The tablets are coming! The tablets are coming.
The tablets are here.
And artists are finding ways to use them. Heck, there are even tablets out there JUST for artists.
Local go-getter Jordan Schroder dropped us a line about a movie he’s working on (you may remember Jordan from such productions as “Rock the Vote“).
ImagiNation Film & Contraption Studios is starting work, this Monday, on a new movie about a Canadian journalist who died in Lebanon, covering that country’s civil war in the 1980s.
ImagiNation produced one of my favourite Canadian TV movies; Selling Innocence. They also produced a movie based on the book “100 Days in the Jungle,” which is a better-known local production about oil workers kidnapped in Ecuador.
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Interviews are this Saturday. So you’ve got to act now to make your movie (crew) debut.
Also, help them bring a little more Edmonton to that Vancouver-heavy production.
At the Winspear Centre at noon, you can catch a free concert from the ESO, as a celebration of 60 years of music. There will be seven selections from the 2011-2012 concert season played for your enjoyment. This also means we’ll know what’s coming in the new season today.
The Citadel’s 2011-2012 season has also been revealed recently. As was the Alberta Ballet’s. It’s arts’ season unveiling season in Edmonton! Edmonton Opera fully reveals their 2011-2012 season April 9.
Of course a Smurfs reference would have made sense for a post about a play named Gargamel. But since we’re talking about God, and sound design influenced and including Brian Wilson songs, well, I opted for a holier (song) title.
Gargamel is a play from Mostly Water Theatre’s Trent Wilkie (who also stars in the lead role) about a guy, Dave (David), who loses his girlfriend in a car crash, and suffers mighty amounts of injuries, both physical and mental. Dave’s sister, Betty (played by Joleen Ballendine), sees that he needs to work through the loss of his girlfriend, Anna (played by Ellen Chorley), especially since he’s taken to screaming about fighting God. Although, to be fair, some of the encouragement to take on the Almighty is coming from long-dead Metis leader Louis Riel (Mostly Water’s Matt Stanton). Riel too feels like the big guy upstairs led him astray and wants David to know he’s right to want a duel. (more…)
If you find yourself with tomorrow night wide open, you sad little wallflower, may we suggest checking out the opening night of Hip Hop on the Wall; a hip hop inspired art show that will be hosted in Latitude 53‘s community space from January 28 to February 11.
The opening night party starts at 8, features art (in case I hadn’t made THAT patently clear), specifically “hip hop-inspired huge graffiti panels and artist portraits” – a description that comes courtesy our friend Omar “A.O.K.” Mouallem. There’s going to be a lot of performance too; specifically, slam poetry from the Breath in Poetry Collective and music from DJ Weezl, reDef, Locution Revolution, DJ Budakron and one of our faves, The Joe.
The whole shindig benefits the Hip Hop in the Park Foundation, which describes itself as “a non-profit organization endorsing hip-hop expression in a non-violent and positive way.” (Read more about the group here).
The opening night revelry gets underway at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.
It’s a great way to put your feelers out for the ESO, since it’s in such a relaxed environment. (Check our Friday preview of the season for other “relaxed” options for the new symphony-goer.)
We were happy to be invited back to the Symphony Under the Sky to blog about it. Here’s some of what we saw: (more…)
Thanks to The Choir Girl I found this video with conductor Bob Bernhardt.
As we head into the Labour Day long weekend, we recognize the end of festival season here in Edmonton.
There are still festivals to be had through the fall and winter, it’s just not the same as our end-to-end festivals of the summer. This weekend, however, we get one more summer festival. It’s the Symphony Under the Sky (SUTS).
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) kicks off its 2010-2011 season with SUTS tonight. There are performances all weekend in Hawrelak Park (which is pretty much the summer festival park), including two with fantastic violinist Karen Gomyo, and everything culminates Monday with artillery fire (and the 1812 Overture).
I figured this would be a good time to talk about the entire ESO season, so I dropped an e-mail to Philip Paschke, the ESO New Media Specialist.
With the Art Gallery of Alberta announcing their fall lineup today, it’s a good time to check out their summer offerings, if you haven’t done so already.
Exhibits winding down their time at the AGA include M.C. Escher: The Mathmagician, The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, and Jonathan Kaiser’s Celestial Bodies. These shows will be gone when most of the new ones are open to the public.
November will bring with it more changes, so if you want to see any of the current showcases, you better find some time in your dayplanner.
