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April 5, 2011

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Words in Edgewise – March

February 28, 2011

Janna Rosales – Schmaltz or Sentinel? The Future of Nostalgia

Despite the return of vinyl records, skinny jeans, plaid shirts, and big glasses, is there really any room to long for “what was” in a forward-looking, wired-up society whose very essence is change? Vintage and retro might be “in”, but what really becomes of nostalgia, that longing for home and for what used to be?  Once classified as a genuine medical ailment, and then recast as innocuous ambles down memory lane, nostalgia is now a prepackaged commodity, a fixture in the pop culture marketplace, from Mad Men to My Little Pony.   This presentation will engage its audience in a conversation about the cultural aesthetic of nostalgia by asking, does the past have any value in a society whose eye seems so firmly set on the future?

St. John’s native Janna Rosales attended Memorial University where she studied both the arts and sciences, receiving a BA in religious studies and a minor in earth sciences.  She followed that with a Master of Arts in environmental ethics, and then moved to Toronto to pursue a PhD with a dissertation that studied the social and ethical implications of nanotechnology.  Among her other research interests are transhumanism, food security, cradle-to-cradle design, deliberative democracy models, and contemplative education.  She is currently a Research Associate with the Faculty of Engineering at Memorial where she is doing research on integrative engineering education.  When she’s not thinking and writing about the promise and perils of revolutionary technology she also likes to teach chocolate-tasting workshops, sing in three local choirs, hike the East Coast Trail and periodically launch herself off short ledges in pursuit of the perfect jump-shot photo.

Justin Osmond – Schopenhauer, Iris Murdoch and the Sovereignty of Music

Justin Osmond will work with Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good and Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation to establish a framework for considering the morality, strictly speaking, of Western music.  First, he will explain Murdoch’s theory of how art initiates our awareness of others.  He will then apply this theory to Western music, and explain how music theory imitates ontological principles and becomes a sound image of ontological structure.  He will finish with one of his own songs and discuss how its harmonic structure represents Western ontological assumptions.

Justin is from Portugal Cove.  He holds a B.Mus. degree from Memorial University and is currently completing a M.A. in philosophy.  His academic interests include the philosophy of music and German Idealism.  He is a saxophonist and a guitar player and lately he has been sharing his songs on the open mic scene in St. John’s.  Justin also serves as the Worship Arts Coordinator at West End Baptist Church.

Walter Mackey – “Well, That’s Because He’s a BayGay”: Homosexuality and Isolation in Rural Newfoundland

A performance art piece using an analog cassette recorder to provide multiple voices which facilitate discussion on the topic of growing up as a homosexual in a settlement in rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Walter Mackey is a 20 year old “self-proclaimed” artist living in downtown St John’s.  Walter comes from a settlement of 33 people in Eastern NL.  He has been interested in performance art after seeing Miranda July’s film that she directed and starred in called “Me and You and Everyone We Know” (2005).  From there, Walter found such artists as Marina Abramović, Ulay, Vaginal Davis and locally, Anna Felaxos.  Walter has lived in Eastern NL and he was most recently employed as a senior bilingual tourism representative but is now currently unemployed and looking for work. Walter is also an undergraduate student in his third year of studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, with concentrations in Folklore and Socio-Cultural Anthropology.  On February 28th 2011, Walter applied to Concordia University’s Liberal Arts College in hopes of specializing in Theatre Performance and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality in the Fall of 2011. He is 20, he is queer, and he drinks local beer without fear.

Thursday, March 10th at Eastern Edge Gallery, 8pm, hosted by Morgan Murray. Admission is by donation, refreshments and snacks will be available.

Don’t miss Words in Edgewise on February 17th when we explore dementia through documentary theatre and the collaboration between song writer/performer and producer.

“People Lose Their Way — And Their Belongings”

A new work for the stage by Joan Sullivan
Starring Neil Butler, Andrew Loman, Nicole Rousseau, Joan Sullivan

Words in Edgewise favourite, playwright Joan Sullivan, returns in February with another one of her amazing verbatim dramas examining dementia through the words of Nietzsche and others in People Lose Their Way — And Their Belongings, starring Neil Butler, Andrew Loman, Nicole Rousseau, and Joan Sullivan. Joan creates these compelling short plays, or performed texts with commentary, by re-mixing existing texts, her past work in the Graduate Program in Humanities has included “Science, Technology, and Pontius Pilate” (Words in Edgewise, September, 2010) Roland Barthes and Jean-Paul Sartre in a heated debate and Antoinin Artaud and Marshall McLuhan talking about language and theatre.

Joan Sullivan is the editor of the Newfoundland Quarterly and a freelance journalist whose work appears in The Globe and Mail, on CBC Radio’s Tapestry, and in The Telegram. She is also a playwright and director and her credits include Your Only Life, which she wrote and performed in St. John’s, Halifax and Montreal; an adaptation of Wayne Johnston’s The Story of Bobby O’Malley; and Cassie Brown: My Life in Non-Fiction, which premiered last summer at the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival and later toured provincial schools. Her theatre work in 2010 includes Rig, an adaptation of Mike Heffernan’s oral history of the Ocean Ranger, staged by Rising Tide theatre, and a gig as the first visiting director with the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival. Joan is also studying for a Master’s degree in the Graduate Program in Humanities at Memorial University. She lives in St. John’s with her daughter, Marianne.


Wings for Songs: Ginny Ryan with Pamela Morgan

Ginny Ryan and Pamela Morgan recently spent several seasons working together to create a CD of songs that Ginny wrote and collected over a span of many years. The result, “Great Wings in Flight,” was released in December 2010. They propose to share with you the trajectory a song can travel from the inspiration that gives it birth to its eventual independent existence out in the world. As they perform four or five songs from the album, they will take turns describing what they drew upon and how they collaborated to bring this project to completion.

Ginny Ryan, director of Memorial University’s Writing Centre for the past 14 years, has been writing songs for most of her life – an unintended secret until this past December, when she released her first CD, “Great Wings in Flight,” produced by Pamela Morgan. She has had poems, stories, and essays published sporadically over the years – in TickleAce, The Newfoundland Quarterly, and Canadian Fiction Magazine as well as other forums. Two of her songs have been performed by Northern Harmony – an a capella choir in Labrador – and one of them, the title song from her CD, has appeared in Them Days magazine as well as in several anthologies.

For 19 years, Pamela Morgan was lead singer, guitarist, and arranger for the Canada’s pioneering “Celtic” band, Newfoundland’s Figgy Duff, who brought the traditional music of Newfoundland to the world stage. Since then, Pamela has been spearheading her own independent record label, Amber Music, producing music for NL’s finest roots artists, including three of her own solo CDs, and licensing tracks to various labels worldwide. Over the last few years, she has represented Canada at Expo in Japan, toured extensively in England, Canada, the US and Europe, and overseen productions of two original scores for live theater, including her own folk opera, “The Nobleman’s Wedding.” She continues to write, arrange, perform, and tour, in her own highly original and hauntingly beautiful style.

As always, discussion will be encouraged throughout the evening. This is a Words in Edgewise you will not want to miss!

Thursday, February 17th at Eastern Edge Gallery, 8pm, hosted by Morgan Murray. Admission is by donation, refreshments and snacks will be available.

Highlights from the January 20th Words in Edgewise featuring Andy Jones, Mark Ferguson, and Derek Pelley.

Andy Jones – The Abbie Table: Reflections On Life In the Salt Fishery

AUDIO – Andy Jones on CBC St. John’s Morning Show describing the Abbie Table

As part of his month long residency at Eastern Edge, Words in Edgewise is thrilled to present Andy Jones and his Abbie Table project along with two very special guests: Mark Ferguson and Derek Pelley.

In 1999 Abbie (Ellis) Whiffen was asked by her ten-year-old granddaughter: “Grandma, how did you ever grow up without a computer?” This prompted her to write the story “Growing Up, Up in Cove,” which details the life of the Ellis Family who were engaged in the Salt Fishery in Caplin Cove, Hant’s Harbour, between the 1920’s and the 1950’s. Andy Jones, one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most beloved actors and writers, and current owner of the Ellis house, along with the help of over 40 of Abbie’s friends, family, and other professional and amateur visual artists, is creating “The Abbie Table,” a 10′ x 4′ table inscribed with Abbie’s story. It is a truly remarkable piece of collaborative art that commemorates the way many Newfoundlanders lived until very recently, and has all but disappeared.

Words in Edgewise on January 20th at 8:00 pm, at The Eastern Edge Gallery, will feature Andy Jones reading from the table and talking about the process of creating it; Mark Ferguson, a curator at The Rooms Provincial Museum, giving a primer on the day-to-day activities of a fisherman’s family in the Salt Fishery; and Derek Pelley, renowned Newfoundland muscian, speaking about his time visiting the Caplin Cove home of Herbert and Ethel  (and later Harold and Shirley) Ellis.

As always, discussion will be encouraged throughout the evening. This is a Words in Edgewise you will not want to miss!

Thursday, January 20th at Eastern Edge Gallery, 8pm, hosted by Morgan Murray. Admission is by donation, refreshments and snacks will be available.


This month Words in Edgewise proudly presents:

Bruce Johnson – Firmament:

Words in Edgewise is very proud to present Bruce Johnson, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery by day, and novelist by night, reading from his debut novel Firmament. What began as his dissertation for the Graduate Program in Humanities several years ago has become a highly anticipated novel published by Gaspereau Press (of Joanna Skibsrud’s Giller Prize winning The Sentimentalists infamy).

200 years, 13 stories, 1 cove. Firmament is not the historical novel you might expect. It presents a Newfoundland you may not recognize. Spanning two centuries in a small Trinity Bay outport, it weaves a delicate web of the everyday with the unseen and outworldy. Firmament offers a place where the grit of the mundane intersects with the mystery of human desires, dreams and memory.

Prior to this year’s publication, Firmament was shortlisted for the 2007 Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers (WANL) as well as the 2007 Metcalfe-Rooke Award (Biblioasis).

Aaron Williams – “I Feel So Light”

Two New Documentaries for Radio by David Lander and Anne McEwen.

Do not miss Words in Edgewise, Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at Eastern Edge Gallery, 8pm, hosted by Morgan Murray. Admission is by donation, refreshments and snacks are available.

Click on the image to make it bigger.

Words in Edgewise presents Talking to Terrorists

As we prepare to honour the memory of those who died fighting to end war, join Words in Edgewise on November 10th as we explore how we might achieve peace in our world with a very special presentation of Talking to Terrorists. Joan Sullivan, editor, playwright, and Masters of Philosophy Candidate, directs a staged reading of British playwright Robin Soans’ 2005 play. The play’s 29 characters will be performed by Neil Butler, Mary-Lynn Bernard, Kimberly Drake, Ashwin Gupta, Andy Jones, Andrew Loman, Crystal Parsons, and Dave Sullivan.

Talking to Terrorists is a compelling and incisive piece of verbatim theatre—all the dialogue is collected from interviews with real former terrorists and their victims, politicians, relief workers, psychologists, journalists, and others—that explores the complexity of terrorism and highlights the fact that terror cannot be stopped with violence, but only by talking to terrorists.

Do not miss Talking to Terrorists at Words in Edgewise, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at Eastern Edge Gallery, 8pm, hosted by Morgan Murray. Admission is by donation, refreshments and snacks are available

Craig Francis Power reads Blood Relatives! Anatomy lessons with Helen Gregory! And freshly added: Cara Lewis performs rhythm and movement poetry! Words in Edgewise is thrilled to present two THREE great Newfoundland artists on one great night!

Craig Francis Power – Blood Relatives

Craig Francis Power reads from his freshly released award winning first novel Blood Relatives.

Artist, art critic, rock star (Cafeteria), all around good guy, and now award winning novelist, Craig Francis Power lives in St. John’s. His first novel, Blood Relatives, won both the Percy Janes First Novel Award and the Fresh Fish Award for unpublished fiction manuscripts.

Helen Gregory – Anatomy Lessons: Écorchés, Wax Anatomical Models, and the Grotesque Body

Helen Gregory lives and works in St. John’s. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal in 1993, and is currently studying towards a Master of Philosophy in Humanities at Memorial University. The research associated with her graduate work was intrinsic to the creation of the paintings and installation for the exhibition Unrequited Death, which was displayed at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery from December 2009 until May 2010. Gregory has had solo shows at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s NL, and at Gallery Page and Strange, in Halifax NS. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions across Canada, as well as in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Her paintings and bookworks are held in numerous public and private collections, including The National Gallery of Canada, The National Library of Canada, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Loto-Quebec Collection, the City of St. John’s, and the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery. Gregory’s work explores notions of transience and permanence, nature and culture. Using painting and printmaking as a method of research, she examines how the image of the specimen can be re-presented in order to question our relationship with the natural world, and how classification and display systems used in the natural sciences can produce cultural meaning.

Cara Lewis – Rhythm and Movement Poetry

Cara Lewis is a white girl from Newfoundland who, quite recently, discovered some intense inspiration from the works of Public Enemy’s Flavour Flav. She admires rhythm and sound in poetry and lyric delivery; thus, she considers this man, Flavour Flav, to be our modern Dada poet…kind of…

Mixed with personal accounts of activism, community work, politics, Catholic guilt and love, she presents some poems (with some serious beats).

And she hopes you like them.

And if you don’t, you can “suck it”.

Words in Edgewise is happening Thursday, October 14, at the Eastern Edge Gallery (72 Harbour Drive) at 8:00pm. Admission is pay-what-you-can, refreshments and snacks available. See you there!

At Words in Edgewise on September 15, Joan Sullivan presented a new piece for the stage entitled “Science, Technology & Pointius Pilate,” with the help of Neil Butler and Ford Elms. This is what it looked like: