Archive for September, 2012


Published by cctadmin on September 30th, 2012

BiG THANKS to CRYSTAL KOLT, FLiN FLON ARTS COUNCiL & all those involved in making Flin Flon’s CULTURE DAYS so amazing.  The weekend is almost nearing an end, & there has been no shortage of fun & interesting arts & cultural events for people to participate in.  2012 has been a stellar year for CULTURE DAYS & I am very happy to have been a part of it in any way.  Upon arriving home at the end of summer I had no idea there would be such a welcoming, such an opportunity to re-connect with my community.

Friday night I took part in The Flin Flon Public Libraries ‘HUMAN LiBRARY EVENT‘; a wine & cheese evening where “people become the books & are borrowed for conversation”.  The premise: DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY iTS COVER – everyone has an interesting story to tell & this event provided a stellar opportunity for people to challenge any pre-conceived notions about people in their community.  Take a look at the variety of HUMAN STORiES included in Friday  nights event; I was proud to represent the GLBTTQ community here, as a member of the community who is openly gay & certainly has a story for anyone willing to lend an ear.  I looked at it two-fold: Flin Flon never had anything this progressive while I was growing up, that is, an opportunity to converse in a safe environment about people with alternative lifestyles, be it orientation, religion, what have you.  I was proud to be amongst these folks with unique stories of their own & I felt in great company.  Second, it was an equal opportunity for me to re-connect with my community, who may or may not have had preconceived ideas about who I am.  Those from smaller communities understand how difficult it can be ‘different’ often times, yet this experience has me inclined to believe that things really can & do change.  I thank CiNDY MCLEAN for extending me the invitation to be a part of this movement, as well to all those who came out & talked to us.  I met some new faces as well as some older familiar ones & it meant a great deal to me when they would sit down with me & just talk.  <3

Secondly, last night I performed among some very talented local acts (including LELCERC & PABiANEK, UKES AHOY, WiNDJACK & iMRiE just to name just a few, pictured below) at The DOGHOUSE, located out at Bakers Narrows.  It was a relaxing, intimate night of music, & it was a packed house of people there to enjoy the ambience of a down-home night of music.  For me it was surreal: in all my years in Ottawa never did I feel the sense of community as much as I did last night at Culture Days.  Perhaps its all part of being ‘home’ again; but I felt so welcomed & in warm & talented hands.  It was a real treat to hear the other local talents, & a special thanks again to CRYSTAL KOLT & SUSAN LETHBRiDGE for not only inviting me, but making me feel so special.  Also special thanks to my family & the friends & community for being there to support all of us as we stand up there & do what we love to do.  You are all AMAZiNG.

Check out some selected images from both my experiences on Friday & Saturday night: I look forward to more arts & culture in this fantastic town.  CONGRATS to the Arts Council for making this a phenomenal year of culture.


Published by cctadmin on September 26th, 2012

Today I’ve got no prairie stories or adventures to recall yet I do have a reason to recollect a certain Ottawa adventure, pertaining to my friends & collaborators back in that particular home.

Leading up to my flight home to Manitoba, I was in a mad rush.  I had to work hard & fast on wrapping up several very fun projects, of my own as well as of my counterparts in TORRiD PRODUCTiONS.  For those of you unfamiliar, TORRiD PRODUCTiONS is an Ottawa-based multi-diciplinary artist collective I am still a part of, along with amazing artists like AiLEEN MARTELLA, OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY, BONNiE FINDLEY, & of course TORRiD’S co-founder DANNiEL OiCKLE.  Although I am adjusting very well to the small-town life after years in the Nations capital, I think of these friends often; it was in their company I found a lot of fun & welcomness.  I miss them.

