Sunday, September 30, 2007
Recapping a bit more of the weekend, Friday afternoon continued with meeting John Celona. the associate dean of fine arts, who was preparing for a blue screen video shoot. When the van of gear arrived, I helped unload and observed some of the set up that the tech did. They have an actor who, for some reason, they've not been able to get shots of in some fancy car(wasn't there yet) on the right day (a Sunday so there would be minimal traffic) with the right light (it's Victoria remember) so they decided to try to mock it all up. They look like they're doing it fairly minimally but it should be effective. It was great meeting John and getting a new perspective on Fine Arts faculties. Maureen Bradley is teaching there now, she's attached to the creative writing department, which is separate from the English Department. This seemed odd until I considered how peer review might work, how writing a poem or story or novel or screenplay is closer in many ways to drawing or filming than it is to analysis. He pointed out how the studies areas (film studies, art history, music studies, theatre studies) are the real misfits in fine arts as they are academic areas akin to work done by others in the humanities rather than artistic creation done by others in the fine arts faculty. However, in the end I believe we need to keep the fine arts studies courses together with the studio courses to create a more holistic approach to our specific fields. What I also learned is that UofR is not alone in having problems with budgets and with enrollment problems. We do seem to be a step ahead in faculty members willingness to work together across departments and to be open to interdisciplinary collaborations.
I left the university and went to the party being held for filmmakers over at Deluge. Talked a bit with Gina Dionne about John Porter and the creative process. It seems that she was a student of Mike Rollo's at Concordia; I think I taught Mike a course in my first term - Yikes, I'm getting old. The first screening on Friday was a collection of beautiful films which all explored urban life and images of the city. However, the melodic music chosen for most of the films did not really combine well with the four double martinis I'd consumed, so I have a few blurry moments. The second show was all work sent over from Finland. Really diverse and energized. I particularly loved "Splitter" by Pink Twins which involved a landscape transforming into a completely abstract grid of moving colours. Lush.
I went back to my hotel and, even though I was tired and falling asleep, I suddenly got a second wind and had no choice but to watch an animated superhero thing on Teletoon written by Stan Lee. I missed the title but caught the credits. It was about a race of shape changers who live among us and a girl who gets hit by lightening while holding her chameleon (I missed that part, dozed I guess) and she has this power now too, but she can also see people's DNA. We often see through her eyes in DNA-vision. Oh, the contrivances don't end there...
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Began today with a trip out to Mountain Equipment Co-op to buy William a new coat. While the name says it all, I was suddenly surprised that it actually WAS a co-op and as such, served its members. You buy in for life (does everyone who is a member of a film co-op across the country know that once they join, they can vote until such time that their membership is specifically revoked? Filmpool began a policy a few years ago to send people letters at some point after their dues with a few months late to remove them from the membership, but these each needed to be voted on by the Board of Directors. Anyway, I got pretty tired of walking around Victoria so I checked out of the hotel at 10:55 and asked if they could call the airport bus. The bus said they could come at 11:05, and they did. I therefore got to the airport before noon for my 2pm flight. As the check in person was not busy, she started looking for the best seat for me to stretch out and then asked if I'd prefer to be on the 1:00 flight, I agreed and before I knew it I was munching peanuts (honey roasted, my own purchase, nothing was given on the flight) and soaring over Georgia Straight. Instead of an expensive cab or slow bus, I caught the quick Vancouver airport bus, about to leave, and got to the Sky-Train and scooted towards Burnaby. The instructions I had became unclear once I was off the train and walking "past the big high-rises" of which there were more than one (more than 5) so I was standing in the rain and a bicycle with a familiar rider nearly passed me by and I yelled out "Tanya".
We're vegging out and watching a movie tonight. Doug just got back in, he was in (ironically) Victoria for the past day going to the big museum (which I still didn't go to as it was 24 dollars).
I did other stuff yesterday but I can't remember right now.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Scott also showed me a couple of artist spaces and a used camera shop, none of which I'd have found on my own.
Last night I went to the films at the festival. I talked at length with Bruno from Mexico who is trying to convince me to come down there for a trip. He programs two months of the year at a cinematheque, so this could be promising. I gave him a collection of my work. This morning I mailed the last set I was carrying to Heather in Halifax so I've go no more portfolios with me.
