Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tributes and tributaries: Lillian Allen @ the AGO Oct 28th






A story of contacts with dub culture
> > > > > >
> > > > My father came home one day to discover me loudly recording a guitar track in my upstairs room of his prairie house by the railroad tracks. I was trying out something I'd learned from Glenn Branca by way of Sonic Youth, playing my strings in double unisons to a breakbeat I'd vocalised myself earlier, all this driven through my girlfriend's father's old stereo amp and onto the wide tape of an old reel to reel out of  which the voice of my dead great uncle Abe served as the scratched sample for this most peculiar and quite totally lost production of mine.
> >
> > I'd have to say that stumbling upon Glenn Gould's polyphonic radio plays and my time working with Dimitri Brunelle-Derome on his Garlic project were critical contacts with european angles on tasteful and textured dub productions. I called my experiments in my mid-twenties schizophonics and spirals, before I folded in on myself and began collaging with composition, seeking the spirals in hypnotic, pulsing partials. Their method seemed to involve  a lot of late night brooding and inspired madness. At any rate, I began smoking as soon as my apprenticeship started.
> > > >
> > > > > > A dub poet is sleeping on my couch, in a basement of the gorge view apartments, just past the inner harbour of victoria BC, dreaming of things that may happen at our show tonight. This will be the day that she first buys menthols, the only live performance by a band called garlic flavour, a singular gathering of the island's curious and unoccupied. The poet in question is klyde broox, and he is crashing at mine because of mcgilligan books, my granny's name, uncle's impetus, Aunt's job, a generation and sustenance of memories, stacks of books in boxes, a family gathering at McNally Robinson, the circuit of book releases, cafés, and open mics that brings klyde to Victoria, my losenge of solace on the western edge of turtle island, my three year's playpen. His Facebook presence is a treasure. The deftness of his lyricism, and the incise ostinato of his social conscience, hallmarks all of the dubs presence in Toronto throughout my lifetime.


> > > > >
> > > > > >memories of Lillian allen and the dub poets collective begin with being invited over for dinner an hour early, because my family is often quite late. I remember being surrounded by stylish, eloquent, laid-back blackness, an unfamiliar comfort, an urban delight. Maybe it was Clifton I heard there, reciting a piece pared into my own story now, jump high gazelle imagery and presence,  The page on the stage, political rage on page, poetry as a means to an ends.


> > > > > >
> > > > > I remember the house on Lauder out of which McGilligan books was run, with a basement full of books, stories of the underrepresented, of the Arab spring, of dub poetry, mommy-daddy, monday. A basement that held part of Lillian's archives: tapes, dats, and compacts discs spanning three decades of recording sessions, when she moved out of her home nearby, above the spring mount Creek that flows down bull to the Garrison. I remember Allen's Juno award winning albums: revolution tea party and conditions critical. They were part of my early afrocentric musical education, along with Gil Scott heron, and public enemy's Fear of a black planet. I had ambitions of making drum and bass versions of one track, but never made it past the demo stage.


> > > >
> > > > > > > I remember performing rub a dub style with Allen and the parachute club in 2008 at the luminato stage on the street outside of ocad. The drummer was Billy Bryans, who had produced Allen's two heavyweight eighties albums. I got to rap a verse on that song, even though I'm sure I missed every rehearsal. And in consulting video footage available on YouTube, it seems I also recited an italian rhyme amidst the performance of Rise Up. What a ham. I made it to soundcheck tho, chilled with Mischa and my vintage 80s vogues and chatelaine collection, culled from roadside recycling. The best things in life are always eventually free. "oh, look at this porn" he purred. After my turn on the mic, I pogo'd and danced backup to Lillians tune The Subversives, played tambourine and danced through the crowd in the street in a lime green dress shirt that Tia Brazda gave me. Exciting times.
> >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > After that I got to host a poetry night at Ellington's raggae café and record shop (rip) on st Clair for Allen's ocad writing class, goofed around with d'bi anitafrika. You see, I know now how lucky and how privileged I've been to
> > > > > > >spin round this circle
> > > > > > > For she is the canadian queen of dub, laying out politics in poetics, putting pages on the stage since back when queen west was rough warehouses and punk venues.
> >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > > In 2013 I was asked to join the online promo team for Allen's last release, Anxiety, and seized upon the opportunity to gain permission to remix her work, blending classic dub, mash K-pop and jazz piano, and spin my own beats and collage production styles in loose spirals around her accapellas. A collaboration fifteen years in the making.




> > > > > >
> > > > > > > Which brings us to today. Ann and Lil both moved out of the old hood where I first put foot to Toronto's Terra firma. They're international now, doing conferences and making speeches. Mcgilligan books is a memory, little Rose is grown and performing music of her own. And Lillians work is being recognized as part of the Tributes an tributaries exhibition at the AGO this month. She's curated four weeks of spoken word, and she'll be performing on October 28th. You got to be there.


