Celebrating Lorna Crozier

With a sold-out house, gales of laughter, heartfelt reminiscences, touching readings and a few sincerely dewy-eyed moments, the Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier proved to be a smash success! And, thanks to the nearly 300 people filling the David Lam Auditorium on November 28, the Department of Writing also managed to raise a nice bit of money for the fledgling Lorna Crozier Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship.

It was a full house at the Lorna Crozier event

It was a full house at the Lorna Crozier event

Hilariously hosted by Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, and featuring a stellar lineup of poets—including Jane Urquhart, Brad Cran, Patrick Lane, Carla Funk, Melanie Siebert and Steven Price—the nearly two-and-a-half-hour event kept people alternately in stitches and silence, depending on the emotional tone of the readings . . . and anecdotes. (Alas, planned guests Anne Michaels had to cancel due to illness and Esi Edugyan was called out of town on book business.) Most of the poets read a mix of their favourite Crozier poems as well as some of their own work, much of which was either inspired by or had been critiqued by her as a teacher.

Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart

Celebrated author and poet Jane Urquhart set the tone for the evening, mixing personal—and often surprisingly frank—reminiscences of Lorna with her own readings. (Highlights included hearing about the two of them attending a literary event in Paris, which did Lorna’s fashion addiction absolutely no good.) Shelagh Rogers responded in kind with a side-splitting story about Urquhart, Crozier and herself breaking into an artistic director’s home after a reading on the Sunshine Coast to drink gin and tonics. An audience member paid $50 to hear this hilarious and totally impromptu bon mot, and it actually kicked off a cash-for-kooky-Crozier-stories frenzy that ran the entire night and saw about $500 extra raised for the scholarship. (Indeed, Crozier’s husband, Patrick Lane, offered to tell a particularly racy story about her for $100, which Crozier then outbid with another $100 for him not to tell it!)

From top left: Shelagh Rogers, Brad Cran, Carla Funk, Steven Price, Melanie Siebert, Alexandra Pohran Dawkins

From top left: Shelagh Rogers, Brad Cran, Carla Funk, Steven Price, Melanie Siebert, Alexandra Pohran Dawkins

The most memorable readings of the night came from Crozier’s former students—Cran, Price, Siebert and Funk—all of whom attested to her skill in the classroom and importance as a mentor; most of them have since become friends and colleagues, and their memories provided vivid illustrations of how important a professor can be in the lives of emerging artists. A highly emotional Brad Cran even got too choked up to finish his own reading, barely holding back the tears as he recounted his own experience with undiagnosed dyslexia, the difference Crozier made to him as a student, and the struggles his daughter is currently going through with the same thing—and the hope that she too would find such a supportive mentor one day.

Pohran Dawkins performs her musical tribute

Pohran Dawkins performs her musical tribute

Another highlight of the evening was the special performance by School of Music professor Alexandra Pohran Dawkins, who played her own charming and poetic improvisational piece on the English Horn titled, “A Musical Offering—For Lorna.”

Patrick Lane read out a message from Anne Michaels, noting that she was “very sad not to be with you all—only a doctor’s orders would keep me away.” Michaels wrote that she had known Crozier for over 30 years and had spent the past few weeks reading all of her books again, noting “how much love your poems contain, how much humour and quiet strength . . . in their grace, your poems embrace all of life.”

As Crozier's longtime partner, Patrick Lane was uniquely situated to offer, uh, insights

As Crozier’s longtime partner, Patrick Lane was uniquely situated to offer, uh, insights

Lane himself had much to say about his wife—much of it hilarious, much of it touching—before reading one of his poems that was written at a moment of indecision in their relationship. “A Red Bird Bearing On His Back An Empty Cup” silenced the house, and caused many to pause and reflect on their own emotional lives. Lane also mischievously noted the pros and cons of living with another poet: “Every now and then I come up with these phrases and Lorna says, ‘Write that down’ . . . and I do, before she steals it.”

