Sled Island is an independent multi-venue music and arts festival that takes place each year in Calgary at the end of June.
“Each edition presents over 250 bands alongside a selection of films, comedians and visual artists,” says Maud Salvi, executive director of the event.
“Sled Island’s mission is to support, showcase and create opportunities for local musicians and to bring the best of independent art and music to Calgary, as well as to educate people about forms of music and art that are underrepresented or totally absent in mainstream media,” Maud Salvi adds.
Sled Island is a festival that was created in 2007 by Zak Pashak, a music, arts, and entertainment hub dedicated to providing an exciting festival for Calgarians and festival goers alike.
“We officially announced we will be back June 18 to 22, 2014,” says Maud Salvi.
“Right now the bulk of the work involves grant writing and finding sponsors for the upcoming edition, securing venues, developing our marketing plan and we also just opened artist submissions and are starting to work on programming,” Maud Salvi adds.
Because of the floods that hit most of southern Alberta including Calgary, the event was shut down this summer.
“It has been a setback even though we have been very lucky and largely supported by our community,” says Maud Salvi.
“The 2013 edition was going to be the best so far,” says Maud Salvi.
“Tickets and passes sales were really good and we were hoping to break even this time and maybe make a bit of a profit,” says Maud Salvi.
“Financially we are pretty much back to 0 now which means there isn’t room for risk taking or expansion in 2014, Maud Salvi states.
Ticket holders were given the option to either take a refund or put their money towards rebuilding the 2014 edition of Sled Island.
“We gave them all the option to either ask for a refund or invest in the future of the festival by letting us keep the money and 70% of them chose to forgo their refund, says Maud Salvi.
With regards to funding the city’s arts community, there is always going to be support in some way.
“I don’t think that I’ve lived here long enough to speak about the City’s commitment to the entire arts community but the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA), that receives most of its revenue from the City and distribute them through granting programs, have been a big supporter of the festival for many years,” Maud Salvi says.
While a majority of charity funds hope to raise enough money to benefit a cause, Happy Tummy Calgary is raising awareness of an ever growing problem.
“Happy Tummy Calgary is a group of young students who donate money into a fund every week, 2 weeks or even every month that stems as a small contribution to a future project plan, says Akimo Creasey, head of Happy Tummy Calgary.
“Happy Tummy’s main projects include: feeding the homeless and RKOB which we call ‘Random Kindness on a Budget,’” Creasy mentions.
Homelessness and poverty is often viewed as a problem with no end in sight.
“The Idea of Happy Tummy started when I was in my basement watching prank videos and my room-mate said ‘we should pretend to hand out free pizza covered with bugs’ as a prank,” Creasy says.
“Then we thought about how cruel it would be to do it to people who would actually enjoy a slice of pizza (such as The Drop-In Centre or The Mustard Seed), so we decided that everyone has to eat, so we will raise money to feed people in need,” Creasy says.
The fact that a great idea can come out of something a prank goes to show that people are kind at heart.
“Now is a great time to start because no matter how little the donation, the future will show that through collections over weeks and months the sum would be fat enough to really treat some people to nice warm meals,” Creasy states.
“As long as the dream stays true, this will not only be annual but might turn into a thing where certain events will happen,” Creasy says.
“Where you will see us, 420? No problem we got free munchies,” Creasy jokingly says.
“I think in terms of promoting, word of mouth is the best value,” Creasy mentions.
Akimo Creasey sees no end in sight for his vision. He hopes that everyone in Calgary will jump in on his cause.
“My goal is to show people that you don’t have to be Religious to give, you don’t have to be in the right place at the right time,” Creasy says.
“If you put your mind on it, it just happens and we are all capable of spreading happiness,” Creasy adds.
“Everyone loves food,” he lastly shares.
If you wanna make a donation, send an email to HappyTummyCalgary@gmail.com, as little as $1 will help fuel the cause.
Artfully Artless is an independent business based out of Calgary, Alberta run by ACAD art student Amanda West.
