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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Getting back to more frequency than famous comets...

(Ellen Doty - courtesy

I can't believe how much I have left this blog space in the lurch. 

There's bugs and spiderwebs in lurches!!

Anyhow, I am getting back to posting, and in this case, steering you to yet ANOTHER neglected site of mine, which brags a bit about launching yet ANOTHER site I hope not to abandon anytime soon:

I really need to gather all these things together - but one step at a time....


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blog Anniversary, and my latest REM column!

Where does the time go?

Today is the 10th anniversary of this blog space, but it seems a bit watered down, given that I have moved much of my online publishing efforts elsewhere. 

I really need to get back here more often than I have been as of late.

To make amends, here a link to a random column from this day in time:

Picking that out of thin air, how did I last 10 years DOING what I was doing?

Well, to atone for THAT travesty of your time, here's a link to my latest humour column in REM, with a link to a reading I did of the piece live:

Hopefully that works a little better for you...


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Life Is Surreal To Say The Least...

You really can't make this up.

As it happens, two of my current writing efforts that circle back to my time spent with Okanagan writer, friend and mentor Dona Sturmanis are out (or will be out) directly around the time of her passing this week. 

That photo is just a snapshot of an old publication she stewarded out of Melvyn's Living Room in Westbank (now West Kelowna), where I started to take courses and generally loiter about as often as I was able to.

A piece that I first read at an event years back in her Peachland home is going to come out shortly in my national real estate column - for the second time.

She howled at that one, and it went on to be my most widely published piece.

The piece comes out shortly in REM (Real Estate Magazine).

As it happens, a gentle and hilarious soul that I came to know there also figures in to a recent piece of mine.

I did a feature on Kelowna author, poet and humour writer Sterling Haynes, which happens to be in the most current issue of Freefall Magazine. 

She may have recently left us, but her work supporting writers continues to bear fruit...

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Discover Dona

Discover: Dona Sturmanis

An award-winning poet, journalist, and feature writer - but above and beyond her own stellar writing career, Dona Sturmanis was a mentor for more writers than I can count - myself included.

Very much dismayed to read this morning that she had passed away, but her son Leif, a chip off the old block to say the least, wrote a magnificent post on Facebook for her world of friends, family and fans.

I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without having met Dona. She was the creative spark that continues to burn to this day...

I'm flying out the door to work, but here's a link to a piece that I posted from a reading she organized - I think at Lois Lane in Kelowna.

Don't let God overwhelm you with assignments Dona....relax a bit now.


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Frank Turner, Northcote and Mo Kenney - Some kind Of Wonderful!

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
Mo Kenney

MacEwan Hall, Saturday March 6, 2016

Well, unfortunately the pics I snapped for this event didn't turn out sharp enough for formatting into my online Calgary Herald space, so I'll post them here regardless along with a few comments about the show. Great night of outstanding music from Canadian's Mo Kenney, Northcote, and English folkster Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls.

First off, apologies to all the artists for the low quality images, which do not speak at all to the quality of the work they did onstage last night - what a great blend or music, and the crowd jammed the place to capacity for the gig...

Mo Kenney

Opener Mo Kenney clearly had fans in place as she went through her set - from where we were standing at that point, you could hear folks singing along, and it was a great introduction for anyone not familiar with her catalogue. 

Just a few highlights for me had to have been the wonderful In My Dreams, Sucker For Your Face, and The Happy Song, which she prefaced as a balm for all the sad songs she tends to write. 

Sad maybe, but catch-your-ears for sure lyrically. Her co-write with Joel Plaskett Déjà vu was another  great piece, and her pair of covers (Bowie's Five Years, and Tom Petty's Yer So Bad, which she came out to perform with Northcote) make it no surprise at all to see all the recognition she has garnered.

Matt Goud - Northcote 

Speaking of Northcote, I've been a bit out of the rock scene as of late given my current focus on folk roots and blues, but these fellas sure brought back memories with their bright, no-nonsense set. 

I saw acts like these back when I was the age of most of this audience (to avoid getting carded at the beer garden, I pointed to my hair...), and Northcote doesn't miss with how they do it. This is a group poised for a breakthrough as evidenced by the production team on their latest album, and the demand the group has seen - over 160 shows in 2014!

In particular, songs like the sturdy anthem Hope Is Made Of Steel, A Thousand Nights, and Counting Down The Days all point to these gentleman making a mark, and having legs while they're at it. 

Frank Turner

And your headliner? Well, sweet Maggie on a rock, this Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls act is a special kind of incendiary... 

There was a Celtic band out of Kelowna (Kinship) that I used to think was high energy and in your face. 

Great Big Sea was known to be a bit raucous on occasion.

Frank Turner makes any preconceived notion of "explosive", "volatile", or "combustible" quaint by comparison. The Celtic roots are evident, but the exquisite combinations of buzz, punk and power folk were the catalyst to set this crowd on fire. 

By the time he switched to an electric guitar, it was already clear he could have rocked the house with a ukulele, but the faux track the band apparently works into recent shows featured that aforementioned buzz, and the electric guitar was the appropriate instrument to bring that segment of the show forward.

Frank Turner and (at least one of) The Sleeping Souls

Mandatory sing-a-longs that really required no prompting,  energy that appeared unabated by the time I had to leave, this was the capper on a great evening of folk-based music. 

Certainly not your Grandpa's folk music...




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What have I done???

INSTAGRAM: danst.yves

OK friends and folks - I have overcome 4 or 5 years of hesitation, and have decided to forge ahead with an Instagram presence -  mercy on us all..

I just took a few minutes to connect with a few familiar faces after getting past the endless parade of Kardashians and Jenners. I'll do more of that as I track you all down.

If you're on Instagram, and you'd like me to follow your site, I will happily do so. I will even have pictures posted soon, as I hope this will be one more place that I can bring awareness to the amazing acts that I get to connect with, see live, and review - so expect a LOT of live music pics!

Go ahead, don't be shy.

Don't make me have to connect with JLo or Miley, for the love of everything sacred!!!!

Be gentle, but don't be afraid! I'm honestly far more clueless than I look...


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stage West Calgary "Suite Surrender"

Stage West Calgary
"Suite Surrender"

Directed by J. Sean Elliott

Starring Kevin Hare, Chantal Perron, and Elizabeth Stepkowski Tarhan

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Michael McKeever is a prolific fellow - his website indicates some 39 plays ranging from comedies to dramas to shorts. Unless I’m seriously mistaken, my first McKeever play was last night, Stage West Calgary’s "Suite Surrender".

That is one of his comedies, and a farce at that. Having nothing else to gauge against, I’d be curious to see even more of his work. After a bit of a slow start, the cast of zany characters and the absurd plot explode into outright hilarity, moving briskly towards a conclusion that first allows for most every actor to have their own moment in the spotlight. Some more than others, admittedly.

It is the strong cast of characters and the sure hand of director J. Sean Elliott that makes this such an enjoyable outing. While I do have to hold back as usual for my official Calgary Herald review, I can say that Elliott has outdone himself with this play, his direction, and the casting - a stellar collection of actors you’ve seen before on this stage, and a few you may have not.

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Kevin Hare is one of the returnees, and as General Manager of the Palm Beach Royale Hotel, spends more time juggling than managing - given that this is set in 1942, it would be apt to suggest that he’s juggling potential hand grenades while the assorted branches of the actual military are downstairs creating havoc of their own.   

Elizabeth Stepkowski Tarhan and Chantal Perron return as well, as the two potential hand grenades that spur the plot along as rival divas and apparent mortal enemies erroneously assigned to the same presidential suite. 

Natascha Girgis returns to Stage West this time out as the scene-stealing gossip columnist Dora del Rio, who encounters more than her fair share of the slamming doors of this farce - the after-effects being some of the strongest comedic moments of the evening.

I’m just touching on a few highlights here (again, saving morsels for my other review!), but the combined efforts of this strong cast smooth over any rough edges in the proceedings, and wring out the most from what lines they have to share with their fellow actors.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one other star though, a canine actor very well-behaved given the goings-on, but omitted in the playbill. Must not be a member of the union, Mr. Boodles?

Great fun, and if you’re not all that familiar with the farce style of comedy, a great introduction!

4 out of 5 stars.

I’ll link back when the official review runs!