> > > > > >


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mack and Babak


>
> >
> > > >
> > > > > The Grecian unity of uninterrupted socio- dramatic space-time gives way to a Beckettesque post- modern wasteland of no TV, no bus fare, no cigarettes no beer money and no tips. Welcome to Nuit Blanche 2016, part three of this week's Sam and Peter show, we'll be here every  evening shift, straight through the black Moon, rosh hoshana, and of course the big art featival downtown. A queen street Nexus of beginning G's and endings. We made it into the Hideout ten minutes before extended last call, and had for about twenty minutes some pure dancefloor fun: Bix Lex, Gabi, and me, our belongings in a heap nearby, classic closing time. Kathleen spotted me on Wednesday night leaving work, and showed me a short vid of myself in a captain's hat singing Barret's Privateers with her bud in the line outside.
> > Things have been getting pretty precious of late as Peter and I spend night after night simultaneously dealing with the pressures of cranking out good food, the mental realms and scattered socio-economic, political, pedagogic and rather war torn, wayward ways of our nowaday world, as well as the worlds of workplace racism patrol, casual misogyny Friday (everyday?!), semantic breakdowns in the world outside the colourblind bubble, dashing in and out of the myths of our inherited false and broken culture, daily undoing the damage of decades of false teachings falling away like scales on the armour of an omnipresent, imaginary toad-god, as the hubbub of poor passionate parkdale lines up as a healthy heart-beat against weekend binges of drink dance and drama available everyday underneath the awnings, into the darkness, and down the bathroom steps of any after hours hang, bang, shame or blame. We have a lot to talk about. Like Mack, same thing. Only to be in such close quarters with her, (what a blessing, a woman in the kitchen!) and from the first so much energy (I say) on her part, that it took me a few tries even to look her directly in the eyes for more than a moment. back to Saturday night. Like eight years ago


> > > >
> > > > nuit Blanche 2007
> > > > Rating: silly
> > > > Street performance
with box full of cash
> > > > Highlight: driving to Kensington in a a convertible while listening to Stravinsky's Petruchka on a small portable tape deck.
> > > >
> > > > 2008
> > > > Rating: artsy
> > > M&B Yummy blob show:
> > > > Performances by We are French, retro radio, gusto basketcase the dust bunnies, and the Tandooris!
> > Highlight: marching by the Drake parading (as was our fashion at the time) a score strong, with battery fuelled boomboxe, microphones, drumsticks, and dino masques all plugged into the power of a full troupe of human artists moving as one group, recollecting their strength in being able to trust their feelings, fuelling the fires of sensation and creation that hold the only solution to terminal capitalism. nevermind Ennis, what about the meatballs? We lost them. I found em, one of my more useful superpowers.
> > >
> > > 2009
> > > Rating: awkward
> > Lowlight.
> > As happened to me when I first explicitly engaged my psychic abilities: Social spitting, community engagement and personal shame all play a part in the way ones mind is even capable of being extended into the world. So I mean I was gobsmacked in Victoria when the lady who so kindly left on my answering machine such words affirming that i did indeed have the luck of the black irish jew, also happened to know the ex of the man who recorded my previous album,  but naturally in Toronto's dense networks and considering the centralising effect of a public arts all day festival, such encounters, though disorienting, have to be taken as par for the course, like when Nora made a couple cortados for Feist. Or Peggy, for fucks sake.



As you may already know, there is a distubing trend towards unfrisk in the accessible swirls of people parades and festival atmosphere on city streets such as far quenn west year by year. In Victoria, they clean up the streets as soon a parade is done, erasing any chance that the lingering positive energy could affect the populace or environs. This mixtape, Monday, rocks. We (myself, BM Forster, Volet, Naomi, Mip, Eddie C, but mostly some qualicum kids revolted, resisted with public activity, traipsed in groups of 4-12 around the highly accessible downtown (a city where junkies and doctors live side by side, or jog, anyways) waving pampas grass, breathing non-proprietary air, and hip to the pompic hills. We weren't the blob. Who or what, were we dog even then? I walkways perceived the catalytic encounter, the opening scene in the big screen version, as being the meeting of green McGoey and Adam  plant, in film school yon etobicoke or something.
> > > > > I had been practicing martial arts on the streets of parkdale for a few days this weekend before a confrontation occurred. Ok, so I did twice scream REPENT! at the crowd out front of the Drake, but that wasnt technically a physical assault, nor in Parkdale proper.
> The last time I was in Mezzrows, a Fellini film was screening as I left. Now, jazz plays and my chef is on an educational tip. It has nothing to do with wheat, Peter is asserting at Malka's birthday party tonight. He explains that every egg we eat is a single-celled structure, that unwashed eggs are designed by nature to be impervious to harm. Your tummy is tired of processing glutens which are insufficiently broken down in mass produced baked goods, he iterates. I fluff up my afro in the bathroom. It's been a rough night on the nerves.


