collaborative partnership that will put each business in a better position to focus on specific elements that have proven successful for each of the companies individually over recent years.

“We kind of ended up on a phone call with Blindman and then in the typical way brewery people do, we met for some beers,” says Dandy Brewing co-founder, Ben Leon. “As we were chatting about the nature of the industry and what the next chapter will look like, we realized that there might just be a strategy that we could put into play here that could be beneficial to both of us.”

The plan is for Dandy’s regular line up of beers, and the brews intended for further reaching distribution, will be brewed at Blindman’s production facility in Lacombe. This will enable Blindman to increase its capacity. The beer industry deals in economies of scale, so this should be quite beneficial.

The simple fact is it is hard for smaller, retail-focused, production breweries to compete and be profitable because of the cost of materials, labour, and the increased price of pretty much everything. Larger-scale productions are able to benefit at scale for several reasons. For example, much larger batch sizes are more efficient in their labour costs because labour for a 10 Hectolitre batch of beer costs essentially the same as for a 60 or 100 Hectolitre batch. Also, purchasing far larger amounts of raw materials makes it possible to strike better deals. The addition of Dandy’s core beers will certainly help Blindman’s production reach a new level.

At the same time, this will help take the pressure off Dandy’s beer production. They won’t need to focus on maximizing brewery capacity, rather they plan to focus on smaller batch, and experimental beers.

“For those who have known Dandy for a while, the feeling is sort of like going back to Dandy v.1,” says Leon, “We hope to experiment a lot and have some fun with small batches and refine food concepts and focus more on the taproom overall.”

And it may indeed be this focus on the taproom that will form a major component of their future success.

Dandy plans to expand the taproom space, increasing the overall capacity of their bar and restaurant areas and enabling even more people an opportunity to enjoy an increased selection of fun one-off and experimental beers, not to mention their absolutely fantastic pizza.

The business world can be ultra-competitive and cut-throat at the best of times, but this partnership goes to show that sometimes the best and most creative solutions involve collaboration and co-operation.

To illustrate this point, Dandy and Blindman decided to initiate their partnership by collaborating to brew a beer. Together they brewed a delicious American IPA, and named it, “Together IPA,” which might just be perfect.

“Together IPA” is available in the taproom at both Dandy and Blindman and can also be found in cans throughout Alberta. Give it a try and see for yourself just how tasty collaboration can be.

9 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
BEER SCENE PHOTO: SHANE REMPEL

COVER THE END OF A GRAND IDEA?

On February 7, the Calgary Grand Theatre Society posted an image on its Instagram account that read, “Future Uncertain for Calgary’s 112-year old Grand Theatre.”

“...In mid-January, despite more than a year of productive discussions and feasibility planning, the Society was surprised and disappointed to learn its landlord, Allied Properties REIT, rejected the proposal. Due to these unforeseen circumstances, the Society will likely be forced to make a difficult decision later this year,” read part of the caption.

But by March 1, the Society had updated the webpage for a community event they had called to discuss the situation with the following statement: “In advance of the meeting, we are pleased to share that conversations with our landlord, Allied, about the future of THE GRAND have been reopened. Thank you to all who have shown your support of The GRAND during this time of

uncertainty.”

In an email to The Scene on March 19, Sue Crawford, general manager of The Grand, wrote, “I can confirm Allied REIT and The GRAND have re-opened negotiations and share a common goal to retain the venue as the oldest theatre in western Canada. Conversations were productive; however, it is too soon to speculate on the details.”

While previous negotiations had included as part of the feasibility planning that Arts Commons might take on the lease and operations of The Grand, Crawford confirmed that was no longer the case. “Arts Commons will not be an operator of the theatre, but will continue to be a strategic partner, potential client and friend of The GRAND’s,” she wrote.

And so, disaster has once again been averted at the long-troubled theatre.

Still, the situation has caused many to wonder if closure of The Grand Theatre has actually been averted or just postponed and to point out that the current business and funding model for the arts is not working.

The Grand Theatre, built by Senator James Lougheed, opened in February 1912, making it the oldest theatre building in Calgary.

Built in the Chicago Architectural style and designed by LR Wardrop, it was considered quite modern for its time, with electric lights, hot and cold running water and a sprinkler system. It was the largest theatre in Western Canada when it opened.

Although it would host many marquee names, including Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers and George Burns, as well as political rallies, by the time the Southern Jubilee Auditorium opened in 1957, The Grand was operating as a movie theatre.

“We would like to have kept up the Grand as a site for legitimate theatre, but we just couldn’t compete with the Jubilee Auditorium‘s seating capacity and modern sound and stage equipment,” then-owner JB Barron (of the Barron Building) told the Calgary Herald in 1965.

But the Jubilee would also play a role in The Grand’s return to being a performance space.

From 1969 to 1999, Odeon (and then later Cineplex Odeon) operated a movie theatre in the Grand. However, despite a renovation and rebrand

in the ‘80s, the company did not renew its lease when it expired in 1999.

The Lougheed Building and adjacent Grand Theatre building languished for a period, spurring fears they would be demolished. But, in 2003, Neil Richardson bought the Lougheed Building and the Grand Theatre with the stated intention of restoring them.

In 2004, Theatre Junction, an avant-garde theatre troupe headed by Mark Lawes, raised more than $11 million in donations to buy the Grand Theatre and renovate it back into a live theatre performance space.

Local magazine publisher and philanthropist Jackie Flanagan is the named patron of the Flanagan Theatre, the main theatre space at The Grand. While she declined to be interviewed for this story, noting that she has not been involved in The Grand since about 2010, she did provide a written statement. “I appreciated what Theatre Junction and Mark Lawes were doing during the period (1991-2004) when the ensemble performed in the Dr. Betty Mitchell Theatre on the lower level of the Jubilee Auditorium. When the Jubilee

10 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024

Auditorium was renovated in 2004, the performance space on the lower level was reassigned to be used for mechanical operations. So, Theatre Junction needed to look for a new space. I helped Mark Lawes in his search for space. We talked to a number of people in the community, such as Ron Matheson of Matco, which owned the original Calgary Brewery in Inglewood, to try to find performing space.

“Eventually Mark hit on the historic Grand Theatre that was being used at the time as a golf centre. I was a lead donor in a fundraising campaign that enabled Theatre Junction to buy the Grand.”

After an extensive renovation completed by Sturgess Architecture, Theatre Junction Grand opened in 2006.

Kevin Harrison, who worked on the renovation of the theatre as a designer with Sturgess Architecture and sat on the board of Theatre Junction Grand and then The Grand Theatre Society from 2016 to 2023, is effusive in his praise of the space.

“It is arguably the best building in our city, period. … The experience of the history of the building and the juxtaposition of the new theatre with that his-

The situation has caused many to wonder if closure of The Grand Theatre has actually been averted or just postponed and to point out that the current business and funding model for the arts is not working.

tory — it’s absolutely stunning. The building itself supports the initiatives. It’s pretty incredible.”

Just as when the building first opened, when the renovated space opened, the local press noted Theatre Junction Grand’s modern elements — the intriguing chandelier made by artist Eric Sauv of broken wine bottles, the unisex bathroom and the open-concept kitchen restaurant.

But the excitement was about more than the space for the arts and restoring a historic building to a former glory and its intended use.

The fact that a small local theatre company could make such a bold move seemed to prove that Calgary was not, as George Bowering had once deemed Alberta, “a cultural desert.”

The opening of Theatre Junction Grand looked like an indicator of

renewed growth and an extension of the existing gems of the city’s arts scene, such as One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo and the Old Trout Puppet Workshop. And it felt like a part of a larger movement in the city — proof that dynamic and exciting things were happening here. In 2003, Calgary Opera premiered an original opera, Filumena. In 2006, Alberta Ballet would mount its game-changing original show, Fiddle and Drum, set to the songs of Joni Mitchell. And, in 2012, Calgary was named the Cultural Capital of Canada. Theatre Junction Grand seemed to be part and parcel of this new culturally relevant Calgary.

