Sunday, September 28, 2003

Menard delivers stirring performance in Velvet Devil

Joanne Paulson
The StarPhoenix

Andrea Menard has wowed audiences with her musical theatre creation, The Velvet Devil, in Regina and Ottawa.

Now she has brought it home and thank heaven -- and Menard -- for that.

From the moment the Saskatoon singer and actor appears on stage, clad in a white satin dress, glittering jewelry and long golden gloves, she commands attention until her final bow.

Menard plays Velvet Laurent, a.k.a. The Velvet Devil, a young Metis woman born in Batoche with a beautiful voice and determination to burn. Velvet is a tender 18 when she hits Toronto, ready to take her place on the vaudeville stage, and her success is spectacular.

But tragedy brings her home, to a performance at the Roxy Theatre -- yes, Saskatoon's Roxy Theatre -- where she tells her story and ends up baring her soul to the audience.

The plot weaves in the difficulties encountered by women and people of colour in show biz, as well as the character's eventual search for her roots.

That being said, don't expect a dark, brooding lecture on the evils of society. This is riveting to watch and wonderful to hear, with that 1940s flavour of vaudevillian fun running most of the way through.

Menard is an incredible talent.

She wrote The Velvet Devil, including the music in collaboration with Robert Walsh and performs it with passion, her sparkling eyes connecting with the audience in a way that is extremely rare.

She is never better than when she is singing. Menard has a beautiful voice with an extensive range, and she uses it to full effect. It helps that the music is wonderful, lyrically intelligent, melodic and tells a story, but Menard could probably sing Happy Birthday and pack a room.

Every single song -- and there are many of them -- is great, particularly the enchanting Is That You? Menard also takes a chance by blowing and gently whistling into the microphone, creating a song she hears in nature. It's just wonderful.

On stage with Velvet is her band, made up of Saskatoon's own Lee Kozak on guitar, Bill Watson on drums and Murray Dubray on bass. Not only do these guys play great music, they also pitch in with a little bit of acting . . . and it's pretty good.

The Velvet Devil is an entertaining, moving, professional piece of theatre, which clearly demonstrates the wide range of talent stirring in one hometown woman.

The Velvet Devil is presented by The Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company at the Black Box Theatre. Kennetch Charlette directs.
"I don't know exactly, but I think that he took it in that way : sometimes you can, but sometimes you have to be cruel to work yourself. Cruel to the end, that even if you want to hide something very deep, you should not do it. You must however get to it and give it, share it with others and give yourself totally and entirely. This was maybe the lesson of Artaud for Grotowski."(zygmunt molik: How the tradition passes from one to another - about my experiences with Jerzy Grotowski)

:: note :: . . . need to make a marker for how tradtion passed from molik to me . . . first encounter in wroclaw, poland then vienna, austria and finally toronto, canada . . . the work was a continuous research of no more than a week at a time though spanned a decade . . .

Friday, September 26, 2003

"Rich likes to keep things simple," says Wilmes, whose work with Maxwell dates back to their Chicago-based Cook County Theater Department days. "Beyond the narrative, which is his main concern, he enjoys the playful dynamic between actors with experience and those with very little. The combination encourages us to rid ourselves of our actor baggage. We're forced to listen more closely to what the other is saying."

"I've been a Maxwell groupie for years," says BAM's executive producer Joe Melillo, who has made a rare institutional commitment to both develop and premiere this Henry IV, which has the honor of inaugurating the 2003 Next Wave Festival. "He's an original art maker who's not derivative of anyone."

"I'm still going to be me even though I'm directing Shakespeare," Maxwell assures. "As a director of my own plays I find that I'm subverting what I've written all the time. I guess I'm still caught between reverence and irreverence."(Village Voice: Theater : Bitch-Slapped by Shakespeare)

Thursday, September 25, 2003

"As the story goes, theater grew from a fundamental desire to appreciate that which is not human: the gods, the natural world, the weather[sigma] By humanizing spirits, animal-life, or rain, people could calm the chaos of those dramatic events oblivious to their control. Eventually theater became more than a just a means to appropriate and understand the non-human: it posed as a gateway to comprehending the largest human mystery to date: the self. "(Art and Culture Network: Theater)