> > > > You send me files, and I am sharing an old picture of Nora and I from when we were chubby little imps, and I know that we were irresistible. Obvi that's where my story starts. But let us drop into the narrative. I'm fifth business, ideally. I play nineties schoolyard trivia games with Rachel and Collette, who were at the Skyline earlier. I believe they coaxed out of me that my sex object on Frasier was in fact, Lilith Crane. Madelyn and Jess and Malka are getting ready to hit the next spot. Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints, the south american-flavoured follow up to 1986s hugely successful, African- styled Graceland, is stumbling over the system. The track never really hits its groove until after the bridge. Come on.
> > > > unraveling Nuit Blanche after the Black Moon. Gosh. I have never really blazoned downtown for the big money events. I'm glad Bix and JPKK were at the Rebecca Belmore performance at the AGO, because I also think  it was important. Checknout Lillian Allen Oct 28. On my way back from helping Nic and Nora into their slick new digs, with an unplayable guitar and and a wand made of two violin bows (chillaxus), I work out my first trap rhyme in a few years. On the TTC, a young woman sitting next to me turns out to also be a violinist on her way to Nuit Blanche. She didn't know that Jimmy Page played his guitar with a bow. Her friends have been waiting to order a meal while she slept in. I remove the unwound strings from the guitar so that nobody pokes their eyes out. Stone Chillaxus. I practise my sixties patois when I am alone in the kitchen, walk from Dufferin home, and pass by the Skyline. By then I have got the lower strings tuned ostrich style, and with taps of the bow bounce out a battuto drone, straight gangster say the passer's-by, singing songs of the naive nineties, pausing outside work just long enough for Habi and Judd to spot me, past Malka and a friend to drop the bouzouki at home, couldn't put my wand down, it was a sword I practise swung along queen back east for my shift. hungover and anxious, dirty and disappointed. But...

> > Oh, what's this? it's the return of the Mack! I say, following through on a well established tradition of quoting out of date pop songs to describe the fleeting information overload of reality. Sam, give me a hug, Peter says. By Monday the scatterbrained cross references have woven their way into a familiar skein of synchronicity. The radio begins to respond to us, rather than vice versa. I walk back and forth circling the park with the Captain. Accelerating, despite the shortening days. The performative nature of public behaviour, starring yet another young creep in an altered state, two gals who could have easily whupped him, and creepo trying to tussle when I refuse to be ignored. Casual racism Thursday, casual misogyny Friday, and dropping honkey (henceforth to be referred to as the H bomb) with something approaching the frequency with which N bombs still drop.
> > > > At dawn, my bow broken, guitar gone, I wander through Trinity Bellwoods, promised park of lasers and late night art, a still, sepulchral sequence of empty white tents. I stumble, alone, separated from team Bix and unsure of my surroundings. I reel towards the Indie 88 tent, and nearly knock one of its moorings from the ground. Someone tells me to mellow out. The last texts I send on Saturday all begin with 'im lost'. Bix pulls a free uber out of our phones and whisks first Lex home, then Gabi and us back to the dollhouse.
Sanctuary!
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >




Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Adrian Tenney: Badlands and beyond



> >
> > Sam: how do you approach songwriting and where do you find inspiration?
> >
> Adrian Chi Tenney: I approach writing lyrics and writing sounds differently. I try really hard to write lyrics that I can stand behind and sing over and over again-words that are meaningful to me. Ideally sharing something I think is important. But sometimes...sometimes...they flow out without me thinking too much about them. Funny that those are the ones people seem to respond to most--the ones I spend less time on. With writing sounds, I just try to please myself as best I can. There's no other way I can think to do it.
>
> > I find inspiration in observing the world, watching things happen that upset me, observing how people treat each other. The times when lyrics flow out more easily are when I'm just singing without thinking and singing about what I feel, or what I see.
> >
> >Sam: what is your approach to the looping pedal and how does it enhance your live sets?
>
> Adrian
> >
> > This pedal is my first pedal ever. I got it after the other three people in my band all moved away and I was trying to find ways to perform solo without feeling like I was lacking anything. My original intention with the pedal was to be able to play multiple guitar parts for my songs. But after experimenting with it a little bit I've discovered that looping my vocals is more fun, and way easier. I've always used layered vocal harmonies in my recordings.
>
> > As far as enhancing my live set, it can be easy to mess up looping guitar parts, and when that happens, it doesn't feel smooth, I have to laugh at myself and hope the audience finds it amusing rather than distracting or annoying. It's still pretty new to me. Just yesterday I started playing around with looping other sounds into it, I downloaded a clip off YouTube of an example of the Doppler Effect made by a siren and I want to try to loop that in when things get big and messy because I love hearing that sound; it kind of thrills me. I also recorded myself playing drums a bit and then played it back into the mic to loop a drum track for myself to sing over. I guess since it's just me out there, it's fun to try to make people forget that it's just me out there.


