Congratulations Carol, for winning the June Giveaway. Carol, you need to contact me with your details so I can send you your Happy Bus, as I can't find an email addy for you anywhere! All the rest of you, please don't feel you have to miss out on the Happy Bus. You can get one on Etsy, at Auteur House or Browsers in Hamilton, or email me directly to buy or swap (I will exchange Happy Buses for zines or good chocolate now that I am back on the sugar bus).
Distracting and debilitating as that whole experience has been, I have managed to have a great Ignition Fringe Festival so far. Thursday night I went to the Performance Cafe and saw a mixed bag of short performances. The highlights included great girl guitarists, a hilarious singer (I wish I could play you his E-Stalker song to the tune of Tom Petty's Free Falling) and dancers in pink bunny ears. Fringe Festivals are exciting precisely because they are full of unknown artists but I'm afraid I lost my generosity and left when the heavy metal/ traditional Chinese instrument band came on.
I spend Friday installing Membranes in main street windows . First I had to build a couple of devices for hanging the curtains from. Thankfully the installation is in the CityHeart office which is brimming with friendly, helpful engineers. John Pearman, the man who is in charge of ripping up Victoria Street and turning it into a pretty, pedestrian and bike friendly thoroughfare, enthusiastically applied his engineering know-how to my installation and came up with a brilliant design, easy enough for me to make by myself.
After a few hours of measuring, sawing, drilling, and screwing in lots of hooks and eyes, I was well ready to take up the more meditative task of ironing each panel before hanging it in the window. I love ironing anyway, but I particularly enjoyed doing it in such an incongruous situation. The guys were busy ripping up the road directly outside the office, and there was a steady stream of blokes in orange safety vests and muddy boots coming past me and my gradually expanding work of ethereal femininity, joking about getting me to iron their shirts.
Adrienne Grant was installing her Fringe contribution in an empty shop front directly across the ripped up road. Since I already had a sack full of cleaning rags I helped with washing her windows too. Her installation is part of the Monopoly Project, which is a commentary on the recession's manifestation in the form of empty shopfronts taking over the middle of town.* And on Saturday night I joined a tour of all the Monopoly Project installations, where each of the artists spoke about their work as we progressed around the board.
Saturday night was also the poetry reading, An Ashtray Full of Shotgun Shells, at Browsers. There was a good turnout, and some good poets. I read Cold Sailing, in honour of the swine flu, and a selection of my rainforest poems. I love it when complete strangers introduce themselves to me as readers of this blog, hi Cally (not Kelly)!
There's another week of Fringe Festival events ahead... I'm particularly looking forward to Stitch Oddity, where crafters make music with their sewing machines.
*The irony of the "CityHeart" project to beautify the main street even as it empties of commercial tenants is lost on no-one. I think its wonderful that both the CityHeart team and the commercial landlords are letting us artists play with these ideas in their spaces this week.