Monday, June 30, 2008


reading of the mythtime

"... the wild time ... mythtime surrounds historical time the way the forest and the ocean and the sky surround a village ... the mythtime is self-sustaining, alive and independent of human control ... myth is a richly complex piece of knowledge, like a theorem or a language or a genome: an inheritance too precious to be left, like a trademark or a patented procedure, in the realm of the privately owned ... the mythtime covers for a timeless moment, a familiar human space ..." (Nine Visits to the Mythworld: Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas)

- See: Terms
First Nation

:: note :: ... Robert Bringhurst ... Animal and the Human ... we were told ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Storytellers Unite

Storytellers Unite
Traditional meets unconventional at eVOCative festival

Ashleigh Mattern
The StarPhoenix

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saskatoon is storyteller central this summer as the city plays host to two of the industry's conferences and a festival of oral performance.

Storytellers from across Canada and around the world will be coming to Saskatoon to attend the eVOCative festival and The Oral, the Written and Other Oral Media conference from June 19 to 21, and the Storytellers of Canada annual conference from July 2 to 6.

While the conferences are fine-tuned to the interests of performers and academics working and creating in the field, both conferences have a little something for everyone.

In the case of The Oral, the Written and Other Oral Media, main organizer Susan Gingell has also organized a festival of oral performance to complement the conference. Gingell said it was important to her to bring artists and academics together.

"Too often (artists and academics) operate in isolation from one another," she said. "Perhaps idealistically, I believe that good things can come out of the dialogue between the two groups."

Gingell also wanted to open up the event to the Saskatoon community. There will be two free readings and performances at McNally Robinson: Dub poet d'bi.young.anitafrika will launch her new book, blackness . . . and other rivers . . . between us, on June 18 as a pre-festival warm up, and spoken word and movement artist Catherine Kidd and poet Paul Dutton will be reading on June 19. The conference also includes two free discussions and a storytelling workshop.

The Storytellers of Canada conference also features events open to the public. A concert on July 3 will feature performances from story-singer Norm Walker, storytellers Gary Tisdale, Jim Drake, Vincent Murphy and Paddy Tutty, and a unique performance from American Sign Language storyteller Teresa Fleming.

This will be the first Storytellers of Canada conference to feature a performance from a deaf storyteller. Fleming will tell the story through sign language and have an interpreter.

"We're opening it up to the deaf community," said organizer Kathy Bennett. "You'll get the story through the interpreter, but keep your eye on Theresa."

The second public event is a concert on July 5. With local actor and storyteller Henry Woolf as master of ceremonies, the concert will feature storytellers Ivan Coyote, Lorne Brown, Marie Anne McLean, Judith Poirier and Melanie Ray.

While the conferences differ in focus, they agree that oral traditions are a part of every culture. The eVOCative festival and conference include performers from as far away as Jamaica and Australia, while the Storytellers of Canada conference focuses on a couple of cultures closer to home: Metis and Ukrainian.

Although the eVOCative festival and conference features artists from all over the world, Gingell said she wanted to give aboriginal oral traditions prominence.

"I knew that I wanted a very strong aboriginal component because aboriginal oral traditions are the foundations of this kind of thing and in this space," said Gingell.

The eVOCative event Crow Hop Cafe showcases some of the top aboriginal talent today. Curated by poet and comedian Neal McLeod, the Crow Hop will feature hip hop artist Eekwol, storyteller and singer Joseph Naytowhow, and storytellers Maria Campbell, Kimberly Blaeser and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm.

Eekwol, known off-stage as Lindsay Knight, is one of the less-traditional performers at eVOCative, but she said she fits right in.

"Originally hip hop was very much all about storytelling," said Knight. "It was all about explaining and defining an experience or a situation that a person was in, and it's a way of expressing through words and poems, and just expressing struggle. I found that hip hop really related to me because my ancestral history is all about oral traditions."

Bennett, who will perform at both the eVOCative festival and the Storytellers conference, said she thinks storytelling is making a comeback.

