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Heritage interpretation

Call for papers for upcoming conference in Sydney, NS Heritage interpretation in Atlantic Canada— [ ... ]

Seniors Active Living Centre

Events continue at the Seniors Active Living Centre, Bell Aliant Centre, UPEI, Charlottetown: Janua [ ... ]

Glass Bead Making

Nova Scotia artisan Susan Hood gives Island workshops

by Ann Putnam

Glass artist Susan Hood demonstrating lampwork technique of bead-making at workshop at Victoria Glass Studio. Below: Susan’s “fantasy shell.”I had the opportunity recently to watch a fiery demonstration of glass bead making at the Victoria Glass Studio in Victoria-By-The-Sea by acclaimed bead maker and glass artist, Susan Hood. Susan also held demos and workshops at the Firehorse Studio in Charlottetown. In Susan’s studio, Glass Harp Gallery (www.glassharpgallery. com) in Yarmouth Nova Scotia, she has designed, created and restored stained glass works for many years. It was through her experience in stained glass that she came to glass bead making. It is this art medium, specifically lampwork, which most fulfills her as an artist.

Glass bead making is a craft that dates back centuries. The technique which was demonstrated here, called lampwork, torchwork or flamework, was popularised in Murano, Italy in the 1930s. Murano is still the capital of lampworking to this day and where you can find the masters of the art. Susan herself studied there under master bead maker, Lucio Bubacco.

Susan Hood is now a registered teacher in stained glass work and glass bead making. As we watched, Susan used hot flame to melt the end of a glass rod. Constantly coming back to the flame, she wrapped the molten glass around a thin metal mandrel. (The glass rods come in a multitude of colours and the mandrels come in different sizes which determines the size of the hole in the beads.) Layer after layer, with twists and turns for different effects, she added colours and textures until each unique bead was completed. With a steady hand and experienced eye, Susan created several different styles of beads during her two hour demonstration.

The demo preceded two days of workshops where her students were introduced to the art of lampwork and where they were able to make m any beads each in a surprising array of colours and styles

Victoria Glass Studio will be offering more workshops in the upcoming months, in bead making, fusing, stained glass, mosaics and sand blasting. Also, Victoria Glass Studio is now set up with supplies and equipment for lampwork glass bead making and other glass arts. Any person who has taken a one-day workshop or has the equivalent experience, subject to approval, can rent studio space and equipment at the studio.

Future workshop dates will be posted in The Buzz or you can check out the website at www.natures-creation.ca.

Simple

Searching for Simplicity

Review by Sara Ritchie

What resonated with me in the documentary Searching for Simplicity, filmed by Charlottetown PEI’s born and raised Andrew MacCormack, more than even the dramatic footage and scenery, was how he starts off saying that he doesn’t want this documentary to be about him, and yet as he recognizes within the film, this movie is about him. It’s about him and his experience traveling and living in South America, it’s about the people who were gracious enough to sit and talk to him about their country and culture, and more than anything it’s about humankind.

Starting off with a question about how we perceive other cultures based on mass media and the disconnect between the way a society is represented versus what it is in reality, this documentary explores on a very real and connective level what the culture of South America is like. This documentary highlights Andrew’s travels through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil and yet the message was the same—by showcasing local people and people traveling in South America, he captured people who are striving for authentic experiences and living within the moment.

This documentary is focused on helping viewers to change their preconceived notions, to be open to the exploration of life, and while the imagery is astonishing, it is Andrew’s presence both onscreen and as a narrator that pulls his message through. At one point, he is sitting at Machu Pichu and the look of sheer wonder on his face transcended the screen, transporting me to that same emotion and allowing me to actually feel it duplicated within me. Powerful.

More than anything, this documentary gives you itchy feet, makes you want to get up and travel to wherever—even if it is just down the street you walk everyday to stop and to see what’s going on around you. To really engage with those little moments that we take for granted and to perhaps question how we can’t help but be united with people all around the world, living their lives, embracing their culture and pursuing their passions.

“Simple” or “simplicity” is a word frequently used in this documentary—not just by the filmmaker, but also by the people being interviewed—and it’s quite appropriate. While the scenery is overwhelmingly breathtaking, it is the simple things in life that unite people, and the people interviewed in this documentary seem to recognize that in abundance.

