(Sally McKay is on blog-sabbatical, writing her PhD.)
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*Issue #2 of Spacing is out now and it looks fabulous. Will make a better post when I've read it carefully. For now let me say the design is way better than last time, and the cover is GR-8. I am loving the slogan:
it took us millions of years to learn how to walk and only 100 to forget
"We won't say that we're better, it's just that we're less worse." -Arrogant Worms, "Proud to be Canadian"
It's Canada Day. I've grown accustomed to checking in with Mr. Wilson's holiday posts, but he won't be writing about this one, not being a Canadian. Our summer holidays are all strange. I suppose there are people who reflect with reverence on Queen Victoria while sitting on their sixpack in the bush on 24-Weekend. Wait a second, no I don't. Canada Day is mostly celebrated by the playing of bad, comedic songs on the CBC (like the link above) that reflect all kinds of stereotpyes we have about stereotypes the Americans have about us. There's mass driving to cottages, and face painting at lame corporate street festivals for the kids who's parents can't afford to leave town. Canadian nationalism is a limp and jiggly thing. As it should be! We are a collection of peoples getting along, mostly, with some of our social systems still in place. It's low key, but it's worth preserving. My neighbourhood today (and last night! loud) is all about Portugal winning soccer games. At the Portuguese bakery I go to daily the lady quizzes me on my heritage. I say Scottish and she beams, "We knew you weren't just pure Canadian. Are you cheering for Portugal?" I beam back (of course I'm cheering for Portugal, I like to see my neighbours having fun). I'm also happy because if being from Scottish stock, which makes my lineage about 100% old school, Protestant, Upper Canadian, counts as something other than "pure" Canadian, then not a single one of us in this country is "pure." Which is how I like it.
Gene Threndyle's piece for the weekend long WADE show (performances and installations in wading pools in Toronto's parks, curated by Christine Pearson and Sandra Rechico) was one damn fine work of public art. He filled the pool at Trinity Bellwoods Park with inflatable killer whales, each painted with an excerpt from Dante's Inferno. The kids loved it, taking to the whales instantly without a care for the strange dark poetics beneath their bellies. The parents loved it. The art audience loved it. All afternoon we sat around in the sun and shade. Egon Von Bark played old 78s his victrola and they sounded good to us eventhough the needles were dull and scoured threads of vinyl up off the disks.
thanks to Tanya Read for this excellent photo!
There was also a reading from the Inferno. Von Bark stood in the pool and delivered some lovely elocution while the children bumped their whales around his shins. Mark Hazen and Anne-Marie Hood administered a long and challenging test to guage your level of hell (I got 7, which was disconcerting but seemed par for the course).
David Hoffos' piece for WADE at Bellevue Square Park. Photo by Justin Waddell
Another WADE installation I really liked was by David Hoffos in Bellevue Park. It's a night piece, a video projection of a little boy standing in the edge of the pool, his toy boat a little distance out into the water. It's sad and quite creepy. The ghostlike child is life-size, almost part of the crowd, but hopelessly remote, isolated and from us flesh and blood folks by the fact of being a mere video projection. These are the only two WADE pieces I've seen so far, and they've both been excellent. Maybe I'll see some more of them later today.
Any reports on other WADE performances are very welcome in the comments section below. If you want to send me jpegs at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll post em with your comment.
what is an art blog?
Jeffrey Matt and I performed on Tuesday evening at 40 Tiny Queer Performances Under a Pink Light curated by RM Vaughan. It was a fun, fast evening with a great lineup. The deal was that you had one single minute to perform before the lights went down. The acts charged along and the whole darn thing took exactly an hour. I was pretty pleased with our performance, although the rehearsals were better (more physics, less mouse). Jeffrey played the spry jumping-lesson-teacher with knowledge of physics. I played Miss Mouse, the lumpen-yet-game student of jumping. Maybe I'll get some quicktime up one of these days. Pete Dako made a nice post about the evening, and there's a pic of us. (Thanks for the link, Pete!)
Interesting survey on art blogging here at MTAA [via Tom Moody]. Tom Moody's answers are here.