Because of this, The Grand was always and will always be about more than the building. It’s about how we see Calgary’s arts scene and how we think others might see us.

But that excitement dissipated over the years

A GRAND OLD BUILDING

Whether or not live theatre continues to take place in The Grand Theatre space, it is very unlikely the building will ever be torn down.

Josh Traptow, CEO of Heritage Calgary notes that while the adjacent Lougheed Building is protected by both municipal and provincial historic designation, the theatre itself is not.

“It is the oldest theatre in the city,” says Traptow. “From a historic standpoint, being one of the oldest theatres is significant. It would be a shame for it not to be a performing space because of its cultural tie-ins.”

While it is unlikely that structurally, the theatre could be torn down without the Lougheed Building also being demolished, the use of a space is not controlled by the historical designation in any case.

Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) owns several historic buildings in Calgary and across Canada, including the Customs

as tensions built between the need to run a space and the artistic vision of Theatre Junction.

In her statement, Flanagan noted, “Mark’s vision for a ‘culture house’ and an experimental company were very different from what he had been doing at the Jubilee. I was not very interested in this new approach and was never involved after that.”

Debts mounted, and there were whispers of unproven allegations about workplace toxicity and uncompleted grant projects. By December 2018, The Grand Theatre and Theatre Junction parted ways.

In a press release that The Grand posted to its Facebook page at the time, then-board chair Duane Hertzer said that the move, “signals a new chapter for The GRAND focused on embracing a broad new set of creatives looking to engage and delight Calgarians.”

But, the newly formed Calgary Grand Theatre Society continued to be dogged by financial difficulties. In a 2019 story, Livewire reported that in its most recent CRA filing, the group’s expenses had exceeded revenue by more than $300,000.

By 2020, the heavily debt-laden organization sold the theatre to Allied Properties REIT and entered into a lease agreement to use the space they had once owned.

“So many bridges had been burned,” said one former board member who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, when asked why the community wasn’t asked for support in 2020 so the building wouldn’t have to be sold rather than

House on 11th Ave. S.E. (former home of the National Music Centre), the Burns Block (at the east end of Arts Commons), and the Alberta Hotel (home to Murrietta’s). This is part of why Allied was seen as a good partner to buy the building.

“Heritage is [Allied’s] bread and butter,” says Traptow. “They own a number of heritage buildings and they do it really well. They actively go out and purchase heritage and they view it as an asset in their portfolio, whereas others, maybe, see that as a liability.”

Allied is also the named sponsor of Toronto’s Allied Music Centre, featuring Massey Hall.

“[The Lougheed Building] is an early mixed-use building. It’s associated with James Lougheed and the Grand Theatre. I suspect Allied would view the Lougheed as a crown jewel in their portfolio. It’s not going anywhere,” says Traptow.

11 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024

COVER

waiting until now. “It was the only option. There was quite a bit of debt.”

“[Selling the building] was just extending the inevitable,” says Harrison, a board member from 2016 to 2023. “The building was the greatest asset. But the arts model is completely broken. There’s not enough government funding and not enough private funding.”

“I hate to say it, because I know the team at the Grand is working hard to save the space, what is happening now is foreseeable and probably inevitable.”

Simon Mallett, executive director of the Rosza Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds the arts and the former artistic director of Downstage Performance Society, also sees the current situation as foreseeable. “At the end of the day, once The Grand Society sold the building to Allied, they were no longer in control of their own destiny. And that’s brought us to where we are now.”

Whether The Grand’s closure as a performance theatre is inevitable or not, many agree that the business model needs to change, not only for The Grand but also for the arts more broadly.

“There needs to be a fundamental change to the way we pay for the arts,” says Harrison. “I don’t know what that fundamental shift might look like, but the dollar amounts are really significant.”

Harrison notes that it wasn’t for lack of trying to find that new model on the part of successive boards at The Grand.

Current Calgary Grand Theatre Society board chair, Devon LeClair, echoes Harrison.

“The community needs to understand that we have done everything in our power that we can see possible to make the financials work,” LeClair said in an interview on February 14. “And in that space, with a traditional theatre-operator model, it’s very difficult, especially in the funding ecosystem that arts organizations find themselves in.”

LeClair noted that corporate donations and government funding have both declined. “It feels like that pot of money is getting smaller, and there are more organizations trying to fund themselves through those smaller pots of money. So I think there’s just a bigger conversation to be had about what do arts and arts organizations mean to Calgarians. And how do we make sure that we’re in sustainable positions, so that we don’t turn around one day and find ourselves without any arts organizations in the city?”

The Grand was always and will always be about more than the building. It’s about how we see Calgary’s arts scene and how we think others might see us.

So, for the moment, The Grand stays in limbo to a certain extent.

Allied may renegotiate the current lease payments, which LeClair describes as being “north of $500,000 a year,” but the same questions will likely arise every time the lease expires.

After all, it’s not just the arts that is re-examining its business model. Downtown commercial real estate is not what it once was.

In February, the Globe and Mail reported that Allied’s unit prices had slumped to 2009 levels after lower-than-expected earning reports and a $510 million writedown on its property portfolio. (Allied did not respond to our requests for interviews.)

In retrospect, it is hard to point to a specific issue that triggered the problems at The Grand Theatre. It may have been the 2014 downturn in oil prices, which made many local corporate sponsors reconsider how they spent their sponsorships. When Theatre Junction bought the building in 2005, the oil industry was strong and, more importantly, felt like it was growing.

Fading bumper stickers on cars at the time read, “Please God, give me one more boom and I promise not to piss it all away!” By owning the building, it felt like that promise had been fulfilled at Theatre Junction Grand.

Perhaps Jackie Flanagan sums up the many emotions best in her written statement: “When I heard that the Grand Theatre Society had sold the place to a REIT, I was disappointed.”

It’s not clear if there’s someone to blame for the situation at The Grand, whether it could have been averted, and if so by whom and when. But it is definitely disappointing.

LeClair though seems at least hopeful that Calgarians will, in fact, not piss it all away this time.

“When these types of urgent situations come to the forefront Calgarians are shocked and upset, and I think that they should be. Losing the Grand Theater would be a huge blow to the community,” she says. “But the other thing that I’ve been saying is, as a Calgarian, if you want to do something to help, go buy tickets to something. Not necessarily at The Grand, but Calgary has just this vast array of incredible performers, performance venues, we have some amazing local musicians, you know, all sorts of events. All of these performing arts spaces have incredible shows. And the biggest thing that the average Calgarian can do to support the arts is to go buy tickets, go see something, you know, go support the arts in that way.”

12 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTOS: XXXXXX XXXXXX

WE’VE MOVED!

13 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024

SCENESTERS

Scenesters

GARRET SMITH

Garret Smith is a proud member of the Piikani and Kainai Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Southern Alberta. The former interim artistic director for Making Treaty 7 is also the Founder of the Mohkinstsis Healing Camp, which was initially a protest camp raising awareness of social injustices. Its purpose was to fill a gap in the city’s current infrastructure by providing First Nation communities a place to engage and practice in their culture and spirituality. While Smith is primarily an actor with multiple theatre, film and television credits, he is also a staunch activist and youth support advocate who believes in sparking a healing form of dialogue.

1 “My first recommendation is going to a show/performance at The Grand, Calgary’s oldest theatre. With the possibility of being closed permanently, now is the time to be part of Calgary’s history and see a show there.”

2 “Taking part in the annual Tipi Harvests my family hosts near Castle Falls. Each year we invite the general public to join us as we harvest, barbecue and enjoy the land. Details can be found on my social media.”

3 “Fort Calgary. As the recently hired Indigenous Program Facilitator, I can honestly say the variety of programs they have is amazing. With new events coming each month, there is always something to experience.”

4 “Nose Hill. Being Blackfoot, I love this land. With perhaps one of the best views of the city, I highly recommend taking a walk and a moment to appreciate the land that sustains us.”

