Tag Archives: food

‘Good’ Art

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Spanish dance troupe Compañía Sharon Fridman this weekend here in Halifax.  Led by award winning Israeli choreographer, Sharon Fridman, this remarkable contact-dance based company from Madrid has toured Europe and Asia extensively, and Halifax was their North American debut. They were brought to Halifax by Live Art Dance (if you live an Halifax and aren’t a subscriber, you are a fool).

Whatever art it may be that I am observing, I have a sure-fire way to tell when I think it is ‘good’: when it captures my attention to the point of my being completely present for every bite, so to speak.  I might even sit straight in my chair for the whole duration, my jaw relaxes, mouth slightly open, and eyes fixed on what I am looking at.

This was the case when I saw this troupe.

Naturally, dance has to be abstract. It tells a story without the use of words. In the program, I read “The road we travel here crosses five emotional landscapes: loss, search, dream, falling in love, and construction”. Yet I was liberated from seeing any story at all, but instead was able to just be in the space with the emotion the dancers conveyed through executing the choreographer’s vision.

photo by Ignacio Urrutia

The two pieces presented, Hasta Dónde ( ‘Until Where’ ), and All Ways had a natural sense of flow, and a seeming effortlessness, which I appreciate hugely in any kind of art.  

In my mind, art is what you might call ‘good’, or perhaps I will be so bold as to say ‘pleasing’, when it is at once complex yet has the sense of effortlessness. I have that same experience when I eat chef Joe MacLellan‘s creations for his tasting menues at The Kitchen Table, for example.

Chef Joe MacLellan’s complex dishes capture my attention similarly.

Sharon Fridman’s dancers performed the choreography with tremendous fluidity, as if all seven dancers were one organism. Yet, rooted in contact improv, there were moments of unashamed intensity.  Its genuiness made the piece very personal. I found myself mirrored, and tears even filled my eyes. For no apparent reason at all.

Other contemporary dance performances may try to achieve a similar result, but they are often too literal  – too in-your-face. They try too hard to convey something.

Even the use of very specific lighting and fog, which often feel gimmicky, were well done here.  Contact-improv may be 40+ years old, but this fluid way of presenting it was new to me. Not one movement too many, none too few.  Each movement had its purpose. 

I strive to create my own work similarly.  Perhaps the organic flow of Sharon Fridman’s work is what spoke to me. In any case – if his work comes to your town – don’t miss it!

I was curious and checked, and it just so happens that YOU, VANCOUVER are the next lucky destination for this troupe. They will be at The Dance Centre next weekend, October 12-14 (the link contains this short video).  Buy your tickets now. 

For the Love of Food! … a visit to Cape Breton Island

Those of you who know me will know that I love food. I love looking at it, thinking about it, preparing it, eating it, and most of all: sharing it! I think I like it so much because it is a very visceral expression of creative passion. I also strongly believe that culture is created and nourished by sharing food.

I love gathering friends around my table for a meal

I love gathering friends around my table for a meal

In my ‘church’, my rather unusual volunteer position always surrounds the making of food.

Creating a banquet with fellow chefs as part of a big celebration

Creating a banquet with fellow chefs as part of a big celebration

I can get particularly excited about creating interesting menus…

This shows part of the selection of hors d'oeuvres I created for a fundraising event for a hundred people

This shows part of the selection of hors d’oeuvres I created for a fundraising event for a hundred people – … I had help!

And I love even just to look at it, see and observe food. With my friend Damian Lidgard, I created the Halifax Farmers’ Market Calendar for several years.

Market Salsa! ... can't you just taste its freshness?

A moment observed: Market Salsa! … can’t you just taste its freshness?

Luckily, I get to combine my passion for working with metal with the passion for food this coming weekend, when I go to gorgeous Cape Breton Island for Stronger Than Steel, a celebration of Open Hearth Park in Sidney, NS, which is combined with the culmination of  an epic island-wide international festival of food all this week, called Right Some Good. Do consider coming out  for this cool event Labour Day weekend!

I am very excited to attend this event with one of my daughters, who has always been a foodie.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree ...

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree …

We are super psyched to be surrounded by other foodies, but also especially pumped to see the amazingly talented nice guy, our former neighbour and dear friend, singer songwriter Jimmy Rankin perform live on his home ground, as part of the free concerts all weekend!

And, happy to say: I will be exhibiting my work at the Artisan Walk during the weekend’s festivities, so if you find yourself anywhere near Cape Breton this weekend, make sure to stop by! It’s not every day that so many Onefooter rings find themselves on the island!

Each one starts as one foot of silver, yet no two are alike...

Each one starts as one foot of silver, yet no two are alike…



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