Tag: music

R Streets R Stories

You can thank Sheri for that title – we used it as a hashtag for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival this year, and as an abbreviation of our theme, Our Streets Are Stories.

I always look forward to the CVAF anyway, but this year was extra special because I got Involved again and volunteered as the communications coordinator for the festival. This involved the usual social media effort, manning the Twitter and Instagram feeds while managing to keep myself as far removed from Facebook as possible. My alter ego on there suddenly became alarmingly popular though! This was a thinly disguised excuse to have an official reason to go out every night of the week and pack in as much festivalling as possible. I was creating valuable live coverage, honest! I even got an all access pass! (to a free festival).

I also had to help write press releases and schedule interviews with local media. Sheri (the chairperson) and other members of the planning committee were shunted off to TV and live radio interviews, frequently at horrendous times of the early morning. I did one myself too, at 6.45am on a Tuesday on community radio, practically guaranteeing me an audience of bus drivers and unfortunate Tim Hortons workers.

All these efforts paid off though, and the turn out was HUGE, despite the weather not being as exceptional as last year.  One key message we tried to emphasise in our media briefings was that the festival is #AllWeekLong. So many people still seem to think the festival is just the Street Fair on the last Saturday, when there are arts, dance, theatre, literature, music and film events on every evening for the whole week. Here’s a small sample…

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My parents arrived the first evening of festival week! A great way to start their summer holiday and I made sure to drag them to as many events as we could. They both even wrote and read poems at the poetry slam just 24 hours after their arrival! Poems had to be on the theme of ‘our streets are stories’ again. Here is my effort:

Cathedral Stories are worthy of glory
My poetry usually is not
While trying to avoid complication
I went for literal interpretation
The point of which I forgot.

It’s easier to start with a question, she says
How about, ‘What’s the word on the street?’
or sometimes
‘No Parking’

At this time of year
Stranger signs start to appear
One popped up today
A stencil, sprayed, just outside Safeway
“It’s Good To Be Alive” the street seems to say.

Our cathedral story truly began
Five years ago
Returning from another poetry slam
Or was it just burgers in here?
Memories fade, the details unclear
But walking home we were
Small girl complaining
It had started raining
Small girl stops, plastic jacket undone
Not caring, while I start quietly swearing

She sits on the curb
In a puddle, plants her feet
And starts reading her book
In the middle of the street.






{Hashtag} CVAF2014

Last night I cycled faster than the mosquitoes…

I wish that was some sort of metaphor for something more profound, but it isn’t. We have had One Week of sunshine and summer, and I have been eaten alive. I can outrun the evil little buggers on the bike though! And sometimes, in the right atmosphere, even mosquitoes can be poetic.

Last week was the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. This year was made more special (and considerably more exhausting) by the fact that I’ve been on the planning committee for it, for pretty much the entire year since the last one. It was one of the things, like the Ales club exec, that I merrily volunteered for when I was playing Stay-at-Home Mum last year and thought I’d have LOADS of time. More fool me! I enjoy doing this sort of thing far more than the work I do to earn myself a living unfortunately, but that is another issue entirely.

Being on the communications team for CVAF proved an interesting role – basically, because they’d never had a communications team before! I drew the line at live interviews and getting up crack of dawn to go on early morning TV (I left it to the expert – @thereginamom for that!) but I did get to help write some media releases, edit website content and of course, the hours and hours of tweeting. Before the festival, we did the Taste of Cathedral event back in February, and then the “Fence-Weaving” (my name for it!) earlier in May, where we wove fabric (this year’s theme was The Fabric of Life) into the fence outside Connaught school, to make a giant rainbow. It was gorgeous!