Former City of Victoria Poet Laureate Carla Funk spoke glowingly about Lorna’s teaching legacy,  describing her “faith beyond faith” that a student’s poem would improve, and her ability to “encourage young poets, inspire them to continue, to strive, to grow, to give permission to write about things that were kept in shadows in your family’s history.”

A very moved Lorna Crozier

A very moved Lorna Crozier

By the time recently retired Crozier took the podium to a standing ovation, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. “I didn’t realize so much of the evening would be about me,” said an obviously moved Crozier, noting that “it shouldn’t be so much about me, but about raising money for our future students and aspiring poets.” Crozier also praised her former students, saying how lucky she was to have them in her classes. “Now they are peers, and I use their books as models for what one can write when you get so close to the heart.”

Crozier with Cran, Funk and Dean Blackstone (foreground)

Crozier with Cran, Funk and Dean Blackstone (foreground)

Indeed, many of the featured poets mentioned how they had been recipients of scholarships when they were in school, and how much a difference they can make in the life of a struggling student.  All in all, the evening raised about $6,000 towards the $25,000 needed to make the scholarship self-sustaining. This scholarship will continue to honour the academic life and legacy of the beloved poet now that she has retired from teaching. Please consider a donation to this important fund, which will be awarded annually to a third or fourth year undergraduate poetry student. You can give online simply by clicking this link. 

As Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, noted at the close of the evening, “UVic has just celebrated our 50th anniversary—imagine, on our 100th anniversary, hearing the difference this scholarship has made to the lives and careers of 50 poets yet to come.”

Thanks go out to event sponsors Tanner’s Books, Marmalade Tart Boutique, Greystone Books, Harbour Publishing, plus UVic’s offices  of the Vice President Aademic & Provost and External Relations, as well as our own Faculty of Fine Arts and Department of Writing.

If you missed it in advance, be sure to check out some of the media coverage the event received: CBC Radio’s All Points West on-air column “Creative Class” which you can hear by clicking here, this short article in the Times Colonist and this piece in The Ring, UVic’s community newspaper.

Join Us For A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier

For over 20 years, Lorna Crozier helped shape the future of Canadian poets and writers as a professor in the Department of Writing. Now, her legacy will live on in the form of the Lorna Crozier Scholarship for undergraduate writing students—and to help kick off the scholarship, a special fundraiser is being held at UVic on November 28. Featuring a veritable who’s-who of national and local literary luminaries, A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier promises to be one of the most memorable events of the fall arts season.

Crozier poster_Oct16Hosted by Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, and featuring famed Canadian writers Anne Michaels (Fugitive Pieces), Jane Urquhart (The Stone Carvers) and Brad Cran (former City of Vancouver Poet Laureate), the evening’s lineup also includes UVic writers Patrick Lane (There Is A Season), Esi Edugyan (Half-Blood Blues), Carla Funk (former City of Victoria Poet Laureate), Melanie Siebert (Deepwater Vee), Steven Price (The Year of the Ox) and a special appearance by School of Music professor Alexandra Pohran Dawkins,who will be performing her own improvisational piece on the English Horn titled, “A Musical Offering—For Lorna.”

Each audience member will also receive a special poem, written for the occasion and signed by Lorna, that will be suitable for framing. Even Crozier herself will be on hand for the event!

(Interesting campus side-note: in additional to the many awards and accolades they have garnered over the years, Anne Michaels received an honourary doctorate from UVic in 2012, and Patrick Lane is receiving one in November just two weeks before the event.)

Lorna Crozier (photo: Gary McKintry)

Lorna Crozier (photo: Gary McKintry)

“Lorna’s a brilliant poet—we all know that—but she truly was a brilliant teacher,” says acting Writing chair Joan MacLeod. “Her legacy is already in our department in some of our amazing teachers—like Carla Funk and Steven Price, who were both students of Lorna’s and have gone on to rich writing and teaching lives. When I visit their classes now, I see Lorna through their approach to the classroom.”

