saturday night: ministry of casual living

my main man and i were expected at the ministry to take down the beer can circles (see the previous post).  when we arrived there was a crowd of youthfuls, rather splendidly attired, gathered in front of the gallery, drinking and smoking and chatting as people in crowds will do.  they had with them, splayed out across the sidewalk, a number of contraptions and boxes; quite rough looking things of indeterminate use.  i immediately thought that perhaps the minister du jour, mikhail, or even I, had somehow doublebooked, overbooked or miscommunicated some vital piece of information, and that the next artists were impatiently waiting for the beer can circles (see the previous post) to come down so that the collection of lumber things on the sidewalk could go up.

however, this was not the case.  the ministry was having a show, musical.  behind the wall of the window gallery is a large-ish space where the minister resides.  in there is a futon bed/couch and a little stove and other items related to living…a TV for instance.  on saturday night there was also a cluster of musical intruments in one corner and a crowd of people coming and going, some looking for paper towel (a beer was spilled; not the only one of the night; my camera case still reeks of pale ale).

several of these people, after generally ignoring us for a period of 15 minutes or so, offered to help take down the circles.  the circles took over 6 hours to install, taking them down was quicker, but not much.  so we met one guy who apologized profusely for spilling what he called water on my installation earlier in the week (whatever had been spilled was rather brown and viscous.  i suppose it might have been water), and we met another fellow with puffy red hair and glasses who is a writer and a psychology student and who believes that all people are artists.  personally, i don’t agree at all with that particular sentiment, no matter how often people insist that it is true, but that’s another category of blog posts.

the most interesting thing to happen (and there were a lot of interesting things happening) was the band who played while we were there labouring with the wall.  actually they were the first band.  there was a second band doing a rap thing that was not as cool, but the first guys really were amazing.  as you can see from the photographic evidence that, yes, this really happened, they were wearing these crate-like masks on their heads during the performance.   i believe, from a disordered chat i had with greg, one of the performers, that the masks are intended as something spiritual or incarnate, somehow in accordance with aboriginal use of costumes.

but let me say, they were good.   the music they were making was very atmospheric and wild (as in untamed).  i’m going to find out more and share it with you as soon as possible (the beauty of a blog, hey?).

later saturday night: marjolaine and adam’s bbQ

after the ministry we went to a barbeque, at the house of steve’s (steve is the main man described above) co-workers.  they  are all scientist types;  phd’s either studying or working at the university; very smart people, all multi-talented.

in the basement, which features a 5 foot ceiling, is a jam space.  it’s a huge old house in james bay and the basement, although the ceiling is short, is enormous and rather cavernous really.  it seems to go on forever, and all chock a block full of things.  i saw a whole shelving unit with various sports balls; soccer balls mostly i think.  there are a couple of bikes.  and lots of furniture and book shelves filled with books.  and probably a lot of spiders.  but right at the foot of the stairs, in a cosy little (ie, dark) corner, is the collection of musical paraphenalia.  a full drum kit, a couple of guitars and amps, an organ.  one guy had his mandolin plugged in.  and adam, the host, was playing the harmonica.  these guys are good too, (the grooves they get going are sometimes quite fantastic), and although i didn’t get great video, it’s good enough(i hope) to convince you that that drummer, vincent, really really drives.  he sings too and plays guitar.  like i said, a talented bunch.

and what a great night.  finding the homemade art.  in strange and unexpected configurations.  there’s so much more going on than the organized and the advertised.  gotta find some more!  here’s hoping your saturday nights are even better! 

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