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Friday, December 31, 2010

Kingston 2010 - Not too shabby

Image: Scylla and Charbydis by Alana Kapell (at The Art Rental & Sales Gallery)

Good memories of the arts in Kingston, 2010 -in no particular order (the blog will have an order, coming out soon). Well, sort of in order,

The Happiness Project, Charles Spearin and friends, brought in by Apple Crisp
The Happiness Project house and Don Maynard's bathroom
Elton John 0 Yeah.
Gordon Lightfoot...sort of sad
All that dance at the Grand
Kim in The Year of Magical Thinking, Theatre Kingston
Thousand Islands Playhouse - 3 major shows to love (Blood Brothers, Another Home Invasion, Master Harold and The Boys - Also the Chic Gamine Concert
John's show (Trouble on Dibble Street!) at St. Law Shakespeare Fest in Prescott
All the energy from Jim Garrad and friends that went into the Sir John A Back From The Dead Concert Tour (although the title maybe...was too much fun for the room)
Don Maynard's Franken Forest at the Agnes (Particularly the Flock piece)
Modern Fuel everything
Rockne Corrigan as Hamlet in The King's Conscience...and the cabaret style set up at the Baby Grand for it
The Wm. Bremner show at the Agnes E
Writers' Fest growing all the time -but CR Avery and Joyce Carol Oates the faves
Measha Bruggergosman in tiny Syd. St. United Church
The rather strange Jonah piece led by R. Murray Schaefer himself at Sy. St. U Church
She Sings! - and I'm in it...
Cirque du was actually great
Trevor Strong - anything he does
The Kingston Arts Council getting the website up (now you have to fill it, folks)
The endless consultations for City of Kingston Cultural Plan, but it's a good one
The dauntless Brenda and programming for Arts & Letters Club
The Kollaboration Kingston project - particularly Andrea Graham, Jane Thelwell, Trevor Waurechan,and Lenny Epstein, and great guidance by Lindsey Fair
Painting classes with Ben DarrahStrange painting classes with an unnamed teacher
Stuart Ross really rocking the reading scene for a too brief time
Mary's Wedding by Blue Canoe (really!)
The energy of Reel Out Film Fest
The new dedication to edgy smaller theatre at the Grand
THe artists of Kingston (are a pretty cool bunch, overall...)
And a special place of fondness (and for their tolerance of my high blood pressure!) The Arts Tarts

And, of course, getting to know new artists all the time through the old job at the Arts Council and the new one at the Art Rental & Sales Gallery.

Keep it growing, dear K-town

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Moves and Visions - Quidam & Rubberband Dance

This week we got to shame the pounds back into those holiday chocolate boxes by going to see two artistically and physically motivating pieces: RUBBERBANDance Group’s Loan Sharking and and Cirque du Soleil’s first visit to Kingston with Quidam. The sense of human possibilities that even occasional visits to these venues unleashes has to be worth every penny spent on them, and I think annual visits to both the Grand’s Dance Series and the event of your choice at KRock are well worth saving up for.

It was my first Grand dance event of the season, and a long-awaited one. Compared to many dance troupes, RUBBERBANDance Group’s performers seemed particularly young: a limber and nearly gymnastic team of lithe and healthy bodies where gender power was both downplayed and equally distributed. I don’t think anyone except the founder Victor Quijada was over 30. The dancers undulated in unison and threw their bodies utterly relentlessly through sequence after sequence of a fusion of hip-hop/locking inspired and body-contact style moves, performing on top of strong and playfully jarring lighting designs and soundscapes from Stravinsky, Brubeck and Jasper Gahunia, a former award-winning “battle DJ.” The total effect was curiously delightful, and the audience fell in love with them – although the troupe’s Achilles heel is also their signature. Their total reliance on the admittedly brilliant moves and an apparent disinterest in emotional engagement, story, or greatly varying emotional dynamics also kept me from feeling entirely engaged with them. Nonetheless, the movers themselves are inspiring and the sense of exploration from Quijada and his entire team (including the designers) is palpable. I’d definitely come back again to check out the virtuosity of performers like Emmanuelle Le Phan and to see how the energetic young company is proceeding.

On the other hand, I expected Cirque du Soleil to be stunning strange eye candy and little more – but went out of curiosity to see how it would play at the KRock Centre. As ever, the scrap of a storyline inserted (a young girl who is whisked away from her boring family to another Neverland-style dimension) is almost gratuitious, but it was an entry to an utterly wonderful world of strangely beautiful and extraordinary performers and delightful visions and yet seemed like tasting a meal of wonderful strange new fruit. I love being in awe of humanity – both in terms of accomplishment and vision – and Cirque again provided huge doses of each. I also loved that I became so caught up in the sense of dream they create that I nearly had to pinch myself to remember “holy crap –those are all real people up there!” In a continually digitally enhanced world, it’s more important all the time. Quidam, although a smaller scale than their tent shows, was even more charming than the last piece I saw (Corteo) – and the rope acrobats, an “Adam and Eve” pair of gymnasts who balanced neck-on-neck for one-legged stands and other feats, the finale acrobats, and four young Chinese yo-yo jugglers were particularly amazing. I’m going back to thinking that Cirque is a must-see every few years, at least – in spite of a misplaced generalization that they have veered into sheer commercialism. (It also continues to tickle me that Guy LaLiberte came out of the same mime school I did…and he still has a hand in it all. And all those fixed point/undulating locking moves… I’m just sayin’…) Ahem, back to the gym

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Surprises in Simple Things

I'm not going to recant my rant about an earlier production I saw by Blue Canoe, but I'm sure glad that people perservere until they really get it right. Mary's Wedding, which the company produced for a very short run with Fifth Company Lane productions last week was 97% perfect. Sometimes one fears a beautiful script might be ruined by less-than-seasoned direction or casting, but in this case the youth and freshly unaffected but heartfelt performances of the two cast members (Meredith Busteed and Sean Ogle) under the impeccable eye of director Anja Zeljkovic meant for a perfect night at the theatre. Nice use, sparingly, of emblematic choreography, too. Biggest quibble -- you don't get an evening like that without the playwright...and the audiences deserve biographical materials on the writer in the programme. They should never be 'Out of sight, out of mind." Massicotte is a treasure, and this work is now a Canadian classic.

Congratulations, in any case.

