I liked Richard Carstens and wanted to know him better because Dave and Fred Robinson, who were the John Coltranes of punk rock (to me) told me how talented his writing was. He was their favourite.
He died over a year ago and when I found out that there was a memorial happening at the Horseshoe it seemed a meaningful thing to attend. Right off the top Al Miller was on stage playing guitar and he looked great which was a encouraging since the only other news I knew about him was a benefit for his health in 2011.
Watching the first three guitarists was like an action adventure movie starting with Al Miller followed by Dallas Goode – the poster boy for holding a guitar below ones’ kneecaps as though that’s comfortable and then Fred Robinson on the stage floor conjuring the collective mystical healing power of music or youth or maybe just remaining alive with purpose. Fred was a new plot point turning the night, for me, into a story about dying early. The night itself was sort of like walking into a twilight zone episode seeing a collection of people from 25 years ago.
Someone said Richard had a daughter who spoke at the top of the evening, too bad I missed her but you couldn’t miss the prominent banner on stage with quote attributed to Richard “I’m gonna be a rock and roller”. To my mind that didn’t really fit the reputation Fred and Dave bestowed on him and having known him a bit I think he would say he had better ideas to enlarge.
Note to self: stipulate in my will nobody puts up a banner that reads I’m Gonna Be A Blogger. But some weeks later I ran into Richard’s close friend Dave who was in that unreal band of the day No Mind and he explained I’m Gonna Be A Rock and Roller was a significant song Richard wrote so I get it.
Watching Nora (Daisy and the super jeans?) give it her all was another moment where the memorial touched on greatness.
I had so much excitement for everyone I recognized in that production – Gord Cummings, Ian Blurton and especially drummer Leslie Becker.
Most fun moment was asking Mark Critchley if the guy on stage by the drum kit was Paul Newman – it was.
I don’t know anything about John Hiat except Ron Sexsmith’s impressions that he shared with me when he toured with him 20 years ago. Glad I tuned into him today, one line especially killed me:
“Sometimes love can be so wrong like Batman in a thong”. Genius I thought and then I read some comments underneath the track; someone else expressed kudos for “like a fat man in a thong”. Alas that’s pretty good too but I was more impressed with my surreal mishearing.
The dance milieu is a highly complex and unstable world. Within it, each artist must establish and constantly expand and deepen their expertise in a multitude of roles. In class, in rehearsal, in performance; under the gaze of teachers, directors, critics and the public; in meetings with administrators, managers, board members, presenters and grant officers dancers do battle with their vulnerabilities and fears in order to pursue their physical and creative practice, and to accomplish and share their art. At almost any point in the arc of a career, any one of us of could flounder, become overwhelmed, lose our bearings or our confidence, or realize we lack the tools for growth. If we are persistent enough, or desperate enough, we will turn to someone for a crucial exchange that lasts a few hours, a few weeks or months, or is sustained over many years. I am forever grateful to Patricia Beatty, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, James Kudelka, Irene Dowd, and Christine Wright for their extraordinary mentorship, and for the immeasurable impact each of them has had on my work. Their generosity and honesty set the standard for my own interactions with those who have likewise sought me out. I am deeply moved by the courage of each artist who has entrusted me with entry into the highly personal sphere of their creative life. I thank each of them for the significance of our exchange. I know that by addressing our deepest concerns together we have strengthened our community and contributed to the vitality of our art form. I am honoured to accept the George Luscombe Award for mentorship in recognition of the value of our work together. Kudos to TAPA for establishing and sustaining this important award.