Posts in People

Intersections – Okanagan Pride 2013 at the Alternator

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The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Intersections, an exhibition of six artists in the LGBTQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and other) community. Intersections is presented in conjunction with the 2013 Okanagan Pride Festival in Kelowna, BC.

Taking place in the Members’ Gallery at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Intersections offers a chance to share with one another the intricacies of our own personal journeys, the paths we have already taken and the experiences still to come. For artists Daniel Oledzki, Jacklyn Harris, Deneige Nadeau, Kevin Michael Witzke, Shannon Lester and Dean Krawchuk, the mileage varies. The poetic work of Deneige Nadeau, a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, engages snippets of theoretical text with photographs of her own body; while Daniel Eric Oledzki explores the areas where media, gender and capitalism overlap.

The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art welcomes you to visit our space between August 10th and 17th to view the exhibition. Please join us for a reception and official Okanagan Pride 2013 opening event on Saturday, August 10th at 7:00 pm at the Alternator Centre. This is a free public event. The exhibition will run for the duration of the festival, August 10th- 17th.

These People Are A-OK: Opal Michel

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Opal Michel has engaged in a decade long courtship with an art medium who has finally “put a ring on it”. Drawn to Opal like a farmer to a potluck, I am so excited that her skills are for sale! A Photographer, hairdresser, singer/songwriter, doula, a mother of two and a devoted wife: this Vancouver native set out on an adventure and has found her soul path, located in Chase, BC. Fascinated by light, human subjects, concepts of beauty, and defining life moments, Opal knows how to physically soothe a situation, hands on or blending in like a shadow, she has a comforting presence who naturally creates “soft places to land”.

Opal Michel Photography is your latest HOT TIP from me, Mrs. Fagervik, your CREATIVE MAVEN. Hire Opal to capture your life’s moments, and then let her loose and receive a one of a kind hand made memory. Opal Michel LIVES WITH MOXY.

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If photography were your boyfriend, what type of relationship would you have? How long have you been together? How did you meet? Give me the 411
It would probably be like an unrequited love story. Where things never really got of the ground, and then you met one day and it was kismet. And is now my life partner. It’s probably my gay life partner, because I feel like photography is a woman, not a man. It‘s very feminine work for me. My husband has competition; competition that he doesn’t mind.

You are the definition of a Creative Entrepreneur. What does that title mean to you?
That’s a really good question because I have been going through so much emotion about what it means to be a creative entrepreneur because it’s such a vulnerable position to be in. Asking for money for your vision and for the way you see the World: big and scary. It’s also really exciting. It feels really really right and good. And I love that I have complete control over everything. The thing about photography and art in general is that there are no rules. I can do whatever the heck I want. There are a lot of people saying that there should be rules, the Internet is full of them, bossy people telling me what to do. I am shutting them all out. I’m going to do what I want to do with it.

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Your photographs have a distinct sensibility. Can you walk me through your process when setting up a shot?
I consider all of the technical stuff second. First I make a decision that something is beautiful or worth capturing. Then I tap into that feeling of the moment. Then I take into consideration all of the camera settings, and the light quality, and composition. I always have a vision of what the final product will look like so that when I take it into post processing I know what I want from it. It’s so exciting when it works out. It’s a bunch of steps, not just a snapshot with a general intention. I always envision artistically which I want to achieve.

Do you prefer digital or analog photography?
Digital. (Opal answered right away). For sure. I can develop film in a darkroom and I did that in high school, and I wanted to love it because all of my friends loved it, and it seemed to be the cool thing to latch onto artistically at the time in the 90s, but I hated it. I always wanted someone else to make things happen for me. I love computers and I love doing things while sitting down in a chair.

How does technology come into play? You are clearly comfortable on a computer and advertise Creative photo shoot options for your customers, what happens for you creatively once you input your images into the computer?

I don’t want to leave. I can spend hours and hours and hours editing and doing fun creative stuff, pushing my own boundaries, learning. There’s so much to learn about digital photography and what you can do to manipulate the images gets me very excited. I guess you could say that my wife and I have a really good sex life. Yea, it’s just fun.

