Posts in Photography

Wild Son Interview

On the evening of Friday February 22nd, I met a great group of artists known as Wild Son. After playing a well received, energy packed show I was pulled through the crowd, through the kitchen of Fernando’s pub, and out into the cold alley to find myself with the band. Between alcohol induced speech and some disorientation, we made it to one of the members vans to discuss their music and talk about their E.P as well as plans to tour.

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The band consists of four members: Aaron Desilva (bass), Mitch Howanyk (violin), Kieran McCaffrey (guitar/vocals) and Cam Wilks (drums). These guys are really nice, it was a pleasure to talk with them about their project and hear what they had to say.

(Keep in mind I mainly spoke with Mitch, however a few other members joined in the conversation).

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So how did this band come together?
A few of us grew up together and went to school together. Basically, it was two best friends times two that came to know one another, and as soon as we played together we knew that this was it.

Was it more of a collaboration in the beginning?
In the beginning to be honest, no one was butting heads, but we weren’t a band like we are now. After Erin joined in, it really filled out the group and we finally found our sound and acted as a band.

How was the reception to your E.P “Franklyn Road”?
The E.P went over very well, we sold the venue out and are really happy with the reception we got. I think that’s lent a large part to where we are now. It’s been great thus far, we’ve had a lot of old fans as well as new fans coming up to us and attending our shows and seeing new faces engaged in our performance was really great too.

Why did you guys choose the cover of the E.P?
I walk across Franklyn road everyday on my way to work, so I thought that was a great place to start. We call our house the “lions den”, it’s a place where we would meet and play together. We became friends there, we ate together, and wrote music together. So we thought it was a good way to keep that in mind as we go forward.

Any plans to tour in the future?
We are currently in the midst of planning our summer 2013 tour here. We collaboratively know enough people and musicians and self-manage ourselves. So our plan is to head out to Vancouver, play a show in Kelowna and then head out West.

All the members seem to have a dynamic set of influences, how does that translate into the music?
I think through this band we’ve all had a struggle with our influences, because they’re different. But having  music backgrounds that are educational as well as self-taught is a good thing because we help each other learn and grow with what we contribute.

What’s your opinion of the music scene in Canada?
I think honestly, growing up here it’s always lacked a music scene. Lately, I’m impressed with the growth, because now it’s become so robust and there is so much music here, and we feel that it will only get better. 

Describe Wild Son in one word
You can’t say what it is in one word hence the name, but our phrase is “what it is”, or we could go with “happening”. The one thing that holds this band together are the times we share, writing music. Socially and musically that connection as friends has helped us a lot.

How was playing with Kara Funk on November 23rd?
That was a great show, we had just met her not too long before that. She performed a great duo performance, and we really liked seeing her perform.

How was the E.P release show on January 18th?
*Laughter* that was a crazy show, it was great. You can check out a music video we did with The Business Limited, that’s a culmination of a few shows and you can capture what it was in that video.

Check out Wild Son’s music here.

Focus Friday: The Pond

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Focus Friday fans know that we love images of people embracing winter in the Okanagan. Looking at this Black Mountain pond, you just know that it was a serious labour of love to get all that snow cleared — this took commitment, maybe even passion. You can almost taste the anticipating of getting out there for a skate and a rousing game of pond hockey with friends. Better enjoy it while it lasts!

Pat and the Pond by Melanie Wolczuk

Shithead on Stage

You never go to a bar to see a shithead, well at least I don’t. But last night was different, because as any punk fan knows, D.O.A frontman Joey Keithley’s nickname is Joey Shithead.

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I got to the show a lot earlier than I had anticipated. While having to pay cover, I waited around for over two hours before D.O.A took the stage — not the best start to the evening. Sound check was way off schedule and no one was even in the bar. Let’s face it, Doc Willoughbys is a horrible venue for a punk show, not only are the regulars a bunch of idiots, the venue is cramped and the seating arrangements are awkward — not to mention the small stage, which allows for nothing more than a stagnant performance.

