Catching Up: Films, Writing, Music, and More

What a few months it has been! I’ve been trying to stay busy despite having all of my music gigs cancelled, all of the summer festivals I would normally photograph cancelled as well, and basically staying home as much as I can. Still, life goes on. Here’s a list of the latest:

I have an essay that will be published in the anthology You Look Good for Your Age, edited by Rona Altrows, University of Alberta Press, May 2021. The collection of writing by 29 writers from our 40s to 90s is about being a woman and dealing with aging and ageism.

A Monumental Secret was screened as part of the Kyiv Film Festival in July, and the Bobritsa Film Festival, also in Ukraine, in June. And by “screened,” it means people could watch the film online.

Nazi monuments in Canada, one of which being the focus of A Monumental Secret, became huge news when a monument commemorating the same WWII battalion was vandalized in Oakville, Ontario. I weighed in with an article for the Canadian Jewish Record.

I’ve kept the music coming, but online. In April, I performed a livestream concert as part of Femme Folk UK’s series of women/femme performers from the UK and Canada. I did a pre-recorded song as part of a Pride service in June. I performed a couple of songs for a video to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I am performing the “Daughters Day Theme Song” as part of this year’s Daughters Day celebration, which is also a video instead of live. I’ve also done a series of videos from my basement studio, some covers I am learning and some originals. And there is more to come. Follow my Facebook or YouTube music sites to catch up with my performances.

I’ve been editing another community newspaper. The Stony Plain Road and Area News Network (SPANN) launched in March, just as lockdown began.

I’m also going to be updating the news here more often, so check back for another update soon!

A Monumental Secret

Last year, I worked as a co-producer, co-writer, and cinematographer on a film project called A Monumental Secret. Produced with the support of the Edmonton Arts Council, the short film explores a little-known aspect of Ukrainian history in Edmonton, and how two friends grapple with the reality of this information. I worked with fellow writer and producer Adam Bentley on the project, and my friend John Guliak has a new song featured in the film, which helps tie everything together in the end. The film stars the acting talents of Dan Moser and Griffin Cork. Here’s a look at the trailer.

A Monumental Secret trailer from Adam Bentley on Vimeo.

 

Women March Forward & Film Screening

It was another busy weekend, as the event Women March Forward happened on March 25. This was the official follow-up to the solidarity sister march on January 21, where over 4000 people came out to the Legislature to declare that women’s rights are human rights. We wanted to do a “human library” instead of an event of speeches, and bring out organizations that deal with various aspects of women’s concerns as identified in a survey we did following the march. We had two keynote speakers who co-presented on the topic of intersectionality. I did an interview with Global Television about the event. I also did an interview with Metro.

The next day I presented my film McCauley: A Caring Community – Conversations on Social Housing as part of an after-service program at McDougall United Church. I appreciated their kind words in their program.

Caring Community Film Trailer

For the past year I have been working on a short film called McCauley: A Caring Community – Conversations on Social Housing. The film discusses the concentration of social housing in the McCauley neighbourhood, and why housing needs to be a city-wide responsibility. It is an independent production with support from McCauley Revitalization. The official trailer was released a couple of weeks ago – here it is!

Inner City Poetry Contest and More Updates

Work and life have been keeping me pretty busy these last few months, but I have some news to share: I was the first place winner in the 2016 Inner City Poetry Contest! The theme was “Inner City Drum Beats” and I was utterly stunned when my poem “AM in the Hood” took first place. I read the poem at an Edmonton Poetry Festival event on April 17 and the poem (along with possibly a couple of others that I submitted to the contest) will be published in a chapbook this fall.

The video I am working on concerning social housing in McCauley continues to roll along. The working title is now McCauley: A Caring Community – Conversations on Social Housing. Most of the interviews have been completed and editing has begun.

Musically speaking, I performed this past weekend at the Edmonton Earth Day Festival! Here are some videos from the three sets I did.

 

McCauley: A Place to Call Home

Early in the new year I will begin filming my next video project for the City of Edmonton/McCauley Revitalization. Entitled “McCauley: A Place to Call Home – Housing Issues in a Caring Community,” the short film will explore issues of housing and homelessness in the neighbourhood and how other communities can learn from McCauley’s example. The ultimate message is that housing needs to be a city-wide responsibility.The film is also being made with the assistance of Boyle McCauley News. I’ll be posting updates concerning the project at the associated website and Facebook page.