Recent Fine Arts media roundup

Whatever the season, our Fine Arts faculty always seem to be in the media. The only trick is keeping up with it all!

EdgeKicking off 2014, History in Art’s Victoria Wyatt was announced as a contributor to the influential Edge blog. For those not familiar with Edge, it’s an ongoing conversation of intellectual adventure. As they say on the Edge website, To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

The 2014 Edge question was, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?” and it’s a bit  unusual for a History in Art professor to be asked to contribute to the conversation. But Victoria Wyatt was more than game for it, weighing in with her idea that “it’s time for the rocket scientist to retire.” She’s not talking about the folks at NASA, mind you, but that tired old cliche, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to . . . ” Read Wyatt’s engaging short essay here. All the responses are compiled in one really long list, so if you want to find hers quickly, just search for “Wyatt”.

The online Edge salon is, as they put it, “a living document of millions of words charting the Edge conversation over the past 15 years wherever it has gone.” In the words of the novelist Ian McEwan, Edge.org offers “open-minded, free ranging, intellectually playful . . . an unadorned pleasure in curiosity, a collective expression of wonder at the living and inanimate world . . . an ongoing and thrilling colloquium.”

JMPS_new_covIn other History in Art news, Allan Antliff recently edited a special issue of The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies focusing on “Anarchist Modernism in Print” (Volume 4, Number 2, 2013). As Antliff says in his introduction, “This issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies examines political engagements with modernism in journals where productive comingling gave rise to new modes of anarchism contiguous with modernism, while modernism itself was propelled in new directions. In this instance we have a critical/creative nexus . . . keyed to values profoundly at odds with modernity, including its ‘socialist’ guise. Anarchism’s modernisms grapple with such issues as power relations, sexual difference, colonialism, and the economics of art—to name a few—with revolutionary intent.” Read more about Antliff’s issue here.

Allan Antliff's latest book, Joseph Beuys (Phaidon Focus)

Allan Antliff’s latest book, Joseph Beuys (Phaidon Focus)

Antliff also has a soon to be released new book about sculptor, painter, draughtsman, teacher, theorist and political activist Joseph Beuys. Simply titled Joseph Beuys, the 144-page book from Phaidon Focus is part of a groundbreaking new series that offers accessible, enjoyable and thought-provoking books on the visual arts. Described as “An enigmatic figure whose complex imagination drew on his research across a wide range of themes . . . Beuys strove to establish a truly democratic approach towards artistic creativity, and prove that modern art need not be confined to the museum or the gallery.”

Phaidon notes, “As Antliff effectively demonstrates, the ecological and political issues that informed much of Beuys’s art can be considered as relevant today as they were in his own lifetime.” You can read more about the art and life of Joseph Beuys in this article and this one. The book will be released on March 23.

A happy—and no doubt relieved—Carolyn Butler Palmer watches as the big button blanket is raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

A happy—and no doubt relieved—Carolyn Butler Palmer watches as the big button blanket is raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Still in History in Art, Carolyn Butler Palmer‘s Big Button Blanket project—which earned all sorts of media attention during its fall 2013 creation—continued to make headlines with its 2014 public debut. Times Colonist art writer Robert Amos called the blanket’s exhibit at Legacy Gallery Downtown‘s Adasla: The Movement of Hands (continuing through to April 25) a “stimulating and multi-faceted show” in his review. Following the blanket’s debut at the opening of the Diversity Research Forum, UVic’s Ring newspaper previewed the upcoming performance by blanket co-creator Peter Morin and former Department of Visual Arts Audain Professor Rebecca Belmore in this article, and the Times Colonist also ran this article previewing the February 22 performance, summarizing the history of the button blanket and this blanket’s specific intention.

Peter Morin observes the big button blanket after it has been raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Peter Morin observes the big button blanket after it has been raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Local visual arts writer Robert Amos also ran this Times Colonist article about Adasla, describing it as a “stimulating and multi-faceted show.” The exhibit was also featured in the February/March issue of Preview: The Gallery Guide magazine, was written up in this article for the UVic student newspaper Martlet and appeared in the Victoria News article, “Big Art Emerges From A Big Blanket.”

Shifting to the Department of Theatre, professor emeritus  Juliana Saxton was the focus of this March 7 Montreal Gazette op-ed by Andrea Courey about life-long learning. At 80, Saxton certainly knows how to walk the talk! (“When asked to comment on the fun of still ‘coming to class,’ Saxton said she had no time to talk. She was off to teach a class! Bingo. I smiled and remembered the old adage: If you want to learn something, teach it. And if you can, keep learning.”)

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Phoenix Theatre’s last production of the year—the award-winning Unity (1918), written and directed by Department of Writing professor Kevin Kerr—picked up a great deal of media attention in advance of its March 13 opening. The Times Colonist, CTV VI and CFUV’s U in the Ring all featured previews of the production, and the reviews coming in have all been outstanding (“Who knew a play about the flu could be so moving?” writes the Times Colonist). Click to this separate post to read a roundup of the press surrounding Unity (1918).

School of Music instructor Colleen Eccleston was a guest on CFAX 1070′s “Cafe Victoria with Bruce Williams” show (unfortunately not archived online). Eccleston spoke about the recent anniversary of the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and the impact they have had since that day 50 years ago. Music’s Wendell Clanton was also featured on CFAX 1070 in February (but also not archived); both he and members of the UVic Vocal Jazz Ensemble were interviewed about their Singing Valentines fundraiser.

12tet-frontThe UVic Wind Symphony and the Naden Band appeared on Shaw TV’s Go Island South show in advance of their Naden Scholarship fundraiser concert on February 7. Also in the brass department, congratulations go out once more to School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall on his latest Juno Award nomination! His album The Ian McDougall 12tet LIVE is nominated for “Traditional Jazz Album of the Year.” The winners will be announced on the March 30 broadcast from Winnipeg.

The School of Music’s new live streaming initiative also sparked this Times Colonist article about the pros and cons of digital content when it comes to audience impact. Concert Manager Kristy Farkas was interviewed, saying “she knows of no evidence suggesting that this program compromises attendance at UVic concerts.” The TC’s Kevin Bazzana quoted Farkas on how technology is “broadening our reach with the community” by allowing a student’s family in another city to watch a graduating recital, for example.

Sandra Meigs' "The Basement Panoramas"

Sandra Meigs’ “The Basement Panoramas”

Over in Visual Arts, the Toronto exhibit of Sandra Meigs‘ new series of paintings The Basement Panoramas got a great full-page review in the Toronto Star, which called it “perhaps the most potent work of Meigs’ career.” As anyone who saw the show when it appeared locally at Open Space back in November 2013 will recall, these are really, really big paintings—so large the Toronto exhibit was split between two galleries!

Daniel Laskarin at Deluge

Daniel Laskarin at Deluge

Current Visual Arts chair Daniel Laskarin had his fourth exhibition at downtown’s Deluge Contemporary Art from January 31 to March 8. In fallen and found, Laskarin returned to a decades-old preoccupation with the role of the sculptor as matterist in this solo exhibit, and you can hear him discuss the work in this video interview from ExhibitVic website.

WainoAnd the timing was perfect for Carol Wainio’s March 12 appearance as the latest in the long-running Department of Visual Arts VIsiting Artist series. Wainio had just been announced one of the recipients of the 2014 Governor General’s Awards for Visual & Media Arts on March 4, alongside Visual Arts alumnus Kim Adams. Wainio’s talk was teased by an advance photo in the local Victoria News listings.
Finally, in the Department of Writing, Joan MacLeod‘s latest play The Valley opened in Winnipeg recently, earning her this Winnipeg Free Press article: “Over almost three decades, the Victoria-based MacLeod has won a shelf full of awards for her plays, including the 2011 Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s richest theatre award. She is taken aback by the news that anyone thinks of her as a groundbreaking dramatist. ‘That’s extremely flattering and shocking,’ MacLeod says from her office at the University of Victoria, where she teaches. ‘When I sit down to write, I never feel like a master playwright. It’s nice to hear people think that. I’m blushing.’”
BCB-Feb2014-Cover_5_2Fellow Writing professor and Technology & Society program director David Leach wrote a great piece for BC Business magazine’s special all-TED issue in February. “Over the past 30 years, the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference has grown into a media juggernaut, fuelled by “ideas worth spreading” (as its tag line promises) and the most effective marketing on the social web,” writes Leach. “Today, this brand without borders aspires to reprogram our entire global operating system for the greater good.”

