for the crowd

Fringe Fest 2008
August 22, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , ,

(from festival city

Today I thought I’d be a proper blogger and go out and do something and observe and take notes. Yeah, didn’t really work out that way. But whatevs.

After work today I drove down to Old Strathcona to check out the Fringe Festival. One of these years I’d really like to go and see some shows, but my parents usually aren’t interested in it, and they’d always be who I’d go with. All of the friends I have now are, well, hate to say it, but a little culturally out of it. They’d rather listen to generic rock music and bitch about classes during the school year and get drunk and hook up with each other than go see some decent improv or a book reading. Anyway!

What I really like about the Fringe is the crowd it brings. It’s a lot more eclectic than what you’d see at Capital Ex, and a lot more colourful. Like any outdoor display in Edmonton there were booths everywhere selling things from airbrush tattoos to palm readings to homemade t-shirts, all of which tempted my wallet, and I couldn’t fully resist their siren call. I picked up a few gifts and then loitered.

The Fringe is completely crazy and I never know what to do there. I always visited the Fringe when I was very small and was shepherded around by my parents, or when I am, well, this age, and sometimes a bit shy. There are tons of performances going on but I never try to figure them out. Instead, I stop and admire the street performers.

I didn’t have all day to wander – I wish I did – but I did have time to catch one performance by the most adorable Asian girl ever, named Billy Kid. Or Billie Kidd? Who knows. She had a bawdy sense of humour, was completely out there, and was pretty damn good with her magic tricks. She performed three in a row, and while everyone’s seen versions of the tricks she pulled (and she even showed us the whole ‘fake transfer’ move from one hand to the other that people who do coin tricks use – crap, wait, she told us not to tell anyone that she showed us that ;D) there were a couple stunts she did that were completely unexpected. Like suddenly causing oranges to appear. Or – and this was the finale – producing a melon from under her hat. (It was a cute hat, by the way… like a red bowler hat. Oooh. I want. It would make for such nice outfits).

Anyway, I had no problems with giving her five dollars at the end of the show. Everyone, if you watch a street performance, you should tip. Tip ’em nice. I mean, if you’ve got no money then whatever, the show’s on them, but honestly, if you do, part with a couple bucks. Those people make a living doing that, it’s something they love and they just want to be paid for the hard work they do. Also, not dropping a couple bucks in the hat is just kind of rude, though I guess the same could be said for people who show up on the street and start doing weird things in front of you and then demand money for it. IT’S ALL RELATIVE and whatnot. What I mean to say is, if you like the show, give ’em a couple bucks. If you don’t, don’t. I know that when I catch the last half of a show and then determine that the performer is sort of an annoying jerkoff, I just walk away. No harm done.

If you’re in Edmonton and haven’t gone yet, then what are you waiting for? It’s free to drop by and just look around, unless you want to donate a handful of change at the door. It’s a great atmosphere, and definitely one of the better representations of what Edmonton has to offer, artistically. So go! Maybe I’ll find someone during the weekend to go see a show with. The festival ends on the 24th, so get crackin’, peoples.


Samantha Schultz
August 20, 2008, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Music, People | Tags: , ,

I met Samantha when I volunteered at Edmonton Fashion Week in the Spring. I thought she was nineteen at the very least. She looked mature and sweet and gorgeous and she had what looked like a slightly younger version of herself tagging along with her that turned out to be her sister, Emily. When I talked to her for just a little bit, I asked Samantha how old she was. “Seventeen,” she replied, and I couldn’t believe it.

I still couldn’t believe it when, during the gala, she got up to perform. She brought Emily with her doing some very light percussion, to help keep time to the song. “This is a song I wrote when I was thirteen,” she said, and then proceeded to wow every single person in the hall without further ado.

Apparently, this girl’s been playing guitar since she was eleven, and she is pretty freaking talented. I’m actually not sure why she isn’t sickeningly famous yet. She’s got a beautiful voice, and a real handle on a tune. Maybe she wants to graduate from school first.

Don’t know why, but yesterday night I youtubed her. Between the gala and now I’d seen glimpses of her on local TV stations, but always kept forgetting to look her up. While cleaning my room (it’s still a mess, harr) I came across a brochure for Fashion Week and checked out the schedule to get her name again. So I decided to give her a quick link on this ole blog here. Really, you gotta support local talent, right?

And the proof of that talent is right there for all to see.

Now, her recorded stuff doesn’t seem, to me, to be wholly complete and dynamic and so on yet, but 1) I can be really hard to please, and 2) she’s sure a Hell of a lot better than half of what’s playing on the radio these days.

Hey, Stuff Goes On In This City

I have a valid excuse for not posting. Really. A friend of mine from the States came to visit for the past two weeks. Unfortunately for her, her first taste of Canada was Calgary, because I took her to see Trent Reznor. (Good show, by the way, even with the drum machine breaking down for a moment there). And I also annoyed the Hell out of her, probably, when every second thing I said was “Do they have [insert object/company/commercial/etc here] in America?” You know. Ketchup chips and et cetera. Apparently they don’t have the same angel in those Philadelphia cream cheese commercials where she is that we’ve got. And no Albert the manservant either. Or that really annoying strawberry-flavoured Mini Wheats commercial. Uh, anyway.

