Sunday, September 14, 2008

2008_09_14 Wendy McNeil at the Artery

Wendy McNeil is a chameleon on stage. I look at a series of photos, and wonder how they can possibly be all of the same person. Her sound though, is unmistakable. I've spent many recent evenings at the Artery photographing the Poetry Festival, so I've got to know the place a bit (although they wouldn't let me upstairs, but that's another story -- something about a green door I suspect...). Tonight I heard the music of Wendy McNeil.

Wendy is magic. 'A Dreamer’s Guide to Hardcore Living' is the name of the CD. And she lives hard-core. Her next shows are in Calgary at the Ironwood, followed by Toronto, Montreal, Zug - Switzerland, Vaningen Sundsvall - Sweden, many other cities in Sweden, finishing up in October in France and Norway. When does she sleep?

There was actually significant crossover between the audience at the Poetry Festival, and the Wendy McNeil show. Wendy is a poet. In sound and words.

Photos Slideshow

Wendy's MySace

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kundu Dance Workshop

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Prosenjit Guy Kundu, and taking some photos at a dance workshop arranged by Trisha Sarker, at MacEwan. The lesson was 'House Dance', and it looked simple enough, but I'm glad I was not asked to dance. I did manage to get some 'interesting' photos, and you can see them at:



He's a quiet, unassuming guy, but boy can he dance. Check out th KUNDU DANCE COMPANY(India's hip hop based company) on YouTube


Do you know how things pile up and when Saturday comes - you are soooo busy you have no time at all? Since I retired in May, every day is Saturday. I haven't found time to post much. And mid September I'm heading to Australia, and then South America, for a total of 8 months.... Sorry to say there won't be many blog entries till next summer. But I will try to post a few before I leave, and one or two during my travels as well.
ps. The photo? A musican from France, who recently took up the saxophone, trying to earn enough for supper in the streets of Flores, Guatemala. My recent travels took me to Mexico (Cancun, Chetumal), Belize and Guatemala (Flores and Tikal).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

2008 Edmonton Street Performer's Frestival

On Friday night I spent a few hours at the Edmonton Street Performer's Festival and got some amazing pics from some amazing shows. I have posted some selected photos, and will post more as time permits.

Flying Bob shot an egg into the sky, catching it in his hand - then higher for a spectacular 'catch'.

I only saw a bit of the Space Cowboy. I still can't believe anyone can ride a 6 foot unicycle (or was it higher), juggle three knives (different types) BLINDFOLDED. And he didn't drop a single item! He also does some spectacular sword swallowing that will have you feeling a bit strange.

Betty Brawn - the strongest lady alive will amuse and amaze with her strength and banter.

Nice to see Freshly Squeezed at the Street Performers. I have seen and photographed them around town a few times. They are getting stronger and stronger. Check out the spectacular back-flip shot in photos.

I also got some pics of the various wandering minstrels, musicians and strange beasts. We've had a bit of rain the past few days - hopefully that will clear up give us all a sunny show.

Watch for the 10:00 o'clock “Troupe du Jour” variety show, every night.


Street Performer's Website

Thursday, July 3, 2008

2008 Calgary Jazz Festival

Patrick Maiani invited me down to photograph the Calgary Jazz Festival - how could I refuse? It was impossible to see everything. In one case I hopped on my bike, cruised over to Knox United for a single shot of Jean Vanesse and Miroslav Vitous, and raced back to Jack Singer. I do have lots of photos, which will be posted gradually as I can get to them. I am falling farther and farther behind in my photo posting since I retired. Seems the more time I have, the busier I get.

I was eager to see Beady Bell, and enjoyed her performance and music. I've heard her on CKUA many times - and it was great to meet her and listen to a live performance.

My hilite of the festival was Pink Martini - a bit more that a jazz band (many would say they are not a jazz band. But any band with a singer who performs in Portugese, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian/Italian, and of course English is a hit in my books. They opened with Bolero, gave us my personal favorite 'Eugene' - and Marcia bought me a CD for our wedding anniversary. However, Pink Martini did not allow any photos - I had to sit still and enjoy the music. There were lots of cameras flashing but my 'no flash' camera was at my feet. Of course I did get the two opening acts - Meaghan Smith, and Rob Young with is Big Beat Band.

The jazz on Stephen Avenue was fun. I took my bike and cruised around during the breaks - even managed to get over to Sled Island for a listen (very, very loud).

On our wedding anniversary, we took time out for dinner in a Greek restaraunt - and then caught Cheryl Fisher at the Cantos Music Foundation. She keeps getting better and better. Look for a new CD in the fall.

On Saturday, CKUA's Don Berner hosted a live show at Ironwood - I took my mom for brunch, music and photos.

On the last day, we had a collision of Dixie and wedding. Eric Ellison's dixieland trio was cruising the avenue, when a wedding limo arrived for a downtown photo shoot. Of course I have lots of photos of bridesmaids doing the chicken dance etc.

Here are the photos, more will be posted as I can get to them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Edmonton Jazz Festival

The Edmonton Jazz Festival kicked off on Friday - unfortunately I was out of town, but I did catch a couple of shows on Saturday night. Four Corners Quartet brought the music of St Albert to Edmonton. Jonny McCormack, who leads the thursday Jams (Jonny Mac Attack) at the Castle Rock in St Albert brought the Four Corners Quartet to Hulberts. Khi Matthu on bass, Ian Morris on drums and Steve Frise on guitar. The place was packed with an appreciative crowd as the quartet gave two encores. I'm not sure what the upstairs neighbors thought - Hulbert's usually shuts the music down at 10:00 to give them some rest. Maybe they were downstairs enjoying the fantastic music. Hulbert's has Jazz this coming Thursday - Nathan Ouelette Trio, Friday - Brett Miles Quartet and Saturday - Geo K's fantastic guitar in the World Explorations Jazz Trio.

Jeffrey's Cafe has has the Jazz Diva series this week. I caught a few notes from Lorna Lampman late Saturday. You can catch Rhonda Withnell on Tuesday (I've already booked my table), Rollanda Lee on Thursday, Shelley Jones on Friday and Helena Magerowski on Saturday. Fans of vocal jazz will get their fill this week before the summer jazz drought hits.

Four Corners Quartet photos Slideshow
Lorna Lampman photos

The Edmonton Jazz Festival Society is putting on a stellar series of shows this week, check them out at Edmonton Jazz Festival website, or pick up a program at one of the locations around the city.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Nextfest 2008 Opening Night

Last night I took in the opening ceremonies of Nextfest 2008, as well as a couple of Nextfest shows. There was beer (not free) and pizza (free) for all, courtesy of sponsors Pizza 73 and Sleemans. The Roxy was packed with artists and supporters of the arts community.

ihuman was rapping up the stage as we waited for the ceremonies to start. Then Freshly Squeezed hip-hopped like never before. I have seen them a few times, and they are getting better and better.

