Tag Archives: video

Awesome NIMBY this week…Dennis K. Smith

picture-6Who’s Dennis K. Smith?
You might know already, but I didn’t have a clue.

Dennis is a painter, teacher, and quite simply…one of the most fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Not In My Backyard required another interview this week. February being Black History Month finds the city alive with events and shows highlighting the local black community and their history. With these events prevalent and in the greater-public eye, I stumbled across this event called Threads Through Time, presented by The Artists of Colour.
It takes place at Mackenzie Hall and The Common Ground Galler (same building) from February 6th until the 17th. Friday the 6th is the date of the opening party. I am, without a doubt, going to this, and I’m bringing my father, his wife Eileen, and possibly some other family member.

This exhibit will be hosting WORLD-CLASS artifacts from the underground railroad. To be more specific, they are quilts that were used to signal to the holder of the quilt details about the underground railroad…ensuring safe passage to Canada.

Apart from these quilts, there will be several works of art from Dennis K. Smith, his daughter Nicole Talbot, and several other professional and amateur artists of colour. And having been into Dennis K. Smith’s studio, I can tell you the quality of work he is producing is phenomenal.

Trained in fine art, Smith’s painting are all about stories. His affinity for history, personal and otherwise, is infectious and unavoidable when experiencing his work. A certain piece that he’s done, which was unfinished at the time of our interview is a mural of famous local and Canadian people of colour. The first black doctor, lawyer, The Real McCoy, and his own father are all featured prominently in this piece. It’s gorgeous. A who’s who of pioneering black Windsorites and Canadians is a patchwork of pride unmatched in any other painting I’ve seen.

Sitting with Dennis in his studio (gorgeous teaching space, by the way), drinking a fresh cup of coffee that he brewed up for us, we made an instant connection and spoke about the black community, the Artists of Colour community, and the importance of these showcases.

Here’s a HUGE video of the conversation I had with Smith, in his studio. TO see some of his unfinished works, and studio space, skip to the last two minutes of the video.
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In the meantime, have a listen to our show from yesterday by CLICKING THIS LINK.
Our show is, as usual, 30 minutes long.
Did I mention that Adam’s interview was stellar as well?


Glimpses of Ontario 1942

The video above was posted on Spacing Magazine’s blog, and I absolutely loved watching it. Listening to it alone would’ve sufficed, but seeing the grainy Technicolor technology was fantastic. It reminded me of all the film I used to watch in class on reel-to-reel when the lights would be shut off and the screen pulled down in front of the blackboard.

I specifically remember the “film” about apple cider production in Ontario, tornadoes, volcanoes, and many others.

So, if you want a nice, brief history of Toronto and Ottawa, watch the video…it was nice to get rebuffed on that information.

Big Walk-erville and some of the power of Google Maps

Quickly, for those of you who were clueless about the Big Walk…here’s the original Google Maps Pedometer I set up. Stephen Hargreaves told me about this site, and I rushed to it in order to get an accurate distance on our walk…but it served as a a map and became part of an information kit I sent to all the walkers. So check it out HERE!

While in Walkerville, the biggest expanse was Willistead Park, looking at Willistead Manor. Wow. Autumn in full effect, and over 40 legs traipsing through the leaf-litter was, if nothing else, an auditory experience not repeated since I went on a field trip in grade school to Optimist Park…near my old school, St Andrew’s.

The videos I shot of that area include talk of Albert Kahn, and discussion of other buildings in the area…if you can hear it over the leaves.

So the vids below will show you what that experience was like, if you weren’t there…or if you aren’t from Windsor, or Ontario, or Canada.

In closing, I just want to explain something that was supplied to all Big Walkers less than two days after we returned from the painful, beautiful trip.

Michael Johnson, tall guy, running around all day with his camera taking pictures, made another Google Map for the group. His was much more interesting, intriguing, and inspiring…

He took our trip, and mapped it on a Google Map. He then took his photos, and created slide-shows in a movie-editor of some kind¬† on his computer (iMovie?). THEN he took AUDIO he secretly recorded during the walk, and he set those stories, or discussions as bed tracks for some of his photos.¬† He THEN plotted those videos ON THE MAP. He also posted photo galleries on certain points of the trip that were relevant to the area he placed the marker that signified “click here”.

So, when we were in Walkerville, one of our walkers, Joan, talked about how she used to be pals with Paul Martin’s (past Liberal Prime Minister of Canada) sister and how she had partied in the Paul Martin house as a youngster. She went on to discuss the secret tunnels under the house that lead all the way to the lip of the Detroit River, and were used for rum-running at some point (she thought). Everyone crowded around Joan on Kildare Road as she spun this yarn…and I hoped it stuck with people. Well, it stuck in Michael Johnson’s audio recorder.

So if you go to this map, he has a marker in Walkerville, and when you click on it, a Youtube video opens, and you see an image of the Paul Martin family house, but you hear Joan telling her tale of late nights in the house, with her friend, daring to go into the tunnel in the basement of the house, and running back in fear of the strange noises and darkness. Amazing usage of internet tools! I, however, now cannot find the link to that map in my e-mail. I will try to find it and post it in a later post.

Do any of my Big Walk readers still have this link?

I can’t wait to have the technology night at Phog when the creative class gets a tutorial from their creative brethren. Watching that knowledge spread is going to be amazing!!

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Night and Day: Big Walk

When Pina from windsoreats.com heard about Big Walk, she was adamant that we walk down Indian Road.

