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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...

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