The opening ceremonies introduced us to sponsors, and some of the artists participating in the festival. There were thankfully no long speeches -- the Enbridge representative summed it up "you didn't come here to listen to me". Then on with the shows!

I watched Scratch improvise a multi-person, multi-plot story, often 'changing places' like tag team wrestlers. Pure magic -- you have to see it to believe it. They had some 'equipment problems', which they deftly wove into the performance. It was like a good murder mystery, where you can see the end coming, but you cannot guess how them might get there -- and neither can they!

Then I watched Linda Turnbull perform Masked Memory, part of the Choreographer's Playground. This piece has been evolving for some time, and a smaller, earlier version was performed at the Mile Zero Salon series event Lost and Found . At Nextfest, Linda was able to work with a full suite of staging, lighting, and sound technicians to create a more rich performance. Masked Memory has evolved into a stark performance, that has a lot of emotional punch at the end.

Lastly, the James Murdoch band took us into the night with music in the Roxy lobby. I do like to leave musical performances before they end - so I left humming the tunes of James Murdoch band. Quite an evening.

Nextfest continues thru to June 15th, with something for everyone. You can check out a single show, or two - many shows are free. Or for a measly $40, you can pick up the pass and see as many shows as you like. I've got mine. Maybe I'll see you there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

2008_05_22 Lydia's in Saskatoon

I happened to be walking down Broadway, when I heard music. I have an ear for 'live music' and this was definately live - a keyboard. I turned and went up some stairs to a bar - Lydia's. No music. Then I heard it again, in a side door. Up another flight of stairs, and I saw Danielle French. hmm... Karen Kosowski was performing, Danielle and Rozalind MacPhail were waiting their turn. I snapped a few pics with my G9, and had to leave for a moment. I was back in 10 minutes. As I left, Danielle launched into her 'tribute to Tom Waits' tune, and it kept music in my head as I drove across town and back. When I got back, the same parking spot was still empty. I love Saskatoon!

Danielle, Rozalind and Karen are doing a cross country (well, Vancouver to Toronto anyway) tour. I had just happened on them by a fortunate chance. I managed to hear most of the (second?) set before they stopped to head off to Regina for a sleep before a performance in Winnipeg tomorrow.

Rozalind plays flute and guitar, and a strange computer beast - intersting sounds she gets from it. Karen on keyboards and vocals. Danielle on guitar and vocals. They took turns, with Rozalind often joining in with her flute to add some richness to their music.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Greg Cockerill and Pat Phillips at Earls on 16th

Live music at Earls? In Calgary? Who'da thunk it? We cruised into Earls and saw the flier advertising live music on Mondays. Hmm... I thought -- to bad it isn't Monday. We had just ordered our drinks when the distinctive sounds of live music came thru the din of workday done shooter contests. I guess it is Monday.

One of the booths was full of instruments and electronics. The music was well suited to a Calgary Earls. Guitar, drums, an occasional harmonica, vocals of mostly cover tunes. In the Early Mornin' Rain -- to I'm Still in Love With You. With two wide-screen tv's running behind, from football to wrestling -- seemed strangley normal for Calgary. A few customers were listening, but most seemed simply glad to be away from work on a long weekend.

One of the curious things I have noted about Calgary is the absence of children in 'public' places. Earls was full of 'twenty-somethings', not a single child and hardly anyone over 40. I felt a bit out of place. But the food was Earl's consistent. I generally have the Quesedillas - but decided on a burger this evening(with Stella of course). Excellent quality, consistent food and service -- and now, music on Mondays. Check it out.


2008_05_17 Céline La Coste at Beat Niq

I arrived a bit late at Beat Niq - more so because of the destruction on 9th ave, searching for a parking spot... Lucky for me, Céline delivered a long set, so I got lots of time to listen (and take pictures). Céline grew up French, and said she didn't learn English until the 4th grade - she sings in Spanish and Portugese (Jobim of course) as well. She was well supported by local musicians Egor Ukoloff on piano, Gerry Hebert on sax, James Bailey on guitar (nice solo), Mark Johnson on bass and Luis Angel on percussion. They were all enjoying the performance and the music.

Céline has a beautiful voice and fun stage presence. The club was full, and the crowd enjoyed her tunes and stage banter. As the set ended, she let the 'band' do a tune as she went out into the audience to say hello to old friends and to make new friends.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

2008_05_15 Jazz at Kit's on 16th - the manic thematic trio

Cindy Mcleod told be a few months ago that she was starting up some jazz on Thursday nights at Kit's on 16th. I arrived late on the 15th - after having a great dinner at Buon Giourno with family. Cindy was not there, but Mark D'Angelo gave me a friendly greeting.

I missed the manic thematic trio when they were in Edmonton, so it was nice to catch a bit of them at Kit's. On stage, Ralf Buschmeyer was leading with his guitar, supported by John Hyde on bass and Andy Ericson on drums. I always enjoy Ralf's smooth sound, and he is so hard working it seems I run into him every second time I'm down in Calgary -- and occasionally in Edmonton as well. Funnily enough I heard John Hyde the night before at Beat Niq's Swing Dance evening. As far as I know, I've only heard Andy once, when he played the 2006 C-Jazz festival with the Jeff Hendrick Group. He also works with a lot of other musicians in performanc and studio. The group was playing original music, but it sounded smooth and familiar - they were obviously having a good time as well. You can check out thier sound at CD Baby

Kit's jazz room is in the basement. A few weeks ago, I took in their Saturday afternoon Blues Jam - very loud! Jazz in the basement was much more 'listenable' - especially with this trio on deck.

If you're looking for a jazz fix on a weeknight, check out Kit's on 16th - downstairs, enter thru the back. You won't be sorry. Kit's on 16th website


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Piq Niq, Beat Niq - jazz, song and dance

I'm on the road for a few days, so Edmonton Stages will be 'stages visited by an Edmontonian'. Last night I visited Piq Niq restaruant - had the Steak Frites 'medium rare' - excellent food and service. Mari Jo de Waal sang jazz standards, with Kevin Smith accompanied on guitar, from a corner so small they had to take turns to get in and out.

Then I slipped downstairs to Beat Niq to catch a bif of the Swing Dance party. John Hyde, John de Waal, Derek Stoll and Gerry Hebert provide music for swing dance. It was nice to see some of the Juno banners still decorating the space. it was early, and the crowd hand`t gathered yet. The music was danceable, and when `Stars Fell on Alabama`. Two couples came to the floor to show us thier swing dance moves. It was getting late so I left them to party into the night.

Beat Niq / Piq Niq photos
Piq Niq Slideshow Beat Niq Slideshow

Piq Niq is a quiet oasis of music and food a half block off the noise and drunkenness of Stephen Avenue. Beat Niq is the jazz club in the basement, you can enter thru the restaurant or thru the alley door. You can order Piq Niq food from Beat Niq if you are hungry -- or eat upstairs and slip downstairs afterwards for more jazz

Piq Niq / Beat Niq website

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

2008_04_19 Drew and Lindsey at Hulbert's

Drew and Lindsey are having a good time. It shows in the pics - and in their music. If you want to have a great time, check them out. The music is fast paced, energetic. They are a well matched pair - playing off each other's strengths, working and playing music they love.