I have a hunch that you’re creative in many aspects of your life? Can you speak to your relationship with creativity?
I am a singer and I like to pretend to paint. And I love colour and try to inject it into every aspect of our life with my kids and our home. I feel really attracted to other creative people. I’ve never referred to myself as an artist. Growing up it was considered the A word, no one was allowed to call me that, especially my mother. When I was in the fourth grade my mom would say “oh you’re such a little artist Opal”, and I said “no! don’t call me an artist, artists suffer”. I wanted money and I didn’t know how to achieve that in art, until I went to hair school and so much creativity came out of me through that, and then I started to embrace being an artist. Now I’m proud of it. Now I’m proud to say that I’m a stay at home artist.

Where did you grow up? What brought you to Chase BC?
I grew up in East Vancouver, and my first time living outside of Vancouver was moving here to the Adams Lake Reserve in Chase. We moved for our son, so that he could go to Shuswap emersion Elementary School to learn his language. I didn’t know anybody here. No friends, no family, just sort of took a leap of faith. I really love my husband, and I trust him, and it was extremely important for his life and family and his spirit to be here on his land, so I did it for him. I’m so glad I did.

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If you were to trace your relationship with the arts throughout your life, how would it weave its way to this point, the Premiere of your official title as businesswoman?
I would say my mother used to teach me when I was younger that resistance comes before glory, and it was just a huge path of resistance and not wanting to be a professional or a business woman in an artistic field, from complete fear of failure and not having the skills to succeed. That really shifted for me about a year ago when regular work was just crippling my soul. Minimum wage was crippling my soul and doing nothing was crippling my soul. I decided to take my passion to the next level, and try to provide for my family. I was honest to goodness like 5 minutes away from applying for a job at the bank, because that seemed like the best option, and then I just realized that it really was not the best option at all.

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To be present and counted upon during people’s delicate life moments is a heavy agreement. What is it like to arrive with a camera and its lenses? What goes through your mind before hand and then during? How do you feel after?
I really love people so much and I have a natural tendency to want to be in peoples lives and witness their special moments all of the time, for everything: love, birth, any sort of celebration. Life growth, I love witnessing that. It’s a really natural leap, and people request that I have my camera, so that helps. It makes people so uncomfortable to interject photo documentation during vulnerable times, and that’s something that I take really seriously, to try to make people feel really truly comfortable. When working with little children, I like to have them hold the camera and take a picture, show them the buttons and make them play. I like to talk to people about what they’re feeling in the moment, and let them know that I can find these moments and I really do find them beautiful, I want them to know how much I really do LOVE these little details of real life. It’s amazing how many people are some of the most glowing, vibrant, physically beautiful people that you’ve ever seen, and all they can think about is that the pimple on their chin is so ugly and they’re so worried about how they’re going to look in that photo… it makes me want to cry. I can just take that pimple away!

Do you meet with your clients ahead of time, or do you nurture your relationship on site?
Both. Say for birth, I would absolutely meet the client ahead of time, stay in touch, get to know them. Weddings of course, sometimes I will just show up and meet them, but I wont bring the camera out until we’ve established a connection, just to help people feel comfortable. If they’re not, I wont take photos. I wont take a photo if someone doesn’t want their photo taken. I’m a doula as well, and doulas are very hands on, you actually physically comfort women through their pain and birth transition, and that’s always something that comes really naturally to me, to reach out and touch people. That’s something that we learned with hairdressing, and it’s very rare. Within a few moments you’ve met someone, and then you have your hands on their head right away. You’re an alien species who reaches out and puts their hands on their head and feels their skull. Doula is like that as well. You put your hands on a woman’s hips and you soothe her pain. A sisterhood connection with women. I love to take photos of women.

What type of client would make your pulse pound? Who is your dream subject?
I think my dream subjects are anybody who’s willing to take their clothes off, who normally would never take their clothes off. I really really love humans. One of my interests is photographing nudes, and especially women or men who are not your social typical norm or idea of picture perfect beauty, but really really should be the ideal of beauty.

