Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Latest Controversy at

This poster by Paul Gardner of Minneapolis aka "Florafauna".
The issue here, is that the geometric landmass comes from a piece by Andrew Holder.
Mountain Town
The unwritten rule of re-appropriation, it seems, is that cribbing the work of your contemporaries isn't looked upon favorably. Even if it's re-contextualized...y'know, a collage.
The whole thing's a sticky wicket, needless to say. Wow, what an antiquated term.
Anyway...I remember when something similar happened four years ago. I joined in on the web-based flogging, and for my trouble, the said insecure "artist" decided to post racist comments on this blog, posing as someone else several times. He also faked his death. On the internet.

Now, other than this post, I'm staying far away from the whole fracas. Why? Because nothing I say will solve a fucking thing, and I won't be adding anything new. And while I love the site and owe Clay big time for starting it, the arguments tend to upset me. That, and other stuff, but there's no need to elaborate on the "other stuff". Life's too short, for fuck's sake. As I type this, there are 565 672 comments on that poster, and that may jump by 200 before the week is through.

I gotta say, I hate copyright/re-appropriation/re-contextualization arguments. It's like, where do you draw the fucking line? What's safe to use, what's verboten? It gives me a headache. As mentioned, the fact that part of the image was borrowed from someone of the same era is the issue. I was gonna make mention of the awesome work that Girl Talk does, doing the same thing with music, but I seem to have lost the plot. Great. I started this post at like, 2 AM and now I'm finishing it during my lunch break.

At any rate, I'd like to hear what you might have to say about this, so leave comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Fringe So Far...part 3

Posters at MTC 1
Posters at MTC 2

Posters outside MTC.

The Further Adventures of Antoine Feval
If you're not aware of Chris Gibbs' lunacy, it about time you got familiar, got-dammit. And for the record, no, it's not necessary to have seen his previous Antoine Feval show to understand this one. The premise for both shows: Gibbs' dimwitted Victorian ancestor Barnaby erroneously takes a notorious cat burglar to be a master detective, and becomes his assistant...of sorts.
Sarah and myself were treated to yet another laugh-filled hour from Gibbs, stacked with off-the-wall jokes, plus jabs at Canadian politeness, his fellow King's Head performer Jem Rolls, and at the fact that both him and Jem have found romance here in Canada...something about it being a way to get Canada back within England's clutches in a clandestine fashion. You NEED to see this show.

The Wizard of One
This show was a bit of a question mark initially. Sarah had marked this in our program as a "maybe", and I seconded it, mainly because she's a Wizard of Oz fan. Getting to the venue, we had forgotten why we were interested in the show in the first place, and we're slightly wary of the amount of kids in attendance. I braced myself for disappointment.
Instead, we left more than pleasantly surprised at what we had just witnessed. Neil James convincingly plays all of the characters in this healthcare industry-based take on the classic Frank L. Baum tale/MGM movie. I was not only impressed with his range, but his fluid transitions from character to character. Kudos, mister. And what's really cool, is that you can bring the kids to this one, and not be bored to teas by some dumbed-down pap. Definite recommendation.
A bonus funny moment: Neil gingerly explaining to the all-ages crowd that he's also the stage manager for the absolutely-not-for-kids Pussy Sushi.

Sound and Fury's Sherlock Holmes and the Saline Solution
Another must-see...if you can get a ticket. Five stars in the Free Press = sold out shows, usually. I gotta say that the Gas Station Theatre is the perfect venue for these guys (even though the seats are hella awkward for most of the patrons). Fairly large capacity and great acoustics. Those of you unfamiliar with a Sound and Fury show can expect a lot of audience interaction before, during AND after the show...they're just really chummy. You can also expect a ton of off-color songs, groan-inducing puns, pop culture references, double entendres...the makings of a gut-busting good time. And let me tell you, Winnipeg loves these guys...our audience was rabid for 'em! And it was full of Sound adn Fury first-timers! They went home knowing what all the fuss was about.