While Searching for Simplicity is focused on a largely ignored part of the world, it was about the world at large and being open to the experience instead of the hype. Andrew’s commitment to sharing his personal journey, combined with the genuine desire of the interviewees to share their opinions of their country’s culture, conveys the message that we all share a common humanity, and embracing that while celebrating our differences is essential to creating a culture that can let go of perceptions and opinions that are based on the misinformation that we are inundated with in the daily media.

World Class

Karen Lips earns Master of Conservation in Monuments and Sites

by Laurel Smyth

Karen LipsA jaunty character with a playful personal style, Karen Lips is always at the heart of things; it seems we see her supporting local culture at every gallery opening, play, or book launch. Recently this landscape architect set wider horizons for herself: Karen has just graduated as a Master of Conservation in Monuments and Sites. “I think it gives me the qualifications to aspire to some new work in the national and international heritage scene, and that is something I find really challenging.”

Lips’ work had already made an impact on the landscape of Charlottetown. She transformed the Library Plaza into a much-used garden space, created raised Victorian seating in Rochford Square, and influenced the development of Hensley Green and King’s Square Housing Coops with their inner-block courtyards. These projects were satisfying. but Karen yearned for something more. “I wanted some time to look at the ideas and concepts behind design work… I had this feeling in the back of my mind that I wanted to have contact with some of the great thinkers and to learn more.”

Opportunity arose through a Belgian scholarship administrated here by the Societe Nationale d’Acadie. Karen won the chance to study at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation located at the University of Leuven in Belgium, one of a select few centres recognized by the international conservation movement. “They only take a few students, and the professors come from all over the world—a really interesting range of practitioners, academics, and specialists. They’d come in for 2 or 3 days and we’d be bombarded with information, so it was a challenging and intensive program. The scholarship allowed me to spend that first year concentrating on daily classes and a lot of project work on weekends and evenings.”

She received a diploma for that year, but was determined to write a Masters thesis on ‘The Fountains of Paris.’ She spent 3 months walking all over Paris, visiting fountains. All 385 of them. “There were little invisible wall fountains left over from the time historically when they were the source of potable water for Parisians…. At the other end of the scale was the Place de la Concorde, totally fabulous, elaborate and showy. On my birthday I had a personal tour of the vaults under the fountains there.

“Conservation involves so much more than just technical perfection. It’s how the viewer experiences the place. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, the body that oversees designation of world heritage sites, recently expanded their definition of conserving authenticity…. They’re using words now like ‘feeling, spirit, mood’. You can’t conserve a monument in isolation—you must consider the way it fits into its modern city setting.”

Karen questioned how to look at restoration in the context of setting, if mood and feeling are important in conserving authenticity. “Nobody’d really figured out how you actually apply these intangibles to a particular site. My thesis looks at ways you could…. I developed a system of three zones around each fountain within which you could apply conservation solutions.”

Karen Lips’ work and its presentation earned her the highest recognition amongst her fellow graduates in a class of 13. “When I realized that I had graduated magna cum laude, I felt a sense of deep satisfaction.”

World Vision

Edward Burtynsky

by Sally Blake Hooff

We all take photographs for personal records. The professional, however, is beyond sentiment and can use his images in any format. Edward Burtynsky is an Ontario photographer whose works are monumental. They look splendid in the Art Gallery at Confederation Centre.

Four brilliantly-coloured scenes from container ports at Delta, British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, appear above the stairs, Canada’s contemporary bookends of giant metal boxes. Then at the entrance to the gallery hangs a dark, threatening but very beautiful landscape. Could it be an Island beach at dusk? No, these are nickel tailings from Sudbury, fierce reds from neither surface soil nor sky above. The subtle greens and yellow of a companion piece are from no natural lake but of the Inco Tailings Pond. And is the third print a magical study of snow or an elegant cloudscape? No, more nickel tailings, cold as ice.

Burtynsky confronts us with more industrial residue in ghastly yet decorative patterns of tin cans and auto engines from Hamilton, Ontario, and a tire pile from California. The detritus of North American industry leads naturally to the terrifying scenes from Chittagong in Bangladesh where rotting ships from around the world are broken up. In one print workmen are watched by relaxed adults and children, but they and the close-ups of rusting metal are suffused with satanic red light.