Speaking of – as I was mentioning earlier, leading up to my departure from Ottawa I had to tie up some big projects that we at TORRiD had on the go; one of them being the filming of a music video for DANNiEL OiCKLE’S song ‘Caring & Hate’ (from THE CORRUPTiON OF FLESH, TORRiD PRODUCTiONS, 2011).  Filming took place in two locations: one at Ottawa’s MERCURY LOUNGE, a bar located in the Byward Market, the other in a downtown apartment where we shot additional footage.  BONNiE FiNDLEY & DAN ZiEMKiEWiCZ lent their cinematography/production skills & although I have yet to see the finished results I can promise you they will look nothing short of sharp & amazing.  Through out shooting, FiNDLEY, a photographer of the highest calibre, shot some additional images which she released publicly today.  Below I have shared a few with you -

It’s also worth noting that DANNiEL’S hard work has recently landed him on the cover of Xtra!, Ottawa’s Gay & Lesbian News Publication.  I received my own personal copy right from DANNiEL myself – & I’m not only thrilled he continues to be true to himself on this journey,  but blessed to meet him, & be a part of TORRiD PRODUCTiONS.  Way to go DANNiEL!  Here’s to  friends left behind but most certainly still in the heart.  Love you all -


Published by cctadmin on September 24th, 2012

As previously noted, FiVE EASY PiECES (comprised of DOUG McGREGOR, ANN ROSS, DEREK KEMP, CHAD PABiANEK & myself) are a group, who for all intensive purposes have our own respective things going on outside of this musically, but have formed together for the musical fun we partake in on Saturday evenings at DOUG & ANN’S cottage in the woods.

Last night DOUG & ANN invited us to join them to perform at a couple of fantastic community events in the Fall & Winter seasons.

First, on Friday, October 12th we will be performing at the United Church’s Coffee House; a silver collection fundraiser for the this years chosen recipients, THE WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTRE, more specifically their lunch program.  So this will be a great opportunity for people to come out & support their local women as well as the arts.  The show will be starting at 7pm, going no later than 9:30/10.  There will be more information to come, as well as some additional acts so stay tuned as these details come to surface.

Another special event coming up will take place at NORVA CENTRE, on Thursday December 27th – perfect timing for the Holiday festivities.  HOME FOR THE HOLLiDAYS: A NiGHT OF FUN & MUSiC WiTH DOUG & ANN & FRiENDS took place last year as well, so this will be the second time such a night will happen & I couldn’t be happier to participate.  Again, along with some other local acts who will be ‘home for the holidays’ – & ready to play – FiVE EASY PiECES will also round out the night & boy are we looking forward to it.  I think it’ll be a lot of fun & there is no way people will want to miss out on this down-home night of music & Christmas cheer; so be sure to bring the kids, your partner, friends – there will be fun for all! In addition to the music & cheer there is of course, a plethora of local art to soak in & appreciate, so all in all its not to be missed.

In the meantime, check out some photos from last night !


Published by cctadmin on September 23rd, 2012

Well I’ve seen a glorious summer’s end here – & now as the famous JONi MiTCHELL song says “summer time is falling down, and winter is closing in.”  I can’t help but think of this tune when I am amongst the colours & awesomeness of the nature out here as MiTCHELL’S poetry eloquently sums up how breathtaking it all truly is – yet at times lonesome & brisk.  “Now the warriors of winter, they give a cold, triumphant shout.  All that stays is dying, and all that lives comes wandering out….”  This is the North.  Today I went for walk &  found myself yet again singing this song & snapping endless photos of the yellows in the trees, the bright shining sun cascading down on everything in its glory, & a skyline forever impressed on my memory… Let me share but a few with you now, along with the MiTCHELL classic ‘Urge For Going’!


Published by cctadmin on September 20th, 2012

One of the beauties of returning home is the re-discovering of old childhood remnants.  These are the things that are left behind when you initially leave; an old toy, photographs, even the pieces of the ‘home’ you lived in that hold so many memories…

Below I have collected but a few photos of such remnants which I share here with you.  For example you will see some old pieces of art I would have made in my high school days; like the oil pastel replica I made of a favourite JONi MiTCHELL record, or a charcoal drawing I did at a time I would have really been struggling with feeling alone & isolated here.

You will also see some images of me with my siblings as kids at what would have been a SHRiNE CiRCUS that took place at the WHiTNEY FORUM, early 80′s.  Another is a snap shot of my oldest sister… who I love dearly.  Then there is the image I took of the door to my father’s home, perched up on the rocks, at what I still to this day think is the primo spot in town, view wise.  Today it is old, paint-chipped & a mere flicker of the home it once was, filled with vibrancy & love.  ….

