Category Archives: Art

Get Wasted

Summer festival mixes comedy, melody and noise

BY: SARAH BERMAN, MEGAPHONE MAGAZINE

Strap on your party helmets because Music Waste is back for another five days of weird and wild music, art and performance.

Analog Bell Service photo courtesy of Sarah Cordingley

Analog Bell Service photo courtesy of Sarah Cordingley

The annual festival runs June 9 to 13 and features a veritable army of independent local talent. From art-punk and folk experiments to sketch comedy and mutant disco, this year’s lineup promises to excite the senses in bizarre and unimaginable ways.

“It’s all about music and experimentation and art,” explains co-organizer Sarah Cordingley—who also fronts a raucous guitar-synth outfit called Gang Violence. “It’s not about making money or getting big or any other industry elbow-rubbing bullshit.

“Basically we’re just about having fun and partying with awesome music.”

Industry bullshit aside, the buzz surrounding MW09 has been markedly louder than in previous years—thanks in part to some big names. The media-lauded Japandroids are set to rock the Biltmore for the bargain basement price of $5, while the Halifax duo Ghost Bees will headline an anticipated stripped-down folk set.

“The Japandroids have really blown up, as they say,” Cordingley says. “They’ve played with us for years, and were always really excited. Now it’s really exciting to have them be involved and to be so cool about it.”

Cordingley is a seasoned Music Waster, but she assures the festival is designed for newcomers: “A big part of Music Waste is for people to see music they don’t normally see. It’s so cheap to get in—you may as well go to check it out.”

Although a large chunk of MW09 celebrates Vancouver’s noise, punk and experimental scene, the festival’s most recent additions tend to span across many genres—or defy classification completely. For more subdued sets, Cordingley recommends visiting the Secret Loft.

“The Secret Loft—provided we don’t manage to get it shut down during the festival—is an amazing space,” Cordingley says. The second-story venue, which has recently been converted from a yoga studio, will host a number of up-and-coming pop, folk and indie-rock acts, including festival newcomers Analog Bell Service.

But because the Secret Loft is not an official music venue, bands and concert-hoppers are being cautioned to keep it down. “We’ve come up with a special set for it,” Bell Service singer and keyboardist Chris Kelly explains. “We’ve been asked to really strip it down … I think Music Waste is just afraid of stirring up the cops.”

Vancouver’s illegal venues have a long history of bad luck. “Lots of these places get blown up too quickly,” Cordingley laments. “End up turning into underage booze cans.” To ensure unconventional venues like the Secret Loft survive, Cordingley hopes both bands and audiences will make the effort to keep it underground..

In addition to live music, the Waste namesake has expanded into the world of visual art. With five original exhibits, along with a few in-gallery performances, the weeklong pass (still priced at $15 plus service charges) covers more than 25 uniquely paired events.

“I like that Music Waste is really trying to embrace all aspects of this emerging Vancouver scene,” says Kelly. “I think that helps combat this stigma that Vancouver’s not a fun city to hang out in.”

Also new to this year’s lineup is a fresh batch of comedians. Prominently featured in a series of promo videos, acts like Manhussy and Bronx Cheer share the same party mentality. “The showcase at Montmarte is going to be huge. There’s so many I think half the audience is going to be comedians.”

“My favourite part is just biking around in the summertime, catching as much as you possibly can,” Cordingley says.

Visit www.musicwaste.ca for the complete Music Waste schedule.

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Following a Paper Trail

Sorry about that whole unannounced three-week hiatus thing.

With the ever-stressful combination of final assignments, Ontario visits and a brand new apartment I thought I may never live to see the month of May—but here it is! In case you’re curious, I’m staying here in Vancouver for the summer, writing for both Megaphone and Adbusters. Despite my recent neglect, I hope you continue to visit and enjoy my weird little corner of the internet.

In other news, there’s an art show opening tonight at the Atsui Gallery located at 602 East Hastings. It is called Paper Trail: Serial Material, and it will be throwing all traditional notions of gallery practices to the wind, and instead presenting a whole bunch of fun but simple DIY treasures.

From party posters to zines to homemade tit pins, the exhibition has a distinct lo-fi alternative vibe, and should prove to be good times all around. The show begins tonight at 8 pm and runs until May 30th. Check out www.galleryatsui.com for the full list of details.

24 artists, 24 hours

Here’s something  rad happening next month:

24artistsBeginning on Saturday April 18th, 24 local artists will be making art around the clock, to raise money for a Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.

The fundraiser will be held at the Interurban Gallery at Hastings and Carrall Street. The gallery will be open for viewing the entire 24 hours, and will end with an art auction.

A friend of mine who makes artist trading cards will be participating. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

Art and Anarchy

Downtown Eastside artists give the Cultural Olympiad the middle finger

BY: SARAH BERMAN, MEGAPHONE MAGAZINE

There are many reasons to hate on the Olympics. Housing promises have been abandoned, the cost of living is rising, and millions of city dollars are being wasted—all for the sake of the 2010 Games.