During her time teaching at UVic, Crozier received both the Distinguished Professor designation in 2004 and the Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression in 2010, in addition to being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2010 and receiving the Order of Canada in 2011—that’s in addition to her many, many other awards.

“I love the idea of the scholarship, just because it’ll be like having a little piece of Lorna still with us,” MacLeod continues. “She was infectious about her love of poetry—we got students into our department because of her name, but she also got students interested in poetry when it wouldn’t have otherwise been on their radar. It’s important to honour not just what she did for our students but what she did for the whole department.”

A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier begins at 7pm Thursday, November 28, in UVic’s David Lam Theatre (MacLaurin Building A144). $20 tickets are available now at the UVic Ticket Centre, with all proceeds (and any additional donations) going to the Lorna Crozier Scholarship fund.

Fall events in Fine Arts: November

It’s another busy month for Fine Arts events, with a pair of exclusive gallery exhibitions, as well as a full lineup of readings, concerts, visiting artists, the first Phoenix Theatre mainstage production of the 2013-14 season and a special gala literary celebration in honour of Lorna Crozier. Read on to find out what’s going on!

Daniel Laskarin's "blue chair :: if this"

Daniel Laskarin’s “blue chair :: if this”

• The notion of paradox provides an apt means of curating an exhibit by seven divergent artists—thus the title of the Department of Visual Arts group exhibit, Paradox, which continues through to January 12 at UVic’s Legacy Art Galleries Downtown.

It has been nearly 35 years since UVic’s Legacy Art Galleries curated a Visual Arts faculty exhibition. Paradox aims to bring wider understanding to the particular strengths of this nationally acclaimed academic program, which is rooted in explorations of phenomenology and in the perceptual, conceptual, and interactive contexts of contemporary visual art. It also comes on the heels of the recent Department of Visual Arts retrospective exhibit, Core Samples.

As Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, notes in her introduction to the Paradox exhibit catalogue, “The department [of Visual Arts] has a long-standing reputation for training generations of successful Canadian visual artists . . . . Students are inspired by the accomplishments and investigations of their teachers, and faculty are inspired by the fresh ideas and questions of their students.”

You can read more about the Paradox exhibit in this separate post.

Meigs_Open Space• Also in the galleries this month is a rare local solo exhibit by Visual Arts faculty member Sandra Meigs: The Basement Panoramas. In this exhibit, Meigs studies the invisible foundations of buildings—basements and crawl spaces—and these forgotten, often neglected areas, become familiar again in Meigs’ exciting new works. “Basement spaces often hold that which we do not want to let go of and are also the foundation of the house, analogous to the psyche,” says Meigs. Many of the pieces in the exhibit relate to the idea of transformation.

The Basement Panoramas runs from November 1 to December 14 at Open Space.

• The next concert by the UVic Orchestra is Harmonious Saints. Ajtony Csaba conducts a program of Bach, Handel, Biber, Gabrieli and Tchaikovsky, with special guest soloist and UVic student Joshua Lovell—winner of the UVic Concerto Competition and fresh off his well-reviewed performance in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Falstaff.

Harmonious Saints begins at 8pm Friday, November 1 at Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets are $13.50 & $17.50 at the UVic Ticket Centre.

Ian Johnston copy• The Department of Visual Arts welcomes Nelson-based sculptor Ian Johnston as the latest in their ongoing Visiting Artist series. An architect turned sculptor, since the mid-’90s Johnston has been pursuing an interest in ceramics and, more recently, large-scale installations that often include ceramic. Prior to opening his Nelson studio in 1996 he spent five years working at the Bauhaus Academy in post-Berlin Wall East Germany, where he developed and facilitated a series of workshops around themes of urban renewal and public intervention in a tumultuous time of cultural transformation. His recent body of work Refuse Culture: Archaeology of Consumption examines our relationship with the environment in a series of installations using ceramic and mixed media appealing to multiple senses of the viewer.

Ian Johnston will speak and show slides of his work starting at 8pm Wednesday, November 6, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.

• The music of versatile American composer David A. Jaffe is celebrated this month with a trio of events: a lecture by Jaffe himself, a Guitarworks concert, and a special musical event featuring School of Music artists Andy Schloss, Scott MacInnes and the Lafayette String Quartet, as well as past School of Music collaborator Trimpin, plus other guests. (Trimpin was most recently involved with the (CanonX+4:33=100) collaboration between Music and Open Space.)

David Jaffe (right) with Andy Schloss

David Jaffe (right) with Andy Schloss

Jaffe’s compositions range from acoustic to electronic, and the concert will encompass a broad spectrum of his output—from the old time fiddle-inspired Cluck Old Hen Variations to the Canadian premiere of The Space Between Us for radio drum, two string quartets, piano, and robotic percussion. Also in this concert, the Lafayette String Quartet will present the world premiere of the newly commissioned string quartet Fox Hollow.

The Orion Series in Fine Arts presents a lecture by David A. Jaffe at 8pm Wednesday, November 6, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. The Music of David A. Jaffe begins at 8pm Friday, November 8, also at Open Space. Admission is $10 or $15. And the UVic Faculty Concert Series: Guitarworks features the School of Music’s Alexander Dunn with Jaffe and guests, at 8pm Saturday, November 9, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall.

Larry Groupe• Three-time Emmy nominee and twice-winning composer Larry Groupé will visit UVic to present a lecture titled “Film Music: An in depth look and discussion on the current state of composing in Hollywood today.” Groupé will discuss his feature film and TV projects, and his latest award-winning score for the remake of Straw Dogs for Sony pictures. As a working Hollywood composer Groupé brings to light all the requirements—be they technical, creative, and political—to be a successful film and television composer today. Presented in colaboration with the UVic School of Music, Victoria Conservatory of Music, and the Computer Music Course Union.

Hear Larry Groupé speak at 3:30pm Thursday, November 7 in MacLaurin A169—for free.

Campus Confidential• Wonder what really goes on behind the romantic scenes on campus? Join the Department of Writing for the launch of Campus Confidential, a new collection of creative nonfiction tales by UVic writers exploring the intricacies of relationships . . . by degrees. Inspired by the popular New York Times column “Modern Love,” the new book features 13 student and alumni writers, including work by City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winner and finalist—and current Writing instructor and graduate student (respectively)—Frances Backhouse and JoAnn Dionne, collection editor Liz Snell, and Fine Arts communications officer, Writing instructor [and author of this blog] John Threlfall.

Research for Campus Confidential was funded in part by the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award, and the book was produced on the UVic Bookstore’s new Espresso book machine—which will also be in operation at the reading and launch.

Campus Confidential kicks off at 7pm Thursday, November 7, in the UVIc Bookstore—and it’s free. (But the books are not.)

FB-Coverpage-SKOOT_x972Phoenix Theatre presents their first mainstage production of the 2013-14 season, The Skin of Our Teeth. Directed by veteran Phoenix professor Linda Hardy, this 1943 Pulitzer Prize-winning satire from Thornton Wilder (the author of Our Town) takes us on a wild and raucous tour through the ages.

Enter New Jersey suburbia: home of the perfect middle class family, George, his wife Maggie, their children Gladys and Henry (previously known as Cain?), and their pet dinosaurs. George is the inventor of the alphabet, the wheel, and the multiplication tables – he’s the pick of the human race! But can the family survive the ravages of ice ages, global warming, storms, floods, depressions and war? Revolutionary when first written, The Skin of Our Teeth remains absurdly funny, very profound, and is absolutely a play for our time.

The Skin of Our Teeth runs November 7-23 in the Phoenix Theatre. Click here for ticket info.

• The UVic Jazz Orchestra, under the jazzy baton of Anita Bonkowski, will be performing at 8pm Friday, November 8 in the Phillip T Young Recital Hall. Tickets $10 & $15 at UVic Ticket Centre.

PQ17• A fitting work for the Remembrance Day period, School of Music professor Christopher Butterfield’s Convoy PQ-17 commemorates the tragic near-destruction of an Allied convoy by German forces in July 1942. This sensational requiem features the renowned dance troupe Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, a stunning set and is conducted by Victoria Symphony Maestra Tania Miller.

Convoy PQ-17 with the Victoria Symphony begins at 2:30pm Sunday, November 10 in UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium. Click here for ticket information.

Denniston copy• The second Visiting Artist for Visual Arts this month is Toronto-based photographer Stan Denniston. Born in Victoria, Denniston’s considerable body of work reflects a consistent
commitment to the photographic medium—though one would never find a stand-alone
photograph. Instead, Denniston has cultivated several series of works that employ the
photographic image as a component, either to be paired with another image or
accompanied by text. His work revolves around the themes of travel, memory and
representation and has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Biennale de Montréal as well as in France, the Netherlands and Frankfurt.

Stan Denniston speaks at 8pm Wednesday, November 20, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building—and it’s free and open to the public.

Carmen Aguirre copy• Vancouver-based actor, writer and playwright Carmen Aguirre is the latest author to appear at the long-running Department of Writing / Open Space collaborative series, Open Word: Readings and Ideas. Her 2011 book Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter recounted her childhood experiences regularly moving around with her parents who were part of the Chilean Resistance against Augusto Pinochet. Something Fierce was also the winner of the 2012 edition of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads competition. Aguirre has also written over 20 stage plays to date, including her most recent, Blue Box. Her Open Space reading will be followed by a live interview with Writing professor and award-winning playwright Kevin Kerr.

Open Word with Carmen Aguirre begins 7:30 pm Wednesday, November 20, at Open Space, 510 Fort Street. By donation. She will also appear on campus, 8:50am Thursday, November 21, in room A240 of the Human & Social Development Building. Free.

Melting Away• Wednesday, November 20, is also the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Writing professor and filmmaker Maureen Bradley has been invited to speak before the screening of the film Melting Away at Cinecenta, presented by UVic’s own Transgender Archives. Bradley is an apt speaker for this event, given that her own transgender romantic comedy Two 4 One is currently in pre-production for shooting in Victoria in early 2014. Bradley is also seeking financial support for the project via an Indiegogo campaign which has already raised over $13,000 of the needed $20,000—click here to donate to her project and help her film become a reality. You can also find out the backstory to this, her first feature film by reading about her winning the Jim Murphy Filmmakers Bursary, and about her being one of the winning teams for the NSI Features First initiative. You can also read more about Bradley and the Department of Writing’s filmmaking program in this recent article in UVic’s alumni Torch magazine (see pages 30-33).

sheila-heti copy• Acclaimed Canadian writer, editor and occasional actor Sheila Heti will be visiting UVic as our latest Orion Lecturer this month. An author who is never easily pigeon-holed, Heti’s fourth book—How Should A Person Be?—was described as being “part literary novel, part self-help manual and part bawdy confessional” and was chosen as one of the 100 Best Books of 2012 by The New York Times. Audiences are never quite sure what they’ll get at an evening with Heti, but it’s always bound to be memorable.

Sheila Heti speaks at 7pm Wednesday, November 27,  in room 103 of the Fine Arts building. It’s free and open to the public.

• Finally, one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the fall literary celebration occurs near the end of the month: A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier, featuring a veritable who’s-who of national and local literary figures.

Lorna Crozier (Gary McInstry)

Lorna Crozier (Gary McInstry)

For over 20 years, Lorna Crozier helped shape the future of Canadian poets and writers as a professor in the Department of Writing. Now you can help us continue Lorna’s legacy by creating a scholarship in the name of this multiple award-winning and much-loved poet and writer. Join host Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter at this special literary event featuring famed Canadian writers Anne Michaels (Fugitive Pieces), Jane Urquhart (The Stone Carvers) and Brad Cran (former City of Vancouver Poet Laureate) plus UVic writers Patrick Lane (There Is A Season), Esi Edugyan (Half-Blood Blues), Carla Funk (former City of Victoria Poet Laureate), Melanie Siebert (Deepwater Vee), Steven Price (The Year of the Ox) and other special guests . . . including Lorna herself!

Each audience member will also receive a special poem, written for the occasion and signed by Lorna, that will be suitable for framing.

As acting Writing chair Joan MacLeod says, “Lorna’s a brilliant poet, we all know that, but she truly was a brilliant teacher. Her legacy is already in our department in some of our amazing teachers—like Carla Funk and Steven Price, who were both students of Lorna’s and have gone on to rich writing and teaching lives. When I visit their classes now, I see Lorna through their approach to the classroom. I love the idea of the scholarship, just because it’ll be like having a little piece of Lorna still with us. And it’ll be fantastic for our students. It’s important to honour not just what she did for our students but what she did for the whole department.”

A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier begins at 7pm Thursday, November 28, in UVic’s David Lam Theatre (MacLaurin Building A144). $20 tickets are available now with all proceeds—and any additional donations—going to the Lorna Crozier Scholarship fund.

Current Writing student named Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate

Aysia Law, a second-year UVic Writing student, has been named the City of Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate—a first not only for Victoria, but for Canada itself.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for a youth in the community, like me or future ones, to have some power in the community in shaping the vision of their own city,” Law told local Times Colonist reporter Amy Smart in this recent article.

Aysia Law is Victoria's first Youth Poet Laureate

Aysia Law is Victoria’s first Youth Poet Laureate

The Youth Poet Laureate will receive a $1,500 honorarium, $1,000 of project funding and a year-long mentorship during the term (January to December 2013) with Victoria’s 2012 Poetry Slam Champion, Jeremy Loveday, administered through the City of Victoria Youth Council.  “I knew there’d be great interest, because we have an amazing youth poetry community in Victoria,” says Loveday, who also runs the Youth Outreach Program for the Victoria Poetry Project.

Loveday says there were 32 applicants, which was narrowed down to six finalists—including one other UVic Writing student—with the final judging based on what he describes as someone with “a full package.” “We needed someone with quality poetry and great creative ideas, but also a presence and the skills and experience to make that project come to life,” says Loveday. “Basically, Aysia was that person.”

Law winning the Diversity Writing Contest in 2011

Law winning the Diversity Writing Contest in 2011

Law admits she entered “on a bit of a whim” after hearing about the call for entries from her poetry professor, Carla Funk (who, coincidentally, was Victoria’s inaugural Poet Laureate). But there’s nothing whimsical about her talent, as Law earned first place in the fiction category of UVic’s Diversity Writing Contest in 2012, and has been performing at local spoken word events since moving here from Vancouver in 2011. She also volunteers with South Island Pride Youth and organizes Queer Quills, a writing group for queer, transgendered/transsexual and allied youth that meets weekly at downtown’s Solstice Café.

Her major project will be a poetry flash mob during National Poetry Month in April, and she will appear alongside Victoria’s current Poet Laureate, Janet Rogers, at various city events throughout the year. But Law is also interested in organizing other events, including one that’s close to her heart: a diversity slam.

“It would be a springboard for an open forum discussion about what our community needs,” Law explains. “The problem now is that we have more experienced poets coming to slams and spoken word nights—they are wonderful and have really good insights, but they’re not everyone we need to hear from. I’m hoping to bring in more youth and marginalized categories of people to come and speak about what they see; it would be a more inclusive event than the poetry slams I’ve seen so far. We need to bring more people in, make it more accessible, have more voices represented.”

