Verses 2017

So pleased to become a part of the team of the Verses gang. I love the festival and have attended for the past four years. It was hugely pivotal in my becoming of a poet. 16998185_381026758925760_4560251410508387392_n.jpg

Now I get to work together with some of the folks that have inspired me most. I’ve been brought up onto the team as the volunteer coordinator. Volunteering at Verses, is a sweet deal. Not only do you get free passes and swag, you get to be immersed in a community of some of the best folks you will ever encounter.  There are over 30 events happening at Verses this year, spanning from April 20-30th, including Hullabaloo, CIPS, Mashed Poetics, Chicken Sessions and other spectacular feature shows and workshops through the ten days.

Andrew and I are working together. Andrew is my love for ever and ever. It’s really interesting to come into the VPH office and see all the boxes of tiny dreams being stored around the room.

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More updates to come about how the process goes. But if you are feeling like being amazing and hanging out with me and being a part of one of the biggest spoken word festivals in Canada, sign up to volunteer here.

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MCing Children’s Festival

Had a pretty sweet time on Monday night MCing the Children’s Art Festival in Richmond. Though I was pretty sleep deprived, it was nice to relive the child hood memories and have some hot dogs and hamburgers and be a part of Canada’s biggest little birthday party for family day. I do wish I had an opportunity to share the stage with my long time hero Charlotte Diamond or Robert Munch, but maybe they’ll come out next year.

Anyways, nothing like having a day filled with thanking sponsors, eating cupcakes and looking at disco people on stilts all day!

Photos by my favourite special news photographer Gorde Glob.

Radio Show(S) hosting recap of last few months

During Culture Days, a weekend of awesomeness, arts and culture in Vancouver I had a cool opportunity to host Leave Your Mark FM a pop-up radio station that was in the Minoru Blvd Cultural Centre plaza.  It was up and running on 107.9 FM and was podcasted somewhere I’m not sure where, but if I do receive it I’ll definitely link it up.We shared some interview with Richmond youth, put up some pre-recorded content from noteable Richmond artists, galleries and you name it. I was even peer-pressured into reading a poem. It was pretty sweet, and once people started to come into the booth and tell us about their bumping Culture Days weekend, we’d hand out a radio. Which, I was also lucky enough to receive one of these bad boys.

On a more recent note I had some sweet times hosting West Coast Classics again. It was a really great time. Pam even asked me if I want to become an official radio man, but alas us university students have time like we have money.

We played some Elizabeth Lutyens:  Verses of Love.  Which was a short choral work, based on poems of Ben Jonson. The poems we found pretty based on lust, attraction and seemed some kind of BDSM type of stuff coded with all sorts of nice old English imagery to confuse us modern day readers. I doubt they were talking about BDSM though, rather just probably just the mentality of what relationships should be like at the time- the patriarchy am I right? Anyways, we discussed that but concluded that since Elizabeth herself picked out these poems, and her being a woman, maybe she agreed with the patriarchy, or was just a total sub in the sheets.

Kerry wants to change the name of the show to the Beethoven: 9th show. He tries to play a different variation as much as humanely possible and so that the listeners don’t turn off the station dismissing that we’re “playing that thing” again. Anyways, we hit the  symphony another time and thoroughly discussed “The ex nihilo opening” which “requires silence in order to make its full impact.”  To me, this piece is the universe bursting at the seams at the start of something new.  There is a low humming in the beginning and it repeats and comes back to it in this opening, in my eyes it sounds like it is something that is going on before the piece even began. Perhaps a metaphor for creation of something out of nothing- that this sound that later fuels the rest of the powerful opening is creating something ASTOUNDING out of something so quiet, and so on the verge. Anyways, of course you would need a silence to dwell on something as big as the universe- and something as masterful as that happening out of “nothing”.

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New Job at Arts and Culture District at UBC

Now it’s been about a month and a half at my new job at UBC, where I am working along side Deb Pickman in the world of attempting to make UBC Arts life, better, more-engaging and coherent. It’s been pretty wild so far.