I had no interest in the street, especially. I had never been down Indian Road before. I knew that the Bridge Company was doing some questionable things on Indian Road, buying up houses in order to demolish them…building a second span from Windsor to Detroit. I also knew that the City of Windsor was trying to prevent this from happening.

The result is several blocks of homes, mostly abandoned (owned by the bridge folks), boarded-up, looking like we live in a hurricane delta, preparing for a storm-front. They will stay this way until the city budges, and they are knocked down for a new bridge.

Conversely, we walked down Victoria Avenue. This is a street we can be proud of, exhibit, and share, as the houses on this street are incredible relics of a more prosperous time in Windsor.

I must say though, both of these streets elicited strong feelings from many of the Big Walkers.

Enjoy some more video and audio discussion (particularly about the Indian Road fiasco).

More to come!

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Broken City Lab on NIMBY

picture-41In what will likely be one of many posts about Broken City Lab, I will simply leave you with the content I have collected.

What is Broken City Lab? Well…

A collection of artists/activists who see a broken city in front of them, and use their creativity to interact with the people, groups, bureaucracy, items, places, and mediums necessary to make things less broken. It’s art-through-action. When speaking to Justin Langlois, the guy who decided to get this group together, I was astounded, amazed, proud, and appreciative of the concept and eventual action this group represents. Langlois said something like, “I began to realize that my art could be this…this action…this sharing of concepts to make things better instead of making paintings…” I’m paraphrasing. But if you watch the videos below and listen to his interview on this week’s installment of Not In My Backyard (Tuesdays at noon on CJAM 91.5FM in Windsor/Detroit), you will hear him communicate this clearer.

Here’s the CJAM interview on Not In My Backyard (NIMBY)!

And as usual, there is a TON of extra content on the videos where Justin is able to talk about some of the other projects Broken City Lab is looking at starting.

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To find out more, go to brokencitylab.org where there is a regularly updated blog with awesome info.

As a further added bonus, check out the blog post that Justin made after taking part in the Big Walk.

Another Saturday Knight on NIMBY

picture-4Adam and I finally got back into the swing of recording Not In My Backyard for CJAM.

Again, we are live to air every Tuesday at noon on 91.5FM in Windsor/Detroit, or you can stream it to your computer, OR go to the archives and check it out.

I interviewed Chad Howson of Another Saturday Knight. His band released a new CD (their first) and I felt it was worth asking what it was like to do such a thing…being a non-musician. I strayed away from the “What does your music sound like?” kind of questioning, because you an go to his website and listen for yourself (I’ll post the link). I wanted to delve into the excitement, worry, and thoughts of someone releasing something new.

For your benefit, I recorded video of the interview, in two parts. The batteries in the recorder died, so I had to kill the video until I located some new batteries.

Here’s the radio interview link, and the videos are below.

I love how, as soon as the audio recorder is off, we get relaxed. We start speaking less formally. I think I like that feeling more than the feeling of the interview. I will begin trying to speak loosely DURING interviews instead of only on EXTRA FOOTAGE which is not on the interview.

By the way, there’s about 4 minutes of relaxed (extra content) that would not fit on the CJAM interview. Well worth seeing.

Also, you should listen to the CJAM version because Adam’s interview with Dianne Clinton (participant at the upcoming Made in Windsor Craft show). It’s a great connection to someone who conveys the importance of spending money with local artisans.

Click this link to hear the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) version on CJAM.

Turn up your computer volume to hear the audio from the video. It’s a little quiet.

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Walking Big, more recounting and video

One of the best things about that Big Walk was getting into spaces we don’t normally go.

In the video clip, Joan (retiree from Leamington and amazing walker) and I are storming through a park on the corner of Huron Church Road between University Avenue and Riverside Drive (before it becomes Sandwich Street) right beside the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit.

There’s an ocean of yellow foliage on the ground, heard heavily in the dragging footsteps of the group. We’re marching toward Assumption Church. It’s on the other side of the park(ette). I have seen this swath of grass before, but never got to be terrestrial in that block of land. And I was extremely “present” during the crossing of that park, which prompted me to take out my camera and film a bit of it.

Not enough is said about the feeling and sensory joy that can come from walking through a field of leaves. Some may think this is wishy-washy, but it’s so fulfilling.

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The other part of the walk that I enjoyed thoroughly was seeing parts of the city that are supposedly “dangerous”. Being in this neighbourhood near the University of Windsor, during the day, was wonderful. It was obviously devoid of any other human activity however, as it seemed we were the only ones out on our feet. As a whole, it seemed that during that whole day, we were the lone wolves using out two feet as a means of travel. In fact, I saw fewer bikes in use than I ever see. Perhaps it was our route that diverted us away from seeing other eco-travelers.

Another notable observation I wanted to share involves cars. While plotting out the course, I drove the route with my Mom. She was nice enough to donate the time and gas to drive the route while I made snap decisions to turn or u-turn, all in the hopes of helping my Big Walk go well. While we were driving, we were often closed in or stopped dead in our tracks from continuing onward. Why? Dead ends. You can’t drive the Ganatchio Trail where it begins on Wyandotte East and snakes behind homes, etc. You cannot get to College from Indian Road now that it’s closed off. On foot, this is all accessible. You can simply cross over a burm of grass, but in a car, you’re stuck, backtracking, wasting time and gas.

Walking through spaces that are designed to keep out motor vehicles has a special exclusivity feeling to it. Like I’m able to do something that MANY are not permitted to do. Loved that!

Here’s the video of the west-end neighbourhood that was picturesque, and not at all what I was expecting. Of course, I’m being sarcastic in the video.

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