Monday, September 26, 2011

ENCHANTED: Les Journees de la Culture

You can find more information in my previous blog posting, click here. 

Photography by Christopher Capicollo

Busker or beggar?

From the publication "Inside Halton".

       Kathy Yanchus’ bizarre essay (Kathy’s Komments in last Thursday’s Champion) on busking — or as she calls it, “panhandling” — left me shaking my head in wonder. To compare the ancient and legitimate practice of performing for tips with begging for change for booze isn’t only insulting, it displays what I can only assume is ignorance.

She asks if perhaps she’s missing something. Clearly, she is. Musicians and other performers have been busking since humankind first built streets for them to perform on. It’s a response to the fact that traditional theatre has always been a somewhat expensive proposition for both the performer and the audience. Street performing removes those financial barriers and allows public access to culture of all sorts. It’s the most democratic and yet capitalistic of practices: performers present whatever entertainment they like, free from censorship or sanction, and their audience pays them according to how much they enjoyed the show and what they can afford to toss in the hat. Good buskers are rewarded; bad ones give up and leave. The free market at work.

Many great performers got their start as buskers. Canada’s Loreena McKennitt was a regular fixture with her harp down at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto for many years and still plays there occasionally. Tracy Chapman used to busk in Harvard Square. And Guy Laliberté was a highly respected street performer in Montreal before he turned his little busking troupe into Cirque du Soleil.

This is why buskers are considered tourist draws in cities all around the world, from the bridges of Paris to Quincy Market in Boston to Busker Fest in Toronto. And of course Milton just had it’s first busker festival this past summer.
I would be happy to drive her down to the big city some day and show her the difference between a busker and a beggar.

Jennifer Smith, Milton

"I will do the best I can."

The story of the hummingbird, African folk tale.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jim Hensen!

"I believe we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me." - Jim Henson. (Thank's Candice for posting this quote on facebook!)

I adore Jim Hensen! I grew up on his work through the eighties, it helped bring alot of magick to my world and open up my eyes to the magick in life around me.

I remember when he died, it was odd that at the same time watching one of my favourite show "The Storyteller". At the end, there was a segment talking about his recent death (May, 1990). I was so stunned. Oddly enough, at exactly the same time I was also sick with pneumonia, thank-fully I survived.

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending." - Jim Henson

"The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children."- Jim Henson

"When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there."- Jim Henson

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Journées de la Culture: ENCHANTED

"On October 1st & 2nd, from 2pm to 10pm, April-Anna will set up a temporary studio in the Library on the 3rd floor of Burritoville as a part of Journées de la Culture 2011." I will spend the day creating, based on the theme Flora & Fauna of Quebec. There is no schedule & no program, I will work in "artist time".

Photography by Andrei Kalamkarov.

There will be live fine art painting on canvas, mask making, sculpting, henna, & body painting. There will be a display set up in each corner explaining each medium. There will be opportunities when there is a large enough audience for April-Anna to do a spontaneous live demonstrations.

Burritoville has decided also to join in the fun! I am still waiting for confirmation on details, but for October 2nd, Burritoville is discussing the possibility of having alot of different activities & celebrations going on for the day. Stay tuned for more details!

Photography by Andrei Kalamkarov.

Symphonique de Montréal & Simple Plan

My very lovely friend shared her extra ticket with me for the charity fundraiser with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal & Simple Plan. I am very lucky that Josianne wished for my company! It was an interesting event. Josianne was there for work related reasons, I was there for the simple adventure of the universe which brought an unexpected adventure.

Dario Ayala/Postmedia News.
The concert was held in the new Place des Arts hall, Maison symphonique de Montréal, which is now renouned for it's acoustics. The interior design had something to be desired, I personally prefer the old fashioned ambiance of concert halls such as The Realto in the Mile-End. However, I definately recognize the accoustic improvement with the new hall.

I am not a fan of Simple Plan, and was not very familar with their music. However, I did recognize many songs. Their target market I am guestimating to be youths between the age of 10-18. But from looking at the response of the crowd, I would say there are exceptions to the rule. The lyrics are really relevant for young teenagers; the music really made me reflect on how much growth I have done since being a teen.

Photo is borrowed from the Wikipedia entry on Simple Plan.

The combination of this being a high profile charity event, (with both a silent auction and regular auction), brought in a massive amount of attendees of all ages, with a large percentage being from the business world. The presence of the sympany also influenced an older crowd to be open minded, and many were not really familar with the band Simple Plan.

I love seeing rock bands mix with the symphanies, it's beautiful, very impactful and full of energy. As music goes I must admit "Simple Truth" is not exactly my "cup of tea", but I very mcuh appreciate their good intentions and amazing contributions to multiple charities! Tonight they raised over $300,000.!

