Theatre Adventures (Fringe Festival)

When I was a kid my siblings and I used to love running around the department store, hiding from our mom, pretending we were ninjas, royalty, spacemen, and all kinds of other imaginary characters.

At the time, it made sense to shuffle through the crowd of shoppers and challenge our mother’s patience, but as we grew up we started to challenge that creative energies into various pursuits. I was interested in drawing and video, Ryan was excited about music and drama, Katrina was a poet and a piano player, and Neil was a lover of comedy and performance.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Neil was eventually going to participate in something much larger than himself, and become a member of a society of performance artists where his love of comedy and acting would make perfect sense for him. And now he is a regular on the Fringe circuit.

What the heck is Fringe timotheories?

The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

Well, every summer during the month of August a group of artists, performers, and curators get together to organize an international event that hosts over 800 creative types in something north of 200 shows across a 10 day period. That event is known as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival or simply Fringe for short. It is quite seriously the oldest and largest fringe theatre festival in all of North America.

It takes place in the heart of Old Strathcona and features a chain of participating permanent theatres of the area. For instance, The ATB Arts Barns, The Walterdale Playhouse, the Varscona Theatre, and the Catalyst Theatre are all staples of the event, but neighborhood churches and restaurants like El Cortez take on their share of performers in the system – which is designed to provide artists with a venue, technicians and ticketing services, all in all a great opportunity for those types of artists to get some more exposure.

The major goal of the festival is to promote theatre, but all kinds of artists put in bids to participate in the festival via the lottery system. Which is why the crowd is always so diverse every year, you aren’t guaranteed the same set of performers every year. The second goal of fringe is to promote the spontaneity available in exploring the festival and trying out all kinds of shows. There are festival guides available for purchase, show listings online and at the the venue ticket stations, and of course, festival maps to help you find your way.

The Edmonton International Fringe Festival can be found all throughout the Old Strathcona area from August 11-21 inclusive. Consider taking public transportation to get there as parking is limited and the streets will be PACKED! And if you want to check out my brother’s show, it’s called Drinking In America, presented by Ronin Theatre, and takes place at The Backstage Theatre. I’ve dropped the link for you here.

That’s all I’ve got for the week my friends, I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!

Tim!

That Look (Your Wardrobe)

I’m a little bit nervous to write about this topic.

Mostly because I think that fashion is a personal choice. However, I am also terrified at the prospect of being overwhelmed with the paper cuts of the world, AKA all of the little trappings that go with life, and so I’m constantly thinking about ways to limit the amount of stupid minutia I spend my personal time on. Attire definitely factors into this. While you may think fashion’s your friend, my friends, fashion is danger.

I’d rather be posing a threat. If you know what I mean.

2x08_-_Fashion_is_Danger

Now let’s get into the thick of the hair gel. I think that setting up your personal style is important. You’ll never struggle with an outfit to wear or have a personal crisis before attending a beach themed cocktail party again if you consider the following key points.

How To Dress Like An Artist

Now you could go for the classic artist look, and dress comfortably, you probably would. Because the truth is, if you are an artist, you are very likely already doing something like that and it’s worked for you when it comes to your work. After all, your career is a messy one, full of emotions and material. There are definitely important considerations of practicality, creativity, common stereotypes, and professionalism at stake here.

Let’s start by addressing practical elements of wardrobe. No matter your personal tastes when you are out and about, when you are in the studio, rehearsal or on set, you need to dress comfortably so that you can get the work done. That means having the right clothes for the job. Clothes should fit your body, but not get in the way. And they definitely should not be clothes you want to keep in pristine shape – think thrift shops, especially if you are just starting out and operating on a limited budget.

Now if you are done for the day, you get to take your creativity with you.

That means you should do whatever you can come up with a wardrobe that highlights your personal interests without becoming a dumping ground. I highly recommend starting with the basics and building outwards from there. Get some plain white t-shirts/blouses, and a couple of pairs of black jeans. Jeans can be worn with almost any combination of tops, jackets, and shoes, and if you stick with black, they can almost double as dress pants without anyone knowing.