Also, don’t run down to the AGA after you read this. They aren’t open Mondays.
We’re still a couple of months away from the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF), but they’ve chosen their opening night movie.
It’s supposed to get your Canadian-ness all riled up and excited. And while it will be debated as opening night choice, as any film festival’s opening selection usually is, it’s certainly sticking to the Edmonton mandate of choosing a Canadian film to kick things off.
Edmonton is opening with the same movie Toronto is opening it’s festival with, just a few weeks earlier.
That doesn’t worry Festival Programmer Guy Lavallee.
“If anything that really helps us, because people will actually have ‘heard’ of the movie by the time it comes here,” he writes in an e-mail.
“We battle that every year, where a movie is so new that people don’t really know anything about it, but because most of the local media give a lot of ink to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), there will be lots of good coverage on SCORE, so I’m hoping that will produce a big spike in advance ticket sales.”
Other EIFF notes from the movie team:
- They received more than 800 films, more than 80 from Albertans
- October 2 will close out the festival with an entire day – titled “Our Own Backyard” – of Albertan movies
- More than 60 movies and documentaries, and more than 100 short films will be shown during this year’s Edmonton International Film Festival. All movies will be shown at the Empire City Centre 9 (in City Centre Mall)
- Passes go on sale August 8.
(Yes, we were in Banff, getting so close we could almost touch celebrities, at the World TV festival. Here’s what our man in the mountains, Jonathan Robinson, learned.)
“The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.” – Hunter S. Thompson
“I look at what we produce and if we’re honest with ourselves, I look at it and say, ‘Why do I produce so much shit? Why did I fund such crap?'” – Lindsay Blackett – Minister of Culture and Community Spirit
Forgive me for not filing this story earlier, but I’ve only just wrenched myself from beneath the giant pile of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks that descended last week upon Banff for the World Television Festival. You see, I was there when Minister Blackett made his comments. I had gone to Banff both to write this piece and to pitch some shows myself.
There were representatives from all kinds of television networks, distributors, new agencies, and hundreds of “Independent Writer/Producers” there, all chasing after the next “John and Kate Plus Eight” or “Being Erica”… and everything was going according to plan. That is until Minister Blackett went and ruined the party by making all of us “showbiz” types actually look inward for a moment to reveal the complete lack of substance in our products.
Within the industry, and certainly outside of it as well, the question has existed for ages… why is Canadian film and television such garbage? What can make it good?
To find the answer… I went right to the heart of the issue, and asked perhaps the most credible source on Canadian media, Jason Priestly (clip above):
OK… so maybe ol’ Brandon Walsh isn’t the best source on all of this, but he does raise an interesting point. The need for Canadian programs to find American and other international money exists because there is not equitable financing coming in our own country. A report for the Alberta grants paid out in 2008/2009 can be found here.
As you can see, our province handed out just over $31 million last year, and what do we have to show for it? “Heartland”? I mean “Christmas in Wonderland” got just under a million dollars for God’s sake! I worked on that movie and, let me tell you, it’s a HUGE pile of shit! Christmas shit, but shit nonetheless.
But here’s the punch line… do you know what the budget was for debatably Hollywood’s worst movie last year: “Old Dogs”?
That’s right… “Old Dogs” cost more than all of the grant money that was given out in our province last year to film and television combined.
Which brings me to what I see as being the underlying problem with Blackett’s comments. They are true, but they are true because we have such a skewed frame of reference and we are continually trying to produce content simply for sale to other places.
As long as we keep playing the game of comparing ourselves to the U.S., we will fail. It’s like trying to fight a tank with a spear… sure you might get lucky, you could throw the spear, it could slip in through the window and kill the driver… but the chances are a lot better that you’re just going to get blown to shit. We don’t have the same kind of money to play with, so we should be using what we do have to create our own products based on quality as opposed to resale value.
If the products are good, we will be able to sell them regardless of their budget. Just look at “Trailer Park Boys” if you need an example of this. It airs in 14 other countries. Proof that strong characters and story are indeed marketable, regardless of the cost of production.
There is a tremendous amount of talented people working in film and television both in our province, and in our country, but we are putting ourselves at a huge disadvantage out of the gate by immediately comparing everything to our richer neighbors. I know it’s much easier said than done to ignore the overwhelming influence of the U.S., but if we can manage to create a product for ourselves, we will find that the quality of product will shift significantly, and that we will have much more diverse and interesting film and television coming out of Canada.
