by Tara Thorne
Two weeks ago in this space, we made up a bunch of shit about a new funding body, a new repertory cinema and a new slate of local programming on the CBC. (It was the Fiction Issue, people. We thought we were being pretty outlandish, but some either missed it in an eggnog haze or very much got it and were not so amused, as you can see back on page 5.)
Last week our esteemed colleague Sue Carter Flinn listed her (completely real) dreams for the visual arts community, including things that seem like no-brainers but are stumpers to the puppeteers of the world, like more money, more diverse voices on the Commonwealth Games Cultural Advisory Committee and more street fests like Go North.
For this edition of “Dope Show” we will be combining those two things—that trio of ideas, plus, you know, truth.
For sincerely, in all seriousness, our biggest hopes for the arts in 2007 are a new funding body, a repertory cinema and new local TV.
Everything here comes down to money. There’s no money in a rep cinema—it’s why Empire won’t open one (or turn the Oxford into one) and why Wormwood’s has been closed for a decade and why Paradise failed. There’s no money to fund art. That’s why artists work in cafes and record stores and teach and spend their free time filling out grant applications. There’s no money to produce local TV, except for solid hits like Trailer Park Boys and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. With TV, there’s the even bigger problem of the Canadian industry in general, where a Degrassi or a Corner Gas only comes along once every few years. Would the rest of the country watch a show set in Halifax or Sydney? Or, as we posited before, New Glasgow? They watch one set in armpit Sasketchewan, and one in Lake Winnipeg (Falcon Beach), so it seems plausible. But it’s easier not to take a chance when Canadian Idol and sporting events are guaranteed ratings-grabbers. And so no one tries, beyond lifestyle shows and sketch shows and talk shows and karaoke shows. Nobody’s producing new, decent scripted drama and comedy and certainly no one’s doing it here.
We’re asking the people with the money to try, this year. If you love the arts, if you want to help to keep artists here, if you’re in a position of power at a network, stop worrying about the damn internet and invest in what’s real and happening now. Think about the future—what if in 10 years all the artists have moved away, TV is programmed by any idiot with a cell phone camera, whatever old white dude in power is telling you what worthy art is and going to the movies is the entertainment equivalent of Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart? What then?
One night only for One Night
In December we told you of the short film being shot by Andrew Hines based on his July carjacking in downtown Halifax. Hines will screen the film, This One Night, January 5 at 10pm at Tribeca.
Down is up
If you’ve made it this far without looking down, we implore you to start back on page 3, where you’ll find the very first line of our new bottomwriting series, Radiostation Berlin, a novel by Ryan Turner.
“It’s about a guy who leaves home to find out about his dead mother but falls in love and gets taken off track,” Turner says. “In another way, it’s about our love of beautiful things, of technology, of myths that consume us and make us comfortable. And, oh yeah, fascism. It’s about Canadian fascism. Ironically, I wrote it wanting to make use of the physical space on the page, and now it’s in bottomwriting.”
The New Brunswick native moved to Halifax a few years back, and spends his days teaching science to kids in schools around the HRM. “I’m a guy who wants to write for a living, but is settling for nights and weekends at the moment,” he says. He began writing Radiostation three years ago through a mentorship program at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.
“I ‘finished’ the inital version about 18 months later, though I still go back and change a few things from time to time,” he says. “It was originally a short story that was inspired by days I used to spend in my grandfather’s basement looking at old radios.”
Radiostation Berlin will run in the bottomwriting space all year. If you miss an issue you can always catch up by heading to the online story archive in our wextra section.
Did you get it or miss it? Email: email@example.com