I've caught Drew and Lindsey a couple of times before. The first time, I thought "who are they and why haven't I heard them before". I've caught them a few times since and the energy is always there. Lindsey Walker sings - loud, soft, fast, slow, rhythm, beat, ballad. Drew Malcolm plays guitar - soft, loud, slow, fast, he puts energy into Lindsey's tunes. You need to experience them to see how well two talented musicians can perform together. Drew and Lindsey are GMCC graduates - but I think they'll always be 'students of music'. Trying new things, re-learning or re-working tunes they know. It shows in the music.

Watch out for them, and maybe I'll see you - because I'm watching for them too. Drew and Lindsey are also part of the group 'West of Winnipeg'. I've not caught West of Winnipeg live yet, but myspace shows a similar sound, a bit more rich - more instrumentation. Thier myspace says 'blues, classic rock, funk', but I've also heard Lindsey swing over to a jazz tune.

You can hear a bit of Drew and Lindsey at their MySpace


Hulbert's webspace

2008_04_19 Bruce and Lori Mohacsy at Jeffrey's Cafe

After a late night of cruising around town, I slipped over to Jeffrey's Cafe for a cool Stella and a cookie. Bruce and Lori Mohacsy were in fine form this evening. Andrew Glover and Wes Yaciuk provided accompaniment. It was late, past my bedtime, but I couldn't help myself from staying for another, and then another, and another tune. I don't think they have a CD? But if you want to hear a few tunes, cruise over to Lori's MySpace

Jeffrey's Cafe has music on Friday nights - mostly jazz and blues. Get there early, there are not many tables, and it's often packed.


2008_05_05 Swinging Sisters Club at CBC Centre Stage

CBC's centre stage is springing forth with music every day this week. On Monday I dropped by to catch Kate Ryan, Bridget Ryan, and Beth Portman - the Swinging Sisters - do a preview of their upcoming show.

Like Mark Connelly the CBC host, I felt jealous when they sang "Oh, Johnny, Oh Johnny - how he could love". The swinging sisters delivered fresh new arrangements of old familiar songs under the direction of Roxanne Classen. I saw this show at the Fringe and enjoyed every minute.

The Swinging Sisters Club presents a Mother's Day Weekend Treat at Pleasantview Hall at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Saturday. Music from the 40's. Take mom - and gram. They'll both enjoy it.


Monday, May 5, 2008

2008_04_18 Shelley Jones CD Release at the Yardbird Suite

When I came into the Yardbird Suite, I first heard the drums. I was struck by the power of Jamie Cooper, before I saw him. Then I heard voices. Female voices? Who is singing with Shelley Jones?

Edmonton jazz vocalist Shelley Jones was accompanied by Andrew Glover, John Taylor, Wes Yaciuk and Jamie Cooper, and also joined by Rhonda Withnell and Lenka Slaba. Shelley's music ranged from smooth jazz, thru pop and blues to Carnival Ole in Rio - one of my favorites. Rhonda and Lenka joined in some pieces and stepped back into the darkness on others. If often hear Shelley working with Andrew and Wes. It was a real pleasure to hear a few more voices.

Shelley picked up a guitar for a while, and gave us a bit of call and response with John Taylor on bass. I think Andrew persuaded her to take up the guitar on stage. She collaborated with him to write and produce the tunes on the CD.

You can hear more of Shelley at Jeffrey's Cafe on May 9th, and at Fresh Start Bistro on June 13th. Maybe I'll see you there.


Shelley's website

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yardbird All Stars tribute to Duke Ellington

I was one of the lucky few who managed to get to see the Yardbird All Starts over the weekend - both shows were totally sold out. We saw Senator Tommy Banks take the role of Duke Ellington to lead the group. At almost 9 pm a car pulled up and double parked -- I headed out to tell the occupant that we werre already sold out. "I have to see the show," he said "I've heard that the great PJ Perry is doing Johnny Hodges!' Of course it was PJ himself :-) Kent Sangster did Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney was performed by Dave Babcock. Bob Tildesley replaced Cat Anderson's toilet plunger with a modern trumpet stopper. Craig Brennan was Lawrence Brown on trombone. Mike Lent was John Lamb on bass - and Rufus Jones was performed by Juno Award winner Sando Dominelli.

Everybody who was anybody was there. I was the 'volunteer house manager' for the evening, so I got a chance to talk to lots of 'old friends'. Many who have supported the Suite for decades. Board member Craig McGill was introduced by CBC's Jacqueline Janelle. CBC taped a live GO! program the night before, left the equipment in the Suite to tape this show for a summer broadcast. Listen for it in June on CBC radio.

Tom was in his element. Leading the cream of local jazz musicians, in front of an imtimate - and apprciative crowd. We got stories about the music, and jokes about the past, and today's politics. "Bush wants to run for another term. He's been told that you can only be elected for two terms - his argument? 'but I've only won once?".

I was tempted to come by on Saturday to listen to the show again, it was so good -- and it is hard to listen carefully when I am volunteering. But I checked ticketmaster, and Saturday's show was sold out earlier in the week.

The show ended with a standing ovation, requiring an encore from the band.

Yardbird Suite Website

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kits on 16th in Calgary

I was down in Calgary to photograph the CKUA Blues Bash, and had a bit of time to visit Kit's on 16th. It was my first visit, having seen quite a bit on Facebook and other media. Saturday afternoon, Kit's hosts a Blues Jam. Be warned. This jam is not for the meek. It's more for 'those who drank too much on Friday night, and need to waste away a Saturday afternoon, getting ready to drink to much on Saturday night'. It is loud. The quality was good, once I got my earplugs in place. Conversation was at a minimum - even during breaks, because the place is noisy and the background music was, well, not background music.

So if you are looking for blues on a Saturday afternoon - this is exactly the place for you! Bill Dowey looks after the jam, starts around 3:00 if I remember correctly, and goes until later. It was crowded when I arrived, but I was told it got busy later.

The weather was fantastic, so there were lots of smokers out front enjoying the music and the sunshine. A steady flow in and out.

I ran into Cindy Mcleod at the CKUA Blues Dance party in Bowness - and she told me that the Jazz Jam on Thursdays is downstairs -- I have to get down to Calgary in mid-week to catch that show. Maybe next month.


2008_04_11 Morgan Davis at the Blue Chair

I only managed to catch a few tunes from Morgan Davis on this visit. Having seen his performance from almost exactly a year before - I knew what to expect. His extensive discography, and a few samples can be found on his web pages at Morgan Davis website.

Intelligent, hot and cool blues. Morgan Davis is one of those performers who can captivate an entire audience, all by himself.

