Caption contest #1: enter quickly!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Photo by Caroline Liquori

Frequent Guerilla contributor Nigel Beale was enthused about the above biker photo and suggested a great way for it to appear on the Guerilla web site: a caption contest.

What the hell, we thought, who doesn’t like a caption contest?

So send your crafty captions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We’ll publish a winner and some honorable mentions, too, right here in the Guerilla blog.

Clowning around becomes Mouving experience

Friday, April 27, 2012

By Tony Martins

Théâtre la Catapulte at La Nouvelle Scène on King Edward Avenue has been reaching out to English theatregoers with more determination recently (shows currently feature English subtitles on Thursday nights, for instance)—and the current production called Mouving on offer until Saturday, April 28 is a great example of why non-Francophones should heed the call.

A co-production of Satellite Théâtre (Montreal) and Houppz! Théâtre (Strasbourg, France), Mouving is a delightful, playful, and almost dialogue-free return to childlike adventure through the interactions of three clown-like characters who cross paths at a bus stop.

The bus never comes, but that doesn’t prevent the trio from entertaining themselves with imaginative journeys that deepen right along with their levels of trust in one another.

Created with guidance from Catapulte artistic director Jean Stéphane Roy, Mouving was born of theatrical exchanges between Acadian, Ontarian, Quebecer and French cultures. Not surprisingly, the resulting themes are universal: solitude, play, friendship, trust, courage, imagination, and, ultimately, magic.

Isabelle Roy plays the girlish and flirtatious “Bitz,” who bats her eyes while offering marshmallows. Mathieu Chouinard adds tremendous comic presence as the lanky and awkward “Grüm,” who initially avoids the others with a neurotic distaste for everything save his matching set of travel bags. Marc-André Charron brings a touch of acrobatic flair as “Horton,” whose clever assembly of cardboard boxes serves as raw material for all manner of playful adventures.

Largely free from the dictates of plot and dramatic arc, Mouving moves along with the ease of improvisation, but as Jean Stéphane Roy points out, clown theatre is anything but easy.

“Clown technique is so difficult,” said Roy. “I saw too many shows that pretend to be clown shows but they're not. A clown is a child! He has to ask the permission to the audience to continue the show. A laugh from the audience is the permission to go further.”

, however, offers more than an extended clown scenario from, say, Cirque de Soleil. Roy describes how the creative team was able to “refine” clowns, partly by setting them in a theatrical reality.

“I think it's because they mixed different genres of theater,” Roy notes. “It's based on clown but you can find a texture of Buster Keaton, commedia dell'arte, etc. All mixed together, these genres create a special ambiance rarely seen on stage.”

The presence of live musician Claude Fournier adds to the improvisational feel with a vibrant mix of sounds including ukulele, guitar, and drums. Fournier’s frequent struggles to contain his own laughter offered more evidence of the show’s successful intent—to explore the fundamental delight that characterizes the human condition.

For a visual taste of Mouving, view the promotional trailer created by Andréanne Germain.

Art Bank celebrates 40 years with 40 works


Monday, April 23, 2012

Maxwell Bates, Party, 1976

By Tony Martins  /  Images courtesy of Art Bank

Though the Canadian public owns it, not many of us are fully aware of the Canada Council Art Bank—a 40-years-and-running collection of more than
17,000 paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures dating back to 1972. The works are loaned or rented out across Canada. Hence, the name Art Bank.

Awareness is on the rise, however, now that Art Bank is opening its doors—literally and virtually—to increase access to this critical collection of contemporary Canadian art.

The ongoing online exhibition Spotlight on 40 Years: Artworks from the Canada Council Art Bank
is featuring 40 selected works—one revealed each week—and will culminate in a real-world exhibition at the Art Bank location in Ottawa during Culture Days, September 28 to 30.

One work collected during each year of Art Bank’s history is revealed every Monday on the Canada Council website and Facebook page. Follow @Canadacouncil on Twitter for the latest updates.

Unlike, say, the National Gallery, where acquiring curators seek approvals from an acquisition committee on work from all over the world, the Art Bank collection is Canadian-only art selected by a range of peer assessors: artists, curators, and sometimes art critics.

“At any given time, approximately one third of the collection can be viewed in private offices and public spaces, like the National Arts Centre, through our rentals and loans programs,” said Art Bank director Victoria Henry. “It’s a working collection and our clients change their pieces regularly, giving the public opportunity to view new works. Now, social media gives us a new and fun way of making the artworks available to the public everywhere in Canada.”

Art Bank opened its doors to the public for the first time in Ottawa during Culture Days last fall and the event was a tremendous success.

