Category Archives: Multimedia

Nicolas Cage Returns to Burritt’s Rapids

Also see the Facebook Page: Nicolas Cage in Burritt’s Rapids

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In 1986, a 22-year-old shirtless Nicolas Cage starred as world-champion sculler Ned Hanlan in the Canadian film production of “The Boy in Blue,” partially shot in the village of Burritt’s Rapids, Ontario over eight days in September 1984.

On Wednesday, April 19th, 2017, Cage will make a return visit to Burritt’s Rapids, a tiny village in the southwest corner of Ottawa. This time around fans will have to settle for the sweaty, celluloid version of the popular actor. Continue reading Nicolas Cage Returns to Burritt’s Rapids

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Guerrilla Art for Curious People

It took 18 years of rural living for Guerrilla Art for Curious People to surface.

The idea popped into my brain because I love nothing more than discovering public art in unexpected places. Every time I’m surprised by an installation – turning a corner or driving through a neighborhood – my body vibrates, my head alights and I am consumed by happiness. To quote Mr. Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric. Continue reading Guerrilla Art for Curious People

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Alex Janvier at the National Gallery of Canada

Alex Janvier is among the most important figures in the development of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada. This retrospective presents more than 150 works created from 1950 to the present day and recounts the story of a life devoted to art and the re-empowerment of Indigenous cultures. Over a prolific sixty-five-year career Janvier has produced thousands of paintings and many public commissions, all in a unique style, recognizable for its calligraphic lines, vivid colours, Dene iconography and forms that evoke land, sky, galaxies and microscopic life. Janvier is part of a distinguished group of artists in Canada who have brought Indigenous beliefs, issues and aesthetics to the foreground and successfully combined them with Western art styles and techniques. ~ National Gallery of Canada website

Yesterday marked the opening of painter Alex Janvier’s gorgeous retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada. I slipped in for the members tour before catching the 6:00pm opening ceremony, which included traditional dancing, honour songs, prayers and a speech by Janvier in his signature white cowboy hat and black suit. Continue reading Alex Janvier at the National Gallery of Canada

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Would You Let This Man Sell Your House?

would you let this man sell your house

I’m guessing that someone somewhere at sometime told this fellow that he looks like Owen Wilson’s male model in Zoolander. It’s the only reasonable reason I can imagine he would slap his ‘Blue Steel’ face on gigantic posters around White Rock, B.C., to push his unique brand of real estate sales in Greater Vancouver’s steaming housing market.

In a market where the product is selling itself, regardless of price, condition, and, arguably, the agent at hand, this approach may not seem foolish or cheesy at all. Maybe it’s the new normal. Maybe I don’t know anything.

If I’m feeling charitable, this is brilliant satire and clever public art rather than one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And the more I think about it, the more likely I am to ring him up and have him send me the entire set of posters. Autographed.

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Bethesda Terrace’s Magical Minton Ceiling

Like other great cities, New York is a museum unto itself. It is possible to visit and never set foot inside any building – save for your hotel – and come away filled to the aesthetic brim. It’s all eye candy: the people, the architecture, the street art, the signs of wear, seasonal changes, the movement of everything, the intentional and unintentional.

The Minton tile ceiling design is made up of 15,876 individual encaustic tiles. These are divided between 49 panels. There are two repeated panel designs that differ only in the central motif being either large or small. Each panel is made up of 324 tiles. The tiles were fixed to cast iron back plates by a simple brass ‘dovetail bolt’. This ingenious fixing used a special slot in the back of each tile that was produced by inserting a wedge-shaped piece of wood that burnt out during firing. The head of the bolt could then be fitted and cemented for extra strength (Figure 2). Once in place, the protruding bolt was threaded through the back plate and secured with a nut (Figure 3). Each back plate was held in place by a grid of structural cast iron work attached to the Arcade stone and brickwork (Figure 4). 

Many private buildings in NYC restrict public access for reasons of privacy and security, so gems like the Woolworth Building are no longer open to common curiosity seekers. But for every inaccessible space, there are ten public jewels like Bethesda Terrace.

Although it appears to be natural, every detail in Olmsted and Vaux’s Central Park plan was purpose-built.  Bethesda Terrace, adjacent to the park’s 72nd Street Cross Drive, too, was purposely designed and implemented by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey to be “a place of social gathering.”1  Standing on the footbridge above, onlookers are presented with a lovely view of the terrace, fountain and lake. But its subterranean delights are well-concealed; the tiles aren’t visible until you descend the staircase and step inside.

I was triply rewarded for my visit: a bright sunny day cast dramatic shadows, furnishing high contrast between dark and light; the Peace Industry Music Group provided a breathtaking musical accompaniment in a cathedral-quality sound space; and nearly 16,000 magnificent Minton tiles, flanked by frescoes, stretched from one end of the arcade to the other.

Bethesda Terrace Minton Tiles Bethesda Terrace Minton Tiles

This is one of the most important installations of Minton tiles in the United States. Others include the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC and the exhibition display collection housed in the Smithsonian.  Bethesda Terrace is the only known use of Minton encaustic tiles in a suspended ceiling2

NYCBethesdaTerrace-1

As if I wasn’t already agog at the tiles, I plunked myself down on the floor to stare at, listen to and photograph the beauty of the Peace Industry Music Group. Like a modern Van Trapp family, the group includes seven of nine siblings, plus guest players, led by father John Valiant Boyd.  The singing begins @ 2:30.

I returned one rainy morning and had the place mostly to myself. With a book and a thermos of coffee I could have tucked up in a niche and spent the day reading to my heart’s content, a sublime woman-cave in the picturesque heart of the city. Alas, my tile obsession – and corresponding list of must-sees – got the better of me, and off I went in search of the next treasure trove.

Bethesda Terrace Minton Tiles Bethesda Terrace Minton Tiles

Resources:
Minton Tile Ceiling, Bethesda Terrace, New York by Danny Callaghan July, 2013 http://www.madeinstaffordshire.com/thepotteriestiletrail/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/TACS-GE71-Minton-Tile-Ceiling-Article-copy.pdf

 

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  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethesda_Terrace 

  2. http://www.victorianamagazine.com/archives/12299 

Nobody Tells This to Beginners, He Says

It took some clickety-clicking to find the derivative work, but here’s John McWade’s original posting on Ira Glass and the beginnings of creativity.

It’s worth watching Mr. Glass’s video if:

a) You’ve ever thought of learning a skill or creating something new; or

b) See above.

Mr. Glass’s thesis is this: Creatives are compelled to create, but there is a gap between what they envision and what they can do, a gap between taste and ability.  And this frustrating ineptitude is likely to continue for some time before the magic appears.

He believes it is the nature of the creative (and learning) process to suck.  Not an entirely new message, but freshly and frankly told by someone who has known the good, the bad and the ugly.

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In the spirit of Ira Glass, I am posting my very first short film, Snow in May, shot one day last month during a violent fit of positional vertigo (kind of dumb to be lying in the middle of the road when the world starts to spin).

I like it.  It makes me happy.  Seems being bad at something can also be lots of fun.

[cvg-video videoId=’3′ width=’640′ height=’360′ mode=’playlist’ /]

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Page 23

Think those models in furniture catalogues don’t have a life?  Think again. Amazing what lengths some people will go to for style.

A short film by Jeroen Houben, Tim Arts, and Stefan van den Boogaard made during the 48 Hour film project in Utrecht, 2011.  Discovered via http://www.shortfilmfests.com.

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Street Art: Things Change

I love when street art and murals bring cities to life.  But this is no average mural.  It was conceived as an animation, as living storytelling, and not as a static snapshot in time. However, in the end, it is unable to escape its essential form.

A three-week painting condensed into a 3 minute animation. This is a short story told on a big wall at Village Underground in Shoreditch, London by Jo Peel, 2012.

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At Home With Mrs. Hen

At home with young kids?  This is it exactly.

The dishes, laundry, food preparation, bickering and incessant demands rarely stop.  I feel your pain.  Enough to want to fly the coop…

 

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