You can also invest in blue, grey, and black t-shirts, but you don’t need more than a pair of each of these. Then get some henley shirts, v-neck sweaters, cardigans, and some button down shirts. All of these should stay inside that tight-knit wheelhouse of colour. Remember, you are trying to build a base to work from, and because of the choices made you can turn these outfits into casual, semi-formal or dress outfits fairly easily. You should also get a dinner jacket, a quality leather jacket and a nice winter jacket, that way you are covered for all of the seasons. Shoes should be black, brown, white or grey – stick to common styles like heels, flats, sneakers, and desert boots. Noticing a pattern here? Keep it simple and you’ll see where creativity can start to come in.

1453814774-elle-30by30

If you learn to sew your own clothes, you create some character pieces to inject into the mix, and accessorize your existing wardrobe. That means buttons, pins, and screen-printed graphics.

After you get used to the idea of pairing clothes you can begin the process of introducing some more unusual colours back into the mix, and leverage them for when you attending networking events. Before you know it you’ll be adding in cool jewellery and styling your hair in a way that actually makes sense with your unique tastes. The reason why creative people wear black is usually because they want to keep attention off of themselves and on their art, but if your aesthetic brand is on point, you won’t run into that issue any more.

I promise. Well, I have a theory at the very least.

Tim!

 

First Order of Business (Brad Fehr interview, Intuition)

Intuition is both mysterious and incredibly powerful. It’s also really difficult to write about.

Seriously, dear readers.

I probably spent a good three hours online trying to find a way to articulate what I wanted to write as a thematic jumping off point for this interview topic, but then I decided to instead go with my gut, which just felt right. And so here we are, left with a raw and wriggling post about my own love/hate relationship with intuition.

You see, dear readers, I’ve always been a proponent for using intuition, because it can gave you great insight about people, ideas, and places however problematic they are. It straddles the line between philosophy and psychology, and depending on how you view the internal world versus the external world, it can sync quite nicely. Frankly, we all use it whether we admit it or not. And did I mention that it can also lead us to great creative breakthroughs and forging fast friendships with those we “just click with?”

Step-Brothers-Did-we-just-become-best-friends

The same can be said of romantic relationships, sometimes everything just falls right into place, and that person you flashed a smile at that one time quickly becomes the person you join giblets with.

littlemermaid6d22a5abc1c3169f5e7f3fa39df4af53

Come on, that visual reference was funny. You should just laugh, it’s Sunday.

After all, our intuition is always there, and some of us of even rely on a visual element to our intuition, which means that those of us with this ability are likely to become artists and manifest life via symbols, images, dreams or patterns.

Which is exactly what today’s interviewee is all about. Taking existing patterns, models and visions, and applying his own unique perspective to it. Or as he so eloquently put it for me when we first spoke, his straight white CIS male perspective. Which is pretty apt considering the subject matter he works with.

Brad Fehr is an up-and-coming artist who is in the process of finishing his undergrad, but don’t let that fool you into assuming a role for him. He dabbles in painting, philosophy and videography and is comfortable switching back and forth between formats rather easily. He makes art which finds similarities between dead ideas and current ones, and then applies cultural norms to investigate what is at stake.

His comfortability with the interview theme is rather refreshing, and the time just flew by for me in discussing his views on art, life, and what it all means. I suspect you’ll want to head straight to the video from here, so I won’t drone on. Enjoy episode 10 of timotheories interviews, featuring Brad Fehr.

As always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please share this post and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out Brad’s Instagram account to see his portfolio and to contact him for creative services.

Lastly my sincerest thanks to Brad for being bold, brilliant, and bemused. See you tomorrow with an album review that’s features America and love.

Tim!

Killer Instinct (Brad Fehr interview preview)

Human beings are unique from animals in that we have the ability to voice our opinions and change the world around us. We can create and we can destroy, we alter the world with the objects we use on a continuous basis.

From computers, to clothing, to houses, to vehicles, to entertainment, we really do alter reality in a different way then our fellow creatures of the world.

 

We think with such a greater capacity and so we can make decisions which are a lot more complex than flight or fight. In fact, some of us spend so much time with our own thoughts and ideas, that we live lives of reclusion.