5 “Mohkinstsis. The river. Our meeting place. Anywhere along the river is a great place to be. A source of life that, sadly, we take for granted. Sit by the river, or take a float down its currents.”

6 “In any case, enjoy the land with your family and friends. We signed the Treaty for a reason. To share this land.” —K.S.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO MAKE A CITY’S ARTS AND CULTURAL SCENE SOAR. MEET A FEW OF THE COOL PEOPLE MAKING CALGARY AN EVENTFUL AND VIBRANT PLACE TO CALL HOME AND SOME OF THEIR TOP RECOMMENDATIONS OF THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO SEE AND ONES TO WATCH.

SALIMA STANLEY-BHANJI

Recognized as one of the Calgary Influential Women in Business in 2021 and one of Calgary Herald’s Compelling Calgarians in 2022, Salima Stanley-Bhanji is the co-founder of Humainologie, a nonprofit that celebrates and supports underrepresented Calgarians. Originally from Australia, Stanley-Bhanji grew her career as a filmmaker and lawyer in Calgary and has received over 30 international awards and selections for films she directed. The TED-X speaker also loves supporting people to align with their passions while sharing their message. She also loves her black cat Naala, saunas and sunshine. Stanley-Bhanji says there is so much good stuff happening in the city that she struggled to pare it down to just five recommendations.

1 “Masterfully designed, intentional pieces that live on your body are no feat for tattoo artist Ciara Havishya (@la___tigresse_____ on Instagram) who brings the gentlest energy, next level commitment and care, and incredible artistry to their work. After a 20-year hiatus on ink, I feel like Ciara channeled something missing from my body that was destined to be part of me.”

2 “I feel so lucky to drop into my neighbourhood indie cinema, The Plaza, for a great film, to snack on arguably the city’s best popcorn and grab a thoughtfully crafted cocktail afterward in the cutest side bar. Did I mention the concession area is a landscape of PINK? Catch the red-carpet premiere of Shades, a film series celebrating Black and racialized Calgary women, at the Plaza on May 16.”

3

“At age 45, I signed up for my first roller skating lessons with Roller Jungle at Contemporary Calgary. @livvyskates is a badass skater and the kindest human who is gifted at creating a welcoming space. In one lesson, she taught me crossovers and how to fall properly on my butt.”

4

“Two of my fave YYC talents are hip hop/funk artist, Sinzere and soul artist, Zenon. Find them both on Spotify and Apple Music (I guess, though choosing Apple Music might affect our friendship).”

5 “Saffron Street is a need-to-know spot at First Street Market serving delicious South Asian food. My dad owned an Indian resto growing up, so I have some critic street cred here! My personal fave is the chole bhature. If you want to make new friends, order this. It’s a conversation starter as well as a gift to your taste buds.”

—K.S.

14 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: JASON KAMPALA PHOTO: DARIN GREGSON

STAFFORD ARIMA

Stafford Arima has been at the helm of Theatre Calgary, Calgary’s largest professional theatre company, for seven years. Born and raised in Toronto, he moved to New York where he worked successfully in theatre for 20 years. He was the first Asian Canadian to direct a musical on Broadway. Since taking the role of artistic director, Arima has brought some of that musical theatre razzmatazz to the Theatre Calgary stage, which will host the world premiere of Beaches The Musical next month. The process of making theatre can be all-encompassing. “You don’t have a day off,” he says. “I’m trying to find a better work-life balance.” He says he’s also currently working to answer the question, “How do we find joy, passion and pleasure?” Here are some of the answers he’s found.

1 “The Pearce Estate Fish Hatchery provides a tranquil escape for a five-minute walk even in winter.”

2 “Crossroads Market. I just love Billingsgate Seafood Market and Kelly and Sons — it’s retail therapy of a different kind.”

3 “Ari Sushi has their fish flown in from Tokyo daily. It’s the best sushi in Canada.”

4 “My Name is Barbra, is a book I recommend to actors, directors and writers and everyone — it’s extraordinary.”

5 “I use ripe avocado as a face mask. It’s perfect for the dry climate in Calgary.”

—C.R-K.

AMY HEF

From beginning her career as a rock drummer to establishing a successful career in pop and now returning to her country roots, Amy Hef is an accomplished musician who refuses to be confined to a single genre. In 2023, Hef was awarded Female Country Artist of the year at the Alberta Country Music Awards. Her songs have also found placements in popular television series and networks such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Vanderpump Rules, HBO Max and FX Networks. Her latest single (Far From) Perfect just dropped, so pop it on while you read.

1 “I spent most of my career recording music in Los Angeles but when 2020 rolled around and travel became a no-go, I teamed up with Dave Temple and Johnny Gasparic at MCC recording studio here in Calgary. The studio has been around since 2001 and Johnny’s engineering skills are next level. And the Rock Lord, Dave, will instantly be one of your favourite people and will make sure your project is exactly what you want.”

2 “The industrial area of the city can be a little, well, industrial looking. But there is a hidden gem of an event space nestled in there called The Prairie Emporium. Located inside Ill-Fated Kustoms motorcycle shop, owners Jenn Kwan and Dan Clapson have the place decked out with unique decor — think cool pictures, funky lamps and a vibe you won’t find anywhere else. They are home to the award-winning Blue Jay Sessions, which is an intimate songwriter round of incredible Canadian artists paired with great food and drinks.”

1 “I had this purple velvet blazer just collecting dust in my closet and I took it to DOME’ Leather Design Studio by Marina Ortman. She worked her magic on it and completely redesigned it into this jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind jacket with custom crafted leather sleeves and her signature leather work. Marina specializes in upcycled leather, so it’s all about sustainability, too. This local designer is hands down one of the most talented, unique artists we have here in Calgary. Get something made to be as unique as you are and support local!”

4 “Did you know we have a ‘Music Mile’ here in Calgary? Well, at the end of that mile, located in Inglewood, is the legendary Blues Can. Unfortu-

nately, we just found out that this venue will be torn down for condos, most likely within the year. So, I guess “Music Mile” may turn into “Music Kilometre” at some point. Anyway, this place is such a gem, and I am devastated to think that it will no longer be there to go see amazing blues, rock, country, musicians, every night of the week and just go in for a causal pint (or six) and have the greatest time.”

5 “Just north of the Saddledome we have Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Yes, you read that correctly. Calgary is home to the National Music Centre — not Toronto. This stunning building is a museum with exhibitions changing to keep featuring Canada’s best and emerging artists. It’s also a performance hall where many unique concerts and music experiences happen all year round. This not-for-profit is helping put Calgary on the map as a music city and I’m here for that.” —K.S.

15 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: JARED SYCH

ART AND LIFE: THE STORY OF JIM PHILLIPS

Embark on the epic ride of Jim Phillips, the genius behind skateboarding and rock culture’s electrifying art. Drawing inspiration from his life in Santa Cruz, California, Jim helped shape the golden era of skateboarding.

CUBE: VINCENZO NATALI RETROSPECTIVE

A group of strangers awaken to find themselves placed in a giant cube, and must work together to escape an endless maze of deadly traps.

IN A VIOLENT NATURE

This Sundance-selected ambient slasher methodically depicts the enigmatic resurrection, rampage, and retribution of an undead monster in the remote wilderness.

RATS!

The first feature film from CUFF alumni Maxwell Nalevansky (A CHEST OF DRAWERS, JAZZBERRY) and Carl Fry (WITH PLEASURE) is a hilarious story of a young Texan stuck on a turbulent rollercoaster of misguided chaos.

THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY

A traveling knife salesman is stranded and forced to wait at a rural rest stop and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a violent hostage situation upon the arrival of two bank robbers who are on the run after a recent heist.

BABES

After becoming pregnant from a onenight stand, Eden, an aggressively single woman, leans on her married best friend and mother of two, Dawn, to guide her through prenatal life and beyond.