Morgan Davis at the Blue Chair in 2007

The Edmonton Recorder Orchestra at St. Andrew's United Church

Churches are always wonderful places to listen to music. When Monica Chattaway said the Edmonton Recorder Orchestra was performing The Cries of London: Music from the Time of Shakespeare, I knew I had to be there to hear, and to see. When you put the a recorder orchestra in a church, in costumes from the 1600s, you step back in time.

The entire Recorder Orchestra dressed the part, in costumes of the period. A well lit church, with sunlight streaming in from the outside - transported us back in time.

The performance started with readings from Shakespeare by Edmonton's Poet Laureate, E. D. Blodgett. Then music by the recorder orchestra, including a short series of dances. It ended with 'Cries of London'. The orchestra playing, while members called out sounds of the streets and markets of London.

I was transported back in time. The music was beautiful and the performance flawless. I always enjoy hearing and seeing reminders that the past, even hundreds of years ago, is still with us today. Real people, real music, and a minimum of modern technology (my digital camera excluded).


2008_04_05 Strathcona Farmer's Market Musicians

Even though we've move to St Albert, we still find ourselves drifting back to the Strathcona Market on Saturday - Marcia for the fresh, organic foods - and me for the music.

The Strathcona Farmer's Market runs all year, although fresh foods can be a bit scarce in mid-winter. There's always music, and often other performance crafts - face painting, balloon making, etc.

Spring and winter have been having a tug-of-war in Edmonton over the past 6 weeks or so. As I drove by the market yesterday, I saw the bagpiper was enjoying the spring weather. When I visited on April 5, he was standing in snow. Chad, who was inside the market with his accordian, was enjoying the sunshine near the doorway.

more Strathcona Farmer's Market Photos

Monday, April 21, 2008

2008_04_21 Christmas with the Searchers at Festival Place

Marcia bought me tickets to the Searchers for Christmas - little did I know it would be a 'White Christmas' show. Passed several 'car accident leftovers' on the drive there, skidded past two turns in the snow. But we arrived, and home, safely. I didn't take my camera inside, so no photos. Sometimes, I like to just listen to the music.

I'd say the Searchers have been performing together for a while, although the 'new guy' drummer is only with the band for the past 10 years. Excellent stage show. Classic music. And a lot of music history.

Any history of music comes with a viewpoint - in this case, the viewpoint was the stories of the Searchers as they came to be a group, made some hits, and continue to make music today. There were lots of great tunes, including Ian Tyson's 'Four Strong Winds', which they recorded 'decades ago'. Lots of audience participation, in many ways, from singing, to waving to 'take as many flash pictures as you like -- makes us feel good'.

Of course the did Love Potion Number Nine, Sugar and Spice, Sweets for my Sweet and Needles and Pins. But also did tunes by Roy Orbison, Del Shannon and others. Old songs and new.

We bought tickets to a number of shows at Festival Place before moving to St Albert last fall - and it is still worth the drive. Friendly theatre - you can take your drinks to your seat. Sweets on sale if you rushed away from dinner to arrive at a 7:30 show.

Summer is coming - check out their patio series. I attended a few last summer and learned to get tickets early. Apparently a lot of people like to listen to music outside by the lake, while having a barbeque. It's on Wednesdays, so you can arrive early and check out the Farmer's market before the show starts.

Festival Place photos
Festival Place website

2008_04_04 Peña de Bomba! returns to Blue Chair

On Friday, I talked to a co-worker about Peña de Bomba! at Blue Chair. She expressed interest in seeing the show - I advised her that it was probably sold out and she should phone ahead. Sold out? Sold mid-week. There were 30 people on the 'wait list' when I arrived for dinner. I booked several days in advance, and as I ate my dinner a constant stream of people tried to get a table at the Blue Chair - to no avail.

At the first Peña de Bomba! we had a small group of musicians. Tonight? Six band members from Edmonton an Calgary. Harold's stage only holds 5 - even that is tight. Chris Andrew, who was recently awarded the CBC Galaxy Rising Star award, had to perform on the side of the stage.

Pena is described by Mario as a 'party', 'gathering', with music. This was the second Peña de Bomba! at the Blue Chair -- and the word is out. Harold announced that the 'silence' signs were hidden away for this show, and everyone was encouraged to have a good time. We all had a good time, and great music.

Bomba! heads off on a European tour. April 22 at the 100 Club in London. Next Pena Bomba at the Blue Chair is May 31. Call now!


Friday, April 18, 2008

2008_03_30 Hulbert's Rocks

Rhea borrowed Robin Hunter's guitar to open with homemade apple pie - a la mode. Robin Hunter, featured artist, accompanied by John (Woody) Woroschuk, were up next with a beautiful woman and a drunk limo, and took us all the way to Route 66.

Rhea had advised me that a Armediate (a gift from God) would be rocking Hulbert's Open Stage on March 30th. Dallas 'God' Robinson, on guitar, hair and vocals, Byron Mayer on drums and Aaron Storr on guitar and vocals -- add up the ages of all three, still younger than me. But a lot more musical than I am. The place was rocking. Lots of friends and family were along to see their debut. They definitely have an energy, and a musically unique sound.

Then followed a long list of well known local musicians, and some new faces. Ariane Lemire gave us a French and English preview of her upcoming show. And promised to do something in Spanish soon. We had two ukulele performers in a row - Beth Portman gave us some scat - longing for your lovin. Jill'ah up next with her Gorill'ah (Jill Pollock- woke up Monday morning with the devil in her bed). Jaybird gave us all an Orange Balloon - "I love you orange balloon". Ariane Lemire gave us the sultry tune about liquorice and ashes. Newcomers: Mike searching for his mind - says he enjoyed losing it -- his second visit I think. Then Carla Guenette - her first performance at Hulbert's - gave us an her cappella tune about the best part of a relationship. The part 'before' you know each other. A beautiful tune, reminiscent of some Broadway show tunes. I love hearing new voices. Ray Johnston, hmmm.. another first time performer. Lots of energy. Tunes about change, and destiny. Then Rob Heath cooled us down and closed out the evening with ‘every silver lining has a cloud’. What a night.

I had to slip out for a few minutes - and missed hearing several performers. Rhea's stage is sooo busy, blink and you missed something. Hulbert's is the best place to be on Sunday night. Starts about 7:30, and finishes promptly at 10:00 pm. You will wonder where the time went.


Hulbert's website

2008_03_30 Sunday Afternoon at Newcastle Pub

Every Sunday afternoon (about 3:30, plenty of time to get there after church) the weekend relaxes at Newcastle Pub. When I came in, Glenn Eilers was doing "Suzanne". He was encouraged to give us a couple more tunes while the next group was selected.

Newcastle Pub's open stage is run by David "Crawdad" Canterra and Bill "Willie" Engel. It has a country/blues musical flavour - but you never know who might show up, or what they might play. Actually, you never know what Willie might play in the introductory set - he seems to have a huge repetoire of songs. I have seen lots of rock and pop -- although never any jazz or hip-hop. It's music that Kokanee drinkers can relate to.

