Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teaser: Please don't SPOIL

On saturday just past, I did a collaborative body painting, stop-motion animation photoshoot in protest of the use of fossel fuels, the tar sands, oil tankers and the pipeline. Here is a teaser from the photos and animation to come. The imagery I have chosen is inspired by the documentary SPOIL, by EP Films in collaboration with Pacific Wild. The film follows the International League of Conservation Photographers as they team up with the Gitga'at Nation of British Columbia to document the Great Bear Rainforest before an oil pipeline changes it forever.
Go to Dogwood & to to help protect this beautiful place. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Flower" Stopmotion Animation with Cora Flora

This has been a long time in coming. I originally did the photoshoot in mid-Januarary but in the editing process got mentally tired and was also feeling frustrated with the results on account that I didn't have all the right gear at the time when we did the shoot. Since then I have now 2 umbrella studio lights, 3 backdrops (13'x20'), a remote control for the camera (such a godsend) and a new lens that is crisper & lets in more light. I can't wait to get Cora Flora back in the studio with the new equipment!

Between hair and make-up, which was provided by MIA, then the time to do the actual artwork animation on the guitar, canvas, face & body; this shoot took 20 hours to complete. The editing time I think has been approx. 70 hours give or take a little becuase of the photo editing process. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Repost: Russia's households produce over 50% of Russia's total agricultural produce.

Russian Dacha
In contemporary Russia 66% of the country’s households (35 million families) produce over 50% of Russia’s total agricultural output.  This is typically done on small allotments known as a dacha. Urban families flee to their dachas on weekends and in summer. On these small plots they use a kind of permaculture technique growing annuals and perennials, fruits and vegetables. The word dachnik is used interchangeably with gardener.

This is often referred to as the ‘dacha movement’ but the gardening tradition in Russia goes back 1000 years.
“Russia’s household agriculture — possibly the most extensive in any industrially developed nation — suggests that in developed countries highly decentralized, small-scale food production is possible on a national scale. This practice therefore warrants close attention, since the degree of self-sufficiency in a number of food staples attained by Russian house- holds points to the reemergence of a distinct, highly localized food regime, on a nation- scale level.”

As the United States moves into a transition period away from cheap oil we have a lot to learn from other countries such as Cuba and Russia. Clearly, it is possible to raise much of our food in our yards.
My Internet addiction led me this week to a Ph’d thesis by a Russian academic titled THE SOCIOECONOMIC AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF FOOD GARDENING IN THE VLADIMIR REGION OF RUSSIA by Leonid Sharashkin

The cultural differences in gardening in the US vs Russia are dramatic because of the thousand year tradition of gardening there. Mr. Sharashkin points out that in the US during times of war or economic stress home gardens flourish in the US. But in normal times statistics like the following apply:

“Russia has 18.8 million acres of family gardens, which produce US$14 billion worth of products per year, equivalent to over 50% of Russia’s agricultural output, or 2.3% of the country’s GDP (Rosstat 2007b). The United States, on the other hand, have 27.6 million acres of lawn, which produce a US$30 billion per year lawn care industry (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe 2001).

In the Vladimir region of Russia, gardeners spend, on average, 17 hrs per week (during the growing season) tending their gardens. Surveys from other regions (Clarke et al. 1999) offer similar results. By comparison, Americans, on average, spend 32 hrs per week watching television (Nielsen Media Group 2006).”

Appalling when you stop to think about it.
There’s much to digest in Mr. Sharashkin’s thesis and I will continue to wade through it.

Repost: The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants....

I am reposting this because I love the concept and I wish we could do something like this in all cities & town's accross Canada, and the rest of North America. April-Anna

It's Not a Fairytale: Seattle Build's Nation's First Urban Food Forest
Forget meadows.
The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.

The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.

That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.

“Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut.

Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning.

So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?
“Anyone and everyone,” says Harrison. “There was major discussion about it. People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.”

Model Wanted!

Photography by Christopher Capicollo

So I am looking for a petit model (5'6" or shorter, slim), male or female, available for the 16th, 17th and possibly the 18th to volunteer to come with us to the Trois Rivierre body painting competition at the PGBHG wild life fine art exhibition.

You need to be comfortable with being fully body painted; you'd have nipple covers on that I body paint over, and something like bikini bottoms, or a G-string.

Your travel, accomodations and food would be paid for. You'd get a copy of the photos from the competition.
Someone with modeling, or performance experience is preferred.