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By the time D.O.A were about to start the show, everyone attending was drunk and acting obnoxious. People were spilling each others drinks, yelling at the band, crashing into the intimate stage, knocking over the microphones, bashing into the walls and each other — falling on the floor and pushing people around. Definitely what you would expect at a punk show, but in my opinion I wouldn’t have done so at this show — keep in mind D.O.A is playing a “farewell tour”. The bouncers ruined the night, by getting in everyone’s way and it’s not that I’m blaming them (that’s their job) but when you’re trying to watch a band and see someone in the way, it gets irritating.

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D.O.A’s set was great, they played a lot of old songs and a couple new ones as well. “World War 3” and “Police Brutality” were my favourites, of course “Slumlord” was great too. I was surprised by the energy and amazing solo’s done by Keithley — and what an approachable guy. Doing shots, drinking beers, signing shirts, vinyl and even… my leather jacket. Just super friendly people all around.

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Overall, after the show started the energy increased and I felt a lot better, there was something lacking up until D.O.A took the stage. I think it was the venue and drawn out waiting time, that half-spoiled my evening — I would not recommend this venue for a show of this nature, to anyone.

That being said, listen to this band, follow them on their farewell tour. Keithley is getting into politics and once this tour is over, the band is never going to play another show. So while you have the chance go see them live, I did and it was definitely worth it. I have nothing but good things to say and you reading this review won’t help the cause because, their music speaks for themselves.

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Click here to follow D.O.A!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Ok, there’s still some snow on the hills, but have a heart eat some chocolate.

Confessions of a Fat English Channel Swimmer

I’m not a skinny girl. I never have been. Ever. I blame genetics, my love of sweets, and stress eating. Like most people, my weight has gone up and down. I ballooned in junior high where I experienced a fair bit of bullying and fat-shaming. Throughout my 20’s I steadily got back into exercise and slimmed down and in the last couple years I have been the smallest I have ever been. Not skinny, but average.

'Slim' me competing at Provincials in 2012. Photo by Angelique Duffield www.BrightSparkMedia.ca

‘Slim’ me competing at Provincials in 2012. Photo by Angelique Duffield www.BrightSparkMedia.ca

So English Channel preparation has been a bit of a challenge for my body image. I’ve put back on 20 pounds. I was only aiming for 15 to help protect me from developing hypothermia in the cold Channel, but my body was quite happy to throw on the extra 5. Even with the extra weight I’m healthy. I swim 3-4 times a week and workout with a trainer at the gym. I just completed my English Channel medical where a stress test not only found me to be healthy, but the cardiologist said I had an athlete’s heart.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that even though I purposefully put on the pounds and am healthy, I still hate that I had to go out and buy new jeans because I couldn’t fit into my old ones. I hate that when I look into the mirror I dislike what I see. And I hate that some days when I look at myself I can hear the taunts of bullies past: “Could you get ANY fatter?”

Me, December 2012, 20 pounds heavier

Me, December 2012, 20 pounds heavier

I would happily keep these embarrassingly personal admissions to myself, but I’ve been disturbed recently by other, more public episodes of fat-shaming in the media. For example, Melissa McCarthy being called a “female hippo” and “tractor-sized” in a recent movie review as though her weight is her defining (and apparently horrifying) feature rather than the fact that she is an amazingly talented and funny actress. Or Australian Olympic Champion Leisel Jones being called out at the 2012 summer Olympics as being “too fat to swim.” What message do these episodes send out to women and girls? If you are not skinny you are not worthy, even if you are a talented actress or have won 8 Olympic medals.

To me, these women are both amazing role models who should be celebrated for their accomplishments. But that isn’t how our society works, and examples such as these remind me that when I walk out the door people are judging me by the size of my body, not by what I am trying to achieve with it.

So I struggle. I have days when I’m proud of my body and the results I achieve in the pool or the gym with it. But I also have days when I am ashamed of it. Nevertheless, I will continue to let myself be photographed at this weight, in a very vulnerable state… in a swimsuit. I hope that even if I continue to struggle with my body image, maybe someone else will see the picture and think “Wow! Look what she’s achieved!” rather than “Wow, look how much she weighs!”

