Commentary: The Bluebird of Happiness

“It’s kind of like a punch in the stomach.” That’s how project manager Julie Hodgson described SAW Gallery’s current exhibit The Bluebird of Happiness. I’m inclined to agree. Walking through the series is like walking through a child’s nightmare. The Bluebird of Happiness is the work of painter Ruby Ewen. In the 1950s at age six, Ewen was sent to a Vancouver boarding school. “I was there for a year and a half and during that time I was abused . . . and was witness to a murder on the grounds of the school of the woman who tried to protect me,” Ewen said. Ewen said she could have ended up drug-addicted in the Main and Hastings neighbourhood of […]

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Lloyd Frost releases films and album this month

Multimedia artist Lloyd Frost is bringing his own brand of “social commentary with a groove” to the eyes and ears of an Ottawa audience this October. Frost, a musician, filmmaker, and photographer, is screening two new films and releasing his first album, The Sun Is Rising & Other True Stories, this month. Tracks vary in style from jazz, to folk-inspired, to experimental. Frost enlists several musical guests including opera tenor James O’Farrell who sings on the track “Truth.” Frost said that while he never meant for the songs to be related, there’s a theme of social and political commentary running through the album. Frost wrote the title song “In Everyone’s Eyes” during a trip to Cuba. He used the song […]

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Commentary: Burning: A Bridge

Burning: A Bridge is the first production from Monstrous Nights Theatre, a collaboration between two artists: playwright Kimberley Dawkins and director John Dickinson. The show tells the story of friends struggling to communicate as their lives and relationships begin to diverge. Jay, the adventurous yet insecure traveler, receives a job offer that will take her far from Clara, whose life is tied to commitments at home. Their story is told through an inventive theatrical device in broken Skype calls, and, in a wildly evocative way, through burlesque. The mood was immediately set in the intimate space of the SAW Gallery, as theatre-lovers joined together with sloshing drinks and tones of smooth jazz piano under gentle LED light. A stage just a few […]

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SPAO exhibits shed light on global issues

Sometimes photos communicate what words cannot. School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) director Tony Martins said this is the case for the photos displayed at this year’s SPAO symposium called The Shrinking World of Photography. Martins said the idea for “the shrinking world” as a theme came about because in 2014, photographers from all over the world began to contact SPAO asking to exhibit their work at the school. Martins said the work of these photographers from places such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Italy has inspired him to think more about photography as “an international language.” “Because of technology and because of the Internet images are so easy to share,” Martins explained. “Photographers around the world are using their […]

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Q&A: Protomartyr bring post-punk edge to Ottawa

Protomartyr is a post-punk band formed in 2008 hailing from Detroit, Michigan. They just released their second full-length album, Under Color of Official Right, on Hardly Art. The Charlatan‘s John Forte sat down with Joe Casey, Greg Ahee, and Scott Davidson in the basement of Club SAW before their show at Ottawa Explosion Festival on June 13. TC: What’s the deal with Butt Babies? GA: That was a band Alex and I started in like 2008, where we would just write songs in our parent’s basements and record them onto the built-in speaker of a laptop computer. We would do like a song a day. We recorded like a couple hundred songs. But then we started to play live a little […]

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