Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lord help the Mister who comes between me and my sister

I found this picture in my travels of me and my younger sister Megan, taken not to long ago to settle the score once and for all. You know Megan, you think we look exactly alike. Well not for long my friend, BEHOLD!

In my opinion we don't even look like we are related in this picture, the only feature that is somewhat similar is our hair. Megan, truth be told, bares more of a resemblance to our older sister, Alana. However, what is identical about Megan and I is our voices and I think that's where we foiled you. I even notice it in my own voice especially when speaking to cats or babies or bemoaning the merit (or lack thereof) of someone's art. In these instances I hear Megan's voice standing in for my own. Its very strange. Another thing that may confuse you about which one is Megan and which one is me is that we both love White Christmas. A LOT.
Last year one of the many stations that played the film made a dire mistake in cutting out the most important dance number in the whole film. Let's re-live it!

This number, Megan and I both agree, is integral to the plot of the rest of the movie! The best things really do happen while you're dancing! But how would anyone know that without witnessing this amazing absurd dance interlude!?

So it should be noted that this blog post was written purely for the enjoyment of Megan and I. We are both sitting in front of our computers giggling right now. Which of course is a past-time of ours.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


So I finally found my camera cord amongst the rubble and I present you with some shots from the dress rehearsal and two performances of Fortnight at the earth ship.

The set

Robin Dann and her branch lashes

Alex Samaras in costume

Paige Culley and her house lashes

Paige in her shroud

Paige Culley is the dancer, the two singers are Robin Dann and Alex Samaras and not pictured is Matt Dunn on lap steel and Jordan Armstrong on Clarinet.

And just for fun here's a little low-quality video of a small section of the performance, so you can really see what you missed (or re-live it!)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tickets are going fast!

The Saturday night performance is coming close to selling out, so if you are planning on attending but have yet to reserve tickets I highly recommend that you email me ( right now and reserve- $10 each Doors at 7:30 Performance at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday.

In other news get ready to have your socks knocked clean off! This is a video of the two singers (Robin Dann and Alex Samaras) who will be in my performance practicing a Meredith Monk piece they will be performing on Friday evening at Somewhere There.
What a treat!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Natural History

As we draw ever closer I needn't lose sight of my objective here- to present a piece that didn't take more from me than I gave it, to have confidence in the thing that springs from this experience. Each part will converge for the first time on Saturday and I feel pretty good about it right now.
The music is coming together, with the loops of Peggy Seeger made by Randy playing in the background while Jordan Armstrong play live clarinet and Matt (Doc) Dunn plays lap steel over-top. The result is other-worldly! Tomorrow I meet with singers Alex Samaras and Robin Dann to hash out their role in the performance.

I did take a brief vacation- I was on the island on Monday and Tuesday working out backing track stuff with Randy. Monday was a beautiful day to walk the 3.5 km from Wards to the art centre, and I climbed a tree and took some lovely shots I like to gaze at:

Here I am in a tree. If at the end of my life you split up where I spent my time in a pie chart a large slice (I would hope!) would be in a tree, and another large slice would be in or on the water.

The view from the tree, the water looks like tinfoil.

I could just be some branches.

When I saw these trees, they looked so fake to me!


And on my trip back I realised that nothing calms me more than the water. Being on the water, and the wind across it gives me an extraordinary peace that I am incapable of experiencing at any other time. There are moments from my life when I was on a boat on the water and suddenly I was just hit with the feeling of relief. When I was younger my dad used to take us for boat rides after dinner at the cottage, and we would be driving back at dusk and you could see so many bats flying above your head or beside the boat and it was an amazing feeling of things existing in this really delicate way. You could feel the bats fly very close to you and close to the boat but they never hit anything.
Sing it Nick!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Tonight at the Earth Ship feast your eyes on VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS!!
Starting at 8pm here at 1345 Davenport Rd (entrance on Bristol). Come and visit with me so I don't go crazy and marvel at my progress. See you soon!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You will always be the bread and the knife

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane - Philip K. Dick

The progress I made yesterday was minimal at best. A few more felted balls, another tree started and another tree finished, a bit of sewing. I can say that what I did make yesterday could be classified as a fine mess! There is a thick covering of cardboard shavings along the floor here and an impressive stack of dishes in the sink. Coming back to a house abandoned and filthy does not make me feel productive.
But I must soldier on.
I did watch a documentary on Philip K. Dick yesterday which was very interesting. Philip K. Dick (in case you did not know) was an American science-fiction writer, he was born in 1928, and died (of a stroke) in 1982. If you think you are not familiar with his work it is pretty likely that you have seen or at least heard of one of the many movies based on his books - Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Minority Report. He was born into poverty, and he had a twin sister, Jane, who died a year after they were born. He always felt that he had killed her because he seemed to eat more and to need to eat more. The idea of his sister haunted him throughout his life. He had been married five times, and none of the marriages ended well. He had a child- a son, Christopher, with his fifth wife and one day she noticed something in his diaper and so took him to the hospital to check it out. The doctor reassured her that it was simply that she was not cleaning him well enough between changings. Philip K. Dick then had this dream or vision wherein it was communicated to him exactly what was wrong with his son which was that he had a very serious hernia and if it was not operated on immediately he would die. They took him back to the hospital and the vision was true. He drew on this experience to write his book VALIS (an acronym which stands for Vast Active Living Intelligence System). It was based on this idea that had god all tied up with artificial intelligence. Anyways, there are a few other instances where his books and his real life experiences collide (unknowingly) with biblical events or some concept of God.
It is something I may never fully understand but it certainly is mind-boggling to think about. If you are interested I would recommend getting a copy of Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said- its my favourite. Let it be known though that there are a lot of stinkers in the PKD oeuvre, Jonathan Lethem wrote an essay (I think its called You Don't Know Dick, its in the Disappointment Artist) which talks very plainly about what you would be getting yourself into. I recommend checking that out as well.
I cannot say I have any brilliant insight to offer on the life of Philip K. Dick (or even the writing for that matter- I have read very few of his novels) But if you are in search of a biographical journey, start following his paper trail. Its fascinating.

Now a few words about the present- I thought I should update you on the schedule- Today (Saturday) is for forest making (its getting so close!)
Sunday during the day will likely be more of that, and Sunday night starting at 8pm SHARP I will be screening Valerie and Her Week of Wonders- an amazing Czech new wave film that is beyond description (in my opinion)
Monday I will NOT BE HERE. DO NOT COME VISIT ME ON MONDAY! I have to take a field trip to get some music things accomplished and we will be back to the regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.

Also tickets! If you would like to reserve a ticket for either the Saturday November 20th performance (at 8pm) or Sunday November 21st (also at 8pm) please let me know (you can send me a message here or an email at: Tickets are $10.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Its look up and down that long lonesome road

Today Kathryn surprised me when I got back from a gruelling trip to New Canadians Lumber (twice in one week- I am a glutton for punishment) with FISH AND CHIPS!!! Now that is something to write home about! (ps. Surprise! I eat fish now! I guess I caught the vegan seven year itch)

Things are coming along just fine, I started a dress today (no pictures yet, it still just looks like a wad of wrinkled fabric which, technically, it is) and made some felted balls, here they are drying in the window:
Other than that I just chipped away at the other large tasks- ripping cardboard and gluing it to the trees and cutting still more paper moths. As my mom would say its just like eating an elephant, one thing at a time.

Making more trouble of course.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Giving me the devil

My smallest studio assistant- Shouty- was in fine form today. She started out the day using the trees as a scratching post and in her excitement almost knocked down all the 12 foot building tubes that are leaning against the walls. She helped me cut things out by practising her slide into home plate (narrowing missing the blade of my scissors). She chased the ends of pencils while I was trying to draw with them, viciously attacked innocent pieces of paper, and stole and lost all of the felted balls I made yesterday. She is sleeping it off right now but I am certain I will wake to the sound of a terriffic diaster.

Here she is making my life difficult (though considerably cuter)

And here she is trying to fool Randy into thinking she is sweet and gentle and docile. Admittedly even my cold heart is warmed with this one.

Today I cut out a buncha moths, but its never enough!

And I cut out this little fella, who shall be glued to an eyelid of a performer in the piece. More to come.

And the trees just looked so nice in the sun today. Feast! Thine! Eyes!

Tree Orfus.
Well as my dad would say time to hit the bed trail. Maybe I will have dreams of pirates and pineapples and muscle relaxant. Good Night Honey!

In the pines in the pines where the sun never shines

These trees are magically unfolding! Thanks to Kathryn's brilliance and mad craft skills (shout out to White Rose!) and Filip and Minae's endurance we got some serious work done. So we've still a long way to travel- if you have yet to make plans for Saturday during the day or at night pencil me in and come by for some forest building.

And of course Wednesday we are cutting thousands of tiny paper moths and Thursday we are felting so if you are lacking wonder in your life I can give you a quality hit.

Until we meet again!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Roving Jewel

I'm going to impart some wisdom- today I've learned that my stomach wants only for me to fail at everything I try (I'll show you stomach!), I've also learned that twelve foot cardboard tubes are deceptively heavy, and that its real good to have people around that will bear some of the load for you, (both physically and metaphorically). Stay strong everyone, and stay tuned.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today's the day!

Today I board the Earth Ship! And being the excellent hosts that they are Jeff and Mairi are throwing a little bash tonight in honour!

But just to recap- at 8pm (SHARP!) I'll be screening Yunnan Colourfree (see image below) if you are a breathing, living, creative being, there is a very good chance that this is something you need to see.

