Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Carnie Night!

The Carnie is March 31 st, 2007 at the SAW Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario.

Here's a Q and A to get everyone primed about the vision behind the evening and what they can expect if they attend the show.

What is your definition of a Carnie?

A Carnie is an evening that celebrates unique, odd ball, non-conforming yet wonderful musicians and performers. It's an opportunity for artists who may be marginalized from the Top 40 scene to have access to stage time and a positive experience by sharing their music with others. I keep bringing it back to my guiding belief, which is that the world would be a better, safer and more dynamic place if everyone could see and appreciate the beauty that lives inside the bizarre. What made you want to put together one of your own? I put this Carnie show on for two main reasons. One, as a way to live with a, "Carnie Spirit." Meaning to, "do it" rather than give up on your dreams. You don't have to stay home just because your sponsor is not Cadillac. You don't have to quit just because the homogenous music loving "artistic director" of a local music festival passes on your unique musical act. Be determined. Keep looking for the audiences and "artistic directors" who can look beyond their hang ups to see your musical magic. This is what I try to do. The "Carnie Spirit" of dancing even when you're missing a shoe inspires people. To keep trying. To grab back moments from our troubles and enjoy life a bit more than we had originally planned. Second, I put the Carnie show on to encourage unique, non-conforming, but wonderful musicians to keep making their art by inviting them to be a part of the show. A good Carnie hostess knows that everyone needs encouragement to keep going with their art. I could have used more acceptance, encouragement and solidarity from other musicians over the years. So this show is about reaching out to people like I would have liked to have been reached out to. In the process, I've given myself the chance to be a part of the dynamic of musical community after all. So there's some healing and "making good" for the "Carnie worker" in me.

How is this event Carnie-like?

The performers at the show will be making their own unique and sometimes counter culture music. Music is outside of the meat n' potats Canadian indie rock and "Rising Star award" templates. Performers like this share a lot in common with Carnie workers. They are both sought out by audiences interested in unique arts and looked down upon by mainstream types. There's a beauty and a loneliness associated with Carnies. The fine line between being celebrated and ostracized. The fine line between being authenically appreciated for your art and just being the fodder for rubber neckers. Modern day musicians who don't fit the cookie cutter Indie Canadian mould are like the Carnie workers of by gone eras. We're not sure where we are on these fine lines, but we keep going on with our art and music. Like most Carnies, it's fun, low budget, do it yourself and a unique experience every time. It's not like a prefabricated trip to Epcot Centre, a black tie event with a "Carnival theme" or stale production at a Casino or a youthful rehash of Neil Young. The decor will be sparse and the guiding principle will be, "This is a DIY evening. Like life, it will be as fun as you choose to make it." The space will be a "safe space" for all. The event will be "All Ages." Noone should feel they are too conservative, too old or too uptight to attend the show. There will be office workers in attendance. There's more to live entertainment than a night at the NAC.

Tell me a bit about the recipient of the evenings' funds--why you wanted to fund Camp Ten Oaks.

Camp Ten Oaks is an Ottawa based not for profit charity that treats the children/ youth of glbt parents to a week of summer camp. The week at camp focuses on fun and learning while providing a supportive environment where the children can be themselves and talk openly about their family life. Campers come from all over Ontario and Quebec. People can get more info at http://www.camptenoaks.org/ I found out about this charity when I was doing some journalism work at CKCU FM. I related to this charity because it started with nothing but a dream and some courage, and made it into something that makes people happy. That's a near equivalent to my journey with music making. As well, I ended up meeting a 3 years old child in my apartment building who has two Moms. I want this camp to still be going strong when he's ten years old so he and other kids can go to the camp in the years to come. In general, I try to pick charities that don't receive a lot of corporate sponsorships or tax dollars. This charity fits that profile.

What exactly will happen that night (give me a rundown of performers, etc)?

We will open with a bit of spoken wood performance, and then move into music, which including:

Mike Dubue (of the Hi Lo Trons) - Pop / New Wave
Emile Pelletier - Folk Rock Singer / Songwriter
The City Abuve - Ambiance / Experimental
Mackenzie MacBride & the Super Model Syndrome - NYC Theatrical Balladry

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I performed at a Burlesque Show at SAW Gallery. the show as put on by AGITE, a group of queer woman of colour as well as a local Women's Burlesque group. I really appreciated the chance to open the show with a song. I told every woman in the room about the upcoming Ottawa Carnie show. Hopefully they will show me some sister solidarity and attend.