HISTORIC CALGARY WEEK

BeatRoute Magazine

heritage2DRAWING THE STORIES OF OUR HERITAGE BUILDINGS

This article was written prior to the floods to draw attention to this annual celebration of historic sites in the city. It will be the first in a series where we look at these areas and trace their development. This piece has been left as it was originally written, to offer added insights.

The community of Inglewood feels wonderfully eerie and is still somewhat isolated, despite new developments and the developing East Village nearby. It has kept its charm of long ago with its mix of old and new, where the old is still very much present. Even Inglewood’s newer buildings have been incorporated smartly into a sea of older, heritage-like buildings. The Atlantic Avenue Art Block, for example, is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever walked in. And yet, right across, we still have the Hose & Hound, “Calgary’s only…

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Help Kevin rebuild his life in High River.

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Friends, former classmates, strangers, neighbors and colleagues:

I know we’re all busy with our day-to-day lives but I’m inviting you to take the time to read the following message. For those of us who have not been directly affected by the Alberta floods, it’s hard to picture and understand the devastating consequences of the flood. But the reality is that some have lost everything, including their vehicle and all of their belongings.

Kevin, my good friend, former j-school buddy and the hardworking Editor-in-Chief of the High River Times is one of them.

On duty in High River,  Kevin saw the water levels rise at a rapid rate. He had to be rescued along with other residents who were still in the area at the time.

His car keys vanished in the overflowing river, his basement suite was completely submerged along with the High River Times office, home to Kevin and Kevin’s staff.

What’s really upsetting is that Kevin had literally just moved in his new place and had a house-warming just a couple weeks back. He had bought a brand new bed and new furniture and all his belongings, including his beloved books are now gone. He was able to save his camera and his laptop computer but that’s about all, folks.

Now, if this has happened to you, you understand how disheartening of a situation this can be. If you were not affected by the floods, I’d like you for a minute to put yourself in Kevin’s shoes: You’re starting out a new job, in a new town, and you have just settled in. And now, everything is gone.

Yes, it is only “stuff”, and what truly matters is that Kevin is OK.

However, I think it’d be amazing if we could come together and help Kevin out in this time of hardship.

I’m inviting every one of you to make cash donation – minimum of $10 plz – , or cheques to the name of Kevin Rushworth. Ikea gift cards and gift cards to the mall for new clothes welcomed too!

Kevin is one of the most hard-working and reliable person I know and I know he’d be the first one to be of helping hand if one of his friends were in a similar situation. Open your heart and help a friend in need. If you do not know Kevin in person but have been touched by his story (http://www.calgarysun.com/2013/06/24/reporters-life-washes-away-in-flood), do not hesitate!

Contact me via phone at 403 903 0898, via Twitter @Clairemig or via email claire.miglionico@gmail.com for more information on where to drop off donations.

Sincerely,

Claire M.

The Wisest of Words

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Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick; your friends and parents will: stay in touch.

You don’t have to win every argument; agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

Don’t compare your life to others; you have no idea what their journey is all about.

Over prepare, and then go with the flow.

Be eccentric now; don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this even matter?”

What people think of you is none of your business.

Your children only get one childhood.

If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

-Regina Brett, 90 years old 

In love with Frances Ha

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Frances Ha 

Director: Noah Baumbach

Writers: Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver

Viewed: at CUFF 2013

Frances Ha will change your life: Frances Ha is the story of a contemporary dancer who is working towards being part of a dance company on a full-time basis. She lives in New York with her best friend Sophie with whom she is extremely close. They sleep in the same bed, say I love you to each other a lot, and have these big dreams of living these full and exciting lives. As Frances puts it, they’re like a lesbian couple minus the sex. Then one day, Sophie moves out, leaving Frances unable to pay rent by herself, which forces Frances to find a new place to live. She moves in with rich art kids with differing values in a beautiful apartment she thinks she’ll be able to afford better once she gets a part in the winter production of her dance company. When she doesn’t, she is forced to find other living arrangements and ultimately ends up living in a dorm room at her old college. As most protagonists would have fallen hard at this point, Frances chooses to make the most of each day. It’s the story of a strong woman who stays true to herself, joyful and full of light and decides to ride the wave instead of being engulfed by it. Frances is not perfect which makes her completely relatable to. She makes reckless errors along the way – like her weekend trip to Paris which leaves her completely penniless – or her stubborn decision to not take the office job proposed by her dance teacher in the meantime of finding a dancing gig. But these errors all ultimately end up being blessings in the form of life experience which takes Frances closer to her dream.

The film itself is filled with hilarious dialogues and quirky humour and the choice of black and white fits the story paradoxically well.  It adds this sense of mystery and playfulness. The film wouldn’t be the same in color. Frances Ha is one of the funniest and smartest film I have seen in years. Plus, don’t you want to find out the story behind Frances’ very short last name?

-Claire Miglionico

The Wreckers: Nola and Corey

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Brought these two lovely friends to Wreck. Here they are, posing….I love their faces, I love that house, I love how they almost blend with that house.