And the 2014 Southam Lecturer, Tom Hawthorn, popped up in the news a few times recently—not surprisingly, given that his Southam course focuses on sports journalism, and we’ve just come through a flurry of coverage on both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. While it’s no longer archived, Hawthorn spoke to CBC All Points West host Jo-Ann Roberts—also a former Southam Lecturer herself—about his January 29 public Southam Lecture titled, “In Defence of Sports Writing (Not All of it, Just the Good Stuff)”.

HawthornHawthorn also spoke about the importance of UVic’s new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) in this article for the CARSA website: “When it comes to training facilities, there’s no question: CARSA will attract a very high level of athlete,” he says. “You’re going to attract people who want to succeed in athletics—that will definitely be weighed in their decision of where they’re going to do their studies—and you’ll have more people dedicated to success at that elite level.”

Cleve Dheensaw, sports writer for the Times Colonist, also talked to Hawthorn ahead of his lecture in this article. “Even people who don’t follow sports should read the sports pages because sport tells us a lot about ourselves as a society,” he says. (Plus, who wouldn’t want to take a class where your homework is watching the Super Bowl?) And Hawthorn talked about the likelihood of queer activism at the Olympics in this Victoria News article. “I fully anticipate that some athletes will make a display of solidarity with gay people in the community of Russia,” he said.

Phoenix’s Unity (1918) “a visual poem”

Here’s a tip if you’re planning on seeing Unity (1918) at the Phoenix Theatre this week: book fast! Given the outstanding reviews the show has been receiving, tickets won’t last long—and the show closes after two final performances on Saturday, March 22. Click here for ticket information.

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Writing professor Kevin Kerr directs his own Governor General’s Award-winning script with style and grace, crafting a heartfelt and surprisingly funny look at the impact of the 1919 Spanish Flu pandemic on the small town of Unity, Saskatchewan. As discussed in this post, this is the first time Kerr has directed Unity (1918), despite his long and lauded career in theatre as a playwright, director and artistic director.

You can find out more about the backstory to this production in this Times Colonist preview—wherein Kerr reveals the play’s teenage female undertaker is based on a friend from high school (“She said, ‘I think I’m going to become a mortician.’ This beautiful, vivacious 17-year-old was saying, ‘I’m going to spend the rest of my life in death.’ It was like, wow, really?”)—and this podcast of U in the Ring, the CFUV weekly campus radio show (fast forward to the 18:40 mark). CTV VI also offered a preview of Unity (1918) in the  March 13 episode of “Your Island Arts & Lifestyle” (skip ahead to the 1:50 mark), as did CHEK TV in this clip.

Phoenix students Keshia Palm and Logan Mitev (photo by David Lowes)

Phoenix students Keshia Palm and Logan Mitev (photo by David Lowes)

Reviews of the production are unanimously strong. “Who knew a play about the flu could be so moving?,” writes Adrian Chamberlain of the Times Colonist in his four-star review. “The University of Victoria’s student cast does a superior job with a challenging script—the sisters [student actors Haley Garnett, Gillian McConnell and Amy Culliford] are particularly convincing. Kerr has directed his show with panache and grace. Mounted on the thrust stage of the Phoenix’s Chief Dan George Theatre, the production’s simple, bold design elements are first-rate . . . . Kerr & set/lighting designer [Allan] Stichbury have conspired to make Unity (1918) a visual poem.”

Busy local arts blogger Janis LaCouvee was also mightily impressed with the production, describing it as “a masterpiece by any measure” in her review. “Unity (1918) is an ode to our human capacity to endure, to continue to dream, even among unimagined horror,” she writes. “A remarkable production and a fine tribute to preserving our ancestors.”

Local theatre blog The Marble was also very enthusiastic, hailing “Unity is a triumph. Performers . . . never appeared to be giving an ounce less than their best.” Noting that the script “trembles with emotion”, reviewer Drew May also praised the show’s design as a “combination of detailed, turn-of-the-century objects and costumes, and a sparsely decorated but ingeniously flexible set will draw in even stubbornly realist audience members. Detail is used to suggest, rather than assert, and the result refuses to distract.”

Allan Stichbury's effective set (photo by David Lowes)

Allan Stichbury’s effective set (photo by David Lowes)

CBC Radio’s On The Island also reviewed the production, with veteran theatre critic Monica Prendergast noting the opportunity “to see a Governor General’s prize-winning play is always a must-do for any theatre lover, especially a Canadian theatre lover.” Prendergast also felt the age of the characters well-matched the student cast—she singled out leads Amy Culliford (Beatrice) and Logan Mitev (Hart)— and enjoyed how “this event in history is shown through the eyes of its effect on young people.” She also enjoyed Stitchbury’s set, but wasn’t so much a fan of the show’s three-hour run time.

Local online arts source CVV Magazine also praised the production in this review simply titled, “You should go!” Melanie Tromp-Hoover, wrote “Unity (1918) is about so much more than just the flu. It’s a look at the enduring struggle we all face in our ambition towards love and purpose and family; the Phoenix’s production simply gives us an elegant, intuitive tool to better explore it.” Tromp-Hoover was particularly keen on cast members Danielle Florence, Marisa Nielsen, Amy Culliford, Haley Garnett and Francis Melling, as well as Colette Habel‘s sound design.

Finally, the Coastal Spectator blog was mostly impressed with the show, particularly the “memorable performances” of Marisa Nielson and Keshia Palm. “Phoenix’s production of Kerr’s award-winning play did the university proud,” writes Nadia Grutter.

Bottom line, don’t miss this fantastic production!

Fine Arts at IdeaFest

Want to change the world? All you need is the right idea.

ideafestUVic’s third annual IdeaFest is back and ready to expand your mind with fascinating ideas from fascinating people. Running March 3 to 8 at various venues across campus, IdeaFest offers over 50 ideas worth celebrating.

This year’s theme is “Ideas that can change everything,” and Fine Arts is once again in the mix, with every department offering something. Here’s a quick rundown by date of what we’ve got scheduled, but be sure to see the main schedule for complete details. Remember, all events are free and don’t require registration—unless otherwise noted.

• Get an inside look at how musicians make music with a Cello Master Class featuring School of Music professor Pamela Highbau Aloni. (1:30-2:30pm Tuesday, March 4 in the Phillip T Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin B Wing)

Inside the Kwisitis Visitor Centre

Inside the Kwisitis Visitor Centre

• What do you do when you suddenly find yourself over your head with a creative project? Find out in “A Props Master Out of his Depth”, a slide lecture by Department of Theatre master props artist Bryn Finer. Finer will address how his theatre experiences translated to the development of sculptures and dioramas for the Kwisitis Visitor Centre at Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino. (12:30-1:30pm Wednesday, March 5, in the Roger Bishop Theatre, Phoenix Theatres)

• The annual Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards feature new research produced by 115 young scholars—of which 10 are from Fine Arts: Caroline Baicy, Justin Barski and Evelyn Brotherston (History in Art); Alannah Bloch and Jocelyne Lamarche (Theatre); Abigail Laycock and Graham Macaulay (Visual Arts); Bethany Hughes and Benjamin Willems (Writing); and Sondra Moyls (Music).  Be sure to check out what they’ve got on hand in this fascinating exhibit. (11:30am-3pm Wednesday, March 5, Michelle Pujol room, SUB)

• Get an inside look at how musicians make music as School of Music professor Patricia Kostek leads a master class on the clarinet in this workshop. (1:30pm – 2:30pm Wednesday, March 5, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

Lafayette String Quartet

Lafayette String Quartet

• Find out how young musicians hone their craft and learn from master musicians at this string chamber master class with UVic’s own artists-in-residence, the Lafayette String Quartet. (7-9pm Wednesday, March 5, in MacLaurin B016)

• Ever heard of Soundpainting? Find out what it’s all about at this presentation and interactive demonstration by UVic’s new music ensemble, Sonic Lab. All are invited to participate with movement, visual arts, spoken word, acting or music in a real-time, gesture-based group composition. (1-2:30pm Thursday, March 6, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

• A late addition to our IdeaFest lineup: The 3-Minute Thesis competition! School of Music graduate student Michael Dias will have three minutes to explain the ideas behind “The Creative Process: A Composer’s Sketches and Drafts” with one slide, 180 seconds and no jargon. Can he do it? Find out 7-9pm Thursday, March 6, in the David Lam Auditorium.