Glenn was replaced by a 5 person group, with harmonica, drums, guitar, bass and vocals, consisting of Crawdad on vocals and harmonica, Kelly Kipula - drums, John Peterson, Johnny Hewitt and Shane Lazarowich. If you want a lazy musical Sunday afternoon, drop by the Newcastle pub. Or, if you're a musician looking to exercise your axe - come on down and talk to Willie.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

2008_03_30 Top Secret: Ann Vriend at Yardbird

Ann Vriend's top secret release of When We Were Spies was sold out long before show date. This was a 'private booking', not shown in the Yardbird Suite program, but Ann's fans had no problems finding the show. The Yardbird Suite was an excellent venue for this latest release from Ann. She emerged from the darkness in trenchcoat and sunglasses to join her 'secret agents' on bass, guitar, drums and keys. Spies in the dark. I suspect they had a hard time seeing - the Yardbird is a very dimly lit venue.

Ann's latest CD has received rave reviews. Secret Agent Ann gave a visual, as well as a powerful musical performance, much enjoyed by the packed house. Her unique voice cuts thru the crowd noise. Complex lyrics beg another listen. At first, her music might sound like the latest 'pop sound', but you soon realize she creates an 'ann vriend zone' when she gives a concert. No-one else sounds like Ann Vriend.

Ann Vriend website


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2008_04_15 Memeza Africa at CBC Centre Stage

The place was packed! Sometimes the shows at CBC Centre stage are attended 'as people walk by at lunch'. But not today. I arrived shortly after 12 noon - and could hardly see the 'stage'. Memeza Africa wore colourful costumes, performed energetic dances, and sang beautiful, moving music accompanied by drum beats and gum boots.

Holly Wright joined in, adding a 'western dimension' to the music. She also gave explanations of how she met the musicians, the work they did together in Africa and how the came to be in Canada.

Memeza Africa is performing on Thursday at the Royal Alberta Museum, in support of Edzimkulu - althought we were told there were very few tickets left. I can see why.

CBC Centre stage is downtown in Edmonton Centre. The 'stage' is just outside of the CBC offices, and seating is installed for the crowd whenever there is a show. It's always a bit loose, generally a lunchtime presentation. And you usually have to listen to CBC in the morning to know if anything is happening, but you can find a schedule at:

CBC Centre Stage

Memeza Africa website
Edzimkulu website

photos of Memaza Africa with Holly Wright at CBC Centre Stage SLIDESHOW

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2008_04_11 Dee Daniels with Chris Andrew Trio at the Yardbird Suite

Dee Daniels is my kind of singer. I love singers, and jazz -- and I especially enjoy singers who create new material from old. Dee Daniels first set ranged from the Everly Brothers to James Taylor - all with a distinct Jazz style. The second set showed off her foundation in the 'standards'.

Dee also has an engaging stage presense, teasing the audience with questions and answers. Teasing the musicians about their age (youth), while complimenting them on their abilities and performance. This enriched the show, and kept our attention on the stage. Chris Andrew on keys, Mike Lent on bass and Sandro Dominelli on drums put up a solid foundation for Dee's vocal and verbal performance.

The Yardbird Suite is a jazz club, and a concert venue. Volunteer run, self serve bar, shared tables (you can't reserve a table). It is a club - membership is encouraged to support Jazz in our city. It has provided the many flavours of jazz to edmonton audiences for over 50 years.

Before I left, I bought up a CD, got it autographed and enjoyed more Dee Daniels all the way home to St Albert. It's Dee's first time in Edmonton. You can catch her again this evening. Do it.


Yardbird Suite website

Friday, April 11, 2008

2008_04_11 Ki: Mile Zero Dance

Gerry Morita and Mile Zero Dance can always be counted on to deliver something unique. Theresa Dextrase and Eryn Kelsey Annett Tempest add substance and movement, Eva Colmers add shadows and texture. If you are looking for an artistic, thought provoking evening, be sure to catch Ki.

Ki, by Mile Zero Dance, has been evolving for many months. A preview was shown at Mile Zero’s Studio series in February. It is always fun to watch a performance evolve. Ki opened last night at the Arts Barns. It is clearly a work of many people – with sound, lighting, dance and shadows created by projection – combining to create a thought provoking piece.

I was surprised at the number of ideas and feelings that came to me as I watched the performance. Ki is Japanese for ‘tree’. I found myself watching trees evolve, grow, wave and flow. They became tools, toys, and lastly a shelter. Eva Colmers reminds me that in art, different people see different things. Ki is a discussion piece.

Ki is also huge. The set is large, often dwarfing the dancers. In some cases the shadow techniques increase the size of the performers. In other sections, the performance shrinks to a small, private part of the set.
The interplay of shadows and dancers creates some very interesting situations of postural echo. A dancer behind the screen casts a shadow, which becomes part of the scene where a another dancer is in front of the screen. Projection images add to the texture.

Press Preview photos SLIDESHOW

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mayor's Celebration of the Arts - Winspear Centre

Photo: Red Power Squad
Last night I attended the Mayor's Celebration of the Arts (without my camera, for a change).

What a show! I know many of the performers, nominees and award winners from past performances. It was fantastic to see them in the Winspear - where everyone seems to shine.

Kita No Taiko drummers. Of course the sound was great. The 'huge drum' made such an noise that it sometimes seemed to sound twice from a single stroke. The Kita No Taiko drummers are very visual - bright red costumes, lots of movement. And the sound! The Winspear is a great place for a sound like that.

Edmonton Opera's Renee Brad sang a few tunes. I could not see clearly, but it appeared she was not wearing a mike - no problem hearing her at the back. Amazing voice. Beautiful music.

Red Power Squad - I have caught their show a couple of times. As Peter Brown said 'no-one can follow that, we need to have an intermission. Hot music. Hi energy hip-hop. Astonishing moves, twists spins, and a message. Angela Gladeu later received the award for Emerging Artist - I was rooting for her.

After the intermission, Brian Web Dance. Sheri Somerville sang "The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men", while Brian danced the sad man. Quite a dramatic change from Red Power Squad - with some similar movements - in very slow motion. Sherri is a local diva, actress and it was a pleasure to see her singing and echoing the dance performance in movement and song.

Samantha Schultz gave us two of her songs. I think I first heard Sam in April 2005. She is still only 17 years old, but she has clearly gained a wealth of experience. I was pleased to hear some new arrangements of familiar tunes. Her voice and performances continue improve. You can catch Samantha at the Citadel Theatre on April 11th, at the closing ceremonies of the Night of Artists festival on April 27th, and the Edmonton Folk Music festival this summer, and ... and... Sam is one busy performer -- when does she find time for school?

Next, Teatro La Quindicina gave three small skits, green peppers, golf and soup. Even Davina Steward had problems keeping straight faces in the middle of 'soup', as Jeff Haslam's ‘Hello, I am your waiter” started with ‘chicken and rice’ and drifted agonizingly slowly, indirectly, from ‘being a waiter keeps me out of trouble’ to confessing casually that he had killed someone and maybe he should have been arrested, before circling back to the recommended 'soup of the day'.
Theatro is always a delight, and I am certain the audience was tickled by their off-the wall humour.