Child-like smiles and faces, ready to take on the world of temporary-dom, braving through dark corners and sharp edges and sliding through that steep slide, of course.

I remember thinking the entrance to the slide was on the outside of the house. Yes, indeed, the illusion fooled me quite well, silly gullable girl that I am.

My favourite spot was sitting in the elevated green house…I spotted a camera inside the house, directly positioned to capture the action across, in that greenhouse. Slightly creepy? Yes. But I love the idea…the study of human interaction, human reaction to things, dirt, the view, the people, the installations….

I’m someone whose not really good with change. I’d like to think that I am, but I think I’m actually quite terrible. When I don’t have grasp of a situation, I tend to hold on for too long. I had that sweet bitterness in the pit of my stomach, thinking, wow, all these houses will be gone very very soon…how sad. There’s so much history on this Wreck City block. But then, it’s all about that change in perspective: it’s time for a new beginning…Wreck City made sure the new beginning started with a bang and provided closure to what used to be, now only a cherished memory.

Let it go, Letting go, gone…

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Yoga Inspirations

 

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Yesterday in yoga class I discovered something new about myself. I used to go into practice knowing my limitations – or so I thought. I have been practicing yoga on and off since I was 19. Boys and school would oftentimes get in the way and instead of going to yoga to clear my head, I’d end up staying home too stressed out to barely move or think.

Those days are luckily over. When I feel shitty, I yoga it out. When I feel good, I yoga it out. When I’m sleepy, I yoga it out. You get the picture. I yoga it out no matter what and I always feel fantastic after (and quite sore for the time being!! But that shall pass!).

I’ve recently started going back to this yoga studio in Mission I’d go to three years ago when I used to live in the area. It felt weird going back there. It brought back some memories. In fact, the last time I was in that studio, I threw up after a too intense practice I forced upon my then frail body. It wasn’t pretty… Fortunately, the puking happened in the privacy of my apartment. Following that incident, I got distracted…. I ended up in Vietnam in May and later in France to see family in the summer. Then everything became a blur. For some reason, I had given up on yoga and my abilities to keep a religious practice going. I would attend a few classes at my gym and at my school but I did not have the same motivation and positive frame of mind. Being back at the studio is a big step for me. My first class was an Ashtanga class I attended with a friend of mine. It was super fast-paced and intense on the body. Clearly, both my friend and myself weren’t ready for such a class. I left the class a little depleated but decided I wouldn’t give up so quickly this time around and that I wouldn’t get memories of the past get in my way.  It’s only been a week and a half and I have been back at the studio several times already. I enjoy the serenity of the waiting area, the sound of the water against the wall, the tea selection with its kettle waiting in the left corner for us to sip on. I have a lot of respect for the discipline and the hardwork put into each practice by each and everyone at the studio including its dedicated teachers. I accept the challenge of the overcrowdedness of the studio I am not used to. At first, it was hard to find my centre and “space” within the packed studio (yes, you literally have someone’s ass in your face when you go for downward dog) but I’ve slowly learned to accept it as a challenge to not be bothered by it and to feel centered, whole and perhaps even connected to others no matter how close others are to my “space”.

Moreover, there’s  nothing like walking into a quiet studio before a class. That quietness is so strong and powerful. Each and everyone of us, unfolding our mats unto the warm floor, are preparing ourselves for practice with the power of silence and that inward turning of our gaze. It is much better than walking into a studio where  three yoga moms are gossiping out the latest dish – in my opinion at least!

Yesterday blew my mind. We were going for a backward bending of the neck during the first phase of a sun salutation when your arms are high up above your head and your eyes are looking at your hands. In my head I thought, “there’s no way I will be able to crane my neck all the way back”. My first try was painful. I was too afraid to let my head fall backwards. “If the neck is too tense, shrug your shoulders,” said the teacher to the class. On my second try, I gave shrugging my shoulders a try and to my surprise, it did release some tension in my neck, allowing my head to go further back than usual. On my third try, I shrugged my shoulders once again but this time around I took a leap of faith and let go of my resisting and stubborn head. I just let go, and there I was, with my head further than ever. And it didn’t even hurt because I was able to simply let go of my fears, my judgements and the limitations I was putting on my own body. It’s incredible what letting go and simply believing in yourself can do. That day was a revelation for me. I am super grateful for what that practice taught me about myself and what I feel I can now accomplish in life. Ever since, nothing seems too big or too small and that’s a huge step forward for me.

Calgary Underground Film Festival

I Declare War, described by the CUFF website as a mix of Full Metal and Stand By Me, explores a group of kids being tempted by human nature's darker side as a game of capture the flag turns serious. The film plays on April 16 at 9:30 p.m.

I Declare War, described by the CUFF website as a mix of Full Metal Jacket and Stand By Me, explores a group of kids being tempted by human nature’s darker side as a game of capture the flag turns serious. The film plays on April 16 at 9:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 YEARS OF UNDERGROUND FILMS

Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend the premiere of Cafe Cafe by Calgary director Pat Downing. CUFF is going on until the end of the week. I strongly suggest going to one of the festival’s featured films. There’s a great selection. Next up for me is Frances Ha tomorrow night at 7:30. Cheers!

