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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fat Geese...Arts of Giving...Blind Boys of Alabama. Treats are in the air.

Hub and I decided last weekend that we should co-author (with a good psychologist) a book called The Christmas Problem, since we're at the mucky crossroads of 3rd marriages/different religious backgrounds/long distance families/blended families...and it only seems to get easier if we get looser about it. We have the "have to" lists and the "optionals" and try to make sure there are at least a few mandatory optionals for spice. We'll see at least one of the kids...go out of town at least once...hear one or two concerts...spoil the grandkids, but only the ones who are old enough to remember...Entertain once. Ask what the grown kids want, but give what we like.

This year, I've no time to make things...and I also want to support local artisans whenever I can. BUT...geez, like eating local, it gets pricey. I go to a show, stop to talk to someone I know (or would like to know), and I suddenly feel obliged to buy a handmade this and a handcrafted that. Before I know it, Toys R Us starts almost looking good (financially, anyway.) The Fat Goose Craft fair was very homemade and simple, with the younger organic crowd well represented (and appreciated). I love Vincent Perez's cards...Annie Clifford's little books...most of all Dorothy Young's handwoven scarfs and outrageous dolls.

Still, I hope that less is more - one of a lovely handcrafted something might have to do for two people. Or make up for a birthday skimped on... This being said, there are several gift shows coming up with quality local artisans. The Potters Guild Show starts tomorrow at the Tett, Made 4 You has good stuff for the younger set (and some of these people will also be at NGB studios the weekend of Dec. 13), Sandra Whitton's show (stuff under $250) is absolutely gorgeous and the Gift Giving Show at Fort Henry on the first weekend in December will also be a reason to tie my hands behind my back. I'll tell you how stuff compares after I spend some time (my first time) at the One of A Kind SHow in Toronto this weekend. And Oh Boy Oh Boy Santa's bringing the Blind Boys of Alabama next week, Dec. 1 to the Grand! Ecstasy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Caution- Free Range Children Event. Warning of the future?

Okay, I'm not young. Sure. Some things start to get up my craw a little more than others now...others I'm astonishingly accepting of (certainly more than when I was young.) I was a sort of hippie back "in the day", I had my share of "let it be" years... I understand the dilemmas of parents, and how they want communities to be age-inclusive. I even went to a great dance last night where kids danced right along with the adults ...and did handstands at intermission. That was fabulous.

But listen up folks, if you bring kids to an indoor concert for adults (as was the case at the Kyra and Tully concert at Sydenham United Church last night), and let them run around where not only the performers but the audience can also see and hear them, I think you're massively irresponsible and downright rude. And you're infringing upon my space as much as if I came to a kids concert and swore my head off or smoked cigarettes.

Also, if a concert is not billed as a fundraiser, I don't care how marvellous the cause is, I don't want a sermon beforehand. At intermission, perhaps, when one has the choice to sit or listen.

I'm thankful for all these creative young folks in Kingston. Really quite enjoyed the Fat Goose Craft Fair yesterday where mostly younger funky people displayed their wares...and half of the vendors seemed to be wearing snugglies... And I know a lot of them are in the music scene. I'm choosing to do as much as possible local shopping and entertainment-going to be "local arts supportive" this season. But if something is going to be a "Free Range" event for kiddies (and a fundraiser platform, I think there should be notification on the tickets or ads or pr.

I'm glad I got to see Kyra and Tully (who seem like very nice people with great taste in session musicians), but mostly enjoyed Bruce Cockburn - who showed everyone how passion, performing and lyric-writing skill can indeed all be combined for incredible results. And I'll look up the Water Keepers movement. But if I ever again wander into a sit-down adult concert with running kids present... I don't think I'll stay. I'd rather babysit the kids somewhere else- with a CD in the background.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Goblin Market -only here for 10 days. Get off the not so comfy couch...

This week: Very much looking forward to Theatre Kingston's Goblin Market for only 10 days, previews starting Weds and Thurs....It's a sexy musical story about two sisters who relive their childhood experiences in an imaginary world, where they are tempted by seductive goblins. Since Queen's drama dep't head, Tim Fort, directs it...(and he's really a musical expert, with perfect taste in musicals) it has to be good. It stars Queen's grad/Shaw Festival talent Robin Evan Willis and localite Maryanne Wainman (Beauty and the Beast). Particularly looking forward to the music by Danielle Lennon, Sarah McCourt and Michael Man. Tix: Grand Theatre Box office. (PS you can apparently scoot off to see Danielle play with Swamp Ward Orchestra at the Mansion Saturday night after the show, too...)

I got a sneak peek preview of the Art of Giving show at Sandra Whitton Gallery today. It's really, really good. Most stuff under $250. Hard buying art for someone else, unless you drop hints bigtime. Opening TBA. I preferred it to the one Chameleon Nation is also doing at Kingston Glass Studioon Queen Street (oh, the glass and big pottery bowls are wonderful!), but that one definitely has more gifty things like jewellery and baubles. And you can always drop into Black Dog Pottery next door...I love his "bleeding stoneware." Someone's getting something for the you-know-what holidays! I'm really pushing buying local again this year, as much as I can. Socks from Carolyn Barnett are nice too. And the Humane Society Calendars have that AWWW factor going for them...

