Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Metropolis, Montreal

God was definitely in the house this Friday night as the Reverend Nick Cave wailed from his pulpit touching the true believers in the front row gently on their foreheads.  The Bad Seeds accompaniment, thundered and scorced behind, a sonic train wreck of biblical litany as the congregation in full trance, roused only during the call and response from the Reverend himself.  Honest I am not kidding this was truly experiential.  So, in this spirit I have included images that try to capture the show in a more poetic way, as well as a few crappy stage shots.  Be sure to watch the video from the floor during the song Stagger Lee it certainly gives a good taste of the night.

2013 Governor Generals Awards for Visual and Media Arts

The GG awards are funded and administered for the 14th year by the Canada Council for the Arts and hosted by The National Gallery of Canada. “They recognize distinguished career achievements in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach or professional activities.”

That is the official line from the Canada Council, but I see it as far more than that.  This is our chance to meet and thank these individuals for their sacrifices and decades worth of dedication to a severely under recognised part of Canadian society.  Ideas, and execution of those ideas are the catalysts of change. Thinking and acting differently from the norm and then to put oneself into public scrutiny, will consume many an idealist.  But to have done this repeatedly for decades is what makes these people so deserving of their awards.  Not only that, long after they have left us their work continues; continues to enrich our culture, continues to evolve and grow as we do, continues to give economically, continues to add to our collective vi

sual language and legacy - long after they have passed on.  It is far too often with the arts that we regale creators for their brilliance and singular achievements after they are dead and rare that we thank them while they are still here – this is our thanks, Canada’s thanks.

I was in this post going to write something about each individual, but their decades of experiences are varied and complex and honestly I do not think I could do them justice; rather I will point anyone interested in several directions that elaborate on their careers.  

The Canada Council has done a magnificent job on video biographies for each artist which I highly recommend.

The winners for the Governor Generals awards for visual and media arts 2013 are painter Marcel Barbeau, filmmaker William MacGillivray, composer/sound engineer Gordon Monahan and sculptor Colette Whiten.  Ceramicist Greg Payce received the Saidye Bronfman Award.  Chantal Pontbriand received an outstanding contribution award for her more than 30 years of work as a curator and art critic.


An original, a patriot, a troubadour out of time, a hobo, a rail car jumper, a plywood poet – a Canadian,  Stompin’ Tom Connors.  It is with a heavy heart I heard the news from my son, fresh off the twittersphere Wednesday night. 

It is not his comedic hits I will remember him by (although Goodbye Rubberhead so long Boob has a special place in my heart) but rather his genuine, honest, self-made artistry.  Yes, everyone has his time but, with Tom gone, it makes me sad because it gives to wonder who will sing or write songs about the Old Algoma line, a mine fire in Timmins, Tillsonburg, Skinners Pond, Big Joe Mufferaw, Wawa, Second Narrows Bridge disaster, The Gaspe, or anything truly Canadian? We are collectively richer because someone did.

Rest in Peace Tom, Canada seemed smaller with you around, but it is bigger now because of you!

Lycanthrope - Jim Holyoak @ Donald Browne Gallery - Nuit Balanche Montreal

After one too many encounters with individuals in various states of intoxication during the Nuit Blanche festivities, it was refreshing to sit down on the floor at the Donald Browne Gallery and take in this delicious combination of sight and sound.

Lycanthrope is a fantastic drawing installation that included a performance of the artist Jim Holyoak attacking a paper-lined fortification while musicians Nick Kuepfer & Neil Holyoak (Jim's younger brother) created an accompanying wall of steady sound. Jim Holyoak used an ink-slathered whisk and various graphite sticks and gouache-laden brushes to visually echo the soaring notes of  looping sonic trance/bat-chirping sound from electric guitars with great analogue assists: cassette tape machines, 1/4 tape looping machine, amplified bell and chimes, all whirling though what looked to me like a horn from a Hammond organ! Think Philip Glass on acid. 

Jim’s attention to detail and mastery of his tools and media are represented not only in this giant singular work, but also on the rest of the gallery walls, from floor to ceiling. Clever and articulate drawings of creatures and various abstract stalactite/stalagmite like drawings of various sizes and paper quality pinned to the wall.  Of particular interest are the drawings in which Jim incorporates his own ink stamped body parts into a bat wings or a hares elongated feet. 

This was the finissage so, unfortunatly if you are reading this you cannot see the show - except on line - Jim and Donald's links are below if you want to see more or just watch the videos I have inclued and it will give you a small taste of the evening.