> >
> >Sam
> what styles of music and art do you express yourself in?
>
> Adrian
> >
> > Over the years, quite a few but I'm whittling it down now. I studied visual art at CalArts and Concordia, where did a lot of printmaking and watercolor painting. I did a regular comic strip in Razorcake Magazine called Bite the Cactus, and I made my own zines with comics. I played Balinese gamelan for about six years pretty intensively. I played drums in a few punk  bands and various instruments in various other short-lived bands. Participated in a experimental vocal group called Singing By Numbers. Performed as a robot a few times in a project called Dismicrowave. And I recorded some silly songs under the moniker Dank Williams...
> >
> > I like collaborating. I like playing music with people, and I really love performing music. While I was in Toronto last month I recorded some drum tracks for April Aliermo's new project which was really fun. I express myself in a lot of ways, but it feels really really really good to sing.
> >
> > Sam:
> how do the different mediums allow you to express different feelings or aesthetics?
> >
> Adrian
> > I like a lot of different kinds of music. Jazz, Blues, Soul, R&B, Old country music and old American folk music, Indonesian music, Haitian music, Mexican music especially, indie rock, and I even like listening to the radio for the super poppy predictable songs that are Top 40 hits! I like knowing what's popular. I don't always understand why it's popular, but sometimes it's surprising and uplifting. Like that song No - it's pretty great. Playing different styles satisfies different parts of me. Sometimes you want to dance, sometimes you want to cry, sometimes you want to wail, sometimes you want to pound on the drums and yell, sometimes you want to not have to wear earplugs and listen for overtones, sometimes you want to play an acoustic instrument, sometimes you want to play an electric instrument. I think I can express the same feeling with several different approaches. I don't think punk is reserved for anger and pop is reserved for dancing. I think it just changes with whatever mood you're in.
> >

> > Sam
> where have you travelled as Badlands and how did you find yourself at the Holy Oak?
>
> Adrian
> > Badlands did a west coast tour in 2015. Played San Francisco, Corvallis, Olympia, Vancouver, Portland and Davis. That was with my full band (Jade Thacker on drums/vocals, John Barlog on bass and Noah Wolf on lead guitar). Last September I came up to Toronto and played with April and Dan (of Hooded Fang/Phedre) on bass and drums (respectively) in Hamilton, Guelph, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto at Double Double Land. This year I came up to New York first and did a mini (reunion of sorts) tour with my original drummer Jade. We played Brooklyn, then Brattleboro, VT, then a cave show in Dorset VT. Then I came to Toronto, played at DDL again, then Montreal with Cousins, and Ottawa at The Record Centre (again with Cousins). April set up the Holy Oak show for us, which felt really special because I got to Meet S. Ayton (whom April had just met volunteering together at Girls Rock Camp, Yukon!!!) and James Irwin, who also played, was an old friend of mine (we met in Montreal in '04).
> >
> > Sam
> what do you see as the best means for an artist to have their music heard and work towards earning a living at least partly from their craft?
> >
>
> Adrian
> > One of the best ways to have your music heard is by having advocates. People (friends) share your music with their friends. That's been the best way I've been able to make connections in other cities. By setting up shows for touring musicians in the city where I live, there's a connection, and you can ask them to return the favor when you want to tour to where they live. I'm not great at social media sharing-though that's obviously a great way to share music. It always feels like the possibility of no one coming to your show is something I have to be ready for.
> > I don't know how anyone makes a living only off playing music. Best I can hope for is to not lose money doing this--to break even. Everyone I know who does this has another job, or other jobs, to make their living. You have to be upfront with promoters about what you can expect to be paid, and you might have to turn down shows sometimes. It really is work, and you need to value yourself doing that work. Even if it's the most fun job you have, you still need to think of it as a job or else it won't be sustainable. It's unlikely you'll be able to make a living off playing music. There are so many other aspects of the music world though, and one solution is to do a little bit of everything: teaching, performing, producing events (promoting shows), recording people, making videos, making posters or album covers or silkscreening t-shirts, whatever you're good at, I believe you can try to combine them all and be totally immersed in the music world and make a living that way.
> >
>