"(Storytelling) fell off the face of the Earth for a while and it's coming back," said Bennett. "And I think it's wonderful. It's a way of communicating. It's learning how to talk to people again."

The eVOCative festival pass costs from $14 to $18. Single tickets to the Crow Hop Cafe or eVOCative Cabaret cost from $8 to $12. Full conference fees are $125 for the public, and include a festival pass. Festival passes and individual event tickets are available at the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, McNally Robinson Booksellers and The Refinery.

The Storytellers of Canada full conference pass costs $180 for non-members, or $75 for a day pass. Tickets to the storytelling concerts are $12 to $20 and are available at 8th Street Books and Comics, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Academy Piano Rebuilders and the U of S Bookstore.
© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crow Hop

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The eVOCative Crow Hop at the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company ended with the traditional round dance ... all performers, staff, attending poets, conference organizers, volunteers, supporters & audience linked hand in hand ... the center empty a birthing womb ...

just a couple of hours before Joseph Naytowhow had drummed the space awake with a morning song, cleansed the ear with flute breath love and jigged joy energy to welcome all the relations this summer solstice on National Aboriginal Day in honour of "the broad range of contemporary Aboriginal oralities from storytelling and song to poetry, spoken word, and hip hop" (program notes) ...

Marie Campbell, reading from her in-progress work, honoured Metis women. Her understated, quiet voice, warm from a story told in Cree about a priest and a women, held authority and reverence but most importantly the words were testaments to women history had unwitnessed.

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the mixed bloodlines of families, our tribe, our elders, our mothers & fathers and our children & children to be were honoured by Anishinaabe poet/scholar Kimberly Blaeser. Then backed by her the beats of her brother, Eekwol honoured the rising activist power of Indigenous Plains Cree & Hip Hop. Arms pumped the air in solidarity to all brothers and sisters of the nation. Strong & eloquent Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm read edgy hommages. Surprise guest Gregory Scofield Singing Home the Bones filled the hot crowded room with a palpable sense of pride ... pride of the past ... pride in sharing the missing stories ... pride in language ...

through it all & always with a glint in his eye artist bionic bannock boy from (kept reminding us of this) James Smith Cree First Nation in northern Saskatchewan , Neal McLeod , curator&creator of Crow Hop injected zones of humour, Cree fun, context and respect ... fittingly the final words, Sons of a Lost River, were his for so much of the evening would not have happened without his bold bringing together of this group ...

birth, life & death renewed we spilled out into 22nd Street the drum beat pulsing in our souls ...

- See: Artists
First Nation

:: note :: ... no more to say ...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

eVOCative cab

a wonderful eclectic evening in the Oak Room of The Park Town -- eVOCative Performance Cabaret ... the program reads:
"The eVOCative cabaret brings to our stage five innovative, politically-engaged & dynamic writers and performers. These artists are influenced by, and follow in, a broad range of traditions from sound poetics and dub to feminist performance art, dramatic monologue, and experimental language poetics - all to remarkable effect. There is no way to encounter the surprising and fluid relationships between oral and written poetries than by experiencing the work of artists like bill bissett, Adeena Karasick, Catherine Kidd, Kaie Kellough and d'bi.young.anitaafrika, and I am so thrilled they are all part of this festival and conference. It's going to be a fabulous , fun night!"(T.L. Cowan, curator)

Cowan, an international writer/performer herself, served up this delectable feast. Cheekily in a blond wig like something hot off an Entertainment Tonight clip she introduced each artist with grace, awe and enthusiasm.

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bill bissett stomped, rattled & breathlessly intoned his works ... the lively trickster/fool bissett disarms even the most closed heart with streams of playpun ... dissolving into radiant sound subversion ... enticing an imaginative mystical dance ... we envision polar bears on yonge street & sway mesmerized to the soundings from large print laminated pages of ths is erth thees ar peopul ... a perpetual unfolding of langwage n desire... the splendid wide mythical world incarnate ... listening to a dialogue between the wise man & the simpleton ...