Me getting ready to take my shift while swimming the Georgia Strait in August 2012. Photo by Angelique Duffield www.BrightSparkMedia.ca

Me getting ready to take my shift while swimming the Georgia Strait in August 2012. Photo by Angelique Duffield www.BrightSparkMedia.ca

Streaming Cafe EP Release Show “Windmills”

On Saturday night around 7:30, Cory Myraas took to the stage at Streaming Cafe in Kelowna. The place was sold out almost instantly and mostly everyone was seated, creating a perfect atmosphere for this experimental loop artist.

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Myraas played a few tracks off his first album titled “Keep Moving” as well as the new material off his EP, “Tilting” — which he saved for later in the evening. What caught me most off guard was his interpretation of “Hallelujah” and his newest, unreleased track “Her’s Place.” Myraas interpretation of “Hallelujah” was a breathtaking journey of ambient melodies that left the audience including myself, in a state of serene bliss.

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“Her’s Place” is a beautiful song inspired by Myraas’ grandmas cottage in northern Ontario, it starts off with a slow, heart-felt guitar loop that’s ambient and reminiscent of a beautiful Canadian landscape. The lyrics: “As I’m awakened by giants as passing trains, as they rattle on. Past rivers and mountains little lakes, oh those summer days, I miss them now.” capture a past childhood of nostalgic memories in another place and time, which you can clearly pick up on while listening to this song.

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The way Myraas expresses such subtlety in his lyrical choice, really brings a lot more to the table in terms of emotions and I was completely drawn into his sounds. You know when you’re witnessing something first hand and it feels right, it feels as though what you’re experiencing was meant to happen, not only to yourself but to the performer, that’s how I felt this night seeing Myraas perform.

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The concert was one of the best shows I have seen to date this year. Everyone was included into the performance via twitter post readings and inside jokes, it made the evening feel comfortable, warm and friendly. Myraas stage performance and modest persona shone through, every step of the way.

Another moment that stands out is when Myraas asked the audience to judge his newest song, which I mentioned earlier. That participation is important when you’re going to see a one man band and Myraas pulls it off with ease.

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After Myraas’ set, most of the audience stuck around, talking amongst friends and even getting signed copies of Windmills new EP. Others, were discussing their evening plans and all in all the mood was of excitement and inspiration. At least for me it was, I left the evening feeling uplifted, refreshed and proud. Proud of watching someone I consider a friend have come so far with his beautiful articulation of his art in music.

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If you have not yet checked out this amazing band, please do so here. You can also check out the live streaming of Myraas’ performance here.

Ecotone – The Experience

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There was no shortage of things to see and do at this year’s Ecotone, held in the Rotary Center for the Arts, and while I can’t dream of having been able to cover it all I can give you a taste of my experience in the hopes of getting you out to the next one. This year’s Ecotone was the “6th Annual Local, Organic, and Zero-Waste, Okanagan underground creative gathering known as Conduit”. It featured a massive line-up with events happening simultaneously all throughout the centre.  General Admission was $15 at the door, which opened at 4pm. The event ran until 2am.

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The atrium was the center of the festivities and hosted several drum circles, poets, and musicians. There was everything from hip hop and beat boxing to folk and rock bands. Some performances were accompanied by artists from other disciplines, including a poet who had a melody support their words and a musician who had a visual canvas express their music. It was a great mix of mediums and skills that really displayed the bonds between the people involved in the art community.

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The Arcade room, a pitch dark room lit up by a cool projection in the center, hosted other assorted performances and provided yet another space to dance in; the Alternator Center showed a few shorts created with stop motion film techniques and clay figurines; and the main theater hosted a one-time comedy performance titled “This is Cancer” by Bruce Horak, who lost most of his vision to cancer.

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In the Exhibit Hall and upstairs you could find visual art by dozens of artists displayed on the walls. There was everything from photography to collages to paintings and more. There were also a few interactive installations. One of my favorite was the “stream of consciousness” typewriter that’s fed with a roll of paper towel. Anyone could sit down and contribute anything to the narrative that they felt like sharing.

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Ecotone the Sweet

yeah last night's Ecotone was exploding with great music and super creativity

Yeah, last night’s Ecotone was exploding with great music and super creativity.