Thursday, November 30, 2017

UofR hub of filmmaking activity

I'd like to say every day at the university was like today and perhaps for some people it is. I sat down for a simple coffee with Layton Burton when Geremy Lague stopped by and joined our conversation (about grad school). The connection arose that Layton knows Geremy's brother James. Minutes later, low and behold, James walks by. In the middle of reminiscing with him, Lowell Dean walks in with a table full of "Another Wolfcop" stuff to promote (or anti-promote) the film by getting people to sign a petition complaining about it. Moments later Costa Maragos walks by, gets into a conversation with Layton (whom he knows from the old tv days) and Lowell, whom he writes an article on for the university an hour later, as soon as he returns to his office.
I suppose if every day was like this, I'd never get any (other) work done. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gingerbread competition

Some cool gingerbread houses were built for the fundraiser competition at the University this year. I particularly liked Jan Bell's dangling house and the King Kong one. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dinosaur talk

We went to the museum an interesting talk about paleontology by Dr.  Emily Bamforth where she discussed what is and isn't a dinosaur. We were worried that the talk might be aimed at kits but it was really very informative and sophisticated, even though she was mostly telling us stuff abut basic definitions and categories that are likely in a first year course. Allan came along. We enjoyed it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

William's rough day

The only reward at the end of William's day which contained a math test, a driving test, social studies homework, psychology homework, English homework, piano lessons, meat pick-up, and conscripted drawing sessions was to finally watch the season finale of "Stranger Things". I like the show but found this second season to be too formulaic and much of the dialog cliche. I guess Netflix hasn't found the way to avoid the second season slump. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Art, Craft, Music

Started off with a lazy Saturday with William and I hanging around the house, but when Margaret returned home in mid-afternoon, we got kicked into gear and went to the tail end of the book launch at the Slate Gallery for Zachari Logan and Joe Fafard, followed by a massive craft sale at the German Club where the high point was waiting outside in a line for bratwurst while live music was performed from the balcony above. We explored a cake shop on 11th avenue (Treasure Cakes?) but were quite disappointed.

Friday, November 24, 2017

BINGO, puppets, and fashion

I was touring the Access Cable facilities with Dana and got talking about the Saturday live bingo game that runs for charity every Saturday. I'll need to play some time. That is pure live tv at it's most mundane; very old school with the ball machine and everything; got to love it.

This weekend is big for craft fairs. Friday evening included us going to one above Lemon Drop where William bought a puppet from Erika Folnovic. More importantly, we met with Holly at Lemon Drop about William making some videos for a fashion project. Thanks to Angie for that referral. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

David Cassidy RIP

David Cassidy died. Growing up on Partridge Family tricks one into believing the actor and the role are closely tied, but in fact he was very much a part of the hard partying rock generation than we knew at the time. Don't know what killed him, but decades of drinking certainly didn't help. I have two packs of Partridge Family trading cards. I am pretty sure I have at least one fan magazine from that time period on my office shelf. At one point, my niece discovered my sister's Cassidy records and became a fan so I sought out a magazine, scanned an image, and made her a poster for her door.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ken on Maddin

Was great to see some Guy Maddin work in Ken's class this week. I recall that we videotaped the entire artist talk and Q&A with Guy and Decco in 1999 when they were in Regina talking about Heart of the World. I should probably find that tape and  transcribe it as it illuminates quite a few things about their process on that project. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Evening with Allan

William, Allan and I went to the artist talks at Neutral Ground  this evening. Amber talked about her experiences at the Banff Centre where she developed the project in the gallery this month (Mountain Movers). She talked about how everyone who goes there creates some work based on the mountains. It reminded me of how everyone who goes to Phil Hoffman's film farm makes films involving grain, fence posts, barbed wire, and the goat. The exotic us so subjective.
We went to eat and played the dice story game but developed some fun variations on it by sharing the dice and the story.

