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Arts & Culture

“To anyone starting over”: A review of Last Fish, First Boat

in Arts & Culture/Featured by

The film draws parallels between the 1992 cod moratorium and the realities of modern-day Newfoundland and Labrador.

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NL Election 2021: The Arts as Renewable Resource

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Hudson & Rex Season 3 slate shot.

More than five hundred full-time jobs were created by the Newfoundland and Labrador film and television industry in 2019 and 2020.

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Spotlight: NL Arts in Education Winner Joanna Barker

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Interview by

“Watching students try for the first time is truly awesome. When they try music, love it, and want to keep learning—that’s what gives me life.”

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Ladies Who Lunch and the Thrill of Homegrown Horror

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With all original pieces, in-show “ads” and an on-stage Foley artist, Ladies Who Lunch showcase the passion that goes into producing a radio play.

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SJIWFF Goes Virtual for their 31st Annual Festival

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“By supporting one another, we all do better. I think that’s part of the magic of Newfoundland and Labrador’s arts scene.”

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On The Road Again: Rum Ragged Back on Tour After Covid-19

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“We’ll be grateful to be back doing what we love. We hope that a good night of music will at least make everyone feel a little closer together.”

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Yarnbomber Aims to Lift Spirits in Outdoor Art Gallery

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Twillingate is in the midst of a yarnbombing that aims to lift spirits while encouraging safe physical distancing during the pandemic. Yarnbomber Nina Elliott has knit what she dubs “Newfoundland’s First Outdoor Art Gallery.” Elliott is the Rock Vandal, a Twillingate-transplant from Hamilton, Ontario, who uses yarn to create temporary street art. Her work oozes positivity, and during spring to early fall often adorns the clapboard structures around picturesque Notre Dame Bay. The Rock Vandal’s latest endeavour, which kicked off over the weekend, marks her biggest project yet. Her yarn bombs often show as stand-alone pieces. This time, she’s exhibiting her work at scale, featuring up to nine pieces that collectively conjure a common theme: uplifting spirits, while living under coronavirus. Partnering with the local recreation committee to raise awareness for the project, Elliott says the show is something she can do at a time when everyone’s usual lives remain…

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The Moment that Joined John Crosbie, the Cod, and Us

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Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie

The 1992 Cod Moratorium was the toughest political decision of Crosbie’s career. The Independent remembers the man, the moment, and the decision.

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“What is a Story For?”: Michelle Porter, Journalist-Poet

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Michelle Porter talks with the Indy about her debut book of poems, writing with purpose, journalism’s place in her poetry, & her favourite Métis literature.

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Berni Stapleton is Paving Her Own Path

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Memorial University’s new writer-in-residence talks about inclusive theatre, the power of the province’s past, and her pathbreaking career in the arts.

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Memory, Language and the Land: the Art of Marlene Creates

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It wasn’t until Marlene Creates decided to ‘think oppositely’ that she found her niche. She graduated art school and did as many artists do: she got a studio and started working, hoping that one day she would forge herself the perfect identity. Destiny would prevail and a lucid understanding of her abilities and passions would begin to shape her art. In 1979 she started working with stones. She would carry them into her studio from the landscape and form paper casts around them. The stones were representative of power—a structure that is hardly weathered by the acts of the elements. The paper was a fragile and sensitive juxtaposition. She says it was an unorthodox yet simple thought that was a defining moment in her work. “One day I thought, instead of hauling all of these rocks into the studio, why don’t I just take the paper outside?” Creates told The…

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Local books, universal journeys: The 2018 Newfoundland & Labrador Book Awards

in About Books/Arts & Culture by

There is a strength to local writing grounded in, but not limited to, connections to Newfoundland and Labrador. You can see this in the six books nominated for the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards, in the categories of Fiction and Children’s/Young Adult this year. There’s something about recognizing place. Now that I have come to know the streets of St. John’s, I can walk in Wanda Jaynes’ footsteps through Georgestown to Sobeys, thanks to Bridget Canning. I know someone who lives near the street Maureen grew up on and I recognize the significance of her desire to get away, as Mary Walsh did when she came up with Maureen’s story. And like Johnny, I am familiar with the bizarre connections that can be formed with strangers on the road here, as Joel Thomas Hynes writes.   Reading the three children’s books, I saw what Lar’s Fruit Stand looked like through…

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Is creativity overrated? On the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Opinion by

Is creativity overrated? Oli Mould is a human geographer at University of London in the UK, and the title of his latest book—Against Creativity—might lead you to think so. The provocative argument Mould makes in his book is that “creativity is a barely hidden form of neoliberal appropriation. It is a regime that prioritises individual success over collective flourishing. It refuses to recognize anything…that is not profitable.” He’s referring to the manner in which neoliberal, corporate capitalism has appropriated everything we thought of as creative—from the arts to scientific innovation—and harnessed it for the exploitation of profit. His book offers numerous examples. Real estate developers have taken to spray-painting graffiti in housing developments in the hope of making them seem trendy and appealing to the hip and wealthy. Other developers will convert empty warehouses into art galleries or offer free apartments to artists, not because they want the arts to…

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The year of Newfoundland’s triumph

