Ottawa Arts Newsletter: Are You An Ottawa Arts Sneezer?

Posted on October 2, 2010


When you encounter something great in Ottawa arts, do you tell a friend about it? More importantly, do you need to tell someone — anyone — about it? Do you need to spread the word!

If “YES!” is your answer, you’re a sneezer and you’re essential to the life and vitality of Ottawa arts.

According to Seth Godin, the influential marketer from whom I’m borrowing the term, sneezers spread ideaviruses. An ideavirus is an idea so compelling it infects everyone it touches. But! Even if an ideavirus catches easily, someone needs to spread it.

And that’s where you — the Ottawa Arts Sneezers — come in.

The ideavirus I’ve caught — the ideavirus that I think all of you have caught — is this: Ottawa arts is transforming right now into something greater than the sum of its parts. Something’s happening around here and we know exactly what it is. We can feel it. We can breathe it. We’re living it.

Now, let’s spread the word. Let’s start sneezing!

How you can help: 1) forward this Newsletter to three friends who you think will spread the word about Ottawa arts; 2) start at least one conversation this week about something great in Ottawa Arts — preferably with someone who hasn’t yet caught the Ottawa Arts Bug; 3) If you aren’t yet on the email list for this Newsletter, sign-up now to receive it directly.

In the meantime, I will build a site where we can sneeze together and cause an Ottawa Arts pandemic. Keep an eye out. It’s officially coming soon.


Urban Shape 3. Manon Francoeur

Manon Mancoeur's "Urban Shape 3".
This work is part of City Decoding, at Exposure Gallery until October 19th.

Writing a thoughtful and articulate theatre review is tough and time consuming work. Writing four of them is a whole lot of work. Accordingly, I want to give kudos to Andrew Snowdon who found the time to go to four new productions in one week and then write four thoughtful and articulate reviews. And, of course, Ottawa Tonite should be acknowledged for sharing the reviews with us. The conversation about theatre is as important as the theatre itself and Andrew is one fine conversationalist Find out: Blackbird, Flea In Her Ear, The List, and Someone For Everyone. Two of the shows reviewed are still open. The List closes this weekend. Flea runs until October 23rd.

In honor of Andrew, I’ve arranged some ticket giveaways for the two shows still open. The first person to tell me the title of Andrew’s review for The List gets those tickets (NB: You’ve got to go this weekend). The first to do so for Flea gets those tickets (NB: you’ve got to go Tuesday 5th or 12th October).

Jan thoughtfully posted this mini-review on my blog. This is exactly the sort of sneezing I’m hoping to encourage with the new site. He tells me:

On Sunday, September 19th, I went on the West End Studio Tour. I was only able to see one artist, but his paintings are amazing. His name is Andrew King. If you have never been to a show of his you really owe it to yourself to check him out. His painting can be spooky, but funny too. He told me he has a show coming up in March at the Wallspace Gallery, but that is a looong time away. The Studio Tour has only two days left: Saturday and Sunday.

The tour, of course, has long since ended but thanks to Jan’s effort, I’ll be keeping an eye out for next year’s tour. I hadn’t heard anything about it before Jan mentioned it to me and, now that he has, I’m telling others! Sneezing works! Of course, if you knew where to find sneezes on a day-to-day basis, you might have read Jan’s sneeze in time to make it to the tour. And then you might have told others as well. What happens if we all start sneezing in the same place. Watch out!

I’m a big, big fan of win-win propositions. When I saw OttawaStart pitching this idea on Twitter, I helped spread the word. Now that it’s up and running, I want to make sure you know about it.

OttawaStart writes,

Back in August, we invited local artists to participate in a project called “Skyscraper Art on OttawaStart”. We received dozens of submissions, and picked 30 of our favourites to feature in the skyscraper ad space on our main site. The Skyscraper space is the tall, skinny ad on the right-hand side of the page. It’s hard to miss. And from now until November 30, it will become a virtual art gallery showing off some of Ottawa’s best artists.

What a brilliant idea! OttawaStart gets some fine art for it’s home page, fine artists gets some publicity, and everyone starts talking about OttawaStart and Ottawa Arts. Brilliant again! Can you think of a win-win arts partnership worth talking about? Let me know. Better yet, why not start one!

