Fall Arts Preview 2019 festival critics' picks: Launch of Transform boosts season's roster - Straight.com - Canadanewsmedia
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Fall Arts Preview 2019 festival critics' picks: Launch of Transform boosts season's roster – Straight.com

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Suddenly summertime has a rival for the biggest roundup of arts festivals: fall.

Not only has the Chutzpah Festival moved its celebration of Jewish culture from midwinter to October, but there is a major new event being launched at the Cultch for two weeks in October.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival was curated by Cultch executive director Heather Redfern and Oji-Cree playwright, composer, and director Corey Payette, who’s also artistic director at Urban Ink Productions. And that meld of non-Indigenous and Indigenous forces has birthed a festival unlike anything else in North America—or, quite possibly, in the world.

“The first impulse was that cabaret didn’t really have a home here, and there’s no touring circuit for it across Canada,” Payette explains over the phone. “So the idea was to take that political form of art and make it a platform for Vancouver audiences and artists to start to have larger conversations.

“We’ve also made the choice to veer away from the standard vision of cabaret, you know, with the red curtain and white faces,” Payette continues. “We wanted to go back to what it was: a political movement about artists rising up, and tying that into the movements of reconciliation—to now reclaim that and make it our own. And hopefully we’re making a container for these festivals to happen everywhere, because these conversations are everywhere.”

Payette and Redfern also seized the idea of the cabaret as a space where people can push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream.

The result is, on one hand, Redfern and Payette seeking out popular Indigenous musicians, burlesque dancers, and drag artists who might not regularly get the chance to perform in a big theatre in front of a wider audience. Elsewhere, they’ve arranged collaborations between hand-picked artists, such as the Cirque Transforming program’s mix of Indigenous hoop dancers and other contemporary acrobats.

Here’s more on highlights of Transform and some of the other fests livening up the fall season.

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival

At the Vancouver Playhouse, the Waterfront Theatre, and other venues until September 29

Vancouver’s Flamenco Rosario brings a little southern Spanish heat to fall, with a lineup of local and international stars. The Draw: Spanish sensation Manuel Liñán’s intense Baile de Autor has been sizzling its way around the globe to rave reviews (September 14 at the Playhouse). Target Audience: Fans of ruffles, Spanish culture, hammering feet, and la pasión.

Public Disco brings the party to Alley Oop as part of BC Culture Days.

B.C. Culture Days

At venues around the Lower Mainland from September 27 to 29

Painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and more take over community centres, galleries, and other public spaces for the celebration’s 10th anniversary. Sample highlights: Public Disco’s hoop zone and all-ages dance party in Alley Oop (south of West Hastings between Seymour and Granville streets) on the final day; behind-the-scenes tours of the 21,000-square-foot Arts Factory the same day; and open rehearsals of the Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker on the Friday night. (See culturedays.ca/.)

The Draw: Amid the scores of offerings, check out Culture Days ambassador Oli Salvas’s hands-on, family-friendly Rebel With a Cause: Exploring the Maker Movement, September 28 and 29 at the CBC Plaza from noon to 1:30 p.m.; he’ll help you connect the arts with science and engineering, using wooden sticks, electric wires, and more.

Target Audience: Parents, kids, and anyone looking to reignite their inner artist.

Singer-songwriter Leela Gilday hits Transform.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival

At the Cultch Historic Theatre, the Vancity Culture Lab, and the York Theatre from October 2 to 12

More than 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers, from comedians and hip-hop artists to drag performers and circus acrobats, launch the city’s newest festival. Highlights include drag sensations the Darlings, the Indigenous burlesque babes of Virago Nation, singer Veda Hille, singer Leela Gilday, Inuit throat-singing dance-beat mavens Silla and Rise, and a Diwali Night that blends South Asian and Indigenous performers.

The Draw: Don’t miss the two wild opening cabaret nights on October 2 and 3, designed to give audiences a taste of what’s to come, and hosted by Musqueam artist Quelemia Sparrow and Australian sensation Lisa Fa’alafi (of Hot Brown Honey).

Target Audience: The nontraditional, the nonbinary, the nonconforming, and the nonboring.