The competition is on the 17th, it's a long day; we have to be on site for set-up and registration at 10am-ishness. Competition starts at 12pm/lunch hour, and ends at 6pm. A break for dinner (not very long), then the judging starts, photos, then stage. By the time everything is said and done, it'll be approx. 9pm.

There are showers on site, but if we stay overnight on the day of the competition, then you can shower in the hotel (might be nicer).

FYI I can get really intense when I am body painting and sometimes I get really stressed, so ideally I'd like a model who won't be affected by whatever mood I am in and is also able to remind me to breath and stay calm. I try my best to make it fun and cheery and can use a little help in that process.

I will consider all candidates, but I have a back-up plan if I don't find what I am looking for.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recent Photography

I just wanted to share some of what I have been doing lately with my photography (for anyone who doesn't know, I have been in a photography course for the past 6 weeks). Mixture of studio and outdoor shots, portrait and landscapes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Going Green?

Here are some thoughts I have on the subject of going green and lowering your impact on the environment. Everything I mention are all things I do, and have been doing for years. Not sure if I am forgetting anything. Please leave your comments or questions at the bottom of this article!  

1) Reduce Garbage:
Shop consciously; avoid buying things that come in packages, or look for products that come in as little packaging as possible. Buying in bulk, using your own bags (either reusing old plastic bags or finding or making small cloth bags) is ideal whenever possible.

2) Compost:
Which of course also reduces your garbage and it's a great fertilizing for your plants the following year! There are many ways you can compost, including in city environments. Many cities have a limited amount of community composts that you can register to use (you take it down there), a few cities even have compost pick-up now available (much like your garbage or recycling pick-up); I hope the City of Montreal gets a city compost pick-up system going soon.
3) Recycle:
Most cities have recycling collection set-up. If they don't, I recommend you send a letter your city every so often requesting one. Unfortunately the biggest issue with recycling is that most cities don't process their own recycling into new materials. Such as Montreal, which collects it for sorting, then for now it gets stored. In the past most recycling produced in North America gets put up for sale, clean recycling costs more, dirty recycling is sold for less (which is actually hard to sell, but our municipality does not clean the recycling, they just sort it, so it's up to the household it originated in to wash it). China and India, as far as I know, are the two countries most likely to buy it, up until they had bought more recycling then they could process since they can't sell the final product fast enough compared to our rate of producing recycling. So as a result, Montreal has a recycling crisis because no one wants to buy the recycling anymore (they have too much of it overseas), hence it ends up just being stored, except rumour mill is that they are running out of storage space.

4) Change Your Light Bulbs:
Ok everyone says change your light bulbs. But my concern with the compact florescent lights is that they have mercury in them, if they break you have a mercury contamination, which is dangerous. They also should not be thrown into the garbage, ideally they should be recycling by a plant set up for handling mercury. LEDS are good, but also have their issues. There is no perfect answers, but living on the sun's rhythm and having lots of windows & skylights will definitely help. I think it's just important that we try our best to make the best possible decisions with the choices we have and always look for new and better ways to do things.

5) Shop & Support LOCAL:
Shop and support locally is easier then you think, though unfortunately not everything is available from a local producer, I am still often happily surprised at how much I can find locally. I also encourage you to shop organically if you can.

6) Carbon Foot Print:
Try to walk or ride a bike as much as possible, take city transportation and avoid using a car whenever possible. Try to avoid buying things that are not local for this reason.

We don't need to buy all the latest greatest gadgets and fashions. It's crazy and unsustainable. In my opinion, if it isn't broken don't replace it. Avoid buying plastics, especially new plastics which mostly come from the oil industry. There are alot of alternatives to using fossil fuels for producing plastic such as hemp, corn, or potato. I don't know alot about the subject of plastic sources,  but I do know that potato and corn based plastics are used to produce compostable containers for take-out food!

8) SOAPS & Household Cleaning Products:
I use only biodegradable, healthy products (healthy for you, healthy for the environment) no matter what I am doing. The simplest solution is often the most environmentally friendly, cheaper and easier way to clean things. It's important to understand that the water you send down your drains does end up back into the ecosystem, into mother nature's water systems.

Here is some more information from Concordia University Building Engineering Society, written by CUBES President - Agnieszka Koziol:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Only 39% of Canadians voted...

