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The Lowdown – School of Art
If you recall you might remember me mentioning that I wanted to circle back and revisit some of my past interviews for an update on their whereabouts. This week I sat down over a bowl of Wonton with Dragos Paunescu, a young local actor who I wrote about in The Echo back on November 9th, 2018. I shared with you his incredible effort in The Nose Creek Players “The Laramie Project” where this gifted actor showed Airdrie the depth of talent that calls our city home. At that time, Dragos was showing everyone around him that this moment of his life was a keyhole to what more might come; our city is stacked with special people in the arts community and many find their place within the arms of The Nose Creek Players, Dragos is one of them. It was at that time I learned Dragos was heading for new waters on the pathway of life that had opened for him. Dragos was heading to Vancouver after the New Year to study his craft in Vancouver, Dragos was on his way.
The Lowdown – #getloud
This column has been some time coming as I’ve taken a lot of deep breaths and moments of pure introspective recollection to find my way back to the pen. This is a tough one for me as it’s forced a revisit of my own memories in order to differentiate between what is mine and what is property of the person who came to me with their story. This week is an important story that shares the reality of what some parents in our city are coping with on a daily basis. And considering that The Canadian Mental Health Association proclaims May 6 – 12 as Mental Health Week I don’t know if this column could be better timed. Mental Health is a significant topic these days that comes with some stark realities for those in the midst of their own fight, whether their own or a loved one’s.
The Lowdown – Signs of summer
It’s here! Spring has arrived and we’re all dusting off our summer clothes and getting excited for all the different outdoor events we can be a part of in and around our city! There is something about this time of year that is so inspiring; the sun starts peaking earlier which is embraced by those of us who make our morning drive into work pre 6 A.M. The days are growing longer and now that we’ve all managed to sort out the effects of the time change, I think it’s fair to say that the smell of BBQ’s across our neighbourhoods is enough to calm the busiest mind. You can see it in all of us in the early hours of our workdays, we’ve enjoyed ourselves and our families a little longer in the evening prior. Back home I called spring, summer and to some degree even fall, the human seasons. The cold of winter can really test the depth of one’s soul on the prairies and all one has to do is recall this past February to really find their way to appreciating what the weather has on the menu for us going forward.
weather (High River)
The Lowdown – As high as we go
Interestingly, once more in my life I am finding myself in similar company. With my recent theme surrounding full circle events I have found solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the music business. Back in Vancouver I had many musician friends from singer/songwriters to producers and stage managers. Somehow, I seem to always be within arms reach of this crowd. And as I’ve shared many times over the past year when I’ve covered local musicians in Airdrie, I will say once more that we really do harbour a plethora of talent here in our city.
The Lowdown – Stained Glass
For those of you who read my column regularly I think it’s fair to say you’ve come to recognize my writing style and how I share a story. For most of my life I’ve written and most of what I’ve written I still own, some of it’s stacked across the room from me right now in boxes almost tempting me to peruse through it before I finish this column for you all. I learned a style of purging so to speak when it comes to the mind. It’s very important to the creative writer to be able to purge whatever blockages may have planted themselves between the ears. One such technique that I employed over more than a two-decade long period is the “Morning Pages”. This is not mine to claim ownership of however it is mine now to share with you. The Artist Way was given to me two decades ago by the mother of the woman I thought at the time I would spend my life with. It goes to prove that all the people that come through our lives are there for a reason. Now Suzanne and I didn’t make it ultimately, which I am sure we’re both quite at peace with. We were fortunate in our parting that we amicably went our own way while remembering to take with us the beautiful things we gave one another. Her and her mother gave me the Pages and my writing was never the same. In a nutshell the technique is simple. Every morning when you rise, you plow words onto paper. Three pages. No excuses, no punctuation, spelling or even the concern for penmanship. You just write what’s living behind your eyes and you pour yourself onto the foolscap. Much like any other creative process, writing that truly comes from “you” cannot be taken away. Like many things in this world, imitation happens but duplication isn’t possible as we are ever flowing entities of creativity and when you can slam the door that lives between the conscious and subconscious mind off its proverbial hinges with ease you find something actually quite invigorating in the inspiration. You find what you were meant to give the world. That’s exactly what I love about this week’s Lowdown subject Muk-Luk Magpies Stained Glass Emporium.
The Lowdown – Airdrie Laughs
I don’t know if you’ve heard of creative visualization however in my time, I’ve had enough full circle events occur that have shown me, that without a doubt we have the ability to visualize and create our future. Full circle has been a theme in my life and of late, it’s happening again. As many of you already know my intention with Finding Laughter is to produce a story and then follow this up with stage performances built around my pathway of a teenager who became a comedian and saved his own life. This is where todays column starts to get interesting.
The Lowdown - The Vagina Monologues
Created in the middle 90’s by Eve Enlser where it was first performed in Greenwich Village. The Vagina Monologues has since gone forward and been performed across the globe in nearly 150 different countries over 40 languages. This piece of modern history is a collaboration of stories delivered by woman covering a huge landscape of subject matter from consensual and non-consensual sexual experiences, body image and mutilation, reproduction and sex work. The play has morphed further into becoming the V-Day movement and is responsible for raising money towards the ending of violence against woman. Which is why this play has been brought to Airdrie again this year. Sales from this production go to support woman’s programs at Community Links and ADVAS.
The Lowdown – Threads of a community
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before however when it comes to writing a column like this, I can tell you that having an open mind is critical. I sit and listen to each subject with that mindset, I try very hard to approach every interview with the same idea; sit, coffee, recorder, note pad, pen (a very specific pen by the way!) and I simply speak with the person I will be pouring my energy into when I put it all together for their week. I say “their” as it’s probably the most important piece of it all, I pride myself in the fact that each of these are tailored to the person featured. They are the fabric of our community, like so many of their neighbors, the subjects that populate my efforts are incredible souls in their own right. From young actors and theatre groups to tradespeople who’ve built their works with raw passion and skill, I want to speak to every walk of life that is part of the woven basket that our city has become. One of the more curious traits of many of those I’ve written about, if not all, is the depth of their desire to give back to their life around them in one capacity or another. This week’s subject, Sue Morris-Bissonnette applies to this description wholeheartedly.
The Lowdown – Lighting the holiday way
I don’t know where you’re at with Christmas however I have to tell you there is something that has always meant a great deal to me where the holiday season is concerned. The lights. I’ve always loved lights and essentially the feel that the holiday season can leave with you. When I look back on holidays past in my life, you’d simply never know we struggled. Mom always made sure Christmas was right for us boys; three jobs and a great relationship with the ladies at the layaway counter taught me later in life that if you start in April, you’d be surprised what can happen by December. However, most importantly, the season has become over time about so much more than what Santa brings us. We learn that Santa might be something very real and this week I had the pleasure of catching up with Airdrie’s own Michelle Pirzek with the Airdrie Festival of Lights Society where everyone involved is Santa to our city.