Browsing articles tagged with " things I’ve seen"

True North Strong and Free

Feb 13, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Reviews  //  No Comments

Yesterday was a good day to be a Canadian, but beyond that, it was a good day to be a Canadian artist. The level of artistry, skill, technical ability, and talent that went into the Opening Ceremony last night was amazing, and it made me proud to be a part of a community of artists that has the skill to pull that off. Beyond that, it was a great day for Calgary artists. The composer/music director, Dave Pierce; the assistant music director, Donovan Seidle; and the choreographer, Jean Grand-Maître, are all Calgary-based artists with huge international successes.

However, aside from the dampening of the day for the most obvious reason (and my heart just aches for the Georgian team and the Kumaritashvili family), there’s something that has been nagging at me for weeks. The more I hear of the controversy and ill-will surrounding the Games in Vancouver, the sadder it makes me. The Olympics in Calgary were such a great experience for the city — culturally, they put Calgary on the world stage, and the arts and culture (not to mention both amateur and professional sports) have flourished so much in the last 22 years due to the foundation laid by the Games — they seemed to draw the city together, not tear it apart. Read more >>

Nights on the town

Feb 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Real Life, Theatre  //  No Comments

The other day, I participated in a focus group that was part of a study commissioned by a theatre company in Calgary, to explore theatre-going trends and opinions in the city. The focus group that I was part of was one of three types: people who have been to the theatre within the past six months; people who have been in the past (2 or more years ago), but not more recently; and people who have never been to the theatre. Of course, this one was the first type, and most of the people there were even more frequent than every six months. I think that I was the only theatre professional in attendance, but most of the others were season ticket holders, and many regularly attended shows presented by more than one company.

The first question we were asked was, “What is your ideal night out in Calgary?” Read more >>

Let’s get back to business

Jan 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Well, Christmas is over, and I had absolutely no contingency for any sort of regular updates during the last month of school and over the break, but it’s time to get back to posting regularly. For that matter, it’s time to get life back into a routine of some sort, even though I don’t really know — yet — what that routine will look like.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing few weeks; time for both Colin and I to decompress from our very busy fall seasons. We’ve spent more time sitting in front of the TV in the past 3 weeks than we did in the rest of 2009 combined. I think the past few weeks have included season 1 of Dexter and Weeds, seasons 1 and 2 of Chuck (in preparation for the season 3 premiere last night), season 2 of Friends… and I know I’m missing something, but those are the ones that stand out right now. Read more >>

Through the wardrobe

Nov 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Reviews, Theatre  //  No Comments

Last week, I went to see PCPA’s production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was a decent production — technically very good, relatively strong acting overall — and while there were things that I nitpicked about it and directing choices that I would have made differently, I really did enjoy the show.

I’ve talked before about adaptations and maintaining the integrity of the work, and there are certain movies or adaptations that I won’t see because I enjoyed the original too much to risk being disappointed by an adaptation that falls short. If the story is misinterpreted or characters don’t look the way I think they should or the overarching themes are viewed differently than I’ve always seen them (not to mention the disturbing propensity for adaptations to change the endings of the original work), it can turn the experience of a beloved story into a bittersweet (perhaps more bitter than sweet) shadow of what it should be.

I realized last weekend, though, that while that may be my immediate reaction to many adaptations, it’s actually the middle ground for me. On the one side, there are adaptations where I have little or no attachment to the original. Most comic book movies, for instance. I have virtually no attachment to the generative works, and while I fully recognize that I am experiencing the work on a very limited level, I’m enjoying it on its own merits and I am happily ensconced in my ignorance of the work. Read more >>

Dinner and a movie

Oct 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, School, Theatre, Weekly Round-up  //  No Comments

Ah, this was the kind of weekend that makes my heart sing.

I saw the West Coast premiere of Eclipsed at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on Friday night. Saturday, I saw Medea at UCLA Live — two very intense, very brilliant nights of theatre. Which, of course, meant that I needed a comedic break, so Sunday, I saw Whip It. Read more >>

Sweetness and light

Sep 9, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Movies, Reviews  //  No Comments

We saw The Ugly Truth last weekend — with friends; it was their choice of movie, not ours — and it was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. Lots of crude humor, lots of denigration of healthy relationships, and a very dim view of men.

Now, I don’t have a problem with most content in movies. Much to my mother’s consternation, I don’t filter my movie choices based on violence, language, sex, or other “objectionable” content. Those may, in the end, affect my enjoyment of a movie, but I rarely rule out a movie because I think that what I see, I won’t like. I’d rather base my enjoyment of the movie on its story, and those elements can all be used very effectively to tell the story and make a specific point. Often, the movies with the most disturbing content (think Monster’s Ball, Requiem for a Dream, or Pan’s Labyrinth) are the most beautifully crafted, well-told stories with the most to think about and take away.

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The best thing about WorldSkills

Sep 6, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The 40th WorldSkills competition has been held in Calgary this past week — basically, it’s like the Olympics of the trades. Over 900 competitors from over 45 countries competing in 45 categories, ranging from plumbing to cooking; confectionaries to floral design; robotics to landscaping; cabinet-making to HVAC; interior design to web design; health and beauty services to fashion design. We spent a few hours wandering through, and it was a very cool experience (even though we were there for the last 3 hours of the last of 4 competition days, so we only caught the tail end of competition or finished products on display, rather than seeing the competition in full swing).

