Sometimes it is just the journey.
In the first season of Renaissance Man there is an episode with Dani Crosby. Dani and I created a painting based on words based on feelings. I was feeling tired and old. One of the main disappointments for me at the time was the lack of anything concrete to show for being in the Oshawa music scene for three decades, apart from the Glen Bensley Walk of Fame star outside Isabella’s that is.
Dani drew my feelings out, we created a word map and then the painting came out of that process. What I learned from Dani, the painting shows, is its sometimes just the journey.
That journey definitely includes Rosanna and Giacomo Bruno of Isabella’s Chocolate Cafe. Curiously Broken Arts Collective, the all-ages organization, which officially retires at the next RMG Fridays on Apr 5, was launched in part because of a show I was presenting at the cafe. That was ten years ago.
RMG Fridays grew in part out of art shows I was presenting at Arthur on the 4th. At that time quite some years ago there was no music, no events and like today very little engagement with the local arts scene. Brad and Marylynne Stella were featured in a series of paintings by Jeff Leech. There were quite a few in the series, including Matt Holtby, Liisa Whalley and Glen Bensley. I wanted the series to be shown at the RMG so I undertook the project. It took some doing. Leech’s series was shown at the Station Gallery and he did have a painting in the Durham Reach show, as did Dani Crosby. The full series never was displayed in the RMG.
I was in Isabella’s yesterday (Mar. 19) and in the course of the conversation Rosa mentioned she was going to see Lennon Stella at the Danforth Music Hall. She invited me, we went.
The Stellas had been regulars at the cafe when the family lived in the area. Brad and Marylynne were regulars too at Glen Bensley’s open mic. The Stellas were also featured at the Shwaltz, a festival in Oshawa I had a hand in making.
“This is actually a song Lennon wrote herself”
So we went just to go and to see the girl perform on her first date of her solo show singing her songs from her album.
She seemed nervous although I doubt she was, Lennon has had a lot of experience on stage and on tv in the show, Nashville. She seemed more comfortable when she sat on a stool with an acoustic guitar for the track, “Polaroid” and behind the keys for a ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ cover. Comfortable in so much as she was chatting with the audience, engaging more. On the tracks where she sang and danced with her band, there wasn’t so much interaction, although with every pause there was a surge of screaming with would overwhelm anyone who did try to speak.
The show was the first of two back-to-back sold-out shows. the second is tonight Mar 20.
The top photo above is of the show ticket and a copy of the Wooly Tuque, a fanzine I published in the early 90s. There is a small piece on some Stellas in a rock band, they are just kids themselves then. The Tuque was created because I didn’t think the big media in town were covering enough of the local alternative and indie scene. So I made a platform, just like this slowcity.ca is and just like Renaissance Man is.
I am a local music nerd, the scene has been good to me and think l I have been good to it in return; not just indie music but indie thinking. I am a believer in DIY, in making the world you want, in building the world you want, on action. Maybe I have nothing really to show for it all after thirty years or maybe I do. Maybe someone else decides that.
I was chatting with my mum on St Patrick’s Day as she was surrounded by several great-grandchildren. I marvelled at how she has seen them born, their parents before them and their parents, her own children. Its a wonderful thing to be, to be a witness, to life and birth and growth and pride and dreams being manifested.
So maybe there is nothing concrete, nothing tangible, no marker to say I have made something here. Maybe the only marker is the briefest of a connection with others on their journey and sometimes, most times, at all times really its just a journey, me on mine and Lennon on hers. God speed.