DEPARTMENT OF PARANORMAL AFFAIRS: EPISODIC SERIES

The Department of Paranormal Affairs is a special branch of the government that deals with the day-to-day problems of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, goblins, and anything else that goes bump in the night.

JOHN WATERS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

A one-night only spoken-word show from John Waters presented as part of the 21st Calgary Underground Film Festival!

Following this live event, John Waters will introduce the 30th anniversary screening of his film SERIAL MOM.

SCREAM OF MY BLOOD: A GOGOL BORDELLO STORY

A portrait of punk legend Eugene Hütz, chronicling his journey from Ukraine to the U.S., his rise to fame with the band Gogol Bordello, and his defiant return home after the Russian invasion.

THELMA

When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her.

BORN INNOCENT: THE REDD KROSS STORY

With an influence reaching across the genres of punk, college rock, grunge, metal and indie rock, BORN INNOCENT makes the case for Redd Kross as the seminal Los Angeles band of the last half century.

FLIPSIDE

Exploring themes of art and failure, FLIPSIDE is a comical attempt to save a New Jersey record store and confront a mid-life crisis.

MOTHER FATHER SISTER BROTHER FRANK

The Jennings family couldn’t be more painfully suburban, but when asshole Uncle Frank crashes their weekly Sunday dinner with a nasty surprise, murder turns up on the menu.

TEACHES OF PEACHES

Artist and musician Peaches is a feminist icon leaving an indelible mark on popular culture as proven by this blend of archival gems, interviews, and riveting tour footage.

BOY KILLS WORLD

A dystopian action film that follows Boy. When his family is murdered, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.

I SAW THE TV GLOW

When a lonely teenager is introduced by a classmate to a mysterious late-night TV show, the world within the show begins to feel more real than real life in this A24 release from visionary filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun (WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR).

OFF RAMP

A couple of lovable, degenerate Juggalos journey through America’s hellish underbelly to The Gathering of the Juggalos, the one place on earth they feel accepted.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

THANK YOU VERY MUCH explores the life and work of the uniquely original, and utterly hilarious performance artist Andy Kaufman: aka the “song and dance man.”

17 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
OPENING NIGHT FILM

SCENESTERS

SHELLEY YOUNGBLUT

The “creative ringleader” and CEO of Wordfest, Shelley Youngblut’s resume is nothing short of remarkable. Youngblut earned the Calgary Award for Community Achievement in the Arts in 2020, the Rozsa Award for Arts Leadership in 2018, and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Western Magazine Awards in 2008. Youngblut was also the founding editor of Calgary’s award-winning Swerve magazine and has created magazines for ESPN, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon, Western Living, and The Globe and Mail. The former pop-culture correspondent for ABC World News Now and Canada AM is now a regular CBC Radio contributor.

1 “Memorial Park is home to Alberta’s oldest library, which is also home to Wordfest’s 140-seat performance space where you’ll discover the world’s best writers and the only licensed bar in a library. For me, it’s Calgary’s equivalent of New York City’s Bryant Park, and I am endlessly delighted by the 1912 Carnegie-funded sandstone building, the war memorials, meticulously kept gardens, and Park by Sidewalk Citizen restaurant, where Wordfest collabor-

ates on memorable Tzavta Salons. Watch for our first Reading in the Wild in June, when Memorial Park will come alive with the joy of reading outside.”

2 “My dog’s favourite spots (she’s marked them all along our Saturday morning route) begin at the off-leash area at the Elbow Park Community Centre, then across the bridge onto Riverside Avenue, down into Sandy Beach and then up into the Britannia Shopping Centre, where I get a Monogram iced London Fog or a Village Ice Cream sundae and she gets a kangaroo treat (allergies!). On Sundays, it’s my turn for a workout at Elbow Park, pushed to my planking limits by Christy Hayne.”

3 “My Marda Loop neighbourhood’s biggest positive is its walkability (driving, not so much!). Amidst the chaos of development on steroids, I’m a huge fan of the human scale of The Leonard Development Group’s renovation of two-storey traditional buildings into right-sized retail opportunities for local entrepreneurs on 34th Street SW.”

4 “With more than 100 Wordfest shows a year, I’m often on stage. Years ago, I decided that I needed a uniform – and that’s when I invested all my extra money in jumpsuits created by Horses Atelier’s Claudia Dey and Heidi Sopinka. Best-selling authors, the sublime Horses

duo make the “Jumpsuits for the Revolution” that have become my trademark. Because you can never have too many books or be too stylish, I’m saving up for new soft armour — they just announced Elektra design.” —K.S.

DAN OWEN

Dan Owen is the owner of OCL Studios where Shaye Zadrevec, Miesha & The Spanks, and Jann Arden among many others, have all recorded albums. After wrapping up a hand-to-mouth tenure as a bar-musician in the 1980s, Owen got a real job, got married and had kids. Owen Construction Ltd., his asbestos abatement business, funded a move to a large country home. After looking for studio space to record the album his band never made way-back-when, he built OCL Studios in his house. From the other side of the microphone, he says he fell in love with “all the amazing talent in Calgary.” He became a part-owner of the Ironwood Stage & Grill, a board member of the Prophets of Music society, and is associated with Annerin Productions, which has created many shows

including Rock the Nation (on now until the end of the month at the National Music Centre), Beyond van Gogh and the Queen musical We Will Rock You.

1 “Certainly, the Ironwood for live music.”

2 “Every Thursday throughout the summer, I can be found at Quinterra Legacy Garden [a memorial park at South Glenmore Park].”

3 “I had a fab meal at Klein/Harris before the Theatre Calgary show the other night.

4 “Basically, meeting all the great folks that come through OCL is the thing I love best.”

5 “[One to watch is the] up-and-coming ukelele duo with great harmonies, The Crikettes. — M-L.W.

18 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: HEATHER SAITZ PHOTO: MEGAN MCKAY

LILI YAS TAYEFI

Lili Yas Tayefi is an Iranian-Canadian architectural designer, educator and interdisciplinary artist. Inspired by the life-anddeath cycle of working with clay, and navigating the intersection between her Canadian and Iranian identities, Tayefi balances academia (she is an instructor at both UCalgary and AUArts, and specializes in material science and 3D printing) with intuitively hand-crafting ceramics out of her business, LYT Studio.

“I play with the clay, and depending on where I am sitting or my mood or the atmosphere, I just work to build the sculpture upward. And whatever turns up turns out,” says Tayefi, describing her meditative, “feel-first” approach — before sharing her top five recommendations.

1

“I definitely spend a lot of time frequenting Missy’s This That. [I love] all the homies who run it. I have been going since they opened, and I am so stoked for them because they

have become a bit more popular. Everytime I go, we end up staying until close, because more friends come in. It is such a beautiful community — so intimate.”

2 “Sought X Found is my favourite coffee shop. They do such a great job, and their beans are really good quality and ethical, and that’s fabulous. And the couple who owns it are so sweet.”

3 “Field Kit Studio candles. My friend Jemma makes wonderful, naturally scented candles in town.”

4 “I wanted to give a shout out to The GRAND theatre, because I think they are moving through a transition right now and I think anyone who can support theatres staying alive should. And I think The GRAND is the oldest theatre in Western Canada, so it would be great to keep that around and continue supporting it.”

5 “I love the Sidewalk Citizen in the Simmons Building. Their breakfast sandwich is amazing.”

—S.C.

LISA JACOBS

Multi-instrumentalist, Lisa Jacobs, declares the bass guitar her most beloved of the group. Playing her first blues festival at age 12, she has written, recorded, music directed, performed and toured with a wide variety of artists, including platinum recording pop artist Jocelyn Alice, Terri Clark, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Jann Arden, to name just a few. Jacobs was recently awarded “Musician of the Year” by Country Music Alberta (CMAB) and was nominated for “Bass Player of the Year” by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) in 2023. She has a degree in music therapy (with a minor in jazz performance on electric bass). As a therapist, she’s had the opportunity to create music with people of varied abilities in many different settings including schools and even a maximum-security prison. You can also catch her in Rock the Nation at Studio Bell on weekends until the end of the month.