And Le Fuzz (that's French for 'the fuzz', Peter Brown said quietly) closed the show with tunes in French, Russian, Spanish, and a bit of English. The audience was invited up to the stage to dance, and didn’t need encouraging. Stephen Mandel joined in, and was soon line dancing in a huge snake that rocked the stage.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dana Wylie CD Release at Velvet Underground

Long before Dana invited me to her CD release at the Velvet Underground, I had heard Mike Sadava raving about how good it is -- so I had to be there. Dana is in town for a show at the Mayfield, so we may get a few opportunities to listen to her over the next couple of months.

Most of the songs on the CD are by Dana - and she has a very interesting musical sense. Her performance partner, Jeremy Hellard is from England, and brings some traditional english tunes and sounds to their performance. Dana and Jeremy were joined by Cam Neufeld, Mike Sadava (hmmm...), Jason Kodie, Matthew Ord (one of those amazing musicians that is moving to? or passing thru, possibly because of the oil boom). The CD also features Scott Cook.

I first encountered Dana as an actress, and many years ago I saw her perform a Fringe play based on Edith Piaf. Funnily enough, one member of the Velvet Underground audience described Dana as a little sparrow - a small bird with a huge voice, a phrase used to describe Edith Piaf.

The Velvet Underground is, well... underground. More to the point, it is under the Starlight Room. And the booming base from above definately rocked the foundation at times. The service was friendly and the room is well suited to late night listening, with public tables in front of the stage, and more private booths on the side. This was my first time in the Velvet Underground.

The first set also featured some work by Matthew Ord, an amazing guitarist. Not sure how Dana linked up with him.

Musicians moved on and off the crowded stage throughout the show, giving us a variety of physical, as well as musical arrangements. I spent some time listening to the CD on Sunday and enjoyed it a lot. I need to put it in the car and let it run around a few times - that's how I get really familiar with an artist.

Dana Wylie photos

Saturday, April 5, 2008

2008/03/29 Fistfull of Blues at Norwood Legion

Fistfull of Blues, and Hot Cottage packed the Norwood legion so full they had to move an extra few tables into the dance floor. There was still room to dance, and dance we did! The Legion provided excellent food, and somebody even brought aa birthday cake.

Hot Cottage did the first set, then Fistfull of Blues with Hank Lionhart, the Hot Cottage,and back to Fistfull of Blues again. It was a late night and a lot of fun. The place was packed -- and the dance floor was busy.

Hot Cottage photos SLIDESHOW

Fistfull of Blues photos SLIDESHOW

Thursday, April 3, 2008

2008/04/03 my name is Rachel Corrie at Catalyst Theatre

Rachel Corrie has nightmares of falling. In her youth, she fears she will fall and crash. As she grows older, she falls and falls, determined to survive. In life, she falls, possibly unseen, and is crushed by a bulldozer. Rachel Corrie was a complex, driven person, who wanted to change the world. Thruough the play - she may be having a wider, although less direct, effect than the efforts during her lifetime.

Theatre Yes presents Rachel Corrie at Catalyst. Performed by Lora Brovold, directed by Heather Inglis, "my name is Rachel Corrie" is long and intense. Lora's performance was so physical that at times I was worried she would hurt herself on stage. And so complex, mental, philosophical, that I was astonished she didn't lose her way. Maybe she did - who would know? The set was simple and barren, like the desert. A smooth integration of sound, lighting and multi-media enriched the performance.

I was in Israel and travelled from Jerusalem to Cairo in 1984. This play reminded me of how hot, and desolate it can be, and how friendly the people were. And how long and slow a 'border crossing' can be for a wealthy person, by local standards, wiht a Canadian passport. I was so caught up in Rachel Corrie, that I wanted to talk to her about my experiences -- but realized this was Lora, an actress, who transported me back in time and across oceans of space.

This is a play for people who think and want to think more. No musical comedy here. No intermission - but I didn't want an intermission. There was no natural break, no logical point to send the audience out for drinks and socializing - we all know the ending, just not how it will be delivered. There are opportunities to discuss and learn at sessions before the play and on this upcoming weekend.

I have seen many performances at the Catalyst and it is always a friendly place. It looks a bit strange from the outside, like a big cave. Once you are inside, it is warm and friendly. The stage is small. The front row, where I sat, is almost 'on the stage'. As an audience member, you are 'right there'.

Theatre Yes website
Theatre Yes - my Name is Rachel Corrie' page

Rachel Corrie Catalyst Theatre page

Catalyst Theatre website

Monday, March 31, 2008

2008/03/28 Three Viewings at the Varscona

Shadow Theatre's 'Three Viewings' by Jeffrey Hatcher was an unexpected pleasure. I knew something of the theme before going in. And I'm quite familiar with the Varscona stage, and anyone who catches more than a few plays in Edmonton knows of Davina Stewart.

Dave Clarke played Emil, a funeral mortician, falling in love with one of the 'regular vultures' in attendance. With a strange, almost macabre result. Emil hovers and whispers 'I love you'. His quiet 'unobtrusive' hovering pervades the interludes between pieces. Mac (Davina) was a quirky, bisexual, hard driving rationalizing pre-grave robber. In and out, quick and clean - no missing fingers here. In the end she shows us that she does have a heart. Davina is so versatile - and this time I actually 'forgot' she was Davina during the play. Patricia Casey as Virginia, the helpless housewife, who is given a hand from beyond the grave. The last story lifted us back to life and the living.

I found the one-two-three format, with no intermission, a bit long. I suspect having an intermission creates logistical problems and Shadow Theatre decided on the longer format to simplify the organizing.

The Varscona Theater is a busy place. It is difficult to keep track of how many theatre groups use the Varscona, plus an occasional CD release, or other private event. And then there's the fundraisers, and of course The Fringe. I spend a lot of time at the Varscona. A friendly, volunteer run place.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Terry Morrison and John Gorham at Hulbert's

I need to hear more Terry Morrison. I caught a few tunes at Hulberts, and hearing the 'herbaceous ballad of coriander mandrake' again, I immediatly bought her CD. I put it on in my car, and started at 9. The ballad. Drove home and went to bed.

Next day, out to the hardware store in the afternoon, and thinking: "That's a really nice singer, I'll wait for CKUA to tell me who it is. Strange, doesn't sound like blues...". Then I realize it's Terry, doing 'Big Trouble". Into the hardware store, out, and off to groceries, and I hear the 'thinking song'. It happens again. I stop in the Safeway lot, wait to the end, and when 'no announcer' appears,

I pull out the CD cover and have a look. Terry Morrison again (still).

What is it about her voice? I have had people who study music 'correct' my impressions about who is a better musician. But, I know what I like. Frankly, I like music that transmits an emotion (and I like photos that have emotional content as well). And I like Terry Morrison. There is something about her voice that can be pensive, or laughing, or crying with joy. You hear it, and you feel it.