Not so the prints from a 2002 expedition to the Yangtze River where the artist records in the cool greenish-grays of Northern China the Three Gorges Dam project. In Wushan apartments are being demolished apparently by hand while some are still occupied! We see close-ups of men extracting recyclable materials from shapeless messes of broken concrete and bricks, high above the misty river and a bridge as ancient as the willow pattern.

Less emotionally charged are the architectural forms in deserted marble quarries. Even the mazes of parallel piping in oil refineries and glistening new pipes snaking through grass and boreal forest at Cold Lake seem relatively benign, but beside these loom the most desolate of all Burtynsky’s images, oil derricks in a California desert, nodding in regimented rows into infinity. Around such gruesome corrals the artist uses high stepladders to photograph where he cannot trespass. In 2004 he rented a helicopter to shoot from the air a Volkswagen lot in Texas. Try to count the cars. The implications of these scenes are awful. We are all complicit in the paving of North America.

And the early Western landscapes? Busy backyards in the Rockies and a tiny lone house in prairie foothills where a distant river seems unpolluted in 1983, a far cry from today’s destruction in China’s Three Gorges. Yet the brave strands of macramé on a British Columbia washing line find their echo in the bright clothes hanging on a rooftop in Wushan. Burtynsky’s vision makes the connection.

Country & Far Eastern

Islander Annette Gallant plays in all-girl country band in Hong Kong

by Jay Scott Kanes

The Shotgun She-Ras, from left: Annette Gallant, Meg Olinger, Claire Tallon, Sholan Tsang.Few Prince Edward Island musicians venture farther “away” than drummer Annette Gallant, a country-music pioneer of sorts in one of Asia’s leading cities. Annette’s skills on drums spur the Shotgun She-Ras, an all-female country-and-western band based in Hong Kong where most of the music fans clearly prefer rock or Canto-pop.

“Soon we’ll play two shows in Shanghai, which is pretty exciting,” said Annette. She knows of no other PEI musicians active in Hong Kong, although she’s met several from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.

“Every day, I get a kick out of saying, ‘Wow! I’m playing music, I’m in a band and it’s so much fun,” Annette said. “I just want to go with the flow.”

Leader singer Sholan Tsang from Britain, guitarist Meg Olinger from Iowa and bass-player Claire Tallon, a Brit who grew up in Hong Kong, complete the She-Ras lineup.

“Annette’s fantastic,” said Claire. “She’s one of the best drummers. Steady Neddy! That’s what we call her—because she is.

“On top of her drumming skills, we need Annette’s personality. The rest of us get very nervous and shy. We hate things like having our pictures taken. But Annette’s really good at jollying us along. ‘Get ‘er done for God,’ she always says.”

“Annette’s so positive about everything,” Sholan agreed.

Not an original band member, Annette joined early on when the initial drummer, a Nova Scotian, returned to Canada. “We like drummers from Atlantic Canada because they’re such easy-going, friendly people,” Claire joked.

Although country music is a rarity in Chinese cities, the She-Ras perform songs popularized by the likes of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Alison Krauss, plus their own material. All four band members help to write songs. For example, Annette and Claire collaborated on “Eddy the Fiddler” about a veteran PEI fiddler encountered by Annette at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival. The band plans to release a debut CD later this year.

Born in Summerside in 1980, Annette grew up in Charlottetown and then lived in Ottawa before crossing the Pacific Ocean in 2004. “Coming from PEI definitely contributed to my interest in music,” she said. “My Mom’s family was really musical. A lot of my relatives sang in choirs. My Mom always played the piano for us to sing along.

“In Grade 4, I played the violin. Then I joined a school band at Stone Park Junior High and took up the trumpet, but that wasn’t cool enough so I switched to percussion. I stayed in a school band until I graduated from Charlottetown Rural. Later, I bought a ukulele. So my musical background’s a bit scattered. I never mastered most of the instruments. But I played music with my friends all the time. Instead of going to bars, we’d take guitars and drums to the beach, sit around and play music. Truthfully, I never really thought that I’d play in another band. But now I can’t imagine not doing it.”

Annette’s a daughter of the late Julia (Cheverie) and of Eric Gallant, the latter a former Kinkora school principal now living in the Souris area. Her brother Adam led the PEI band Officer Girl and later joined Mars Hill. Also a recording-arts specialist, Adam, who lives in Montreal, has helped the She-Ras (by email) on their upcoming CD. Another brother, Scott, is also a musician.

As a day job, Annette teaches English and math at a tutorial centre. “Teaching isn’t necessarily what I want to do for my whole life,” she said. “I almost left Hong Kong last year, but I stayed because of the band. So music comes first, and teaching’s second. I won’t make any other plans for a while.”

Between lessons and songs, Annette pines to visit PEI. “I love going home, and miss it like crazy,” she said. “I haven’t been there in two years. I miss the beaches, the laid-back attitudes and sitting around playing music with my friends.”

Maybe Annette should convince all the Shotgun She-Ras to spend a summer performing on PEI. “That’d be great fun,” Annette said. “Find someone who’ll fund it, and we’ll be there.”

Jay Scott Kanes, currently a resident of Hong Kong, is the author of the recently published book on PEI musicians, Island Toes A’Tapping. The Buzz would like to welcome Jay to the roster as our newest foreign correspondant.

Commitment to a Cure

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure

by Mary Beth Roach

Holding the “Woodlands Creatures” quilt which will be raffled in order to raise funds for breast cancer research are members of the Rose Runners CIBC Run for the Cure team, Peggy Roach Rivard, Mary Beth Roach (left) and Mary Leah Trainor (right).In 1996, my mother, Rose Roach, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 52. A family therapist with Addiction Services dedicated to helping and supporting others, she organized a family team, the Rose Runners, to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. The Rose Runners has participated in the Run for the Cure every year since 1996. For my mother, the event was not only about raising money for breast cancer research, education, and awareness, but also about bringing family, friends, and communities together to support Island women with breast cancer. On the day of the run, she was always amazed as the sea of white and pink t-shirts flooded streets for as far as the eye could see.

Although my mother, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2000, the Rose Runners continue to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. We remain committed to supporting Island women with breast cancer and believe that one day a cure will be found. This year alone, 100 Island women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 25 Island women will die from the disease (Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2006).

Two members of the Rose Runners, Yvette McKenna and Mary Leah Trainor, hatched a fund-raising idea. Accomplished quilters, they spoke with other quilters, about the possibility of making a quilt to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. Sixteen quilters agreed to help. Woodland Creatures, the quilt pattern chosen, features 9 woodland animals, flanked by a sparrow border at the top and chipmunk border at the bottom. Each stitch has been hand quilted. In total, the quilt has taken over 1000 hours to complete. A work of art, the quilt is a gift from talented Island quilters to women and families touched by breast cancer.

Thanks to Lucy Hickey, Karen Beauregard, Maureen Garrity, Brenda MacKinnon, Edie Zakem, Iva Steward, Brenda Harper, Jean Steele, Velda Taylor, Mary Leah Trainor, Yvette McKenna, Judy Fraser, June Lund, Eileen Howatt, Joyce Doyle, Cheryl Doyle, Marsha Dennis, and Beverly Boswell for the many hours spent quilting Woodland Creatures in support of breast cancer research, education, and awareness.

Shop Toronto

A report from the big city during the Holiday Season

by Marie Nicola

A window display at Holt Renfrew in TorontoEntering another Holiday Season in my Upper Canadian hovel. And, by the way, it’s Holidays in Upper Canada, never Christmas. The explanation why is as commercially driven as the season itself up here. And, we all know where Christmas preparations start—in the stores.

To be in the city, one loses a sense of time. Thank goodness for the store fronts like in the Holt Renfrew flagship store on Bloor West. Had it not been for their opulent window dressings complete with crystal chandeliers and elegantly dressed mannequins lurking in seasonally festive poses, I would barely have recognized we were more than month past September.

There was a time back home on PEI where my holiday traditions included the Western School Board Christmas Concert, the TOSH annual craft sale, gorging on mass quantities of holiday sweets like an insatiable Jabba the Hutt and, of course, paralyzed on the couch by the promise of Christmas Specials.

How those days are opposite from my existence in Toronto! Months of mental preparation is required before stepping foot into the rage known as Holiday shopping. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about propping up the local economy. I just simply cannot stomach any activity that requires physical agility as a necessity to deftly move in and out of irate crowds. After a day of defending my personal space I feel like the only Christmas Spirit left is found in an unmarked bottle located in the cabinet next to my television. Yep, Holidays are not for the weak of heart and I’m on a bid for freedom against the annual hex I call holiday shopping.