1 “Fave Place: The Glenmore Reservoir

The water. The mountains. The trees. The endless but ending skies. I go to the reservoir to feel small. To remind myself of who I am in the grand scheme of things. I walk with my friends and we solve everything and nothing. I go by myself and do the same. It’s my place of solace. No matter the weather.”

2 “Fave Music Venue: Ironwood Stage and Grill in Inglewood. I love playing here. They foster a listening crowd. It’s intimate and special, which is why I adore watching shows here. The unwavering support of the staff has made me a better musician and a more confident human.”

3 “Fave New Thing: I recently started art classes with my friend. As a musician, I spend of a lot of time formulating and analyzing my creations, onstage and not. I’m a mediocre visual artist at best. I’ve been using these art classes as a way to express and create without judgement and ego (and overall care for the outcome —

some turn out surprising, some abysmal). The unexpected value: Whilst learning the skills to create art, what I’ve really been learning is how to see. The City of Calgary offers affordable classes for adults and children via liveandplay.calgary.ca.”

4 “Fave Clothing Store: Kate Hewko

When I’m looking for something to wear (both on and off the stage) that’s unique and offbeat (and often oversized), I go downtown to Kate Hewko. The highly curated, fun, whimsical, badass, don’t care what you think of me fashion super appeals to me. She has a store in Calgary, Nashville and online at katehewko.com.”

5 “Favorite Local Small Businesses: [My sister], Leela Jacobs Designer Leather Toques (leelajacobs.com). Cornerstone Music

Cafe for community-minded music development, cafe and catering and performance venue (cornerstonemusic.ca). And Moonlight and Eli a champagne and fondue bar (moonlightandeli.com)”

—K.S.

19 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: BERNINE MARIE

SCENESTERS

KAY L

Zimbabwe-born Calgary musician Kay L has had a remarkable career already, and he’s not done yet. Winning the “Artist of the Year” award at the Zimbabwe Achievement Awards in 2020 is a significant achievement, but he didn’t stop there. Kay L, whose music can best be described as hip hop with R&B soul infused pop elements, also received the White Hat Award in Calgary, was nominated for a Juno award and a World Entertainment Award and has also won multiple YYC Music Awards to further solidify his status as a decorated artist. Kay L might be best known for his single “Alone” with Calgary radio Host DJ Kav, but he is also making a name for himself touring and performing with Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent, just to name a few.

1 “One of my favourite places to eat in YYC is Modern Steak. Probably the best steak in Canada.”

2 “If there’s any DJ in YYC you should definitely make time to see, it’s DJ Kav. He does it all and is the ultimate showman when performing.”

3 “One of my favourite nightclubs to visit is downtown’s PnT [Please and Thanks]. Be sure to check them out on Saturday nights for XO Saturdays.”

JASMINE PALARDY

Jasmine Palardy is a passionate community builder who has worked with urban innovators around the world to create more creative and imaginative places where ideas thrive, including right here in Calgary. As the founder of the newlast-fall Lobbyfest, Palardy’s goal is to engage with a diverse range of citizens to help envision and shape the future of the city’s urban core. Her goal is simply to elevate the serendipity between people in ways that make places and products that are better for humanity. Palardy proudly amplifies the city’s

4 “My favourite artist in YYC right now is named Cybril He is an R&B singer and has some amazing vocals.”

5 “One of my favourite places to visit in YYC is the East Village Riverwalk because it has really nice art, architecture and scenery. It’s one of my favourite places to just soak in and unwind.”

—K.S.

vibrant innovation energy and the arts and culture scene as she takes in all of its beauty and potential.

1 “The perfect day is soaking my feet in the Bow River or the pond on St. Patrick’s Island mid-bike ride.”

2 “I am beyond excited about all of the cultural potential that is about to be unleashed thanks to the massive projects underway in Calgary’s downtown including the transformation of Arts Commons, Olympic Plaza and the Glenbow.”

3 “The year-round covered patio at Citizen Brewing Beers, dogs, kids, dogs, astroturf, great conversation, more dogs and super friendly staff. Dogs!”

4 “I love this city, and the fact I’ve boomeranged back a few times after living elsewhere and I’m now old enough to walk down 17th Ave. and say, “That store/ restaurant used to be a _____.”

5 “Lil’ Empire burgers and dirty fries, please. Enough said.”

—K.S.

LACHLAN MUIR

In 2016, Lachlan Muir had the opportunity to coalesce his hospitality industry experience with his business acumen by helping his mother, Lisa Maric, open Distilled Beauty Bar. The café-winebar-spa hybrid offers an experience so unique, it has attracted patrons from as far as Japan.

“One of the greatest joys of having the business setup the way it is, is that I get to interact with my family almost daily,” says Muir. “That’s something that has always been [important to] my mom and me. We stayed together through things that would probably break most [business partners] apart.” Family remains an important theme as Muir breaks down his top five recommendations.

1 “On our first date, my fiance and I actually went to Cannibale, so it has always had a special place in my heart. The Spicy Dead Lady is my go-to cocktail.”

2 “Right beside Cannibale, Bluestar Diner has the best brunch. I live in Bridgeland, so those have been my two stomping grounds.”

3 “Cassis is one of the best restaurants in the city. That place has knocked it out of the park with the food and the French ambience. That is another one of my favourite spots for dining.”

4 “I would say for new places, Missy’s This That really takes the cake. They have a great cocktail menu there and an unbelievable wine list.”

5 “The River Café is really meaningful to me. My parents got married there. There’s a big family theme to most of the stuff that I like, so that place has always been special to me. And a great venue as well, it’s beautiful there in the park.”

—S.C.

20 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: 2C MEDIA

DAVID SIDJAK

David Sidjak, the owner of Sigla Books, says he was not particularly “bookish” in his youth. When he was 30-years-old, Sidjak discovered Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, and his passion for literature was born. Thirty years later, Sidjak describes the book trade as both his “vocation and avocation.”

“One of my self-imposed mandates is to physically save books from the landfill, and then to also make them available to anybody who is interested,” says Sidjak, whose shop stocks an array of titles — from rare antiquities to $12 paperbacks that are otherwise fading from mainstream shelves. Unsurprisingly, when asked to share recommendations that Calgarians should know about, Sidjak picked books.

1 “Life a User’s Manual by Georges Perec. Perec died before the internet, and it occurs to me that [this book] reads now, in 2024, as a pay-in to a pre-internet world. It makes you, amongst so many other things, nostalgic for a world more bookish, and full of an appreciation for antiques, art, books, and the old Paris.”

2

The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero. Levrero and Perec both wrote in many different genres, and they both liked [literary] games. They also both made crossword puzzles for newspapers. So, they are kind of like distant cousins. This is a great book. Although it is not for everybody — I have no reservations about recommending it, and I don’t think he is that well known.”

3 “

TheAnatomyofMelancholy by Robert Burton. I don’t think it has even been out of print since the 17th century and it’s a really influential book. Borges loved it, and Samuel Beckett loved it. This was Burton’s life work; he published the first edition in 1621 and then he kept adding to it. He dissects ‘melancholy’ — which in the 17th century stood for everything from the blues through to madness.”

4 “

TheAnatomyofBibliomania by Holbrook Jackson Jackson definitely makes no bones about the fact that this book is modeled on ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy,’ but written 300 years later. He is applying it to the madness of book-love. Which really was a phenomenon and still is to some extent. There are still lots of people who love books, but in the past a lot more so. Before the internet, when books were king.”

—S.C.

RUSSELL BROOM

Calgary-based musician/producer/songwriter/guitarist Russell Broom is well known for his work with Jann Arden, Ian Tyson, Kyle McKearney and Art Bergmann and has graced recordings by Robbie Williams, Josh Groban, Martin Page, Iskwe, Jason McCoy, Chixdiggit and Mariel Buckley. He won a Juno Songwriter of the Year with Jann Arden for their song Thing for You, and was nominated for Producer and Recording Engineer of the Year. He recently earned a Canadian Country Music Award and Country Music AB Award for Kyle McKearney’s A Traveler’s Lament. He’s also performed live with Jann Arden, Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Amy Helm, Matt Anderson, The Rankins, Tom Cochrane, Barney Bentall,

Johnny Reid, Colin James, Lindsay Ell, Dallas Smith, and George Canyon.

