a walk around the block

and so!  a walk indeed!  and in this town…  oh my goodness there are mad capped scenes at darn near every turn and pretty much down every straight away.  the noise is what we can’t share here, online.  you have to come here to these mad streets.  five minutes will do it.  yes we are a long way from the river, the blue and the green.

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unknown artist and paint station, outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.  it was clear to me she had talent and if you took her up a notch, switched out the dollarama paint and canvas for some big leagues gear, i’m certain she could show something in one of the many indie galleries in this town.  she wanted 40 bucks for that little picture she was working on.

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invisible man?  around here you never know…   outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.

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spooky window display, Somerset West near Spadina, November 6th.

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more weirdness in the same shop window…  Somerset West and Spadina, on the mild night of November 6th.  me singing:  i’m an Anishnabe in the Capital City…  (sung to the tune of Sting’s Englishman in New York)

when you’re out walking and sporting the “artist’s eye”…  goodness gracious, so many “things”.

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what form!  with a silver hand…  shop window in the St. Laurent Mall, November 7th.  those super stretch fabrics, now i wish they had those when i was young!  (ha ha!)

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ah yes…  what form.  put some heels on there and you’d really have something.

if you have 8 minutes, here is a song i wrote and performed back in the summer of 1995, recorded on a 4 track Fostex, one night in a diff city, many moons ago.  before the internet.  back when my rock and roll band:  NR, was planning on being something.  ah but nothing makes the Great Spirit laugh more than a man with plans.

for the youtube video: i went out one night, twenty years after i wrote and recorded the song, in this very city, camera in hand, and shot those pictures:  headless figures (children too!), lifeless eyes, bare heads, flashy clothes, big lights, right next to the dispossessed, the have nots, the sick and the old, and the grey, placed next to a little First Nations “made in China”, thrown in for good measure.  military medals along side a public service message showing a cigarette pack filled with bullets and someone’s scrawl:  Funding natives to buy back their land 1 acre at a time…  yes it was my attempt at Anishnabe movie making/story telling.  (oh yes!  that first and very long 2 minutes of yours truly in his pow wow dancing gear-i plugged that in (just ahead of the Joseph Boyden scam which became an amusing and a down right hilarious news item right around Xmas 2016) as a confirmation that yes indeed, yours truly is an actual indian as defined within the terms and conditions of the indian act, and handled by indian and northern affairs Canada)

so where was i going with all this?  oh yes.  what i mean to say is i’ve walked these streets before.  and some things seem to never change, all we’ve done is switched out the characters and moved in some new ones.

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back to the walk around the block:  the cops on Blake, November 8th, where hookers roam, sometimes pimps, and men alone in all makes and models of cars cruise very slowly up and down the streets.  you don’t need warning signs to tell those boys to slow down on our quiet neighbourhood streets!  all we’re missing with this scene is the background NOISE.  the roar, the sirens, the continuous horn honking…  sheesh!

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unknown young man who has clearly lost his marbles, sitting in the very cold wind outside a Rotten Ron’s, Montreal Road and St. Laurent, November 9th, at noon.  he was out there for an hour, smoking his stuff, listening to whatever he had on those flashy headphones.  it was like…  zero degrees out there.  and they might be his brightest years…

i was inside looking out, wondering if it was safe to show a photo like this:

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that’s me and what’s his name, on the movie set, back in June, in Scotland.  we signed a non disclosure thing about not posting but here we are after the release date of the picture so i hope its safe to post this!

they had me so uglied up over there i was sure i could never come home.  the look was totally Hollywood Indian.  the only way i got the gig was, well, beyond that i was clearly indian, was that face of horror:  they asked me to scowl and snarl into the camera at the casting (my interview was all of 15 seconds at the Native Friendship Centre in Toronto) and boom!  they called me up and so i went.  now that was a serious walk around the block!

that chrome dome of mine, it hadn’t seen the light of day in over 45 years!  over there though, those charming hair and make up girls shaved me a fresh one every morning around nine.  i walked out of there thinking the boys are going to have a field day with this when i get back to the club!

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that’s the photo i snapped with Joe’s camera, that he smuggled onto the set one day.  that’s the two stars of the show, chilling between takes.  not sure who that other young snot nosed punk is but he was main frame with the other two.

and so if you were reading my blog back in late May and June of this year, this is what i was going on about: making movies in Scotland.  a grand adventure, something i’d do again, but next time…  i think i’ll take a pass on shaving the dome.  yes, it is growing back, but we’re a long way from the look of confidence, when sporting the Dark City Boy outfit, which thank goodness, is back in rotation, out here on these mad city streets.  i lost the “gut” i was sporting on that shoot, but being away from the 9th and all the good cooking over there, certainly helps in the weight losing department!  ha.  kooky stuff.  silly stuff too but at the end of the day, if you’re going to run with the wolves, you have to keep up AND look the part.

photo of said Dark City Boy outfit!

artist in October

 

crappy grainy photo but that’s the idea (i’ll get an updated, soon).  super fun black boots to go with!  many moons ago, on another walking around the block adventure, i drew a picture of the then “dark city boy” outfit, an idea for some jackets i wanted to make, the idea stolen from the costumes department over at Debajehmujig Theatre Group (another story we can save for later!)

photo of said picture, drawn many moons ago:

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2000 Man, Dark City Boy in front of Treasure Island, Lake Mindemoya, Ontario, Canada.  March 1, 2000.  Bic ball point pen on 98 pound paper.  yes…  we need to maintain the maintenance department…

what i’m getting at through all of this is this:  if you’re going to take a walk around the block, you might as well do alright with it.

(psst: more movie set photos to come if i can get away with posting these!)

 

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October sketches

to colour or not?  a mighty fine question!

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7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 2, 2018.

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7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 2, 2018.

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7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 3, 2018.

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7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 4, 2018.

hmmm.  a walk around the block might be in order.

under the Milky Way

we’re back on the range and when we arrived, 10 p.m., it was nippy but clear:  above us:  the mighty Milky Way, stretching from north east to south west!  WOW!  you can’t see anything like that when in the grisly clutches of the capital city.  also going on out here at 10 p.m.:  absolute silence!  in the distance, far away, the waterfalls filled with salmon, making that yearly trek.  also a huge change from the sirens, the screaming, the howling and crying, going on within the wilds of the capital city, at that hour.

nope!  we broke out of the city and at good speed.  (ha!)

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“the glass aint half full or half empty, it’s fully and completely BONE DRY”, life in the capital city, at 544 p.m., September 26th.

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“Tuesday night at the AFOA conference”, Oct. 2nd, Shaw Centre, downtown Ottawa.  gals from the north country singing that north country song:  i snapped this photo as this tune on the set list was ringing bells!  i have no idea what is happening with “Inuit throat singing”, and sure, you can wikipedia the thing and get the local high lights of who is selling the most records and getting Juno awards for using it, but i mean really, out there in the actual north country, where there are no big wifi passwords to wonder about.

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“the drive home”, Mattawa, Ontario, 5 p.m. on October 4th.  half way in what is about a 9 hour drive.  that’s the mighty Ottawa River and over there:  Quebec.

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“at home on the range, in October”.  now this was not taken this weekend, it was a few years back when Thanksgiving weekend was in the middle of a heat wave.  wowza!  that’s the Manitou, flowing free!  as seen from the north bank, on the trail, half way from the house to the waterfalls.  a classic place and a place of peace!  this weekend we have some cloudy skies: a not so photogenic photo op.  but the maple is still there and so is the river, filled with salmon.

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“good ole Smokey, on the back 90”, one of my fave maple trees, out there where the mares keep cool/warm.  the pooch is in the tall grass.  photo from…  was it 2013?

well that is what a sunny Thanksgiving weekend looks like up here in the grand and glorious north country of Manitoulin Island!  but today, like i said, we have clouds!  and tomorrow might be rain.  so we’re going into the archives for some photos to share.  it is colourful out here but we need that blaze of sun to light the place up.  with or without the sun, the moon and the stars, the salmon are in the river by the dozen or more.  you can hear them before you see them.

AND!!!  very soon, once the movie comes out, i can start sharing with you, some of those fun “behind the scenes” photos from that wild adventure overseas back in June!  so stay tuned for those!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

on the road: show bizz style

i’m set up at the AFOA National Conference here at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.  the banner out front reads:  Human Capital, Balancing Indigenous Culture and Creativity with Modern Workplaces.  the corporate lead sponsor is the First Nations Bank of Canada.  well we’re here for 3 days and we’ll see what kind of banking can be done between now and noon on Thursday.

my road show sets up pretty quickly.  i rolled into this place with a suitcase on wheels.  some of these other folks have what looks like a 3 ring circus!  wowza!  glad my gear stows nicely in a basic.  i came down here on the Ottawa transit bus, number 11, rolling down Montreal Road and into the downtown for 115 p.m.  the show was up and open for business at 130 but officially this rock and roll road show doesn’t open until 6 p.m.  we have some time on our hands!

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“Looking for Venus in August” 16×20 inches, acrylic on canvas board, painted in or around August 21, 2014, on the range.  we have this one here!  pulled out of retirement!

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“Raven at New Moon” 18×24 inches, acrylic on canvas board, painted in or around December 15, 2017.  we have this one here too!  lets see if we can find it a new home over the next couple of afternoons.

we have a ton of paintings here, we won’t be out gunned between now and noon tomorrow but if we are there is a stash at the crib and we’ll be going back there after nine tonight.  its nice to see this little art show spread out and on display.  that’s some nice work on the display, if i do say so myself!

 

Show bizz…

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sunrise as seen from the 9th, Markham, Ontario, Saturday morning, September 8, 2018.  we’re back to some of our fave spaces from last spring and winter!

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sunrise cont., as seen from the 9th, Markham, September 8th.  scenes can change pretty fast!  happy to see it.  down below, that’s highway 7 at McCowan.

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blazing into the city of Toronto at 8 a.m., Saturday morning, going to the gig.   these road shows are fun stuff and the things you see along the way are worth something.

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untitled sketch, winter 2018.  7×9 inch board.  that is Stevensons Acrylic used in a water colour technique.  i’m going to play around with this idea a bit more before we go to the canvas.  it’s a very old composition from a sketch book going all the way  back to 1991!

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twinravens, 5×7 inches, on board, July 2018.  i had this one on the table and got to looking at it, thinking i might like to keep that one.  pretty soon a young lady came along and she got to liking it as well.  her father was there and they made up their minds that they were taking it.  i said if you don’t take it, i’m going to take it!  (it’s happened in the past!)

we’re back in Ottawa this morning via highway 7, a beauty drive and the scenes along that way, well, i haven’t been down that road in ten years.

the good news is:  i have my paints and brushes moved in!  we can get back to work!

untitled…

and so i have crossed that great divide between summer and autumn: for me that is summer leading up to Labour Day, autumn landing on the Tuesday after. today it is Thursday and i’m back in the city.

when i threw open the back door this morning at 630, the 1954 classic: The Rear Window, came to mind. we have just such a scene but in a modern way, complete with dope smoke wafting in from all directions and hookers wandering around, general issue guttersnipe and a few monkeys in the yards and trees it seems…  ah yes, town of Vanier.  i think the heat and humidity might have been getting to a few of them.  we have no Grace Kelly look a likes walking this part of town or coming to visit me, near the window out back, but we do have a great many windows and i’m up here on the 4th floor, the windows across the way aren’t far off.

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sunrise on the range, way back on August 17th.  a grand and beautiful scene, private too!  we have no curtains on our windows back home.

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waiting in line to see the show:  Praying Hands, on Dundas Street East, August 2nd.  truth be told i’m not so sure if it was worth waiting in line for…

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you still have time to see Confluence, at the Gore Bay Museum!  we LOVED the show!

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Gore Bay on August 30th.  is that my darling Sadaf, out there on those rocks?

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untitled sketch on canvas board, 16×20 inches, 2015.  artist collection.  i found this one recently and asked myself:  where is the big canvas of this?  perhaps this autumn it will find its way to a 24×36.

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untitled sketch, Bic pen on 70 pound paper, March 10, 1995.  artist collection.  (hey Tash, do you remember our spring time in Toronto, March 1995?)

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“Raven at New Moon”, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches, December 15, 2017.  artist collection.  (word around the campfire is this year’s painting selections were “dark”…  hmmm.)

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11 a.m. on the range, Friday, August 31st.  not sure about the rest of the team but i was counting down the hours and working at making the most of them!

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“Going Anyway”, words and music by Mark Seabrook.  is that one in Crossroads Cant Collective?  (i’m still looking for a female vocalist for that one!)

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at the corner of Bank and Somerset, Ottawa, August 26th.  and so we switch out our country flip flops for some “well heeled” city shoes, switch gears and move on towards the next objective!

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we’re a long way from September of last year, when i was on the range, alone, for 6 brutal weeks, trooping through Indian Summer, paint brush in hand, scared about being abducted by aliens, drinking fine red wines into the late nights and…

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bar hopping on August 26, Ottawa.  that’s at the Royal Oak on Bank Street.  and so we walk on over to a new place, and a brand new adventure, hopefully some brand new paintings will follow.  off with the cottage clothes and into this city stuff, to see what we can see!  and carrying a book instead of a laptop.  the book is:  A Farewell to Arms.

ah well…

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a sunny afternoon in paradise:  home on the range, in Tehkummah, August 9th.  ultra wowza!  you can not be painting all the time!

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working on the tan, August 9th, 5 p.m.  plenty of room and time for some sun worship!

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sunrise on the range:  August 17th.  if you stay quiet for a few minutes, you can hear that quiet turn where autumn begins landing.

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sunrise (cont.) on August 17th.  yes…  the summer is quietly getting up and walking away.

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my feet in Providence Bay, Friday night, August 17th:  waiting for the kids at the fair.  my how times change.

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at Providence Bay beach, Friday night, August 17th:  i wonder if some of these are the same stones i walked with, 35 years ago…

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as i watched the scenes unfold, i thought about the town of Ayr, and the good folks who live there.

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at Providence Bay beach, Friday night, August 17th.  alone with the stones…  (the kids were at the fair and the rest of them, i have no idea!)

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ah but i could stand here and watch these scenes through the seasons!  and there are many times i think i have.

and so the kids were at the fair and i wandered the beach.  1015 p.m. they were good to go and we rolled out of Providence Bay going east on The Government Road.  the night was ultra and supra mild, i had the window down and the kids were in the back, going on about what they’d seen.  i kept it slow as a deer could jump out at any moment, i’d already tagged one on that very road, in another automobile, in what seems like another life time ago.

we rolled up to our turn in the road, and of course that’s when it happened.  a raccoon ran out in front of us and of course the dumb ass got himself killed right then and there.  the kids screamed:  what was that?!!!  i told them it was nothing and made the turn but i could tell something “weird” was going on with the car.  we got into the drive and it was pretty clear, even in the pitch black of night out here, that the front end of the car was falling off…