Saturday, February 28, 2015

$100 Film Festival and Nickle Art Gallery in Calgary

 We did some shopping in the morning at the Chinook Mall (Lego and Levi's stores primarily) and I showed my sister how to make a cheesecake (but forgot to leave her the recipe). In the afternoon we made our way tot he Nickle Art Gallery on the UofC campus where they had part of the big Canadian art display (divided into four locations in the city). This one had work by our old friend Kim Morgan as well as Ed Pien and David Hoffos. Fantastic.
 This evening we were at the $100 Film Festival. The theatre was great and the crown has sizable and really into it. I messed up the timing on my subtitles quite badly so am very embarrassed. Of course, the purpose of the different language is to emphasize the disconnect of person to space, so I suppose an additional phase problem between the German and the English could only enhance this further, but that didn't stop me from brooding about it until the end of the night. My nephew Chris came along with a couple of his friends. Erik Sirke came as well, which was great as well as fortunate as we'd not have found the party without him.
We went to the after-party. The location was a strange bar under a restaurant. I don't know if William was supposed to be there, but they served him tea and didn't tell him to leave, so I guess it fit under restaurant rather than bar rules. Had some good conversations with Stephen Broomer, Kyle Whitehead (below with his super-8 film loops), and the publishers of Seities, a journal for traditional, inspiration, and community in photography (

Friday, February 27, 2015

Drive to Calgary

We drove to Calgary today.  I drove mostly but Margaret took over from Swift Current to Medicine Hat and I was able to do some reading and story planning on the Gus epic.William accidentally drank my espresso instead of is cocoa and discovered that he liked it. The destination is the $100 Film Festival but visiting with my sister Sharon was also a priority.
We didn't have the radio on so we didn't discover that Leonard Nimoy had died until Sharon told us. We missed the evening events but had a nice supper with family. Chris and I investigated some recipes to make our own vanilla Coke from regular coke with decent results.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sheldon High School tour

Toured Sheldon Collegiate this evening. It seemed promising. I was struck by how small it felt. It is only a bit bigger than Connaught was. I don't know what other schools to tour. Campbell would be good but it is also over crowded and I'm not sure William would take well to that level of anonymity. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday night at improv

Great evening at Combat Improv this week. Highlight for me was when they took William's suggestion of "Dentist's Lair" as a setting and did a voice dubbing bit. Ken McLeod did some very funny bits as the dentist's scratchy voiced henchman who takes too much Novocaine and then starts singing a great Novocain song. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ghostly films and faces from the past

Chris Miller, who graduated from the program a few  years ago, was back on campus today shooting some material for the Faculty. I modified the class assignment today to bring everyone together in the studio to shoot a series of challenging shots and tell an odd little story about death and ghosts. I've not looked at the footage yet but from what I saw in the viewfinder, they did a really good job of it. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Eve Egoyan at Darke Hall

William and I took in a beautiful performance by Eve Egoyan at Darke Hall this evening. She is a guest of the Music Department this week. She played a one hour contemporary solo piano work, minimal but mesmerizing. A rather interesting video work played along with her but unfortunately the image was too small for where we were sitting. The narrow field of view it took up placed it entirely in the central are of our optics where we see most intensely. As the rest of the lights were brought down very low, the brightness was eventually painful. We had to avert our eyes and just listen. William got to look at the piano afterwards (it is the most expensive piano in the world) and we had a chance to talk with her briefly about the piano and about her family, David and Viva. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Michele Sereda memorial

 We attended a afternoon long memorial for Michele at the MacKenzie Art Gallery today. There were many speakers who had beautiful, funny, charming things to say. The diversity of presenters was amazing with First Nations, Ukrainian, Nigerian song and dance. Robin closed the event with a silk dance that Michele had once (jokingly?) said she'd like for her own funeral. Afterwards (in an unfortunately short amount of time remaining) a series of costumes and videos were being displayed in the reception salon upstairs.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

grant draft and Godard's "Made in USA"

Finally got a draft of my grant application written today. William was at game class with Allan Dotson for a couple of hours and Margaret was at work. House to myself made all the difference. Still rough around the edges, but it says what I think I want it to say.
This gave us a bit of free time this evening so I talked William and Margaret into watching "Made In USA" by Godard with me. William is always into the French films but Margaret gave up 20 minutes before then end and missed the Ferrania sign and the last three murders. She was just reading about the lawsuits behind this film in an essay by the Donald E. Westlake whose story it is supposedly based upon but the rights hadn't been properly secured. Godard cast the effervescent 24 year old Anna Karina as the male lead. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Supper with mom and dad

After a number of canceled meals (one person or another always seems to be sick), we had supper with my parents today. Mom had been wanted to make salmon for William. It was nice. I tested her up/down load time on her computer and it is running at under half the speed as mine. I guess that windows xp machine isn't long for the world.
William got his hair cut. The floor was littered with a thousand 3/4" long snippets. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Macabre Lego architecture

There are not classes this week. I thought this would be a big week for catching up on things but it ends up that William also has the week off and Margaret is faced with numerous people sick at work and is being called in quite often. I took William to the office and we had lunch with Geremy to talk about robot story ideas (William had suggested a story to Geremy a couple of weeks ago and Geremy would like ot run with it). The weather is cold again and William is getting sick of skype; so much so that he's free-styling Lego instead of sitting at his screen. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Writing deadline

I need to get an arts grant written this week. There are too many distractions at home and so I tried to work at the office. Actually got some stuff done in the middle of William's piano lesson, even though there were three different instruments playing around me. It is slowly coming together. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When is it too much coffee?