Art last Weekend: The Storytellings show at Modern Fuel by Peter Kingstone is fascinating...loved sitting around in half-comfy couches (felt like I needed a red nose) watching male sex trade workers on videos talking about their grans. Objection: They weren't terribly articulate portrayals of the "grans", way too much "she's wonderful, I dunno, she's just, uh, fabulous" ...and somehow creating a stereotype of one type of person (grandmas) to modify those of another gets up my (aged) nose. Referring to his 55 year old gran, one "kid" used the term "little old lady." Good grief! And you won't find a tacky piece of ceramics on my tv (Well, I collect them, but that's something else...)! Worth seeing, though. I liked the Ed Pien influenced drawings in the Cut and Paste show at Union Gallery a lot.

Did I mention if you're going to Ottawa, don't miss the Hoffos exhibition at the National Gallery. Everyone is absolutely blown away by it. And apparently you can eavesdrop on the hologram projections. It's on until Valentine's Day. No Excuse...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Art openings this weekend in Kingston, and other bits

I'm so nervous about winter coming on, that I've got to keep moving to take my mind off it. Anyone want to join me, hopping around on Saturday evening, Nov. 14? You can go to receptions at both Union Gallery (6-8 pm.) and Modern Fuel (starting at 7 pm.) Now, I love free munchies and good art – which is probably why I had to start a diet after last weekend’s food-packed (and buyer- thin) Modern Fuel auction, so I have no shame about going to two openings this Saturday night…just to graze, meet and watch! Since The Hub is off to Greater Perth (!) and I'm Dog-a-Mama, I have to pick events that will at least give me some human contact, as opposed to being spectator sports only.

This weekend’s openings at both galleries coincidentally highlights Canadian artists born in Zambia, Hong Kong, and Guyana as well as Canada. Union Gallery’s show, runs from November 10-November 28, and features the work of Donald Chan and Carlyn Bezic who “ create bizarre bodies, many-limbed monsters, and unsettling scenes.” In the other room, Vancouver’s Tondela MylesMechanisms for Selection “explores portraiture themes based around identity, gender and sexuality as a way to speak about awkwardness, secrecy and instabilities found in the human condition.” I can relate to that.

I'll then zip down to the waterfront and across King Street to Modern Fuel between 7-9 pm for the opening of two video installations, Storytellings by Lucy Chan and Peter Kingstone, which runs from November 12– December 12. Also a look at a different perception of sexuality, Kingstone’s 100 Stories about My Grandmother is a four-channel video installation that weaves together documentary portraits of male sex workers telling stories about their grandmothers Chan's video installation Yearning to See was created during a residency in Banff where she, according to Modern Fuel, " drew portraits of people that she met while asking them if there was a personal cultural lesson they might share. "
Union Gallery is at the corner of Union and University, in the corner of the Stauffer Library. Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre is located at 21A Queen St, Kingston

Now NEXT Friday night (Nov. 20 already!), Theatre Kingston's GOBLIN MARKET (on for only a week) opens....and on Saturday night I'll be at both the Kyra and Tully launch at Sydenham United Church and the Delhi 2 Dublin Dance (tix at Tara, etc) for Livewire. Buying tix today!

RECENTLY IMPRESSED : Really enjoyed the speakers/slides at the Solo Studio-Watch Series' Round Table Salon (well, it wasn't much of a salon, but cozy all the same). A great set up to find out about the people behind the art: the purposely self-effacing conceptual art of Michael Davidge; the political meets cultural drawings of Doreen Inglis; the whimsical but meaningful drawings and paintings of Chantal Rousseau, Lisa Visser and Erika Olson, and the gorgeous work of relative newcomer painter (who knew?) Su Sheedy. Kudos to Jan Allen for making this discussion happen. More like these, everywhere, please.

ALSO - who knew how much I'd love the Kinsmen's amateur Wizard of Oz. I frequently find the varying skill levels' reaching for the sky sort of embarrassing in amateur theatre, but this brought out nothing but the best in everyone (and there was a lot of big skill, as well as emerging skill). It's only on through Nov. 21 at the Grand, though.

Out of town: The exhibits by Hoffos and Daphne Odjig at the National Gallery were fabulous. Loved Hoffos's peeping tom holograms. At the Canadian Opera Company, Robert Lepage's extraordinary staging of The Nightingale was wonderful all around, (and the cheap Kingston Opera Guild return bus trip to Toronto was good too) but the uber-magical moment was when the dying Emperor's semi-waterborne deathbed transformed into a gigantic skeleton. The U.S. has Sondheim. We have Lepage.

NOT SO IMPRESSED: The discussion at the library about some Journal readers' complaints about the lack of inclusivity in the music scene was so politically sensitive that it accomplished nothing, after taking 40 minutes to set up "the discussion." More will follow from this, though. That's the good thing. And the students' acting, set, movement and Judith Fisher's concept were perfect for the Queen's Drama major Twelfth Night...except the kids were just too cool (or laid back) to understand that "Yes, Virginia, Shakespeare can be a fast moving farce."