I arrived late at Hulbert's, and there was still a substantial crowd listening to Terry and John -- I'm not the only one who likes her stuff. Next time, I'll have to plan better and arrive earlier. I'll probably need to reserve to get a table.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Prairie Pilgrims at Hulbert's

When I saw Prairie Pilgrims listed for Hulbert's, I wondered who that was? When I met them on the stairway (sort of Hulbert's 'green room') I found I knew them all. Logan Sarchfield, Hannah Goa, Sue Decker and Ron Mercer, put them together and you have Prairie Pilgrims.

The music, arrangemnts and instrumentation was varied. Hannah and Sue on multiple instruments, vocals. Logan singing 'Moondance', with Hannah doing a bit of a solo on violin. Sue moving to the drum set. An 'instrument exchange' with appreciative the audience -the place was packed. Hannah and Sue join in harmony for Blue Stone Mountain. Unfortunately, I had to run. This is the kind of music I love to hear when I can lean back, listen, and slowly sip my Hoegaarden.


Tim Hus and Spider Bishop at the Blue Chair

'Pick-up trucks, rodeos and dust', the hurt'n albert'n picks up a hitch-hiker and pens a tune.

It's clear that Tim lives in the country -- in the west. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the northwestern states. Simple tunes, country styles and a guitar that sounds like a freight train.

Spider Bishop put on his red shirt to match the Canadian flag hung at the back of the stage. The crowd soaked up music, and 'canadian'.

Tim Hus. An 'original country' night at the Blue Chair Cafe.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jonny Mac Attack at the Castle Rock

I had heard about the Jazz jams at the Rock a few weeks before, and having moved to St Albert, I made my way over last week. I immediatly discovered that althought most of the patrons, and the owner did not know me -- a lot of the musicians did. Enrique introduced me to the owner, I met others, Jonny introduced me to more -- and I was happy to meet an old friend, Ralph Pretz - who I had not seen since his performance at the Yardbird Suite in 1995.

Jonny and the guys were honking up a jazz storm, so I picked up a Stella from a newby bartender and took a listen. The crowd was friendly, sociable, and attentive. I was surprised at the quality of the music - and then I talked to Enrique. "I moved here a few years ago" he said. "I walked into the Castle Rock and discovered many fantastic musicians - that I had never met before. And I have been around". So it goes. Living in Edmonton, we often assume nothing is happening in the 'burbs'. Well, it's happening at The Rock. I see they have Slow Burn in this weekend, and if I remember correctly, it's Hank Leonhard - with his Tacoy Ride friends no doubt, next weekend. And music throughout the week as well.

It was announced that in April, Mark Amar will be hosting is 200th jam session. Once I shed my day job, I might be spending a lot more time over here.


Castle Rock gallery

Madly, Gloriously, Deeply in Love - Story Slam at Blue Chair

Story Slam at the Blue Chair. Sign up at 7, stories start at 8. No story -- good, we need people to be judges. Make your donation, winner takes all. No second place here. The third Wednesday of every month storytellers take over at the Blue Chair. many of the competitors are accomplished, or working writers. There are always new faces.

Roxanne Felix won, finally, last month. I guess that's how Susan talked her into hosting. She even managed to keep Lisa at bay. Well done. Of course this gave Susan Hagan, one of the organizers - a chance to tell her tale of giving up smoking, and blaming everyone else. Then JP gave us a tale of a poet, a scientist, musician, silent observer, statistician, trapped in time. Because I'm taking pictures, I often find JP's items difficult to follow. This time he worked in enough repition to keep me in synch. Renee was up next. New to Story Slam I think. An intereting tale with a twisted sense of time and place. I talked to her afterwards, and she was experimenting with different ways to tell a tale.

A break - usually after 5 stories, but today we did not have a full slate. Very unusual, the winnings almost always top $300, bringing out lots of competitors. After the break, and old hand and previous winner Mark Nixon took the lead with his 'new boss', explaining why nobody gives a damn about the work, as long as you make it look good. Unseen, unread, ignored and wasted. Then Terrance Harding, another newcomer, told us about his failed love and his bittersweet (or was it just bitter) wishes for her success. Taking final marks, and all the money. See you next month.


Breezy and Friends at Little Flower - Fiddler's Roost

Little Flower Open Stage moved to Fiddler's Roost some time ago due to renovations, and then to avoid a rent hike. I think of it as a step up, even if it is downstairs.

For those of my age, Fiddler's Roost is the 'old media club'. I remember hearing Garnet Rogers there many, many years ago. Bernie runs the place now, and has many different open stages and music circles throughout the week. Located on 99th street and 86 ave - you'll see the sign outside when there is music. Down the stairs, pay your two bucks - and make yourself at home. You can find a cool beer, some chips, and sometimes even a full meal if there is a special event happening.

Little Flower Open Stage happens on Wednesdays. Breezy Brian Gregg is almost always in attendance (although Pascal recently covered when Brian was checking out the politics in Cuba). When I came in, John Peterson was making music with Scot Morgan on bass and Pat Flanders on drums. Then Alin Rogoz gave us some soft bass solos. I think it was the first time Alin visited - always nice to see someone new, do something different. Then Dr John joined up with Breezy while Pascal noodled on the piano. It was late (for me, on a weeknight) - but as I left Maurice Jones came down the stairs. Sorry I missed him - but at least I had a chance to say hello. I asked, but he has sold all of his CDs and needs to make some more!


Fiddler's Roost website

No Leonard Cohen at Hulberts Open Stage

With Cohen in the news, I seem to hear his songs everywhere... And maybe someday at Hulbert's open stage --- but only if he actually shows up. Hulbert's open stage is unique, because they podcast, artist can only do their own songs. So Cohen can do Cohen.

Don't think this creates a scarcity of music - much the contrary. With Edmonton's hot economy - we have many musicians passing thru, or coming here for 'day jobs'. And it doesn't take long for them to find Hulbert's open stage, and Rhea March's open welcome.

On March 16, we saw some old friends with new tunes, including Carla Anderson, Joe Nolan and Ken Stead - and made some new friends Mike Magaw, Kerry Krishna, OJ and the very young, budding songwriter Megan. And of course, as always, many others. And tonight I saw Brad Hardstaff sharing his percussion sounds - and beautiful drums, with several of the performers. Rhea is always managing a rapidly changing list as the night passes. The open stage closes early - 10:00 but having to go to work early on Monday, I don't often manage to stay for the entire show.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Carrie and Alex at Steeps

Steeps is a very small stage... A narrow tea house, with some space near the entrance for music. But the sound is good, the atmosphere is very relaxed. They have music on Friday nights, from 8:30 to 10:30. You can find their music schedule, and more on Facebook under the group Steeps Old Glenora.

Carrie gave me a head's up that they were doing a special performance on Sunday evening. I heard Carrie and Alex two years ago in the same location - and it was nice to catch up with them. We talked a bit about Cohen's "Hallelujah" as he had just been named to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. "What type of music does Cohen create?" asked Alex - poetry, was our conclusion.

