Talkin’ About My Generation (Nextfest 2016)

It’s Thursday time! it’s Thursday time!

And you know what that means… personal updates, calendar occasions, or local events!

Let’s spin the wheel and find out. Tick, tick ticktick tick tick tickticktick ticktickticktickticktickticktick ticktick tick tick tick tick tick

And the wheel stops on local events!

Which is fantastic because I want to write about a local event today – it’s an event that started exactly one week ago and which will be wrapping up this Sunday, an event called Nextfest.

Nextfest is a multi-disciplinary event which showcases the talents of dancers, musicians, actors, writers, and visual artists. It has been around since 1996, which means this year marks the 20th anniversary of the festival.

Founded by Bradley Moss and now run by festival director Steve Pirot, Nextfest is a celebration of the next generation of artists. Those up-and-comers who are undiscovered and just sorting out their individual voices. It is a well known festival in the Edmonton arts community and if you are talented & lucky enough to be selected to participate, you just might be one of the 700+ artists that gets featured in the event.

To top it off, if you are a visual artist, you might even have the tremendous opportunity to grace the cover of the festival program. Which is pretty dang cool.

I’m probably going to date myself somewhat by writing this, but I remember when I think about this event I am transported right back to when I graduated from the UofA in 2007. 4 of my friends and members of my graduating class were invited to showcase their work in the exhibition and that was my first exposure to the festival. It was a lot of fun and the parties were fantastic. Then a couple of years past by and then my girlfriend at the time was also invited to exhibit her work, which gave me even more exposure to how the production worked and incredible amount of time spent by the artists and the festival organizers.

So when it came time to see my little brother participating on the theatre side even more years later, I had a deep respect for Nextfest and a belief in it’s inherent significance for the Edmonton landscape.

Which is why I decided that this year would be a great time for my re-entry into the mix and an opportunity to attend the Nextfest Visual Art Niteclub, a gallery event hosted within the larger framework of Nextfest and tonight happens to be THE best night to attend the gallery.

the Nextfest Visual Art Niteclub features art making all night, a play, live music, and performance art pieces for small audiences of 1 or a few. The event is licensed, all ages, and FREE. I’ve already been down to meet with the curator Steven Teeuwsen, and meet with one of the artists, who MAY be doing an interview with me shortly.

So come on down to Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre tonight and enter in the west door between RBC and Bonnie’s Lounge – It’s gonna be awesome. And that’s all I’ve got for this week folks, I’m out of theories, so I’ll see you on Sunday!


Four-Letter Word (Holy Fuck, Congrats review)

Blasphemous or obscene language. That’s what I read when I looked up profanity in the dictionary.

Apparently it bothers some, offends others, and it irreverent to many. We could put attention on the Internet, loosening morals, higher education or any number of subjects, but the point is this. When you use a swear word, people will pay attention.

At least for a minute or two. Holy Fuck.




Holy Fuck – Congrats
released May 27, 2016
******** 8/10


Holy Fuck is a Canadian electronica band currently on the Young Turks label. The band uses live instruments and several non instruments to create their unique sound, which sounds electronic but is not created with laptops or tracks. For example, they’ve been known to use toy phaser guns in their songs. Seriously.

A good instrumental act is hard to find, but once you do, you better hold on tight because their sound will be a snowflake in the summer, beautiful and unique, but fleeting. You can capture it and put it under glass, but it won’t function the same way. That’s probably why the best instrumental acts are often on independent labels, untapped and underexposed potential.

Suffice it to say Holy Fuck are a good indie instrumental act, though you are probably wondering how Congrats fares as an album overall, right dear readers?

I personally really like House of Glass, that opener uses a really cool baseline and what sounds to be sirens to evoke darkness without ever being explicit, and wait for the build up – it’ll give you goosebumps. Tom Tom and Sabbatics are also some kind of wonderful. Tom Tom with it’s glitchy soundscape and haunting vocals and Sabbatics with it’s ever-rising climb of rhythm.

This is the kind of dance album that we could have used 4 or 5 years ago, but which the band wasn’t around to make. Likely because they were recharging after 3 strong album efforts and an end of the dance-rock heavy era of the oughts.

And with that consideration, the true question remains – are Holy Fuck still relevant? Or were they ever?

Holy Fuck is both my electronic dream and electric nightmare. Their capacity to produce non-electronic sounds that actually sound better than the real thing is simply fantastic and proof that au naturel is how I like it.