I discovered, in a drawer downstairs in my mom’s home, a bag containing the Ukrainian dancing outfits of both my sisters, whom would have worn these as little girls.  What’s really key to these dresses, is that every stitch on the vests, every stitch of the beautiful embroidery on the dresses & blouses, were hand-sewn by my beloved Grandma Mary, whom we lost in 2009.  We all miss my Grandparents dearly – & they were & always will remain close to our hearts.  We can never forget the love we were given & every stitch is symbolic of the love they gave to each one of us.

You’ll see a collectors plate, which I used to see hanging in my childhood home for so long, & never did it have an impression on me of any great capacity growing up.  It was almost one of those things I was blind to, took for granted for lack of a particular consciousness you only gain after life away… only now as an adult do I look at it & appreciate it for its charm & beauty.  It’s serenity.

You’ll see a MiSS PiGGY doll, which was originally given to me at the age of 3 when I would have had my tonsils removed.  I recall it well when I received her before going into the General Hospital – & her battered body reveals how much I loved her for years.  You could imagine my surprise when I came home to my room, a week or so living with my mother here – to find she had found her & tucked her under my bedding.  The image of the massacred BARBiE heads – comes from my dad’s garage, where as a kid I would play for hours with my dolls, engrossed in my own little world of make-believe where these dolls played the parts of my characters…inevitably a many of them ended up tortured & beheaded… we won’t go there.  Yet there they remain – just where I would have left them.

Within this collection there are also a few images that were very familiar to me growing up, such as the photograph of my Grandpa Stan when he was very young, & the handsome couple, whom while I know very little about I could only imagine they loved each other dearly. To me they were like Hollywood stars, forever captured on film.

There is a photo I took while up at my dad’s home in town, where you’ll often see sewage boxes perched up on the rocks leading up & down.  To many of  you they may seem ridiculous – even ugly.  Yet as a child these sewage boxes served to many of us kids like a special side-walk – a path that felt made just for our little feet & our entertainment,  & we would take these paths up & down those rocks, with a bit of change in our pockets so we could go buy a Mr FREEZE at THE CANDY BAR or play at ROTARY PARK.  They are an integral part of FLiN FON.

Finally there is a photo I took of my childhood handprint in some cement that was laid in our yard years ago, out at SCHiST LAKE.  We all went up there & left our imprints – many years later I find it there & can’t help but go back in time….To me these photographs are a testament to but one man’s life – & it makes me appreciate how we all have so much more to us than meets the eye, yet more often than not these are the things those who love us never get the opportunity to understand or see as a part of us.  I say – these are the things worth sharing.





Published by cctadmin on September 17th, 2012

I’ve been fortunate since settling into life as I now know it in Manitoba, to be connected musically with some really talented folks here.  I’ve mentioned DOUG & ANN before – they are the glue that has brought five of us together for these jam sessions, all which have taken place on Sunday evenings, up at their little log cabin in woods on the outskirts of town.  In addition to DOUG & ANN there are a couple of very gifted musicians by the name of DEREK KEMP & CHAD PABiANEK – these fella’s have been collaborating as a singing/songwriter duo (who go by the name ‘NATURE’S CHiLDREN’) for a couple of years now.  (Check out their video ON MY WAY below.)  Rounding out the four of us is myself, ever happy to sit in & jam along with everyone.  These sessions are very loose, yet the goal is to eventually take whatever end product these times bring & play them for a crowd here in town.  DOUG has christened us ‘FiVE EASY PiECES’.

Last night was yet another great end to the weekend – like I said its interesting to see what kind of musical magic results from these inspired sessions & if anything I enjoy the opportunity to connect & let the sweet sounds take me away while I’m here up North. In addition to a few videos included here, check out some selected images taken from last night.


Published by cctadmin on September 15th, 2012

Who says there’s nothing interesting happening up North? Last night I decided to dip into the NORVA CENTRE (Northern Visual Arts Centre) where I happened to find ELViS’ FAREWELL TOUR about to start.  No really!  Ok, well not exactly – the real ELViS was not exactly spotted living here in Flin Flon, but he definitely has a big fan who does.  He is a local man by the name of TERRY PSHEBNiCKi & it was he who was actually giving a ‘farewell’ tour, before moving away to BC, I suppose in search of greener pastures. His act just happens to consist of performing an assortment of ELViS PRESLEY hits, something he has done for years.  In fact it is not the first time I came across TERRY in my return to FLiN FLON – I happened to meet him my night out performing at FLONSTOCK at the end of August & even then I knew in front of me stood a character.  A character who really, really, REALLY loves ELViS.  I have met many E.P. fans in my life, including my own father, & TERRY is a die hard fan who likely knows enough about the rock icon to write  another biography; including trivial information about his music, life & career.  Not only that but he has performed ELViS music for years now, even singing in PRESLEY’S trademark voice. People who are familiar with him packed NORVA last night in support of his departure.