I was scooped by Peter Simpson at the Big Beat. I wanted to be the first to spread the word about Glenn McInnes‘s decision to open up his office and put on an exhibition he curated from his own collection. I love this idea, which is a part of Festival X! Art lives best when it lives in our lives. Thanks for reminding us Glenn!

Simpson writes,

The show is titled A Private Collection of Glenn McInnes: Canadian Photography, and it is compact and intimate. It’s 18 pieces in all, and if you can get over any anxieties about marching into a stranger’s private office for a viewing, you’ll find McInnes is an affable host.

Simpson is right! Thanks to my work at Exposure Gallery, I know Glenn. He’s friendly and loves to talk art. And he’s got impeccable taste. I’m sure this exhibition is top notch. It’s open from 11 to 5 p.m daily, until Oct. 3. Hopefully, other collectors in the city will follow Glenn’s lead. People sometimes open up their gardens for tours. What about a private art collection tour? I’ll bring the crumpets!

Art is intrinsically political, the best politics is artful, and, if our politicians aren’t talking about the arts, it’s our fault. Period. So I’m pleased my friend Sam reminded me of Debate 2.0 – Envisioning Ottawa’s Future.

Here’s the official pitch:

On Tuesday October 5, Ottawa mayoral candidates Jim Watson, Larry O’Brien, Andrew Haydon and Clive Doucet will go head-to-head in Debate 2.0 – Envisioning Ottawa’s Future, a 90-minute, web-enabled event during which citizens of Ottawa, particularly youth, will be encouraged to participate both online or in-person at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage.

Because the mighty Apartment613 is involved, there are nifty ways to engage directly with the debate. Do you want the candidates to discuss his or her vision for the arts in Ottawa? Why not ask him or her directly with a YouTube video question? There’s got be at least one person out there who can get an Ottawa arts question into the debate. Go on, I dare you!

Finally, I want to acknowledge the NAC’s French Theatre’s Argonaut Club. What a brilliant idea!

The press release says:

The purpose of the French Theatre Argonauts Club is to allow 10 theatre neophytes to share our artistic journey over the course of the season, and discover and explore the many layers of the art of theatre. This enlightening voyage of (self-)awareness will include informal meetings and conversations with professional theatre artists; as well, the participants will attend (free of charge) four key plays in French Theatre’s new season. Our objective (and our hope) is that through this unique and up-close experience, our 10 participants will acquire the keys to an artistic and cultural autonomy based not on academic credentials but on emotional responses and personal insights.

Press releases rarely catch my attention but the idea expressed in this release is brilliant! For the price of a few tickets, the Argonauts Club will create super-sneezers for French theatre in Ottawa. What an amazing contribution! There’s an application process and the deadline is October 22, 2010. Anyone out there in English Theatre smart enough to steal this idea?

SPOTTED by The Jessie!
En pointe! Yes, that was famed ballerina Annette av Paul in the studio of the Irving Greenberg for opening night of Third Wall’s Blackbird, elegantly reclining a mere glissé away from Victoria Steele, former Managing Director of the NAC English Theatre.

Less than 24 hours later and a few feet down the hall, star of stage and screen Craig Spottiswood was mingling with the great and good during the opening festivities for GCTC’s The List, along with actors Kris Joseph and Jennifer Vallance, playwright Jan Irwin, and soprano Doreen Taylor-Claxton.

And speaking of The List, that was indeed curator Don Monet rising at the end of Artistic Director Brian Quirt’s opening night speech to demand recognition of the visual artists whose work is in the foyer of the theatre. We are thrilled to see that Monet has finally overcome his notoriously shy demeanor and ventured a comment in a public setting.

Spotter’s Badges go to N. T., E. T., and S. L.

C’est toute pour moi, for October 1st. See you on the 15th. Please forward this Newsletter to a fellow or potential Ottawa Arts Sneezers. Sign-up to the Newsletter, if you haven’t already done so. And please for the love of arts, talk about the arts whenever you can!

And here, at last, is your moment of physics: the total energy of the universe is zero.

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