IdeaFest_WR1• In this age of digital publishing, you don’t need a printing press to create your own magazine—unless you choose to go the traditional publishing route. So You Want To Launch A Magazine offers an interactive panel discussion and showcase of some of the very successful magazines—both digital and print—created by students in the Department of Writing to address social and literary concerns in society. The panel includes moderator Dr. Lynne Van Luven (Writing), Nadia Grutter (Coastal Spectator), Patrick Close (The Warren), Kimberley Veness (Concrete Garden), Patrick Grace (This Side of West) and Andrea Routley (Plenitude). (noon-1:30pm Friday, March 7, in HSD A270)

• If you’ve ever been to an opera, you’ve heard how the voice can be an instrument in itself. Learn more about this primordially human instrument when professor Benjamin Butterfield leads a master class in voice. (2:30-3:30pm Friday March 7, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

Biro

Dániel Péter Biró and students

• Unless you’re a musician yourself, the process of creating music can offer be a complete mystery. Discover more in “Exploring Aesthetic Diversity Through Music,” an interactive workshop where you can experience the excitement of live music creation. School of Music composition and performance students will also perform their latest music compositions, created under the guidance of Music professors Dániel Péter Biró (Tsilumos Ensemble) and Joanna Hood (Lafayette String Quartet). The general public is welcome to attend! (7-9pm Friday, March 7 in MacLaurin B016)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

• This year’s “Concert Without Borders” features the UVic Orchestra, under the direction of Ajtony Csaba, offering a program that includes Berlioz, Grisey and Beethoven and is punctuated by multi-media interventions highlighting Learning Without Borders projects from across campus. Theatre, song, visual art and spoken word shine a spotlight on the many ways in which members of the campus community are working to internationalize the curriculum and campus life. (8-10pm Friday, March 7 in the Farquhar Auditorium. Note: this is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased at the UVic Ticket Centre.)

Bruce Vogt

Bruce Vogt

• Finally, we offer the concert, A Night of Schubert. What makes a composer great? Why do we revere the music of one artist over another? Is it the beauty of the melody, a special harmonic sound, or something else? Discover the secrets of the romantic music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828) as explained and performed by pianist and School of Music professor Bruce Vogt. There will be a pre-concert talk at 7:30pm as well. (8-10pm Saturday, March 8, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building. Note: this is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased at the UVic Ticket Centre.)

Jennifer Wise wins playwriting competition

Congratulations to Department of Theatre associate professor Jennifer Wise for winning The Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition for her 2013 play The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West.

Jennifer Wise

Jennifer Wise

Based on a true story, Wise’s Girl Rabbi explores the experience of Ray Frank, a young woman was hired to serve as the leader of Victoria’s then-orthodox synagogue Congregation Emanu-El throughout the High Holidays in 1895. Not only did Frank, a California native, make women’s history with this event but she also made world religious history as a female salaried rabbi. As the story goes, “three decades after British Columbia’s gold-rush-era pioneers laid the cornerstone of what is today the oldest place of continuous Jewish worship in Canada, a group of exceptional congregants brought an exceptional woman to their community against all odds. None of them would ever be the same.”

The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West was originally performed on April 10 & 11, 2013, as part of Congregation Emanu-El’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Read more about Girl Rabbi in this Ring article.

“I researched the events thoroughly,” Wise told Vancouver’s Jewish Independent newspaper in this article from May 2013. “The story of Ray Frank’s two weeks in Victoria turned out to be even more amazing than I could have guessed. She had a lasting positive impact on the community, and the country . . . . Her achievements, therefore, helped to make the idea of a female rabbi thinkable. She was a major pioneer in advancing women’s rights within Judaism – and it’s just amazing to realize that she did much of her trail-blazing right here in Victoria.”

No strange to award nominations, Wise‘s first book— Dionysus Writes (Cornell 1998)—was nominated for two book awards in the U.S., and her Broadview Anthology of Drama is a widely adopted textbook. Her translation of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Methuen 2013)—staged here at Phoenix, at York University and at the Great Hall Black Box in Toronto in 2013—was selected by Brecht’s heirs as the first new English version of this play in almost 40 years. Wise’s translation of Aristophanes’ Frogs, created for the Phoenix in 2000, was also produced at the University of Denver in 2004; The Moons of Jupiter, her play about Galileo’s children written for the International Year of Astronomy (2009), was a finalist in the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2011; and her articles have appeared in such venues as Theatre Research International, Theatre Survey, Reader’s Digest, and Arethusa.

The cast of the local staging of The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West

The cast of the local staging of The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West

Wise picks up a cash prize of $1,000, plus a professional Between Stages one-day workshop at Toronto’s Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre—directed by original Girl Rabbi director Liza Balkan—in the fall of 2014, followed by an informal public reading with feed-back from the audience. Past CJPC winners have gone on to appear at Vancouver’s Chutzpah! Festival and have full productions at The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre Company.

Awarded annually by the Toronto Jewish Theatre Committee, the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition was founded in 1989. The present jury consists of eight members of the MNjcc community who are also theatre professionals in some capacity in Toronto. Up to 20 plays are submitted for the CJPC from six Canadian provinces, the United States and Israel each year. This is the first time the prize has been won by a Victoria playwright.

Upcoming events

As always, there’s plenty going on in the Fine Arts faculty. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks:

Open Word: Reading and Ideas with Gillian Jerome

Gillian Jerome

Gillian Jerome

The founder of Canadian Women in the Literary Arts and celebrated co-creator of Hope in Shadows: Stories and Photographs from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Gillian Jerome will read from her latest book of poems, Red Nest. A live interview with UVic’s own Melanie Siebert will follow the Open Space reading.

7:30pm Wednesday, January 22, at Open Space, 510 Fort

Adaslā: The Movement of Hands

Thanks to the History in Art department, thousands of buttons and hundreds of metres of thread have now transformed one enormous swath of cloth into one huge button blanket. The companion exhibit, Adasla: The Movement of Hands, centres upon the creation and exhibition of what we’re calling the World’s Biggest Button Blanket. A project of Carolyn Butler Palmer, the Williams Legacy Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art of the Pacific Northwest, and sessional instructor Peter Morin, the blanket was created over the Fall 2013 academic term in collaboration with students at UVic’s First Peoples House. The finished blanket invites new conversations about indigenous button blanket makers and the artistic traditions that surround them.

Sewing button blankets at First Peoples House. (Photo: Michael Glendale)

Sewing button blankets at First Peoples House. (Photo: Michael Glendale)

Morin will offer the inaugural dance of the blanket on Wednesday, January 29, at First Peoples House as part of UVic’s 2014 Diversity Research Forum. There will also be a companion performance on at 2pm on Saturday, February 22, at the Legacy Gallery Downtown with Morin and Governor General’s Award-winning performance artist Rebecca Belmore, a former Audain Professor for the Department of Visual Arts.

Adaslā: The Movement of Hands continues to April 25 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown, 630 Yates.

Visual Arts MFA Silent Auction

Just a few of the 60 pieces up for auction

Just a few of the 60 pieces now up for auction

Our Visual Arts MFA students are trying to get to New York City, and you can help by bidding on one (or more) of the 60 pieces on offer in this silent auction. Work by both students and faculty is up for sale, and the event culminates with a 5:30pm performance on Thursday, January 23, by Fantastico! (better known as Visual Arts instructor David Gifford.)

Bidding runs 9am-5pm daily, and up to 6pm Thursday, January 23, in the Visual Arts building’s Audain Gallery. You don’t have to be present to win your bid.

Visual Impetus XVII: Conceived, Created & Consumed

Visual_Impetus_XVII_posterJoin Visual Impetus, the annual History in Art department’s graduate student symposium, and the theme this year is “Conceived, Created & Consumed.” When attempting to analyze and understand the significance of visual culture in society, we must examine the various stages of development as it transitions from the artist’s idea to a tangible manifestation that audiences perceive and respond to. The organizers of Visual Impetus XVII offer presentations addressing visual culture within the moments of conception, creation, or consumption, and how significance and function can shift within these different stages.

Included among the presentations is the keynote address by Peter Morin of the Big Button Blanket Project, 4pm Friday, January 24. Click here to see the full schedule of presenters.

Visual Impetus XVII runs January 24 & 25 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown, 630 Yates

A double dose of Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Fans of Department of Writing sessional instructor Madeline Sonik will be excited to hear the multi-genre writer has a pair of events on the horizon: first up is her participation in the Malahat Review’s WordsThaw prequel “CNF Night in Canada!” Kicking off at 7:30pm Tuesday, January 28, at Russell Books (734 Fort), Sonk will be joined by Vancouver Island authors Maleea Acker and Jay Ruzesky at this free “intellectual icebreaker,” hosted by Malahat Review editor and fellow Writing instructor John Barton. They’ll all be discussing “the grace and agility of memoir, the essay, and travel writing.”

After that, the award-winning Sonik will be giving an interactive talk on literary magazine and book publishing, designed for new and emerging writers at UVic and the Victoria community at large who are interested in knowing how to make submissions, write pitches and book proposals, and approach literary agents. Other topics will include literary contests, grants, market studies, and how to keep track of it all. This equally free event runs 2:30-4pm Tuesady, February 4, in room A240 of UVic’s HSD Building.

Visiting Artist: Michael Klein

KleinMichael Klein has been exhibiting video and photo-based work for more than 30 years. He has curated, organized and programmed numerous exhibitions and publications. and opened the MKG127 gallery in Toronto in 2007. Recent exhibitions include The Other Side for Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche 2012, All in the Family at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Family Ties at Daniel Faria Gallery in 2013.

Michael Klein speaks at 8pm Wednesday, January 29, in Room A162 of the Visual Arts building 

Southam Lecture: Tom Hawthorn

Tom Hawthorn is the 2014 Southam Lecturer (Photo: Deddeda Stemler)

Tom Hawthorn is the 2014 Southam Lecturer
(Photo: Deddeda Stemler)

Just in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics, Tom Hawthorn—2014 Southam Lecturer for the Department of Writing—presents his free public lecture, In Defence of Sports Writing (Not All of It, Just the Good Stuff). Not only will Hawthorn discuss the importance of sports writing but also examine the more political side of the Olympics at his public lecture, from the move to boycott the Nazi Olympics and the Black Power salutes of 1968, to the African boycott of the Montreal Olympics and the contemporary protests over Russia’s anti-gay laws.

In addition to having covered the 1996 Olympic Games in Athens, Hawthorn has worked in the sports departments of the Globe and Mail, Province and Times Colonist newspapers, and is a well-respected journalist and magazine writer whose byline has appeared in magazines across the country. He is also the author of the recent book, Deadlines: Obits of Memorable British Columbians.

Tom Hawthorn speaks 7pm Wednesday, January 29, in room A240 of UVic’s Human & Social Development Building

Daniel Laskarin: fallen and found

Laskarin's "fallen and found"

Laskarin’s “fallen and found”

Hot off the Visual Arts faculty exhibition Paradox, Visual Arts chair Daniel Laskarin presents his latest solo show, fallen and found. In this, his fourth exhibition with Deluge Contemporary Art, Daniel Laskarin returns to a decades-old preoccupation with the role of the sculptor as matterist. A mix of sculptural pieces and newer works from an ongoing narrative of small wall pieces, Laskarin’s artistic production is object-based, and uses a diverse range of media including photography and video, optics, robotics systems, installation and sound works, set design and public projections

Opens 7pm Friday, January 31 and continues to March 8 at Deluge, 636 Yates

UVic Orchestra: Don Joyorchestra3.jpg

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

The School of Music’s Ajtony Csaba conducts the UVic Orchestra in a program of Mozart (Overture to Don Giovanni), Maurice Ravel (Piano Concerto in G Major), and Richard Strauss (Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24). Featured in the Ravel piece will be  piano soloist Barry Tan, winner of the annual UVic Concerto Competition.

Don Joy begins at 8pm Friday, January 31, in the University Centre’s Farquhar Auditorium. Click here for ticket information.

The Lafayette String Quartet: Quintets Old and New

Lafayette String Quartet

Lafayette String Quartet

The Shostakovich Op. 57 Piano Quintet has been in the Lafayette String Quartet’s repertoire from the very beginning. As students, three of the quartet members performed this work with the great Rostislav Dubinsky and his wife, Luba Edlina and the Quartet has performed this piece numerous times since. “This piece is an old friend—it’s in our blood,” says Ann Elliott-Goldschmid, violinist with the LSQ. In contrast, the Dvorak Op. 97 String Quintet, which uses idiomatic modalities common in Native American song and African Amercian spirituals, is a fresh undertaking for the group. The Quartet will bring both of these works to the stage with the help of guest performers Alexander Tselyakov (piano) and Yariv Aloni (viola).

The LSQ performs at 8pm Saturday, February 1, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall in UVic’s MacLaurin Building. Click here for ticket information

Department of Theatre Open House

Iwanttobeintheatre_HEADER_x508x261Choosing a career in theatre is a big decision, but new students who want to follow in the footsteps of UVic’s successful theatre alumni have a great opportunity to learn more about the program when the Department of Theatre welcomes prospective new students for a behind-the-scenes introduction at the annual I Want to Be In Theatre! event on Saturday, February 1.

This fun interactive afternoon offers an inside look at life as a theatre student and is ideal for high school students who are deciding about their university studies—or anyone who is interested in studying theatre at a post-secondary level. As well as a tour of the impressive facilities at the Phoenix Theatre, the day provides detailed information about the department’s many theatre specializations: acting, applied theatre, set, costume or lighting design, directing, production and management, and theatre history. Attendees will also see a rehearsal scene of the upcoming play Picnic, have an opportunity to chat with current students over a free pizza lunch, and get advice about choosing courses and the application process. Parents and teachers are welcome to attend with interested students.

I Want To Be in Theatre! runs 11:30am to 3pm Saturday, February 1 in the Phoenix Theatre. Tickets are free, but please register in advance with this registration form before Monday, January 27.

The 27th Annual Medieval Workshop

Medieval WorkshopSpend a full day in two of the most beautiful and prosperous cities of the Middle Ages—Cairo and Venice! Settled at the margins of powerful empires, defying prejudice and authority, both islands of culture and wealth—over the desert in Cairo and over the sea for Venice—these two cities write a story of dialogue, art, and trade. History in Art’s Catherine Harding and Marcus Milwright are both among the presenters.

In this full-day of workshops presented by UVic’s Medieval Studies and History in Art departments, you can explore the former slaves who became rulers under the name of Mameluks (the Jewish community in Cairo), the hostelries for merchants in Egypt, the fashions and trends found at rich Italian merchants’, and the friendship between Boccacio and Petrarch in Venice. You‘ll also discover music from Orient and Occident, performed on Venetian lute and Oriental oud. Most of all, you will be part of the vibrant Victoria community which gathers for the Annual Medieval Workshop. Click here to see the full itinerary.

The 27th Annual Medieval Workshop runs 9am-5pm Saturday, February 1, in Room B150 of UVic’s Bob Wright Centre. Click here for ticket information.

Visiting Artist: Jon Sasaki

Work by Jon Sasaki

Work by Jon Sasaki

Multidisciplinary Toronto artist Jon Sasaki borrows conceptual art strategies to make works with an emotionally resonant core. Sasaki’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions across Canada. His work has been seen in several editions of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, and Sasaki holds a BFA from Mount Allison University and is represented by Jessica Bradley Gallery in Toronto.

Jon Sasaki speaks 8pm Wednesday, February 5, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building

Open Word: Readings and Ideas with Nora Young

Nora Young

Nora Young

Whether hosting CBC Radio’s long-running technology & culture show Spark, creating documentaries for CBC’s Ideas, working online and in television, or in her previous role as the founding host and producer of CBC’s popular culture show Definitely Not the Opera, few know how to reflect life in the 21st Century better than Nora Young.

Now, Young will read from her non-fiction book, The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering the World Around Us. Young looks at the debates and challenges around virtual data-sharing and its potential for building responsive communities and governments. She has fascinating information at her disposal, unique insights into the intersection of virtual and real worlds, and a wonderful voice for making all of these clear to a general audience.

Following her Open Space reading, Nora Young will be interviewed live by Writing professor David Leach, also the director of UVic’s Technology & Society Program.

Nora Young’s first reading is at 1:30pm Wednesday, February 5, in room 104 of UVic’s Engineering & Computer Science Building. Her second reading is at 7:30pm Wednesday, February 5, at Open Space, 510 Fort.

Distinguished Alumni: Michael Whitfield

With over four decades of designing nationally and internationally for theatre, opera and ballet, Michael Whitfield is one of Canada’s most versatile and experienced lighting designers—and he has also been named the Distinguished Alumni for the Faculty of Fine Arts for 2014. Even better, Whitfield’s career at UVic has gone full circle, from his graduation way back in 1967 to his current work as a sessional instructor with the Department of Theatre. Now, Whitfield will be honoured by UVic Chancellor Murray Farmer at a special evening honouring Distinguished Alumni representing all 12 faculties, divisions and the UVic Libraries, from 7pm Wedneday, February 5 at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

Michael Whitfield

Michael Whitfield

Whitfield went on to become the Resident Lighting Designer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for 25 years, where he created the lighting for over 100 productions on the Festival, Avon and Tom Patterson stages. Concurrently with his work at the Festival, Michael also designed for the Shaw Festival and for many of Canada’s regional theatres, particularly the Grand Theatre, London and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Since the late 1970’s, Michael has designed extensively for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto as well as for opera companies across the country. His work in the United States has included lighting designs for opera companies in San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, while overseas his lighting has been seen at the Welsh National Opera and the Netherlands Opera.

Michael’s lighting for ballet and dance has been featured at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the American Ballet Theatre, the Finnish National Ballet, the Canadian Native Arts Foundation and the Banff Centre. In addition to his extensive professional design career, since the early 1970’s Michael has taught at educational institutions including the University of Windsor, the University of Illinois, York University, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and the National Theatre School of Canada. By taking on apprentice designers as his assistants he has also mentored the careers of many young designers who are now illuminating stage productions across Canada.

University of Victoria Wind Symphony & the Naden Band

cal_21_event_93494The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy has been an important part of naval tradition on the West Coast since 1940 and UVic’s School of Music has a long-standing relationship with the group. Many alumni have served as members of the ensemble and in 1994 the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific Scholarship in Music Performance was established. The band, currently under the direction of Lieutenant (Navy) Matthew Clark, will join the Wind Symphony for a special concert supporting this valuable scholarship, awarded annually to second and third year School of Music students who demonstrate excellence in brass, woodwind and percussion performance.

The School of Music’s Eugene Dowling will be conducting the concert, which welcomes back to the Farquhar Auditorium stage bassoon soloist Petty Officer Second Class Robyn Jutras. “Although musicians in the Naden Band are from all over Canada, alumni from the UVic School of Music make up ten percent of their current membership,” says Dowling. “It is wonderful that our featured soloist, Robyn Jutras, was not only trained at UVic, but was a past recipient of the Naden Band Scholarship!” Featured works on the program include David Maslanka’s massive Symphony No. 8 and Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bassoon.

The Wind Symphony & the Naden Band perform 8pm Friday, February 7, at the University Centre’s Farquhar Auditorium. Click here for ticket information.

Phoenix Theatre: Picnic

Grant Wood, "Spring in Town" 1941

Grant Wood, “Spring in Town” 1941

On the last day of summer in small town Kansas, unfulfilled dreams and repressed desires come to a head when a charismatic young drifter arrives in town. His combination of rough manners and titillating charm sends everyone reeling, including the Owens sisters (Millie, the smart one, and Madge, the pretty one), their determined mother, Madge’s college-bound boyfriend, the watchful neighbour and the spinster schoolteacher who boards at the Owens’ house. This 1953 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is an American classic from the post-war/pre-feminist era which speaks to the timeless themes of lost aspirations and the heart’s yearning to leave everything behind for a new adventure.

Directed by Peter J. McGuire with lighting by Allan Stichbury.

Picnic previews February 11 & 12, and runs February 13-22. Click here for more information and tickets.

Media roundup for early January

2014 started off fast and furious for Fine Arts, with a flurry of media coverage coming out of the new year’s gate.

Eva Baboula's interview in The Jewish Independent

Eva Baboula’s interview in The Jewish Independent

Wrapping up 2013, History in Art’s Eva Baboula was interviewed by Vancouver’s Jewish Independent newspaper for this late December article. She was talking about her new course on Jewish art—the first of its kind in Canada!—and discusses the distinctive characteristics of ancient & medieval Jewish art.

Baboula was also asked why, as someone who isn’t Jewish but is Greek, she would teach a course on this subject. “I just love learning,” she explains. “Something that did intrigue me . . . was the history of the Jews of Greece. Up to the Second World War, Greece had very significant ancient Romaniote Jewish communities, as well as Sephardim who had originated in the Iberian Peninsula. The country witnessed an unprecedented loss of its Jewish communities in relation to its general population (about 80 percent were lost in the Holocaust). Often this kind of history, as well as the material remnants of the history of many centuries, is not really known or very visible. I think it is the history of all of us and it has to be preserved.”

Mary Jo Hughes with work by Daniel Laskarin (foreground) and Robert Youds (back). (photo: Don Denton)

Mary Jo Hughes with work by Daniel Laskarin (foreground) and Robert Youds (back). (photo: Don Denton)

VIsual Arts got one more piece on their Paradox faculty exhibit, courtesy of this end of the year story in the weekly Monday Magazine section of the Victoria News. Running just before the exhibit wrapped up at the downtown Legacy Art Gallery in early January, the article quoted curator and gallery director Mary Jo Hughes saying, “The main point of art is to help people look at the world a different way.”

Visual Arts professor Paul Walde‘s video & sound installation “Requiem for a Glacier”—shot last summer on the Farnham Glacier in the Kootenays—opened at Nelson’s Oxygen Art Centre in early January. The Nelson Star ran this article about the exhibit, noting that political motivation and diversity of the numerous collaborators is what gave the work a whole new dimension of social practice. You can read more about the backstory of “Requiem for a Glacier” here, and the exhibit itself runs to February 8.

CdnArt Glacier reviewWalde’s “Requiem” was also recently reviewed by Canadian Art magazine. Describing it as Walde’s “most ambitious work to date”, reviewer TE Hardy noted “it demonstrates an essential progress: the ideas are more expansive than in Walde’s past work; the compositional systems that define his practice create a richer intertextual field; and his efficacy as a multi-disciplinary artist is impressively enhanced.” Hardy also notes that Walde “successfully frames questions of mythic import” and mentions the “stark and beautiful” moments in the video. Read the full review here.

And in other Paul Walde news, he’s now curating the annual installation Audiospace 10 for downtown’s Open Space arts centre. Opening 7pm Friday, January 17, and running monthly through to Saturday, June 7, Audiospace is an exploration of digital sound, originally created as a venue for sound on the Internet (a novel idea when the series began back in 2003). Walde will bring audio back to the physical realm through the creation of a listening room at Open Space, which will feature a new artist each month. Keep up to date with the series here.

From Althea Thauberger's "Marat Sade Barnace"

From Althea Thauberger’s “Marat Sade Bohnice”

While we’re in Visual Arts, high-profile alumna Althea Thauberger was listed in the Vancouver Sun as having one of the “three of the most influential events in Vancouver galleries” for her show opening January 15 at SFU’s downtown Audain Gallery. The Vancouver-based Thauberger’s video installation Marat Sade Bohnice (first presented at Toronto’s Power Plant contemporary art gallery) examines the staging of Peter Weiss’s famed play Marat/Sade at a mental institution in Prague and questions the meaning of mental illness and art’s role in therapy. As the Sun writes, “Well-known for facilitating collaborative situations with groups such as military families, adolescent girls, and artists of the Downtown Eastside, Thauberger reveals social and political issues as she creates a space for collaborators to express themselves.”