Earlier in the day he and Adeena Karasick had simulated a two person radio show: "SUBLINGUAL BOUCHE". They were a pair of small salivary glands beneath the tongue stimulating a passion sometimes sexually charged other times breath aspirations of innocence but always libidinous - union fusion [Sublingual/ Amuse Bouche: Tasty Treats for the Mouth (Talonbooks 2009)] interplay ...

Alone behind the podium Adeena chewed at the ranula... that cyctic war swelling in our midst ... jubilant concentrated energy ... a miraculous paradoxical voice all rich/nasel/nuanced/spirited ... sharp sharp sharp into brilliance ... language extraordinarily 'HIJACK'ed ... multi-fracturing into a persona myriad ... deftly firing synapses of fable fabrication ... high low popular academic dark beamed into a compact delight ... perhaps only in my vision for a moment a hasidic prophet flickered shrewd Kabalsitic wisdom ...

The evening bubbled through zany zanny zanni Catherine Kidd ... to the slow bopping rhythms of Kaie Kellough ... his smooth hypnotic vibe exploring the gentle aspects of identity ... spoken word on reggae/blues ... generated "to dub out the unconsciousness out of people head, and to dub in consciousness"- Oku Onuora ... a groove Lettricity ... say it again real slow Lettricity (Bop to authors Bop to bottom Bop to Kaie) ...

... at the end ... the riveting word warrior d'bi.young.anitafrika ... a simple spin & we are entwined in blood.claat ... stalking the audience eyes wide ... crouching as if ready to leap we surrender to the blood ferocity ... a magnificent story-teller allowing us to presence the ancient oral tradition ... gender class race oppression violence ... at the end ... a tender smile ...

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Yes smile! Five Artists sharing ... inviting us to string it all together ... precious gems beaded to wear on the heart ... a heartlace ... thank you.

If one could have been anywhere that night nowhere would have been more tantalizing out of world than the Oak Room in Saskatoon. Praise the artist and their gifts.

- See: Artists

:: note :: ... so much to explore ... each artist moving inspheres beyond wor(l)ds ... deep gratitude to the organizers ... inaccuracies may exist ...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

meeting bill bissett

wz 1 of thoz polar bear timez
u no all north outside & shimmern inside
n i wz 2 listn 2 bill bissett
excellent wild i thot

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standing 4 tickets he came up behind me
not sure sew askd who he wz
disappointd i handshaked
later he wz at the front
so the trikster foold me again

he 8 n sang n breethd into th mic
buzzd terribul like it didn't recogniz hm
4 a moment we wer all pssssd
then were kompleetlee happee

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invited bill & Adeena to the Temple
frends 4 over 20 yrs talkn n konnekting 2gethr
while reading they merg in2 each othr nicelee
i wz reelee xcited

th dreem was 2 dew blew treez
n share n love n help
b ing creeativ interests peopul
2 meet them freely n prsonal

n we did

- See: scenik narratif

:: note :: ... bill bissett and Adeena Karasick were in Saskatoon for a Festival ... even though they knew nothing of me they found time to visit & share their generous spirits ... am forever grateful ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Self Referential Play

Self Referential image

- See: Tools

:: note :: ... word picture generated by wordle ... larger here ...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

when there is nothing

when there is nothing ... when articulating the necessity of witnessing a theater act i often choose the phrase "art as nourishment" ... the bread of life ... yet this metaphor of consumption is problematic ... presencing a performance is to encounter a flow/current/process/energy (dancingness) which moves the "I" ... the self by meeting the self breaks down the existential trap of being human ... the personal is stripped bare ... & in the barrenness a lively silent stillness shines (aura) ... there is something ... there is something unutterable ... when there is something theater is presencing dancingness aura ...

- See: Theater

:: note :: ... thinking about a question regarding feeling left after a performance ...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

that which knaws

that which knaws at the soul sleeps alone
lives unseen under bleeding nail bitten fingers
if the heart is delicate the invisible mending is always visible
scar white despair scabs pulsing a self mutilation
nerve ends screaming "I" stripped down to self suspicious whispers
keep a journal obsessively & fall asleep
forget the pain

- See: Poetry

:: note :: ... that time of year ...