Also hugely enjoyed the dark circus put on by the Upper Canada Performing Arts people, mostly on the spur of the moment (and with the help of great performers such as the Swamp Ward Orchestra) last week. Clarke Mackey is right --vernacular culture can really have impact. The Kingston Symphony's flash mob last weekend at Cataraqui Town Centre is another case in point. (And if you still want to donate to Upper Canada's curtain campaign, they may soon have the most versatile and affordable space in town!)

Other simple but sweet events coming up - concerts by the Voices of Joy, She Sings and Kingston Choral Society this weekend, and the Fat Goose Craft Fair Dec. 12 at the Renaissance Ballroom. I would be particularly remiss if I didn't point out that the Gallery Shop at the Agnes has a small but very sweet selection of work by local artists (under $400) and artisans ($8=200). Open every afternoon except Mondays.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You Can't Always Get A Chihuahua

A few years ago at the Playhouse, our funny bones were really tickled discovering the phrase "you can't always get a chihuahua," substituted somewhere for the Stones' lyric of "You Can't Always Get What You Want.." This week, it started to seem that there wasn't a chihuahua around, as I'd been looking right and left without much success for cultural highs. Measha Brueggergosman left me unfulfilled... I got annoyed as hell at the Arts and Letters Club debate about arts elitism and vernacular culture. Theatre Kingston's new show also brought up a few "issues." Maybe I should just stay home and read from now on? I started to wonder.

But on the seventh day she clapped. Whistled. Smiled. Tonight I found that delight still lurks out there in the world, and truly in the unlikeliest of places. Who would have told me that, when my friend got sick and I couldn't go to see Royal Wood and Hannah Georgas, I'd actually be in for a fabulous time by "settling" for a show of old barbershop singers doing a tribute to the military? I'm an old draft dodger, remember? And someone who's not comfortable (yet) in a room full of old men. At all.

Now, the joy wasn't the Kingston Townsmen themselves, as nice and earnest as they are, nor the sepia-tinted military promo films at the beginning. But the group itself has to get a huge credit for assembling some totally unexpected talents, and ones that I, and a lot of others, would never have seen otherwise. A choir and sax quartet from RMC? Never would have gone. A group of young male barbershoppers, the modern equivalent of Forever Plaids? Probably would have passed. Ernestown Secondary SchoolChoir? "I'll see my own grandkids someday."

Well, this is the instance of "vernacular culture" Clarke Mackey had been talking about at Arts and Letters, and it worked. The RMC Choir and sax quartet were superb --at the top of their game (and also heartfelt and moving in their singing.) "May they never have to go to war, they're so lovely" I thought, stereotypes shattering away. And the young guys,the Rendezvous Quartet "hot damn" is all I can say. (Check out their YouTubes, and Invite them back, somebody!)

Here I thought I was just going to go to the concert, listen to my Ipod before the show, be a nice wife and a good sport, and not feel too sorry for myself about not having a date to Royal Wood (next time Royal, save me a seat)...and it was absolutely energizing. Amateurs, doing it all for the love of it, and aiming for the top. Vernacular culture --with standards. Absolutely.

You can't always get a chihuahua... you can't always get a chihuahua (all together now:) You can't always get a chihuahua...but if you try sometime, you might find, you get a burmese!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sight and Sound art - the next 14 days

It's a lively week two weeks ahead. Time left to choose, but still busy!

Monday Nov. 1 -Real Resident Reading Series, Grad Club. 7:30; Writers Martha Baillie/Trevor Strong

Tues Nov. 2 7 -9 Reception for The Annual Tone Deaf Festival at Modern Fuel, which runs until Nov.6 Also, 7-10 Poetry Night at the Artel
Thurs. Nov. 4 - 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Free day at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, opening day of the Seasonal Showcase in the Atrium, featuring 60 regional/regionally connected artists (come and visit me.) Street parking free, eves.

Sat. Nov. 6, 2-4 Meet and Greet the artists, Seasonal Showcase
7:30 p.m., Hear in the Dark (just what it says)from Tone Deaf Festival at the Vogt studio, Carruthers Hall on campus

Sun. Nov. 7 - 2 pm Free film, Winds of Heaven, about Emily Carr, with talk by director Michael Ostroff, Etherington Hall
Evening, Sydenham United: Measha Bruggersgosman Queen's Performing Arts.

Tues. Nov. 9- Face Off, 7 pm. Confederation Place Hotel, Arts & Letters, the highs and lows of amateur/community arts and professional. Is there elistism? Should there be?

Thurs Nov. 11 - Opening night of Theatre Kingston's The Attic The Pearls and Three Fine Girls, Baby Grand Theatre

Sat. Nov. 13 Choice between Royal Wood and Hannah Georgas (Grad Club) and opening reception for of Reconaissance, an intriguing art show about views of war, Modern Fuel and Scott Wallis in the State of Flux.

Also check out Maker's Hand, the artisan's fair in Picton (Nov 6/7) and the Studio Tour featuring JT Winik, Barb Carr, Lee-Ann Taras, Nov. 13.14

Friday, October 29, 2010

Norman didn't entirely conquer...but glad it came!

This was a week for edgy Canadian film - starting with the big ticket, much anticipated and somewhat disappointing Norman, by 4-D Art, at the Grand Theatre and winding up with intimate free Canadian art films at the Agnes.

4-D Art’s Norman is a fascinating choice to launch the edgier new Grand Theatre Series, and it’s safe to say you’ve never seen anything so visually powerful on the Grand’s Stage before. Co-created by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon and performed by dancer Peter Trosztmer about the extraordinary late Canadian (NFB) filmmaker Norman McLaren, Norman featured hypnotic and gigantic film clips from McLaren’s truly avant-garde films that were talked at, talked about, danced to, and danced about…with superimposed interviews (mostly in French, with surtitles) to help provide background on his uniqueness. Particularly brilliant were the dance between Trosztmer and McLaren in Chairy Tale; his playing with the Merles song (in which various bird parts come together and come apart) and a piece called Mosaic, where Trosztmer danced between the already-dancing dots of McLaren’s film. The show was a theatrical “McLaren 101”, a great introduction to the filmmaker – who more than deserves resurrecting and re-examining. My quibble, however, the script was weak (a throwback to the 50’s documentaries McLaren himself would have mocked) and more performers and varied choreography (with no - or far less -dialogue) would have made it a much stronger piece, and one befitting its subject.

