The lowdown on the arts

Local experts pick some of the highlights in store for the 2013-14 season


As someone who loves new work and develops a lot of new work by Canadians I am really looking forward to two homegrown shows that Downstage Theatre has in development this year. Crime Does Not Pay by David Rhymer and Kris Demeanor is a really smart sexy new musical that I got to see a sneak peek of last year. They are doing a workshop presentation with Downstage in September. Later in the season Downstage is premièring My Family and Other Endangered Species an adaptation of Carla Gunn’s novel by Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths. I’ve seen a couple of workshops of the play and have totally fallen in love with the main character a nine-year-old boy who is very worried about the environment. The unique theatricality and storytelling will make this show very special. Don’t miss it.

Vicki Stroich

Artistic Associate — festival Alberta Theatre Projects

President Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas


The group to watch this season is Springboard Performance. To call them a “dance company” misses the point. Their work is risky and cutting-edge incorporating different artistic disciplines in an exploration of physical performance and contemporary life. Their annual Fluid Festival coming up in October always features some of the most innovative work in Calgary.

But the project that puts them over the top is containR. This fall Springboard is installing a temporary village of shipping containers in an abandoned lot next to the Sunnyside C-Train station. As a Vancouver journalist said “containR turns bleak space into public meeting place.” In a city with a shortage of arts spaces containR can host pretty much anything: dance theatre music film but also permaculture gardens a library and a lounge. It’s the epitome of what urban planners call “placemaking” — creating vibrant public space that promotes community well being.

If you ask me this year’s most kickass events will happen in a grassy patch of Sunnyside in a series of steel boxes.

Mark Hopkins

Co-artistic Director

Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre


The most exciting development for the fall 2013 season for the visual arts will be the opening of a brand new upscale commercial gallery: Barbara Edwards Contemporary Calgary (1114 11 St. S.W.).

The gallery represents outstanding international and Canadian contemporary artists. It will add immensely to the pleasure of all those passionate about contemporary art. As an added bonus their opening exhibition is of new work by the extraordinary figurative/narrative painter New York artist Eric Fischl on October 4 in Calgary. We will all hope that he comes to Calgary and gives a public presentation about his fascinating career.

Jeffrey Spalding C.M. R.C.A.

Artistic Director

Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary


Here is a cool project that I am watching with interest. As a bookseller I am always asked for books about Calgary and we have far too few of them. The RE:act Collective (blueskiespoetry.ca/about-our-react-collective/) has formed to support our inaugural poet laureate to partner and collaborate with community groups and initiatives to enhance existing events and will also create innovative new happenings throughout the city.

Their events are family-friendly inclusive multicultural and a whole lot of fun. Their objective is to break down the silos bring poetry to the people build a wider audience normalize it (for lack of a better word). Broaden the audience a bit beyond poets reading to poets. The concept is to create multi-disciplinary events out in the communities. Music poetry ethnic foods theatre visual art. Create a “happening” that is fun and upbeat and creates a curiosity while still being accessible.

Their first big initiative is The Calgary Project — A City Map in Verse and Visual. The anthology will by published by local publisher Frontenac House in 2014 for poetry month and will feature visual art including photography and poems inspired by Calgary and area. They’ve had a fantastic response and quite a range in submissions. They have poems and artwork by some really big names and about all sorts of aspects of the city. The print anthology will be a “best of” and the website will allow them to be as inclusive as possible ( investyyc.com/projects/view/139 ).

Simone Lee


Pages Books on Kensington


Lately it seems that violinist Donovan Seidle is everywhere: at the Stampede Grandstand at a flood relief fundraiser with Honens Laureate Pavel Kolesnikov or programming the Kensington Sinfonia. And this upcoming season his arrangement of Ukrainian Dances will be featured in the September Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra concert along with the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. It is clearly an understatement to say Mr. Seidle thrives on diverse musical offerings. Fortunately for audiences he is as charismatic as he is creative. I love to listen and watch his performances. Always passionate he can be mischievous but his delicate touch can also bring tears to your eyes. Mr. Seidle is a local talent who has achieved international acclaim and makes us all proud. I think his distinctive interpretation of Ukrainian folk songs when coupled with our outstanding orchestra will be a musical highlight for Calgarians this fall.

Mary Rozsa du Coquet


Rozsa Foundation


Creating and uploading images to YouTube Vimeo Vine and other social media platforms is a mass communication consumer tool. That doesn’t mean that everyone is a media artist but it does democratize the medium with this broadened accessibility. Of course just as ubiquitous are TV screens. While we may become desensitized to the constant bombardment of advertising media art can sweetly nestle into our vision in unexpected presentation spaces. Watch for Gallery of Media Art (GAMA) on exhibit at various monitors in the performing arts centre. Or the recently hired Calgary Animated Objects Society’s artist/animators who created time-based artwork in the teeny Plus-15 window spaces and whose animations will be now be projected as part of Quickdraw Animation’s GIRAF in November.

Calgary has been a rich and dynamic centre for media art since 1965 when media art first evolved with the advent of consumer model video cameras. My pick for the 2013 start of the “season” is Emmedia’s INFINITE LOOP an outdoor multi-projection exhibition on Saturday September 28 likely to be returning to Central Memorial Park after last year’s successful media art festival. INFINITE LOOP will bring together Calgary-based media artists to create a collaborative environment of moving light and sound in a public setting. The media is not limited to digital projectors but will also include film projectors slide projectors overhead projectors or anything else the artist can create to project images. The event will be an intriguing and resounding walk through light and sound projected in imaginative ways to hold and mesmerize the audience.

Media Art can be screened just about anywhere; the side of a building inside a Plus-15 hallway onto the sidewalk or even on the back of a media artist. And that’s what I like about it.

Sharon Stevens

Artist Activist and Community Organizer