Articles tagged with: arts in Ottawa
NMA has yet to confront art markets. In search of form, it is still in search of itself, and it takes an objective outsider, looking in, to take the sting out of categorization. Rhiannon Vogl, with multiple degrees in arts and a studiously gentle take on creativity, has found herself in this position, however unintended.
There’s a trace of trepidation in John Koensgen as he prepares his newest role. When he picked up the script for Educating Rita, he realized, “boy, these people sure talk a lot.” Not that Koensgen doesn’t like lines; he is, after all, an actor. But it’s the language that’s made him blink, the complex sentence structure and the nuanced words that play England’s upper class off against its lower. So finding resonance in a version of theatre’s most archetypal theme of transformation will be, he admits, a big challenge.
We live in the Age of Spectacle, and this has great benefits. Standing with a hushed group in front of a Rembrandt at the National Gallery of Canada or in a crowd of 30,000 listening to Bob Dylan at Bluesfest links us to the big picture, the idea that history is consequential and that we can be part of it. The transcendence separates us from our surroundings, and bragging rights alone are worth the disconnection.
I’ve often written about the lack of squeak in the wheel of Canada’s arts communities. For an industry under a rising tide of marginalization, to be so quiet is absolutely confusing, especially given that specific groups, like festivals, can bombard the media with information and calls for attention – and get it. But as an overall community with a sermon’s message of the most positive things, the arts chapel is disappointingly hushed.
Linda Balduzzi zigzagged her way through university, fought to get into a directing course at the National Theatre School of Canada and stunned herself with a job as Executive Director of the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation. The path doesn’t seem strange now, but each step taught her the same lesson: “in the performing arts, there’s no hope in hell of succeeding on your own,” she explains.
Because we are humans and like to compare ourselves to other humans, and because Ottawa is swimming in summer events, I thought a test of festival homology might be in order – pick a local festival and see how it compares to others in similar places. There are, unfortunately, thousands of possible criteria for comparison so I choose the three simplest: events had to be 1) arts-oriented but not relegated to one discipline, 2) community focused but open to anyone who can get there and 3) free.
Right out of high school, Peggy White started writing songs and spent the next 12 years on the road with country-music bands. Throughout the 1990s, she was a successful travel agent in Ottawa while raising two sons. Recently she’s taught herself Web design to generate income. Throughout, she’s never stopped writing songs and playing the guitar. Then why, at 50, is she still having trouble accepting that a career in music is possible?
The earliest artistic representation of a human was discovered last year in Germany, an ivory carving around 35,000 years old. Not surprisingly, Venus of the Fels Cave depicts an anatomically correct female. The earliest human artistic expression ranges from 50,000 to 290,000 years ago, depending on how the experts define art. No matter what that definition, those creations were most definitely of animals.
In most performance on stage there’s a moment, usually early, when the audience knows exactly the domain they’ve entered. It is tradition, the satisfaction delivered for the $20 or $120 ticket, and this endorsement molds people to the back of their seats. No performance event in Ottawa obscures those domains like the Fringe Festival, and this implausibility draws viewers to the edges of their seats.