> > Sam
> what is life like in LA?
>
> Adrian
> > Life in LA is dry and dusty and hot and sunny. It took me a few years to feel at home here, and part of the appeal is that you are so close to the ocean, the desert, the mountains and the redwood forest. But like Toronto, LA is a Global City, so there's a lot of diversity, a lot of different cultures hanging out together and that's a wonderful part about it. It's also very spread out, geographically though, and it's really not one city, but a bunch of cities all next to each other. So "Los Angeles" is technically just downtown, and the small cities/large neighborhoods surrounding it. It's true that having a car can make or break your experience here. There is public transportation, but because of the sprawl, it's not them most convenient, affordable or comfortable option. But you totally get used to the driving. It's easy to forget though that it's more than just freeways, and the few years I rode a Vespa scooter around, I learned so much more than ever before or since about the city. I've actually become quite defensive about LA when I hear people talking shit, I feel offended. There's a lot of heart in this city. I see a lot of passion in people.
> >
> >
> > Sam
> what LA  bands and venues would you recommend?
> >
>
> Adrian
> > I played a show with the band XinXin a few weeks ago and they blew my mind. They are so talented, and so fun to watch, and also such sweet people. Jody is really good, they are sort of newish, a three-piece but super solid. Behavior is a band my little brother plays bass in, and they are heavy, dark and intense but also really musical-they've been called "arty in the best way" but I love watching them. And P22 is his other band that he plays guitar in with three other women that all just fucking tear it up. They named themselves after the famous LA mountain lion who crossed the 405 freeway to expand his range from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park. He is an inspiring animal for sure.
> >
> > Venues is always the question right? There's always too many bands, not enough venues. The diy spaces my friends ran (Dig In and the Wulf Den) are sadly long gone. Pehrspace just got shut down, as did the wulf. and The Smell is maybe getting kicked out. And with the massive wave of gentrification in areas like Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park and Echo Park, there's a lot of hostility (rightly so in most cases I would say) towards art spaces. So I feel like everything is in flux right now and I have only a handful of spaces I contact for shows and a lot of them aren't in LA but surrounding cities.
> >
> > vlhs (diy warehouse)
> > The Continental Room (bar)
> > The Redwood Bar
> > Gal Palace (diy house/venue)
> > Ham and Eggs Tavern
> > Gnarburger Records (record store)
> >

> >
> > Sam
> how long have you been playing and writing for, and what were your inspirations?
>
> Adrian
> > I've been playing instruments since elementary school, but playing my own music for almost 15 years. My inspirations...definitely growing up in a household that encouraged playing music had a great impact on me. Both my brothers, and my mom play music and we've collaborated together at different times. I'm always inspired by energetic, emotive live performances. Lately I'm inspired by seeing musicians I can tell have practiced a lot but who are also just enjoying themselves...feeling themselves. That's like the best combo. I love seeing people who use the music as an outlet for pain and...get joy out of doing that. Because I think that's what I do too.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Links>

> > https://outinthedesert.bandcamp.com/
> > https://spokenest.bandcamp.com/
> > https://hotellarut.bandcamp.com/
> > https://cheetochamp.bandcamp.com/
> > http://www.records.thewulf.org/
> >
> >


subtle fragments at Propeller gallery


> > > > ----------------------------------
> > > > > > subtle fragments
> > > > > >
> > > > > > by the site of the old meteoric crater lake, under the unending skies that spread over the prairies and the western edge of the Canadian shield, Paul Reichert, long-distance birthday caller (he always called me Sambo) friend of my mother's family (he also said that Paul Simon was a fool for only making one album with Ladysmith Black Mambazo), a (wo)man of the woods who was also known as the Bear, passed away last week. My aunt Ann, Nora and I convened to commemorate over food and drinks at the Passenger, and I was spotted there by Helen Driefelds. We worked together at Hopgoods a couple summers ago. We exchange numbers, and a couple days later she invites me to the closing reception for a showing of her textile works at the new Propeller gallery, in a cluster of condos south of the Drake.
> > >
> > > >

> >
> > > > > > A jazz trio is playing in the open air on a square filled with gravel and lined with benches. There is food here , dips from Stasis and Culture City, for the launching of a new café, OMG, seriously, that's what it's called, but I am drawn to the sweet treats, cashews, and cheeses of the gallery. It's hard to tell when food is free in condoland. People stand around like they're in charge of Lisgar Park.  A park with no grass and deep benches. The jazzers sound legit better from the middle of the square, tenor sax reverberating just like on TV in those old clubs. Just like live vinyl...


>
> > > > > > I stop sniping and smoke a cigarette. Running low. Good. That's ok. My own habits of creative chaos are running out of my control. As selective construction engages, self destruction's reach and appeal diminish. A guy named Maurice demands my attention for what seems like hours. His mother is a jazz pianist and he grills me on metrosexuality.
> > > > > > Alix Voz is featured in the south Propeller gallery, exhibiting three large and subtly effective abstract landscapes in pastel tones, painted onto wooden panels in the open air.




Also on display is a large montage made of dozens of postcards, collaged from photos of downtown Toronto, drawn and painted over and around in a convincing balance of colour and texture, hung amongst envelopes addressed to the artist, running almost the width of the wall on a mesh of wire. It looks messy from a distance, but almost every component of the piece catches the eye and bears notice.



 Voz herself is a stunning French (wo)man, who receives friends and gallery visitors in a striped green dress and elegant heels, explaining the meanings of home and place in the sources and choices behind her work.
> > > >


subtle fragments
> > >
 is on display in the north gallery, a collaboration between Driefelds and anahita azrahimi. Their works co-present extremely well, and share the space effectively. If Helen hadn't pointed out her own handiwork, I would have been flummoxed by the south wall, a seamless alternation of Driefelds' fabrics and azrahimi's small, framed collage works. One pairing of the two artist's works actually seems like a planned collaboration, though the pieces were completed severally, and only hung together.