Not one to follow someone else’s arbitrary formats, Broom provided the following as his recommendations.

“Local artists such as Kyle McKearney and Kue Varo, walks through the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, eating at VarBar, Pigeonhole, Paper Lantern and Bar Annabelle, reading “Are We Still Rolling” by Phill Brown, and a monthly hang with some inspiring musician friends where we meet at Loophole Coffee, walk through galleries like Contemporary Calgary and The Esker Foundation, and sightsee through downtown, because we take it for granted and forget to appreciate where we live. If that isn’t enough, travelling to London, UK, as often as possible with my incredible wife is always inspiring.”

—M-L.W.

21 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: JARED SYCH PHOTO: SARAH COMBER

CUFF AT 21

THIS YEAR’S CALGARY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL IS BIGGER THAN EVER

MORE THAN FILM VIEWING AT THE 21ST CUFF

The Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) has come a long way from its beginnings showing films at local bars such as Broken City. This year, from April 18 to 28 CUFF takes over the Globe Cinema downtown.

As it celebrates its 21st anniversary, the largest genre film festival in Western Canada brings audiences 11 days packed full of films and shorts, spoken word, retro arcade games, cartoons, script reading and more, according to lead programmer Brendan Tilley, who says diversity is the key to

this festival.

“Close to a year of film watching goes into programming each edition of the Calgary Underground Film Festival,” says Tilley, although he notes the team officially starts considering submissions in July.

“We have a team of previewers supporting us in finding films that defy convention. Our core team each has slightly different tastes in what we gravitate towards, but the common theme is that we are looking for films that depart from what we have seen before.”

Tilley says CUFF has garnered recognition for its programming of horror and genre films, but the lineup remains as diverse as ever and the team loves unearthing a great film that captures an underrepresented subculture.

“As an underground film festival, there is an expectation of us highlighting the transgressive. What I think is sometimes overlooked is how we can also find what might on the surface appear to be a family drama, but which is told in a way that pushes the boundaries of convention,” Tilley says.

“We pride ourselves on highlighting under seen gems of Canadian cinema,” Tilley says, adding CUFF is known for its popular additional programming.

On April 17, the night before CUFF officially starts, the festival kicks off the fun with a free screening for National Canadian Film Day, an annual event that started in 2014 with 70 screenings across the country. Last year, National Canadian Film Day featured 1,584 events and more than 2.5 million viewers.

CUFF also encourages the creation of new film. In the 48-hr Movie Making competition, over 20 teams of burgeoning filmmakers race to film all over Calgary the weekend of April 5 to 7 to create an entire short film from scratch with prompts provided by CUFF on the first night of the challenge. The completed films are then screened as part of the festival.

“The energy and creativity on display in these finished films is always extremely inspiring and the screening itself is an utter blast. Tickets always sell fast so do not delay if you want to see proof that the kids are alright,” says Tilley.

Another popular tradition at CUFF: the 14th edition of the All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party on Saturday morning.

“Each year has a new selection of cartoons

22 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
FILM SCENE

that we keep secret until they screen. If wild, non-stop cartoon madness is not enough for people, we stuff people with as much sugary cereal as they can handle,” Tilley says. “In past years we have exceeded 100 varieties of cereal. This may have been too many options and admittedly spread the quality a bit thin. We have settled on a ‘sweet spot’ of around 80 carefully selected varieties collected via our travels. We will have around 75 kilograms of cereal to fuel the madness.”

The popular Indie Game Bash also returns this year, bringing together gamers, indie game enthusiasts, and game developers. Along with this one-night event of gaming on the screen at the Globe, there will be a set of games available for play on arcade cabinets throughout the festival and beyond.

“This remains a highly popular aspect of the festival. Moviegoers arrive early to play games before the films and sometimes we need to strongly encourage people to finish playing so

TOP PICKS

FESTIVAL INSIDERS SHARE WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR

The Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) programming team actively looks to showcase titles in all genres, from horror, sci-fi and fantasy to comedies, thrillers and music-related films. Film selection starts up to three years ahead of the festival and programmers sift through hundreds of film each year to pick a unique roster of features, documentaries, animated films and shorts rarely seen in North American theatres.

Expanded to 11 days, this year’s festival will be CUFF’s largest to date.

This makes picking which films to see at CUFF even harder than usual.

So, we asked the folks who do all that work selecting the films to give us their picks of what to see during the 21st festival, which runs from April 18 to 28 at the Globe Cinema.

These are the top picks from lead programmer and operations manager Brennan Tilley, CUFF lead programmer and Calgary filmmaker Cameron Macgowan, and CUFF festival director and lead programmer Brenda Leiberman.

we can close up the theatre after the last film of the night has ended.”

The annual script reading event is also back as an exciting opportunity for Alberta scriptwriters to share with an audience a script that is in development.

“This year’s script is a lot of fun and I think our audience will highly enjoy the reading,” says Tilley. CUFF has resisted the strain of inflation and maintained an affordable price point for movie tickets. The standard ticket pricing of $10/$8 for members has remained consistent since 2010, something that is important to organizers.

DISCOVER UNCONVENTIONAL FILMS

Edgy. Independent. Alternative. Thought-provoking. Unconventional.

The 21st annual film festival pushes the boundaries of traditional storytelling and film-

making techniques from a mix of genres, including horror, science fiction, comedy, documentary and experimental films.

CUFF celebrates and honours the independent films living on the fringes of mainstream culture hoping these unconventional films do not “fall through the cracks,” says CUFF lead programmer and Calgary filmmaker Cameron Macgowan.

“Film festivals are extremely important to the cultural fabric of any city as they give people the opportunity to watch films and interact with filmmakers that don’t have an overpaid PR team backing them,” Macgowan says. “Cinema gives all filmmakers the chance to tell their stories and showcase their unique point-of-views despite what their budget may have been.”

Just as smaller films rarely have a chance to stand out in a saturated mainstream media marketplace without the help of film festivals such as CUFF, film festivals such as CUFF rely on independent theatres to be able to share

those important stories.

That’s why news of Eau Claire Market’s impending demise and demolition later this year to pave the way for the construction of the Green Line LRT and the potential sale of the building the Globe is housed in worries local filmmakers such as Macgowan.

The Globe Cinema and the Riley’s Printing building next door are currently for sale through Avison Young, which notes the significant 8th

I SAW THE TV GLOW

This horror-thriller follows a teenager whose hold on reality fragments as he watches a mysterious late-night TV show.

FLIPSIDE

This documentary by Chris Wilcha follows his attempt to save the record store he worked in as a teen and is a poignant exploration of midlife and the creative opportunities missed and gained.

GHOSTLIGHT

Starring a real-life family in the roles of father, mother and daughter, Ghostlight is a bit of a tear-jerker described by The Guardian as a “charming tale of DIY Shakespeare theatre.”

HIPPO

A loose interpretation of the myth of Hippolytus. Title character Hippo, played by co-writer Kimball Farley, is a surly teen being homeschooled alongside his adopted Hungarian step-sister by their eccentric and disengaged mother.

LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY

A travelling knife salesman finds himself stranded at a rural rest stop when two bank robbers arrive and take everyone hostage.

ART AND LIFE: THE STORY OF JIM PHILLIPS

This documentary explores the life of Jim Phillips, an icon of the art behind much of skateboarding and rock culture.

BORN INNOCENT: THE REDD KROSS STORY

Almost 600 backers raised over $80,000 on Kickstarter to create this documentary about the L.A. rock band.

A UNANIMOUS BONUS PICK:

This year, CUFF features a 35-mm anniversary screening of Ghostkeeper. Filmed in Banff in the winter of 1980 on a small budget, the slasher film that references the Indigenous Windigo legend became a cult hit after being released to video in 2012. The cast and crew will be in attendance.

23 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
Ghostlight HIPPO Born Innocent: The Redd Kross Story Art and Life: The Story of Jim Phillips

FILM SCENE

CUFF AT 21

Avenue frontage and versatile development opportunity of the two buildings. “Don’t miss this chance to be part of the transformative growth along 8th Avenue in Calgary,” reads the listing.

“We are losing cinemas that play first-run modern independent movies and I worry that without the proper support, Calgary will only be left with screens showcasing blockbusters and popular retro films,” Macgowan says. “I recall many nights and days having my mind blown by boundary-pushing movies at Eau Claire market and will always fondly remember my time spent in that bizarro mall. Eau Claire Market was one-ofa-kind, and Calgary is lesser off without it.”

While what will happen to the Globe remains to be seen depending on who buys it, losing it would be a massive blow.

“The elegant throw-back atmosphere of the Globe Cinema and its rich history as an important Calgary institution make it the perfect home for our festival,” Macgowan says.

The Globe is the official home base to CUFF, so the possibility of losing the theatre is a scary thought for CUFF festival director Brenda Leiberman, who is also the festival’s lead programmer.

“We feel like it’s our home. But we don’t want to make it doom-and-gloom because we don’t know what will happen as it’s been on sale for so long,” Leiberman says, adding that even if it’s a “pipe dream,” she hopes CUFF can work something out with the new owners if the building sells.

“I think that would be a real shame and blow to the city if we didn’t have a traditional art house, independent cinema downtown that all of our film

festivals and groups can use. We’ve been there for so long that it feels like we wouldn’t know what to do without it.”

Leiberman says the festival serves as a chance to curate innovative and eccentric content for audiences that would otherwise get swept under the rug.

“I think that film festivals are really important because there’s a ton of films out there right now,” she says, adding that it’s their job to sift through that content and bring audiences the best of the rest.

“Everything’s better on the big screen with fewer distractions with like-minded people and the energy and vibe of the room. Everything is funnier, everything is scarier, everything is more emotional – the whole experience is more elevated.”

MAGIC HOURS

The plight of independent film houses is not unique to Calgary. In March, Calgary filmmaker Levi Holwell released his documentary Magic Hours, about the precarious nature of cinemas across Alberta. Featuring the struggles of nine independent cinemas across the province, the documentary highlights the important role that theatres play especially in small towns and the urgent need to save these landmarks. Magic Hours premiered at the Globe Cinema and on CBC Gem in March.

THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON TWO QUESTIONS:

WHAT DO WE NEED FROM THE DOWNTOWN OF THE FUTURE?

WHY DOES THE DISCUSSION OF HOUSING DENSITY STILL GET US SO EMOTIONAL?

GET INSPIRED AT AVENUE’S FUTURE OF THE CITY FESTIVAL AND CELEBRATE THE PEOPLE AND PLACES WHO ARE BUILDING THE FUTURE OF CALGARY TODAY.

24 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
Imagine. connect. Create.

YOUR COMMUNITY. YOUR STORIES. Stay connected with Alberta magazines. Subscribe to one fine Alberta magazine and get a second one on us. albertamagazines. com/bogo

CELEBRATE CANADA’S MUSICAL ICONS

FEATURING MEMORABILIA FROM YOUR FAVOURITE CANADIAN SUPERSTARS.

NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE Presents:

JANUARY 27 – APRIL 28

Live tribute performance featuring 60 years of Canada's best-known hits. Rock out to the soundtrack of a nation!

CHECK WEEKEND MATINEE SHOWTIMES AT STUDIOBELL.CA/WHATS-ON.

25 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
Produced by: STUDIO BELL, HOME OF THE NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE 850 4 STREET SE CALGARY, AB

Step into The Woodshed

ALBERTA SINGER/ SONGWRITERS

TOGETHER IN A NEW DUO

Years ago, at a now-defunct songwriting contest jointly produced by the Calgary Folk Fest and The Ship & Anchor, master songwriter John Wort Hannam first heard Calgary’s T. Buckley (Tim), who would become his future writing companion in their duo The Woodshed.

Hannam won the inaugural competition with his song Church of the Long Grass, which later appeared on his 2004 album, Dynamite and ‘Dozers. Then he won again. And again. It seemed the only way to keep him and his memorable songs from soaking up all the prize money (not to mention the glory — can’t forget the glory) was to invite him to be on the judges’ panel.

Hannam must have been impressed with what he heard, because that year he was a judge, Buckley won the competition with Walkin’ Home, which later appeared on his first album, 2010’s Roll On.

“After that, I occasionally crossed paths with Tim, like musicians do,” Hannam says from his Lethbridge home. It wasn’t until both songwriters were enjoying a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017 that the two got the idea of writing something together.

“It’s been a long, slow burn on that one,” Buckley says. “John and I obviously knew of each

other and enjoyed each other’s style of music for a long time. And that residency [in Banff] was an amazing experience for both John and myself. We both found it really inspiring and out of that definitely got to know each other a lot more, hanging out and bouncing ideas off each other, a little half-baked here and there. That sort of evolved into getting together outside of the Banff Centre and trying to write a bit and having some success with it.”

But with young children at home, solo careers, and physical distance between them, along with the curve ball of the pandemic, they put the project on hold.

Then another kind of contest brought them together again.

In 2023, both musicians received nominations for the Canadian Folk Music Awards English Songwriter(s) of the Year. Fortunately, to keep a balance of both egos in check so there would be no whipping boys in The Woodshed, both lost that category, although Hannam did pick up Contemporary Album of the Year for Long Haul, and also won Solo Artist of the Year for the same.

“John got asked to play at the awards,” Buckley says from his Calgary home. “[He] phoned me up and said, ‘Do you want to do this together? We’ve been trying to do something together.’ And I said, ‘Awesome!’

“That was our first duo show; we played a

couple of his tunes and one of mine. I guess that would have been our first Woodshed gig, although we didn’t even have that name at that time.”

The artistic director for the Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton saw the performance and booked them to play some of their first shows as The Woodshed a few months later.

As for the duo’s name, it does sound like someone is gonna get a lickin’, but Buckley says that wasn’t the idea.

“It could have that connotation to get to the woodshed and teach you a lesson. We’re honing more in on the working at your craft analogy. It seemed like a good fit, too; they’ve got all those little writing huts going through the hills [at the Banff Centre]. As a resident there you get your own little hut. It seemed like this thing started to be us showing each other songs, working on songs in these little cabins.”

The two plan to record material together once they get out from under their own touring and writing and can carve out time beyond their families.

In the meantime, Calgarians can hear The Woodshed April 20 at Southwood United Church, in a show presented by Fish Creek Concerts. In preparation, the two play together when Hannam comes up to Calgary to visit his relatives; they also spend time together at The Coutts Centre near Nanton, which is about halfway between the two

songwriters’ homes and an idyllic place to write and play music.

As for working on songs, Hannam is in that process both for his next album and his work with Buckley. “[Austin songwriter] Kevin Welsh talked about seasons of songwriting at Banff Centre. I’m in the gathering stage… you aren’t actively writing; you are collecting ideas. A story someone tells you, something you overhear, something you see. You gather these and then take them back out to see what’s there when you’re writing.”

“We’re finally getting to it now,” says Buckley. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Hannam says not only does he enjoy Buckley’s songs, he enjoys being around him. And Buckley reflects that back to him.

“[There’s] lots of great things about him. He’s really funny. It’s good to have a good sense of humour when you’re driving in a van for hours on end to get to a gig. I admire the guy’s writing — he’s such a great songwriter. I feel fortunate to now be in this collaboration with him. Working with him even before we were doing shows together was really important for my songwriting development, so to learn from the dude is pretty cool.”

The Woodshed performs April 20 at Southwood United Church. For information, go to fishcreekconcerts.com

26 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
MUSIC SCENE
JOHN WORT HANNAM AND T. BUCKLEY COME T. Buckely (Left) and John Wort Hannam PHOTO: HOWARD BILERMAN

Whale Music

JANN ARDEN AND AN ORCHESTRA BRING SECRETS OF WHALES TO THE JACK SINGER

Three years of filming, 24 global locations, hundreds of whales including humpbacks, belugas, narwhals, orcas and sperm whales, and the world-renowned expertise of explorer and photographer Brian Skerry and Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron have all gone into making the National Geographic series, Secrets of Whales.

And on April 22, Earth Day, and the days adjacent, the film series concert adaptation will make its world premiere in Calgary.

Clips of the four-part Disney+ series will be presented in condensed form accompanied by a 40-piece live orchestra led by Anthony Parnther, musical director of the San Bernadino Symphony Orchestra. And to make this lovely mosaic of art, science, story and music more magical and cohesive, Jann Arden will provide live narration for the film.

“This show is very different from our usual National Geographic Live presentations,” says Sarah Garton Stanley (SGS), vice president of programming at Arts Commons. “We have a live orchestra playing along with this incredible set

The choice of Arden, [a] strong, outspoken woman who is passionate about animals, seems like a natural fit.

of visuals, Secrets of the Whales, in a gorgeous visual language. To have a live orchestra accompanying this incredible visual series … is just a full embodied, enjoyable experience. And then to have Jann Ardan narrating the experience, to have that voice, this beautiful, famous voice speaking to us in real time – there’s just something so whole about it. It changes the experience.”

Sigourney Weaver narrated the original series, so the choice of Arden, another strong, outspoken woman who is passionate about animals, seems like a natural fit.

“We approached Jann Arden to do the narration because she’s a Calgarian, she’s an Albertan and she’s somebody that we love for the series,” says SGS. “The original narrator was Sigourney Weaver and it would be weird to say that they’re the same and yet they are both such incredibly powerful women who have made a real impact in each of their professional realms. They both stand as icons of success and position and perspective. Both Sigourney Weaver and Jann Arden have never shied away from their opinions and ideas about certain things so to be able to do this premier with someone of Jann Arden’s stature on Canadian soil, with a James Cameron production — another one of Canada’s own — there’s just something really exciting to think about the voice of Jann Arden being the first voice to bring this to audiences in Canada.”

The footage itself highlights parallels between whales and humans as whales make friends, share traditions, play, and grieve for their lost

family members, just like we do. Parnther, the conductor, has appeared internationally in London, Los Angeles, Budapest and beyond scoring stages. He is also a conducor, orchestrator and bassoonist for the Hollywood Studio Symphony, recording sessions for many of the world’s top movies, television series and video games.

“To be the first out of the gates to share with our audiences this incredible combination of film, orchestra and the narration by Jann Arden is such a gift,” says SGS. “It’s so exciting because it has that feeling of live theatre …. It starts and it unravels, we hope it inserts a kind of glorious perfection, but at the same time you’ve got 40 plus musicians and a beautiful conductor with Anthony Parnther there along with Jann Arden doing the narrations. [There are] a lot of things that have to go up together in harmony, and so to be the first to bring that to life, it’s an incredible gift for us and the audience.”

Secrets of Whales runs April 21, 22 and 23 in the Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons. For more information, visit artscommons.ca/ whats-on/secrets-of-the-whales

27 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
MUSIC SCENE

Festival Hall

Festival Hall, the 200-seat venue owned and operated by the Folk Festival Society of Calgary — the same people who bring you the annual summer Folk Music Festival — officially opened in January 2013 after some “soft opening” events the year before. And while the tall building at 1215 10th Avenue S.E may look a little utilitarian from the outside, it’s “pretty on the inside” as Hole once sang, with a stunning interior resplendent with reclaimed Douglas Fir beams in a room that delivers on its promise of superb acoustics.

As part of a commitment to supporting local arts, endearing woodcuts created by artist Lisa Brawn and inspired by the nearby Inglewood Bird Sanctuary grace the bar in the lobby, and you can play “Do I know them?” as you rest your beverage on the drink rail engraved with donor and supporter names.

To sit in the hall itself while enjoying a performance is to be swaddled in intimacy, as every seat is close enough to see the differing gauges on a guitar’s strings. Those marvellous acoustics mean rich textures of each note arrive in their full glory. At press time, every upcoming posted show was sold out. And no wonder.

Jenn Grant plays April 12th — she wrote Dreamer, the song millions of folks hear around the world when watching CBC’s beloved Heartland series and appeared at last summer’s folk fest. Montreal’s Land of Talk plays the hall on May 3 and Burnaby’s Luca Fogale makes an appearance on May 16. Check folk fest’s website regularly or sign up for their newsletter to be first to hear about upcoming shows.

Oddly, the hall was created as a solution to the problem of the not-for-profit festival’s year-round staff being shuffled from their offices several times.

Longtime artistic director Kerry Clarke remembers those days and the panic of having no home base in a market with a 1% vacancy rate — oh, how times change.

“In 2009, we were able to purchase a small plot

28 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
FOLK
YEAR-ROUND
HAS A WARM INTIMACY THAT SWADDLES
VENUE
FEST’S
SPACE
YOU IN SOUND
PHOTO: DEAN MULLEN
To sit in the hall itself while enjoying a performance is to be swaddled in intimacy, as every seat is close enough to see the differing gauges on a guitar’s strings. Those marvellous acoustics mean rich textures of each note arrive in their full glory.

of land in Inglewood and proceeded to fundraise and build a bright and functional office space for our modest staff and volunteers and a flexible boutique performance venue for the organization and community. It’s really rewarding and grounding to be one of the few festivals in the country with our own landing pad,” Clarke says.

Since opening, the hall has hosted artists including Justin Rutledge, Birds of Chicago, and Great Lake Swimmers and has been used for fashion events, theatre, weddings, markets and more.

While there were originally some nerves from nearby music venue owners about competition, the hall was always all about musical cooperation, bringing more people to nearby venues for appys, dinner or after-show drinks on nights the hall hosts a show. It is an anchor of Calgary’s Music Mile, established in 2016, which celebrates the venues from The Eddy in the East Village to The Blues Can Inglewood at its eastern reach. The venues cooperate on events like the Folk Fest’s winter Block Heater Festival, when the hall and other stages around the area are hopping with

nearly continuous music.

Clarke fondly recalls those early shows. “The Fringe in August 2012 and our inaugural October concert with Cold Specks before Festival Hall was quite ready and the smoke detectors went off – causing the first of several fire truck visits – were the Hall’s initial occupants. From our own opening celebration featuring Corb Lund and Ian Tyson to Festival Hall Unleashed in January 2013 where 2000 folks came through the doors to take in 25 local artists in our unique, curated collaborative sessions to trapeze artists, craft fairs, local and touring artist concerts, Making Treaty 7’s Bear Grease, One Big Jam, the Arabic Film Festival, Emmedia’s multi-media extravaganzas to weddings and celebrations of life, Festival Hall has seen it all.”

For information on Festival Hall’s curated concert series, visit calgaryfolkfest.com/concerts — and visit often, shows sell out more than a month in advance.

To book Festival Hall for your own event, visit calgaryfolkfest.com/festival-hall/

29 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
PHOTO: SARAH PUKIN PHOTO: JARRETT EDMUND PHOTO: JARRETT EDMUND PHOTO: JARRETT EDMUND PHOTO: MITRA SAMAVAKI
30 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
CAM HAYDEN
31 theyyscene.com | 04 | 2024
FILM LIVE WITH ORCHESTRA 17 + 18 MAY 2024 / JUBILEE AUDITORIUM THIRD SHOW ADDED! MUSIC BY JOHN WILLIAMS Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd., and Warner/Chappell Music. © 2024 & TM LUCASFILM LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © Disney For details and tickets, visit calgaryphil.com
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.