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 -
Not but a couple of weeks ago, BONNiE FiNDLEY and I collaborated on a fun photo shoot using all sorts of make-up and glitter. These are not those photos, however these are just the test shots – which stand well on their own. Until the other photos are ready to release, enjoy these images in the meantime. Can’t express enough how talented this woman is – mad skills.
Where to begin? It is a whirl-wind these days for me, as change is on the horizon. In short, I will be packing up and shipping off to Flin Flon, Manitoba near the end of July, for a new and exciting job that starts August 1st. I will be a Mental Health Clinician for the Youth and Women’s Team in Primary Health Care.
The reason I don’t know where to begin is that in truth, my heart & mind are all over the place these days. On one hand, I find myself here in Ottawa, for all intensive purposes still a part of this city & the various projects I’m involved in. On the other hand, as I enjoy these last days here, my mind simultaneously races with thoughts on how to best prepare for what I’m about to embark on back in the Flin Flon community. As I straddle both worlds – I’m both sad and excited; it’s difficult for someone like me, who struggles with fear & anxieties to express exactly what it is I’m feeling, because it is a combination of things both logical & illogical, & sometimes the line between each is hard to decipher.
I will say that I’m extremely happy with the life I’ve made in Ottawa up till now; 10 years ago when I first sauntered into this town I really had nothing but my back-pack & that was all. No particular goals or plans – I was rather aimless. Years later I’ve seen myself go to college and University; I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way – conquered a few demons here and there too. I’ve seen romantic relationships come & go, & have been more than blessed to be with my partner Alain for almost 6 years now.
To the outsider looking in at what the life of CC TRUBiAK is all about; one might see a bright & confident guy with tons going on. I’ve grown to understand that perception is all so relative; yes it’s true that I’m extremely lucky & blessed but make no mistake – there is so much more to everyone than meets the eye. For all of my gifts & shine, I’m incredibly flawed but ever-striving to understand life & my part in it; how I can above all, love & laugh. At 33 years old I still search for answers to questions about who I am & how I can get the most joy out of life.
One thing I’m committed to is getting somewhere with my social work career. Career & finances have been an area of life that I have yet to conquer – & having graduated with my degree a few years ago now, it feels time to face my fears of job search in that area, which is why this opportunity to move away and focus on career couldn’t have come at a better time. The universe is obviously listening to me.
Some may wonder – well, what’s up with your arts/photography/music? As the arts were in my youth, they will remain an integral part of me, even as I make my way back to Manitoba. I’ve been so incredibly fortunate over the past two years in terms of the public’s reception to my art. I used to keep that part of me very hidden & so to be so welcomed into the Ottawa art scene at all has given this small-town guy a great deal of encouragement, to say the least. I’ve published a book of self-portrait photography (Hail The Narcissist, 2010), released an independent CD (They Say I’m Different, 2011 – also nominated by Xpress for Best Album, Best New Musical Act), played gigs around Ottawa (City Hall, Elmdale House Tavern, Mercury Lounge, Club Saw Gallery, The Rainbow etc), and collaborated with a multitude of talented folks whom have influenced me immensely, by virtue of embracing me creatively.
Yet – as successful as I have been in this area & as much as I will continue to create music & art, I have also spent the past two years grappling with how I feel about the music/art industry, as well as my place in it. In all of the fun & excitement that comes with ‘being seen’ (& one has to remember its usually more in my nature to be reclusive & close to home than it ever was to be out & about in any scene), I found myself becoming conflicted at times, unsure of how to proceed next within this industry (or if in fact I wanted to). I would ask myself: what is my desire here? Let me put it this way; what I love & want most – is to express & connect – but more and more I find myself wrestling with the industry & the appearance of it all. Sometimes I’m just compelled to run away, find some log cabin somewhere I could avoid thinking about self-promotion or managing. Somewhere I don’t feel so affected by image or what the general public might think or perceive.
I’m not terribly interested in certain aspects that clearly come along with attaining success in the music industry; I’m a terrible schmoozer, I can’t stand to be in environments with so many competitive egos, & I have a lot to learn about selling myself. If the art scene is likened to the schoolyard at recess, I often feel like the quiet kid who will see all the children playing on the jungle gym or swing sets….wanting to connect & play – but finding it difficult to penetrate through a lot of BiG personalities. At least for this point in my life…. In most cases these ‘kids’ are just as insecure as I might be – but who just wear it differently. I might ask them: “Can I play too?” I both admire them as well as feel apprehensive. I might see them role play and posture, wanting a turn at it myself, often finding that PRiNCESS over there playing QUEEN of the CASTLE just can’t stand to let anyone else wear the crown for a bit! It feels to me, less about connecting and more about who you know, & where you stand in terms of status within the rest of the playground. Oh, I always find a way to connect or make friends, & I have met a great deal of like-minded folks – but I guess it goes to show that now-a-days I’m not so interested in playing the games that come along with recess as much as I am about focusing on creating something that speaks to who I am. Period.