> > >
> > > azrahimi has paid her dues collaging dense, layered works out of many fragments, and her current work is a delicate balance of line and form, built upon singular samples of traditional collage materials (fashion magazines) and examines, naturally enough, the textures of textiles, paired, as casually as can be managed, with a delicate, linear inkwork commentary. She is investigating the nature of implied physicality in veiled forms, and explains that these selections from her 'collage diet' series, or practise, were chosen from dozens, perhaps even hundreds of works, completed as part of a daily/ weekly collage ritual she began last fall.
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Driefelds' installation of hanging fabrics, canvas works in which the same fabrics are used as stencils, and a few pieces of dense plexiglass, through which all the other elements can be perceived, is intended as an interactive, walk-around, find-your-own-perspective affair. Hand-woven strips of fabric trail from ceiling to floor and waver in the wind. Her friends are cool. I have to stroll home and prepare for a house concert. AJ is almost done his brunch shift at the Cadillac. Up the street, a sign points to the Northern Lights gallery. At Dufferin and Quenn, a man named Gregg Allan Mcgivern has set up his own art shop, in a greenish amphitheatre space beside the tracks. I have to hurry home to get ready for the salon. I catch Rory Lavelle's set at motel, chat up the bartender just long enough to realise we had the same grade 11 English teacher, ten years apart. Winnipeg is funny that way.




Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Sue Foerster, a life in drawing


(Jocelyn, 35 min study in oil and acrylic background)

Sam: How long have you been running live modeling sessions?
>
> Sue:     My passion for life drawing lead me to join a local art group in Richmond Hill and (I) started to assist Life drawing sessions in 2009.

 here is my profile page on group site  http://www.rhga.ca/sue-foerster-guerrero/
>
>        I have been running Life Drawing sessions from September 2010 to (the) present day, and managing-updating a blog since with regular class schedule updates
(http://openlifedrawing.blogspot.ca).
>
>           From September 2010 to March 2014, I held the position of Life Drawing Coordinator at The Richmond Hill Group of Artists, located at the Mill Pond Gallery. Then made the decision to go indie and open(ed) my own OpenStudio Life Drawing sessions at my home (in) April 2014.
>
> OpenStudio website includes studies of various models:
> >
http://pencilgallery.wix.com/openstudio

> > http://pencilgallery.wix.com/foerster-drawings (personal portfolio website by Sue Foerster. Includes: figurative drawings, paintings, portraits and sculpture)
>
(Melanie with socks, 30 minute repose study in oil)

> Sam:
>
> What's your favourite thing about live drawing sessions?
>
> Sue:

>     There is no better feeling for me than drawing from life, and capturing the human form, with pencil, charcoal and paint. (B)y nature, I love connecting with people, especially artists and models.
 As a group, we all inspire and encourage each other to move forward and take risks. Especially with my classes, I  (give) the participants free reign on what they'd like to do, no instruction (unless requested), and a stress free environment with good music. We generally like to begin our classes with 2 minute gesture poses.
>
> This allows each participant to break down the barriers of self doubt, and empowers a freedom of losing control, (a)llowing the process to naturally take over.
>
>  As the model transitions so quickly between the poses, you are compelled to decide on what you yourself would like to focus on from vignette or full body.
>
>  Living in the moment is liberating.
> More drawing with less critical thinking, to capture the movement in the amount of time you have. Each line of action and expression in proportion to your perspective to the models pose, without the use of an eraser.
 This is what I love most about Life Drawing.
>
> Sam:
>
> How would you describe the relationship between artist and model?
>
> Sue:
> This interpersonal relationship has evolved globally to internet sources such as on-line drawing courses (and) youtube demos. Some beginner artists feel better starting here, and are intimidated joining a group, even when all levels apply. It seems they want to avoid public humiliation in a social environment where they feel inferior and less competitive. I compete only with myself to get better, and even with practice, and putting in the time, there is always room for improvement.
>
>        There is an interrelationship going on between the artist and the model, physical and mental. In a sense it is like the model is holding a mirror into ourselves, which is hard to ignore. How we see and feel relies solely on our experiences and beliefs. From our stories we create our own reality, while observing others and non verbal body language within our surroundings. Interpreting the life we see and feel, using our senses and making it more real. From my own experience and talking with other artists, when the model feels pain or happiness, so does the artist. Posture and minute changes in facial expression(s) are undeniably noticeable.There seems to be an unspoken body language with the model and the artist.This I find affects the palette of the 20 min or 30 minute long pose.

 (Anthony, 30 minute repose study in oil)


> Sam:
>
> Do you see this relationship as being different now than in the past?
>
> In my opinion, in the past women were: painted predominantly by men, hired by wealthy patrons and the Church, shown as objects of affection, forbidden fruit, bashful, taught to be embarrassed of their nudity and vulnerability. It appears that nudity portrayed in the past versus now as an expression of muse, sexual, shock value, thought provoking, to get a reaction, good or bad, or to sell something like an advertisement. A walking billboard!
>
> The female body has become public property regarding cultural beliefs, that now she/he no longer feels the ownership. The general public thinks with their eyes and easily passes judgement on how someone looks as to how they are dressed or undressed
> >
> > Women must for humanity's sake own their bod(ies)!

> > Nursing babies in public is fundamental,biological.....normal.
>

Sam: Agreed. How do you feel the female figure has been policed throughout western art history?
>
> Sue: The female has been portrayed fashionably as a beautiful often desirable object, by male artists, in accordance with that particular time, depending on their religion and cultural beliefs and sign of the times, ethical and moral. Today women are made to look what the media claims to be close to perfection.
> > This is an illusion. A fantasy woman. An Avatar. Photoshop has replaced the airbrush to such an extent, that the proportions are more like a Barbie Doll.
 Real women want to see real women.
> >
> > All women have body issues, especially models.
> >
> > All women of all sizes are beautiful.

(Lidia, 30 minute repose study in oil on terra skin)
> >
> Sam:
>
> What's the best part of living in Toronto as an artist?
>
> Sue:
> There is a huge advantage living in Toronto.  We are leaders of multi-cultural events, with a huge diversity of small pocket communities living within our population, providing Music, Dance and Art and food for entire families to enjoy while embracing their culture. Toronto has wealth, lots of shops, jobs, a large art budget, and huge array of educational opportunities for young and old. Easy access with TTC.
>
> Sam:
>
> What's the worst part?
>
> Sue:
> Downtown Toronto is too: populated,  busy, stressful, far away, expensive to live, and has too many unfortunate people, affluence, materialism. Modern consumers maximize their freedom, with too many choices, dealing with higher expectations. The modern consumer is left feeling decreased satisfaction accumulating more and more stuff, paralyzed by decision making, and depressed. Consumers can search out original items, such as all kinds of art to suit your taste, furniture, electronics and computers, musical instruments, hobbyist supplies and more.
>
(Melanie, 25 minute repose study in oil)

> Sam:
> How do you feel the rest of Canada is affected by the concentration of so much cultural activity in the GTA?
>
> Sue:
>
> Toronto is like the  pulse of Canada with many cultural flavours, role model and leader, (it's) organic, embraces diversity, educates. Toronto has wealthy art budget enabling opportunity for art, music and film.
>
> Sam:
>
> What are the enduring influences upon your work? Other artists, the natural world, the human form?
>
> Sue:
> Observing the natural world and the human form are by far the the most influential. The answers are there, we only need to look at nature and all living things and appreciate it's wonder and beauty. I admire  Pinot, considered to be the modern master and Amico modern expressionist. Masters of the past I admire are Klimt, Van Gogh, Leonardo DaVinci, Salvador Dali,
> > As for drawing I admire Van Gogh, Leonardo, Escher, Aubrey Beardsley, William Morris and Nicolaides (whose book The Natural Way To Draw, inspires me).
> > Finding your own voice, originality, authenticity and style matters more to me, than perfection..


> >
> Sam.How do you see the opportunities for art to affect and alter the way people see themselves and their world nowadays?
>
> Sue:
>
> It is our duty to inspire children. The Next generation is to carry the torch of creativity, and humanity and most of all empathy.
> >


> > To nurture them with an Introspective approach and emotionally with encouragement. Perfection is only a direction.
> >
> > Art gives us hopefulness  to a future with less focus on materialism, and more on recycling.


> >
> > Visual stimulation inspiring boundless freedom to express with technology, for worthwhile causes to make our planet sustainable.
> >
> > Art is humanity. Art is human evolution. Art is consciousness. Art equals happiness.

 > The body thrives when the heart has a mission. quote from unknown artist
> >
> > Vulnerability comes from a place of strength....quote by me
> >
> > There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the Universe than the nude Human body......quote by Robert Henri

 (4 studies of 2 minute motion drawings of Barbie the ballerina: red conte on large craft paper)


Monday, 19 September 2016

A week of last waltzes


> >
> > The final weeks of Not My Dog have been  lovely and bittersweet, and the last few days have been exceptionally charged
> >
> >
> > Wednesday, Sept 14: the last open mic
> >
>
> There's a crew of old friends whom I haven't seen together in the same room in some years. Gillian, Warren, Damon, Russel, Chris, Adam, and Stoo Bye, who made an impassionate speech urging everyone present to spread the beautiful magic of this place everywhere we went, to dream of the Dog, to know that what we had and did here was rare and special. Along the back wall, the boys talked about the room's acoustics. Like the Motown sound. I meditated on metronomic drums for Quique Escamillia, managing not to do my Harpo Marx routine until the final downbeat.
> >

