Crowned in shining white Stetson, Tyson delivers an impeccable set, his
warm baritone a perfect medium for Four Strong Winds, the song voted Canada’s number one composition in a recent national poll:
Think I’ll go out to Alberta, the weather’s good there in the fall,
Got some friends that I can go to workin’ for.
The song completes a picture of Alberta as windswept land of promise and opportunity, a place that belongs to all Canadians, as this lavish gala attests. But in an evening designed around all
The Hollywood stereotype obscures the richness of variety of life in modern-day Alberta. The thought is not lost on the programmers of this extravaganza, either. The evening’s playful western motif aside, the Alberta Scene lineup is stacked with productions that share more with the world’s cultural capitals than they do with the province’s frontier history. As John Mahon, the executive director of the Edmonton Arts Council says, “The arts are an incredible way to help us get past those stereotypes, which is good for everyone.”
Theatre at Alberta Scene goes from the harsh realities portrayed by Calgary’s Crazy Horse Theatre in Time Stands Stillto the poignant and funny imaginary
Filumena’s story is set in the sparsely populated 1920s Crowsnest Pass, but the ensemble art form is downtown all the way, and the National Arts Centre (NAC), home to culture with a capital C, is an ideal venue for it. Tickets are scarce for most of the Alberta Scene productions woven into the NAC’s subscription series, including the Gala Alberta Celebration (Ian Tyson, Tommy Banks, Corb Lund, the Calgary Fiddlers).
As we flip through the Alberta Scene program, we come across the accumulated accomplishments of many other familiar and now accomplished Alberta artists.
Alberta , at the start of the eighties, a province booming with oil and opportunity, gave birth to the Banff Television Festival (1979), The Alberta Motion Picture Development Corpor-ation (1980), Edmonton Jazz City Festival (1980), the Writer’s Guild of Alberta (1980), The Works Visual Arts Festival (1981), and The Fringe Theatre Festival (1981). A dazzling selection of creative initiatives, now matured and expanded but still accessible. Despite Alberta’s galloping growth, it’s still a place where you can literally get to know the arts community, both by name recognition and personal connection, in
We run into Thomas at the artists’ warren that is the Holiday Inn, a stone’s throw from the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa. For two weeks, the hotel is host to the Alberta entourage, a place for performers to gather at the end of a day of frenetic venue hopping. Every night the party continues long into the morning with jam sessions in the hotel’s makeshift pub. It’s here we find Alberta Scene music programmer Peter North. “I haven’t had this much fun in years!” he announces from a comfortable armchair, taking in a scorching instrumental by Edmonton’s McDades. North is ecstatic about the attention being showered on Alberta’s musicians by the more than 80
Friend, Christ MIllar, acrylic on canvas,