Photo is from the Wikipedia Entry for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Isis and Irina

I am way overdue to write a blog update; Open Mind Eco Festival came and went, as did the body art competition I started. I will write a proper article about that later. However, I will say that I met Irina Mikhailova, when I body painted her for her performance with the festival's headlining act, Kaya Project.
Photography by Toronto Ottawa Body Painting

Recently I have had the exquisite opportunity to collaborate with Irina Mikhailova on two photoshoots. Both shoots were with Andrei Kalamkarov. One of my close friends, Jamie, who runs Advika Clothing out of her loft, generiously donated the use of her space for the photoshoot. Hair is by Vincent Diplacido.

The first shoot, from start to finish, took a total of 7 hours; we finished at around 1:30am. Body painting, plus make-up was done in 4 hours with the help of Zraëli Karus and Ziggy. I tease the boys by saying they are "painting by numbers". Ziggy is a computer programmer by trade and I have to create an outline, blocking in what he needs to paint. Later on I may go over some of his work with some highlights or shadows, adding depth, or perhaps micas or glitters to the layer of paint.

 The theme for this shoot was Ancient Egypt.
 In the past, I have done extensive research into ancient Egypt. For this body painting I referenced paintings from tombs, temples and palaces. We didn't have enough time to be as authentic as I had originally wished to be, so I sped up the process by taking an artistic and imaginative twist.

Originally my referneces included Asia.

The Falcon in Ancient Egypt is sacred and related to the god Horus. The left eye of Horus is Osiris, and the Right eye of Horus is Ra, the moon and the sun.  (if I remember correctly, sometimes I mix up my right and my left). Depending on which period of Egypt one is referencing, Isis gave birth to Horus, who is the galaxies & universe.

Irina's "dress" (as you can see more like skin tight pants), is based on a particular image of Isis in a dress from the side view, as depicted in the painting, the dress appears as if they are leggings (see collage above where Isis has wings). I have painted a falcon on her back, surrounded by a cartouche. The feathers I have painted on her neck and face are falcon feathers. The design above her right eye brow is intended to be a "scrap" of ancient Egyptian lace based loosely off Egyptian Coptic netting lace design, produced in 500BC (I never had time to finished painting the lace).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bolivia Set to Pass Historic 'Law of Mother Earth' Which Will Grant Nature Equal Rights to Humans

Evo Morales speaks at the UN
Evo Morales speaks at the UN

This article I found shares absolutely amazing news! I pray that Canada follows in Bolivia's footsteps.

               With the cooperation of politicians and grassroots organizations, Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans. The piece of legislation, called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, is intended to encourage a radical shift in conservation attitudes and actions, to enforce new control measures on industry, and to reduce environmental destruction.
The law redefines natural resources as blessings and confers the same rights to nature as to human beings, including: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Perhaps the most controversial point is the right "to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities".
In late 2005 Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. Morales is an outspoken champion for environmental protection, petitioning for substantive change within his country and at the United Nations. Bolivia, one of South America's poorest countries, has long had to contend with the consequences of destructive industrial practices and climate change, but despite the best efforts of Morales and members of his administration, their concerns have largely been ignored at the UN.

Just last year, in 2010, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca expressed his distress "about the inadequacy of the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made by developed countries in the Copenhagen Accord." His remarks were punctuated by the claim that some experts forecasted a temperature increase "as high as four degrees above pre-industrial levels." "The situation is serious," Choquehuanca asserted. "An increase of temperature of more than one degree above pre-industrial levels would result in the disappearance of our glaciers in the Andes, and the flooding of various islands and coastal zones."
In 2009, directly following the resolution of the General Assembly to designate April 22 "International Mother Earth Day", Morales addressed the press, stating “If we want to safeguard mankind, then we need to safeguard the planet. That is the next major task of the United Nations”. A change to Bolivia's constitution in the same year resulted in an overhaul of the legal system - a shift from which this new law has sprung.

The Law of Mother Earth has as its foundation several of the tenets of indigenous belief, including that human are equal to all other entities. "Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family," Choquehuanca said. "We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values." The legislation will give the government new legal powers to monitor and control industry in the country.
"Existing laws are not strong enough," said Undarico Pinto, leader of the 3.5m-strong Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (a group that helped draft the law). "It will make industry more transparent. It will allow people to regulate industry at national, regional and local levels."

Bolivia will be establishing a Ministry of Mother Earth, but beyond that there are few details about how the legislation will be implemented. What is clear is that Bolivia will have to balance these environmental imperatives against industries - like mining - that contribute to the country's GDP.
Bolivia's successes or failures with implementation may well inform the policies of countries around the world. "It's going to have huge resonance around the world," said Canadian activist Maude Barlow. "It's going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tarsands in Alberta."

Ecuador has enshrined similar aims in its Constitution, and is among the countries that have already shown support for the Bolivian initiative. Other include Nicaragua, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.
National opposition to the law is not anticipated, as Morales' party - the Movement Towards Socialism - holds a majority in both houses of parliament. On April 20, two days before this year's "International Mother Earth Day", Morales will table a draft treaty with the UN, kicking off the debate with the international community.