Alex MacKenzie did his new film projection/performance last night. He has disabled the motor of a 16mm projector and has replaced it with a hand crank. Each revolution is equal to 4 frames or 1/6 of a second or normal film. However, he shows the film at varying speeds, or even pausing it or running it backwards, along with a prerecorded soundtrack, running 400 feet of film (usually 10 minutes) as a 40 minute show. Anyways, the idea of hand cranking a projector goes back to the beginning of cinema, so I totally cracked up when the image of a birdcage came on the screen, followed slowly by the image of a bird, then back again, then back and forth faster and faster until, miracle of miracles, the bird appears to be in the cage. This is the same image I use with my optical demonstration with the round disc (the thaumatrope?) in the first day of first year film courses or animation.
Today I went to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and saw fantastic woodblock prints by Kiyoshi Saito and the photographic retrospective of Iain Baxter. I just saw Baxter on news world the other day, they were promoting part of this retrospective, even though this is the smaller version of it, lacking the painted tvs. He's totally epitomizes the boomer generation to me. The work is fairly good, but the hype is great. Also saw two dozen Emily Carr paintings from the gallery collection and bought two cards.
I'm at University of Victoria. Scott has shown me around some of the facilities they have, some nice computer labs but the cameras are a definite shortfall. They have a well designed darkroom but he's trying to dream up ways to insure that it keeps being used and not dismantled. He's been hand processing, mostly super-8 negative.
My legs are tired.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Probably more films tonight and University of Victoria tomorrow. I might not post as I might not have computer access.
I'm in Victoria with no computer so this entry is a day late. I screened my film "A Spin in Turtle Park (after John Porter's Cinefuge)" at Open Space as part of the Antimatter Film Festival. It was a good crowd. Deborah, the director, saw me on the street and called my name, having recognised me from my previous films, primarily from the Toxic series. Also met Heather Harkins from Halifax and had a great conversation. She was also showing a super-8 film, just before mine. She's on ruite to the IMMA conference in Montreal - I don't exactly know how Victoria comes between Halifax and Montreal, but the world is always changing.
I finished Douglas Coupland's "JPod" novel on the plane. First novel I've read in over a year, quite liked it.
The hotel I'm in (Huntington) is posh. I've got a balcony and can see the ocean.
Margaret tells me that Keith Calhoon has put her radio show on hold for not talking up the pledge drive enough during her really important interview with Joe Fafard yesterday. If anyone is tempted to make a pledge this week, I'd do it only under the condition that Keith retract his hold on her show.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I walked about the area (Freemont) and took many photos of architecture and public art. There is a troll crushing a VW Bug under the Aurora bridge. We then coffeed at Peet's, which is owned by the people who started Starbuck's and had originally learned the coffee trade from Peet's, so suffice to say, it was a good place. Best part, the coffee size choices were "small", "medium", and "large".
We went to Zanadu Comics, nice guy running the place, I bought a couple of local comics and Thomas bought all of the "Concrete" collections as well as the hardcover collection where Captain America dies. Apparently he is still dead, even though his comic is still running (at least 8 issues) and is better than ever. They have a good supply of Manga, probably 20% of their wall space, even though it only constitutes 5% of their sales. The other comic store nearby, Comics Dungeon, no longer sells Manga except by special order.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
This evening Chrystene Ells and Raul Viceral came for dinner. Chrystene told me a variety of tales of problems and annoying activities on the set of Sisu that she wouldn't even mention in her own blog such as .... well perhaps if she doesn't publish, I shouldn't either. We talked quite a bit about her thesis and potential critical discussions for her support paper. She suggested a slightly maligned idea about "community" which on further thought might not be bad, especially in regards to community coming together to celebrate a mythic figure that the community distrusted and destroyed just a generation before. How does a community collectively redeem a person over time?
Raul brought me a copy of the September 2007 issue of "Real Valuable Comics" (this one called "Valuable Comics from Space!" with his first local publication. He's a great illustrator, he did hundreds of storyboards for "Sisu". His story is really good, a clever opening chapter to some sort of robot cop story that I'd definitely look for new issues of if I thought there were any. The print run is much smaller for this issue so you'd better run out and get it. In exchange I gave him a copy of "To Be Announced" #1 published by paul Stockton and his company Strawberry Jam Comics from back in the 1980s. I rewrote "Strawberry Fields Forever" to be "Strawberry Jam Forever" and it's printed on the back cover -- my first (and only) comic book publication.