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1974. For most of us, it’s just a year – either one buried in distant memory, or one we are too young to have even experienced. Places have a longer memory, however, and for Newfoundland and Labrador, the year was a momentous one. It marked the province’s twenty-fifth anniversary of Confederation with Canada: an event celebrated with awkward abandon, including a series of disastrous dinners and fishing expeditions with the country’s premiers. For a new generation that had grown up after the entire Confederation imbroglio, it was an exciting time, and one aptly reflected in the province’s first big national game-show triumph. Reach For the Top was a quiz-style trivia program broadcast nationally on CBC television from 1966 to 1989 (with a brief revival in the mid 2000s). Teams of high school students across the country competed for prominence, and no Newfoundland team had ever won. But that year—1974—a team…

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Waste, weeds, and poetry

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Waste defines not only the modern era, but modern humanity, according to some writers. We are what we throw away. Or: we are because we throw away. Yet, waste has been invisible to many of us most of the time. No longer. Today waste is appearing everywhere. It isn’t staying neatly out of the sight of the middle and upper classes. It’s on our streets; it’s on our beaches; it’s in our fish and in our birds. There’s a waste research fund here at MUN. Researchers are grappling with questions about social justice and micro plastics in our oceans and mapping e-waste as it travels around the globe. Amidst all this, one small book of poetry appears on the scene in Newfoundland and Labrador: Mary Dalton’s Waste Ground, a book of short poems from the point of view of local plants that have been categorized as weeds. Defined as waste,…

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Science fiction helps us understand the future as well as past and present

in About Books/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

When I started reading science fiction, in my teens, it was widely regarded as a disreputable form of literature. This was not surprising, since at that time—the early 1940s—sci-fi was confined to pulp magazines with lurid covers, often depicting scantily-clad heroines shooting ray-guns at BEMS (bug-eyed monsters). Living in Newfoundland at the time, while it was still a British colony, I had to order sci-fi periodicals from the United States. They had to be cleared by customs officers, who also doubled as the colony’s censors. The censor who examined the magazines mailed to me from New York was Mr. Howell, who happened to be our nearby neighbour. Shocked by the trashy cover art, he spent an hour or more leafing page by page through Amazing Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Weird Tales, searching for evidence of pornography or obscenity, all the while shooting suspicious glances at me. Fortunately, the stories…

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Ed Riche on satire and our capacity for self-delusion

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Ed Riche is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and more. However, he’s perhaps best known for his humour, and especially his satire. But according to Riche, we are now living in a “post-satiric” age. It’s one in which the seemingly satirical often turns out to be true; and in which there is a feeling in some quarters that speech which hurts should be shut down. How does a satirist ply their trade in a post-satiric age? “You just get ready to absorb more blows,” he says. “We’ve got the unthinkable – Donald Trump in the White House. That’s a punch line. It’s beyond all comprehension. Every day we look at that same reality and go ‘How could this have ever happened?’ He’s a horror clown, he’s a con man, he’s a grifter, he’s an idiot, he’s a crook, and yet he’s the most powerful man in the world. “And on…

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‘You’re not this and you’re not that’: author Lorri Neilsen Glenn

in About Books/Featured by

A few years ago, an aunt told writer Lorri Neilsen Glenn  about her great-grandmother’s tragic death in a steamboat fire in 1908 in northern Manitoba. Wanting to know more, she started a journey that led her to histories she didn’t know were hers. Neilsen Glenn learned that she had roots in northern Indigenous and prairie Métis communities. The haunting account of her journey became Following the River: Traces of Red River Women, a book that gives the reader insight into uncelebrated histories, including the stories of Neilsen Glenn’s ancestors and their contemporaries. The book mirrors the fragmented nature of these women’s lives, Neilsen Glenn says. She shows us who these women are in a mix of evocative poetry, documentary material, and narrative prose. Together, these pieces offer the reader incredible glimpses of the lives of Neilsen Glenn’s ancestors based on what she could find in newspaper reports, archives, and museums. I wanted…

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Coming out and finding a home in music: Gays of Our Lives comes to NL

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Inkshed by

I was in my early twenties when I told my happy-go-lucky uncle Jim I was gay. He froze with a look of shock and horror on his face, he even started to cry, which utterly bewildered me because he, too, was gay. This was not the reaction I was expecting. Wait this isn’t about me. It’s about the Vancouver Men’s Chorus. Let me refocus. I live downtown in one of the densest areas of North America and if I leave the house I have almost a 95 per cent chance of seeing someone from the chorus. Actually, as I was told, Sandra Oh was in town and she almost collided with one of us named Yogi; that alone would be a tale, be like her bumping into Vancouver’s very own Kevin Bacon/Glinda the good witch. So, frankly, we are literally everywhere. There’s a 130 plus guys engaged in what I’d…

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War in Comics: ‘the training, the waiting, and the growing fear of the approaching invasion’

in About Books/Featured by

Given the chance to interview Canadian cartoonist Scott Chantler, I was both thrilled and filled with angst. Scott has made quite a name for himself in the comics world. His most recent work, Two Generals, (the graphic biography of his grandfather’s experiences in WW2) was nominated for two Eisner Awards, distinguished by the CBC as one of the 40 best Canadian non-fiction books of all time, and was selected by comics powerhouse Françoise Mouly as one of the Best American Comics of 2012. And his comic series for children, The Three Thieves and his graphic novel Northwest Passage were also nominated for multiple prestigious awards. Chantler agreed to chat with me about Two Generals, a comic, based on the 1943 diary of his grandfather, Law Chantler. It tells the story of Law and his best friend Jack Chrysler during World War Two. At the beginning of the book, the two young men from Ontario travel to England…

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