It’s the largest non-Stampede event ever held at Stampede Park; the largest event that Calgary has hosted since the ’88 Winter Olympics, with 2/3 the total number of Olympic competitors in ’88; the largest international competition after the Olympics; and quite groundbreaking for the WorldSkills competition itself, with a rather long list of “firsts” happening this year.

And the thing I was most grateful for this week?

Good weather.

I want Calgary to be recognized as the world-class, internationally-renowned city that it can be, and unseasonally cold weather can overshadow those elements to the detriment of the city’s reputation. I feel like I’m the parent of a misbehaving child when guests come to Calgary and the stereotypes about cold Canadian weather (at least, cold weather that’s not, y’know, in winter) are confirmed. But this week, all the children have behaved, and instead of having 10-degree (Celsius, of course) weather or, worse yet, frost or skiffs of snow during the first week of September, we’ve had 30-degree weather and sunny skies all week. (And this weekend, it’s cooled off a bit, so it’s more seasonal, but still nowhere near the unseasonal early-September frost and/or snow that we sometimes get.)

Because isn’t it nice that the world can go back home saying, among all the other raves and accolades about Calgary that are sure to be shared, that — hey, guess what? — Canada isn’t always cold!

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Weekly (ha!) Round-Up

Sep 2, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Weekly Round-up  //  4 Comments

This has been a good week to be working from home.

Calgary Arts Development is moving, so this week, everyone’s working elsewhere, since we have no office for a few days. It just so happens that I’ve been fighting a cold and sinus infection of some sort all week, so it’s been nice to be able to take it a little easier without actually taking time off work — and, more importantly for my co-workers, to not be sneezing and spreading germs all over them!

It’s also been a good week, weather-wise, to be working from home, finding excuses to take my computer outside and work from a park bench somewhere. Seriously, some absolutely gorgeous weather here.

And this is really a “Monthly Round-Up,” not weekly (as usual. When do I ever get this out every week?), but here’s the list of what I’ve been watching, listening to, reading, and doing over the past few weeks.

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It’s the little things

Aug 25, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, The Arts, Theatre  //  No Comments

A few things that are disappointing me (just a little bit) right now:

Standing Ovations

We saw two shows this weekend. One of them deserved a standing ovation. The other was okay, but not brilliant. However, they both received ovations.

It’s sad that the power of a standing ovation has been lost — it’s expected, for the most part, that an adequate performance will receive a standing O, and the power of that collective moment of awe that drives the audience to its feet has been lost.

As an audience member, the automatic expectation of an ovation takes away my power to respond in some way to a performance that deeply moves me or is in some way excellent enough to be acknowledged beyond simple applause. As a performer, the ubiquity of standing ovations takes away that next level of connection with the audience. It removes the breathlessness of knowing that this show garnered a reaction above the ordinary.

When standing ovations lose that power, what’s left? Standing on the seats to elevate the praise to another level?

I don’t stand for every curtain call. I’m not letting the fact that everyone else is standing up take the power of my own reaction away from me. It does, however, mean that I don’t always get to see the curtain call, which kinda sucks.

Facebook

Or rather, what Facebook tells me about people. The Lion King has been on tour in Calgary and Edmonton this summer, and a lot of people have gone to see it. We saw it on Sunday, and it was fantastic. Truly. I’d been wanting to see it for years, but when I lived in New York, I didn’t have the opportunity, so it was finally time. Definitely worth it, and it’s the kind of show that it’s been great to hear people talking about, knowing that so many people are going (and taking their kids) to the theatre.

However, all summer, I’ve been seeing people’s Facebook statuses updated about how amazing Lion King is — which it is — but those updates seem to be at the expense of seeing the Fringe Festival or Shakespeare in the Park or the Folk Fest or the cultural festivals or any of the other — local — shows and events that are going on. I’ve seen exponentially fewer updates about those events, even though there have been a summer’s worth of festivals and things to see, than I have about one show. It’s a sad day when it’s a tour, as opposed to local work, that gets the most attention.

Broadway Tours

More specifically, the fact that Calgary is a place where things are seen on tour, 10 years after they’ve been something cutting-edge and on the cusp of what’s big and groundbreaking. I love this city, but there’s something to be said for living in a place where you can see those shows when they’re a) just opening, or b) (and even better) being developed and still just outside the realm of really being big. By the time they’re on tour, there’s really no more street cred to them. They’re just part of the mainstream culture, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but I like being ahead of the game.

That’s it. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a few little things I wanted to get off my chest.

Catching Up

Aug 7, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Weekly Round-up  //  No Comments

And I’m back. Wow. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and I’m definitely feeling it. This weekend is the first that we’re in Calgary with almost nothing going on since… oh, Father’s Day, give or take. I’m looking forward to it. Of course, when I say that we’ve got “nothing going on,” I mean that our schedule includes two Fringe shows tonight (both of us), a workshop tomorrow morning (me), an appointment at the bank tomorrow afternoon (both), coffee with a friend sometime this weekend (both), mixing the Passion Play recordings (Colin), and a date night tomorrow night (we still haven’t used a gift card that Colin’s parents gave us for Christmas in 2007, and it’s going to expire soon if we don’t use it!).

I have at least three entries rolling around in my brain, bumping up against each other and refining themselves as I continue trying to get them down on paper. Screen. Whatever. For now, though, I’m going to do a “Weekly” update. In other words, I’m going to try my hardest to remember what I’ve watched, listened to, read, experienced, and been working on in the past few weeks. It may not be the most complete list I’ve ever put together, but I’ll see how I do.

Read more >>

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