I’m a philanthropist at heart so you can imagine how thrilled I am with the hottest trend in cultural gifting. Membership programs, designed specifically for young professionals ages 25­35, are popping up all across the city at the country’s most prestigious cultural centres. These programs offer parties, discounts and glamour all bundled in one fabulous and affordable package ideal for gifting. Two of the most notable include The Royal Ontario Museum’s Young Patrons’ Circle and the Canadian Opera Company’s Operanation. (You can log on to www.jakandjil.com and see a photo of yours truly scouted at this year’s Operanation for the style section.)

Secondly, the Art Gallery of Ontario has long been prized by culture vultures as the must shop stop for unique items. They’ve recently launched their online shopping portal at shop.ago.net with watches, stationary and prints designed by architect Frank Gehry, and of course fabulous children’s gifts all in support of their programs and collections. Dear Confederation Centre of the Arts, consider this my wish for you to establish an online store so I can shop your unique art items as well.

It’s all coming together, time to steer my attention away from the preparations and focus on the joy of the season. Nathan Phillips Square and the Cavalcade of Lights! Only in Toronto will the city cry about power shortages and then illuminate 100,000 lights nightly for a month. But, I’m not going to protest, I’m going to enjoy one of the few seasonal traditions that exist outside the shops with my friends, of course. Happy Holidays, everyone.

A Fitting Challenge

Costumes for 18th century play require a scandalous amount of sewing

by Terry Pratt

Five sewers with Lady Sneerwell’s costume for The School for Scandal, from left: Jo Edge, Pam Jewell, Rachel Fitzpatrick, Margaret Dawson and Linda Kerr.Sit down five sewers, for ACT and ask them why they do it—given long hours, minimal recognition, and no financial reward—and the answers are both inspiring and humbling.

As director of the forthcoming production of The School for Scandal, I recently had that experience.

From Pam Jewell, sewer and overall designer, “I guess the real fun starts in the fabric store for me. After I talk to the director and I do some research on my own, I have these ideas in my mind of what I’d like to see the character in, and so I go in the fabric store and that’s just pure joy, picking out a fabric that I think would suit the character and the colour scheme. The challenge is the fittings, because it’s an exacting science: there’s a certain way that they are supposed to fit the characters, despite different body types and body shapes and heights and leg lengths.”

From Maraget Dawson: “Probably the most fun for me is seeing the costumes come to life, because they are of a different era, and it’s fun to see what people did wear in those days. It makes you wonder how they wore it all, and why.”

Jo Edge’s first love is set painting, but she sews as well: “I think the best part of it for me is to see the production when it’s finally on the stage, and feel that you’ve been part of that. Since I do some of the scenery as well, I get an enormous thrill out of it all, seeing what I can actually do, effects I can get that I didn’t realize I could do before.”

Linda Kerr is making one dress for The School for Scandal that requires eleven meters of cloth: “I’m with Pam, it’s fabric, I love fabric, I could buy rolls of fabric and put in on the floor and roll around in it. I love the texture, and the colours. It’s a tremendous amount of work to make one of those costumes, but I love the opportunity.”

Finally Rachel Fitzpatrick, sewer and sometimes actor: “The challenge of trying to create something that I haven’t tried before is very exciting, especially period costumes. You say ‘Oh that’s really exciting, how would you do that?’ Then you’re staring at it, you’ve come to a snag and you’re frustrated, and you’re trying to figure out, ‘How the hell does that work?’ and then you finish it, and you see it on stage, and ‘Wow, that looks pretty good, I can’t believe I did that.’”

There is nothing to add to these words of dedication, daring, and joy of creativity, except thank you.

The School for Scandal is an elegant and fitting eighteenth-century comedy by Richard Sheridan. You can see it at The Guild November 16­19 and 23­26.

Events Calendar

January 2019
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Some Upcoming Events

Fräulein Klarinette

Piano and clarinet recital at UPEI’s Dr. Steel Recital Hall January 26
UPEI UPEI Clarinet Profess [ ... ]

PEI Symphony Orchestra

Guest conductor Dina Gilbert will lead  February 24
Zion Church  The PEI Symphony Or [ ... ]

Blaze

January 29–February 3
City Cinema 14A, coarse language, substance abuse
Dir: Ethan Hawke, US, 129 m [ ... ]

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