I was really happy to have gotten the chance to drop in on this otherwise quiet Friday night. Every seat in the arts centre was filled with TERRY’S friends & fans, laughing & taking in the entertainment that was TERRY; hamming it up, telling jokes & ELViS stories while eliciting laughter & joy from the crowd, which ranged from children to seniors.  As I sat tucked away at the very back of the crowd, watching & listening – I couldn’t help but be happy to be there to witness this farewell performance myself.  I stuck around long enough after to mingle a bit & wish TERRY well on his journey, & he was warm & most happy I came.  Check out some photos I snapped from the night below.


Published by cctadmin on September 14th, 2012

Below are just some of the images I’ve taken over the past month & a half here in Flin Flon, Manitoba.  Every single morning I wake up amazed by the view out my window at the lake where I grew up; the beauty of the nature out in these parts of Manitoba is nothing short of breathtaking.  I used to notice these skylines growing up here  & I had forgotten how much I missed them in Ottawa all these years.  Yes, Ottawa has the beauty of Parliament Hill in all its officious glory, but each morning here is like a new painting in the sky & I feel trigger happy with the camera as its all so fleeting.  They inspire me & ground me at the same time.  Come to Northern Manitoba & see them in person!  Here are a selection to share.




Published by cctadmin on September 11th, 2012

Today was WORLD SUiCiDE PREVENTiON DAY – & across Canada folks were on a mission to not only raise awareness about suicide in this country, but also to highlight how important it is to have HOPE; whatever that definition means to you as an individual.  This special day promotes worldwide commitment & action to prevent suicides, because its an unfortunate fact that on average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily.

For many of you suicide is just a word, or a experience outside of yourself.  For others suicide hits close to home; perhaps you’ve been affected by the loss of someone near or dear to you, or know someone who has lost a loved one.  Personally, suicide is an issue very close to home for me for more reasons that one; however beyond that I believe in the power of raising ones awareness in effort to make it a less taboo subject but I also believe we can to support those out there who may be thinking of suicide themselves.  With rates so incredibly high – its clear that people out there can feel hurt, isolated, alone or afraid.  These people are important – there is no denying they deserve our support.

As a member of the Suicide Prevention Committee as well as the Northern Regional Health Authority it has been a pleasure to join in on this cause, & I took my part very seriously.  As such I was happy to become involved with this years kite making & parade down Main St, here in Flin Flon, Manitoba, where several schools partook along with us.  I called upon my friend & fellow Grade 8 art teacher extraordinaire, CATHERiNE JOA, who invited us into her class with blank canvas kites for her students to decorate in the theme of HOPE.  Her students, so talented & intelligent, spent time dressing up these kites in preparation for todays parade downtown.

They, along with the other combined students & adults – assembled together & paraded with us down Main St with these beautiful kites in tow, spreading this message to all: THERE iS HOPE.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  And once that parade was finished we all gathered in the Garden of Memory next to Mugsey’s Cafe for hotdogs & a memorial speech for those who have passed due to suicide.  Nothing was more touching to me than when a beautiful Grade 8 student shared with us all a poem she had written just the night before.  Not only does Flin Flon/Creighton have wonderfully talented young artists, but poetic thinkers as well.  They prove to me there really is  HOPE.  When she stood up & read this poem I was touched – nowhere in my time growing up in this town had we ever had such an opportunity to gather, share & celebrate the meaning of hope through pain.  I couldn’t help but see how far this town has come.  The children also donated shoes, which were gently placed in the Garden of Memory, as a symbol for ‘walking a mile’ in the shoes of someone who has gone because of suicide.  These shoes will be donated to those who need them here in town.