It was a quiet night, perfect time to chill with some hot tea, and listen to a few tunes. Good music, quiet location, excellent tea and lots of choices. What else do you need for a Sunday evening?


My Steeps gallery

Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick at Blue Chair

The place was packed. The music was great and the audience was enjoying intensely. "Wow, they are fantastic", I said quietly, to Mike Sadava, and he pointed to the 'silence' poster beside the stage.

From "We've Got a Love Like That" to "How'd You Know I Missed You?". Voices a bit rough, sound very, very smooth. Singing solo, harmonizing, Suzie soars, Rick provides a foundation. Then Rick leads off with his unique voice.

I had two other stages to visit, but I had to stop here for a while. I do get out a lot, and Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick was the best show I have heard in some time. "They've got a sound like that".

And the Blue Chair, true to form -- during the break the musicians wander into the audience to say hello and sell CDs. A great place to hear music, pick up some gifts for yourself and others, and meet the music makers.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jim Guiboche at The Argyle Casino

Jim invited me over to the Argle Casino to catch some of the Sleepers, and of course I brought my camera. Casino security can be a bit 'touchy', so I made a point of going over and asking for permission to take some photos. It took a while, but eventually I got permission. "only a few, and just the band". No problem.

Jimmy had regulars Grant Stovel on drums and Chris Brzezicki on bass - with Alex Vargas singing. Scott McReady was playing the harmonica. When I came in, Hank Leonhardt was doing a few tunes - and I got a chance to listen, but no permission to photograph yet.

The Argyle Casino was packed - I had to park a quarter mile away. Busy place on a Friday night! Of course most of the customers were enjoying Jimmy's blues as 'backgound' to the ching-ching of machines. There was a small crowd of friends up near the stage, chatting and chillin'.


Paul Bromley at Hulbert's

Paul Bromley performed after Tanyss Nixi, giving Hulbert's audiences two shows in one night. I had a busy night, but wanted to catch Paul's new hairstyle, and to hear Jennifer Wong do some vocals. I have photographed Jenny as a dancer with Vibe Tribe, but never heard hear sing. They did Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah
', a tune we all know and love. Then Paul brought the audience on board to join in one of his songs. And we all left with that 'feel good together' emotion as our bodies joined in sound.


Tanyss Nixi at Hulbert's

Hulbert's was hosting a twofer, with Tanyss up first, suppoorted by James Patterson. She has certainly performed around Edmonton at lot, but somehow, our paths had not crossed before. I arrived late, and only had a few minutes to listen - and noted that I enjoyed her clear, soulful sound.


Museum of Mental Objects (MOMO) in the Timms Foyer

Judy Freya Sibayan is curator and Museum of Mental Objects (MOMO). On March 14, 2008, she added an item to her collection, a work of art by Tanya Lukin-Linklater. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance - although no photos were permitted while the museum was open. I was permitted to take some photos before it opened, and after it closed.

When the museum opened, Judy gave a presentatation of the works currently installed, of which there are 10. The works ranged from mystical simple beauties, to a bright, witty, stab of light, confusing to some of the patrons - delighting others. Judy's presentation consisted of a short introduction to each work - and then a verbal delivery of the work as it was installed. She explained that her capacity to hold works is limited, and noted that some works have gone missing. On one occasion, she was offered a work - who could decline? But shortly afterwards the work was lost. Pity.

Judy Freya Sibayan Photos SLIDESHOW

Tanya had been invited to prepare a work for installtion in the gallery. She was called forward to install her work. Tanya whispered the work to Judy, who repeated it back quietly. It took some time for the installation to be completed. The work being fairly complex, and I suspect quite foreign to Judy, although it was in English. Judy then presented the work to the gallery patrons. There was a small installation error, and Tanya made a minor correction - and the work was presented again.

The work was beautiful and pure Tanya Lukin-Linklater. I have seen Tanya perform several times, and if I had heard the work, I could have identified it as Tanya without question.

The presentation was followed by a discussion of the work, the installation process, 'copy' issues - a very interesting converation. And then MOMO closed. And we got to talk to Judy again. And have more snacks.

Tanya in performance - Water

Tanya in performance - Culuk "Feather"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Celtara at Blue Chair

I managed to pop in for a few minutes to hear a bit of Celtara at the Blue Chair. Harold had told me they were five solid musicians, and he had met them when they were booked for a private event.

A variety of instruments, tunes, voices and harmonies, in a Celtic tradition. The music is traditional, rich and varied. I only got a small taste -- I need to hear more of this. Their Celtara mySpace shows that they are a busy group - maybe I can catch them again soon.


Celtara website
Blue Chair website
Blue Chair photos

Olive Reading Series at Hulbert's

I had seen announcements of the Olive Reading series a few times - but not managed to get there in the past. I picked a good night to hear some poetry and meet people. I was only there a few minutes when Chris said to a new customer 'no, we can't bring out any more chairs. Everyone seems to have saved a poem for tonight.' I had arrived at the annual senior undergraduate poetry class reading, hosted by Maria Chan and Bert Almon.

It was a fast poeted (is that a word?) evening. A small book of poems 'Under the Covers' was available - and some of the poets read from the book, others from notes -and one, as you can see in the photos, supported his poetry with drawings. We heard stories about the conception of poems, followed by poems.

After the formal part of the evening, there were six more people who took up the 'open stage' portion of the evening, including Chris Martyniuk -- one of Hulbert's owners, to deliver their short poems. I, and the crowd, especially enjoyed the one poem dedicated to two schizophrenic homeless friends "Next Week".


Hulbert's webpages

My spoken arts photos

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Laura Crema at Yardbird Suite

I missed Laura Crema the last time she was at the Yardbird. Being a volunteer at the Suite, as soon as I saw her name on the list - I signed up as House Manager. I started volunteering at the Suite many years ago so that I would be reminded to go, and also forced to stay for the entire show. The rewards are many - lots of jazz friends, opportunites to meet many musicians as they tour accross the city, province country and around the world. And of course great music.

Laura came from Vancouver with Bill Coon - guitar, Paul Rushka - bass, Paul Townsend on drums and George McFetridge on piano. I hadn't seen Bill Coon for many years - although he has been in town, we just didn't seem to cross paths. I bumped into Paul recently in Vancouver.

I do love singers, and Laura impressed me. Her tune 'Spring is Here', the tile cut from her latest CD seemed a bit early for Edmonton, but the weather was strangely warm - it has been much colder since then. Seems she brought spring with her CDs - and went home with a much lighter load, having sold quite a few of them. If I remember correctly, she saved that tune for last - and it was still warm out when she left - 'round midnight'.

The Yardbird gets very different crowds depending on the type of music - and I warned the bartender (also a volunteer) that we would sell lots of wine with a singer in the house. The first three customers ordered a 'bottle of red', and we had to go hunting in the back storage for more.


Laura Crema's website

Yardbird Suite website
All my Yardbid photos