William and Gertrud went out shopping together and found a new mug for Margaret which keeps her hydrated until 10 am. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fish tanks my time

Family day today so I mostly didn't work. Cleaned the fish tank. Their plants have died so I need to get something new for them.I think that since I got rid of the old plants and the snails, algae forms much quicker. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mermaid's Murder (after Myrtle's Murder)

Back in the 1970s, Saskatchewan's legendary film mentor Jean Oser shot a sequence of shots on 16mm which featured Myrtle Surjic. This footage was edited and re-edited by many of Jean's students over the years, including myself when Jean returned to Regina in 1986. On Friday I conducted a short shoot at the university which featured a couple of the same shots (the knife, a pair of people at a table, etc). I've given it to the grad students to demonstrate your individual editing approaches. There is a photo of a mermaid on the table between Rania and I (the two of us were the performers with Zaheer, An, and Xin shooting) so I'm calling it "Mermaid's Murder". 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Begin break with sickness

Saturday began as a leisurely day off with rendering a video and William and I watching tv. Lungs hurt all day but except for a brief shoveling snow break, I got to stay inside. However, in the middle of Valentine's supper, I came down with a migraine. Minor one, but felt lousy the rest of the evening. Fortunately, my 12 hour render worded since I'd not have been able to trouble shoot fixing it had if failed. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Geremy Lague defends

Two hours of scrutiny later, Geremy emerges. Congratulations on your successful defense of your MFA thesis, Geremy Lague. This evening we went out for a celebratory dinner at Creek Bistro where Martin prepared his extraordinary meals for Geremy, Ellen, Risa, Robert, and the external examiner Lauren Nurse.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Slate opening, RPL film screening

After class I went directly to Slate Gallery where Brendan Schick (nephew of my colleague Carol Schick) had an evocative exhibition of drawings on display. I arrived at the same time William and Margaret arrived. I took William along to the RPL for the "Bad Feminism" screening, curated by Jennifer Matotek. I liked the flicker film, but William certainly didn't (it would remind him of the light shining intermittently through the elm trees when we drive around on sunny days which led to him naming our neighbourhood "epilepsy forest"). We both did find the final film "Yellow Fever" about skin bleaching (above) by Ng'endo Mukii of Kenya. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Michele Sereda

Dear Michele, you were always so full of life. We spoke just a few days ago. You were amazing. You always had such insights into people and you saw the strengths in those around you and found ways to look beyond our weaknesses. I was honoured when you asked me to work on animation for your Alice in Wonderland many years ago; it was a thrill to be in the middle of the energy of your production. Your visits to my classroom and your work with my students was always so generous and enlightening, I valued every moment. I can't believe we were watching you and Paul on the screen just last night at the Filmpool to remember him. As I sat there, I wished you were there because I wanted to ask you so many things, Questions that will remain unanswered. I'm so glad we had a few chances to work together and wish we had many, many more. We are all devastated by this accident, you and the others, all gone in one collision.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Took a solid grilling this afternoon, first time in a few years, probably not since I began this blog. Two more deadlines this week, but I'll likely bury myself in tv tonight instead. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paul Crepeau memorial

About 35 people converged on the Filmpool to share stories about Paul. We watched an updated version of his ADHD project along with some other videos. Mark hosted and told some very good stories, as did some of the students he worked with. William came along with me. He was very upset when he heard about Paul's passing, having met him a number of times and really enjoyed the chair animations when we were at his screening last fall.
William and Eric discussed the nature of the handshake while taking on the "take my photo" stance.
Brett tried on the beanie we found in a drawer and told us about close captioning. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

a stay home day

Stayed in the house all day Sunday. I have the look I want but need the audio. Have been reading theory article on animation and compositing, discussing the figure/background correspondence that has been developing since the 1920s. Dry but interesting. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Safety Last with Saskatoon Symphony at Roxy

First thing Saturday morning, we piled into George's truck and the four of us went to Saskatoon to see the world premiere of Rick Friend's new score for Harold Lloyd's silent classic "Safety Last". We picked up Mike on the way into town and afterwards  we joined up with Mike's parents and sister for his dad's birthday supper at Kao's. Great movie, great movie, great music, great company.

George hadn't been to the Roxy before. We all had to admire the lights in the ceiling.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Caligari meeting

We had a meeting about the Caligari project this evening with 9 of us converging on NDH. We brought together a bunch of ideas and drank a bit of wine. No photos though.
In class today, we got a bit distracted by discussions of thesis defence and continuations of last week's light work (Rania had a cut out that we were experimenting with shining light through, below).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Randy Dandy and Silly Willy

In the same magazine as yesterday's tax tips were lists of various broadcasting awards in Canada. I think it unlikely that a legitimate kids show would be named after "Randy Dandy" these days. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

1963 Canadian tax tips: "Has your daughter a premature crush?"

More office cleaning: sorting stack of magazines and found 1963 issue of a broadcast publication with information page with advice on taxes. This one seems a bit 18th century...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Uder, a Kellogs super-soldier

Found this, circa 2000 Kellogs advertisement while rearranging stuff in my office. Fodder for some interesting gender discussions. In the tv commercial, the cow is obviously masculine, but in this piece of fan fiction, it is feminine. . 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Star Bright, Meagre Might,

Geremy and I shot Star Bright, Meagre Might, Canister the Robot’s infinitesimal invasion from another world today. We couldn't get the sound right. Not only was it just too difficult to read and puppeteer at the same time, but the lab was much too loud with fans and compressors and things that went PING. We have a guide track but will record in studio later. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Building puppets

On deadline to get the Glog puppet done for tomorrow. Also, William and I discussed how to best build his puppet stage for his class project. I wish we could take a week together and build a miniature moving panorama stage. It will be one of my summer goals. I just finished "Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles" by  Erkki Huhtamo which has me quite inspired to create such a device. It strongly supports my ongoing meta-narrative.