The day is almost over yet the need to spread hope & raise awareness for suicide prevention remains.  If anyone is reading this I ask you to take but a few things from this: suicide is something that could be affecting anyone near you: a neighbour, friend, your brother or sister.  It does not discriminate & so its all the more important that we understand we have a responsibly to be kind to our neighbours, friends, brothers & sisters – lend them an ear; let them know if you can’t help them by being a shoulder to lean on – there is always someone who can.  Be it their mom or dad, a counsellor at school, or the Manitoba Suicide Hotline where they provide compassionate support  to those who may be thinking of hurting themselves.  That toll free number is 1-877-435-7170 & its open 24 hours.  (  Thank you to everyone involved in todays event.



Published by cctadmin on September 8th, 2012

Life can be ironic at times.  At the thought of moving back to Flin Flon in the past I would have scoffed.  “When PiGS FLY!”  Pigs have indeed flown & I have been back for over a month now.  What’s even more ironic somehow is that within a short time after my return, I was being invited to perform in the community.  But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Back in Ottawa I had spent the past couple of years performing live every so often (Club Saw Gallery, Elmdale House Tavern, The Rainbow, Mercury Lounge, Backyards of Chinatown to name some), be it doing my solo folk stuff, or within DANNiEL OiCKLE’S song cycle ‘CORRUPTiON of FLESH‘, alongside him & fellow fawn OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY.  I had a lot of fun in these experiences but to get these gigs you had to a) seek out venues, and b) do a lot in terms of promoting it & ensuring you even had a crowd.  I’m definitely interested in performing in front of a audience but I will say being a professional musician is not a cake-walk & I also contend with some mild stage fright.  What I enjoy more than being ‘on’ in front of people is the opportunity to simply ‘play’ with other musicians & play my kind of music.  I just love to sing.

You could imagine my surprise when I got a phone call in my first week back here in Manitoba, from an old friend (we’re talking elementary school old friend) who now lives in Saskatoon where he manages a bar called The Fez on Broadway.  Turns out he & some of his buddies were looking to bring some musical/community fun & spirit up north here. The idea was to invite a variety of musical acts from all over, for a 3 day outdoor music fest (on a beautiful vast acreage)  - & they were calling it ‘FLONSTOCK‘.  I said yes right away – I mean it had been years since I really spoke with this friend but had to ask myself how often I would be asked to do something like this.  Plus – it seemed a great opportunity to re-introduce myself to the Flin Flon community in a way.  And like I said, in Ottawa I had been accustomed to doing a lot that prep work for my own shows myself – here all I had to do was be prepared and show up!  Right on!

I called up my local musical friends DOUG & ANN, two seasoned musicians are used to playing here & there in town – I wanted to see if they would be interested in making my solo thing a TRiO of sorts.  Like I said – I had made a sort of personal goal to play with other musicians as its not something I am familiar with yet I wanted to also up my showmanship.  DOUG & ANN are the perfect pair & my kind of people so I was really happy they said yes & before I knew it I was over at their place a couple of times in the two weeks leading up to the 3 day fest, jamming & working on our set list.  In the end I think we had prepared enough to offer the crowd a loose, acoustic set.

August 17th came round & when we played for the small crowd of just under 100 people in total it was surreal.  Keep in mind I left Flin Flon in 1997 after I graduated (I know I am dating myself) & other than the annual visit home for Christmas or summer I had never really been out & about like this – so it was a real homecoming in a lot of ways.  I really have no idea what the crowd thought after we wrapped up our set, but I will always remember the three of us sitting up there on that stage, the back drop being this wide open field & sky of pinky-purple-yellow as the sun went down…. the mosquitos were swarming around our faces like mad, yet I kept thinking ‘This is it – I’ll remember this forever…I’m here…& for better or for worse I am gonna try  to do my best.”  I am so grateful I had DOUG & ANN to be by my side; and for LEMi & all the people who put the event on.  After our set I could relax & kick back for the night & enjoy the rock acts that came after us – I am so happy with the pics I got that night.  We were more folky/blues/country but there were some fine rock bands from Saskatoon, Flin Flon, and even a solo guy on guitar all the way from Edmonton who kicked off the night.  I’ll never forget it. Period.

Check out selected pics from that night – starting with a few from our preliminary rehearsals at DOUG & ANN’s.