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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Year's Resolution: completed my reading challenge

On January 1, 2015 I set myself a reading challenge to try to read a minimum or 10 pages of non fiction, with a focus on film and art theory, every day. While there were a handful of days that I failed at that, primarily due to being extremely busy in a particular morning and too tired to complete the task at night, I did not go a day without at least trying. Most days I exceeded the goal. As a result, I read the following 27 books cover to cover. In addition, I read other book chapters, individual articles, and even some fiction. Some of these books are short, some are long. Topics of focus were media archaeology, silent cinema, animation, and amateur film. 
  1. Illusions in Motion by Erkki Huhtamo
  2. Pervasive Animation (AFI Film Readers, Routage, 2013) edited by Suzanne Duchan
  3. Mining the Home Movie; excavations in histories and memories edited by Karen Ishizuka and Patricia Zimmermann
  4. Funny Pictures: animation and comedy in studio-era Hollywood edited by Daniel Goldmark and Charlie Keil.
  5. Jubilee Book, essays on amateur film edited by AEI
  6. Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Melies's Trip To The Moon, edited by Matthew Solomon
  7. Lovers of Cinema; the first American film avant-garde, 1919-1945, edited by Jan-Christopher Horak
  8. Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications edited by Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka
  9. The Great Art of Light and Shadow by Laurent Mannoni
  10. A Geology of Media by Jussi Parikka,
  11. William Kentridge by Kate McCrickard
  12. The Sounds of Early Cinema edited by Richard Abel and Rick Altman
  13. The Silent Cinema Reader edited by Lee Grieveson and Peter Kramer
  14. Youtube Reader, edited by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau
  15. Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky edited by Timothy Benson.
  16. Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema by Tom Gunning, Joshua Yumibe, Giovanna Fossati, Jonathon Rosen, 2015.
  17. American Silent Film: Discovering Marginalized Voices, edited by Gregg Bachman and Thomas J. Slater, 2002
  18. New Media, 1740-1915, edited by Lisa Gitelman and Geoffry Pingree, 2004
  19. Haunted Media: electronic presence from telegraphy to television by Jeffrey Sconce, 2000.
  20. The George Kuchar Reader, edited by Andrew Lampert, 2014
  21. Hidden Images: Games of Perception, Anamorphic Art, Illusion (From the Renaissance to the Present), by Fred Leeman, 1975
  22. Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise von Franz, revised edition, 1974, 1995
  23. Silent Topics: essays on undocumented areas of silent film by Anthony Slide, 2005
  24. Loop Collective, 1996-2013, by Kelly Egan, Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof and others, 2013
  25. Alice Guy Blache: Cinema Pioneer edited by Joan Simon, 2009.
  26. Amateur Film: meaning and practice, 1927-77 by Heather Norris Nicholson, 2012
  27. Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film by Patricia R. Zimmermann, 1995.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Erik and Geremy

Supper with Erik and Geremy. Talked Axe Cop, Twin Peaks, and Frankenstein. Later in the evening the girls arrived back from skiing and we played Pandemic and Bang. After seven consective games as an outlaw, I was finally the sheriff (and lost). 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Post boxing day coffee cleaning upgrades

We ran around do shopping errands today including returning to Cafe Market where we bought espresso machine cleaner the other day but didn't have a stopper for the machine to allow us to do this. The additional part was only five bucks. We got William new pants. He tried on 20 pairs, what a trooper. Tonight we went to Hulk Hogan in Santa with Muscles at the "Talkies" program at the RPL then played Steampunk Munchkin. I won for the first time in ages. My character had a monocle, a double can weapon, a pipe, and top hat and spats.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Family portrait

I delivered the print to mom and dad of the family and had lunch with them. The photo replaces the enlargement from 1995 of the family then. The colour of the new one actually look better than the old one for which the frame was originally chosen. We just hung it back in the spare bedroom for now, but mom will certainly want to move it sometime soon. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Office re-organizing

I move the big filing cabinet to the basement and the little drawers upstairs. I'll be extending the desk accross and hopefully, after I've cleared enough paper way, I'll have more work space. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing day gingerbread and "Bang" with Mike

Mike is in town for a few days and came over for some Boxing Day game play. Instead we baked and decorated gingerbread cookies. Freed from the confines of Christmas, we had cookies with dinosaurs eating people, the Hulk in mid-transformation, and other oddities.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas dinner at my sister's

Lori hosted Christmas dinner this year. She was going to do a roast, which prompted me to do my own turkey the other day, but she since had a change of heart and did a really nice turkey herself. After supper we played "Bang", a game that they gave us. Very fun and best with more people.




