John Snow House and the New Gallery

I was really happy to be spending time with my girls at the John Snow House last evening…celebrating dance and the Watering Hole project, art, music and poetry.  It’s always a great thing when creative people, in all forms, connect.  The venue itself brought up lots of memories for me and I felt as though the Snow home was spilling over with positivity.

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PechaKucha: Reclaim

Last evening I attended my very first PechaKucha on the theme, ReclaimIt is interesting that it was also the tenth anniversary of the PechaKucha in Calgary, sponsored by Calgary Arts Development.   Pecha Kucha is described in detail here

“PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.

It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”), it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.”

I’m going to include a short synopsis of the ten contributors to this year’s ‘chit chat’.

1. Kris Vester – Slow Food 
A speedy, but important talk about our food.  I thought about this wordpress chick as I listened and viewed the slides in the dark…she inspires me and even though I am a suburbanite in a sprawling city, I have food growing in my back yard and I am canning and I delight in all of it.  Thank you, Kris.

2. Lorna Crowshoe: Aboriginal Issues Strategist, Social Policy and Planning, City of Calgary
This presentation was the only one that left me weeping. It was a beautiful story of Lorna’s family and her people, supported by archival images from the Glenbow and other sources, of our place along the Elbow and Bow Rivers.  There was such an eloquent and powerful message delivered about the culture of our city.  I appreciated the message so much!  Here, on a shelf beside me, are books I have read about the great chiefs of our province.  As Lorna completed her talk, she dedicated her thoughts and stories to the chiefs at the signing of Treaty Seven.  She projected a black and white image of these great men.  It was at that moment, the tears flowed.

Chief Crowfoot: Blackfoot Nation

3. Gene Poole: Founder of the Calgary Cassette Preservation Society
Ok, so, visit the blogspot link above for the jist of Gene’s talk…pure entertainment…a burst of energy and something that we can all relate with, the life with our former cassette tapes.  I encourage any of my readers who are interested, to forward your cassettes to Gene.  And yes, the audience did break into a bit of a giggle at the introductions.  His name is a unique one!

4. Brian Johns: Wildlife Biologist retired from WCAA after 35 years of service.
This was the only ‘chit chat’ participant who caused me to write notes!  With my interest in endangered species, I was completely captivated by this quick introduction to the demise and struggle of the Whooping Crane.  It is to this beautiful bird, that Brian now invests his energy; intellectually, physically and spiritually.  I learned much about the recovery project, beginning with the migration of the Whooping Crane from Wood Buffalo National Park to Aransas National Park  on the Gulf Coast of Texas.  Beautiful birds, when left on their own, known for their longevity and for their connection with their mate for a lifetime.  In early May the couple’s call is made in unison and is a call, not only of the ritual of mating, but of hope for the species.  Typically, there is the possibility of two eggs for each couple of birds, with the likelihood that only one of the chicks will survive the obstacles of nature and industrial development.  Given their survival, the chicks will migrate with their parents in September.  I will continue to learn about the challenges of the whooping crane and educate myself about the captive breeding programs that are taking place.  Some of the biggest challenges to the population’s natural migration routes are overhead power lines, housing interference in Texas and of course the fact that birds bred in captivity have no natural sense of migration.

5. Ben Millen: Board of Directors of the New Gallery and the John Snow House
This talk was just revealing about another positive venue that is open to pure potential in the City of Calgary.  As Ben was speaking, I was thinking about the ‘possibility’ for my daughter of a performance piece to be performed in the John Snow House.  John Snow once held her hand as they, together, walked through the Canadian Art Galleries viewing a retrospective show.  He took the time to send her a litho print and personal letter, archives that I still hang on to for her enjoyment one day.  I think that the John Snow House is an obvious fit.  I need to speak to her about this!

6. Kathleen Bell: Depression/Eating disorders, Communication Officer Calgary Counselling Service.
This was an eloquent presentation given regarding the Break the Silence/Stop the Violence initiative in Calgary.  Imagery was used to enhance the listeners experience and to convey the message that helping one individual at a time is important.  She did this through a refreshing delivery of The Starfish Story.  Excellent!

7. Sonny Tomic: Manager, Centre City Planning and Implementation City of Calgary
While I think that Tomic’s intent was to speak of the ‘Spirit of Place’ and the Tao Principle, his narrative became slightly unhitched as he mentioned that his slide presentation was the wrong one.  Hmmm….None-the-less, he was able to think on his feet and the presentation was entertaining, at the very least.  There were some awesome slides of proposed international projects in architecture and ones that were seen through to fruition.

8. Jesse Moffatt: Manager of Collections and Artifact Care Cantos Music Foundation
Awesome!  Who would have known?  Cantos Music Foundation is doing amazing stuff! 

Cantos Music Foundation

9. Dr. Roger Saint-Fort: Associate Prof and Chair Mount Royal Environmental Science
I guess this presentation was the most disappointing.  While the focus, as introduced by Dr. Saint-Fort, was to be on water purification technologies and how they will benefit Haiti, the slides were somewhat disjointed.  This is a topic that really interests me and I would have really enjoyed more coherence and focus.

10.  Mike Morrison: Blogger and Writer
This ‘chit chat’ certainly was entertaining, and for me, as a blogger and writer, an encouraging presentation as well.  Generating fascinating posts on his blog, Mike’s Bloggity Blog, Mike had the entire auditorium in fits of laughter.  I am glad for his success and I certainly feel more ‘hopeful’ about the potential of this medium as a relevant communicator in today’s world.