That, or we’ll keep getting gems like “Dan for Mayor.”
And now, on a lighter note: More celebrities!!!
Here’s William Shatner shilling all of his current projects, starting with Shit My Dad Says.
Here’s Eric McCormack talking about working in Canada.
And finally, here’s Ricky ‘Effin Gervais talking about what Karl Pilkington is up to right now.
This weekend was my first trip to the Heart of the City festival. A trip I endorse you making in future years.
I knew what Heart of the City was, but I just hadn’t ventured to Giovanni Caboto Park (in Little Italy) to take it in.
No, I wasn’t scared of the neighbourhood. Heck, I wandered around Norwood and Sprucewood for about an hour, Saturday. (More on that at a future time.)
So I didn’t exactly know what to expect when I showed up.
What I got was lots and lots and lots of local music. This was the first year the festival was held over two days, so they lined up something in the neighbourhood of 150 bands and artists to play. With 20-minute sets you didn’t have to stick around long to hear plenty of Edmonton’s best music.
How do I know it was Edmonton’s best?
Morgan Smith, over at iNews880, writes a blog about volunteers, non-profits and similar stuff. She even profiled my day job in one of her first “Have time will travel” looks at where people can volunteer in Edmonton. She’s got a great look at the volunteer aspect to Heart of the City.
And she’s got that little bit about the festival that blew my mind. Morgan writes that performers and artists all have to live in the heart of the city:
East of 124 Street
West of Wayne Gretzky Drive
South of Yellowhead Trail
North of the river valley
That makes the Heart of the City festival all about people living and creating in the heart of our city. Even I couldn’t play the stage. Unless I had a band member living in that central area. And if I had any musical talent.
Like any good festival there was lots of room to enjoy the sunny weather. They also had hula hoops all over the place if you wanted to give them a whirl. Plus, food carts and snacks!
Quick side story on the hula hoops:
While meeting up with some friends we were over by the art tents and saw a little guy, between three and five-years-old, collecting the hula hoops. He was dragging those giant hoops one at a time, then dragging the whole mess of them to another location. He had gathered up most of the hoops in site and wandered back our way to get more.
People, spotting the hoops, began to disrupt his pile and play with them.
Well, he gathered up a new hoop, turned around and was floored.
How could those jerks be messing with the hula hoops he had so carefully put away?!
He ran to tell his mom about it. And, thankfully, as he was pointing at those hula hooping people, they finished and carefully put them all back.
Our little buddy then ran over and jumped on the hoops, keeping anyone else from using them.
Anyway, I was impressed by the Heart of the City, and had a really good time. (The weather sure didn’t hurt.)
Even if you don’t like hanging around some of Edmonton’s central neighbourhoods, make sure you take the time to venture out to next year’s Heart of the City. It may even be enough to get you to check out Edmonton’s heart-neighbourhoods after the festival is done.
As promised, here’s a little more on Conan. (The camera had been temporarily misplaced and we are back on track now.)
I’d mentioned previously that I was trying to avoid reports of “The legally prohibited from being funny on television” tour, so that if there were repeat gags I wouldn’t be bored. I’m glad I hid under my rock.
The Conan O’Brien live show was way better than I had expected, and after paying $100 for a ticket I was expecting a lot.
While I had missed the opening comic’s name, many, many people smarter than I had caught that information and passed it along after the show. Reggie Watts is worth a little of your Internet time, as he’s funny, drops mad beats and has a lot of hair. Not that I judge people on their amount of hair.
Things were kicked up with a couple of songs from the band, with LaBamba coming so close I could touch him. But I wouldn’t, since he was playing his trombone. That didn’t stop the jerk across the aisle from slapping him on the back.
Western Canada Fashion Week: In Review
“It became clear to me during the last 3 days of Western Canada Fashion Week (WCFW) that although Edmonton has a dress code of jeans and t-shirts, this city has some seriously stylish people and not a piece of Lululemon or a set of Uggs to be seen at this event (a true sign that winter is coming to an end).
With some heavy hitters in the Canadian industry involved (such as Joeffer Caoc), it was another fine display of Canadian talent.
Newcomer Derek Jagodzinsky ( a proud Edmontonian) showcased his line which featured holographic prints, neon and a (very) sexy man in a speedo!