At the Agnes Etherington, a devoted little group gathered for the second part of a free series put together by Frances Leeming. The theme of Thursday's (Oct. 28th)was Persistence or Vision, and each of the films certainly demonstrated persistence/endurance of both subject and viewer. My fave was Daniel Cockburn's 2002 Metronome, a brilliant "heart tapping" piece, as well as Our Marilyn, which genuinely immersed you into the world of swimmer Marilyn Bell.
Keep your eye out for more films and talks, Oh, and there were at least 5 available parking spots right across the the gallery is free on Thursdays. What more do people want? Dunno.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sitting and The Arts--- A Balancing Act

October. This year I'm trying to get smarter: "acquire more knowledge while taking advantage of Kingston's primary asset (Queen's)." So far it's meant a fair amount of sitting...and a wee bit of foot jiggling and hand-pinching to stay awake,but there has been an overall decent balance between obtaining some valuable knowledge and the having the odd giggle afterwards.

Oct. 2 we rushed back from the curious experience of Nuit Blanche General Idea film from the Art Docs series at the Agnes E. (It was both hilarious and moving, bringing back the good old days of the 70's and yet the terrible loss of two of the three group members to AIDS. The brilliantly executed and powerful deathbed portrait of one of them in the Agnes' New Canadiana exhibit is a must-see.)

But the pleasure was short-lived. 2 days later I could only take an hour of suffering through the generally ill-prepared and art-naive ramblings at the All Candidates' Focus on the Arts meeting (where only two candidates seem to have done their homework). I greatly appreciated Vicki Schmolka's speaking about what experiencing the arts as a spectator actually does to her, and extrapolating that to how they can then transform a community. It was a huge relief to rush off to the Arts and Letters Club afterwards and be with real artists! Writer-in-Residence Stuart Ross was outrageously hilarious, in a poem rant about a boring play...and Trevor Strong is a truly bright light.

Still, we figured that a Queen's film dep't/Reelout presentation (connected to the much-anticipated 4D- Art Norman that visits the Baby Grand Oct. 27) would have to be better than that. The talk was almost the antithesis of animator McLaren's fluid style, but my favourite takeaway was watching the audience pretend not to notice the flickers of fairly hardcore porn inside part of the animation clips brought in by ReelOut.

It was hilarious watching the Grand Theatre employee contingent trying to act nonplussed about it all... and I immediately fantasized about the (uninformed/innocuous/evil) candidates from the previous evening sitting down for an evening of that sort of thing. Oh, they could probably endure the porn but I'm sure that mixing it into "art" would be far more than most of them could handle.

But one shouldn't tar all politicians with the same brush. I have to hand it to Bill Glover, who came out for all three hours of the very comprehensive Revealing Art seminar by Kamille Parkinson at the closing-soon Wellington Street Gallery. That's walking the walk. Or it makes you want to, afterwards. Happy Sitting...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Art After Dark tonight

Art After Dark from 7-10 p.m. tonight will be a wonderful way to add the splash of local artists to that of our visiting (writer) artists. Daniel Hughes and Margaret Hughes at Frameworks is near the Grand's photo exhibition and particularly central. Also Studio 22 across from the Market Square.

It's Culture Days, remember. Time to walk the walk and show culture is actually fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art After Dark, WritersFest, Wood and Fuel!

The moon is glowing full, and so is the week (and month) ahead. After taking a break all summer, time to get serious about artshopping.

Although it's a great week ahead, I've one big complaint: I wish Downtown Kingston had moved its wonderful Art After Dark, because I think it will suffer, not benefit from, the competition of the WritersFest events. I really want to see Bob Blenderman's work at Studio 22, and the Water for Life photographs, taken in Africa, at the Grand Theatre -- but then will have to dash off to the actor Nicky Guardini doing a staged reading of Carolyn Smart's very neat women's monologues, "Hooked." (Just reading that inspired our family to read Carson McCullers this summer...she's truly captured some interior mindscapes.) But if you're not seeing a WritersFest event on THursday, give the Art After Dark a shot. It's free and wonderful.

Merilyn Simonds has created a phenomenal Writersfest, but I'm "only" going to the evening events. In addition to Hooked, we're seeing the opening night Paul Quarrington piece and Joyce Carol Oates and "the poets" (especially Jill Battson) on Friday night's Vox Performa.

Saturday, I think I'll head off to Tamworth to check out a sale at the beautiful Stinson Wood Studios...and Bon Eco Design followed by the opening of Homelands at Modern Fuel (then probably popping over to the WritersFest Saturday Night Speakeasy, which was a lot of fun last year, as poets/writers improvised to Jonathan Stewart and friends.

Next week it quiets down a bit, (so why isn't THAT Art After Dark week?) which is a good time to check out Night at the Firehall Theatre. It wasn't my favourite script of all time, but the depiction of an Inuit community is very powerful, and the young woman in the lead is amazing.

We actually booked a hotel to go and see Nuit Blanche in Toronto Oct. 2 - a good time to also catch the wild ceramicist Shary Boyle at the AGO.

It's also time to get the Grand Theatre "alternate theatre' Package at the Baby Grand, which offers options for all three Theatre Kingston shows (the Attic and the Pearls and Three Fine Girls starts their season in November (Norman 4D, about Norman McLaren kicks off the Grand's Theatre series on Oct. 20.)

That's it for spectator sports right now. Omigosh, Micky Rooney is in town today. Life is so strange.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rainy knight in Kingston

This summer I've actually been trying to learn to just enjoy things. Sure, I'm a bit overdue, but you have to start somewhere and I'm starting with things like the garden, sitting in the sunshine, biking, you know - NORMAL things. We're still bouncing around trying to sample the arty stuff, but since we can't get out of town much (with my husband's new Shakespeare-influenced play Trouble on Dibble Street opening in Prescott), we pretty well had to keep ourselves busy here. Would it be enough? At first, I didn't think so.

In June, I had three wonderful experiences at the Thousand Islands Playhouse (Blood Brothers and Another Home Invasion - still on - and a Monday Night Series offering, Chic Gamine . Locally, I was a little lukewarm about some of our other ent choices (including the Buskerfest, which just doesn't do it for me).

