Paul Federici with Roxie Lenton – June 3, doors at 7:30, $10

img_4071A two-time Niagara Music Award winner and Hamilton Music Award nominee, Paul Federici a singer/songwriter whose story of overcoming depression through music has been captivating listeners since he became a full-time musician in 2011. His two independently released albums Relative Importance (2012) and Now and Then (2013) have won over fans and critics from a variety of genres and drawn comparisons to artists like City and Colour and Ed Sheeran, while garnering positive attention from national media outlets like Exclaim Magazine. Federici’s songs have been played on CBC radio, as well as college and university radio stations across the country, reaching #1 on CFBU 103.7 FM.

 

 

ImageRoxie Lenton is one of many exciting new emerging singer/songwriters who are enriching the ever-expanding cultural landscape in Regina. Like most inspiring artists of her generation, the forces influencing her music reflect an eclectic taste that crosses over the increasingly blurred boundaries of music’s genres and styles. Drag her away from the classical piano of her training, throw a slide-guitar into her hand, and much of her music easily segues from pop to country, particularly the intimate ballads from her three-month sojourn in Toulouse a few years ago. Travelling abroad to study French language and culture at university, the distance from home revealed a deeper understanding of love, separation and loss that is heart-wrenching in the raw honesty of the lyrics from that period of her life. “The loneliness really kick started my writing,” she says, “and in the end it was a great learning experience. Every song has to take the listener on a journey, one that tells a truly personal story, happy or sad.” And ever since returning from her journey to France, having decided to leave university and devote herself full time to creating music, the hallmark of that music continues to be the poignancy and power of the lyrics in telling the story.

Winter Leaves with Andy Beisel – June 6, Doors at 7:30, $10

Winter Leaves

Winter Leaves is a 3-piece folk act that incorporates pedal steel, acoustic guitar, soaring melodies and backwoods harmonies into a timeless sound. Brittany Muir is on lead vocal duty, Devon Floyd (formerly of The Lonesome Weekends) plays guitar and sings, and Ian Cameron (from the Slim City Pickers) brings a soundscape not unlike the vastness of the prairies with his pedal steel and vocals.  Their sound takes you back to days long gone, when songs and singing were integral to building communities and sharing knowledge. For more info, see their facebook page and soundcloud.

Andy BeiselSaskatchewan-born Andy Beisel sings songs of pain and perseverance — stories of lost love, past moments, and desperate times.

 

Hitch Hikers Improv, June 8, Doors at 7:00, $5

Hitch Hikers ImprovHitch Hikers Improv presents a  wonderful night of Improv fun! We promise gut-busting, funny-bone-tickling, milk-coming-out-of-the-nose, good old improvised laughter! Featuring a young-gun ensemble of some up-and-coming Regina improvisers! They promise to enlighten your evening with joy, happiness and anything else you can imagine.

Doors will open at 7:00 and the show will start at 7:30pm. Tickets only $5 at the door!

Introducing In Situ: The Poetry of Place in Downtown Regina

Photo credit: Heather Gorder

Photo credit: Heather Gorder

My name is Shayna Stock, and I am a spoken word artist and the new artist-in-residence at the Creative City Centre. Over the next several months, with your help, I will be unearthing poetry from the brick walls, glass windows and frozen alleyways of downtown Regina.

Each week, I will select a different downtown location – a bus shelter, a yoga studio, a bench in Victoria Park, the food court at the Cornwall Centre, the former site of the Plains Hotel – from which I will write for two hours. My choice of locations will be based partly on suggestions from others who live, play and/or work downtown and have interesting anecdotes or stories about those places. My end goal is to create a set of performance poems to be shared at a public walking tour of downtown Regina in the spring.

In situ is a Latin term used in a variety of fields to mean “in place,” “site-specific,” or “using the resources that are available on site.” I will write with the intention of opening my senses up to each place as it exists in that moment and really paying attention.

This project was conceived in conjunction with the Creative City Centre’s visual art project Pop Up Downtown, which places the work of emerging visual artists in downtown spaces. I am coordinating this project as part of my residency work, with the support of our curator Lydia Miliokas. I will incorporate the artwork and the locations of these pop-up exhibits into my writing practice. The walking tour will also include stops at each of the exhibits.

I want your stories!

If you have a memory or anecdote about a specific downtown location, I want it. Is there a spot in downtown Regina where your life changed? Where you had an interaction with a building or a pigeon or another human that shifted your perspective on something? Where you cried in public for the first time? Experienced your first kiss? Saw your daughter for the last time? Where you learned how to hula hoop or play ukulele or tie your shoes?

Please send your stories to shayna AT creativecitycentre DOT ca. They will be kept anonymous if you want them to be. Be as specific as you can be about the precise location that your event took place, and include as many sensory details as possible (Do you remember how the moment smelled? What was your skin doing? Describe the light.).

Your stories will inform the specific locations from which I choose to write, and will be worked into my poetry in one way or another.

Why?

I am a recent and unsettled settler here. An immigrant from Ontario, I moved to Regina six years ago at age 24, after never having stayed put anywhere for longer than 8 months since I was 18. My feet are still itchy; every October I yearn for a longer, more colourful autumn in the company of my blood family, and every March I think about getting on a bicycle and heading south. This place has nourished me with ample and fulfilling work and rich and generous community. And yet, I am restless.

On a personal level, this project is like a pilgrimage to my own backyard – a practice in staying put and paying attention. In “A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape,” Candace Savage details her own at-first-mysterious pilgrimage to the town of Eastend, Saskatchewan. She writes:

What do you want from me? I’d ask the view outside my window. I come from the Peace River Country eight hundred miles from here. Why is it so important for me to listen to all your sad, old, moldy, half-forgotten stories? But in my heart of hearts, I already knew the answer. The stories the hills have to tell are bigger than their pinpoint settings, larger than ‘X marks the spot’ on a map.

So, with inspiration from Candace Savage, I will ask this urban landscape what dusty, rotten, half-remembered (or perhaps tidy, fresh and vivid) stories it has to share with me, and what I might learn from them about the poetry that exists in everyday places. I will also take inspiration from poets such as Wendell Berry and Regina’s own Bruce Rice who have unearthed rich stories by simply paying attention to the landscape around them.

As Savage points out, the stories that I find here are likely to resonate much farther afield than their particular locations. Although my writing will be inspired by specific spots in Regina, my intention is for the poetry to be relevant to an audience beyond Regina’s swollen contours – to anyone who has struggled with questions of connection to any place.

Stay informed!

I’ll be blogging about my experiences with the project here. To be notified when I make a new post, email shayna AT creativecitycentre DOT ca and I’ll add you to my email list. I’ll also link to the blog from my facebook page, Shayna Stock Spoken Word.

This project and Pop Up Downtown are funded by the Creative Partnerships Program, a joint initiative of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture that is supported by funding provided by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

 

Street F.A.I.R. – BE THERE!

Street F.A.I.R - BE THERE!

Street F.A.I.R – BE THERE!

I’m really excited to write the blog this month. You know that happy, bubbly feeling where you have something awesome to tell someone and if you don’t do it soon you might explode? It’s that feeling right there.

If you’ve been at a CCC show lately or have checked in at our website or facebook page you may have already heard that there’s a big festival coming your way. The CCC is partnering with Regina Downtown, The Saskatchewan Filmpool, Articulate Ink Press Inc., The Dunlop Art Gallery, Sunday Art Market and the University of Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts to present Street F.A.I.R (Festival of the Arts in Regina). The festival is supported by SaskCulture and will run from September 27-29 as a part of Regina’s Culture Days festivities.

We’ve never done anything like this before and there are times when it seems a bit daunting but I don’t think we could have come up with a better partnership in our wildest dreams and as plans get more and more solidified I seem to get more and more excited! Beyond our great partners, Street F.A.I.R. promises to offer a unique array of programming not typically seen downtown. We’ll kick off the festival on September 27th with BuskFest – a walking tour of diverse and multi-talented street performances throughout F.W. Hill Mall and City Square Plaza. The buskers participating will be chosen through an audition process taking place on September 5th. On September 28th we’ll be welcoming DJ Natural Sympathies for a late night outdoor dance party on the City Square Plaza. This will be a great night to get out and dance before the snow comes (I’m sorry but it’s true….). On Sunday, September 29th we’ll wrap things up with a day of family activities in Victoria Park including art programming with the Dunlop Art Gallery, Kindermusic and Instrument Zoo with the Conservatory of Performing Arts and a special family edition of the CCC’s Songwriter Sunday featuring family entertainers Carol Daniels, Sylvia Chave and Kerri Senkow.

That’s our festival. Like I said earlier, it’s something we’ve never done before and that’s just one of the things that makes Street F.A.I.R. awesome. This is another step in the right direction for us as we aim to build partnerships and community. You can find more information on our events page. We’d love to see you there!

Road trips and Readings

It's a long road to accidentally creating a new play reading series.......

It’s a long road to accidentally creating a new play reading series…….

Last month our funding manager Shayna and I went on a little road trip and came back with something really exciting. But let’s start at the beginning shall we?