ImageI also got to “manage” the CVAF twitter and instagram accounts, although in many ways, it managed me. I live-tweeted every event I went to, and then curated anything using the #cvaf2014 hashtag. During festival week I would regularly log on to discover 90+ new notifications, and went through the whole lot, retweeting the cream of the crop every night. This is on top of my usual online ramblings, plus promoting the brand new Wheelie Good Coffee as much as humanely possible. To my credit, I only got confused once and used the wrong account, but fortunately no one noticed! I got so in the habit of typing #cvaf2014 though that I caught myself signing off like that on text messages, and once (only once!) it nearly ended up on someone’s insurance quote at work…dedication, people! Dedication! I actually admitted that I didn’t want to use Twitter again after that week. That resolve lasted about 36 hours. #addiction.

So, in far more than 140 characters, here’s what the week looked like from my point of view:


My last post was all about LAUNCH DAY for Wheelie Good Coffee! I was sponsoring the #CVAF2014 Big Yellow Taxi event, providing enthusiastic singers with hot coffee on a wild and windy morning. They filmed the event, which is lovely because I was so busy with coffee that I didn’t really get to appreciate what they were all doing. This is filmed outside Connaught School – here’s the video and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about the choice of song and location… You’re welcome to play Spot The Coffee Cart too though!


Here’s how I spent most of that day:


Tuesday was the free-for-all poetry slam at the Mercury. Same format as last year, in that in exchange for a toonie, we were given two random words from a book, and then had to write a poem in 20 minutes incorporating the two words. This is easier in the Mercury than it sounds because it has been a full house every time I’ve been, and you can get inspired by the people around you. Plus, there’s cheap beer. Every single photo I’ve ever taken in there comes out Red though. This is Micaela:

Imageand here is my effort from the evening: http://belwritesthings.blogspot.ca/2014/05/the-pedestal-of-virtual-misery.html The theme was apt considering my role in the festival!


Somehow, (more through persistence than talent, I feel) I ended up in the Finals of the Word Up Wednesday poetry slam! This meant, No Beer, no “I only had 20 minutes” excuse, (we could choose whatever poem we wanted, and could rehearse), and formal judging with Actual Prizes at stake! I found out I’d got through 6 days before the finals, but in those six days, I had the last minute CVAF running about to do, get the coffee cart ready, survive launch day, work, and even do an exam at work. So, I didn’t rehearse, but I did at least choose my poems. I went for Funny over Deep and Meaningful (as always), but (also as always) the other poets are waaay more comfortable with showing emotion in public than I am. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and even rounded up my own cheering squad in the form of Sam, James and Jeff. I did fairly decently, but I didn’t win. Never mind!

ImageOn Thursday night, I took Miranda to the Dance Expo at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre, because she’s recently decided she LOVES dancing (possibly because Abi The Big Girl Next Door goes to dance classes). I was not quite prepared for what we found there. One of my most reshared tweets was “Where else can you see Munchie the Dinosaur learning to belly dance?”! Even Miri was a bit taken aback by that, but she had a lot of fun, especially when we got to get up and dance ourselves. Unfortunately it was a sort of therapeutic and meditational dance session, very slow and calm. Miranda of course, was practically bouncing off the ceiling and entirely in her own little world. But dance is all about self-expression, right?



We attempted to go see some of the bands on in the Holy Rosary Tent stage. Although we had another enjoyable night – it was a beautiful evening to be out – my attempts to get Miri to listen to the band were nearly futile. To get to the tent, I made the mistake of walking past the little play park at the back of the school. Miri saw “the spinny thing” and spent the ENTIRE evening playing on the roundabout with a gaggle of other kids. I got the first batch of mosquito bites there, and doused them in vinegar borrowed from the chip van that was catering there! I bet I smelled lovely for the rest of the night. We caught about ten minutes of Black Drink Crier, but that was it!


Then came the mahoosive Saturday street fair. We set up Wheelie Good Coffee outside our house. I went to buy milk for it before the street fair had officially opened, and 13th ave was already busy then. By mid morning, you could barely move. So I think my approach was sensible – pitching the cart outside our house, just off 13th Ave, gave me room to breathe, and a steady stream of people walking past who could grab coffee without having to queue up for hours in the heat. And what heat! That was my main hindrance to sales really, few people wanted hot coffee when it hit 30 degrees! Even my mosquitos bites got a bit sunburnt. It was a great practice though, and I got lots of positive comments from people too.

ImageIn the afternoon I closed up shop, so I could go marshal the street fair itself. This involved wearing a hi-vis bright orange vest over my huge purple hippy skirt. My look was completed with my official CVAF cap. Sooo stylish! This is Canada. People are lovely and polite all the time, which meant that “marshalling” basically entailed pointing people in the right direction  of the portaloos. Crowd management was out of the question:

DSCF8490There were 7 blocks full of 350+ stalls, and a turnout of over 40,000 people. And apparently, it was also the hottest street fair day that anyone could remember. Fantastic!! It was a bit hot and tiring and overwhelming for Miri, but she coped rather better after getting an ice cream:


Overall, it was another amazing week, and I have a newfound respect for the whole thing given the sheer amount of work and effort that all the volunteers put in. It was nearly incredible to see how it suddenly all came together at the last minute, thanks to the hard graft by #TeamAwesome. The compliments and reviews keep coming on Twitter too – ALL positive too, which speaks volumes for the local community. I am really proud of #cvaf2014, my fellow volunteers, and this neighbourhood, and I’m so glad to be part of it all!


Cathedral Village Arts Festival, 2013

Many apologies dearest reader(s), unlike last year I just haven’t found the time to do a blog post every day during the festival this week. The sheer length of this blog post should make up for it though!

We had a fantastic week though!!! I love having a huge, free festival just on my doorstep. One nice moment on Saturday was being asked “Oh, are there more stalls up there?” as I walked up the street – no, sorry mate, I’m just walking the half a block home!

This year was extra special mainly because I could actually go to everything. Last year I lacked energy for a lot of it after work, lacked babysitters for anything that went on past 9pm, and worked my arse off during Victoria day and the Saturday street fair. I feel sorry for my former colleagues having to work in “the zoo” that day! The restaurant didn’t actually look as busy this year though…

Stinky and Buzz
Stinky and Buzz

The Opening Parade on Monday was brilliant. Carl was off work too for Victoria day, so we took Miranda along together, with the drum and shakers we’d made at the library the weekend before. She was a little scared by Stinky and Buzz, two guys(?) in 8ft sock monkey-esque costumes apparently representing environmental awareness and depicting a smelly factory and a forest being chopped down. To Miranda and I, Buzz just looked like a freakish monkey with an axe lodged in his head:

Expert hula hoopers
Expert hula hoopers

However, as soon as we got to the Les Sherman park and she found her friends and saw kites and hula hoops and ice cream and things to climb on etc. etc. she cheered up no end. Perfect weather too – she actually caught the sun a bit!

My go!
My go!

Tuesday was my favourite event of the whole year, The Poetry Slam in the Mercury.  The theme of the festival was “Roots and Wings”, so this year Slam competitors were given a page out of a book on birds, and a page out of a gardening magazine. We had to pick a phrase from each, and include them in our poem. And we had half an hour to write it. Well actually, more like 20 minutes after we’d bought beer and found each other (lovely friends Amy, Carmen and Marianne came along, as well as Miri and Carl. Amy did a poem too and we had a great troupe of cheerleaders and moral support!)  As usual, my own effort wasn’t the startling, groundbreaking piece of literature or poetic masterpiece that it sounded like in my head (that would be the beer’s fault), but I did get to include the phrase “an inch-thick layer of Sphagnum moss”. I’m fairly confident that phrase just had it’s debut in modern poetry.

They're here!
They’re here!

Wednesday we missed everything, because…. The Parents arrived!! Their “summer” holiday, mainly to see Miri and celebrate her birthday, (a little early). They didn’t intentionally come for the Arts Festival, but it was great that they were here for it! On Thursday we wandered around and took Miri to Kiwanis park while they ‘acclimatised’ and got over the jetlag. We found all this Art outside Connaught Library too! I dragged them to see some dance events at the Cathedral Neighbourhood centre. We saw inCubanate and the Praire Lily cloggers (NOT the English style of clog dancing, more like tap!) and some belly dancers. Miranda was utterly transfixed and kept trying to get up on stage and join them! We also saw Brass Buttons (a band) at the big tent that popped up in the park opposite us. Not really my thing but Miri rounded up a crowd of Small Children, raced around madly and danced like a loon all night. Which is what you should do at festivals.

DSCF5096We saw possibly the most bizarre show of the festival on Friday, the Saskatchewan Film board together with the International Puppet Underground Film Festival, (adorably called “iPuff”) produced a load of little short films, most involving puppets and ranging from the pointless to the incomprehensible to the downright WEIRD. My favourites were “Saskatchewan is boring”, one about a small boy being attacked by a duck, and of course, WolfCop.  Carl and I also went out Late (gasp!) and saw a couple of bands – Robot Hive and the Screaming Daisies. They were both great and I got a rubber beer holder, so I was happy.

The finale was the street parade on Saturday. We started the day

Floral patterned wellies for my "roots" and Wings left over from Halloween!
Floral patterned wellies for my “roots” and Wings left over from Halloween!

off wonderfully with a very Canadian Pancake breakfast, and I dressed up according to the theme… There was another parade, this time involving steampunks and some very brave women in catsuits, loads and loads of stalls and food trucks, more music, the “lit tent”, living pictures (ie: people walking round dressed up as a Picasso painting) and even a Bike Valet service! Then there was Funville, with yet more music, various activities for the kids (Miri took it upon herself to teach others “proper football” in the park), and my personal favourite, The Society for Creative Anachronism.

It was incredibly busy, and beautifully sunny. There were even more bands on in the evening, but by that time we’d had such a hectic week that we didn’t have the energy to go out again. So much fun!! Official sources say it was actually a bit bigger than last year. They extended the fair by another few blocks so there were 350 stalls, and around 40,000 in attendance on the Saturday! Incredible!

I can’t imagine anything like this ever happening in Darlington…

DSCF5104 DSCF5115

One last thing I should mention on here…we found a stall run by the Regina Roller Derby club, and were given a flyer for this:

I don’t know what it is, but someone stole my name!! 🙂

CVAF Day 5: Dance

Toooooooooo tiiiiiiiiireeeed. Will explain tomorrow.


[Saturday edits]

Still tired.

Well, I’d like to think of yesterday as quite a success. For various non-blogable reasons, Tanneille couldn’t come in yesterday so I said I’d do her shift, which meant opening up the place and getting in for 6am – not as bad as it sounds given it takes me a whole 16 seconds to get to work. Such a tiring commute, I tell you. But   the I am an idiot and because there is no off switch for my brain, I got very, very little sleep the night before. I learned, as part of Cathedral Village arts festival, that this building used to be a Jesuit College! It is an old building in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Regina, so its not really surprising it has some interesting history. As I mentioned in the last post though, Thursday night was very wet, wild and windy, and even though I tried to go to bed early, the howling wind and odd creaks and thumps of wind in trees/general old building groans/rain dripping from leaky gutter/etc etc got me completely paranoid – firstly that someone was breaking in to the cafe, and then as I was falling asleep, that the ghosts of old Jesuits were going to come and eat me or something. You know, the usual sort of late night sensibilities…

Anyway, the wildness of Thursday seemed to have blown itself away by morning, and Friday, whilst not actually being hot, was sunny and warm. And the penultimate day of the festival. Queue the whole world and their mum  coming in for veggie burgers, and my most hated of all drinks, the Large London Fog (not invented in London – see here!) It was the busiest I’ve seen it so far in the afternoon, with four of us doing the high speed dance around the kitchen trying to keep on top of it all. Even though I was supposed to finish at 2pm, I couldn’t leave Ashten on her own with a queue out the door, so I stayed put until 4. Ten hour days do not do me any good!!

Miranda, on the other hand, got a lot of sleep the previous night; she went to bed earlier than usual without a fight for once, and managed to sleep through me getting up to go to work so early. I just left her up there while I set up and opened the cafe, (which I always worry about doing, always needlessly). When Ashten arrived three hours later, I went to check on Miri and she was still asleep. I had to actually wake her up to get her to daycare! By evening, she was still merrily bouncing around, so I summoned the energy to take her to Artesian, which is a live music/concert venue that I’ve never yet managed to explore. There was a show on which said it was suitable for all ages, by a group called FadaDance. All young teenagers by the look of them, so some sort stage school I imagine. The place was packed out though so we had to stand at the back, there were no seats left! Miri squeezed through and managed to get good view from the front of the balcony. Fadadance were very good, but I don’t really get “dance” performances – I need a sort of narrative. Sure, they moved well and it was all very pretty, but it didn’t ‘speak to me’ and I wouldn’t have a clue what it was supposed to be about. Miri was utterly, completely transfixed though! She loved it! I’ve only ever seen her that enchanted by taking her to see Sesame Street Live!

When we went to the gig the previous night, she did sort of jig about a bit, and she certainly loves her music, and will drum happily with anything that comes to hand. She also headbangs with me 🙂 Maybe she’ll be a dancer?? I just hope she hasn’t inherited my clumsiness and total lack of coordination!

CVAF Day 4: Music

Tonight wasn’t quite as good an outing as I was hoping for, sadly! There were a lot of “Get Lit” writer-ish events on tonight at Artesian, which is a live venue up the road from us that I have not yet managed to visit. However, whatever was going on there tonight said strictly “no minors allowed” – so not the sort of thing I could bring Miranda to, annoyingly! But anyway, we’ve done poetry and stories, so tonight was going to be Music night. Better still, said music was happening in a big tent, in the park right opposite the coffee house, 200 yards to walk! Actually, I didn’t see the tent go up, but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t there last night….

Miranda was still munching her shepherd’s pie at 6pm when it started (I made Shepherd’s pie tonight because Tanneille was playing a song about Shepherd’s Pie at work this morning!?) so we missed the first session – a singer/songwriter woman. Whoever she was, she wasn’t very loud since we couldn’t hear any of it from across the road!

We went over in time to catch Chad Kichula and the Douglas Avenue Garage Band. They were pretty loud and very good in a generic rock sort of way. The other guitarist (not the eponymous Chad) looked worryingly like Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, complete with wellies!!! Now there’s a cultural reference few round here will get! I took a few photos but my camera battery was nearly dead, so here they are performing in Banff, from youtube:

According to some bloke I follow on Twitter, there was winds straight from the arctic forecast for today, and I can well believe it – it is suddenly wet and FREEZING again!! Another huge swing in the climate, and it’s hard to believe we got a bit sunburnt on Sunday.  Anyway, unfortunately Miri just got too cold and too tired to enjoy it, even when I took her to the sliiiiiiiiiide and climbing frame at the other end of the park. i had wanted to see the next band, The Lonesome Weekends, who were headlining. I have no idea what they are like, but I have seen a lot of people round here wearing Lonesome Weekend t-shirts, so they are either good or local or both. Plus the name is kinda apt for me at the moment 😦 But Miri was definitely not a happy beastling, so we went home again and watched a few of her beloved Octonauts instead, poor baby!

I guess I will have to look up the Lonesome Weekends on youtube really….

This song is very, very appropriate for the Arts Festival so far!

Another Emo moment

Yes, it’s Florence and the Machine. No, I can’t think of anything original tonight. I like the lyrics and the sentiment is very apt at the moment.

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but its left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me…

p.s. Dear Florence, re: Track 10 (Say my name) “FLORENCE WELCH” Now give it a rest, will you?