“We are doing it again this year,” said Henry, “for three days instead of two, September 28 to 30. The public will have access to the entire collection, in addition to a special 40th anniversary exhibition."

To select just 40 representative pieces from 17,000 artworks, Henry and two art consultants each went through 12 or so years of the collection and prepared a short list for each of their assigned years.

“We wanted to ensure that major artists were selected but it meant negotiating with each other for a given year,” said Henry. “We also wanted our choices to reflect the diversity of the collection. We have artworks from various mediums—paintings, sculptures, textiles, photography and more. The artists are men and women from different backgrounds and come from every province in the country.”

While the selections do not support any particular theme or thesis about Canadian contemporary art, Henry does allow, “there is continuity around issues of identity—personal and cultural.”

Henry emphasizes that the project goal is not to characterize the collection in any defined way but to “keep an element of surprise in all of this and give Canadians a chance to make their own discoveries about contemporary Canadian art without the influence of a curatorial commentary.”

When the 40 works are reunited for the special exhibition in September, Art Bank will include a curatorial statement. Henry, however, also hopes that viewers will see “the numerous threads that bind the works together and the huge variety that is the hallmark of this collection.”

Rita Letendre, Méar, 1973

Suzy Lake, Suzy Lake as Bill Vazan, 1974-75

N.E. Thing Co., A Painting to Match the Couch, 1974-75

Victor Cicansky, Potted Cabbage, 1977

Claude Tousignant, 1-78-102, 1978

Joyce Wieland, Maple Leaf Forever II, 1972

Empty spaces are national disgraces


Sunday, April 1

Unfortunately, this is not an April Fool's joke.

Frequent Guerilla contributor Nigel Beale paid a visit recently to the exhibition spaces at the Library and Archives Canada here in Ottawa.

“What I saw today, within stark, neglected walls, was evidence of a serious abdication of responsibility at Library and Archives Canada.  A failure to do justice to our past. This is nothing short of a national disgrace,” reported Beale on his blog.

“I asked the woman at reception why there weren’t any exhibits on display.  ‘There hasn’t been anything here for more than a year and a half,' she told me.”

“I later learned that management of the main floor of the building has been turned over to Public Works, meaning that community organizations previously free to rent space for their various book related events and activities at no charge, now have to pay ‘market rates’.  The Library itself no longer, apparently, has control over its own space,” Beale added.

Beale posted several pictures of the empty spaces and wrote in detail about the sad state of affairs. He’s also blogged twice more on the matter.

Read all about it here.

We're going national. Can you help?

Tuesday, January 31, 2011

You may have heard the news that starting with our March 2012 quarterly edition, Guerilla magazine will begin reaching far beyond Ottawa to explore “Canadian culture at ground level.” The publishing philosophy hasn’t changed, but the story possibilities have grown immensely.

Like any organism, to thrive we need to grow. And despite a proliferation of technologies and new media forms, grassroots Canadian culture remains a woefully underexposed natural phenomenon.

Yes, expanding to a cross-Canada scope is somewhat daunting, but at Guerilla we know that we’re not in this alone. From the outset in March of 2004, the magazine has been a collaboration with passionate supporters whose contributions have been fundamental to our longevity. That’s why we’re not hesitating to ask for your help again now.

Please consider sharing your knowledge of and contact information for:

•  Artists and cultural groups to potentially profile or feature in the magazine
•  Freelance writers, photographers, and illustrators who might like to contribute
•  Cultural scene authorities and insiders with in-depth knowledge of their respective communities


What’s appropriate? Our tag “culture at ground level” remains firmly in place. As such, the magazine will continue to favour stories set in a community context. We’ll publish in-depth, illuminating, and sometimes experimental pieces that present subjects as the naturally occurring and defining features of Canadian communities.

Though we aim to print the magazine again in the future, our ongoing web publishing includes two core content streams:

•  Quarterly editions published in March, June, September, and December
•  Shorter and newsier content published weekly on our g-Gallery page and several times per week on our Blog and Video pages

(Guerilla pays a $50 honorarium to writers, photographers, and graphic artists who make original contributions to our quarterly editions.)

With equal emphasis on the celebrated and the unknown, the historic and avant-garde, we’ll continue to offer profiles, Q&A interviews, essays, analysis and criticism, fiction and poetry, pictorials, transcripts and dialogues, and other emerging forms of material.

By presenting all subject matter with an inclusive and approachable tone, we’ll both engage and challenge with eye-opening stories rooted in a country of untold cultural breadth and depth.

To put the mission more simply, we’re looking for local arts stories from clear across Canada.

Got ideas? Drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..