On Thursday Micheal Kaye, who flew in from NYC, showcased his S/S collection. Having fitted numerous celebrities (including Martha Stewart), Kaye brought down the house with his simple but elegant clothing in bright jewel tones.
Other designers featured included Jessica Halabi, Kelsey McIntyre and BebaBean through the last three days.
Although fashion week featured mostly clothes for women, there were more then a few styles for men.
Guys, the main colors seem to be bright red, neon yellow and white for spring, while for women, brights seemed to be the norm. However, there are no hard and heavy rules when it comes to style anything goes.
So Edmontonians don’t be afraid to take that style risk when you show up for work.
Whether it be that extra pop of color in a scarf or those sexy stilettos you’ve always wanted to dig out, go for it. And if anyone asks, say you were bitten by the WCFW bug.
And as for me, I’m off to Asia for the next while to check out what’s hip on the other side.
So keep posted and keep it stylish Edmonton!
Yes, my little kitties, Western Canada Fashion Week has closed. But fret not, we’ve got some more of your new favourite fashions right here. Right now.
Thanks goes out to our Fashion Bureau Chief, Angela Ostafichuk, for a week of photos, updates, and fashion. She even snagged herself a correspondent in Chris Chan. Photos to follow are theirs. Words are mine. Fashion is forever.
See you at the next fashion week, Edmonton.
Photos from our Fashion Bureau Chief, Angela Ostafichuk
You know, the thing about Western Canada Fashion Week (formerly known as Edmonton Fashion Week) is that it lasts all week.
That means we get to flood you with all the fashionistas and their work. And there are models too.
But let’s delve into the stuff that no fashion week can do without; the really weird things that you wouldn’t actually wear.
Unless you are Lady Gaga.
And we’ll close things out with something I think you could actually wear off the catwalk. That does happen at Western Canada Fashion Week too, it’s not all about big and crazy designs. Though, that stuff is pretty fun. And sometimes bold and scary.
Story and photos By Angela Ostafichuk
Day two and three of Western Canada Fashion Week proved that not only does Canada have talent, but the fact it’s becoming stronger then ever.
Friday showcased an amazing mix of accessories, bags by the “Just Me” line by Jenna Marie, and Birch Bark hats by Andeo Hats.
Edmontonian Cherrie Cruz showed her stunning line of S/S 2010…followed by Vancouverite Jason Matlo who showcased two lines. Both Matlo and Cruz are no strangers to the fashion scene, and provided contrasting styles.
While Cruz used floaty, colorful fabric, Matlo’s collection was more about work to office and beyond.
Day three was an eclectic mix of street style to haute couture.
Kicking it out with a beautiful set by Manuela the show progressed to show off trendy street style, high-end beach wear and finished with Duanne Jauns, whose use of men dressed as women created a new take on evening wear.
For most collections that were seen over days two and three the norm was brights, pastels followed by black, for palates. Shapes went from loose and flowy to tight and tailored, for both men and women.
Stay tuned for more…fashion…
Story and Photos By Angela Ostafichuk
Western Canada Fashion Week kicked off with a bang this year, with a performance by the University of Alberta dance team.
Showcasing young stylists, new designers, and the collection of last year’s winner in the emerging designer category – Sid Neigum– the night was filled with young talent and fresh style.
With performances from Cite Ballet and Firefly Theatre, WCFW’s first day was a sold out event.
Western Canada Fashion Week (Which is what we’re calling Edmonton Fashion Week from here on out. Until the next name change.) runs until Thursday, April 8. Everything is happening at the TransAlta Arts Barns.
This is to take nothing away from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra but when you bring in a globe-trotting virtuoso I think it’s fair to say all eyes will be on them. That was certainly the case Saturday night in the Winspear Centre.
The ESO got to take the spotlight for two pieces; Haydn‘s Symphony No. 88 in G Major and Stravinsky‘s Symphony of Wind Instruments (1947), the latter of which, of course, featured only the woodwinds and brass.
I will admit to raiding iTunes for versions of everything to be played Saturday. This gave me a sense of what I was to hear.
Seeing the ESO play, however, gave me what the music was really about.
I especially felt this in the opening symphony from Haydn. There was more energy in the piece than my iPod had shown. I think some of this was thanks to conductor William Eddins bouncing and happily moving at the most exciting parts.
But the symphony really pushed this music out to the corners of the Winspear. The 3rd movement’s swells, and calls and answers, brought out this energy and I could feel it in my chest. Even one of the trumpet players, when not engaged in the music, was quietly swaying and bopping his head.
Eddins is nothing if not able to work a crowd. He was sure to include some timely Olympic jokes and references in his conversation with the audience. He got a round of applause when telling the story of Slovenian skier who broke four ribs and collapsed a lung but still won a bronze medal. He got laughs when trying to update us on the games, finding only a never-ending curling match on TV.
He got more, polite, laughs when he had to leave the stage before Stravinski’s Wind Instruments because he had forgotten his music. It worked out, putting a smile on people’s faces before a grimmer piece of music. As the ESO describes it: “The work’s unusual scoring lends the work certain steely edge – as does the use of the many silences throughout its brief duration.”
Indeed, this was not music for everyone’s ears or tastes. The brass and woodwind players seemed pleased to have performed it for us and took their final bow of the night with smiles of their own.
But, I’ve gotten just a bit ahead of myself. Before the intermission there was also a Bartok piece called Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra. This was where the ESO audience got their first listen of the evening of the guest violinist, Karen Gomyo. (more…)
Thanks for your tips, Edmonton.
You totally Eliza Doolittled me. I’m sure that sounded better (and less dirty) in my mind.
Anyway, I attended the symphony Saturday and had a great time. It helped that I had a few pointers from you, including attire, and I was much more at ease.
It also helped that the show was “Broadway Rocks,” and it’s the PERFECT show for someone just getting into the symphony. It’s also good if you like Broadway and all those songs they do. I won’t go into a review (I’m sure my request from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is on the way) so check out what my ticket-holding friend had to say about the show at her blog.
I’m also glad I had suggestions about tuxedo shirts and leather chaps. You have to have a sense of humour about things you don’t know about.
Oh, and Philip Paschke, the ESO’s New Media Specialist (Yes, they have one.), had great tips all around, which I’ll share with you. It will be helpful in case you are like me, and don’t really know which side of people to walk on, what an oboe is and other life/orchestra items. (more…)
I couldn’t think of any good zinc jokes.
But I did take over Sally’s Mac to edit this video.
Go to the Art Gallery, it’s open! Go now!!
Or don’t. It’s your call. But you’ll miss all the sweet art and cool design.
If you follow any number of Edmonton bloggers, webbies or photogs you’ve probably surmised that the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) hosted a tour of social media folk. Being a part of this expanding online media force, I tagged along.
Having experience in the world of traditional media, I’d say this was just your average photo-op, where you get dragged around the building and told stuff about it.
I hope to have a little more on the actual make-up of the building and its appearance once I come up with some good jokes involving zinc, glass, steel and Douglas Fir (all oft-used components in the design of the new AGA).
Right now I want to touch briefly upon the whole idea of social media-ers being invited to an event like this. There are some other opinions on this popping up. (I’ll note both of these folks are like me, and have previous or current experience in the traditional media world.)
First of all, it’s thanks mostly to the persistence of Edmonton’s Twitter King (Mack D. Male) that this even happened. The other portion of thanks goes to the AGA for being open to the idea.
The AGA isn’t the first organization to offer access to those from the blogosphere. The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, for example, invited bloggers to last summer’s Symphony Under the Sky. They’re also looking at doing more with bloggers in the regular season.
And it’s tough to keep bloggers and freelancers away from most public news conferences, so there have been plenty of stories from outside the usual suspect newsrooms on happenings here in Edmonton.
I think this is about the best idea organizations could try. (more…)
Julie Doiron played The Artery last night and Sally took it all in.
The show was great.
Julie is cute and tells little rambly stories between songs. It was just her and a drummer/guitarist, and at one point she broke a string on her guitar and made him change it.
Meanwhile she told the audience a story about having recently discovered vegan makeup.
The opening band was Attack in Black and they were a cross between Modest Mouse and Rural Alberta Advantage. They were great. The lead singer looked like a cross between (our friend) Derjis and Eugene from Gogol Bordello.
Editor’s notes: That last bit just means the guy had a giant mustache. I’m now digging into some Attack in Black as I write this. The Julie D show will air at a later date on CBC Radio 2.
Here’s a little Christmas cheer to warm you during this cold spell.
Joining the choir will be the U of A Faculty of Education’s Handbell Ringers and pianist Jared Samborski.
There should be everything from traditional carols to pop x-mas tunes.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students/seniors, available from TIX on the Square.