by Lindsay Kyte
This month about town I went kind of cultural. After a few months of covering alternative-music related events, I was ready to become "classical-adelic." But, I also went for some goofy laughs (more about that later).
I attended the Atlantic Debut recital at the Steel Building at UPEI on Saturday, March 17. The crowd was small-mostly music majors there because they had to attend for credit. It was, after all, St. Paddy's day and most student-age types had a green beer-foam moustache at this point in the night.
The recital was refreshing. Soprano Christina Tannous was accompanied by Michael McMahon on piano. They debuted a piece called "Marginal Way," which Tannous explained was reflective of the sea. When I closed my eyes, I could hear puddles of sound ebbing and flowing in varied tempos, while Tannous sang their stories.
Stephen Ham was next on piano. One piece he played was particularly quick and complex, and I watched his emotion build along with the audience's, until his last note, when he triumphantly threw back his seat and stood up as the note hung in the air. The audience, one used to quietly golf-clapping, emitted Letterman cheers as he bowed.
I also viewed the Great Garden of the Gulf Exhibit at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. One work that really interested me was "Watching Ryan" by Brian Swanson. It was a painting depicting a scene that could happen this summer. Three very ordinary looking people at the beach are watching someone out of the painting. The child looks cranky and a bit sunburnt. The woman probably got her sunglasses at Shoppers Drug Mart. The umbrella had a Canadian Airlines logo on it. But what occurred to me when looking at it was that so many artists feel that only the nostalgic has value. Hence why Norman Rockwell sells so well. What Swanson gives the audience by choosing a contemporary scene is the sense that what is happening now also has value. That we are living in tomorrow's yesterday. That someday we'll be scrutinized as we scrutinize history, and juice containers from the Dollarama will have kitsch value.
And, as a break from culture, I went to see 4Play improv at the Arts Guild Friday, March 16. Don't get me wrong though-improv is an art in itself, and a darn gutsy one. Ed Rashed, Carly Martin, Rob MacDonald and Matt Rainnie were the artists. The crowd was a large and eclectic one, and giggled throughout the various games 4Play used. A particular highlight was Matt Rainnie's Ed Rashed impression as "Short-Order Cook Man:" "Oh my Gaaahd! Well, anyways. . . ." 4Play doesn't run again until the summer, but I'd say they're well worth the $10 you'd pay instead for a movie, even if only to hear Ed Rashed switch accents mid-sketch and the others cut him up for doing so.