Almost exactly a year ago I was sitting in a CCC staff meeting, trying not to be the newbie with nothing to contribute, when I off-handedly suggested a staged reading series of new plays as part of our upcoming programming. Lesson #1: Never ‘off-handedly suggest’ anything.  Imagine my surprise when the idea received a warm reception and Marian Donnelly turned to me and said ‘You should just do that’.

So I did. Well, not exactly. I wrote up a call for submissions and sent it out to wherever and whomever I thought might find it relevant. Having just moved back to Canada after 8 years away, it was an admittedly short list that I didn’t hold much hope of hearing back from. Lesson #2: Have a little faith.

They say timing is everything and that certainly proved true for me. About a week after I sent out the original notice, the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre replied saying that they were currently looking to increase their presence in Regina and that creating this series in partnership with the CCC seemed like the right opportunity to do so. I promptly fell out of my chair.

It wasn’t the end of the road to be sure. It was just a push in the right direction. This original email lead to a dialogue between the SPC’s Gordon Portman and myself, several meetings with members of the Regina theatre community and a successful grant application to The Department of Canadian Heritage. Finally, after months of getting our ducks in a row, we had enough in place to start planning.

On May 18th, Shayna and I headed up to Saskatoon for the final day of the SPC’s spring festival. We had a planning meeting with Gordon (so neat to finally meet the person you’ve been tossing ideas around with for months!) and took in the final reading of the festival. I drove back to Regina that night feeling really excited. The Saskatoon reading was such a great combination of theatre and literary development and I knew I wanted to bring that kind of programming to Regina.

A few days later we finally had our green light. The SPC board had approved our plans and we were ready to move forward in partnership.

It’s coming Regina!  A new staged reading series will premier at the Creative City Centre on October 5, 2013. Mark your Calendars! The series will feature four plays to be selected from the past two years of the SPC spring festival. We’ll feature one play for fall, winter, spring and summer while giving emerging playwrights the opportunity to workshop their plays at both the SPC in Saskatoon and at the CCC here in Regina. We’ll also be featuring some great Saskatchewan acting talent which you won’t want to miss. Lesson #3: Never underestimate the power of partnership. This is going to be awesome.

Creative City Kids

531933_10101073678312431_1528834793_n Ok. So here’s the deal: You have 5 days to stage a 30-minute, 6-song musical in a reputably haunted theatre that’s falling down around you. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: your cast is a group of eighteen 8-10 year-olds hopped up on Easter chocolate. Aaaannnnd GO!

It sounds like the plot for a reality TV show. You know, one of those programs where Cameron Mackintosh comes in at the end of day 5 and presents the winner with a cheque for a million dollars. In my case, this was a teaching contract I had over the Easter holidays that tested just how far I would go to live the CCC’s motto and be a ‘catalyst for a creative community‘.

It’s called Glee camp. Five days over the Easter break where parents drop their budding thespians off at the Conservatory of Performing Arts for 8 daily hours of singing, dancing and acting. I had signed on to teach at the camp, alongside director/choreographer Chip McDaniel, at the end of February and while I was looking forward to the week I really didn’t expect what was coming.

I felt like everything was under control. Chip and I both knew what we were doing and we worked well together. We’d literally just closed a production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe where Chip had directed/choreographed and I had played DeLee. We had this cased. Or so I thought.

Within the first five minutes of camp we had already been forced to recast the role of Cinderella, three kids were crying because they didn’t like their parts, one kid was crying because she slipped on water that was leaking from the roof, I had nearly been knocked unconscious by a falling piece of Darke Hall’s ceiling decor and I couldn’t deal with any of it because I was too busy filling out an incident report for an asthma attack that one of our campers was wheezing her way through. As I filled out the forms, I scolded myself for forgetting the most important variable in this whole project: the KIDS.

I don’t have any. In case you were wondering. And while I’ve taught children before, I’m more accustomed to hour-long private lessons than an 8-hour school day. As for that motherly instinct that seems to innately tell some women how to best nurture children? Yeah. I got none of that. But my time-steps are lovely, I assure you.

So there I was, putting out fires, slapping on band-aids and feeling like all I was really doing was babysitting when something incredible happened. The kids started to get settled. They started to feel comfortable in the space, with each other and with us and they started to open up. It turns out, they actually like this stuff! We haven’t lost the battle to video games! There are still kids out there that would rather spend their holidays singing and dancing than anything else and throughout the week they continued to impress.

Over the course of the camp, the kids learned 6 songs, a 30-minute script and choreography to each song. We played games, learned about theatre etiquette and shared various ghost stories about Darke Hall’s legendary hauntings. When we assigned homework, it came back completed and the kids continued to make progress. Of course, that’s not to say things were easy. There were still plenty of band-aids to apply, plenty of conflicts to resolve and a few nights where both Chip and I were up until 2:00 am sewing costumes and finding props.

The thing is, all that stuff was secondary to the growth I could see in all eighteen of our students. Every bit of effort we put in was returned in the form of new skills picked up, tighter choreography or even just a smile on a formerly frustrated face. I suppose it’s what they refer to as ‘paying it forward.’

When Friday afternoon rolled around it was time to present our little musical to the campers’ families and friends. The funny thing is, I’ve never been nervous for any of my own performances but I had a major case of butterflies this time around. I knew how hard these kids had worked and I wanted them to have the great show they deserved. I wanted them to feel the joy I feel in the arts. I shouldn’t have been worried. The kids performed ‘Ever After — a Musical’ better than I could have ever planned or anticipated. It was fantastic.

It’s been almost a week since the camp ended and I’m just now getting the feeling back in my legs. The ringing in my ears is probably permanent. I just can’t stop reminiscing about the teachers who stood in the wings with a bad case of butterflies at MY childhood performances. I had loved the arts then just like my campers do now and I’m thankful for the opportunity to pass it on. At the CCC we often refer to the organization as a catalyst for a creative community. I can’t think of a better catalyst than a big group of creative kids.

Kalle Mattson, August 13, Doors at 7:30, $12

highres2In the four short years since Kalle Mattson began writing songs, he and his band have grown exponentially over that short period of time. With two full-lengths and an EP already under his young belt, and now with two viral videos for “Water Falls’ (250,000 views) and “Thick As Thieves” (over 1,000,000 views), Kalle Mattson returns this Fall with a highly anticipated new LP. Produced by The Wooden Sky’s Gavin Gardiner and recorded in 2012 at Toronto’s Lincoln County Social Club, Kalle Mattson’s newest full-length features appearances by members of Juno- nominated artists The Wooden Sky, Cuff The Duke and a song co-written by Kalle and Jeremy Fisher.

Kalle’s second album, “Anchors”, broke new ground for him in 2011. The album was mixed by Howie Beck (Feist, Jason Collett, Hayden), mastered at the legendary Bernie Grundman Studios (Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The Band) and received rave reviews that culminated in numerous year end “Best Of” lists, a Top 100 placement in the Billboard World Song Contest, and a song placement on Degrassi. All the while Kalle hit the road in support of the album with stops along the way at CMW, NXNE, Pop Montreal, COCA, and Ottawa Bluesfest, tours with Sunparlour Players, Cuff The Duke & Jeremy Fisher and opening slots for Jim Bryson, The Rural Alberta Advantage and Blue Rodeo. The album also received a pair of Northern Ontario Music Award wins for Album of the Year (Group) & SOCAN Songwriter of the Year.

Word Up Wednesday August Slam, August 21st, Doors at 7:00pm, $5

995977_10153096330395246_2062126183_nCome on out to take part in (as poet or audience member) this high-spirited battle of words and wit! Slammers should come prepared with 3 original pieces of less than 3 minutes each. No props, no nudity. Audience members, come prepared with snapping fingers and a good pair of lungs. We’ll start with a community stage – feel free to bring a song/monologue/poem/rant to share. Doors 7pm All ages $5

RESCHEDULED Jenny Berkel with Belle Plaine and Robyn Koester, September 4, Doors at 7:30, $10

5bBorn in the midst of Ontario’s disappearing forests and spreading cities, Jenny Berkel has always had a deep awareness of changing landscapes and the tenuous thread by which we live and love. Her pursuit of formal education against this backdrop was interrupted to appease her appetite for the bracing instruction of travel, pen and paperback. Then, seeking the uncluttered desktop of the Prairies, Berkel packed her suitcases and guitar into a Greyhound two cold winters ago and landed in Winnipeg.

Fold in part wanderlust, love adrift and a grievous family loss. A year later, Berkel had two handfuls of new material, which came together to form her debut full length collection, Here on a Wire. Produced by Matt Peters (Royal Canoe and The Waking Eyes), this debut is a collection of eleven stark and haunting songs that draw their substance from a blend of personal experience and collective history. Alternately sad and hopeful, the songs are awash with quiet images of ghosts, dreams, lost love, and cityscape.

Centering around the lilt of Berkel’s emotive lyrics, Here on a Wire features a brooding and delicate arrangement of cello, upright bass, French horn, slide guitar, organ, and percussion. With Jenny’s deep and smoky voice winding its way through these rich layers, the album stands as an arresting collection of “haunt folk.”