Christmas morning

Great morning sitting around the tree, listening to music, eating candy, opening stuff. The gifts last night and today seem book, sock, and game themed. The biggest surprise probably came from Gerda who gave us the dvd of "Twin Peaks, Fire walk with Me" which we've been looking for since Saturday but have been frustrated at every turn. While I don't remember it being very good, I do feel strongly that William and I need to watch it together while the 29 episode series is still fresh in our memories. Mike and Paul were over in the afternoon. Paul brought William the tie fighter Lego set and Mike brought over "Exploding Cats" which we played a couple of rounds of.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve with photos

As per tradition, we spent Christmas Eve with Margaret's family. Goose was the entree. Greg was over from the across the street with his dog along as well. Lots of conversations revolving around pirates before supper. A central gift was a fantastic family photo album the girls assembled for their dad. He was quite moved.
Greg and dog

German children books teach you that heinous things happen when you misbehave


surprised by a gift



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Connaught future

Walking back from a Caligari meeting, I stopped to study the sign picturing the new Connaught School. William suggests that the overly vibrant green of the grass is school board propaganda. I agree but remain optimistic anyway. The strange construction team seems to have put a large steel girder on top of the concrete posts they pored a few days ago on the school grounds.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Snow Queen at the Globe Theatre




Costumes and giant puppet were fantastic for Snow Queen. Margaret booked us front row tickets about three months ago (great view and lots of leg room). Tonight's performance was signed for the deaf for the first time ever. We talked with Loki and one of the snow trolls afterwards. Good time. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Turkey Dinner!

We hosted a preemptive turkey dinner this week, four days before Christmas. This was of course accompanied by perogies and cranberry. Otherwise it was a bit minimal - a bit of salad and some cookies afterwards. I'm getting low on baking and will need to replenish before the real Christmas. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Double lesson with Jonathan Dyck

To get some much needed practice time, Jon asked us to substitute one of his lessons for a double lesson this week. William and Jon worked their way through the Twin Peaks title theme for most of that time and made great progress. I wish we could book him for an hour ever week. I'm not sure if this would be the case with every teacher, but Jon seems to give very good one on one advice, working through things in a very direct manner.
Kiki and Kristin arrived today but we didn't see them. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Party and John and Debra's

Another fun party with John and Debra. We aired our grievances and drank lots of rum. Gerard brought a magnum of Baby Duck so I had a small glass, probably the first time I've sampled it since the 70s. Wow, it is just like I remember it. Margaret missed it since she was texting in the kitchen. She needs to learn to socialize more.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Grades in, Twin Peaks concludes

After I finally submitted my grades for the term, William and I sat and binged watched the last bunch of episodes of Twin Peaks. Can't wait for the new season in 2017.
William and Paul made bread sticks when Paul was over for supper. William wants to make this a weekly thing.
 Trucks were on the Connaught school site and installed something mysterious.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Edie Marshall "Terrain" exhibition

This week Edie Marshall's visually uplifting "Terrain" exhibition opened at the Art Gallery of Regina. I don't use descriptors like that very often but, with the weather turning more bleak and my mood running quite contrary, this show felt warm and bright and made me feel good. She's painted over 1000 small paintings based upon digital photos from a trip and put them up in huge grids about 20 feet high. To illuminate it, the gallery has turned its lights on full blast. Great space, great show.
Speaking of the AGR, I also signed up for a woodworking course with Brian Gladwell for January at the Balkwill Centre. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jonathan Dyck recital

 Jonathan Dyck, who performed on my "25 Short Films in and about Saskatchewan" project back in 1999 and who is currently William's wonderful piano teacher, did his third year performance at the University main stage this week. He played for about 45 minutes, all from memory, and was quite amazing. I don't know the pieces he was doing and have no training myself so I don't know technically how well he played, but personally I was quite thrilled and moved. The small distrorted recording I have below does not do it justice - I was glued to my seat for the entire time. Bravo and congratulations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Just trying to help

 Event one: after forgetting twice, I finally remembered to bring my drill and 16 gage wire (from fencing) to my meeting with An (last meeting of the year) to twist pieces of it for use inside animation puppets. We maintained control and no one lost an eye.
Event two: after some Christmas shopping with William, we went out to eat at Five Guys in the south end. We were waiting for our food for a long time. #15 was called but we were #15. Soon we saw them making Cajun fries so we figured we were next but then they called #19. When I allerted them to this, the assistent manager realized that our meal was either missed (unlikely) or taken by the #15 people so they began making us a fresh set of burgers. In the meantime, the table beside us became occupied by two guys, one of whom seemed to be sleeping while the older guy searched the sleeping guy's pockets. I leaned over and commented on how tired he must be and asked if he was okay. The older guy said his buddy was diabetic and just needed some food but they don't have any money. I gave the guy $10, more than enough for a burger, to get his friend some food. A few minutes later he was rattling a bag in front of his nose but the sleeper still didn't wake. Eventually the older guy went outside, presumably for a smoke, but after 5 minutes I suspected (rightfully) that he wasn't coming back. I then tried to wake this guy up to get him to eat (the smell of booze was now obvious) and the assistant manager also came to help. As she began phoning her manager for advice, I eventually (after literally 10 minutes of trying) got him to wake up. I suggested that he eat. The food bag now open, I found it to contain one small order of fries (cost: under $4). The sleeper said he wanted Chinese food but I pointed out they were in a burger joint. By the time we left, he was finished the small fries and was onto the fries from our order that I left him (the assistant manager had given us lots of extras due to the prior error). 

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Faculty, New Logo

... well it's not exactly a new faculty, but the news of this is public: UofR's Faculty of Fine Arts will become the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance as of January 1. We've had a new logo designed which was unveiled this week (but not publicly so I dare not try to post an image here yet). I'm generally not excitable when it comes to logo design but was pleasantly surprised when this came on the screen. It is balanced and geometric and pleasing. Okay, back to my lunch now? No, they went on to show the logo mocked up into a variety of contexts and in various colours. This looked very promising. Then they went on to show it jazzed up a bit with textures and stuff and it was getting really groovy. One thing that got a lot of pleased responses from the group was a display which showed this wall replaced by a three banner-style graphic, floor to ceiling, for the faculty. It will be very powerful (and about time that this thing was painted over).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Perogie day

I made about 9 dozen perogies today. William helped peel potatoes yesterday and learned to pinch them today. Mom came over for a couple of hours and the two of us made most of them. As usual, she thinks I make them too big. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas feels a bit closer

With a bit of snow on the ground, we felt a bit more in the season spirit. William took a break from our perogie filling making to take a walk around the block. I think he was trying to find Tiny Tim to command him to buy him the big goose. We decorated the tree with (oh, the humanity) an additional $100 worth of lights since the ones we owned were insufficient to light such a mighty object.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Too Much Tree!

William with uncle George Bessai and Christmas tree
Two fourteen year olds (one in body, one in spirit) talked me into this tree. We needed to cut six inches off the bottom, eight inches off the top, and carry it into the house already set into its new $60 stand. It needs to be tied with strong rope in three places to stop it from falling and killing the cats. Margaret says it was a nice gesture, but to return it. George drove away with the truck and we have no recourse but to try to live with it. I think it might be sentient.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

City's Creativity Innovation and Excellence

First thing this morning we sat with Rania for a crit sessions (I'm told that the days of badgering the student until they have an emotional melt down are in the past), with Carmen, Rob, Sean, and Kathryn. It went very well except for the lateness of our start due to this being the first time Rania has ever driven on ice.
The rest of the day I spent at the RCMP where the City of Regina was hosting a session on creativity, innovation and excellence. This was fairly entertaining as they did a number of the more interesting team/relationship/trust building exercises which led up to the flip chart session which would contain the bits and pieces of wisdom we had to impart to them. Met a bunch of people and conversed with some old friends.
Slate Gallery had their Christmas opening, gathering together a few pieces from each of the artists they represent.
Paul was over for supper after being away in New York City. He brought us "Smarties" from his trip but we were not fooled by these rocket look-a-likes. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gerda Osteneck at University Club

Joanne McDonald, Gerda Osteneck, Margaret Bessai
 I had lunch with Gerda Osteneck along with Margaret and a number of mutual friends at the university club to see and celebrate Gerda's exhibition "Walkabout" which will be hanging there for the next couple of months. It's a great set of work, primarily collage but using a number of unexpected elements within each piece.