Monday, November 20, 2017

William's version of "Inside Out"

Rooted in the idea of emotional islands, William created this poster for his grade 11 psychology class. He did well but had forgotten one acronym (O.C.E.A.N. - whatever that stands for) which dropped him from an A+ to an A-. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Theremin is back

After having lent it out for the past year, my not-quite-working-correctly Theremin is back in my hands. I need to put it into test mode to make it work. I still don't know if this is because some circuit is burned out or soldered incorrectly or if I just am not doing it right. Anyway, it makes noise again. Here is the alligator clips that override the volume to put it into test mode:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Home sick

Margaret went to work. William and I didn't feel too terrible but felt we needed a down day so stayed home but for a short drive to practice parking. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

SIFA awards

The SIFA awards were this weekend. I went alone as William was sick and Margaret had multiple commitments and I was up for best short film for "Eyes of Sorrow Moon", although I didn't expect to get it (and I didn't). The award went to one of the only two films featured that I'd not seen; Mattias Graham's "Gas Can", a rather foreboding drama about a first nations man (played by the ever-convincing Simon Moccasin who was overlooked on the nominations for best performer) who walks onto a farm to borrow gas. The tension seemed to lie in some unspoken past between these two men, a abuse or a grievance that neither say out loud. Added to that is the viewer's awareness of the Saskatchewan shooting that came out of just this sort of event (which the film does not reference as it had begun production before this real life event). I'd like to have had a relief from the tension in some way at the end, either through violence or humour, but he relentlessly leaves us hanging, gagging on the unspoken words.
The other film that premiered was Ian Campbell's "The Flats", another of his amazing abstract semi-narratives with peculiar performances taking place in a digital environment. This one was a bit more minimal as Ian located all the action in three rooms, each placed above the other, where three individuals (a punk rocker, a minimalist, and a cockroach - all played by Amber PB) live, perform, and respond to each other. The images is manipulated to take on the look of a line-drawn animation. The minimalist surges, as if she were part of the electrical system. The cockroach hoarder who lives with unstable stacks of boxes on the top floor is certainly references Kafka. With this in mind, I'd like to have seen a longer version of this character, struggling with balance, with an endless amount of time but with time never on its side. Having just finished reading "The Castle", I'm feeling very interested in the sensation of frustration. Perhaps a director's cut in the future?
I was also the presenter, on behalf of the Department of Film, of the best student film. This went to Layton Burton for his very strong memory/portrait of his parent's unorthodox marriage. Congratulations to Layton and to all of the other students who were nominated. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Story Cubes

On our driving practice today, we stopped for comics and to the toy store next door which carried, as William had hoped, "Story Cubes" which are basically a set of 9 dice with different images on each die face. You roll them and then tell a story based upon them. Fun. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Animation dynamics

I think we had a fairly good animation class today. We started with a demo of rotoscoping, tracing an incredible kick that Pete performed for us. We then moved on to re-photographing those drawings outside of the traditional animation context, holding the drawings with others standing in for missing body parts behind the image. While only a second long, it was pretty fun to make. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Back to work

It was great to have a long weekend that I used as a long weekend. While I kept busy, I did very little university work. Tuesday was therefore full of catching up. Took a short break to the library and returned Ruiz film and took out a cool new book on Eisenstein drawings.
We were getting ready to host Allan for supper when the power went out. We ended up going to Five Guys and playing "Everyone's Johnny" while we were there. Funniest idea I had was a family in a van who were heading to Kentucky for a fried chicken convention and who worshiped a version of Noah who looked like Colonel  Sanders, saving the animals to deep fry them. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rotten windows (or is that rotting?)

Finally put in the storm windows. I'd forgotten that one of the attic windows is breaking and a corner of the wood has severely rotted. I lodged it in anyway. I'll need to add insulation and will need to remove it with great care in the spring as it is likely to come apart and plummet two stories to the ground (which will do little to help fix it). 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

William works on videos

Griffin and William in Five Swedish Goblins

I had a thought that we'd binge watch on tv this weekend but William proves to have more sense than me. When I went up to drag him off of his waste of time junk, I discovered that he was actually working on some film projects he'd begun earlier in the year. He as a few super-8 films, including his One Take project, his super-8 workshop film with Geremy, and a "dream" film he made with Griffin and Emma. I helped him source a few audio files but basically left him to it. Very proud of his initiative.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Window no more...

It was a strange Saturday. I'd noticed a small item in the newspaper with a photo showing a track smashed into the Chinese bakery on Victoria. I took William out driving and we stopped by (see above). I checked around back and, sure enough, they were somewhat in business. They weren't baking but as the accident happened at around noon the previous day, they had loads of day-old buns in the freezer. They guy in the truck wasn't drunk and just claimed it was "slippery".

Returning on Victoria Avenue, we stopped at the soon-to-be-no-more Salt Gallery where we met up with Amber, took down William's Swampy drawings, and were given a gum ball machine (full of the green gum we brought for the opening). Thanks again Amber. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ethics of Porn, a feminist perspective

I was at a couple of talks on Friday with Kate Sinclaire at the university on the topic feminist porn. She runs a website and creates content for it with attention focused on different perspectives (queer, etc) and uses approaches which put most of the control in the hands of the performers, giving them agency over the process. It was blizzarding this morning so there were only about 15 people at the first session, but the afternoon talk drew 33.

Over lunch, I took a break from the lectures to go to some more lectures. "Art For Lunch" featured three artists talking about the activities they underwent during their residencies at the UofR. Peter is starting to work with scars and asked about mine (which I featured for 20 seconds at the Quick and Dirty earlier this week). 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

cool new stapler

Margaret picked this stapler up from the free table at work. It appears to be used for stapling booklets, something we need done about once a year (perhaps more often now that we have this). It takes a small staple so we need to find some at (where else?) Staples. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Quick and Dirty Monsters

I did another Quick and Dirty talk (Dunlop and Creative City Centre hosting). The group consisted of six of us from MAP including Risa Horowitz, Charity Marsh, Wes Pearce, Mike Rollo, and Megan Smith. Had a great time. Margaret was probably a bit upset by being blindsided with a picture of her in the birthing room with William and me talking about collaborating on making a monster. Afterwards someone asked if I had permission for using that image and I said that William thought it was okay, and he was the one naked. I have built so many monsters, I could barely scratch the surface. Of course, the real topic was how I've tried to help William become an interesting person and a collaborator/peer in making art. Went well.

William's art at Board of Education

This evening William's art, along with a few other artworks by students in other schools, was unveiled at the Board of Education offices. It will be on display there for a month. After that, it will become part of the Sheldon William's High School collection. There was a huge crowd. Speeches were short and cookies were big. Mom and Lori came, as did Gertud and Fred. Allan came with us. Of course Angie, his teacher, was there. This is the stenciled work he did a few months ago referencing Warhol with a "still life" of his car crash. He called it "History Repeats Itself". 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kafka and driving

After William read Kafka's "The Castle" last month and told me many things about it, I thought that I might reference it in a film. While his descriptions were vivid, I thought it best to actually read the book. Finished it today. While I took my time and read it slowly (mostly just 10 or so pages per day) I found it really fun; the most enjoyable book I've read in years. I'm eager to dive into The Trial, but William just decided he would read it first.
Practiced parallel parking a lot yesterday but to no avail. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

driving with William

William has continued to have hours of homework every day. We took an hour off in the middle to drive, in particular to practice parallel parking which he improved greatly on today. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Garry Wasyliw talk at the MAG

William chauffeured me around today, practicing his driving. Our first stop was Garry Wasyliw talk and opening of his MFA exhibition at the MacKenzie. It was pretty interesting, especially the distinctions between "random" and "chaos". Afterwards we connected with my sister and niece and ran around to a number of places including the Ukrainian Co-op, the Salt art show (where a hundred Rider fans were standing and waiting for the bus) and Paper Umbrella (egads! the Saskatchewan colours mini-paint kits are sold out!!!). 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Presentations by Don Hall and Bridget Moser

Art for lunch today was a talk by Don Hall about prairie photography and about his own career as a photographer.He taught me Film 205, a course that hasn't changed much since I took it, back in 1984. It was a great course, even if I did only mediocre work in it (see below). He continues to be one of my models of excellence in teaching. This evening we went to a presentation by Bridget Hall who has some performance art videos up at the Dunlop this month. This was fun. The seating is poor so it was difficult to see. The image above is taken when I stuck my arm high in the air. Most of the time we could only see the top of her head, or nothing at all. This performance was recorded and will be played in the gallery, so we'll have a chance to see it unobstructed.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Matt Ripplinger exhibition

Very inspiring and visually captivating exhibition by film undergrad Matt Ripplinger at the Fifth Parallel gallery on the UofR campus opened today. The film loops looked good and I particularly liked the digitally enlarged prints of chemically distorted 16mm film frames. I picked up William after work and returned to see it with him. William is drowning in homework so appreciated the break. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Post Halloween snow or a cold day in hell?

At midnight on the 31st it started to snow. Margaret grabbed these images of our decorations before stowing them away for next year. I had a busy day of meetings and then picked up Moe and Nic from airport and suppered at mom and dad's. William found out his big Kite Runner project is due a day early so he stayed home to work.