Dinner at Chianti’s

Posted on September 16th, 2010

I was able to meet most of the artists tonight, (or at least see almost all of them together, since I’d met just about all of them before), at our big group dinner at Chianti’s. I was hoping to be able to talk with each of them about their projects and find out more than what I can read in the project descriptions on the festival website.

Tonight I was, of course, most interested to spend a bit of time with Brette Gabel and Robin Lambert, whose performance Show us your Edmonton! is scheduled to start this morning (Thursday!) at 7 am, but with no promo yet available about how or where to engage with the project!

The performance description does say that there will be a zine made following at least 3 of the performances that will be distributed during and after the festival, and I will definitely pick one of those up! But there’s gotta be more…

So I sat down with Brette and Robin, who told me that in advance of their travel here, they distributed the breakfast invitations through friends to friends-of-friends through their online networks. The breakfast dates are strictly one-on-one (well, one-on-two to be more precise), and time and location are determined by the participants themselves, in conversation with the artists. Each Edmontonian breakfasteer is charged with presenting the artists with a post-breakfast adventure – a little journey for the artists to undertake to get to know THEIR Edmonton. It might be a map, a set of instructions or, who knows, a, little game, but in return for the artists buying the participant the breakfast of their choice at their favorite joint, they’ve gotta divulge one of their Edmonton secrets or point the artists in the right direction.

If you’re super sad that you’ve missed getting in on these breakfast performances, chin up! There are still THREE BREAKFAST APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE!

Friday, September 17
Monday, September 20
Tuesday, September 21

I believe they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis. To claim one of these spaces, you must email the artists at:


And if you can’t do breakfast with Robin and Brette, well, when they’re not out adventuring, you can find them throughout the festival at other performances and events. Otherwise, they will be creating podcasts of their adventures and actively blogging about the project; Robin and Brette each have their own blog:


And, of course, I’ll be posting as much as I can about the project as news comes in from their dates! If you’ve been on one of these breakfasts, please leave a comment and tell us what happened!

So, I spent the rest of my evening at Chianti’s catching up with festival artists Naufús Ramirez-Figueroa who I’ve known from around the Canadian performance art scene for the better part of a decade, and Jennifer Mesch and Scott Smallwood who I met at last year’s Visualeyez Festival, when they were both brand new to town and made a real impression on all the artists in the festival with their genuine enthusiasm for and interest in the event. It’s so great to see them here again as presenting artists! From what I can tell, they’ve become committed and valuable members of the local art scene in the short time they’ve been here, and they’ve also had tons of local adventures of the kind that make them really cool people in general. Not only do I urge you to attend their performance on Friday at 7:30 at Latitude 53, but I encourage you to get to know them over a beer. Maybe at the Visualeyez Rooftop Patio Launch Party tonight!

Finally, I had a good talk with Beau Coleman about her project with caribou X crossing collaborators Matthew Skopyk and Melissa Thingelstad, Miles of Aisles. It’s an audio/video performance walk through the Sobey’s Urban Fresh at Jasper Avenue and 104 Street.

To participate in this project, you must have your own portable media device, (like an iPod), and you need to have downloaded the video or audio files before you get there. Take the tour anytime during Visualeyez on your own, or if you don’t have access to a portable media player, (or if you just like experiencing art in crowds,) come to the gallery on Saturday at 4, where a larger group will meet to take the tour together. Maybe the ambient sound of so many iPods playing the same thing at the same time  will let you hear what’s going on, or maybe you could just make a new friend and ask to  share theirs!

I didn’t get a chance to talk with Randy Lee Cutler, whose performance Ask Me About Salt is today at noon and Friday at 4. I hope to make it to the first performance so I can tell you all about before the second performance, but I still haven’t gone to bed and it’s nearly 4 am! Yikes! I’m regretting not talking to Randy about it now, because I’m just noticing that the map link on the schedule for this event takes you to “Downtown Edmonton” which doesn’t seem like a very specific meeting place. Zooming all the way in, I see that Google Maps offers 9918 – 102 Ave NW (the Southwest corner of Churchill Square) as an “approximate address.”

You might want to check with the gallery to make sure you know where to go tomorrow.

I did talk very briefly to Adina Bier about her performance On Boulevard de Clichy. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, except to say that it involves hundreds of bananas, and that  she’s gonna need all the help she can get!

Well, there’s so much I want to tell you, but it’s way past the time I should’ve gone to sleep to get reasonably enough sleep for the early start I want to get tomorrow! Plus I still need to figure out how to get the video tour on my iPod!

I’d like to extend a special thanks to Chianti’s for being such gracious hosts to our rowdy crowd tonight, who were constantly capturing the attention of the other patrons with out hooting, clapping, and regular “announcements” to the entire restaurant!

More adventures and pictures tomorrow!