One of Law’s other Writing professors, Lee Henderson, helped her prepare for the competition. “I jumped out of my socks and shoes when Aysia called to tell me she had been chosen as Victoria and Canada’s first Youth Poet Laureate,” says Henderson. “She’s such a passionate and dedicated writer with a great sense of humour and a natural instinct for language. She is the perfect choice as our first public voice for the city’s young poets. I know she’s going to make sure to include as many people in this experience as possible
. . . . This is great news for the local literary scene and the first year of a great new legacy.”

Law will perform the first poem of her new position to Victoria City Council at City Hall on January 17 with Janet Rogers. “She’ll read a poem, I’ll read a poem, then we split.” She pauses and gives a nervous laugh. “Okay, I’m a little scared.”

Click here to listen to an interview with Law and local CBC Radio’s All Points West host (and the Writing department’s 2013 Harvey S. Southam Lecturer) Jo-Ann Roberts.

There’s also this piece on Aysia from Vancouver’s Metro Times. And this piece from UVic’s Martlet. 

You can also click here to see Law perform a piece at a local slam back in October 2012.

U + M = Winners!

Monday Magazine‘s 10th annual M Awards were handed out on April 24 and—no big surprise—a number of Fine Arts faculty and alum were once again among the winners and shortlisted nominees! (Handed out annually to the movers and shakers in Victoria’s arts and cultural scene, these reader-voted awards were actually started back in 2002 by a pair of then-Monday editors with mighty UVic connections: Fine Arts communications honcho John Threlfall and Writing sessional instructor Alisa Gordaneer—both of whom are also UVic alumni.)

Congrats go out this year to Writing prof Lorna Crozier, whose Small Mechanics won “Favourite Book of Poetry”, as well as shortlisted nominees Carla Funk (whose Apologetic was up against Crozier in the poetry category) and Digital Media staffer Dan Hogg (for “Biggest Supporter of Local Film”).

No surprise that a number of alumni were among the winners, too, given our faculty’s ongoing presence in the local arts scene. Big-deal Writing grad Esi Edugyan‘s Half-Blood Blues swept the “Favourite Fiction Book” category (forget about the Giller or that still pending possible Orange Prize—Esi can retire happily now that she’s won an M!), and fellow Writing alum Jeremy Lutter was named “Favourite Filmmaker” (for his recent Victoria Film Festival award-winning Joanna Makes A Friend).

The UVic-heavy Ride The Cyclone

The Department of Theatre also figured prominently in the winner’s list, led by Ian Case, the just-appointed director of our own University Centre Farquhar Auditorium, who was named “Biggest Supporter of Local Theatre” (no doubt for his work with Intrepid Theatre, Victoria Shakespeare Society, William Head on Stage, and Giggling Iguana’s Craigdarroch Castle shows). Britt Small picked up “Favourite Director” in a co-win with Jacob Richmond for their Ride The Cyclone remount; Ride The Cyclone—which starred a number of Theatre alumni (Rielle Braid, Matthew Coulson, Kholby Wardell and Sarah Jane Pelzer)—also picked up “Favourite Overall Production”.

Theatre prof Brian Richmond was shortlisted in the “Favourite Director” category (which he lost to his son, Jacob) for his 2011 Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—the star of which, Meg Tilly, also picked up “Favourite Performer”. Former Theatre student Melissa Blank was also shortlisted in that same category, for her performance in Theatre Inconnu’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. (Inconnu is run by Theatre grad and sessional instructor Clayton Jevne.)

Janet Munsil

Finally, the Victoria Fringe Festival won the oddly named “Favourite Non-Music Event or Festival.” The local Fringe is run by Intrepid Theatre, which is itself run by Theatre grad and noted playwirght Janet Munsil (and, until last month, Ian Case). The Victoria Fringe is a regular showcase for Phoenix talent, graduates and students both, including the likes of Fringe gods TJ Dawe (undisputed king of the solo monologue) and Charles Ross (of One Man Star Wars / Lord of the Rings fame).