The School of Music had an ambitious first week back in January, thanks to their fascinating Week with Gustav Mahler. A combination of open rehearsals, lectures, listening rooms and a full faculty recital, Mahler Week earned a fair bit of media coverage. As busy local arts blogger Janis LaCouvee noted, it was a great way to learn more about this under-appreciated composer. “My knowledge of Mahler—sadly—is limited to the 1974 biographical film by Ken Russell, so when Kristy Farkas, the Concert Manager for the UVic School of Music, contacted me with news of a week-long Mahler tribute, I knew that I had to add some of the events to my arts calendar.” You can read more about Janis’ Mahlerization here.

Butterfield and Pohran Dawkins talk Mahler (photo: Adrian Lam)

Butterfield and Pohran Dawkins talk Mahler (photo: Adrian Lam)

The Times Colonist did a nice job with a pair of articles about Mahler Week. As TC arts writer Amy Smart noted, “One doesn’t simply say, ‘Hey, let’s play Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde,’ on a whim. The large work not only requires a certain number of trained musicians, but a level of commitment to learning the complex rhythms, especially when performed in a chamber arrangement without a conductor.”

The aptly-named Smart then speaks to both Music faculty members Benjamin Butterfield and Alexandra Pohran Dawkins in this article, who noted the concert could only come about because of the size of the School of Music’s performance faculty—the largest in the country—and its emphasis on chamber music. “There aren’t many schools that could pull this off,” said Pohran Dawkins. “I won’t say it exactly fell into place, but the timing was right and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the project. We’re hoping it will be a bit of a splash.”

The music faculty in rehearsal for Mahler week (photo: Kristy Farkas)

The music faculty in rehearsal for Mahler week (photo: Kristy Farkas)

Classical music columnist Kevin Bazzana also highlighted the final concert of Mahler Week—the faculty performance of Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)—in his January 9 column.  (Alas, it’s not available online, but can be read here in the article UVic pays tribute to Mahler.) Bazzana provided the fascinating history of the symphony as well as some insight into the specific arrangement the faculty were performing. As Benjamin Butterfield notes, “It is the ultimate chamber music piece.”

The Times Colonist returned to the School of Music again with columnist Kevin Bazzana writing about the Galiano Ensemble in this article. The Galiano Ensemble includes not only School of Music faculty members but also alumni amongst its players.

But wait, there’s more—the TC also picked up a story about professor Eugene Dowling‘s A Mostly Canadian Recital on January 12. In this article, Dowling describes the many personal connections he has with many of the composers and the stories behind the compositions, noting that he will try to bring all those emotions and friendships to mind as he plays.

Colleen Eccleston

Colleen Eccleston

Music instructor Colleen Eccleston was also interviewed on the CFAX radio show Cafe Victoria with Bruce Williams, speaking about the legacy and role the Everly Brothers had in rock-and-roll history. (Phil Everly passed away on January 3.) Click here to hear a podcast of the show, then fast forward to timecode 16:15. Eccleston teaches the history of rock and roll for Music, among other classes—and she was also announced as the first-place winner of the School of Music/Vikes Rally Song contest on January 10 (but more on that in this separate post). All in all, that’s some outstanding Music coverage for just the first week of classes!

HIA booksBack in History in Art, both Allan Antliff and Erin Campbell have contributed to new books. Antliff’s chapter on “Ezra Pound, Man Ray and Vorticism in America, 1914-1917″ can be found in the new book Vorticism: New Perspectives (Oxford University Press), and Campbell’s is co-editor of The Early Modern Italian Domestic Interior, 1400-1700 (Ashgate), with her specific chapter “Art and Family Viewers in the 17th-century Bolognese Domestic Interior.”

Peter Morin & the world's biggest Button Blanket

Peter Morin & the world’s biggest Button Blanket

History in Art is also gearing up for the unveiling of their Big Button Blanket project, debuting at the Legacy Downtown on September 16 as part of the exhibit Adasla: The Movement of Hands. An ambitious collaborative project between professor Carolyn Butler Palmer, Tahtan Nation artist and sessional instructor Peter Morin, plus local indigenous blanket makers and History in Art students, watch for all sorts of coverage coming up about both the exhibit and the blanket itself. Get a taste of it with this CBC Radio All Points West interview with Morin and host Jo-Ann Roberts (scroll down to the January 7 entry).

Adasla runs January 16 to April 25, with a special performance on February 22 by Governor General’s Award winning performance artist Rebecca Belmore, a former Audain professor for the Department of Visual Arts, and Morin. Morin will also inaugurate the blanket in its debut performance at the start of UVic’s annual Diversity Research Forum on January 29.

Over in Writing, professor Maureen Bradley was featured in this Times Colonist article in late November, being interviewed about her upcoming feature film Two 4 One and the representation of transgendered people in the media. Two 4 One will be the first transgender romantic comedy.

Lee Henderson

Lee Henderson

Meanwhile, both professor Lee Henderson and alumna Eliza Robertson were included on the National Post‘s list of “The 25 most anticipated (Canadian) books of 2014.” Despite doom & gloom in the publishing industry, books writer Mark Medley feels we’re presently in the midst of another Can-lit boom. “While the industry still faces financial challenges, Canadian writers are in the midst of a creative peak that rivals anything we’ve seen before.” Tucked in with such literary luminaries as Michael Crummey, Emma Donoghue, Steven Galloway, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Miriam Toews, Medley includes books by Henderson and Robertson among the books he “can’t wait to devour” in 2014:

Orphans, by Lee Henderson (Hamish Hamilton Canada/August). Not much is known about Henderson’s first novel since 2008’s The Man Game (an audacious, wildly inventive novel that deserved a wider audience), and even the name will likely change. In a 2010 interview he told me it was ‘about creativity.’piece.”
Wallflowers, by Eliza Robertson (Hamish Hamilton Canada/August). A debut collection from a buzzy young author whose work has been shortlisted for the Journey Prize and won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her story ‘My Sister Sang’ is alone worth the price of admission.” But hey, no pressure!
Two other pieces of Writing grad news: Canadian literary biggie Timothy Taylor selected Jenny Boychuk as 2nd runner-up in PRISM literary magazine’s annual creative non-fiction contest for her story, “Notes on Breath” (beating our Writing instructor Madeline Sonik, who was long-listed for the same prize), and poet Kyeren Regher was the only Canadian selected for the American publication Best New
Poets 2013.
Michael Whitfield

Michael Whitfield

Finally, Department of Theatre sessional instructor, former student and veteran lighting designer Michael Whitfield has been announced as this year’s Fine Arts recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Whitfield was a student during the earliest days of UVic and literally got in on the ground floor of the nascent Theatre department. You can read some of his memories in this Torch article from the Spring 2013 issue (skip ahead to page 34). Learn more about the Distinguished Alumni Awards here. Congratulations, Michael!

 

Phoenix wins Critics Choice Awards—again

Phoenix Theatre picked up a pair of wins in the 13th annual local Critic’s Choice Spotlight Awards. Celebrating excellence in local theatre, Phoenix is no stranger to the Spotlights—they’ve frequently won in the past—and this year is no exception, with current students, faculty and alumni all sharing nominations.

Chosen by critics for CBC Radio’s On The Island, CVV Magazine and The Marble (alas, the Times Colonist chose to not participate this year), these shows stand as proof of the continuing vibrancy of Victoria’s theatrical community—and Phoenix’s place in it. Congratulations to all, nominees and winners alike!

The Peanuts gang with Charlie Brown (Kale Penny) (photo: David Lowes)

The Peanuts gang have now picked up a pair of Critic’s Choice Awards (photo: David Lowes)

Last spring’s production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown was the big winner for Phoenix this year, picking up the awards for both Musical Production and Performance in a Community Production Ensemble. (While the “performance” category typically chooses a single performer, the judges admitted that the Charlie Brown cast was so strong overall that they simply couldn’t narrow it down to a single person—high praise indeed for this show directed by Theatre prof Fran Gebhard!)

Reese Nielsen (left) with Robin Gadsby in Reasons to be Pretty (photo: David Lowes)

Reese Nielsen (left) with Robin Gadsby in Reasons to be Pretty (photo: David Lowes)

Fourth-year student Marisa Nielsen was nominated for Performance in a Community Production for her dynamic work in Phoenix’s February 2013 production of Reasons To Be Pretty (which CVV Magazine reviewer Erin Anderson described at the time as “an affecting, sharp performance . . . balancing intense emotion with intelligent convictions”). And interestingly, Nielsen’s Reasons co-star Robin Gadsby was also nominated this year, but not for his acting—instead, he picked up a Best New Play nomination for his show Judgement Day.

Three-time Phoenix alum and current sessional instructor Clayton Jevne was nominated in the Direction category for The Golden Dragon at his own Theatre Inconnu, which was also twice nominated—alongside You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown—in the Overall Production (Community) category, for The Golden Dragon and In the Next Room . . . which also won. Just as a quick recap, out of four shows nominated in that single category, three had Phoenix connections, including the winner—proving once again how vital our Department of Theatre is to the greater arts community.

Double nominee Patrick Du Wors was a talent to watch even when he was a student

Double nominee Patrick Du Wors was a talent to watch even when he was a student

Phoenix alum Patrick Du Wors won the set design category for My Fair Lady, which was mounted this past summer by Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre—run by Department of Theatre professor Brian Richmond. Du Wors was also nominated in the Costume Design category, alongside Shayna Ward & Allyson Leet for their work on last spring’s Phoenix production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. Department of Theatre professor emeritus and former chair Giles Hogya also picked up a Lighting Design nomination for his work on Blue Bridge’s Uncle Vanya, and alum Mike Rinaldi was nominated in Sound Design for his work on the Belfry’s production of Helen’s Necklace. (It’s clearly been a good year for Rinaldi, whose earlier play Toothpaste & Cigars—co-written with alumnus TJ Dawe—made into the feature film  The F Word, starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame!)

Will Weigler showing the labyrinthine set for From The Heart (photo: Times Colonist)

Will Weigler showing the labyrinthine set for From The Heart (photo: Times Colonist)

Phoenix alumnus and former instructor Will Weigler, along with Krystal Cook, picked up a win in the Best New Play category for his complex co-production From the Heart: Enter into the Journey of Reconciliation. Granted, while Weigler & Cook are credited as co-creators, we acknowledge there were many others involved in the creation of this challenging production, including the Victoria International Development Education Association and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, and based on UVic PhD Paulette Regan’s bestselling 2011 book, Unsettling the Settler Within. (As local critic and UVic professor Monica Prendergast noted, “Weigler worked at superhuman levels to bring this community-based theatre production to fruition, and it had powerful effects on many audience members who took it in . . . . New Canadians should encounter and come to terms with the history of their new homeland, and theatre can be an effective way to do so.”)

Savvy artistic director Janet Munsil

Savvy artistic director Janet Munsil

And while it didn’t win, Brian Richmond‘s Blue Bridge production of My Fair Lady was nominated in the Overall Production (Professional) category. Finally, Intrepid Theatre artistic director and Phoenix alumna Janet Munsil‘s UNO Festival had three shows nominated in the new Best of the Fests category—Huff, Mike Daisey’s American Utopias, and Till Death: The Six Wives of Henry the Vlll, with Huff winning the category. True, none of the nominees were her own shows (despite the fact that Munsil is an acclaimed playwright), but their selection does speak to her accomplishments as artistic director; Intrepid continuously programs some of the most dynamic and progressive contemporary theatre productions into their various festivals.

Listen to the CBC On The Island broadcast of the winners list on this podcast, and glean some insights into the winners and nominees courtesy of CBC theatre critic Monica Prendergast on her blog post about this year’s awards.

High praise for new Phoenix play

Judging from the reviews rolling in, the latest production from Phoenix Theatre is proving the adage than an oldie can absolutely be a goodie. First mounted way back in 1942, Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama—as did his better known play Our Town—and clearly still has legs for today’s audiences.

Skin of our Teeth“Look at the state we’re in globally, right?” director and Department of Theatre professor Linda Hardy said in this Times Colonist preview article. “That’s one of the reasons it’s still so fresh.” (You can hear more from Hardy about her vision for bringing The Skin of Our Teeth to the Phoenix stage via this podcast of her live opening weekend talk.)

UVic’s student newspaper The Martlet also made Teeth their cover story for opening week, including a nice preview article with assistant director and puppeteer coach Chari Arespacochaga, which you can read here. And you can listen to this interview from the CFUV campus radio show U in the Ring featuring Arespacochaga and Skin of our Teeth set designer Jonathan Maxwell.

A allegorical satire, Teeth takes us on a wild and raucous tour through the ages, via the suburban New Jersey home of a perfectly middle class family. But can the family survive the ravages of ice ages, global warming, storms, floods, depressions and war? You’ll have to see the show yourself to find out, but this production is certainly surviving the slings and arrows of the local theatre critics.

photo: David Lowes at Arts Studio21 Photography

Don’t panic, they’re just puppets. (photo: David Lowes, Arts Studio21 Photography)

Adrian Chamberlain at the Times Colonist gave the production 4 1/2 stars in this review, calling it a “theatrical extravaganza.” Noting the clarity of Hardy’s direction, he highlighted the “lovely production values [and] strong student acting”—specifically Markus Spodzieja and Julie Forrest—as well as the “terrific” costumes and “expertly-constructed puppets of such animals as crows and wooly mammoths, manipulated with skill.”

David Lennam—one of the theatre critics for local CBC Radio morning show On The Island—noted in his review that, “In keeping with the Phoenix Theatre’s tradtion at the University of Victoria, production value are super high, it looks great! . . . . My favourite moment involved these brilliant puppets—the triceratops, a woolly mammoth—and the students operating them even provide authentic sound effects for them. It’s just beautiful. Really clever.”

Lennam also praised the performance by Tea Siskin, as well as the costumes by Chelsea Graham and Shayna Ward, describing them as “brilliant [and] beautiful . . .  I think at the end of the year this might be the best dressed show in theatre in this town.”

photo: David Lowes at Arts Studio21 Photography

Designer Jonathan Maxwell’s set earns high praise (photo: David Lowes, Arts Studio21 Photography)

Local arts blogger and Monday Magazine theatre writer Janis La Couvée described Teeth as “a magnificent and mesmerizing spectacle, a veritable aural and visual feast” in this write-up about it. “The magnitude of the undertaking is tremendous,” she continues. “How do you adequately portray an Ice Age with its advancing icebergs, a flood of biblical proportions, war, and a contemporary middle-class home (complete with pet dinosaurs)?”

La Couvée singles out the work of set designer Maxwell and the puppets by Bryn Finer, as well as assistant director Arespacochaga and puppeteers Jenson Kerr, Amanda Millar, Colin Doig, Marisa Nielsen and Tyler Flower.

Meanwhile, this review for the online CVV Magazine sees local theatre critic Erin Anderson praising the student actors, noting there are “no notable weak links” in the large cast. She specifically highlights the work of Siskin (whom she describes as being “quite fantastic”), Kathleen O’Reilly, Ian Simms, and Amy Culliford.

The Skin of Our Teeth may be absurd in premise, but it’s full of substance underneath its sensational trappings,” writes Anderson. “The Phoenix production has much to commend it, and the piece proves to be an excellent choice for them, combining theatrical meat for its actors with an engaging show for its audience.”

photo: David Lowes at Arts Studio21 Photography

Everyone loves the costumes by Chelsea Graham and Shayna Ward (photo: David Lowes, Arts Studio21 Photography)

Finally, local theatre blog The Marble also praised the show, with reviewer Jocelyn Tennant noting that she was “sucked into the production. The sets, costumes, props (especially the dinosaur puppets) were so intricately designed that I had no trouble committing to the extensive run-time. I was especially impressed with the amount of detail that went into the costume design, in particular in the second act.”

Among Tennant’s highlights were the work of designers Graham and Ward. “I would whole-heartedly recommend this show,” concludes Tennant. “The cast quite simply shines, every element of the production is polished and professional . . . plus, those dinosaur puppets are pretty incredible.”

 

The Skin of Our Teeth runs through to November 23 at the Phoenix Theatre. Click here for ticket info.

Media roundup for the fall

Once again, it’s been a busy season for Fine Arts coverage in the local media. Here’s a quick roundup of who’s been hitting the headlines.

Josh Lovell as Bardolfo (standing) in POV's Falstaff. (photo: David Cooper)

Josh Lovell as Bardolfo (standing) in POV’s Falstaff. (photo: David Cooper)

The School of Music is always a strong source of stories. In this article, visiting trombonist Abbie Conant spoke to the Times Colonist about her successful efforts to fight sexism in the Munich Orchestra. Meanwhile, the Lafayette String Quartet‘s autumn “Brahms, Bubbly & Brunch” fundraiser appeared on a lovely CHEK TV segment (which, unfortunately, is no longer available online) and the LSQ’s November concert series dedicated to David Jaffe also earned attention in this recent Times Colonist article.

Music undergrad Josh Lovell garnered high praise for his performance in Pacific Opera Victoria’s recent production of Falstaff. As Times Colonist reviewer Kevin Bazzana noted, “tenor Josh Lovell, who plays Bardolfo, is still an undergraduate student, and that is scarcely believable—he seems fully at home among all these distinguished pros.” Bazzana also wrote about Music’s involvement in the Britten Festival of Song, celebrating the centenary of legendary composer Benjamin Britten.

Music professor Christopher Butterfield was also featured in this Monday Magazine article about the Victoria Symphony’s November 10 performance of his piece, Convoy PQ-17. “In Russia they take very seriously the history of the war,” Butterfield told Monday reporter Natalie North, who is also a graduate of our Writing program. “It’s very serious business. Here, this kind of work is more uncommon, to put it mildly. You don’t often go to see large commemorative piece for wartime episodes with dance, chorus and orchestra.”

Over in Writing, professor Lorna Jackson appeared on CBC Radio’s All Points West to speak about Alice Munro’s recent winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Why Jackson? In addition to being a short story specialist herself, she also included Munro in her 2008 book of constructed interviews Flirt: The Interviews (and you can hear Jackson read the Munro story by clicking here). Writing professor and Associate Dean of Fine Arts Lynne Van Luven is always busy, and this time she was called upon to act as one of the judges in the annual Times Colonist “So You Think You Can Write” contest.

Writing alumni have also been busy this fall. Rapidly rising Writing graduate Eliza Robertson was named to the prestigious Writers’ Trust Journey Prize shorlist—earning herself $1,000 and a place in their annual publication. Fellow Writing alum Kayla Czaga and Garth Martens were both longlisted for CBC Poetry Prize—Martens twice!—alongside former instructor Pamela Porter; Porter ended up being a finalist.

Thelma Fayle in Focus magazine

Thelma Fayle in Focus magazine

Meanwhile, Writing alum Thelma Fayle garnered widespread media coverage for her new book on iconic photojournalist Ted Grant: appearing in the Times Colonist, speaking with Grant on CFAX Radio’s weekly Eye on the Arts show (from 33:50 to 58:00), as well as being interviewed in Monday Magazine and in the November issue of Focus magazine (scroll to pages 48-51). Why write a book about Grant? “Ted is the kind of person who would say ‘I just knew it was a good picture’ and not be aware of its significance,” she tells Focus. “I want Canadians to really know him. Everyone I interviewed said basically the same thing: ‘You have no idea how special this man is.’”

Recent MFA graduate Portia Elan is featured in “Writing Lessons” on the Ploughshares Literary Magazine blog. “Writing Lessons” features essays by writing students—and now writing instructors—about lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. “My advisor told me during my second year that when he saw what I’d turned in for workshop first year, he’d been stunned and disappointed,” she writes. “Getting out of workshop saved my writing. The things that crack our writing open and give them new voice, new body, take experimentation and patience. It is often not until the tenth or twentieth poem-in-a-new-voice that I write anything worth keeping.”

That's Lorna Crozier & partner Patrick Lane at the Victoria Butler Book Prize gala

That’s Lorna Crozier & partner Patrick Lane at the Victoria Butler Book Prize gala

Writing professors Lorna Crozier and Bill Gaston were both named finalists in October’s City of Victoria Butler Book Prize—with the recently retired Crozier speaking to CBC Radio’s All Points West in this interview about being nominated.

Crozier also recently wrote a great self-explanatory travel piece titled “A Poet in the Great Bear Rainforest” for the online magazine Toque and Canoe—produced in collaboration with noted conservation photographer Ian McAllister.

(In typical Crozier fashion, she writes, “The big grizzly is perched on the other side of the river bank, so near he can hear the rain on my jacket. He raises his blunt head and courses the air. Stares at me and sniffs. Above the stench of rotting salmon, my smell has been drawn into a grizzly’s nostrils, through the nasal passages inside his long snout. Part of me now lives inside the mind of an omnivorous animal whose Latin name ends with horribilis.”)

Also, Writing professor Maureen Bradley appeared in this Monday Magazine article—alongside Fine Arts digital media staffer Dan Hogg—discussing their involvement with Telefilm Canada’s Micro-Budget Production program, which allows local filmmakers to apply for up to $120,000 toward a film project. Bradley benefited from the program to help finance her current transgender romantic comedy feature film Two 4 One (which you can help support via her Indiegogo campaign), which will be shooting in Victoria in early 2014. Hogg, a very active local filmmaker and screenwriter himself (regular readers will recall his involvement with the short film Floodplain, which took him to the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year), is also CineVic’s current president.

From Focus magazine's article

From Focus magazine’s article

Over in Visual Arts, new Audain professor and Visual Arts alumnus Jackson 2Bears was written up in UVic’s Ring newspaper. There was also a short preview of the continuing faculty exhibition Paradox on CTV VI, which runs through to January 12 at the recently renamed Legacy Art Galleries Downtown. Painting professor Sandra Meigs earned some great coverage for her solo exhibition The Basement Panoramas, running at Open Space until December 14. Read the extensive Focus magazine profile (flip to page 44), see the Times Colonist article by local arts writer Amy Smart, and read how a number of local and campus artists reacted to the show in this piece from Kate Cino’s ArtOpenings website.

Finally, Phoenix Theatre’s recent Spotlight on Alumni production of Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near Post-Apocolyptic Future.

Ingrid Hansen in Kitt & Jane (photo: Jam Hamidi)

Ingrid Hansen in Kitt & Jane (photo: Jam Hamidi)

“Kitt and Jane’s genius lies in the ability of the creators to craft a story that has simultaneously tapped into young people’s concern and anxiety about the state of the world while reminding their elders of a simpler more playful time,” wrote local arts blogger
Janis La Couvée.

Meanwhile, The Marble theatre review blog encouraged people to “Go see Kitt & Jane. The story of two 14-year-olds prepping an audience for the apocalypse is immensely enjoyable, theatrical and funny. It’s also a whole bunch of other superfluous adjectives I could assign, all of which would be true and complimentary, but would just take up valuable time you could be using to go down to the box office and buy a ticket.”

CBC Victoria’s On the Island reviewer Monica Prendergast praised Phoenix alumni Ingrid Hansen for her characteristically “simple yet effective theatricality . . . . Just using a flashlight on a screen behind the two actors creating amazing effects . . . at one point she does an entire shadow puppet show with the most simple of props which is really theatre that I love. You don’t need a huge, huge budget.” Hear her full review here (from the 0:00 to 5:00 mark).

Even the Times Colonist‘s Adrian Chamberlain noted in his review how Hansen and fellow Phoenix alum and show co-creator Kathleen Greenfield “opted to sidestep some of the conventions of theatre. Similar to alt-rock/folk bands that use dollar-store instruments and record albums that sound like bootlegs, the notion is to create a show that’s fresh and unfettered by theatre’s formal constructs.” Chamberlain also highlighted the “clever shadow projections” and songs—”including one about children’s rights activist Craig Kielburger and Taliban-defier Malala Yousafzai, accompanied by ukulele and glockenspiel.”

You can also hear this podcast of the pre-show lecture by Phoenix grad and UVic’s University Centre Auditorium Director Ian Case on “Theatre, Creativity and Paying the Bills in Victoria”

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.