We ate espresso cheesecake.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Had coffee with Kevin at the Bay today. More lucky parking, got the spot right across from the front door of the store with nearly an hour credit still on the meter. The cafe there in the store does a nice cappuccino and they bake their own pies and biscotti. I had the lemon meringue, yum.
This afternoon I paid bills, bought a terabyte drive for the above project, and put together my triceratops stikfas and made an animated film with it using my intel webcam. My friend June was in town a couple of months ago and she was looking for these and thought they might work well animated, Wikapedia says they can as well, but no one seemed to have them but the other day I saw them in a comic store at half price so I picked up a couple. I thought that one was a samurai, but it was a hockey player - that gives you an indication of the degree of detail they have. They remind me of the old Kinder surprises, Pink Panther era, when the pieces had extra plastic to hold them together that you had to punch them out from before building. John Porter saved all of the extra plastic, I wonder if he still has it (who am I kidding, of course he does). So aside from the low resolution, the lack of focus, and the overall badness of this, I think it turned out well.
Got a message from Dawn Henderson this evening out of the blue. We worked on a project, "Angst", back in the late eighties. I still think about those times, the shooting of a film that required darkness and carefully controlled light but we only had a studio with huge windows so we shot only at night for half the summer, it really bent the way we were thinking and had a profound affect on the final film. Great to hear from old friends.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I'm looking through a number of old film programs and am feeling a bit annoyed about the length of some people's bios that they have submitted for publication (these are most often written by the person it is about due to frequent shortfalls in time by the short staffed organizations planning art events.) There is inevitably one or two overly long bios that strike me as being done by tremendously ill informed individuals or by ones who overcompensating for something. I think they should contain the sort of information you might tell someone whom you've just met who asks "what do you do?" or something like that. When I see someone listing awards from three years ago or a job history beyond the current job, I have to think that this is someone I don't want to get cornered in a kitchen party by.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I was asked by Felipe Diaz the other day if I'd be the quizmaster for the 50-104 film festival awards evening, which was tonight, and to come up with questions that might be judged not by the right answer, but by the best answer, so I came up with this list of questions.
1. Bruce McDonald, where did he sleep during production of Road Kill?
2. Arthur Lipsett worked for the NFB throughout the 1960s but left in 1970. He returned for short while in 1978 but did not stay long. What was the primary reason the Arthur Lipsett used in his written letter of resignation from the NFB to producer Bobn Verral in 1978 for leaving the
3. Before he was a cylon on Battlestar Galactica, Callum Keith Rennie starring in what film by Michael Hoolboom, and what was the subject matter of that film?
5. What did Guy Maddin use as a soundstage for the production of his third feature film, “Careful”?
8. What did David Cronenberg study in university and what, if anything, did he graduate with a degree in?
10. What years did Jean Oser live in
Tie breaker: What is Felipe Diaz’s chosen porn name?.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
There was an opening/curator/artist talk at the Sherwood branch of the Dunlop Art Gallery today. Casualty, curated by Sigrid Dahle with work by Lorna Brown and Bernie Miller. Sigrid talked and wrote about the importance of unstructured time and rest. It made me think about the number of times that people have commented on how rested I look now that I'm on sabbatical. Considering I'm still running on 6 or so hours per night, I must have looked bloody awful before! Sigrid also asserted that more information is not helpful, we do not rest our minds and find our creativity by having people tell us more, we get it by getting away from the constant infux of the new, that essentially we are creative through our boredom. I had an interesting conversation with Lee Henderson about experimental film made by filmmakers versus experimental film made by visual artists. He was at an experimental film festival in Seoul Korea and was taken with how the work from all over the world seemed to maintain a number of similar aesthetic characteristics, whether from curatorial choice or from an shared evolution of the form by the artists he did not know. However, I am certain that the program he saw was primarily the creation of work by people trained in film as a specialization. While it can be controversial to write about this as it requires labeling people as being from one camp or the other, he thought it could be a good paper (there, I've committed you Lee!).
