Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sole Brothers

It’s often said that the first thing a woman notices about a man are his shoes. I, being a Lover of Women, have amassed a decent (some would say, obscene) “Sneaker” Collection. I am a firm believer that, nothing puts the finishing touch on one’s appearance better than the right (or right for you) choice of footwear.

Imagine how weird Prince would have looked in “Purple Rain” had he traded in his High Heeled Boots for a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse. I don’t think his Purple Trench Coat / White Pirate Frill Shirt / Leather Pants combo would have been the same, had he been wearing sneakers.

Pairing a classic outfit of Dark Denim Jeans and a White T-shirt with slightly worn canvas sneakers just seems right. Especially if those sneakers have been worn just enough to have a great patina to them, so that they are not so clean to be mistaken for brand new. An outfit like that not only feels comfortable, but it looks laid back and relaxed. Hence, the reason the fit described above is a staple amongst human beings aged 5 – 60.

Some of the more sartorially inclined or daring even, tend to use their footwear as a way to make a statement. Or as a way to support the theme of their outfit, either through colour, brand or silhouette. A statement outfit of skinny black jeans, black slim dress shirt an red tie could be topped off by a statement making pair of 24 hole Cherry Doc Marten Boots.

Supporting themes would be something along the lines of a Slim Grey Two-Button Suit, with a pair of Black Canvas Oxfords. A slim suit and a slim shoe. The silhouette of this outfit is very modern or for the stylistically cynical, it’s trendy. But, it still looks good.

One of my “go to” sneakers from my collection is a pair of Leather and Tweed AF1s.

The leather is a rich brown, almost grey-black. The Tweed is classic Harris Tweed and the accents are pale Pink. They look great dressing down a pair of Dark Grey Slacks / White Oxford Button Down Shirt and Charcoal Grey Cardigan. They also work with Dark Blue Denim / random logo T-Shirt / Zip-Hooded Sweatshirt/ Baseball Cap look, which I exclusively seem to be in on my days off in the fall season.

Footwear holds the key to a complete outfit, by having the final say on one’s fashion statement for the day. Most of the time, you are trying to (literally) put your best foot forward.

When I See You…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall, Autumn, L'Atomne...

I have a favourite season. That would be autumn. I enjoy autumn for it’s comfortable days, and cool nights. Not only does it cause people to be very relaxed and in the mood for great conversation and carousing, but it also lends to some great stylistic layering opportunities.

Layering in clothing is important because it’s functional. Fashion and function really do go hand in hand. I’m pretty sure Lady GaGa owns a Parka, because who the hell is gonna go out at night in November in New York City wearing only a Leotard, Fishnet Stockings and Stilettos…even hookers wear Trench Coats.

Layering in the fall helps your body adjust to the temperature change. Take a sweater just incase it gets too cold, or lose the scarf if you get too hot. You don’t have to suffer the elements for the sake of “Looking Good” I would rather look like I’m bundled up for a storm, than have my bare arms wind burnt because my T-Shirt is too nice to be hidden underneath a sweater. Vanity and Style are NOT related.

Layering fabrics is a great way to create different outfits out of a small number of items.
Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean you have to pack away the V-neck t-shirts. (Not that anyone one actually does that. However, if it has bedazzled dragons on it, it should be soaked in bleach, and then tossed in an incinerator) So, put a Cardigan over that V-Neck ( I repeat, no bedazzled dragons!!! ) and grab a nice Tweed Sports coat from a second hand shop. If you still feel exposed to the elements due to your plunging neckline, just grab a light scarf. Preferably in a dark solid colour such a charcoal, navy or black. Add Slacks, or Denim and some classic work boots and your fit is complete.

Now, take the Denim again, lose the cardigan and V-Neck, swap in a Slim Grey button-down shirt, and the outfit has a new life. And you only sacrificed two pieces. Try losing the jacket for the cardigan with the button down, and you have another take on the fit.

How about we lose the Cardigan and scarf, keep the button-down shirt, keep the denim (denim is very adaptable) and grab a Crew Neck Sweatshirt, and a Down Vest. Now, you have a fit that is more casual than the sport-coat/cardigan look, but you really only swapped one of them out for the sweatshirt. Anyone else having as much fun as I am?

So while some of you may be mourning the loss of you tank tops, board shorts and flips flops, I’m excited for hoodies, work boots, scarves and denim. I’ll be ready for the weather and I won’t have to feel as though I’m losing style points for staying attuned to the season.

When I See You...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fringe Festival Love Letter

The St.Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival is something I have been
involved with for the last 5 years. In the weeks before graduating
Theatre School, I heard that the festival was looking for Venue
Technicians. I was about to complete a technical theatre based program
and 3 of my friends had already secured jobs as Venue Techs. I wanted
a fun summer gig regardless of how little it paid, so I figured this
could be something fun.
I contacted the Technical Director at the time and told him that I was
interested in a position on his technical team. We had met a couple
months before on a gig and had mutual friends who assured him I was
smarter than the average bear and worthy of a fringe tech position. In
the days leading up to the festival I was initiated into the Montreal
Fringe community. Meaning, I got pretty wasted and learned about the
groups I would be working with and some of the pratfalls that come
with being a technician at the fringe. The fact that I remembered the
names of my fellow crew members after our appropriately named
DisOrientation meetings was impressive enough. How I managed to
survive my first festival was a feat in mental and physical toughness
all on it's own. In that first fest, I mended a broken heart, made
life long friends and formed a great relationship with some amazing
people in the Montreal Theatre community.
It was my first paid technical job and it has opened up doors for me.
It has become a large part of my life and something I look forward to
every summer.
There are only 5 days left to go out ad catch some of the festival.

Go have a beer at the beer tent, see a show or hang out at the fringe
after hours party "The 13th Hour" nightly at te Studio Juste Pour
Rire, starting at 1am.

When I See You...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jean-Pierre Perreault

Seeing as how writing about artists just out of the blue like this, in this kind of forum, can be tricky in terms of what I can post and what I can not, I will use this space to link to credited sites about the company and share my own experiences with these artists, whether it be as a collaborator, audience member or a genuine "fan". Forgive me if this feels unbalanced or disorganized.


So, I work for a Dance company. I am a freelance artist, but also I have a semi-regular gig with a company. Right now we are in the midst of creating a new show that will premiere very soon. We are creating this show at a Choreographic Centre known as Circuit-Est. Circuit-Est has their creation space and rehearsal studios inside a building that has a place in Canadian Contemporary Dance History. The Ediface Jean-Pierre Perreault. The following is taken from the Circuit-Est Website;

The Édifice Jean-Pierre-Perreault

The Anglican Church of Saint-Thomas, built in 1907 and closed in 1949, was used for a few years by a theatre company, Les Compagnons de Saint-Laurent, till it was reverted to its religious vocation in 1953. The Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault purchased the church in the mid-1990s and transformed it into a choreographic space.

A few years later, the foundation just managed to avoid bankruptcy and the choreographic centre had to be closed in november 2004. It was only in January 2008 that Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique moved into the Édifice Jean-Pierre-Perreault, which also houses the Jeanne-Renaud and Peter-Boneham studios, its administrative offices, and those of six of its members and of the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault.

This building is the home of the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault. This post is about that Company, and how seeing Jean-Pierre Perreault's work helped shape my mind as a lighting designer while I was learning about myself as a choreographer.

La Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault.

In my first year of university, I found myself in Montreal experiencing dance in ways I never had before. I was 20 years old, and had been dancing since I was 8. In those years leading up to university, I had only been exposed to two Canadian dance companies; La La Human Steps and the Danny Grossman Dance Company. Being in Montreal opened me up to so many new dance experiences, most of them rubbing me the wrong way, or polarizing me. But, in early 2002 I saw a production in the very building I'm working in right now that made something click inside my head. The FJPP performance of Nuit changed the way I looked at Contemporary Dance. The last time I had seen a performance by a company that made me aware of my need to be involved in this art form was in September 1995, when I saw a performance of "Revelations" by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Toronto. (Google that company / show)
But, this night in 2002, I saw things on stage that I never thought I would like. I guess after studying dance so intensely at school the months prior to watching the show, I realized I was rediscovering why I had moved away to study dance.

I was watching something that was affecting me in ways that dance never had before. And at this point in my life, I had been dancing for twelve years. It was happening in the way the dancers moved on-stage, they way they used their voices with out actually speaking, the set and how the stage looked as though it went on forever, and then there was the lighting. I felt as though I was watching a massive gathering of people outside, at night in a city square after a rainstorm.

I was drawn to the staging and the world he had created through his choreography, set and lighting. It stimulated my mind, an had me thinking about ways to create a scene for my own choreography. How could I make a world for my work to exist in? Where are my choreographies taking place? What time of day is it? etc. etc.

When I was applying to study lighting design, I referred to the staging of JOE, Jean-Pierre Perreault's seminal work, in my entrance project. I enjoyed how he was able to totally immerse his dancers and audiences in a world. What I took away from watching his work was the idea that you were looking at human beings on stage and you were emotionally engaged in their lives for that moment on stage. I could be off base by saying that, but that was how I felt watching JOE (which I saw a film version of) and NUIT.

Often when I think about design or am working with a choreographer, I come back to the questions I was asking myself after seeing NUIT. To this day, it affects me, and being here, working on new dance creation, I can't help but feel a child-like excitement. Aside from that excitement, I feel blessed to be in this building.

Needless to say, this artist had a positive impact on me.

Sadly, in December 2002, Jean-Pierre Perreault, the founder and Choreographer of FJPP, passed away. I feel privileged to have seen at least one of his pieces while he was still alive. Without that show, I may not have become a lighting designer, I really believe that.

To learn more about the FJPP please click on the link above, and do some google research.

When I See You...

Selected Canadian Contemporary Dance History Series

Wow...well, first off, I wish I could find a catchier title for this series...oh well.

Okay, so this series will consist mainly of links and some third party anecdotes I have heard over the years.
Maybe a bit of an explanation for this is necessary. I'm a dancer. Well, technically, I'm no longer a dancer but I'm involved in the Canadian Dance Community. I graduated from university with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Contemporary Dance, from a program that centred around choreography. After that I went on to study lighting design and since finishing school have worked mainly on the production side of dance, although I have dabbled in performance and choreography as a budding artist.

So, that being said ( and shamelessly plugged ) I wanted to perhaps shed some light on some Canadian Dance Artists you may or may not know of. Whether they are a part of the past, the present or emerging as the future, in this series I'll feature a selection. It may not be definitive or entirely accurate, but hey, this is a blog, not a weekly column or radio show.

I just wanna write about it.

Stay tuned.

When I see you...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

putting in work

I've been away from tis site so long, I'm kinda embarrassed about it.

In the time since my last post, below, I've worked on three shows, travelled to L.A, moved two friends, been offered new contracts and failed to do the dishes.

I get into a busy pattern that involves being absolutely lazy at home, but working hard when I'm not. It makes things awkward with friends, because I can't have them over for drinks or anything because I'm so ashamed of how I keep my pace. So, I'm trying to change that, bit by tiny bit. If I can have the level of organization for my personal space as I do for my professional life, I think I'll be able to lead a more pleasant social life, or at least one with less shame.

So, this is just a little check in post, but part of the spring cleaning if you will, is finding a way to stay up on my twitter a/c and my blog. Utilizing them more for my thoughts and opinions, but also sharing stories about where I'm at and where I'm going.

When I see you...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Did it...

Got a board...

and went for the coordinated design set up...

Shout out to Justin Brock...peep some Justin Brock footy here

When I see you.