Saturday, May 31, 2014

Waskasu cycling and peeling bark off the tree

William and I spent the day in Waskasu inside Prince Albert National Park. We've not been here in six years (July 2008) but it was certainly different this year. William and I drove and walked around. He found the ultimate stick to peel bark off of (an inexplicable favorite hobby) and was totally pumped when we went for a ride on the two person, four week-cycle. This was much more tiring than I thought it would be. There are a few hills and the cycle is much heavier and has a lot less gear power to help you along. Regardless, we did have a blast for an hour.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Saskatoon on way to Prince Albert

Our vacation begins with work for Margaret. She has a weekend retreat for Common Weal at Waskasu, north of Prince Albert starting tonight. We drove there, making a stop in Saskatoon for a few munchies and coffee. I ran into Jennifer Sparrowhawk at the coffee shop and we discussed the upcoming One Take Super 8 Event which I've committed to and will certainly be rushed to complete once I am back in Regina. The screening will be in Saskatoon this year. We also connected up with Mike. His term is just ending. Unfortunately we were slow getting on the road (Margaret lost her driver's licence and we had to stop to order a replacement) so visiting was cut short. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Utopic day?

This morning I worked with An on some animation. First we looked at the reel of drawing/scratching on film which includes a bunch of film I created for Utopia Cafe in 1994-96. After that we did a test sequence mixing clay and a 2D projected image. It is a fun workshop for two or three people. I then met with Brett to talk about his project. Near the end, we also chatted about the comic jam last week and about how I met Allan Dotson while working on Utopia Cafe. On my way back to my office, I ran into Stephan Hall, the producer of Utopia Cafe, on campus to act in a film, wandering the halls looking for one of our impossible to find rooms. Great chat and weird coincidences.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fantastic Films!

I had the students peeling emulsion off of 16mm film using Fantastic cleaner while watching and discussing copyright violating films. Double workshop took five hours but felt pretty good. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New "White" camera

In anticipation of travelling and having become highly frustrated by the jamming lens on my current point and shoot camera, I purchased a new camera today, a Canon Powershot N, metal cased with a flip-up viewfinder and not bad optical zoom. I also purchased William's piano (which we'd been renting), and got my hair cut.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Huge virus scare

I committed part of my morning to fixing Margaret's mother's laptop computers which wouldn't boot up. Usually this sort of thing requires lots of waiting for a machine to reboot, over and over again, so I thought it would be only a small hindrance to working on one of my projects. However, a short ways into the process I found that I might need a repair disc for windows and went online to figure out how to make one. Well, long story short, I agreed to the wrong download to help me and brought a deluge of trouble into my own machine which required most of the afternoon to solve.
William is working on  a 60's themed project/presentation. He's looking at a few toys to come out of that era so Margaret unearthed this box of early 70s Lego that we've kept out of his regular pieces due to its mothbally aroma. 

Bats in the Backyard

Sitting outside this weekend at twilight, we could see a pair of bats flying around above us. The focus on the video leaves something to be desired. I tried to take a flash picture but missed them and soon after they moved on. After the sky is completely dark, you can no longer see them. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Filmpool AGM and Caligari Project announcement

Filmpool AGM was this afternoon. A few new people joined the Board, which is always great. There were no big issues on the table this year. We announced the Caligari Project to begin generating interest. I cobbled together the following text, partially from Chrystene Ells' documents, partially from websites, and partially out of my head: As it was for Filmpool members, I focused it more on filmmaking than on other arts:

The Caligari Project (2016)
a city-wide, multi-disciplinary, creative partnership festival
celebrating German Expressionism in film and other arts

In celebration of the German Expressionism movement in all of its diverse artistic modes, the Filmpool is pleased to announce an exciting independent creative festival event: The Caligari Project. We will be modeling this event on the successful 2010 “Godard Project”, hosting screenings, music and dance performances, and academic discussions about German Expressionism over a two week period in October, 2016.
German Expressionism  is unique among art movements as its aesthetic is well represented in multiple art forms of the same era (post World War I Germany). This movement manifested within printmaking, painting, photography, dance, theatre, music, and cinema. While many films of the 1920s carried this label, none were more pronounced and exemplary of the style than Robert Wiene’s 1920 film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. The original vision for the Caligari Project was to present a film festival celebrating contemporary short films inspired by German Expressionism, made by both local and international filmmakers. As it develops, we have been looking at expanding the scope to also include other visual and performative arts as well as an academic symposium and a book. 
German Expressionism is one of the most distinctive and evocative art movements of the 20th century. It is characterized by themes of horror, death, insanity, social unrest and a disdain for modern life. Stylistically, naturalism is rejected and replaced by constructed reality. Form, line, sound, and movement support and reflect the themes. The importance of symbolism is emphasized through the internal struggles becoming expressed through these stylized external qualities.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and other German Expressionist films employ a range of graphic and performative approaches, often with boldly simplified forms, distortions of space and the body, and startling contradictions to pull the spectator into its frightening world.
Aspects of German Expressionist filmmaking
-          chiaroscuro lighting (high contrast  with enhanced shadows)
-          style over naturalism
-          themes of horror, death, insanity, social unrest and disdain for modern life
-          emphasis on reflection, glass, mirrors, and self-image
-          anthromorphication (attributing human characteristics into non-human objects)
-          emphasis on subjectivity through vivid or distorted forms