So I just buried my head in taking a painting class and doing some work UNTIL I scored a ticket for Elton John's K-Rock Centre concert at the last minute! Now, I was never much of a rocker, but how can Sir EJ's music not be inside you -if you're somewhere between 30 and 60? I had to go alone, and I'll admit my first catty thought was "This is one place where I don't have to be sheepish about my overdue haircut or wardrobe" --since looking good isn't much part of what happens at K-Rock concerts. And when it started I thought "maybe I just don't have this aging rock and roll fan gene."

But Sir Elton really, really "saved my life tonight." The show was a bit late starting because all the drenched spectators took longer to get into the building, but once it started, he didn't let up. His fingers rolled over those keys, the songs kept coming and coming, and in spite of looking a bit like a cuddly granny...that voice still comes from the core.

You couldn't get a stronger reminder about the power of really loving what you do, continuing to go for it in a huge way, and the utter payoff of using your talents generously and playfully. The concert experience wasn't just about nostalgia - he lit the house on fire for more than 2 hours without a break. I admit the oldies of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel and Rocket Man all made me cry, but rockin' out with Crocodile Rock , The Bitch is Back, and Bennie and the Jets was actually....FUN. I had FUN!!! With thousands of people!!! With bad hair and so-so clothes!!! Go figure. I don't know where Sir Elton flies to now on his private jet - but he leaves behind a lot of very happy people. Right here in little old Kingston! And they're not all wearing funny boas.

Summer isn't such a bad thing. Rain or shine.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

summer is not a silly season

We're trying to stay abreast of all the good stuff, and falling a bit behind. This past week we did get to Drama and Desire at the AGO where hub ran into a former student, Alex Dault, who gets to "schmact" to pep up the interesting exhibit of art work based on a few centuries of theatre!

Since we had only one day in, had to pass on Luminato - except for the wonderful strangeco designed inflatable sculptures in Queen's Park.

Back home wasn't bad, however, as I had another wander through Don Maynard's Franken Forest at the Agnes Etherington, art and nature combined in the coolest of ways...then popped in to hear CR Avery as part of Skeleton Park Music Festival at the Mansion. Now HE was incredible, doing beat boxing great stuff (don't you hate, don't you hate, don't you hate it when...) as well as simple banjo pickin. Then we thought "hey, try a Blue Canoe show if you can't get out in a real canoe." So we went to Tick, Tick, Boom at the Baby Grand.

Okay, great aspirations, but theatre is already SOOOOOOOOOOO complex, I don't know why students think "all we have to do is pull some great people together with an interesting show and rent a space." Doesn't help that our local reviewer is really easily impressed (by some things.) Sorry - main quibble - the lead character is supposed to be an angst filled musical theatre writer (written by and based on the late Jonathan Larson, of RENT fame). The young man playing him was not only 10 years too young, but was not somehow directed to fill his body with the passion that the role absolutely requires. And the staging was really limited, partially by deciding to do it as corridor staging (both sides). Two lovely female stars, however - Alysa King and Brianna Roberts. As a musical, an early musical of Larson's, it is weak and dated --as a sociological document (since he died on the first preview night of RENT) it's rather interesting. Admittedly, I've never been a fan of RENT, but he was certainly a huge force in theatre.

BUT I'm not, I'm not, I'm not going to any more student based shows unless someone in the family is associated with them. People from professional training schools aren't allowed to stage productions until they're finished...for good reason. You get smug, because your pals rave -- Hard work and dedication alone don't guarantee good products. And it's not "all about you!"

Now, off to the Thousand Islands Playhouse, where Blood Brothers (not my favourite show, either, but I live in hope...) apparently has a dynamite cast.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

summer arts season

On one level, arts in Kingston are a bit quiet at the moment (and we missed most of May, since we went away, getting inspired in France) - but the studio tours were lovely (particularly Joanna Winik's home, with all the moody but quizzical unframed works filling her whole house) and Art After Dark gave a second chance to see the really strong abstracts at Wellington Street Art Gallery and the playfully presented show at Modern Fuel. Also love the Don Maynard Franken Forest installation at The Agnes (which I will continue to call it, in my private time) - it's one of those installations which is better to visit on a non-opening night, because you can really feel that you're in a solitary forest, or watching a flock of birds pass by. On the other hand, I'm afraid the Pride Fest parade was FAR more artful than their art exhibition at the Artel. Signage by Scott Wilson was riddled with typos, and I'm SURE there's far higher quality locally gay-created art than those pieces represented. Very disappointed. Am, however, looking forward to Trevor Waurechen's two openings (a loud one and a quiet one) this week at the Artel. His whimsical work sometimes verges on cartoony --but has quite a nice edge.

Theatrically - the Thousand Islands Playhouse is getting going in Gan (don't go over without checking out the English Pub that opened on the main street. Good food. Good atmo) 39 Steps wasn't my cuppa...but hear that the upcoming Blood Brothers (musical) cast is primo. Folks there are saddened (rightfully) with this week's passing of Dennis Horn, the designer who added so much brilliance to their productions over the years. I'm personally most looking forward to the Firehall's Another Home Invasion (by the West Coast's brilliant Joan McLeod) particularly since I can't seem to get to Toronto for stuff these days.

Am choosing the opening of Sir John A Back From The Dead Concert Tour in Kingston June 23rd over the Firehall opening night, just because these guys have gone at the whole thing with such gusto, and a real "mentoring mix" between Jim Garrard and Layne Coleman and the whole young cast and crew they've involved.

(We will, however be popping out of town to 4th Line Theatre and GCTC in Ottawa yet this month, then Montreal's Centaur Theatre for the hilarious sequel to Mom's The Word in July. )Kingston's Wellington Street Theatre also has a bunch of plays on...but the lack of consistency in quality experiences there is off-putting. Rather tempted to see the Blue Canoe piece about Jonathan Larsen, which has just opened.

But the fact that the Skeleton Park Music Fest is about to start this week is fabulous. Gertrudes and Rueben de Groot Weds at Syd. U. Church (free)--Ken Whiteley at Skeleton Park on the weekend, CJ Avery at the Mansion. Whoopeee. And Girls Nite Out at Ben's tonight sounds absolutely fabulous.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Year of Magical Thinking - an honest portrait of a unique mind

Whenever tragedy suddenly hits anyone - especially multiple tragedies - the first thing you wonder is "how will they ever get through it?" Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, impeccably performed for Theatre Kingston by Artistic Director Kim Renders, gives us one very famous, admittedly privileged, and talented woman's response to just such a situation. Not only did writer Didion's longtime life and creative partner suddenly die - but it was at a time when their only child was in a coma, with more health challenges ahead.

Far from being a formulatic, chest-thumping grief purge, the detailed script of The Year of Magical Thinking is a compellingly honest look into the very articulate, not always logical or admirable, but utterly authentic coping strategies that Didion employed to cope with her famous husband's death and her daughter's repeated hospitalizations. It was Magical Thinking - something she wasn't terribly proud of, but which sustained her, all the same. And which she shares with us.

What Didion selects to tell us about the night her husband died - and the hope-fraught time thereafter- is probably closer to an actual survivor's experience than anything you'll ever see on television -or that most people will share with you. Grief, like God, is in the details. Wanting to keep the shoes in the closet. The tone of someone's voice. The way you avoid anything that will send you deeper - until you're ready.

This show, and Render's performance are both unique and thought-provoking. While hearing Didion tell how she "did it" - you're also amazed at how Renders does it - all 90 minutes,without ever dipping into cliche or melodrama. They are telling us a story. A story about the mind. A story about life.

It is also useful information. Don't employ magical thinking to convince yourself that it isn't. As Didion says "when it happens to you - and it will" - it will be good to know that the things you think, and the things you feel do not have to be Hallmark card/grief therapy platitudes. Your own interior resources can actually get you through.

Sit, and listen. It's important information.

Lin Bennett

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot in concert- pass my cane!

Carefree Highway, one of the first songs in Gordon Lightfoot’s Kingston K-Rock Centre concert this weekend, talked about picking up pieces of a dream and wondering about how the old folks are. He certainly didn’t have to look too far, if he really wanted to know. The sea of white hairs and shining bald pates (including those of his band) was looking complacent, bored, and maybe quietly hoping for a brief reconnection with their pasts – a past where people called them “beautiful” and said they would “never stray” and the future was still ahead. The cold spotlight of a Sunday night in Kingston was telling everyone something else, however.

Now, Mr. Lightfoot indeed looked pretty good for 72 – somewhere between lanky and frail - carrying his long gray hair well and striding out in cowboy boots with heels (not orthotic runners)! But his raspy voice had definitely seen the “better days” of his Carefree Highway years –and the passion was only there in the lyrics, certainly not resurrected on stage. He didn’t even seem to try.

Okay, maybe he was protecting his voice. Maybe all his health issues over the years meant this was as good as we could expect… and, for someone who had been pronounced dead by gossip earlier in the year, he was certainly damned healthy. Still, “not dead yet” is just not a good enough reason for a concert.

“See him while he’s alive”…might imply a tribute, of sorts, and I wholeheartedly believe it’s important a figure such as Gordon Lightfoot experiences our respect now (rather than watching us from a cloud after he’s gone). Nonetheless, I couldn’t help compare the concert to the one given by Leonard Cohen, who was just a tad older when he played here at K-Rock Centre last year. Even at 3 times the ticket price, that was five times the show.

We all have icons whom we’ll forgive for almost anything. I know there are a lot of others who felt exactly the opposite about the concert: that hearing the lyrics from Lightfoot himself was enough, more than enough, to send them into raptures. That was exactly the same way I felt about the Bob Dylan concert that was publicly reviled by so many a few years ago. And yes, I teared up for Early Morning Rain. And smiled at Rainy Day People. And nodded along with Sundown. And was glad that the K-Rock sound was actually so good this time we could (mostly) understand him quite well.

But mostly, it just made me sad. I’d rather have seen him on TV.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Crispy, Well Cooked, and Very, Very Addictive

Just a week ago tonight I was in Vancouver, slogging through the Downtown Eastside core in the rain carrying a self-erasing placard behind aboriginally-inspired community dancers, Morris Men and fake cows in a parade called The Procession of Performing Circles that's part of six weeks of Public Art in the Downtown Eastside ( And I came back sulking, since "everything neat happens everywhere else."

Wash my mouth out! As I finally got un-lagged, I was immediately immersed in my art-filled new world of the Art Rental Gallery and Shop at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre ( and I got a reminder about the Apple Crisp 2010 Music Festival. Gadzooks! We just made it to a free - FREE - concert from the great Gertrudes at Chalmers Church, and was admonished that whatever we did, we had to stay for The Happiness Project with Toronto's Charles Spearin and his group. Extraordinary. In short, the music came about after Spearin interviewed his neighbours for their stories, prompting them to discuss things that made them happy and he and the group captured the cadences in their voices and built music around the words and tonal patterns. As he said. "they start singing their own thesis" --the experience was more than infectious, it was utterly transformative. Gorgeous. Laugh making. Happy happy happy and unique. Not since I first heard Laurie Andersen live have I had such a buzz. Get the music at

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE- At 108 Charles Street, 4-7 p.m. until March 20, you can wander through a lovely little house for The Happiness Project Art Exhibit, and see rooms done by artists to suit each of the pieces. Ceramicist Marney McDiarmid and fabric artist Annie Clifford set a table for lovers and friends ...Josh Lyon has three videos to go with the piece about the joy of challenged children... and the uber-cool artist Don Maynard does an amazing bathroom piece (including a painted tub, babies, and bubbles) to go with the story/song of the Trinidadian neighbour. Seriously, nothing in the world should keep you from this. I first decided the high was second only to hearing Leonard Cohen here --but after seeing the art show (and buying the CD) it's now actually pulling out ahead of Leonard. Yes, it is -since it's a feast for literally all the senses (free cookies, too ). And while you're still zinging from the inspiration, go two blocks away to see the newest Swamp Ward Window installation at 448 Bagot Street. As good as it gets, this stuff.

More Apple Crisp stuff every night this week...including False Face at the Mansion, then especially the Friday Night Flux with the Cedar Tavern Singers, co-presented this Friday March 19 at the Baby Grand Theatre ( ( Limited seating there - I'd buy early. But, there's something about small city life. When something good hits -- you're right in the middle of it, it's almost like a command performance. Congrats, Apple Crisp people. You keep it up, and we just might stay!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Quick Rant

It's early in the morning to rant (but I've been up awhile) - still, I swear there's an Emperor's New Clothes thing going on in the design world, and I'd like to put a stop to it. Now, I actually studied this just a few years ago, so it isn't the rant of an elderly woman (or just my age speaking) "Reverse" type, I.E. white on coloured background is overused, incorrectly used, and is driving me utterly mad.

I swear it's another way for people to disrespect words (we've all given up a bit on grammar). More than 3 lines of type done in white (or worse, colour on colour) make the reader just haze over - or really strain. Can we afford to alienate people, or be so inconsiderate? Huge amounts of money are spent by not-for-profit groups to make flyers and brochures and ads they think (or their designers think) are really cool, but they might as well be written in gobbledygook.

If the words are so unimportant to read ----don't bother printing them. And stand up to your designers, people. Start noticing now much you read after the first line or two, when it's written in white (and 10 pt. type.) Gotta go to work now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ArtsTarting Rules! ( Sometimes you just need a laugh!)

Sometimes when you have a job (or two) that's all about supporting culture and artists you just have to go out, have a laugh, and assume everyone can take care of themselves for awhile (yes, just like parenting). Had a great couple of evenings this week, one hanging out with the ArtsTarts ( a little group of folks who promote the arts in our fair area) and the other at Women Fully Clothed. The ArtsTarts all talked our faces off but wore our earplugs and cones of silence and can't be quoted about anything. The good thing about drinking in a situation like that is that you won't remember much of what you - or anyone -said the next day. The bad thing is...someone might not have had as much to drink. Ah well, once in a blue moon, it's o.k.

Two nights later I went to Women Fully Clothed at the Grand, and I swear every woman in town over 50 (perhaps minus those who work at the university) was there. It was my first time seeing the comedy sketch troupe of brazen broads that includes Kathryn Greenwood from Whose Line Is It Anyway, the audacious Robin Duke from Saturday Night Live and SCTV, Jayne Eastwood from everything and Teresa Pavlinek from The Jane Show.

A couple of sketches really captured the essence of female conversation (do they go everywhere with microrecorders?) including a skit about the gang having what they think is a real conversation, but is mainly soundbites of media catch words that no-one ever gets time to really flesh out fully but psychically understand anyway! Best song of the night "Some People are Better Than You" - which was a Sesame Street style "feel better" song that explained how some people are just born superior, and they can't help it (so stop trying to catch up)! My favourite line of the evening went along with it: "you know those perfect women ...they're not out there with you...they're home having sex with their husbands!" Also LOVED a quintuple-take shudder/hex from Robin Duke about her (ex) husband and his predilection for Viagra! The troupe probably could have taken ten minutes from act two and had only one act full of great material, but well, you know women and bathrooms.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grand evenings

I still remember the first time I visited the Grand Theatre, just before we moved here 10 years ago. The show (Guys and Dolls, from the Playhouse) was great - but I immediately asked "Why in the world does a nice city like this have a high school auditorium for its major theatre?" Thank goodness, that's changed, and I'm now a big fan. Okay, there are physical things to be worked out, but the programming is certainly not among them.

Last night I saw Angele Dubeau and her group of "femme string players" La Pieta there. First impression was "they're all so young!" And most of them were. Not so much the audience, however... (which is too bad, in a university town). The programme was about myth and legend and really featured a wide range of style, from Haendel and Bartok to Philip Glass, an old Russian film theme that had touches of giggles and ragtime, and a newer piece called Gypsy Heart. They even finished off with the wisdom of "giving them something to go out humming" ( Offenbach's "Can Can" from Orphee aux Enfers.)

In general, I started out a little nervous, because the group was fairly sedate and not much to watch (the configuation on stage was not conducive to watching anyone but Ms. Dubeau and the cellist) - but the aural effect was extraordinarily smooth and full. Other pieces became livelier and you genuninely felt Dubeau's Romanian training in "giving a voice and body" to the instrument. At times the "voices" of the instruments were challenging, at others almost hysterical and Dubeau's own solid connection with the instrument even made it a very physical experience.

Although it might be nice to have some sort of more interesting backdrop for smaller groups such as these --to offset the large stage and sedate first impression -- the choice was a solid one. Now if only the 30 "coughers" in the crowd had unwrapped their losenges early... I have a feeling that Saturday's Coleman Lemieux dance troupe will be more my "usual style" - and also might just dive in for much-needed comedy next Friday night with some very funny "broads in Women Fully Clothed." Good seats left for both.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

King's Conscience Redux

The long awaited Theatre Kingston/Salon Theatre King's Conscience (the "hip hop Hamlet) really turns the Baby Grand space into THE room to be in for Kingston. I'd love them to keep it that way and keep doing cabaret style theatre there. Maybe the bar could help subsidize the costs people keep complaining about. Rockne Corrigan is the coolest young modern Hamlet, and probably taking a teen to this is the best thing folks could do.

Anna Sudac is also fairly delicious as a smart guitar playing Molly/Ophelia, but I preferred to focus on the raps and the story between them, which was a mite hard to follow (it veers off from Hamlet fairly significantly but when it stays with the old Bard's words and messes with them, that was my favourite part) That being said, particularly in the first part, Charlotte Corbeil Coleman (a big young force to watch for, and director Layne's daughter) and Rockne wrote some pretty funny stuff. Really. They should have quotes from it all over the place.

So....before the end of the month, go for the "total experience" at the Baby Grand and treat yourself to a drink and smart young folks mixed with a classic in the neatest space in town. It might just be my Alternative Valentine pick... (since the major Valentine pick for me is Coleman Lemieux dance in the big theatre next door.) You could be really groovy and do both on the 13th.... since there's a late-night show.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

V Day Week....and the antidotes

I think I'll go with Val Week choices that you don't need to be "coupled" for or that won't have your stomach upset with too much "sweetness." BYOS (sweets)...Thanks to Trevor Waurechen for the image at right(you can get it at Art from our Hearts!)

Thurs Feb 11- Start the HeartArt attacks early with all female string ensemble of Angele Dubeau, LA PIETA, at the Grand. Elan...Excitement...Style. Or there may be a few tickets left for the hot Cuban band fronted by LEONI TORRES at Confed. Place. Tix -the usual outlets.

Fri. Feb 12
- Confed place again, cheaper (starting at 6) is GLENNA GREEN and friends, followed by SHARRIE WILLIAMS and band at 8:30 ($25 for that.) I think I'd go to the late show of THE KING'S CONSCIENCE at the Baby Grand (I've already seen it and the space couldn't be better) Girls can lust after Rockne Corrigan's new version of Hamlet, and the guys seem pretty sweet on Anna Sudac's Molly/Ophelia. Or...the reverse. Tix for this and Pieta : 613 530-2050 >

Sat. 13 is the big night, it seems. But these choices require no romantic inclination whatsoever, so you can also go with "just" a friend. LOW BUDGET Try UNION GALLERYduring the day 11-4:30 for some art inspiration about calmness, and maybe slip over to the Wilson Room for the OKWA show (always good art) then to NGB Studios' really cool and edgy ART FROM OUR HEARTS from 5-10 p.m. (food and munchies and excellent gifty things from 16 highly recommended artisans ) MEDIUM $ - COLEMAN LEMIEUX(where we'll be) DANCE company at the Grand Theatre. Very physical! $$$, but for a good cause: CEZANNE'S CLOSET the fundraiser for Union Gallery, 613 533-3171. $150 guarantees admission and munchies for two, an intriguing and suspenseful evening of figuring out your art taste (and that of your partner) and you're guaranteed a piece of art to take home. What you get depends somewhat on luck...but not if you're really clever and rank your faves. Duke it out with your friend for art custody. Call Union Gallery or just show up. Tix are a little pricier this year so you'll have less competition for your favourite work.

Sunday Feb. 14 itself (If you haven't had enough yet) At 2:30 you can catch IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE at Upper Canada Academy, 260 Brock - lovely music including harpsichord, oboes, pianos, trumpets for $20... and munchies too. In the evening (remember, we get a holiday on Monday for "Family Day" so you can stay up) folks are encouraged to dress up for SLOW DANCE at Modern Fuel Gallery, 8 pm on. DJ's and "designated dancers" will make it a fun event. And I must give a plug to the CHOCOLATE COOKIES found at Pan Chanco this week. MMMM.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sounds and Spaces

There is so much talk around Kingston right now about "getting space" - transforming spaces, getting the right space. As if someone can just give us culture.

But...a big part of the going out experience for me is the combination of space, event and people. New Ideas/Old buildings (isn't that the Jane Jacobs line?) Mixing the familiar with the unknown.

I do prefer intimate spaces, in general. Which means you only get the small acts or semi-known acts the presenters can afford, or individual seat ticket prices have to be too high. Or subsidized...That's another story. This week I saw the great Swamp Ward Orchestra with Vagabond Opera(a sort of twisted cabaret troupe) at the Mansion Living Room, which now has tables not sofas, to fit in more people. Great room, in general, from my view, acoutics seem good. Not many people there on a Monday night. Oh well. Your loss, Kingston.

An "artignite event" was Basia Bulat and the Luyas from Montreal at Sydenham U. Church on Tuesday. Basia is sort of a combo between Tracy Chapman, Michelle Shocked and Dolly Parton - but Canadian, and has great power, plays a mean autoharp (I think it was) and guitar. But she should get more back ups. I felt like a really old woman listening to the Luyas...who seem to be more a dance group that's trying to dredge up the new music cacaphony sound from the 70's... But why sing with lyrics if we can't understand a word???Just because the singer enjoys them isn't good enough. Some folks say it's the S. U. church...not good for a group with drum kit, but there's a fad with young singers who mushmouth words. Articulation is a customer service thing. Ask around for help if you don't know how. Consonants.

Finally - not much time here to go with --but the long awaited Theatre Kingston/Salon Theatre King's Conscience (the "hip hop Hamlet) really turns the Baby Grand space into THE room to be in for Kingston. I'd love them to keep it that way and keep doing cabaret style theatre there.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Igniting February -It's working so far

It's working so far! We started last weekend with the Gala for the Reelout Film Fest, which seemed very well attended - and had superb company, food and music -- and then I caught one (sadly only one) of the films, Hannah Free. I did overhear, though, that a couple of others were absolutely dynamite, particularly the one by John Greyson - which he attended. "And Then Came Lola" is a sexy-looking re-look at Run Lola Run, this Thursday, and the festival is on through next weekend.

Monday night, I got a "sneak preview" of the great cast of King's Conscience, as they were all also at the extraordinary performances by Swamp Ward Orchestra and Vagabond Opera at the Mansion. Now, if you like great spaces and mind-meddling talent, both the Mansion and this Theatre Kingston/Salon Theatre production of King's Conscience (a hip hop Hamlet) at the Baby Grand should really be seen. Really.

First,The Mansion is actually inspiring me to stay up late - on weeknights -- the stuff there is so good. Swamp Ward Orchestra is more brilliant all the time and some smart person should put them in a film- sexy, clever, lotsa francais. I loved a song about a Russian nightspot and Laura Murray's new accordion work. And Vagabond Opera was extraordinary. People actually came from Ottawa to see them! A couple of real operatic voices, and an approach to performance that blew everyone away.

King's C - on 3rd to 20th - the Baby Grand Theatre is going to be transformed in amazing ways, apparently ..including bringing your drinks into the theatre. And having late-night weekend shows. Rockne Corrigan and Anna Sudac are rumoured to be blowing the roof off anyone's idea of what Hamlet could be.

TONIGHT Basia Bulat at Sydenham St. United Church. Next week - Too much to choose from, but hot off the press, a Cuban band is going to be playing at Confederation Place Hotel on Thurs. Feb. 11 (Next week seems to be Valentine's Week. I'll have to do a whole list of things later this week.) Tix at Brian's or Tara. Proceeds go to the Cuba for Haiti fund.

Friday, January 22, 2010

arts bar?

There are a number (a small number) of coffee shops that are cool enough here to spend some time in and have a decent beverage and snack. There are at least 10 (I think) restaurants that are not objectionable to the visual and oral senses...

So why isn't there a small watering hole that is not tacky or middle of the road or just full of students or "hometown beer drinking guys?" I can think of only one, and it's basically just dark and woody and sort of void of visual interest. Does that have to be enough?

How can we advocate for that? Get a grant in the guise of "a place for ideas to ferment?" Where do you go after a show????

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dammit, Janet... The cornucopia erupts!

Jumpin' Jehosophat! Look what happens when you start getting interested in what's going on. For those of us who wanta feel like this is a big city, one could always try and do it all.

Heads up #1 --- The Reelout Film Fest, which is just too hip and a megadose of diversity vitamin, starts Jan. 28 with Ferron coming to town in conjunction with her film. Ferron! Shades of Ye Olde Vancouver days... Same night, however (oh, be still my heart) the City of Kingston Cultural Plan talks #2 happen at Memorial hall from 6- 8:30. You can always catch those the next morning from 9-11:30 though.
Anyway, the Gala should be more fun (at the apparently gorgeous Renaissance) on Friday the 29th. 2 of the 3 films I mainly want to see are on Sunday the 31 - Greyson's Fig Trees (1 pm) and Hannah Free (7)

Heads Up #2 On Saturday the 6th Reelout has the Singalong Wizard at 1 and the amazing Paris is Burning at 6 - and there are two art receptions that day. The OKWA show reception is 2-4 at the Wilson room (See the poster at the top). So, if I really want, I can sing along and then go OKW-ing. But I might have to miss Ad Hoc (Jocelyn Purdie and Neil Bullock) at Modern Fuel at 7. Must look at those Youtube previews to decide again. Just one of those things! Reelout tix and memberships are at Novel Idea or call 613 549-7335. Films are only $9/10 (depending on whether you have a nice cheap membership) passes $90 for non members. Or am I the only person who thinks so far ahead?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend arts choices

Coming off of Christmas, I'm sure everyone can relate to a tale about relatives who can't stand each other - but are closer than anyone else in the world. Last night we saw Domino Theatre's production of an early Daniel MacIvor play last night, Marion Bridge, and were "impressed enough."

It's a sort of charming little piece that the smart and usually edgy MacIvor wrote about three East Coast sisters who are holed up together waiting for their mother (offstage) to pass. Not much gloom and doom in there at all - one of those "relief when it happens" situations, and it's the relationships between the very different sisters that are the key to the story.

Everyone will have their favourite sister (or actress) - mine was the agonized failed actress with a tendency to drink too much (now, don't go saying anything, folks!) played by Linda Murray. Nicole Rea works very hard at a difficult character (and adds another realm of humour to the show) and Andrea Leyton plays the long-suffering Theresa. You gotta love her when she finally lets go...and can't quite believe it herself. Strong direction by Mike Catlin. Although this isn't the sort of play I'd say "gotta see it, gotta see it" it's the sort that's certainly safe enough to take more mid-road theatre fans to see without fearing you've "succumbed to the dumb." Writing and acting students can get a good lesson from this, as well.

We could be going to the Queen's student opera Hansel and Gretel tonight, or (quite the other end of the spectrum) do the time warp (again?????) with Queen's Musical Theatre's Rocky Horror Show on campus. Instead, we'll save ourselves for the arty AEAC Symposia at the Ellis Auditorium tomorrow aft ( ...and the opening of a very neat show, which I sneak previewed at Sandra Whitton Gallery. Cross Pollination introduces at least one fantastic painter (Maggie Sutherland), and pairs five visual artists with five poets, all of whom inspire each other to paint or write. Whitton Gallery is above Serendipity, next to Lonestar.

In terms of theatrics, I'm gearing up for The King's Conscience from Theatre Kingston and Salon Theatre only two weeks from now, Feb 3-20. That same week brings a phenomenal singer, Basia Bulat, to Sydenham United Church and The Vagabond Opera (Feb. 1) to the Mansion.Gotta start thinking about all those things now, because February is full, full, full. I'd make sure to hit King's Conscience you can fit in that other "later month stuff." (And I REFUSE to talk about Valentine's Day weekend stuff yet. It's only designed for us to work off that Christmas "did I do enough" guilt!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to...

Talk talk talk! The art of verbal exchange is still alive, thank God. Cynics can dismiss meetings and talk sessions, but "you never step into the same river twice" if you're listening, not just talking. And as much as I like internetting...nothing beats hearing/meeting real people discussing real things! Four particularly verbal January events have very different flavours.

Starting Jan. 13, the Kingston Arts Council ( is having a series of information sessions about a vibrant new website that will launch this spring, and aims to centralize (and energize) communications about all the arts in the region- with free listings for ALL. 7-9 pm sessions are Jan. 13 at Sydenham United Church, Jan 18 at Upper Canada Academy of Performing Arts (260 Brock St), Jan 19 at the Grad Club and Jan 25 at Upper Canada Academy. And they're designed for people to speak freely (as well as providing anonymous feedback) about the Arts Council. Info: 613 546-2787.

The City of Kingston is having more public workshops on Cultural Policy January 28 from 6-8:30 pm and Jan. 29th from 9-11:30 a.m at Memorial Hall. The high level facilitators who came to the first sessions in October were very open, and the city's cultural team is "in it for the long haul." You needn't have attended the first session to participate. For more info contact Colin at 613 546-4291 ext.

A little more talk? There is a major Symposium happening at the Agnes the 15-17, SORTING DAEMONS- ART, SURVEILLANCE REGIMES, AND SOCIAL CONTROL. (Sends shivers up your spine, doesn't it, you X-Files fans...) Ellis Hall, 58 University Avenue. Schedule:

The 12th, The Arts and Letters Club presented Steven Heighton and Susan Olding talking about writing in different genres to a completely full house...Hearing people who write for a living talk is particularly heartwarming --in a world where words still mean something. Astute to hear that the work that brings the least amount of money (poetry) is that in which they feel the most freedom to express! The Arts and Letters Club is the second Tuesday of every month. Info: 613 544-5040. P.S. Olding still may have some spaces in her advanced creative writing class at St. Lawrence.

Tomorrow I'll talk about stuff to SEEEEEE, starting with Domino's MARION BRIDGE (tix,, by the wonderful Daniel McIvor and carrying on to the extraordinary REELOUT FILM FESTIVAL ( the end of the month.

BY THE WAY.. While visiting Toronto's Gardiner Ceramic Museum for Viola Frey's gigantic sculpture show, I was impressed hearing that Kingston's dynamic ceramic artist Marney McDiarmid's works sell out as soon as they get them. And yet where can we buy them, in our home town? I'll tell you, next time I know.