The supposed problem though, is that dance rock doesn’t have a lasting impression with the masses, at least not one that helps you remember it as a good experience. And unfortunately Holy Fuck is also something of an exercise in construction. They figure out a way to make a track and piece together the disparate elements, but never take a real risk to produce higher level sonic bliss. Kind of like that friend which you know will make you laugh and you feel perfectly comfortable with at the party, but isn’t going to floor you with philosophy later on.

It’s hard to fault them though, when the beats are so bumpin. To quite Anthony Fantano, I’m feeling a solid 7.5 to an 8 on this one… And transition.




Holy Fuck aren’t a gimmick band, despite what moments of this write-up might tell you. If anything, I suspect they are subversive little dance-rock enthusiasts and they wanted a way to play music while poking holes in some of the weaker genre elements.

With Congrats they’ve successfully done that, but the question remains. Are they still relevant?


Tell Tale Art (National Poetry Month)

I’m sure many of you have stories about how much you hated reading poetry and learning about the hidden meaning of poems when you were growing up. Especially in junior high, also know as those years between 12-15 years old, if you aren’t Canadian.

I’ve always loved to read and to write myself, but I’ve never had much of an attention span for reading at hours on end, unless I was really committed to a book, but not much can do that.

Which is why I often enjoyed poems.

Poems can be short and sweet or incredibly long, because their forms vary between generations, authors and cultures. I think of it like this, if you can enjoy music, you certainly can enjoy a poem. Because poems can serve a similar purpose, invoking emotion.

But a fair number of people ignore poetry because it doesn’t have that same sexy appeal as music. Music can be enjoyed socially (more easily), you can dance to it, and you can walk away and then come back to it.

Which is probably why academics of the form became discouraged in the 1990s and decided to do something about it, to get your attention and share the beauty of the form.

National Poetry Month is an event in the United States which takes place every April and is celebrating it’s 20th year of existence.

Did you know that the Academy of American Poets came up with the celebration after the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March)? Now I am not going to assume any authority on black rights and women’s rights, because I am neither black nor a woman and I don’t know what it’s like to be either, but doesn’t mean that poetry and political rights are on the same level.

I can write that statement fairly safely. But you know what that tells me about poetry, a written art form that often gets the short end of the stick? We don’t give it nearly enough respect.

Luckily for me, you, and everyone else who loves to read beautiful words, national poetry month has grown rather organically over the past 20 years and publishers have taken note. Taken from Wikipedia:

Each year, publishers, booksellers, educators and literary organizations use April to promote poetry: publishers often release and publicize their poetry titles in April, teachers and librarians focus on poetry units during the month; and bookstores and reading series frequently hold special readings. National Poetry Writing Month encourages writing a poem a day in celebration.

Canada joined the efforts in 1999 and has been supporting this event ever since, so Canadians like timotheories benefit from this as well.

What is most fascinating to me about this month is the ability to draw up debate amongst its supporters and antagonists, because by drawing attention to poetry every April it draws attention to the art form, but potentially detracts from other months when writers release new works.

The National Poetry Website of course has some great content to help celebrate the history of poetry while encouraging increased publication and distribution of books to support poets and poetry. How the organization highlights the history of the form is through sharing both living poets and classic poets with readers, introducing poetry into the school curriculum, and facilitating positive attention through traditional media and the internet.

The website even has a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. As you folks know already, I love list. But I’m not going to share the whole thing with you, just a taster.

Some of my favourite suggestions are as follows

  1. memorize a poem
  2. buy a book of poetry from a bookstore
  3. attend a poetry reading
  4. read a poem at an open mic
  5. learn about the different poetic forms

Now I’m not expecting you to leap onto the poetry train while it’s running full bore, but just consider for a minute that this type of creative writing could provide you with an experience you just cannot get from music or long form literature. Start with the more well known favourites like T. S. Eliot or Robert Frost and do yourself a favour and investigate another area of the arts. It may only be a theory right now, but growth only happens through change.

That’s all I have this week my friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves! Come back on Sunday for a new episode of Cross Talk, and of course, comment, subscribe and share!


It’s Pretty Refreshing (Ellie Goulding, Delirium review)

What do you do when you really like something and you’re afraid of that old adage “too much of a good thing?” Fun fact, one of the earliest examples of this phrase in print is from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Turns out, if you are like me, you just go for it and hope you haven’t just wasted your time and hard earned dollars.

That’s why this week’s timotheories Melodic Monday review is so enticing. I am already in love with this artist, not romantically, mind you, it might be worse than that. I’m delirious over her music.




Ellie Goulding – Delirium
released November 6, 2015
********** 10/10


Elena “Ellie” Goulding is a very multi-dimensional singer and musician. Her career began in 2009 (my opinion), when she signed to Polydor Records.

She released Lights In 2010, and with it the title track reached top 10 lists in the US billboards in 2011. Goulding’s second studio album, Halcyon, was released in 2012. The lead single was Anything Could Happen.

Three years later, we have finally been introduced to Goulding’s third studio album, titled Delirium, with On My Mind as the album’s lead single.

This is a very surreal album to listen to folks.

Hold up for a minute, give me a minute here to explain my rationale a bit better. I mention this quality of Delirium because I really, really, really like it, but I don’t know how many other people will appreciate this record right out of the gate.

I immediately enjoyed it, but I can see why some of her biggest advocates will be disappointed by the seemingly “sudden” shift from EDM and electropop tones into a mature dancepop effort. But I’m a grown man and this is not only the album I didn’t realize I wanted, but it’s the one that fans of Goulding need. Sorry, not sorry for the Dark Knight reference.

All of the songs tackle topics of love, life, and labour, but they don’t treat us like children and hopeless romantics while they do it. Again, as I mentioned, I find it weird to listen to, because it’s a pop album.

But I think this album represents a turning point in pop music. We are finally starting to see more nuanced efforts in the industry, and it’s because talented artists enjoy this kind of music too and they want to participate in the culture.

Goulding calls this her “big pop” album, and it makes that mark very clearly. Being a child of the 80’s, you could make an argument that she is better suited for this synth resurgence than her contemporaries. I know I do.

The intro track starts us off strong, with stadium inspired instrumentals, and leads us right into Aftertaste, one of my favourite tracks on the album. This one is about an ending relationship, a sober one at that, but without all of the bitterness at the end.

Something In The Way You Move is next up and will remind you of track 9, Love Me Like You Do, which apparently was released for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, but I won’t hold that against her.

On My Mind, is a clever enough song, and opens you up for the more exciting ones which show up midway through the album – Don’t Panic, and We Can’t Move to This.

Army is an epic track for sure, but I really think the bonus track on the deluxe edition, I Do What I Love, showcases Goulding’s unique voice and where she has come 3 albums and 6 years later.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I’m already a fan of Ellie Goulding, so I bought the deluxe edition of the album, and as a result I’ve been treated to an additional 7 tracks. Which I think are essential. Outside and Powerful are great collaboration choices. Besides, who doesn’t like Calvin Harris and Major Lazer?

You need to listen to this album. Period.




It really was a tough decision to make, because I had promised myself I would do whatever I could to buy and review albums from artists that I hadn’t heard much of previously or whom I did not already own something in their catalogue.

But this was too difficult to resist. And I think I just gave my first 10. What do you think? Was I off the mark? Leave some comments!


Chameleon (Erin Albert, Social Intelligence)

Last week I wrote about a very wonderful project that is about to unfold on timotheories! In case you didn’t get a chance to read it the moment I published last week, go take some time for yourself, and I’ll wait here for you.

And definitely don’t worry about the delay, I don’t expect it take you too long to get caught up.

Okay, glad we are now all on the same page. Let’s move forward!

For the first time in this blog’s history, I will be sharing with you a video interview that I have put together with an up-and-coming actor, singer, and dancer. One who is Edmonton based but has travelled across several provinces to make her art happen. The kind of artist that invokes visions of bohemia and punk rock rebelliousness, but with all of the sweet qualities of nurturer and confidante. Think Gwen Stefani, but like a thousand times more cool than all that.


This lady is the artist you would think of when you imagine someone who is really passionate about building and maintaining professional but compassion filled relationships in the community.

I’m especially proud to have had the opportunity to get to know her personally over the past year and can thankfully now count her among my close circle of friends.

Ladies and gentleman, dear readers, I am so proud to introduce my talented friend Erin Maxwell Albert, who will be the first interviewee you get to SEE and HEAR on the blog.

I’ve included the link to the video here. I think you will enjoy it.

Get ready to laugh along with me as Erin describes what it’s like to work with her castmates, why she enjoys psychology tests, and who her personal hero is when it comes to interacting with other human beings.

Erin did a tremendous job and was a very good sport as I navigated my way through simple technical difficulties and learning on the fly how to use the equipment I recently acquired. We talked about some great aspects of becoming a multi-disciplinary artist and how she personally navigates through the waters of the theatre lifestyle.

Now that we have discussed some of my theories on social intelligence and gotten feedback from someone who lives and breathes that quality, that’s about all I can dazzle you with this week. But as always, I would love to know what you think; please leave some comments. What was your favourite part?

Lastly, a very big thank you to Erin for being excellent, entertaining and elegant.