In recognition of the continued impact of Wiene’s seminal art film, the Caligari Project has been formed. It will co-ordinate a series of art events and hopes to attract local filmmakers to create new works for the occasion. Please watch the Dailies for ongoing details. Deadline for submissions TBA. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cathedral Street Fair

I didn't spend as much time on 13th Avenue this year. I took my stereoscopic camera with me but mid way through shooting the society of creative anachronism fights, it started to rain. While not too heavy, I had no way to protect the camera so we retreated. The day was otherwise hot and the crowd was large. Had good conversation with Simon Moccasin, just after he'd gone a round with a knight. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Screening Under the Steeple with "Mr. Saul"

Held the world premiere screening of "Mr. Saul versus the Voice Recognition Software" at the Artesian with the Saskatchewan Filmpool's Screening Under the Steeple event during the Cathedral Festival tonight. It seemed to be received well with laughter in the correct places. Geremy did a voice for it (the first time any other voice has been used in the Mr. Saul series) and he came and watched. The program was a good mix with Dianne Ouellette's super 8 film about the squirrel man and a new "Jerry's Journal" by Ron Mein being of particular humour. Hand processed film had a significant presence from Berny Hi and Chrystene Ells. The event was held earlier than previous years (7 pm instead of 9 pm) which appeals the the 50 year old who wears my clothes now, but this shirt required programming family friendly films. After the show I had a few brief conversations including being reacquainted with Steve Sutherland, with whom I'd participated on a Filmpool Film Frenzy project, "Uke I Am" in 2009. Steve is back from BC and looking to find people to work on a film together. When I rejoined the family outside, they had just met a woman from Australia who was mistakenly dropped off by cab at the Artesian when she'd asked to be taken to the Performing Arts Centre. Knowing that catching a cab in Regina can be difficult, we drove her and her luggage these. It was an evening of odd encounters. 

YAAG Project success

Yesterday's exhibition by my graduate students in my YAAG pop up gallery began with a few rough patches (numerous last minute technical and organization glitches) but eventually gained its momentum and audience. The peak, around 7:30, had Kallie barely able to keep up with dispensing cups of dignity. Meanwhile, Saqib's projection performances in the garage, where the temperature continued to rise throughout the day, had him literally in the hot seat (except for the seat part since there were rarely enough chairs). The audience continued to come at a constant rate, rarely over-crowded but never stopping. The food-themed interactive projection was appreciated, although it is always hard to tell if viewers understood the critique of self-image and the notion of limited perception or if they just liked the delicious food prepared for the event. Good work Kallie Garcia, Saqib Noman, Xin Shen, and Rania Al Harthi. Also big thanks to Geremy Lague and Margaret who helped set up. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cathedral Fest - students preparing for YAAG video art performance

 Yesterday my graduate students were preparing video elements for the performance/presentation/installation in my YAAG Gallery at 4:00-8:00 today. The sun was so bright that seeing the image in the camera viewfinder was nest to impossible. I eventually got out a black cloth so that the operator could see what she was doing. Come one, come all. The coffee trolley will also be here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cathedral Train show at Davin School

The model train exhibit at Davin School grows more popular every year. I took a few stereoscopic photos but the roll isn't finished yet so I won't be showing those until next week. The changes to the train set up have been minor this year, but the bigger surprise this evening was going to William's music lesson. Last week was the last session with Tanner, who was young but a great fit to be William's first instructors. This week, "John", the regular instructor would finally return but when the door opened, I discovered it to be the brilliant Jonathan Dyck whom I first met 15 years ago when Jeff Looysen brought him on board to perform the score for "25 Short Films In and About Saskatchewan". Wow. I wish I was taking lessons.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bread sticks, finally

Years ago, around the time Margaret and I were first dating, I'd come to really like the Pizza Hut bread sticks, brought warm to the table with the pizza sauce to dip them in. Shortly after we began dating, we stopped going to Pizza Hut and instead I would occasionally purchase some sort of bread sticks to warm in the oven and dip in my (superior) sauce. However, for the past ten years it has been very hard to find bread sticks and I've all but given up enjoying them again until this week. William learned to make pizza dough in school. When he complained that the teacher insisted that his pizza have cheese on it, which would ruin the bread and sauce, I realized that we were kindred in this love of bread sticks. So after all these years, I have finally found someone who will make bread sticks and he lives in my own house! Joy. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Comic Jam at Cathedral Fesitval

The comic jam, run by Allan Dotson, was filled to capacity today, only partially due to the rain (I noticed that some of the other indoor activities were not as crowded). I created a comic which begins to create ambiguity between my multiple meta-narratives.

Cathedral Festival parade and Big Yellow Taxi

Even though there is a rain (still light but forecast to become heavy), there is a great turn out for the opening parade of the Cathedral Festival. It all began with over 100 people singing Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" in front of Connaught School in protest of its closing.