Monthly Archives: March 2009

Murals and More

This is a little plug for a friend of mine. I’ve known Jay for a long time and we’ve been friends now for well over a decade. Before that I thought of him as my friend’s little sister’s boyfriend (who was three years behind me in high school). Consequently, I really didn’t interact with him until a later period where we realized that we had several things in common. We both played guitar, liked the Pixies, carried a “lucky” coin (for no good reason) and enjoyed a good argument.

 

A friendship was born and we played together briefly in a now defunct alternative/progressive folk rock band called Ebb N Flow, which only played 2 shows and somehow still managed to go through at least four bass players and not a single groupie  but I digress.

 

Jay’s musical gifts are considerable. By the time Ebb N Flow recorded we had lost a drummer as well as numerous bass players. This wasn’t an issue for Jay; he easily laid down a drum track, a bass track, a lead line, and a third guitar part. It then took me a ridiculous amount of takes to try and lay down my simple rhythm guitar part and vocals.

 

I know this will come as a surprise, but somehow Ebb N Flow managed to avoid rock stardom. Fortunately Jay has another gift aside from musical talent. Jay is an artist and I am pleased to say he is launching himself fully into an artistic commercial enterprise. That’s right if you want a mural or a portrait done. Jay is your man.

 

Here is a link to his Web site (which is still a work in progress) Check it out:

 

http://www.jaylutes.com/

 

Jay is also a father to be and he is working on a mural for his daughter. I’ve included some work in progress photos here for your viewing pleasure. I find them interesting as they give non visual artists (like me) a little window into the artistic process.

 

 

 

 

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My Latest Addiction

 

Well this blog is a few days old and I have a quick observation to offer. It is amazing how quickly I have become obsessed with checking my statistics. For those of you unfamiliar with WordPress blogs, WordPress keeps tracks of the numbers of views your blog receives. It also tracks the links that people clicked on your blog and which posts are most popular. This feature is incredibly addictive and I’m sure most bloggers use it to guage how successful their blog is doing. I think a better guage of success would be the kinds of discussion that a blogger has provoked or is provoking. In the absence of this kind of direct feedback; however, statistics play a vital role.

The statistics though can be a bit misleading:  On WordPress, potentially one individual could be checking back for content regularly and be responsible for numerous views, but there is no way to track this.  It is also impossible to know if a post is popular because of its content or do to some other factor. For example, on my blog, the “About the Many Faces of Wayne” post has so far received the most attention. Maybe this is because of its placement at the top of the page?or perhaps, it is because it explains the premise behind my blog. This information is unknowable, and for my purposes, largely irrelevant. Yet, I find myself trying to make sense of these numbers (in spite of their ambiguity) in an attempt to distill their meaning and improve my blog. 

This happens in many areas of our society.  Statistics, polls, surveys are all an attempt to obtain this. It has created a whole industry for marketers, public institutions, political activists to judge and measure their success. Our elected rulers use principle even to govern the nation.  

I think this a very natural thing for social creatures to do. We need feedback from the tribe to understand our place within it; however, in many cases the analysis we are making based on the collection of statistics may lead us to inaccurate conclusions. This process can be similar to predicting the future from the scattering of tea leaves at the bottom of a tea cup. 

I would argue that direct feedback is always a superior. 

A Moment of Weakness

A month ago, Sterling challenged the readers of his blog to embrace a new form of Lent.

Instead of making a sacrifice, however, Sterling proposed that a positive substitution be made for a negative consumption choice. For an example, he cited his own pledge to make the switch from regular coffee to organic coffee for the next 40 days.  Here is a link for those interested: http://sterlinglynch.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/a-new-lent-for-lapsed-catholics-and-anyone-else-who-wants-to-play-at-home/

 

I am not, nor have ever been, Catholic but after a period of resistance (see the thread) I also embraced the concept.  At Sterling’s suggestion I swore that I would only drink organic beer in place of regular beer.  Much to my surprise, this was a pledge that proved surprisingly easy to fulfil.  With the discovery of Beaus lager, St. Peters, and Mill St. Original Organic Lager (Ontario’s first certified organic lager) I managed to make good on my oath. There is something very satisfying about relaxing in a pub while enjoying a fine organic larger. The smug feeling of moral superiority is definitley a large contributing factor. 🙂

 

I had a couple of moments of temptation. The first during an unplanned bowling game, beer and bowling are a natural fit. Apparently old bowling alleys that use computers dated from the Pac Man era (I say this with love) don’t typically stock organic lagers. The second was on St. Patrick’s day where I had a craving for a Guiness (I killed this  craving with Jameson’s Irish whiskey effectively).

 

Unfotunately, I did recently have a lapse. I was out at a local pub where I had previously ordered a Mill St. lager. During the previous occasion, I specified that I was looking for an organic beer and this fine lager was brought to me in an attractive clear bottle. So last week while out with friends, I insisted that we go to this pub so I could indulge my craving for beer and meet my Lent obligations.  I confidently ordered a Mill St. from the bartender and was surprised to see a pint coming my way. I did have a moment of hesitation, since this was in a different form, but rather than asking if this was the organic lager I drank it down.  Mill St. has several products and only one is certified organic. Yep, that’s right the one served in bottles. I should have asked.

                                            

In spite of this moment of weakness, I will continue with my pledge for the rest of Lent. It actually isn’t that hard but it does take effort and vigilance. It’s a little late in the game for Lent, but I would like to extend the challenge to those of you reading this post. What positive consumption substitution would you be willing to make for the next 40 days?

Who Should Fund the Arts?

First of all let me say, that I am an avid patron of the arts. I attend several pieces of theatre in a year and several musical performances as well. I believe a vibrant arts scene is crucial to the well being of any city. In short, culture matters for me personally and for society in general. Not surprisingly, I feel it should be supported and encouraged as it is so beneficial to all of us. Where I disagree with many in the community is how I believe these artistic endeavours should be supported. To be more precise, I feel that public government funding might not be necessary and may actually cause harm to the vibrancy of the scene.

I am an optimist and because I am also a patron, I am fully aware that if the product is a good one, well promoted, and skillfully marketed it will be successful. By this I mean it will be able to cover all its costs and make a profit. Many people attracted to working in the arts seem to have an aversion for learning math, marketing, accounting etc. There seems to be a persistent conscious or unconscious belief that if you are not struggling you have somehow sold out and aren’t a real artist. This is unfortunate, as it is these skills that will allow the arts to be successful and fully self-sustaining. They are a necessity. Marketing and promotion and designing new business models (with the arts in mind) are all highly creative tasks. Artists are very creative people and so if they applied their creativity in this direction as well just imagine the benefit for all.

Alternatively, filling out government applications is not very creative at all and creating art that will fit Government criteria seems very limiting. This is currently embraced though by the current producers of art because they feel without public funding they will not survive. We have a system in place because of this phenomenon where art is created by and for bureaucrats. In either system, the cream will rise to the top.

By encouraging creativity in all aspects of the arts especially the business and marketing aspects I would argue that ultimately the patrons/public will pick winners more often than Governments will. Then we will have a truly vibrant and influential scene that is the envy of the world.

Any thoughts?

Theatre Criticism and the Promotion of the Arts

Both Sterling Lynch and Jessica Ruano have had excellent discussions of late on these issues.  Many, including myself, have commented on both these excellent blogs. I might have more to add later here, but for the time being check it out here: 

http://jessicaruano.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/appreciating-arts-criticism/

http://sterlinglynch.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/to-reference-hamlet-or-not-to-reference-hamlet-that-is-the-question-concerning-the-proper-place-of-public-criticism-in-the-performing-arts/

My posts were under the name Wayne C.

Jessica’s blog is particularly useful for those of you in Ottawa as she lists various artistic events going on in the City.  I really appreciate the effort she has gone to.

I also find myself commenting on Sterling’s blog daily  (very thought provoking).

About The Many Faces of Wayne


Well here’s how it all started. I’ve always been a lazy photographer. Documenting my life in pictures is just not something I have done. I’m not afraid of having my picture taken or anything. I just can’t be bothered to make the effort.  Because of this quirk, I’ve hung onto the various government IDs I’ve been issued over the years.  I actually carry them around in my wallet even though most of them have expired. 

Sometime during grad. school, at the local university pub, during a lull in the conversation (I’ve never been able to tolerate a vacuum of silence) I pulled them out. I knew intuitively that my friends would get a kick out of the various versions of me (long haired Wayne, bearded Wayne, clean cut Wayne).  This act was partially putting myself on display, which being an extravert I enjoyed, but it was also a way of sharing myself to encourage others to do the same. It was well received and many at the table volunteered ID photos of their own. For the rest of the year I would rejoice when a new person joined our table at the pub so I could ask them “If they would like to see the Many Faces of Wayne?”  It became “a Thing.”  For awhile I was encouraged and then eventually it got a little tiring for all concerned. 

This blog will be a new version of this game. I will post on my various interests, ideas, and musings.  In other words, all the different aspects that make up my personality, The Many Faces of Wayne.  I encourage everyone to comment and share your thoughts, jokes, feelings with me as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where this will go.

Want to play?