“Artfully Artless began in August of 2013 with a few insect specimens and some bones being the first listings in the shop,” says Amanda West.
Bugs, bones, jewels and stones are just a few of the arsenal this creative soul uses to recreate artistry through the imaginative use of cruelty free insects for crafts.
“I first opened the shop in 2011 but I never listed anything,” says West.
“After a few years of scavenging and gathering parts, I found last summer that my impulsive collection of deceased critters was getting out of hand, and I was running out of space for all of it,” West adds.
Amanda uses cruelty-free insects harvested from local farmers/picked herself/etc. for use in her jewellery.
“It’s more of a way of living for me,” West says.
“I don’t kill thing nor do I let my family kill things in the house or in my presence,” West mentions.
“I would not buy something killed for the sake of art, so I would not sell something that is killed for the sake of [it]” West says.
So the idea came to fruition to take the form of death and bring it back to life.
“Perhaps someone would appreciate my bugs as much as I did,” says West.
Amanda has always been known throughout the city for her innovative and awe-inspiring artwork.
“I still study at ACAD actually,” says West.
“It’s fantastic being surrounded by other artists with all sorts of styles and means of inspiring,” West adds.
“I can honestly say I never thought I’d grow as much as a creator,” says West.
To create something that was once living and give it a new breadth of life is a skill most of us are drawn to but wouldn’t have the urge to attempt.
“Almost everything I make incorporates nature in some way,” says West.
“Nature is beautiful in its living form and even after it passes on, there is this sort of shell that remains,” West adds.
“The animals that I get my bones from have either died naturally, or have been taken by the road, by hunters, by hitting windows, or have been killed by other animals,” West says.
“I’d rather remember them, and honour them, than bury them and forget,” West says.
While Artfully Artless is picking up success online, Amanda sees a bright future for the business.
“Artfully Artless is a brand that I hope to allow other creators to sell their work under. It’s not easy to get your own business started, and if I can help others get started in selling their work, I’d be happy,” West says.
For her facebook page please visit: https://www.facebook.com/ArtfullyArtlessCraft
An article I wrote for SAIT’s The Press on Distance Bullock of Reuben and the Dark on Arts&Crafts Records.
Here: Reuben and the Dark
link > Dylan Streifel Protography // Do Something Positive < link
With a recent name change, I aim for 2014 to be a year filled with photography and wonder.
Riley Rossmo is a Calgary based comic book artist who has gained recognition for his well detailed and vibrant style of drawing. He has worked on big name comics such as: “Green Wake”, “Rebel Blood”, “Bedlam”, and his latest adventure “Drumhellar”.
“I think [when I first took interest] my grandma gave me a G.I. Joe comic when I was about 5 and sick with a fever. I was hooked after that,” says Riley.
“The second comic I remember reading was Voltron #1 and after that I’d buy used comics from the quarter bin at the local used book/comic/record store,” he adds.
“I’ve always been into drawing narratives. I’d draw little military scenes, animal drawings, fantasy battles, design cars, etc.” he says.
“I was often bored in school so I drew all the time on everything,” Riley says.
“I received my formal training when I was 19 in college,” he shares.
Comic book art is very distinct in nature and always has an emphasis on dramatic flair. Riley draws his inspiration from the real world.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about horror and comics lately. I feel like the grotesque is easy to draw and I’d look at images of road kill, or from slaughter houses for inspiration and apply it pretty directly especially in Rebel Blood and Green Wake,” says Riley.
“The next horror comic I’d like to try and do is something in atmospheric horror,” he adds.
Being a comic book artist wasn’t always his first choice as a career either.
“Yes and no, I didn’t know it was an option really till I got older,” says Riley.
“As a teen the only people I knew in the arts that had careers were tattoo artists and I only really put my mind to doing something in art after I went on a tour of ACAD,” he mentions.
He found his success when his first big comic “Proof” was published by Image Comics.
Each edition to his collection of contributions quickly becomes his favorite series.
