For the last two days, crowds of Kelly Ripa fans have gathered, waited, waited some more, and then finally debuted as audience members for tapings of Live! with Kelly, in our Eric Harvie Theatre. I caught up with a few Ripa enthusiasts, before and after the show, and despite the long wait to be seated in the theatre, everyone was extremely complimentary and friendly. I guess Kelly just has that effect on people!
Have you ever taken a photograph on a trip, looked at it when you got home, and felt…well disappointed?
This happens to me all the time. Those photographs just fail to capture how I felt in that exact moment, the smells, the sounds – what my experience really was. After an artist-led residency through the Arctic Circle in Norway, Sarah Anne Johnson was feeling the same disappointment. Left with only calendar-quality photographs and her memories, she wondered how to capture how she felt about the effects of global warming – everything about her experience that had been outside of the camera’s frame.
I figured out I can add that in – I can paint that in. All my worries, all my concerns, and all my hopes and fears of the future of this place, I can paint it right on.
Here, as part of the Banff Artist in Residence winter program, Johnson is taking this work one step further by creating a giant sculpture based on her photograph Party boat. “I’m learning so much and that’s why I came here – I have an idea, with no idea how to turn it into a physical reality.”
To create the party boat, Johnson will use many similar sculpture techniques she used in House on Fire. What she is here at the Centre specifically to work on is the construction of the fifteen-foot round fireworks that need to hang from the ceiling and light up.
“The inside skeleton needs to hang from the ceiling, so it can’t be over a certain weight. It also needs to break down for shipping. It’s quite a technical project,” she says.
After this project, Johnson plans to take a break from the political realm of global warming. Her thoughts are already on to her next subject - intimacy and sexuality - a personally risky topic. “As artists, we can - and we should – be talking about things that are difficult to talk about and sharing the pictures in our head that are difficult to share.”
For the past three weeks, singer/songwriter Jill Barber has been working on new music in The Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Colony. In the circular Hemingway Studio in the woods, Jill isolated herself to write songs for the followup to her 2011 album, Mischievous Moon.
In the final days of her stay, Jill took time out of writing and recording to talk with me about love, inspiration, being married to CBC Radio 3 host and author Grant Lawrence and touring across Canada.
What is love? In a word, everything.
Listen to the interview now and keep your eyes on the blog for a video we shot in Jill’s studio.
The newest Banff Centre Press book clocks in at 1100 pages, including 1200 footnotes. Euphoria & Dystopia has been a long time in the making, a chronicle of ten years of the Banff New Media Institute, between 1995 to 2005. Edited by former BNMI director Sara Diamond, and writer and curator Sarah Cook, it covers the most innovative, influential, and interesting activity that the Institute produced during that heady time when you could explore just about anything in the new media world. And beyond its content, the book breaks new ground for the Press itself. It’s one of the first books the Press is issuing as an e-book, in addition to its print edition.
Publishing consultant Leanne Johnson is helping the Press navigate through the world of Kindles, iTunes, enhanced PDFs, print-on-demand, and HTML links (Euphoria & Dystopia has a link for every footnote, and each of the 3100 entries). She says that small press books moving into the e-world fit into their own niche market, one that publishers are just starting to navigate. But now that they’ve made the move, they’re planning to offer e-books for back-titles (in addition to traditional print versions, though translating a design-rich title like last year’s Science, She Loves Me may require a transfer to a tablet-style edition). And now that transferring a title into an e-book is as easy as outputting to XML (okay, there may be a few more steps), expect to see everything from the BCP from now on done up digital-style.
Edwin Hasler’s official title at The Banff Centre is video producer work study, which means he creates, directs, and produces film projects for the Centre and artists who come here. But like most of our work studies (like interns, but more advanced), he works on creative personal projects in his spare time. This project, Ice Magic, is just one example of his talent in filmmaking. “This video is an attempt to capture the atmosphere of a wintry scene,” says Hasler. The film is about the annual ice carving competition at the Chateau Lake Louise, which attracts sculptors from all over the world.
Hasler generally starts his video projects by choosing the music. “I can capture a certain style of shot that I want if I can already hear the music of the film in my head.” For this video, he chose the Duo Imaginaire’s rendition of Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque: 2. Menuet that was recorded by Banff Centre audio producer work study, Emma Lain. “The music reminded me of winter,” Hasler says. “Instinctively, I felt it was right for the seasonal atmosphere I was trying to capture.”
As our new president Jeff Melanson settles into his role here at The Banff Centre, he’s been asking many of us directly how we feel about our slogan Inspiring Creativity — what does it mean to us to inspire creativity?
Last Tuesday, I met Jay Baydala, and after hearing him talk about his charity UEnd: poverty as part of the Leading Ideas Speakers Series, The Banff Centre’s slogan inspiring creativity officially crystallized in my mind. UEnd: poverty is an online charity focused on ending extreme poverty around the world; people who visit the website can purchase an online gift card for friends, family, or loved ones, and that gift card let’s them invest in a project featured on Baydala’s website. “My greatest hope is always to inspire some action in people, to inspire others to help make a difference,” Baydala said. I left feeling motivated, and in awe of Baydala’s inventiveness, which is exactly what I feel the message inspiring creativity is trying to communicate.
The Banff Centre created the Leading Ideas Speakers Series to bring inspiring thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators into the community for public events. In the past six months, we’ve had commentator and blogger Ken Chapman, artist Maria Thereza Alves, and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall. “Most of our speakers have already been to The Banff Centre, or they’re already here, and this is a way to showcase their innovation to the community at large,” says Joni Cooper, one of the Centre staff who contributes to the selection of speakers.
The series is supported by the Juniper Hotel & Bistro, which is run by local sustainable design company Arctos & Bird. “When living in a place like Banff — a leading community in the protection of nature and the environment — it’s important to recognize that we’re leaders, and to encourage leaders in other fields to come to Banff and share their perspectives with us,” says Peter Poole, president of Arctos & Bird. “We support the series because we believe that interacting with leading ideas can influence our practice, and can inform our understanding of the world and where we fit into it.”
Coming up in the Leading Ideas Speakers Series, filmmaker Tom Shadyac will screen his film I AM and discuss the film’s key questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better?