How does it feel to own your own business?
Exhilarating. I really like attention. Now I get to plaster my name everywhere and talk about myself more than usual, so that’s pretty great. I’m not really very shy. I know how to direct people now. Everyone is expecting you to pose them and move them around. Don’t have any problem public speaking or raising my voice to direct a crowd. I also know how to slink into the background if I need too.

What makes OM unique?
I really want to capture people in their natural form and not sugar coat scenarios and families and appearances. So, if I’m used to seeing someone in a dirty shirt and jeans, and they show up in a crisp white ironed shirt and combed hair, that would not be what I want to capture. I’m interested in people as they are, in their lives, in their settings, in their natural environments. I also like to take creative photos that are not realistic at all. It’s important to me too, to do different things and not be rigid in my ideas and style. I like to be flexible.

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Working with an art medium, photography, in this commercial output can be a sticky space for many artists. How do you negotiate your ‘art’ while working for a client?
I want to make sure that my clients have seen what I’ve already done and understand my capabilities and price points, and that they know what they’re getting into. I find that people who love what I do really love what I do, and they want to work with me just based on my portfolio. I had a person recently who wanted to work with me before she saw my photos, and that felt nice: she could tell what I do without meeting me.

1040310_10151728582100336_394198792_oWhat is your vision for OM?

I really want to travel and eventually work in editorial photography and my BIG life goal would be to be working entirely on creative projects and to be published in a major publication. Fashion photography. Avante garde stuff is the direction that I’d like to head in. Yes, I’d like to work in New York city and be a very special person.

What does the word freedom mean to you?
I think that freedom for me is living without fear. Following your heart and your soul path.

Opal Michel Photography
(250) 434-4422
Chase BC
Find her on Facebook
opal@opalmichel.com

The Okanagan Tattoo Show

The Okanagan Tattoo, Art and Culture Show is the first of its kind in the BC Interior region that unites a community of tattoo shops, artists, and clients. This inaugural year had an exciting and contemporary twist to Kelowna’s already rich and vibrant arts & culture industry. Over the weekend of July 26-28, 2013 DLD Productions and Events Rising is hosted The Okanagan Tattoo Show at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna, BC. A convention-style weekend that hosted 23 tattoo shop booths with artists in action, 23 retail vending booths and 23 Hot Rods creating an exciting atmosphere.

There were many talented tattoo artists in Kelowna for the weekend.

Many people were there to meet tattoo artists and learn about techniques in hopes of getting a high quality tattoo. Others are there for the social aspect of enjoying the company of others and having a good experience.

High Tide Fashion Show

Awesome Okanagan recently paired with CREAM Salons to board the high seas* (otherwise known as Habitat) together with some of the freshest talent the A-OK has to offer. We set sail in nautical clothes for “High Tide,” the 2013 Summer Fashion Show & Fundraiser benefiting the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Clothes by Man + Woman
Live music by Windmills
Choreography by Zebra Eyes Contemporary Dance / Cosmic-co-motion
Donations by Kelowna Actors Studio / CREAM Hair and Makeup Lounge / DunnEnzies Pizza / Mosaic Books

Music by DyE, their song “Fantasy.”

Larry, His Flask, a Wild Son and a Canyon Rose Outfit

I caught the great Larry and His Flask last night along side them played Wild Son and another band originating from Edmonton, called The Canyon Rose Outfit.

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All three of these bands were great, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen Wild Son perform and remembering their talent was a perfect start to the evening. Being a Wednesday night, I was surprised at the turnout of excited fans that showed up.

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After a short tear down, The Canyon Rose Outfit came on stage and brought the energy on. This band consists of: Christan Maslyk (Guitar,Vocals), Justin Perkins (Guitar), Matt Harrison (Bass,Vocals), Jesse Gauthier (Drums) and Alex Pelletier (Trumpet). Their sound was different and I liked the trumpet solo’s that Alex pulled off towards the end of their set.

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This band was good, I liked their blues style and the energy was amazing for a mid-week show. Anyways check these guys out, they’re worth a listen.

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Next was Larry and His Flask and this was when the night got pretty rowdy. Dancers everywhere, spilled drinks, the venue was packed and the band was: loud, powerful and extremely talented. They had people buzzing, and grooving along to all their songs — it was awesome.

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If you haven’t heard of these bands before, get out from behind your rock and get involved. Click any of the band names above to be directed to their respective websites and do yourself a favour by listening to some great new music!

Until next time, support your local artists!

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer: Night 3

Saturday night was the third and final night of the Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-off at Habitat featuring: Wild Son, The Fangles, and Shreddy Krueger. Everyone on behalf of Awesome Okanagan would like to thank you for coming out and supporting local music this weekend. We hope you had a great time and look forward to future events. Coming up next Friday, July 19th is our Summer Fashion Show and Fundraiser, “High Tide“.

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The line-up for the final night of our Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off was a heavier mix catering to the rowdier concert goers. Wild Son, who also opened for the Sandbar Stage at Keloha on Sunday morning, kicked off the night and got everybody dancing right away. Wild Son, for those who don’t know, is a groovy folk rock band that has been getting a lot of attention lately.

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The Fangles played second, and were a nice transition between the other two acts. The Fangles are a whisky drinkin’, crowd surfin’ rock band with some punk flair. The capacity throughout the whole weekend seemed to peak during their performance, perhaps a testament to how accessible their music is to those on both sides of the hard rock spectrum.

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Last but not least was Shreddy Krueger, a heavy metal band with caterwauling vocals and a crashing drum kit featuring no less than seven or eight cymbals.  The pure volume of their set-up created a sound barrier between the crowd and the stage that repelled any attempt at getting close; walking within three feet was like running head-on into a brick wall that sent you staggering backwards. The face of the crowd gradually transformed as mosh pits formed, catering to the burlier tattooed types. If this sounds like your idea of a good time you should definitely check out their next show.

Have a great summer everyone, and stay tuned! My coverage from the Keloha Music and Arts Festival this weekend will be coming to you shortly!

Hot and Dry Canadian Summer: Night 2

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off continues at the Habitat! Last night featured four more great bands that you may or may not be familiar with.

Opening was a solitary member of Manual Scavengers playing electric guitar and singing. You wouldn’t expect the voice that came out of this man. He was a blazing fast talker and story spinner with an outlandish sense of humor and tremendous boldness. He was joined half-way through by their drummer and the show was transformed into an entirely new experience, taking on a pulse that got people dancing.

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After Manual Scavengers one of my favorite new local bands took the stage. Tiger Moon, founded earlier this year by Dan Tait and Kasey Graff, appeared as a complete band with two new members. We shot a live video of them performing their song “North Highway” earlier this summer for one of our Rooftop Sessions. You can check it out here.

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Third on the bill was Windmills. Cory is no stranger to A-OK. Living in Vernon, he makes occasional trips to Kelowna and Vancouver to perform. Windmills brought a mellower mood to the venue that got everyone swaying and hip holding. His interpretation of R. Kelly’s ‘Ignition’at the end of the night got everyone ramped up to party again for the final act, Van Damsel

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Van Damsel is a modern indie rock band from Kamloops. They don’t play Kelowna too often but when they do they’re always a treat to behold. High energy, groovy danceable sounds flowed forth from these four guys as they performed tunes off their EP ‘Say Hello to Your Mother’ and their two newest songs, “The Sunshine, Girl”, and “August”.

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Tonight is the final night of the Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off at the Habitat. Wild Son, The Fangles, and Shreddy Krueger will all be playing for your enjoyment. Get there by 9pm to find a table and enjoy some Cariboo beer!

Kelowna’s Diner en Blanc in City Park

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousand of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

Over the course of an evening, the diners enhance the function and value of their city’s public space by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event.

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

Born 25 years ago in Paris. Launched with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier over 25 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now assembles nearly 15,000 people each year. The French capital’s most prestigious sites have played host to it: the Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower site, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Esplanade des Invalides, the periphery of the Place de l’Étoile, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde and this year: Le Louvre Pyramid and the Trocadéro Esplanade at the ame time! The Paris police tend to tolerate this ‘wild’ gathering, if not perhaps even wishing they could join in!

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