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"Poetry not written for the stage can certainly enthrall an audience; all you need is a good performer. But problems always arise when poetry is turned into theater with more than one character. How do you move outside the mind of the poet ó that blazing single consciousness ó without giving up intensity? How do you use set design, movement and music? How do you make them as precise as the poet's meters and metaphor?"(nytimes:arts:Ginsberg and His Mother, From a Poem to a Play)

Monday, September 22, 2003

"I'm perceiving lots of polarities swimming around: flow vs control, scruffies vs neats, Human Voice vs [Profession Al]-ism, [Relation Ship] vs Con Tract, high vs low ProJect variability, process as overhead vs savior (contra stupidity), service vs product, project vs process, New Economy vs Old Economy, Science vs Humanities (Two Cultures) . "(WebSeitz/wikilog)

:: note :: . . . examining polarities . . . goto blink for the many further blinks . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2003

"If Michel Foucault wrote about The Order of Things, then VoS may be said to be about "the ordering of things"- the ceaseless reconfiguration of humanities knowledge assisted by the new technologies of dynamic information."

Friday, September 19, 2003

Thursday, September 18, 2003

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4. Mangotu - Courage of the Shark :Todd Couper (1974-)

KIWA - Pacific Connections: Maori Art from Aotearoa at the
Spirit Wrestler Gallery

A gallery in Vancouver is hosting the largest Maori art exhibition ever seen in North America. (CBC Arts News: Canadian gallery hosts Maori exhibit)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

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The Boreal Forest: Earth's Green Crown
Canada's vast boreal forest is among the largest intact forest ecosystems left on earth, and must be preserved.(NRDC)

Monday, September 15, 2003

In Concert : A Program of Compositions by Michael Swan

Third Ave. United Church, Saskatoon
Sunday Sept. 14, 7:30

Rhapsody and Fugure - Michael Swan, violin

Three Vignettes I. Soliloquy II. "Footprints" III. Celebration - Jordan Kirkness, double bass

Fantasy - Michael Swan

String Quintet No. 1 ("The Lord is My Shepherd")
I. Moderato II. Scherzo-Trio- Scherzo III. Adagio (Meditation on Psalm 23) IV. Molto maestoso- Molto meno mosso

Michael Swan, violin
Kim de Laforest, violin
Saache Heinrich, viola
Carman Rabuka, cello
Jordan Kirkness, double bass

:: note :: . . . passionate playing of original works stirs the heart . . . the sincere, open and honest spirit with which the performers entered the music touched the place where music and desire meet . . . thank you . . .

Saturday, September 13, 2003

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Mt Fuji Photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins

Friday, September 12, 2003

"I simply want to say that representation itself is suffering a deep crisis. This means - and this is probably the biggest quality of the contemporary era - that because of this crisis, human dimensions become very important. The quality of the result is very relative. It is important now that an object - and not just an object, it could be a gesture, a performance, etc. - is based on the human gesture behind it. We are facing the moment when notions such as style, fashion, language... have completely lost their significance."(Viktor Misiano:PME - Les Productions M E de l'art)

:: note :: . . . visit Norway to learn about canadian theater . . . experience a sense of isolation/alienation . . . wonder why so many (too many) artists choose to ignore the possibility that the space next to them may be inviting . . . experience a slight sadness that they choose to gesture and search significance away rather than towards . . . but i understand and with a shrug meet them in the virtual space to wonder as they wander . . .

Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Because by third year I want students to be able to articulate their own learning, and largely be able to assess their own work so that their contexts of practice and learning are understood as contexts of practice and learning."

" . . . reviewing means you receive detailed contextual comments, rather than simply corrections or disagreements, and it does lead to a demonstrable improvement in your work, but it tends to happen rather late in the research (and creative) process."(vog:blog : Developing Crits)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The Wild Iris

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure sea water.

Louise Glück

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

PANIC ATTACK Each new day brings something new to scare us almost to death. Peter Kavanagh reports on a gathering of scientists, philosophers and communicators who interrogate our obsession with risk. (cbc: ideas : Monday, September 8)

:: note :: . . . heard this snippet . . . "I bristle when the school says their first job is the safety of their students. I would much rather that teachers state as their first priority - education." . . . . yes education means taking risks . . . it is not a safe experience . . . education demands challenges beyond the known . . . courage to take risks not manage . . . move beyond the fear . . .

