Alberta’s Aboriginal history surfaces in another form at an evening reading, this time in the wryly humorous voice of Tyler Trafford, another finalist for the Grant MacEwan award. Trafford’s first novel, The Story of Blue Eye, is an entertaining mélange of Aboriginal lore, Quaker philosophy, and an economic analysis of the Great Plains horse culture. An oral storyteller with no apparent literary pretensions, Trafford speaks with a subtle southern Alberta accent about how the novel about Blue Eyed James, the grandson of a Philadelphia Quaker and a Nahathaway Indian, came to him almost as a finished piece. Later that evening, at the Rainbow Bistro, we listen with a mixture of fascination and envy as he recounts a seemingly effortless writing routine
Back at the National Arts Centre, the public address system booms the familiar baritone voice of another of Alberta’s natural raconteurs, Lionel Rault, a radio DJ, host of CKUA Radio’s flagship morning show. This afternoon he’s broadcasting live from the NAC, interviewing music impresario and founder of Stony Plain Records, Holger Peterson. The banter is sprinkled with Rault’s trademark irony. Later that evening, as Rault rips into a solo, a breathless CKUA junkie and blues fan turns to announce, “He’s an Alberta treasure.”
As Alberta Scene comes to an end, we reflect on how the province is indeed a treasure among Canada’s culturally diverse regions. “ Alberta has more talent than I’ve seen in my lifetime,” was the way the Black Sheep Inn’s Symes put it. The ambitious scope of Alberta Scene—music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, literary arts, film,.
Next up, set against the brick and granite of the city’s downtown, Ottawa welcomed the Tulip Festival. It’s a staid and cultivated Ottawa symbol and after the excitement of Alberta Scene, we remember with longing the hardy Alberta wild rose.
David Paré and Susan Peet
moved to Ottawa from Alberta in 2000. David teaches Counselling at the University of Ottawa and Susan teaches English to newcomers to Canada.