<span class="picturefill" data-picture data-alt="MM Contemporary Dance's Schubert Frames, at the Chutzpah Festival”>
MM Contemporary Dance’s Schubert Frames, at the Chutzpah Festival
Riccardo Panozzo

Chutzpah Festival

At the Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vogue Theatre, Rickshaw Theatre, and WISE Hall from October 24 to November 2

The celebration of Jewish culture brings in topnotch acts in everything from world music to dance, from around the globe. This year’s event puts a spotlight on live music with film, and boasts the world premiere of ProArteDanza’s The 9th (based on Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), MM Contemporary Dance’s Gershwin Suite and Schubert Frames, and the North American premiere of Tamara Micner’s one-woman show Holocaust Brunch.

The Draw: Guitar hero and composer Gary Lucas performs live with two films, Frankenstein and Spanish Dracula. And did we mention the divine Ms. Sandra Bernhard?

Target Audience: Culture vultures with wide-ranging appetites.

Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival

At various venues around the Downtown Eastside from October 30 to November 10

Music, stories, theatre, poetry, films, dance, readings, forums, workshops, gallery exhibits, history walks, and more make up over 100 events at over 40 venues. Highlights include Urban Ink Productions’ workshop presentation of the play SRO (as in single-room-occupancy hotel) by Middle of the Sky, and ūtszan, Lilwat artist Yvonne Wallace’s one-woman show about reclaiming language and resilience.

The Draw: The Firehall Arts Centre’s Donna Spencer directs the ambitious Opening Doors, a collaboration with Vancouver Moving Theatre that dramatizes personal histories from Daphne Marlatt and Carole Itter’s extraordinary local-legend book of the same name.

Target Audience: Those who know that where there’s hope, there’s life—and there’s also thriving art.

Marshmallow Clouds, a Tangible Interactions installation at a past Eastside Culture Crawl.

Eastside Culture Crawl

At studios around East Vancouver from November 14 to 17

Grab your map and your sneakers, pray for sunshine (or at least not too much drizzle), and go: more than 500 artists, craftspeople, and designers open their amazing studios to an audience of thousands—45,000 last year alone—during the Crawl. Think everything from painters to jewellers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, and glassblowers.

The Draw: For newbies, labyrin­thine 1000 Parker is always a good starting spot, but old hands know to seek out heritage houses and offbeat industrial sites like 1282 Franklin Street, Railtown Studios, and Strathcona’s atmospheric Paneficio Studios.

Target Audience: Art collectors, holiday-gift shoppers, and the art-curious.

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National Arts Centre Indigenous theatre honours trailblazing artists at Moshkamo opening – APTN News

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[embedded content]

Shelby Lisk and Annette Francis
APTN News
On a grey Saturday morning, dozens of canoers sat on the edge of the Rideau Canal just outside downtown in Ottawa waiting to make the historic journey to the National Arts Centre to officially open the Indigenous theatre festival, Mòshkamo.

The paddlers included Algonquin Elders and Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation community members, along with NAC staff.

(Artistic Director, Kevin Loring, waves from his canoe during the procession along the Rideau Canal to open the NAC Indigenous theatre Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“I was so honoured, so deeply profoundly proud. No words to describe that feeling I had when I saw my people, our people, journey in that water. A practice we’ve been doing since time immemorial,” said Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda.

“Some of us did not go into a canoe, but let me tell you, each and every one of us that are here right now at this moment, we are in that canoe, in spirit, in heart, in respect, love and kindness. Let us paddle that canoe together in peace and friendship.”

National Arts Centre

(Claudette Commanda beams with pride as she welcomes everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

For the Algonquin Elder, the work that the National Arts Centre has done, with Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, and Lori Marchand, Manager Director of Indigenous Theatre at the helm, is profound and unprecedented.

While she welcomed everyone on behalf of the Algonquin Nation, she shared her gratitude to the NAC.

“Thank you to the leaders of the National Art Centre. I truly appreciate that, we truly appreciate that and we know that indeed this is a true action of the rights relationship that was always intended between our ancestors and your ancestors,” said Commanda.

National Arts Centre

(NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, addresses the packed crowd in the Canal Lobby at the NAC for the opening of the Mòshkamo festival. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon, took the stage to acknowledge the work that has been going on behind the scenes to bring Mòshkamo to life.

He thanked the many people who have made this historic opening possible, including the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Grand Chief Verna Polson and the Algonquin advisory council, who played a critical role in consulting with the NAC in the development of the Indigenous theatre.

He said Indigenous theatre is taking its rightful place next to the well-established English and French theatres at the NAC.

“Today, 50 years after the NAC’s grand opening, our engagement with Indigenous artists and commitment to their work has arrived at a new place. Our new commitment, made today, is to have Indigenous artists lead the creation and performance of Indigenous stories, music and dance,” said Deacon.

Kevin Loring was appointed Artistic Director on June 15, 2017 and has spent the last two years travelling the country to see Indigenous work and meet with artists and arts organizations.

Performing arts organizations from around the world have now started to contact Loring to consult on how to empower Indigenous arts in their own countries.

Loring, Nlaka’pamux from British Columbia’s Lytton First Nation, brought traditions from his home community to the opening, with a traditional blanketing ceremony to honour four Indigenous theatre trailblazers – Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements.

National Arts Centre

(Kevin Loring hugs performing artist and writer, Margo Kane, as he brings her on stage to honour her work. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

With each actor, director or playwright they brought on stage, they told stories of how those visionaries influenced their own work and guided them to the place they are now – making history for Indigenous people at the NAC.

National Arts Centre

(Lori Marchand hugs Muriel Miguel during the blanketing ceremony for four Indigenous artists: Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clement. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

“We are honouring today, artists that have had a personal impact on the two of us. On our trajectory, on our artistry. They’ve blazed the trails that we walk on today. This exists because they have existed. This exists because they fought the battles that needed to be fought,” said Loring.

“This exists because of their love and today we are going to reflect that love back to them.”

The artists that were honoured included Kuna/Rappahannock choreographer, director and actor Muriel Miguel, Cree playwright and author Tomson Highway, Cree/Saulteaux performing artist and writer Margo Kane, and Métis playwright, performer, director, producer and screenwriter Marie Clement.

Marchand and Loring both told personal stories about the artists as they brought them on stage.

Marchand, a member of the Syilx (Okanagan) First Nation, mused about the first time she met Muriel Miguel at Native Earth performing arts, saying that it was the first time in her life that she had been in a room “full of people like herself”.

Loring described his first encounter with Tomson Highway’s work as the first Indigenous play he ever read in his life.

He performed a monologue from Highway’s play, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, for his university class in Kamloops, B.C.

“In that moment, I became an artist and that is all thanks to Tomson Highway,” said Loring.

Loring and Marchand reminded us all that this profound historic moment for the NAC Indigenous theatre comes from the years of hard work of Indigenous artists that came before.

National Arts Centre

(Muriel Miguel, Tomson Highway, Margo Kane and Marie Clements stand proud with their gifted blankets. Shelby Lisk/APTN)

The  Mòshkamo festival continues until September 29, with shows, workshops and masterclasses, including the play the unnatural and accidental women written by Marie Clements and directed by Muriel Miguel.

slisk@aptn.ca

afrancis@aptn.ca

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Andrew Scheer pitches sports, arts tax credits for parents with children – CBC News

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his latest tax credit pledge Monday — this one targeting parents with kids in arts and sports activities.

A day after Scheer unveiled a $6 billion tax cut for most Canadian taxpayers, Scheer is now promising changes to the tax code that would allow parents to claim up to $1,000 per child for expenses related to fitness or sports activities.

Another credit — the children’s arts and learning tax credit — would allow parents to claim up to $500 per child for expenses.

The last time this credit was on the books, the Canada Revenue Agency had a broad list of applicable activities. They included anything that develops a creative skill or knowledge of literary, visual or performing arts, music, media, languages, customs or heritage, and wilderness and the environment.

Parents of children with disabilities would receive more from the promised credits. For every child with a disability, the sports credit would be worth $500 more a year, while the arts credit would double to $1,000.

According to figures from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the fitness credit would cost the federal treasury about $240 million a year in lost revenue. The arts tax credit would cost about $56 million a year.

The credits would be refundable, meaning that even if a family owes no taxes to the government at tax time (often the case with low-income families), it can still benefit, Scheer said.

This is the latest Scheer campaign promise resurrecting a policy of the former Conservative government that was dismantled by the Justin Trudeau Liberals after taking office.

The Liberal government dismissed these tax credits — along with the public transit pass credit — as ineffective because they didn’t meaningfully change enrolment in sports programs or encourage people to take transit.

Instead, the Liberal government said it would re-deploy money spent on these initiatives to sweeten the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment each month.

“These were incredibly popular tax credits. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians appreciated the extra help with paying for kids’ activities. That’s why they were so disappointed when Justin Trudeau cancelled them,” Scheer said.

“And again, it goes back to choices, Justin Trudeau believes that he can spend your money better than you can and that is why he cancelled these very popular tax credits.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says that he can achieve a balanced budget even while lowering taxes by adding a public transit credit, a children’s fitness tax credit and a children’s arts and learning tax credit while also implementing a universal tax cut. 0:58

“We will be bringing them back. We will also have a fully costed platform that shows Canadians how we will get back to balanced budgets while still maintaining increases to important services like health care and education.”

Research by the federal Department of Finance prepared for the Liberal government shows that many families never claimed these expenses the last time they were available.

In 2014, 43 per cent of families with children claimed one or both of the credits. The fitness credit was more than twice as popular (41 per cent uptake in 2014) as the arts credit (15 per cent uptake.)

The credits were more popular with middle- and high-income families, while those with a household income below $40,000 were far less likely to participate.

The incentives for low-income families were comparatively small given how little — if any — federal income taxes they pay.

The take-up rate for the tax credits among families with household incomes of more than $200,000 a year income was 73.3 per cent, compared to just 16.8 per cent for families with a household income below $40,000, according to the department figures. Moreover, those higher income households claimed $104 in tax savings, while their low-income counterparts claimed just $14 in savings.

Still, Scheer argued the extra support will make raising an active child more affordable.

“In the coming days we’ll be making further announcements of some philosophical differences that we have with the Liberal party as to how they think they can spend money better than Canadians. We know a dollar left in the pockets of a hard-working Canadian is always better spent than in the pocket of a politician who taxed it. One thing is clear: we will lower the cost of living,” he said.

Affordability is the theme of the Conservative campaign. The party’s chosen slogan — “It’s time for you to get ahead” — has been plastered all over campaign materials and on TV ads airing in regular rotation.

Beyond the sports and arts credits announced today, Scheer has promised to bring back the public transit pass credit, introduce a new non-refundable tax credit for maternity and parental employment insurance (EI) benefits and exempt home heating from the GST. As part of his climate plan, Scheer also promised to revive the home retrofit tax credit so people can renovate their homes to improve energy efficiency.

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Businesswoman, champion of the arts Kathleen Richardson dies – CBC.ca

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Winnipeg’s arts community is remembering a passionate patron whose quiet generosity benefited cultural organizations across Canada.

Kathleen Margaret Richardson, 91, daughter of James and Muriel Richardson, died Saturday.

“Throughout her life, Miss Richardson remained a quiet philanthropist, contributing to numerous worthwhile causes through the Kathleen M. Richardson Foundation,” states a news release from James Richardson and Sons, the Winnipeg-based corporation that owns companies in several industries including agriculture.

Richardson was best known as patron extraordinaire of the arts, and was especially involved with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. 

Former principal dancer Evelyn Hart said Richardson left an indelible mark on the ballet world.

“She was really the fairy godmother of the Winnipeg ballet and the arts in Winnipeg. I call her a sort of a gentle giant,” Hart said.

“She was a great supporter of the dancers and kept us always feeling like we were important. Personally, I was always supported by her in many, many ways. I could not be more grateful.”

Richardson was also a director of the Richardson corporation for more than 40 years, from 1954 to 1998.

During that time, she helped guide the expansion of Pioneer Grain, the development of Lombard Place in downtown Winnipeg, including the Richardson Building and Fairmont Hotel, and shepherded the growth of the corporation’s financial services operation into an international brokerage.

She also served in the director role for companies outside of James Richardson and Sons, including Sun Life Assurance Company from 1978 to 1998, Barclays Bank of Canada from 1984 to 1994, and Gulf Canada Limited from 1977 to 1987.

But Richardson is best known for her unwavering support of the arts—and always doing so anonymously. 

“Always preferring to remain anonymous, her extraordinary generosity benefited arts and cultural organizations across Canada,” the news release states.

“She believed strongly in the words often quoted by her mother Muriel Richardson, ‘Unto whom much is given, much is required.'”

Kathleen Richardson was instrumental in opening the RWB’s building in downtown Winnipeg in 1988. (Google Street View)

Richardson served as president of the RWB from 1957 to 1961 and was instrumental in the opening of the RWB’s downtown base in Winnipeg in 1988.

She remained as honorary president from 1963 until her death.

Richardson was also an officer with the Order of Canada, and a member of the Order of Manitoba.

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