On that particular note, after all the fantastic projects I have & continue to work on are said & done – the one that I’m most attached to at this point is the collection of recordings I’m doing with DARREN HOLMES. Together we’ve been slowly working on another album of music, and I’ve spoken about this several times throughout the year as we’ve recorded. There are many creative hands coming in on this album (as both songwriters, musicians) as we continue work on it; and to go back to what I just previously said about the industry side of things; I couldn’t be more proud of the results thus far, & further more I have taken away any previous pressures for this to come out at any particular time, or for it to achieve any specific kind of success. I do know that whenever this album sees the light of day – its contents will speak to who I am intrinsically, better than anything I have released previously as an artist. I’m not sure where this confidence comes from per se, but I do know that all I’ve ever really wanted to get out of releasing my work to the public, is a chance to say something deeper about the person I am, for aren’t we all just trying to be heard in the end? I will never make any claims that what I have to say is particularly any wiser or better than what my neighbor has to say – but I do still think we all strive to be heard, in whatever way we can. This is my ultimate goal as an artist – & as a social worker I suppose – inspire people to share their voice.
Flin Flon is just around the corner for me & as it approaches, understand that life as I know it, is about to change. As scary as it is for me to face the unknown, I do so with the hope that I can somehow make a positive difference there, and for my own journey. One thing I promise to do while I am away is document Flin Flon in whatever ways I can. This community is filled with riches; people have stories there I want to share somehow, as a photographer, writer and humanitarian. I will do my best to share with you all the goings-on there. In the meantime – I’m choosing to spend the remainder of time I have in Ottawa, surrounded by my friends & loved ones who have made my time here so beautiful.
p.s. Special thanks DANNiEL OiCKLE, OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY, BONNiE FiNDLEY, DAN ZiEMKiEWiCZ & SARA AiNSLiE for the amazingly fun video shoot we all took part in last night at MERCURY LOUNGE. Can’t wait to see the results for Dan’s video ‘Caring & Hate’. ZiEMKiEWiCZ also touched me with this thoughtful gift he and GUiLLAUME picked up for me on their travels – ‘Hushabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of DOLLY PARTON’. I’ve got it on now & it’s inspiring! <3
Some say you’re just adrift / Lonely blue waves / I bet it’s true / But for now / I want you / You’ve said you’re just an old fool / A sailor off shore / They’ll come to you / Oh, how its true / I want you / Sailor, why oh why / Why do I yearn for a love long gone (I cry all night long) / Tell me why oh why / Why did you leave me / Sinking in this lonesome sea? / I’d say it’s me who’s the fool / Old habits die hard / So sad, but it’s true / Worst part of it is / I still want you / Lonely blue waves /I want you/ My sailor off shore /I’m telling you I want you
Last season Ottawa photographer BONNiE FiNDLEY (www.findleyfoto.com) had myself and local artists DANNiEL OiCKLE & AiLEEN MARTELLA participate in a shoot she was inspired to do after locating this Motel.
When I was a youngin’ and back in the cold trenches of Flin Flon – I remember having to write a sort of ‘mock autobiography’, if you will – for my Grade 12 Creative Writing class. Now this was one of my favorite classes, because I recall it was the the only space (other than art class) where I felt like I could enjoy school by immersing myself into writing. This mock-autobiography was called ENTERiNG XANADU & if I’m not mistaking my Uncle Sterling has possession of it at this time so I must take a look at it again to see if there are any gems worth sharing….
Anyways, my point in bringing up this class and that assignment – was because the night of our BRiNGiNG BACK THE $5.00 ACCOUSTiC SHOW this past Tuesday, I was hit with the memory of one short story I included within my autobiography – as I used to love writing stories or screenplay ideas. As I sat there watching DEREK CONNELY & later KETURAH JOHNSON – I recalled having written a story called “GEORGiE BOY” or “ALL THiNGS PLEASANT iN SAN FRANSiSCO” (something like that – I enjoyed titles ok?), which was all about a small-town fag in the 1970′s, who had a particularly difficult up-bringing, but who also aspired to greater things beyond the confines of his small-town. So Georgie, from what I remember writing – eventually leaves his town and finds his way to SAN FRANSiCO (where I’ve yet to go to this day) where he sings in coffee lounges, playing his folk music among a plethora of wacky and friendly characters – and settling in to a whole new world….of course a strong narrative of the story involved music; a soundtrack of tunes I would have loved at that time and found inspiring. I’d certainly be interested to look at the story again for greater detail – my memory is foggy!