Beyond that, though, there’s nothing like someone showing up from out-of-town that forces you to rediscover and appreciate your own living space. I took her out to the Heritage Festival, Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, the Telus World of Science to see the Bodyworlds Exhibit (pretty creepy and unnerving, but I definitely recommend it), and the Royal Museum to check out the Dragons exhibit. I also took her on a tour of West Edmonton Mall. To people that live here, the mall is just a mall, and I am usually among those puzzled and amused by the bewildering amount of tourists wandering around, until I realise our mall is equipped with a themed hotel, an amusement park, a waterpark, an ice skating rink… you get the idea. When my friend was here I even stopped to watch the sea lion performance. It’s a little too much. Apparently now Calgary is going to attempt to outdo Edmonton and build a bigger, better mall. So another friend of mine says. Who really knows if Calgary is that sad.

Anyway, another thing we did was attend this year’s Animethon. I usually attend every year, even though I inevitably just get annoyed. I mean, I’m a nerd and I know it. I’m friends with people who can’t stand “gamers” and so on, and usually carefully ignore my own weird-ass obsessions because as far as they’re concerned I’m still pretty cool and at least I shower. But I also have friends who are into pretending to be elves. Whenever I go to Animethon, though, I feel like I’m surrounded on all sides by crazy people who spend half their lives dressing up as people that only exist in a cartoon. Then again, whenever I go to places like concerts I feel like I’m surrounded by a bunch of idiots, and to go even further with that, whenever I go to a NIN concert I have to wonder why Trent has such a giant ratio of unattractive people for fans. I mean, can’t Nine Inch Nails fans go for a run, ever? This prompts me to turn to people I know and spitefully say, “Ah, the gothic subculture. One of the few places where it’s okay to be fat.” Wow, I’m a bitch. Oh well. Anyway, back to talking about the Animethon.

I missed last year’s because I was supposed to be attending the last day but, due to late flights and my inability to watch overburdened single mothers with babies struggle, I missed my flight and was stranded in Salt Lake City for a night. This year, Animethon practically robbed me at gunpoint, demanding a twenty-four-dollar entrance fee for Saturday. “It gets you into a lot of events” was the stern lecture I recieved when I expressed my disbelief at the price. Wow. That’s a far cry from the good ole days where you showed up with a donation for the food bank, and then would pay ten dollars to gain access to the vendors’ room if you wanted to. Also, they failed to give us our day passes; we had to go back ten minutes later when we realised this (because I asked the guy who was handing out booklets and schedules and he waved us by saying we didn’t need any such thing) and luckily they remembered us, but not before looking down on our ignorance (until I pointed out the mistake was theirs, though. So whatevs).

At least I recieved commendations for my bravery from a few fans, since I showed up in my new pair of black stiletto boots that could literally kill a man. One guy hugged me, and another, after I told him I was also wearing a corset under my dress, claimed that I recieved an Honourary Iron Man Award. Well, at least the majority of anime fans and the like, when all piled together, are really, really nice. My bitterness comes from the fact that I’ve known a lot of them that are just pricks and think they know everything, even about stuff they know nothing about, like, you know, life. Yeah.

What else to talk about? I can talk about seeing Bodyworlds. I admit to being incredibly freaked out, especially when faced with the pregnant woman. And the man that was set up in slices. Completely, utterly insane, and unapologetic, too. Very cool. I was hooked into wanting to go see it after a morbid episode where I was sitting down on my break at work to read the paper and read about the guy who was walking around at Capital Ex and The Taste of Edmonton mostly-naked with his musculature system painted on his skin. That was acceptable and normal until I looked at the photo and realised that the guy taught me in junior high. Mortifying.

The only thing I can say is that for big cultural events like, for instance, the Heritage Festival, I wish it wasn’t so goddamned expensive. It was still a lot lighter on my purse than Capital Ex was, though, especially its wine-tasting area. Yeah, they were selling little bits of food to go with the liquor and everything was sold by tickets, and one table was selling these cute, tiny little lamb pies for five tickets each. One ticket = one dollar. Five dollars for that? No thanks! I spent it on half an ounce of scotch instead. Yeah, I got pretty sloshed at Capital Ex, thanks for asking.

So that’s that! Edmonton. Lots of stuff going on here. But unless you pick wisely, it’s no fun if you’re broke. Psh. But let’s not end on a downer. Here’s a fun song to make everything better. And all that. I love this song right now. Not sure why. Heard it for the first time in a long time on the way to the airport because I was listening to the radio for once. Gasp.

“The moral of the date rape story, it does not pay to be drunk and horny”. Classic.