Deb and I are both yappers, and in some of our talking times I have discovered how what really fuels both of us, is the why in regards to the necessity of the arts. A lot of the work is engaging students into having meaningful experiences, we are salesmen just selling an attempt to strengthen souls, not anything that can be given a decimal value. I think here is where a lot of the authenticity kind of comes to play.

The job, which I still have yet to create a shortened title for, instead of my lengthy 10 word one- has been going pretty well. I think I am getting my groove in, and it’s exactly what I needed to connect with the artistic community at UBC. Slowly and surely, I think I am wrapping my brain around how things work, who is who and what is important here. It’s still a big transition, but it’s getting there.

Something I’m really excited about, one of the pieces we are working on, is a promotional video for the Arts and Culture District at UBC. It’s going to be my spoken word poem with shots of the UBC Arts and Culture District, specifically focusing a lot on MOA, current performances in the Chan, Old Aud and Freddie Wood as well as the Audain Art Centre and Belkin Art Gallery. Other pieces we have rolling right now, is hopefully making an Arts Night Out during Art Week in January, where talented clubs, musicians and artists can perform in an intimate and suave evening, as well as some more specific task-oriented projects like bringing more art into UBC’s  already existing events, for example UBC’s Mental Health Week, Thrive which is happening now, constantly updating the virtual calendar and now curating a physical Arts Calendar for the Arts Undergraduate Society of all the UBC Arts & Culture events, hopefully arranging buskers for the campus to groove out by the new ticket trike, a bicycle concierge of Arts and Culture District events on campus, doing some social media work and consistently seeking ways to engage more students into existing spaces and events, as well as connecting students with opportunities to tell their stories.

Anyways, it’s been rad and will continue to be so! I’m excited to see how things continue and have lots of hopeful energy to get some wins for arts in my ten hours a week.

Also, I get to eat a lot. Which is always good for your most starving student.

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Richmond Youth Media Festival

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Boom! Boom! Bam! Now sleep. This was probably my mental slogan going into The Richmond Youth Media Festival where I co-produced the Evolution of Media Showcase with Paige Smith, who was the coordinator god of the event. And I was mere half-Jesus entitled Youth Media Associate.

Before I go on any further you need to know about Cinevolution. They do great work. They are good people. I’ve mentioned Ying before, amazing, amazing, amazing my eyes pixelate when I look at her.

But anyways back to the production of the evolution of youth media showcase. Wow. Total system overload during the summer and then being wacked in the face with my new jab at UBC, but hey. That’s what I’m here for!

In three short months Paige and I:

  1. Ate a few bananas
  2. Found out we want to talk about the evolution of media
  3. Figured out the best way to do that would probably in a circle
  4. Figured out we should talk about the past too and hey why not include The Richmond Museum
  5. Ate a few pancakes
  6. Drew with glitter on a dance floor (don’t tell!)
  7. Established the idea that media is a canvas of communication
  8. Realized that there are four pillars of media: Sound, Visual, Word and New Reality
  9. Then we talked it through and realized that we wanted this to be cutting-edge, innovative and boundary pushing
  10. So we toyed, we chewed and bloom came up with a way for people to walk through the past and future of media while engaging with how the present is a medley of innovation

With the help of Ying and a group of enthusiastic and strong innovative thinkers who pushed buttons, dipped through sticky puddles and clicked the right codes to make this all actually make sense, be possible, safe and timely.

Here is the look of one of the stations:

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Each station had a description introducing this type of media, as well as a number that would correspond to another number that was located in the Richmond Museum.  There would be a keep sake component, a piece of machinery/technology that is represented of how the media is created and often an interactive experience.

And now it is over! Displayed as part of The Richmond World Festival, this creation was hoping that was very near and dear to my heart as well as Paige’s.

We took a lot of thought into this and I hope it went that way, but as with all projects you do your best and let the rest happen without you.

I am always humbled, honoured and excited to work with people as infectiously energized as the passionate group at Cinevolution Media Arts.