Take It Back
Sarah and I have been Fringing together for 10 years, and it took us this long to see a dance production! Well, I'm really fucking glad it was this one. Wow. It was a blast watching these three members of the Solid State troupe do their thing. B-boying (breakdancing to the unwashed masses...sorry, I couldn't resist. :D ) and swing dancing (or lindy hopping) and a lil' bit of capoeira thrown in made for a great start to our Monday. Reommended, without question.

The Set of "How Sweet It Is"

The set of How Sweet It Is.

How Sweet It Is
Elizabeth MacEachern has to be commended for sharing her personal diabetes history. However, I can't say I found her portrayals of the folks involved all that compelling. There are a couple of exceptions, though: her cowboyish eye surgeon was a little amusing and she really came alive as the nurse handling "Insulin 101". By the end, it was apparent that this show was a rather emotional expereience for her (as well it should be), as she barely held herself together during the curtain call.
In addition to that, I think I would've found her short, raunchy-for-laughs dance with a Mr. Big probably would've gone over better with me if I had dug the rest of the show. Instead, it was somewhat disturbing.
Had to put that out there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Fringe So Far...part 2

Jem Rolls: How I Stopped Worrying and Learnt to Love the Mall
As always, Jem was very entertaining. What can a first-timer at a Jem Rolls show expect? Verbosity.
Much movement.
Askew observations.
This year, Jem breathlessly expounds on shopping, and its ability to crush your soul, especially if you're not attuned to the practice. Endlessly funny...go see him.

Totem Figures
TJ Dawe, Fringe king, comes to this year's festival with a 90-minute autobiographical piece about being at a crossroads, and looking at how he got to where he is. What's really cool, is that he intertwines the biographies of the men he admires (his "Totem Figures") – Charles Bukowski, John Fahey, and George Carlin – with his own story. Listening to this story, it all seems scattershot, but it all comes together in the end. It's a great glimpse into a fertile mind. I'd love to see this again.

The Fringe So Far...

It was alright. I think Anthony has it in him to make a good Fringe show, but you can tell this was his first. The transitions from sketch comedy to stand-up were a tad awkward, as it was unnecessary for him to use a mic, but he did. The acoustics in the Planetarium Auditorium are lovely.

Jeff Sinclair of "Letters at Large"
Jeff Sinclair outside Old Market Square.

Letters at Large
Full disclosure: Jeff Sinclair is a friend of mine. With that said, I had a great time at his show. The concept: Jeff writes letters to companies, and reads the hilarious results on stage, with a slideshow . That may not sound like much, but it's all about what he says in those letters that generates the laughs. There are a couple of heart-warming moments, too.
Go see it.

EDIT: Oh yeah...go to the official site for more info, and keep tabs on the Winnipeg Free Press for reviews other than mine. Also, Jeff has a site for his show.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's that time again...

Poster Kiosk
Frequent Fringer and Buddy Pass

Unlike last year, I'm actually gonna attempt to keep a visual diary of the Fringe (I'll eventually post last year's pics). Keep an eye on this here set:
Fringe Festival 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm rooting for the Weakerthans...

...but it'd be great if Shad won. Gotta look out for my rap folks.
Admittedly, I'm a little pissed that Grand Analog didn't make the longlist, but I'm a tad biased.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Some quick notes...

The MySpace page for Rod Bailey's previously mentioned project is up, so go check it out!

My man DJ Brace is set to release his Electric Nosehair in Nostromania album, July 19th on Balanced Records. You can check out a couple of tracks here and here, and don't forget to peep the video below!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Comments at UGSMAG about "Edge of Town"

Heads at UGSMAG have been vocal in their like/dislike over Rod Bailey's "Edge of Town".
What's really cool about the whole thing, is that Rod himself has handled the criticism with aplomb and sincerity, basically telling folks why he's changed up his steez a bit and what he was trying to say. And, I think some of the initial naysayers are coming around to his vision, if only slightly. I know he's been working on this for ages, so I'm pretty anxious for this to drop.