Though Calgary tends to not pop up on unsuspecting radars as a hotbed for underground film, legions of canny fans flock to art-house theatres in town each spring to catch another installation of the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF). For those on the pulse of independent films, or willing to take a chance on something new, CUFF provides an entire week’s worth of gems across all genres, including horror, documentary, drama, comedy and cartoons. Led by festival director Brenda Lieberman, CUFF is entering its 10th years as the film festival that could and have their strongest lineup prepared to date. We sat down with Lieberman to talk about the festival’s history, the international indie film scene and the future for film in Calgary.

BeatRoute: How would you define CUFF?

Brenda Lieberman: Essentially, we look for international independent cinema that we feel pushes some boundaries, is edgy — maybe more subversive or provocative in terms of form or style or content — and we look to highlight genres, subcultures or niches that we feel audiences want to see more of in Calgary and wouldn’t have the opportunity to see, otherwise. So, you know, if a film comes through, comparing an everyday drama to something that’s got an element in it that we feel is more interesting or provocative, we certainly go [the latter] direction.

BR: Which international film festival does CUFF resemble the most?

BL: I would say Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. It will be our seventh year attending that one and one of my absolute favourite thing about that festival, aside from their programming and their staff, is that, no matter how big that they’ve gotten – and they’ve gotten huge – they’ve never lost that small festival feel, so the staff are very collaborative and passionate. When you go and attend the festival, guests never feel left out, you meet with the filmmakers, the festival organizers. When you attend that festival, it feels like a very intimate personal experience, even though it’s just ginormous. That is something that was important to us when we started our festival 10 years ago and I don’t ever want to lose that. I think there’s so much positive energy that comes from it and the audience loves it. It allows us to feel more hospitable… it’s one of my favourite things to sort of try to make sure that we don’t lose as a group — never feeling too bureaucratic in terms of red lines of crossing.

BR: What makes a good underground film? What do you look for in the films that you screen?

BL: I like things that are impactful. I like things that will move you or shock you, something that, you know, has some level of impact, visually or story-wise. You know, a lot of the films that we program, they kind of catch you by surprise. You know what you’re going into from the synopsis and the still, maybe from what you’ve read to some degree, but they’re all going to have a powerful impact on you by the time you’ve left. They should all leave you thinking about it later or talking about it.

BR: Where does this passion for alternative films come from?

BL: I like quirky romantic comedies and I always try to find the weird, edgier jams, you know? I just like seeing story creativity, when somebody can tell a story that you’ve maybe heard a hundred times, but you haven’t the way they tell it. I think the passion comes from not only getting excited about something that you’ve seen and you can show, but from being able to discover for somebody else that doesn’t know how to find it for themselves.

BR: Bring that sub-culture to Calgary!

BL: Yeah! We do our best every year and it’s hard: some years, it’s not the right year for certain types of genre or audience for our films, but you know we try to find something for a lot of the subcultures: for instance, we have a bike documentary this year. I think we always kind of keep our eye out for one and we try to keep an eye out for snowboarding, skateboarding or something like that. Some years it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

BR: The void you see in Calgary, what would that be? What’s missing here mostly?

BL: I’d say it would be great to get bigger audiences out to Korean cinema. We programmed a South Korean film this year. I’ve tried to program some really great Korean films at both festivals [CIFF and CUFF] over the years and there’s always an audience who likes to see more of it, but we’d like to get more of an audience out to it because some of the world’s greatest films come from there — actually, the one we’ve got this year won the big award at the Venice Film Festival. We always try and encourage the audience who’s into that to come out.

A void? Animated features, for sure. People love animated features and they’re really hard for us to program. We had a couple at the International in September, but, for Underground this year, we couldn’t find one that would work and I know that our audience would like to see more of that. Otherwise, we just think there might be more curatorial opportunities that we can involve ourselves with throughout the year to find a way to fill them in. Now that we have a larger programming team, my goal is that we could be more active this off-season when I’m busy with the International or just when our festival is in its downtime, we could do more special events from May to November, or until January. So, it’s been a positive thing that we’ve been able to grow our team and we have some ideas in the works.

BR: Anything you’d like to add?

BL: We always look for new audiences. I think the biggest fear some people have is they don’t come because they don’t have somebody to go with. People get kind of scared to go to a movie by themselves because they think it’s maybe weird, or intimidating, or they’re not motivated. No one will ever feel by themselves at our festival. There’s a lot of people who do it and I think it’s a very social atmosphere, really vibrant, and I feel it’s accessible because of that. My thought is that if you want to come and you want to take a chance on the festival and you’ve never been and you don’t have somebody to go with, to just do it once and, if you hate me for it, I’ll give you a refund. But, I think you won’t, because it’s going to win you over like the audience who does do it. We hope that everyone walks away with a really positive experience.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival will celebrate its 10-year anniversary from April 15 to 21 at the Globe Cinema. Tickets and more information can be foundcalgaryundergroundfilm.org.

By Claire Miglionico

CALGARY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL.