Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category

We Pay, They Play. What’s So “Gift Economy” About Notional Space?

notional-space-letterhead-logo-mbj-white-on-black-copy-2

Notional Space, the name we give to our living room when it is transformed into a gathering place, is a gift economy project. Our aim is to provide a space where the people who are building community – artists, activists, nonprofits – can come together with those who are hungry for community and eager to support those working toward a more beautiful, meaningful, just world.

Frequently, this takes the form of “house concerts”, where you have a chance to see and hear outstanding performers representing a wide variety of musical genres. So I’ll discuss the gift economy dynamics in that context; but this analysis applies to any of the give as you wish events we host.

What’s the diff?
Many people wonder: what’s so “gift economy” about these events, when they are giving money to be in the audience? How is this any different than any other commercial performance, where one buys a ticket to hear the music? It is easy to overlook the distinctions and it’s easy to see this as just another exchange of money for service; but this is to miss an important dynamic in these evenings.

Continue reading ‘We Pay, They Play. What’s So “Gift Economy” About Notional Space?’

Ben Brown: Improvising His Way to Clarity

Photo by Harley Spade

Photo by Harley Spade

Ben Brown is a Vancouver treasure.  He is the brilliant drummer of JUNO award winning Pugs and Crows.  He is an in-demand session player who has played with fabulous emerging artists as well as illustrious established musicians.  He is Composer-in-Residence at the Western Front.  He is the mastermind and instigator of Music and Movement Mondays, a boundary-crossing improvisational exploration of music and dance.  He’s also a lovely guy.

And one more thing: he’s the subject of my recent interview on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Hey Kids, Let’s Put-on a Show!

Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere & Jamie Taylor in Sarah Faye Bernstein's Apartment(PLAY) – Photo by Harley Spade

Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere & Jamie Taylor in Sarah Faye Bernstein’s Apartment(PLAY) – Photo by Harley Spade

Director Sarah Faye Bernstein produced a one-week run of a terrific play (the title of which was all-but-undisclosed) in her apartment, with superb performances from Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere, and  Jamie Taylor, and excellent technical work by Daniel O’Shea, Annie Therrien-Boulos, Nancy Tam, and Clinton Ackerman. Bernstein’s energy, discipline, and willingness to work outside-the-lines seem to represent an important and promising trend in the city’s emerging art scene. With access to proper venues limited, more-and-more young artists are availing themselves of unconventional spaces and producing their own shows.

My review is up on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Spatial Poetics XIII: WeMix

photo by Noriko Nasu-Tidball

photo by Noriko Nasu-Tidball

The thirteenth annual edition of Spatial Poetics, a series of curated performances pairing artists from different disciplines in collaboration, was just presented at The Western Front. My review is up on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Hot Choir in the City

 

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My review of a recent, largely inaudible concert by Jenny Ritter’s two great rock & roll choral ensembles, Mount Pleasant Regional Institute of Sound (MPRIS) and The Kingsgate Chorus is up on VANDOCUMENT.  Check it out.

Exuberant Hues: Ben Skinner Colours Back Gallery Project

BGP Ben Skinner Mirror Window B -small

I have a new review up on VANDOCUMENT, covering a a show by Vancouver artist Ben Skinner at the Back Gallery Project on East Hastings in Strathcona.

Check it out.

Bozzini Lab 2014: Young Composers Shine in Exploration of New Music

Bozzini Lab 2014 - edited

I have a new review up on VANDOCUMENT, covering a performance by the fabulous Bozzini Quartet of experimental works by emerging Canadian composers. An astonishingly great concert!

Check it out.


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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