Week-end_pleasure

You see I have this theory that the reason why we struggle with these distinctions is because of the ability of our minds to process information rapidly and use for different reasons than simply food, shelter and procreation. It can be very difficult to deal with, that option to live a life of immediacy versus consideration. And what the heck are we supposed to do about intent?

But intuition is not the enemy, dear readers. It can be very useful, especially for creative types. In fact, I’m going to give you something to ponder over with today’s post. An opportunity to think about intuition in a new way.

And thankfully I’ve made friends with a gentleman who happens to have a background in both philosophy and fine art. His name is Brad Fehr and he’ll be lucky number 10 for the timotheories interviews series that has been gaining so much traction. I’m really excited to share that full length interview with you, but as we’ve all become accustomed to, I wanted to ask a hard question of Brad first, so that we could sink into the theme of intuition before the full length interview hits the streets.

 

And so I am overjoyed to give you folks a test shot of episode 10 of timotheories interviews!

As already eluded to above, Brad is an up-and-coming visual artist with a penchant for painting and videography. Below is the preview clip from our interview!

I’m ridiculously excited to share this preview from the Brad Fehr interview and you will see the final result next week, but for now, enjoy our brief interlude and the rest of your Sunday. Think on your life and wonder about the mysteries of the universe. And if you’re in Edmonton, maybe take some time and visit K-Days before it disappears for another year.

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Have a fantastic night, and I’ll see you tomorrow with something to that you could love and hate.

Tim!

Quality Assurance (How To Be Authentic)

Authenticity can be difficult to achieve in the arts, whether you are a painter, a musician, an actor, a writer, a photographer or designer, the list of creative professionals this concept affects and is effected by goes on and on. Authenticity is especially difficult if you are a historian, collector or curator. Questions of who authored the work, when it was made, and its relationship to the culture it’s associated with abound.

And what if the originator isn’t in question at all, but quality of the work against said genius and their oeurve is in question? That’s a tough question too, but believe me I haven’t even addressed one of most difficult questions just yet. The one which I suspect most of you were leaning towards when the word first came to mind – how sincere, thoughtful, and genuine the output of the work is and whether the artist is demonstrating passion in their efforts. That question is one for the ages and something I struggle with too.

Feel like I’m writing a lot of nonsense already dear readers? That I’m going over your heads? That’s because I haven’t even touched the subject proper yet, and we’ve already uncovered a number of definitions and issues with the topic at hand.

This of course is because no matter what level of investment in the arts you ultimately have, the word authenticity itself is difficult to define and important to address in context.

But for the sake of fleshing out an argument, let’s take the definition which I indicated many of you were leaning towards to begin with. Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as follows –

authenticity – true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

Now as an artist, a lover of language both visual and written, I thought it would be fun to run an exercise to break down the definition and build it back up again, in case there are some outliers in our midst. Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about the words which make up the basic definition of authenticity, as it relates to the individual, in particular the artist.

true  –being in accordance with the actual state of affairs

personality – the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

spirit – the inner quality or nature of a person

character – the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves

Now let’s add that definition back in, with a little more detail (my highlighted selections above) and see what happens with the results.

authenticity – being in accordance to one’s own emotional qualities, inner quality, or the way someone thinks

If you sit with that explanation for a minute, it gives a true picture of what authenticity means for an artist if they wish to be sincere with their work and marry that with passion proper. In fact, the words that help explain the word authenticity are composed of the same sorts of words themselves in their own definitions.

What that means for us is that there are commonalities and that at the root authenticity is about quality. Without proper quality something or someone no longer has worth.

5souaga

Let’s put it another way.

You see friends, I have this theory that in order to be authentic, you have to know what you are made up of, what your personal experiences have been. Then and only then can you start to address your emotional qualities, your inner quality or nature, and the way that you think about life and then act upon it. What this means for you is that you are fully capable of changing the world and participating in it, but you have to sort out your doorstep first.

You are valuable, but no one is going to sell your worth for you, you have to figure it out first, begin selling yourself and become part of the global marketplace. Sure there are experts who can appreciate potential, but they know just as I do, that the experience of sorting yourself out is invaluable, and has to come from within.

We’ll touch upon the subject more in future posts (in all forms), but for now, I’m out of theories friends. Share this with an artist and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. See you tomorrow with something melodic.

Tim!