Winners receive a Phillip’s growler bottle, to be filled (and refilled) with their brew of choice; shortlisted nominees receive the warm, inner glow of a job well done and a hearty round of applause for their continued efforts to keep Victoria’s arts scene healthy and thriving!

Voting Time

Nope, this isn’t an advance call for the upcoming fall elections, nor is it a roundup of the Super Tuesday results from south of the border. It’s simply time once again for Monday Magazine‘s annual M Awards—where a healthy crop of UVic talent can again be found among the nominees.

While there is space for write-in nominations in ever category—meaning groups like Philomela Women’s Choir could be nominated as Favourite Vocal Ensemble, busy graduate student filmmaker Scott Amos could be tagged as Favourite Local Filmmaker, or Visual Arts graduate student Dong-Kyoon Nam could be highlighted as Favourite Emerging Visual Artist—listed below are the categories and nominees who have a UVic affiliation.

Deadline for voting is 5 pm Friday, March 23, and you can vote either by picking up a copy of the paper, filling out the ballot and then returning it, or by using the infinitely quicker online ballot. Winners will be announced in April 26 issue of Monday Magazine.

Here are the relevant nominees and their categories, with some UVic-affiliated alternative choices:

• Favourite New Production
Inside — Phoenix Theatre
(Alternate: SNAFU Dance Theatre’s Little Orange Man, created by and starring Phoenix alum Ingrid Hansen)

Cobi Dayan, Genevieve Dale& Mik Byskov in Twelfth Night (photo: David Lowes)

• Favourite Overall Production
Twelfth Night — Phoenix Theatre
(Alternates: Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed by Theatre prof Brian Richmond; Theatre Inconnu’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, directed by sessional Theatre instructor Clayton Jevne; Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone—which is also up for Favourite Musical—co-directed by Theatre alum Britt Small and starring a whole whack o’ Phoenix alum)

• Favourite Director
Linda Hardy — Twelfth Night
(Alternate: Brian Richmond, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Jacob Richmond and Britt Small, Ride the Cyclone)

He said, she said: Price vs. Edugyan—the literary battle that had to happen!

• Favourite Fiction Book
Half Blood Blues Esi Edugyan
Into That Darkness Steven Price
(Oooh, a husband-and-wife race! How exciting!)

• Favourite Non-Fiction Book
Come From the Shadows — Terry Glavin
(Alternate: Campie by Writing alum Barbara Stewart)

• Favourite Book of Poetry
ApologeticCarla Funk
Small Mechanics — Lorna Crozier
(Oooh, a departmental showdown! How nervewracking!)

Just a reminder that any nominated individuals must live in Greater Victoria—or have lived here for part of 2011—and performances/shows/events must have taken place in Greater Victoria in 2011. For publications and recordings, publisher/label can be outside Victoria, but writer/artist must be from Greater Victoria and the work issued in 2011.

 

Writing instructors tapped for Butler Book Prize

Two instructors with UVic’s Department of Writing are in the spotlight, this time as shortlisters for the seventh annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

Former Victoria poet laureate Carla Funk and journalist Stephen Hume are both nominated for the Butler—Funk for her book of poetry, apologetic, and Hume for his nonfiction work, A Walk with the Rainy Sisters: In Praise of B.C.’s Places. Also on the short-list is writing UVic Professor Emeritus Jack Hodgins, for The Master of Happy Endings.

The winning author will receive $5,000 and will be announced at the awards gala to be held at the Union Club of Victoria on October 12. For more information, visit the Victoria Book Prizes Society.

Previous UVic winners include MFA candidate Frances Backhouse (Children of the Klondike), Patrick Lane (Red Dog, Red Dog) and Bill Gaston (Gargoyles).