> > On Thursday afternoon, after a day shift at the diner, we gathered up a possee to move the nmd piano into its new home at the Skyline.
> >
>
>let's see, I first met Warren McGoey at McKenzie's open mic on a Saturday afternoon, across the street from high park.
I was there when We Are French played their first, unofficial show, with C. harrison on bass and Stu Bye on drums.
> That was in this same doggy bar about eight years ago. This is only the second time I've taken in a set by the current incarnation of the band, and as usually happens at We Are French performances of late, I am taken aback by the diehard fans amongst the audience, the community, who know EVERY SINGLE WORD to the songs Warren writes and sings. The only classic I could recognize was Join Me, which was a cathartic chant taken up by the capacity crowd.



I've always had a hard time controlling my impulse to dance and scream when listening to We Are French, and tonight I let go,
 playing tambourine like it had a hankering for spankering, dancing in the densely packed Dog as though I had the tiny floor to myself, which I usually do. Did. Jeez. MIP came up to take lead vocals on one tune.



At other times, bassist AJ used a power drill to create an additional layer of noise, and lead guitarist CHarrison screamed obscenities. The entire band is dressed as Vikings, in furs, horn, and blue facepaint. "Mischief" McGoey, ever the charismatic showman, incurrs the crowd to shout, amongst other things, WE ARE DOG!


I am quite sweaty and satisfyingly spent when the affair is called to a halt, and take to the street for a group debriefing, photo ops with Laura Stevenson, Damon and Darian of the Muckabouts, and Rob Sills, the man to whom the most dangerous drinking game I ever devised was dedicated.


> >
> > Hair of the Dog (above) also provided some lovely new wave dancing music and put up with my moxie for the tambourine.
> >
> > Friday @ 3030: Beams


> >
> > Another heavy hitter, alongside Stew and Warren,oone of the most prolific and powerful songwriters out of the old blob is Anna Mernieks, currently fronting a seven piece rock act known as Beams. The electric mandolin of Dave Hamilton clangs with chorus and flange like a rhythm guitar, his brother Keith handles vibraphone and musical saw, then hijacks the lead vocals for a crushing, high energy rendition of the Talking Head's 'psycho killer'


> >
> > Me and Allie Marshall were transported to our days as cheerleaders for the Papermakers, a hard hitting duo Anna once fronted with Katie Plant, we clown and stake squad space on the dance floor, boldly swinging arms and mixing mosh with ballroom steps to follow the choreography of Anna's wistful verses and joyous choruses. A newlywed couple comes up and is serenaded with an exceptionally beautiful number called 'you are an ocean'.



> >
> > Saturday: Julie Doiron and the Wrong Guys
> >


> > I find Nic and Nora in Christie Pitts around 8 pm, during Hooded Fang's set in the beer tent of the final Bloor Ossington Folk Festival. Didn't we see them play at steam whistle once? Nora asks me. I went on tour with these guys! Maggie says. There's a few people swaying at the side of the stage, a couple bopping like they mean it, but with nothing approaching the enthused abandon Beams inspired in me and Allie. Julie Doiron is up next and I am excited. Seeing her four years ago at the Garrison with members of the Cancerbats was a revelation in emotive intensity. Eamon McGrath's abstract leads billow and scythe through the swinging country grunge that Doiron is justly known for. Many dance and pogo, and I pull myself away with some difficulty. This is also the last weekend for BOFF, after six or seven years, a move back to Winnipeg, and you had me saved already!
> >




> > Wonder Woman finally takes me to the thrift stores around Parkdale. There's where u buy sheets and pillows, she points out. And that's where smokes are cheapest, and that's where u can get a winter jacket...
She takes me and Bix to a sale at the thrift store. She knows how to work the coupons. They try on many things and I find Nora a copy of Doiron's second album from 1997. The CD section at thrift ships can be dangerous for me as pretty much all music from the 90s has a comforting nostalgia for me by now.


>
> Nostalgia. Nine years of memories and open mics. Well, a few years off and on, as it is in any epic relationship. It wasn't until she was being toasted that I spotted Tanya, the original Queen of the Dog, cheek to cheek with Nicole in the crush of emotional regulars and curious first timers. Me and Russ fucked a lot of things up, she announces, but we did one thing right.

I ate both the feet of a roasted pig. I slam-danced and roared out one last freestyle, made one last new connection as the last last call rippled through the crowd. I left my phone at home and used senses to soak up the scene, that eclectic babble of activated social space, I changed shirts twice as they were claimed by curry and sweat. I was there and I was glad. That's all that I can say, but if you have any dreams you'd like to sell, or memories to share, email the Tinderbox and ungirdle your burden. dmzmgmt@gmail.com
> Subject line: Legends of the Dog
>
> What a weekend. Work begins anew, love returns again, and life is often about loss and what comes next?
> Salons.