Gord Hill's "Resist 2010"

Gord Hill's "Resist 2010"

So, if you like art, and want yet another reason to shake a fist at that hideous tooth-shaped Olympic countdown clock, mark your calendars for Friday, March 13. The unlucky night marks the beginning of an underground anti-Olympic art show called Art and Anarchy.

Art and Anarchy is the brainchild of 12 anti-authoritarian artists, who are concerned with the Olympics’ slick marketing and cultural appropriation. The show’s overarching message is pretty clear from its posters, which simply read: “Fuck the Cultural Olympiad.”

In the basement of the historic Tellier Towers (located at 16 East Hastings) Art and Anarchy will be showcasing a radical collection of sculptures, carvings, paintings, jewelry and video art. Pieces by Gord Hill—a well-known carver, illustrator and Olympic resistor—will be on display along with a barricade used during a tent city protest.

The artists, who do not receive any funding for their work, hope to show the Downtown Eastside’s creative community the perils of accepting Olympic money. From the use of aboriginal artwork in Olympic marketing campaigns to the use of state-sponsored art to block out scenes of poverty—Art and Anarchy aims to let local artists know they are being exploited rather than supported.

Street performer and anti-poverty activist David Cunningham is one of many Art and Anarchy members who believe community art in the Downtown Eastside is being used to disguise capitalist plunder. Cunningham has lived and worked in the Downtown Eastside for 10 years, and has avidly spoken against other gentrifying projects such as the Carral Street Greenway.

“We see this style of community art as an aesthetic of social cleansing,” he says. “The only opportunity VANOC has to represent itself in the neighbourhood is to give money to artists. This creates a façade of progressiveness, where they can claim to be investing in the community.”

Cunningham says community art is sometimes used as a physical barrier, to divide and disguise parts of the neighbourhood. “As we move closer to the Olympics, art is being placed over fences. Art is literally being used as walls in the Downtown Eastside.”

“We want to recapture what is now been exploited,” he says.

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No Eastside love for the Cultural Olympiad

Coming up in March, a Downtown Eastside art show has a simple message to share. Fuck the Cultural Olympiad.

Artists and community activists have come together to criticise the 2009 Cultural Olympiad.

Artists and community activists have joined forces against the 2009 Cultural Olympiad.

Yes, the folks organizing Art and Anarchy aren’t ones to mince words. They are joining a larger cultural front against the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Street performer and anti-poverty activist David Cunningham is one of many A&A artists concerned with the “socially-cleansed” cultural aesthetic churned out by Olympic promoters.

Cunningham and a growing group of anti-authoritarian artists aim to criticize the Olympiad for it’s use of community art to “disguise capitalist plunder.”

Beginning Friday March 13 and running until the 19th, the basement of the historic Tellier Towers (located at 16 East Hastings) will be the site of radical theatre and art exhibition.

I certainly plan to check it out.

Opening night begins at 8 pm, and continues between 3 and 8 pm through the rest of the week. Photo courtesy of Roland.

$2.5 million Cultural Olympiad invades the Eastside

Vancouver-based musician Matt Good thinks Olympic money would be much better spent on poverty relief in the Downtown Eastside.

He’s certainly not alone. With a crumbling world economy, growing city debt and increasingly visible street poverty, it’s no surprise many Vancouver residents are reconsidering their support for the two-week, $6 billion event.

But despite extensive criticism, the Olympic machine keeps on rolling. To remind us all of the inevitable 2010 Games (or perhaps convince us this whole shebang is really worthwhile) the folks at VANOC have launched a seven-week cultural festival.

The 2009 Cultural Olympiad kicked off with a Chinese New Year celebration throughout the streets of Chinatown, Feb. 1.

The 2009 Cultural Olympiad officially began February 1 with a Chinese New Year celebration.

Yes, the 2009 Cultural Olympiad is upon us, which boasts over 400 events spanning from February 1 to March 21. Many Canadian musicians have been scheduled to appear (including Chad VanGaalen, Hawksley Workman, Broken Social Scene, Tegan and Sara, Joel Plaskett and of course Sarah McLachlan) as well as a wide variety of art, dance and theatre exhibitions.

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Inner city blues (and greens and reds and yellows)

Hey internet, meet Richard Tetrault.

Community Walls/Community Voices spans 500 feet of Commercial Drive

Community Walls/Community Voices spans 500 feet of Commercial Drive

Tetrault is a painter, printmaker and muralist who has worked in the Downtown Eastside for more than thirty years. Like me, he digs public art. Unlike me, he is an incredibly skilled artist and has painted on some prominent buildings in places like Traxcala Mexico, Oakland California, and Tucuman Argentina.

(Coincidentally, he also contributed to an enormous mural in my hometown).

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