Then at 9 there will be stimulation abound! Performances by Man Made Hill and the Earth House Performance. As well as installations by Exploding Motor Car, Jeff Garica, and a screening by Winston Hacking. Vieja winter fashion line viewing from Japan! Plus dance party including Guy Dalla's ep Godverdomme. Hit a lot of birds with almost no stones at all! Seriously the good times will be effortless tonight! Wish Joni Mitchell a happy 67th and come hang with us!
Also for those of you interested here is a slightly revised version of my residency Schedule:
(Note that each day will be from 9am until 11pm unless otherwise noted. Anyone wishing to help is welcome to drop by at anytime. I will be there.)
Monday November 8th- Structure and foundation building for the forest.
Tuesday November 9th- Sewing day! Help make base dresses for all characters, and the shroud for the funeral scene
Wednesday November 10th- Paper cuts! Help me cut out obscene amounts of delicate tiny things from paper
Thursday November 11th- Needle Felting (no experience required!) learn and help make soft sculpture by needle felting
Friday November 12th- Tree texturizing and wrapping
Saturday November 13th- More forest work, or perhaps a day of rest?
Sunday November 14th- Screening of Valerie and Her Week of Wonders 8pm- PWYC
I'll be screening another film as an introduction to my second week and the coming together of the idea. Valerie and her week of wonders follows the story of a young girl turning into a young woman and the power that she possesses is enticing and mysterious. If you haven't seen it you must! If you have seen it come watch it again!
Monday November 15th- Details- sewing embellishments on the costumes
Tuesday November 16th- more paper cuts
Wednesday November 17th- Music day. Workshopping the piece with the singers and musicians and working out movement with dancers.
Thursday November 18th- Loose ends- (anything and everything that has yet to be completed)
Friday November 19th- Finishing touches and Rehearsals
Saturday November 20th- Opening Night! Performance starts at 8pm- ticket price TBA
Sunday November 21st- Closing Night! Performance starts at 8pm
Of course any help is greatly appreciated and I encourage you to drop by anytime and as often as possible. Also feel free to bring friends or pass this along to them.
The address of the Earth Ship is 1345 Davenport, and the entrance is on Bristol ave
And here's the website for the Earth Ship, including details about my opera- Fortnight.
See you ever so soon!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Never, never

I can remember a time when it seemed I was collecting and gathering people in my life. At a young age, I mean. I remember my only requirements for someone to have a place in my life be that they were around the same age as me. My friend Allison remembers going door to door asking if there were any other kids inside that wanted to come out and play. When you are a kid you just want to be surrounded by other kids. I feel like I believed as a child that all the problems in the world would dissipate if we built one big kid empire. Like J.M. Barrie, did in Peter Pan. Of course I was painfully shy and introverted, so my utopic visions were terrifying to me in reality. But there's an interesting story about Old J.M. Barrie-
Barrie's brother who was older than him died shortly before his 14th birthday in an accident. His mother was heartbroken, as he was her favourite child. J.M. wore the dead brother's clothes and tried to whistle in the manner that he would have to appease his mother. His mother often found peace in the idea that because his life was cut short in her mind he would remain a boy forever and never grow up and leave her. J.M. Barrie was six years old when his brother died and it is believed that the stress of this caused him to never grow taller than 5' and 3'' and to live an asexual adulthood. The term often applied to this is Psychogenic Dwarfism.

This photo of JM Barrie I find captivating, he does appear like a child playing dress-up. Or a child who dresses as an adult. The delicate wrist that comes out of his sleeve, and his tiny fingers seem to just hang. The heavy folds in his suit make it clear that the body within is much smaller.
He reminds me also of Joseph Cornell, who, though not dwarfed from trauma, was much the same way. He lived with his mother and brother (who had cerebral palsy) on Utopia Parkway (what a sorrow filled name for a street!) for his entire life save the three years he was at school. He spent most of his life caring for his brother and though he was very interested in women he never became involved. One of Cornell's final shows was of boxes that were for children. Hung at a height that could be seen by a child and they served pop and cake at the reception.

These days it seems I add or subtract only one person at a time, slowly building trust and a bond. In our adult lives we are so opinionated that we won't associate with just anyone anymore. But its interesting to me, these two men, how the people in their lives shaped their personalities. And though neither of them had children, nor were really pursuing the means to do so, children were such an important part of their lives and personalities. Why do we have this desire to remain children? I'd like to hear any thoughts on the matter.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Long may you run

The final day of my show at Forest City Gallery has wrapped up. This is long overdue, I know, but here is a bit of a photo essay- so to speak- of the moments leading up to the performance and the ultimate 'finished product'

And just for fun, here's a bit of footage of the performance- (all video and most of the photos were shot by Victoria Cheong)


So one good turn deserves another, stay tuned to see where life takes me!