“Whatever’s current is always my favourite. I like making, imagining, and building stuff more than putting the final touches on this,” he says.
Most artists usually draw inspiration from the real world, experiences they’ve had, or even some fantastical ideas birthed from the recess of their minds.
“I draw my influences from film, books, comics, locations, etc. and I read a lot and listen to podcasts, when I travel,” says Riley.
“My biggest influences are probably Bill Sienkiewicz, Ego Schiele, John Byrne, and Frank Millar,” he says.
One of his long time collaborators, Kurtis Wiebe, has shared quite a bit of success as well.
“We both lived in Saskatoon for a while. I was interested in doing something new and Kurtis was open to starting a book from the ground up so we came up with a concept and started fleshing it out,” he says.
“It was pretty cool to work like that in the same physical space,” Riley adds.
“When we can work in a back and forth way like that we do good. When talking concepts or pacing, or characters, I like to do it verbally,” he says.
“On Green Wake we’d back and forth a lot and let each other’s’ ideas grow and evolve and it was a real partnership,” Riley adds.
Being artistic has always been important to Riley.
“Drawing is the only thing I’ve ever worked at that hasn’t been a grind,” he says.
Calgary has its own little niche for artists and the city is responding to the success each artist has gained.
“Comics have an interesting place in Calgary,” says Riley.
“ACAD produces a lot of artists and more of them seem to be into comics so the talent pool keeps growing,” he adds.
“Historically there have been some comic giants such as John Byrne, Todd Mcfarlene and Cary Nord from here. The thing about oil and comics is lots of engineers seems to be into comics and with all the wealth in oil lots of big comic art and comic collectors in Calgary can afford to buy stuff,” he mentions.
Some big names such as Guillermo del Toro, the Dalai lama, Rupert Sheldrake and Grant Morrison are people he’d love to meet one day. Grant Morrison is also well known for his contributions to DC comics.
Riley’s steam isn’t running out any time soon. He’s working on some new material that is quickly gaining attention as well.
“My newest book ‘Drumhellar’ (a paranormal road trip set in small town America), came out in November and I’m pretty excited about it,” he says.
“I’m co-plotting, penciling, inking and coloring it,” he adds.
Riley Rossmo has contributed to: “Seven Sons” (Ait/Planet Lar), “Proof” (Image Comics), “Cowboy Ninja Viking” (Image Comics), “Green Wake” (Image Comics), “Rebel Blood” (Image Comics), “Daken The Dark Walverin” (Marvel Comics), “Debris” (Image Comics), “Bedlam” (Image Comics), “Adventures of Superman” (DC Comics), “Dia de la Muertos” (Image Comics), and “Drumhelar” (Image Comics).
Rich Aucoin is an indie rock experimental solo artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia whose sound cannot be simply put into words. As a collaborator to the instrumental supergroup, “The Hylozoists”, he has put out an EP titled “Public Publication, a studio album “We’re All Dying To Live,” and is currently working on his upcoming 2nd studio LP “Ephemeral”.
Rich Aucoin takes an experimental approach to writing. In an interview on MTV Canada, Rich said he likes to watch movies with the sound off and compose music to coincide with it.
Where many would sit down with a group and work out arrangements in a well-mannered fashion, he’s found a niche that just might be the coolest way to write any song.
“I write all my music influenced by visuals and compose my pop songs like they’re scores for a film,” says Rich Aucoin.
“So all the songs I’ve released also sync up to a visual and film with many synchronicities occurring between the visuals and the audio,” he says.
Living in a reality where you visualize how the music would sound feels like a place where ultimate creative freedom can birth.
With visuals taking an important role in his music, it isn’t a surprise that he’d spend as much time on video as he would the sound.
“Thematically, the visuals really influence what the song is about too,” he also adds.
“I think it just gives me a framework for me to visualize certain things about the song right away (i.e. tempo, certain key beats, theme, lyrical suggestions, and duration),” he says.
Rich Aucoin’s music video for the single “It” parodies pop culture references to famous Hollywood films such as Die Hard and E.T.
After gaining attention from the masses, and being coined as the greatest opening act in Canada due to audience participation and a giant parachute alongside visuals, he’s working on something even more exciting than the last record.
“The new record, Ephemeral, syncs to the 1970’s version of Le Petit Prince,” says Rich Aucoin.
“Other restrictions on the songs other than retelling the story and theme of that amazing book are that the songs are all quite fast and short with the whole record being 10 songs and just under 30mins,” he mentions.
Rich Aucoin has earned recognition for his talent and music alike.
“This year  marks the inaugural instalment of the Prism Prize, a newly launched award that celebrates the best Canadian music video from the past year. After weeks of lead-up, the organizers have now announced the winner for the prize’s first edition: ‘Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E.’ by Rich Aucoin,” from exclaim.ca by Alex Hudson.
“This song appeared on Aucoin’s 2011 album We’re All Dying to Live, while the Noah Pink-directed video followed in September of last year. The unique clip tells the life story of the iconic Beach Boys songwriter by taking Aucoin through a series of Brian Wilson-themed sets on a sound stage,” exclaim adds.
And the music scene is swiftly responding to this recognition by showing support.
The Canadian music scene is sometimes taken as a joke or is rarely talked about as much as the U.S. or Europe, but Rich thinks otherwise when considering A-list talent.
“[Canada] totally does [have a strong music scene] and such a wide range from Arcade Fire, Drake, Justin Bieber to Celine Dion and there’s tons of huge artists,” says Rich Aucoin.
“In the indie world, we’ve got such a huge number of respected artists for such a small population and it’s a very healthy and vibrant scene,” he adds.
It doesn’t hurt having industry heavyweights such as Broken Social Scene or Metric to help break through the musical barriers between indie and mainstream rock/pop.
Rich has his music tastes just as varied too.
“I really liked Pink Floyd growing up and film-like pop music,” he says.
The visual aspect of his career is one that’s as prominent in everyday life as the music.
“I like photography and visuals for sure,” he adds.
And if he wasn’t a musician, he would love to be a filmmaker and hopes to do that one day.
With a strong music community backing his decisions, Rich Aucoin is swiftly becoming an indie heartthrob that will resonate throughout the masses for years to come.
For more on Rich Aucoin check out his website and Facebook page. He might even reply to your answers too.
On these feet I carry rust like tracks along a train yard in autumn bloom
As the rain pours down, these empty vessels consume my need for sleep
All the vagrants and the tramps are stowaways on a parade for the bravest meals
Barreling towards the unknown, all those souls get swept away alongside my carriage view
Flask in hand, change in pants, hat on head, workers man, can’t stand the necessities
Luggage stashed beneath the seat, small talk passes between me, my ears and window panes
Powerless and out of time, coal breathes flames and guiltless pints begin to swill my head
Hunger strikes the hour hand, she leans in and we begin to court untimely
Weakened by the fear and doubt, subtle notes are coursing through her lungs as she breathes out
And on the sill I placed my drink, while she adjusts her new confident mentality
Cigarettes and emptiness, passing glances, raindrops racing downward glass and see
My reflection skewed and stretched, under tunnels she pursues and still… yet I digress
Dotting I’s and crossing T’s, swell goodbyes and warm regards for those in time of need
For a while I find myself on a train heading to nowhere and that’s fine with me
Cale Zebedee, upcoming rock and roll God, is front man bass player for the band “Risky Endeavor.”
In September he sat down with me for an interview to share insights of his band and their plans for new material, rocking the stage, and having a good time playing rock and roll music.
The article was published in SAIT’s The Press online and print newspaper publication:
Cale Zebedee in Photo:
Their music is catchy and raw, full of old school punk rock feel and new age rock music.
For a sound unlike any other, the link below offers an insight into who Risky Endeavor is:
The band is frequently posting new content on Facebook:
You can get to know them a little better:
And their tunes are often circulating the ‘net: