Excitement galore

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This afternoon as part of Beakerhead there was a bunch of science buskers along Stephen Avenue Mall.  It is part of a program called Four to Six, and it will happen tomorrow after the work day between 4:00-6:00pm.

A couple highlights to look for:

  • Drivable furniture
  • Roaming scientists and laboratories – the one hosted by Telus Spark was very interesting and perfect for someone like me that has the attention span of a gnat.  I plan to write about it later.
  • Art cars.
  • Get your fortune told by a giant Chinese Fortune Cat (see picture above)
  • Giant motorized spider (see picture above)
  • Drummers drumming
  • Lego
  • A hand-held Theremin
  • Drinks and cocktails at Art Gallery of Calgary with the BassBus (see invitation in photo above)

It all adds up to an enjoyable way to end the work day.  If you have children bring them to work for the afternoon and then spend an hour or so visiting the various activities.  Or you if you are interested in someone at the office, invite them to join you after work and make a date ending up at the Art Gallery of Calgary.  It all adds up to a fun time where you can learn something new.

Another event to be aware of this weekend is the Calgary Mini Makers Faire.  It is kind of a big deal.  It started in California a number of years ago and it is finally here.  It will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Alberta College of Art and Design (1407 – 14 Avenue NW) located on the crest of the hill beside SAIT and the Jubilee Auditorium.  There is a C-Train Station located close by too – SAIT/ACA/Jubilee.  Tickets are selling briskly, so I would make an encouragement to purchase as soon as possible.  Prices are $15-20 daily or $27-37 for the weekend, children under 12 are free and can be purchased online at http://www.makerfaireyyc.ca/

For more info on Beakerhead and other activities planned for the weekend visit their website http://beakerhead.org

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Will there be liftoff?

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This afternoon I visited the 40 foot high Raygun Gothic Rocket which was developed by Five Ton Crane, a team from Oakland, California.

It is possible to visit inside and check out the amazing command centre inside.  It is something that if you have children, or grandchildren – or you are a kid at heart – you definitely should investigate.  There are three levels inside the space ship and guides available inside and out to answer questions.

Find it at the launch site located at 1325 – 1 Street SW this weekend ONLY.

It is open from noon to 8:00pm Wednesday-Friday; 10:00am – midnight on Saturday; and 10:00am – 5:00pm on Sunday during Beakerhead.

For more info about Beakerhead visit http://beakerhead.org

One Sweet Event

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First thing this morning, when the sun was barely up, I hopped in my DeLorean to check out the “most amazing convergence of art, science and engineering.”  At the end of the block, before the flux capacitor had kicked in, I noticed a harmless crew of fellows drinking a big bottle of Gibson’s Finest Sterling rye whisky straight out of the bottle.  I knew it would be a day worthy of note as a result.

When I got to my destination to check out the “pop-up” breakfast located on the west tower plaza of Suncor Energy Centre, I was welcomed by a lovely lab assistant.  She then told me of the amazing things to be seen at Beakerhead this weekend – and gave me a “pop-up breakfast.”

Beakerhead is a brand new festival in Calgary.

There will be a number of events throughout the weekend.  See http://beakerhead.org for a full list of events or get the Beakerhead partner app at get.spotcastapp.com on your mobile device which will provide a listing of all the events that are happening in this weekend.

I am sure I will be back with more about this “most amazing convergence of art, science and engineering.”

Art Box on 17E

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If one looks at a map of Calgary which is populated with cultural amenities marked on it, one fact will be readily noticeable.  There are significantly less spaces for the arts on the east side of Deerfoot Trail, as compared to the rest of the city.  Of course this information can get blurred somewhat if one uses a broader definition of the word cultural to incorporate things outside of the arts.

This past week there has been a fair number of stories in the press about Forest Lawn.  As long as I have lived in Calgary, I have noticed it is a community that has a strong sense of pride, but it also deals with some challenges as well.  It is a blue-collar community with all the strengths normally connected to that type of neighbourhood – hard-working, stand-up, straight-forward, no BS, tell it like it is community.  Although I have never lived there, I must admit there is a lot to be said for these qualities which can sometimes be referred to as grittiness.

Author Candace Bushnell once commented about the gritty roots of New York City this way, “the city was different back then—poor and crumbling—kept alive only by the gritty determination and steely cynicism of its occupants. But underneath the dirt was the apple-cheeked optimism of possibility.”  This could also be applied to our city if one looks back with a long enough vantage point.

Two community organizations that are trying to change this disparity in cultural amenities on the east side of Deerfoot, combined with their “apple-cheeked optimism of possibilit(ies)”, are the International Avenue BRZ along with the International Avenue Arts Centre.

If one travels down 17th Avenue it is possible to see the various murals championing the cultural heritage of the community.  Also the BRZ came to the rescue of Market Collective not long ago helping them find a temporary space in the community with short-notice.

This past August 1st the International Avenue BRZ and the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA) together, hosted an open house to unveil a new arts facility.  It is called Art Box on 17E.  I attended this opening and was happy to see the newly appointed President & CEO of CADA, Patti Pon make her first official appearance there on the same day she stepped into her new role.

Like the Seafood Market in East Village a few years back, this space is a short-term space available for a year and a half.

Some of the ideas that are currently achieving traction in cultural thinking are the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement; the use of pop-up spaces; and creative placemaking as an agent of change in urban planning (see http://www.83degreesmedia.com/features/place073013.aspx).  All of these ideas are present in the Art Box on 17E project.

As the facility is still in its early stages, it will be interesting to see how this facility evolves and what type of projects take advantage of the space made available.  At the unveiling an announcement was made that in cooperation with Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre, there will be multiple performances of I-Robot Theatre in that space during the Beakerhead Festival which occurs middle of September 2013.  The space, with its high ceilings and large footprint, lends itself to theatre, dance and rehearsals.  In addition there are smaller spaces upstairs which could be used for various purposes such as studios, offices and the like.

It is always interesting to see these projects develop and change in response to demand and interest.  I wish them well and am interested to follow what will happen there.  Knowing some of those involved, I am sure something interesting will come from it.