auschwitz birkenau : went to one of the buildings . . . noone there . . . on the door was a sign - press button and the light will remain on for 15 minutes . . . pressed button & light turned on . . . entered . . . a minute later the light was off . . . inside this place of death i was alone . . . deepest dark . . . i couldn’t make a sound . . . i concentrated only on a clear voice inside me saying “find the exit” . . . walked very slowly, carefully, fearfully . . . someone was pulling at my legs . . . another was calling from behind urging me to turn around . . . i choked . . . couldn’t breathe . . . finally i emerged into the bright strong sun . . . i was back in the world of the living and i sat down to breathe . . . i had been truly scared . . . it had been a long time since i had felt such fear . . . trapped in the dark of the place of the dead my mind had been very clear . . . there was no hesitation - no confusion . . . one simple thought . . . get out . . . (A. may 5, 2003: journal one of the summer travels)

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Kenzaburo Oe Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley: The Artist as Healer (via Wealth Bondage)
"Anyway . . . the question of what to write in one's blog if one is a teacher doesn't strike me as any different in essentials from the same question with the words "spouse," "partner," "employer," or "child" subbed for teacher. Same questions we all face. We all gotta find our own answers."(Caveat Lector: O Tempora)

Friday, September 05, 2003

". . . I think it is important that education acts to destroy itself - the most important thing that any school can teach you is that you don't need school. "

". . . my teachers - they have become colleagues, not because of any basic change in attitude on either side, but because of a change in the level of knowledge we share. No one knows everything; when you figure out that it is important to talk to people because they actually know things that you don't, you become a much more effective learner."

". . . The flow of knowledge works both ways in school. I learn things from my students every semester. I enjoy that aspect a lot . . . "(this Public Address: Gated Communities)

:: note :: . . . a space that opened a gate about transparency . . . the public/private gates/no gates . . . no fence around the temple and the windows just may get smashed . . . get spanked beyond the ideal paradigmatic . . . just Bubble&Box it out . . .

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

* The teacher rarely tells students what he thinks.

* Generally, he does not accept a single statement as an answer to a question.

* He encourages student-student interaction as opposed to student-teacher interaction, generally avoids acting as a mediator or judging the quality of ideas expressed.

* His lessons develop from the responses of students and not from a previously determined "logical" structure. (Postman & Weingartner, 1969, p. 33-36)

* Generally, each of his lessons pose a problem for students.

* He rarely summarizes the positions taken by students on the learnings that occur. He recognizes that the act of summary or "closure" tends to have the effect of ending further thought.

"* He rarely summarizes the positions taken by students on the learnings that occur. He recognizes that the act of summary or "closure" tends to have the effect of ending further thought."(Teaching as a Subversive Activity: Book Review)
(via Incorporated Subversion: JAMES FARMER : XPLANA)

:: note :: . . . when in times of reflection/beginning find the 'golden oldies' return . . .

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

"[We must] modify our portrayal of parent-teacher meetings as civilized, ritualized encounters devoid of passion and heat, and replace it with a much more realistic picture that admits the threats, the vulnerabilities, the wounds," says Lawrence-Lightfoot."(BookPage Nonfiction Review: Back to School Roundup)

Monday, September 01, 2003

A picture named stefan.jpg . . .
"So here it is the last day of freedom the last day of been able to stay up late and write in a blog, the last of day of the . . ."(montys mad blog)

:: note :: . . . first post
. . . a day to remember . . . write on & forever . . .
"But the overwhelming evidence in the book shows that George Peele, not Shakespeare, wrote almost a third of "Titus Andronicus"; Thomas Middleton, about two-fifths of "Timon of Athens"; George Wilkins, two of the five acts of "Pericles"; and John Fletcher, more than half of "Henry VIII." "The Two Noble Kinsmen," originally published in 1634 as the work of Shakespeare and Fletcher, is shown to be about two-fifths Shakespeare's."(nytimes: Seeing the Fingerprints of Other Hands in Shakespeare)

"But the overwhelming evidence in the book shows that George Peele, not Shakespeare, wrote almost a third of "Titus Andronicus"; Thomas Middleton, about two-fifths of "Timon of Athens"; George Wilkins, two of the five acts of "Pericles"; and John Fletcher, more than half of "Henry VIII." "The Two Noble Kinsmen," originally published in 1634 as the work of Shakespeare and Fletcher, is shown to be about two-fifths Shakespeare's."(nytimes: Seeing the Fingerprints of Other Hands in Shakespeare)