The 50-104 Festival began, I screened three films from my "Mr. Saul's Utopia" series to a small crowd at the Museum. They repeat tomorrow at 9pm. Other films I saw tonight that impressed me included Jason Britski's even more formal than usual two new pieces, and a really wonderful silent film of the Niagara Falls by John Price "View of the Falls from the Canadian Side". It was a generally odd bunch of films, perhaps because of the high number of works from artists or at least from people coming out of visual arts and/or design background/training. 4.5 hours was a bit of a stretch, but enjoyable. The only food available was popcorn however, and as I can no longer eat that, it's lucky I snuck in a peanut butter cup.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We hosted a garage for "The Garage Show" today. This was a project instigated by Sheila Nourse and Jeff Nye in which a dozen artist artist are situated into a dozen garages around the cathedral neighbourhood, with maps disseminated so that people can walk from one to the next to see art. We had an intermedia artist named Adam Lark who had a number of dust masks hanging from (nearly) invisible strings accompanied by a clear and somewhat chilling soundtrack of spray cans being shaken and sprayed. Of course we would have to be hosting a sound based installation on the day that my next door neighbour has contractors in to lay the foundation for his new garage. It didn't seem to hurt too much. The program seemed very well attended, I'm certain close to a hundred people must have gone through.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
It was a gallery hopping evening, September is quite the season for that. We started off with a talk at the north branch of the Dunlop with Darlene Wight from Winnipeg contextualizing Inuit art. It was rather condensed but she brought some humour and life to the images. It's great to hear from a scholar who really seems to love and care about the art work. This is apparently the first Inuit show EVER for the Dunlop!
Next we went to Mysteria where a group show opened. Lots of familiar faces including Misty Wensel with her new baby. Misty is a dancer and has a studio where William took a few classes. She and William performed in a garden together years ago, he loves her (but didn't really love taking classes). The show included works from Chad Jacklin, Marlo V, Lynn Cecil, Brad Kreutzer, Theresa Kutarna, and Melonie Rose. I liked Marlo's internal organs made out of felt, but wished she'd done the colon - always my favorite.
Third was the MacKenzie Art Gallery and a show of work by Ron Bloore. My mind was rather full of art by that time so I have to admit that I didn't really spend much time looking at these large paintings but instead talked about Flintstones and Birdman with Mark Wihak who is fresh back from Montreal where he premiered his new film "River".
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
It's Paul's birthday today so I baked a cheesecake and we put up a banner and blew up some balloons. After a rousting game of Kerplunk, we settled into some heavy crossword puzzling. Hmmmm, when I write it down, it doesn't sound nearly as exciting.
I'm finally able to stop recording "Toopy and Binoo", a surreal kits cartoon about a big mouse and his best friend, a smaller silent cat. William loves the show and I don't mind it even though it generally puts me to sleep. Toopy and Binoo runs in a number of different time slots on Treehouse, pretty much every day, sometimes just 2 of the 5 minute episodes, sometimes 5 put together into a half hour. According to the Spectra Animation website, there are 104 of these episodes, but there are not episode guides ... UNTIL NOW!!! The following is a list of the entire 104 episodes, in alphabetical order,
|Amazing Maze, the|
|Ballooning with Binoo|
|Binoo Blows Raspberries|
|Colour Me Toopy|
|Flying Hat, the|
|Happy Toopy Day|
|Jack in the box|
|Land of Colours|
|Land of the Lost|
|Little Bo Toopy|
|Little Red Binoo|
|Lost Bear, the|
|On and Off|
|Song and Dance|
|Storm in a Bottle|
|Strange New World|
|Toopy Goes Bananas|
|Toopy Knows Everything|
|Under the Bed|
|Where's Patchy Patch?|
Monday, September 3, 2007
We went to the farm today. I shot a bunch of time laps, time exposure sequences including one around an abandoned house on Margaret's mother's land that we described to William as the "Ghost House", and continued calling it that the rest of the day. I think one idea is starting to come together for "Grain", the use of the long exposures will either erase moving people, or make them ghost-like. I'll try to weave the sequences in this style together into one of the ten minute films as an exploration of the lost past. My form and content are coming together with what I want to make, this is an important step in my process.