(The Following Message is from 
Only 39% of Canadians voted for this Government and they still won power. This could happen again unless we all join our national political parties and encourage cooperation. In weeks, leadership elections in our opposition parties will begin, deciding their positions for the next four years! If each of us joins the political party of our choice right now, we can change politics in Canada forever.

The government in power only represents the priorities of 39% of the country, with the rest of our votes split amongst four other parties. But most Canadians think the opposition should cooperate to make sure the majority is represented in Parliament. The Greens already support this plan and a key leader of the NDP is moving his party in that direction. Now we need a wave of support from Canadian voters to make cooperation a reality.

We can change the way the opposition behaves by joining their ranks. Parties begin to close their doors to new voting members this week. Click below to join our national parties now -- our voices as members can come together in a massive national call for cooperation and finally make democracy work in Canada:

    Click here to join the NDP
    Click here to join the Liberal Party
    Click here for the Green Party
    Click here for the Conservative Party

Most of us, including progressive conservatives, aren't represented by Harper's right-wing policies. Joining a party only costs a small fee -- 25 dollars for the NDP and 10 dollars for the Liberals, the two official parties holding leadership races. Joining the Conservatives costs 15 dollars and the Greens cost only 10. And, for the first time ever, cooperation is a key topic in the NDP leadership race. This might be a once-in-a-generation chance to make cooperation a reality and end vote-splitting and defensive voting for good.

The Green's leader Elizabeth May supports cooperation, and high-profile NDP and Liberal party members are open to the idea. If we all become members of parties now, we can vote as a bloc for party heads who will put the public interest first by uniting to represent the majority of Canadians right now in Parliament and in our next election. Those of us joining the Conservative Party can act as an important force to bring progressive conservatism back to Canada.

Let's help elect a government that represents the real majority of Canadians and ensure no one can hijack our elections with less than 40% of the vote. Click here to join the movement to make Canada's democracy work:

    Avaaz members across Canada have stood up for our democracy before, beating back attempts to create "Fox News North" and fill our media with misleading statements. Let's stand together again today and make this the turning point for our country and the future of our politics.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Stephanie, Ari, Benjamin, Ricken, Morgan, Wen-Hua and the whole Avaaz team


Half favour Liberal-NDP co-operation: poll (CTV)

NDP leadership contender Nathan Cullen calls for united front against Conservatives (

Harper's pension policy: Voters will have veto in 2015 (Chronicle Herald)

NDP hopeful pitches joint nominations with Liberals, Greens (Globe and Mail)

Harper wins when voters snooze (Ottawa Citizen)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Teaser: Comfortably Numb - Montreal Concert

Here is a teaser from tonight's concert. I'll write an article later and put up many photos as well as a vlog when I have a chance over the next few days!

Comfortably Numb - Canada's Pink Floyd Show, concert in Montreal, 12-02-2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

VLOG 11 02 2012 What I do to Reduce my Ecological Foot Print

Video blog discussing what I do to reduce my ecological imprint, my foot print on the earth's natural environment. Please leave your comments and questions!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Contest Winner's Announced!!


Contest Winners:
Christopher van de Sande
Matthew Dykstra
Felix Barbeau
Abbie Brand
Keera Sama
Michelle Evans
Cora Flora
Allison Ryan
Robyn Stroll
Diana Sutherland

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interview with Comfortably Numb - Canada's Pink Floyd Show

 Comfortably Numb - Canada's Pink Floyd Show  will be playing this saturday, Feb. 11th, 2012, at L'Astral, in Montreal, QC, Canada. If you wish to purchase tickets, I am offering exclusive ticket discounts at $7.50 off each ticket with Promo Code "MONTREAL". ($32.50 discounted ticket offer; tickets are normally $40. each). Offer is under CHOM FM Ticket Offer. Click here to buy a ticket at Ticket Master.

Between myself and AK of Comfortably Numb. 

Q: How long have you been together as Comfortably Numb?
A: Since 1992

Q: What was the turning point that made you decide to start touring with Comfortably Numb?
A: A desire to bring these shows to as many people as we can and to share the magic of Pink Floyd to all, we also hope to convert people that do not like Floyd to being Floyd fans.

Q: What lead to you being a Pink Floyd tribute band?
A: A genuine love for the music of 70’s Pink Floyd. We have always been amazed at the live concerts Pink Floyd in the 70’s and want to bring these types of shows to our audiences. In the initial stages we had a cover band that focused on different music, Genesis (I am a big fan of Genesis as well) etc. but in the middle of the show we decided to do a big ‘floyd set’ – the reaction was always wonderful so it took off from there. I am a bit of a control freak so I fashioned this band to be the best it can – and still do!

Q: Where have you toured with Comfortably Numb?
A: as far as Panama, Central America

Q: What does Pink Floyd's music mean to you?
A: Pink Floyd has been with me through thick and thin. I can always turn to this music today and it sounds as fresh as it did the day I first listened to it. It affects me on so many levels that it is hard to pinpoint just one – I do know that it is quite special.

Q: Have you ever seen Pink Floyd perform live? What about any of the band members, such as Roger Waters?
A: Yes I have seen them many times and also I have seen Gilmour and Waters live on many occasions. My First Floyd experience was September 9th, 1987 at Landsdowne Park Ottawa – a very special day indeed. I saw Waters on Radio Kaos, In The Flesh and Dark Side Of The Moon (3 times) and The Wall (twice) tours. I saw Gilmour on About Face and On an Island tours. I am a HUGE Waters fan and have an IMMENSE respect for his work. Waters is up there with Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Gilmour’s guitar work inspires me to new heights daily. In our Numb shows I am always striving for ‘that tone’. I have gear that Gilmour himself uses as well so as to ‘get that sound’ – as all players know, sound comes from the hands and not just effects, so I am always trying to get it bang on.

Q: Have you ever met any of the members of Pink Floyd? If yes, have they seen you perform one of your tribute shows?
A: No sadly, although I came close to meeting Waters. Brain Damage, the leading on-line web source for Pink Floyd and who have direct contact with members of Floyd reviewed our show and we got 5 stars!

Q: What do you enjoy most about doing Pink Floyd concerts?
A: Playing the music and feeling that magic on stage with my band. The interaction between myself and the audience – this is a huge area for me. I am so fortunate to have this amazing group of musicians with me that when we play together it is very special indeed.

Q: Why do you choose to recreate specific concerts?
A: I must explain that we DO NOT recreate shows in the sense that other bands do, note for note, scene for scene etc. Our recreation is the emotion of these shows as it was in the 70’s. We spend a great deal of time trying to capture that spirit, not a clone of a show as it were. We do not spend time trying to look a-like or act etc. Unlike most bands that simply perform and let the lights and video take over, we play to our audiences – each person in that audience has chosen to spend their time with us and we know how valuable time is these days, so we take this very seriously, and we want it to be a memorable night. Audience interaction for me is a MUST not an option. Folks that have seen the show know AK will interact with the audience.

Q: Have you ever played in Montreal before? What's your experience like with the audience?
A: We have several times, Club Soda, Le Spectrum, Le Medley, L'Olympia de Montreal and now L’Astral. The audience are brilliant and the reception we get is very humbling indeed. We have gained some very loyal fans – it is a pleasure and an honour to perform in Montreal.

Q: Do you have any memorable stories to share about Pink Floyd fans?
A: I can share stories of our Pink Floyd fans, we have had some amazing hard core fans that come to EVERY single show and are so loyal – they help promote the shows, support the band and so on. One time I remember a fan was so into the show he had our band logo tattooed – well cool I must say! Another time a fan gave us his shirt – literally! I have been asked to sign female body parts and at our last show in Toronto a woman yelled out that she wanted to…well you know…I find all this very funny and yet humbling that fans are so into the show.

Q: Your other band, AK Project, this music is your own compositions, correct? Do you think your Comfortably Numb fan's would also enjoy the music produced by the AK Project? Do you ever do shows in Montreal with the AK Project?
A: The AKProject is ALL original. The first album was entitled ‘Outside The Cage’ and was a very personal album – the music was very much reflective of my Pink Floyd background, in fact many, many Numb fans have bought my albums in very big numbers, especially in Montreal where a group of fans spread the word and spiked up album sales considerably. Our next CD featuring the members of Comfortably Numb will also have some Floyd influence as well. We have not yet toured Montreal with The AK Project but we will for sure – the album is released in Spring 2012. 

The Band is:
AK: Lead Vocal, All Guitars, Talk Box, Lap Steel, Founder
Solveig Keshavjee: Vocal, Keyboard, Video/Audio FX
Ahenk Ozakpinar: Bass/Backing Vocal
Matt Babineau: Drums/Percussion
Charles McInnis: Keyboard, Organ
 #comfortablynumb #pinkfloyd #AK #tributebands #canada #ticketsales #concerts #L'Astral