I guess the reason why I was reminded of GEORGiE BOY’S story was because at that age – I did have a lot of dreams, not unlike today. The difference is that when I had those school-boy aspirations – I never knew bits and parts of them would ever come true – for instance, finding myself singing in a bar, among peers and very special friends. It was a nice moment for me – as I reflected on the past with a spark of optimism that made me appreciate the boy who dreams.
To bring me back to Tuesday nights show at THE RAiNBOW – the night in general was fantastic and full of spirit, talent and friends. DEREK CONNELY (whom I just met that night), played a very lovely set to start the night – and I must say I was very impressed with his singing and songwriting. He also welcomed up his lovely girlfriend to accompany him on a couple of songs, and the two of them sounded sweet together.
I got up and played a set of about 8-9 songs, of course bringing up iSAAC and JENNY for our special rendition of iLLUSiONS and WORKHORSE. I’m very thankful to the both of them for investing the rehearsal time – and for making what is a special moment for me – something even better – because unlike my story of GEORGiE – I never actually imagined having friends come up to play WiTH me – making it a bonus in my reality life. I’m particularly thankful for all of those who came to the show to support me, including my partner ALAiN, my friends and musical peers. As someone who does not do the ‘live’ thing as much as I should – the cheers and energy make the whole experience worth any pre-jitters. I think a highlight for me was when iSAAC & JENNY performed with me – I could feel bits of magic.
KETURAH JOHNSON wrapped up the night in such a powerful and magnetic way – her vocals and musicianship admirable to say the least. When I wasn’t mesmerized by her – I was taken by the cluster of cool and devoted heavy-metal-looking guys who were mesmerized BY HER – & I can understand why: again I found myself recalling GEORGiE - most certain I never could have anticipated I’d be where I am today.
I will be posting photos from the night – that were taken very generously by my photographer friend BONNiE FiNDLEY – but at this time I do not have photos to share, other than a few I took off of Facebook – by friends. Soon I will post more – so people can get further idea of what a little quiet night in Ottawa has to offer in terms of folk music. BONNiE also recorded the AiLEEN MARTELLA song I did called OPEN UP MY HEART (YOU’LL SEE A TiNY ARMY), which I’m including today. Excuse the background noise -
All in all – Tuesday night was great – and I think, or would like to anticipate that the three of us (DEREK, KETURAH & I) could possibly be putting on more shows like this in the future, and I would only be happy to join them.
The night in general was FANTASTiC – and full of many wonderful memories. First I would like to thank everyone who was able to come out that night in support of me and the album. From my long time Ottawa boys, to all my friends and co workers – and everyone in between : I’m grateful for the crowd of devoted people who were able to make it. The energy brought into the show was magnificent. To see the faces of my friends and loved ones was especially calming before the show itself, as leading up to it I was filled to the brim with nerves and anticipation! A special thanks has to be given to the following :
My sister EBONY and JAMES - I thank you for making a pit stop in Ottawa on your travels. Just having my sister in the audience made me feel a certain ease - the embrace you gave after the show is etched in my memory.
DANNiEL OiCKLE and OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY - I have to thank you both for the time and energy you both put into not only the album, but the night in general. I LOVED getting to rehearse with you – we are BiRDS oF A FEATHER and I’m quite looking forward to working on future shows – be it YOURS, MiNE or OURS. You’ve very talented and creative people - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE LiFE! In addition to the help with the show, all of the promotional help, such as bringing me on as a guest on ANYTHING BUT VANiLLA to share and discuss the project was incredibly appreciated.
ELMDALE HOUSE TAVERN – Thanks for allowing me to play in such an warm and cool atmosphere. Having previously played there last March before STONEY MARTiNS & THE OUTRiDERS I knew what I wanted and ELMDALE was the place that had it. I felt very at home there and the venue was the PERFECT spot for my music. I look forward to the chance of playing there again sometime!
DERREK PENNOCK - Thank you for your time and work on the event poster. You’re a talented man and the poster was beautiful. My FiRST LiVE SHOW POSTER !
Thank you to ALAiN and JULiE for helping me out in various ways such as greeting everyone at the doors and ensuring they know about the CD. I love you both!
BONNiE FiNDLEY – thank you for being present for such a momentous night, and for documenting it in such great style. You’re an amazing photographer and it has to be said that the photos from the night are greatly appreciated by me. (To check out more about BONNiE and her photography please go to : www.findleyfoto.com ). Check out the following photos: