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Sunday, September 24, 2006


close up of a corner of Stockholm

69 Kronor, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

I should have been able to predict that the mild cold I was fighting off all week would stay dormant until the pressure of running the show was over. Woke up feeling woobly and stupid, with a head full snot sloshing heavily as the alarm went off. Had to steal a half-box of Kleenex from the hotel room to survive the morning.

Some of us took a boat tour throught the archipelago - it was like a well- developped version of Georgian Bay's 30 000 islands, or a less hedonistic Thousand Is. in the St.Lawrence river. I got a tan - the crosswise light at these latitudes shoots at you almost horizontally, but it takes forever to burn.

Anyway, we got off the boat, and made our way back to the hotel.

- that's lovely

- the park?

- yeah.

- who's that?

- what, the statue? (we could only see it fron behind)

- yeah, do you know?

- I think it's the guy who invented ex-lax

- so they put him on a pedestal : aaaaahhhh (gospel worship sounds)

- do they need ex-lax here? ...they have muesli

Friday, September 22, 2006


Strindberg in the street

egelbundna, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

This is an excerpt of a word excerpted from a text from Strindberg, one of Stockholm's cultural poster boys. The text is embedded in the center of the street like a median, along a mile-long pedestrian outdoor mall. This was at night, when there are fewer people walking on it and therefore it is possible to get a picture - otherwise, it is always crowded.

We opened last night to a fabulously warm audience. There are things a show can tell you about the audience that sees it. Different shows will tell you different things, of course. This show is about introspection, self-doubt, stillness, and the struggle to live a peaceful life in a world filled with too much social injustice. The Swedes GET this show -- they giggled often, in sympathy with the characters as they work through the show. When you get that kind of positive response, though, it hardly feels like work...

I finally wandered around the waterfront - there is an awful lot of it, and most seems to have walkways and bicycle paths along the edge. A fleet of small NATO ships is in port, there are many boats that are obviously unseaworthy, but now seem to be someone's home. ...booms stripped of rigging and bolted in place to hold chimneys, greyed out coamings cracking apart at the dovetailed joint, that kind of thing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


from the kulturhuset roof

from the kulturhuset roof, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

this is the lunch patio of Stockholm's version of the NAC. It's a monstrously large building housing... well a whole bunch of civic and artistic stuff in Swedish, so I'm not sure what's all in here. Grand view, though: the image above was taken at noon, but note the angle of the shadows: they are lower than 45 degrees -- the middle of the day registers in my 40 degree latitude brain as late afternoon / almost evening. Whenever I'm outside I feel like I'm getting places early or I'm out a little late. There's a relaxed urgency in the air, for me.

And for our technicians, who wander around the Kulturhuset for adaptors and gel and microphone stands that are stored, it seems, 5 floors away and two blocks over. They are very casual about it all, which slows things down just that little bit: we are never starting on time, but things get done. It just never feels like we're quite on track.

Tomorrow I'll finally get out a bit more. Life in buildings is great and everything, but I need to check out the water in this "city of 24000 islands".

Sunday, September 17, 2006


in the Netherlands

dutch power, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

nowhere seems better to be a human being. wide streets with proper separation of bicycles, walkers, and cars, train stations a level below the airports and bus stations, all timed to help people make connections in good time. Design is not a subject, it is a rhythm in life in this place.

We are just closing in Rotterdam, and moving to Stockholm tomorrow, with "Revolutions in Therapy". The shows are moving along well. Aside from an unco-operative overhead projector, show stuff is running smooth.

I do find it odd that I seem to have no time here. Looking at the schedule, there are hours everywhere, but I can't get to sleep early yet, and am waking up late -- I miss a big chunk of the day and then have to run to the show.

I keep wondering if I am related to people I meet here. You ever get that?

Friday, September 08, 2006


19 years ago

19 years ago, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

I had a chat with Layne yesterday. He was talking about the fabulous summer he had in Blyth this year. And somehow conversation turned to a wonderful show in Goderich that he took in (forgive me for not knowing its name, I'll edit it into this post when I find it out) -- it was about the loss of a large ship and a substancial number of people, back in an autumn storm in 1913.

I said "oh that's a story that used to be common on the Lakes," and immediately started yarning about my times sailing the training ships and getting the shit kicked out of me on Lake Huron in the late season's storms. I've limped into Goderich. I have friends who've done worse than limp in -- but those are not my stories to tell. Here. Buy me a beer, though, eh...

Anyway, as luck would have it this clipping was near to hand, and it gave me a chuckle. That's me, exactly half a lifetime ago, in late September 1988: disgusted with the state of my ship, disgusted with the lack of help from people that (I thought) should have helped us prevent this, not disgusted enough with the state of my hair apparently, and overall too exhausted to have the couth to hide my shame (for the state of that ship - The glorious St. Lawrence II -- was my shame) from the reporter.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


building structure

stalkers view from the alley, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

I've been back in Toronto a month and haven't seen enough of it. I get home and feel drawn to work. Work on grant applications, business plans, letters and meetings and figuring out programs and bla blah blah.... who decided to make a business out of Art?

I've been laying the ground floor of Aluna Theatre, the company Bea started five years ago, that we have nurtured together (time permitting) since. This year we have an opportunity (thanks you Canada Council for the Arts) to create something more sustainable out of it. It's more work now, but it does pay off in different ways. We're just beginning to discover some of those payoffs (like a space to do your thing - sure it's an office, but it's space). It's like looking into the neighbour's yard. Through an opening door.

Friday, September 01, 2006


sentinels of Regent Park

sentinels of Regent Park, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

I took this picture in late July -- these 'towers' (stairwells that didn't crumble as easily as the rest of the buildings) are long gone now. I feel a little conflicted about the whole thing -- If I was a busted up stairwell, I would be the guy on the left. I'm eager to see something beautiful take the place of the dreary housing that was there, but concerned that the people who were there won't be able to afford to come back to the place they were kicked out of.

It has been a busy month - I should post more stuff about some of the amazing groups I worked with at this year's Summerworks Festival, and the little puppet show I toured after that, but I should really finish this grant application sitting next to me. Grants never end. They eat up about a quarter of the time I work with Aluna Theatre. Dream, write grant, work the idea, write a grant, call some people to join the project, have a meeting, write a grant, go to the bathroom, write another grant, and on and on.... like construction, it never ends, and seems more intense at those times when you want to take a vacation.

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