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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.