POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ

POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ

WATCH ONLINE
Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

ACCESSIBILITY

Celeste Bell and Paul Sng / 2021 / English / UK / 96 mins

Marianne Joan Elliott-Said (aka Poly Styrene) is a punk rock legend. She entered the music business as
a rebellious teenager with big dreams and then willed those dreams into reality. As the frontwoman for her band X-Ray Spex, Poly Styrene was the first Black woman in the UK to front a successful rock band. She would go on to earn legions of fans by producing defiant songs about consumerism, class, and
racial identity.

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché looks at the icon’s life and career from the perspective of her daughter, the film’s co-director, Celeste Bell. Bell uses archival footage, electrifying live performances, and her mother’s diary entries to celebrate Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, and Poly Styrene. Narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this intimate portrait of a punk icon offers a candid look at a reluctant public
figure who struggled with fame while battling mental illness.

 

SCREENING WITH ABSOLUTE PANIC
TJ McEachran | 2019 | Canada | 1 minute | English
A music video for “Absolute Panic,” a song from R U Experiencing Discomfort?, the debut album by
Vancouver’s punk band, Bedwetters Anonymous made by its bassist/vocalist.

 

Keywords: Gender | Immigration | Mother & Daughter | Punk rock | Racism
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Jo, Don't Go There

Jo, Don't Go There

a note from Oliver Jane, Creator of Jo Don’t Go There

Sometimes the “show must not go on” and that’s ok.

When I made the decision to not move forward with my piece Jo Don’t Go There in Rendezvous with Madness 2020, I was encouraged by my friend and contact at Workman Arts to write a short reflection for all of you in lieu of the show. Here you will find some rambling, musing, and reflecting. Thank you for taking a brief moment to reflect with me.

When I agreed to move forward with the project several months ago, I was excited by the challenge of transferring my live performance pieces to video web content. Unfortunately, I found that meeting the demands of a precarious/always changing pandemic environment made completing the project difficult. I am an artist that lives with chronic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. The greatest lesson I have learned from managing all of these is that I should not go beyond my limits. Unfortunately, working in solo-isolation and not having funding to adequately compensate others to do the much-needed-tasks to make this project show-ready was bringing me close to my limits.

Since I made the choice to pause the show, the phrase “the show must go on” has been echoing through my mind. Upon reflecting on the nagging presence of this phrase within my mind, I recall that I have, almost exclusively, operated within creative environments where that sentence is espoused. I have worked in so many creative environments where the expectation to see a show to its completion is demanded of artists, producers, and production teams: no matter the cost. My years training to be an artist and working professionally have been colored by watching many friends and colleagues sacrifice their physical and mental health to see work to its completion. For many years I have wondered if creative communities should let go of the phrase “the show much go on” and refrain from normalizing the practice of sacrificing physical and mental wellness amongst artists. What I have witnessed in theatre schools and amongst theatre makers has made me consciously attempt to avoid working myself beyond my limits so that I do not worsen my already-sometimes-very-challenging health.

So I say once again, to comfort myself and to encourage those who find themselves also facing projects, businesses, and plans that need to be put on pause, closed, or canceled as a result of the pandemic: “the show must not go on” and that’s ok.

I’d like to offer gratitude to the team who has assisted me during this process. Though the show will not be viewed in this festival, I am continuing the reflect on and develop the body of work I have made thus far. I feel I must offer my deep gratitude to all those who gave me their time and talents.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my older brother, a very skilled video editor, who has been a cherished peer, mentor, and teacher (of art and life) for these last several months.
  • I am grateful to the handful of talented musician friends who were willing to do some work on this project for free, for very low fees, or for barter.
  • I am grateful to Workman Arts for supporting me as I adjusted the show to the changes brought about by the pandemic. This is my second experience working with Workman Arts, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate the work Kelly, Scott, Cara, Paulina, and the rest of the team working behind the scenes at Workman Arts do to make this really special festival happen. And during a pandemic, no less!
  • Finally, I am grateful for organizations like Workman Arts that are actively striving to foster greater diversity of representation within the Ontario and Toronto creative community. I hope you all will continue to support and patronize Workman Arts even after the festival has passed.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the festival, you remember to stay safe, you do what you can to support and aid the most vulnerable in our communities, you donate to groups and organizations that are trying to address the already existing racial and economic inequality within North America that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and you all focus your energies on taking care of your immunity and your mental health while the world faces global crisis. I know I will!

I send love and gratitude to you all.

-Oliver Jane

goat(h)owl theatre / Lead Artist, Performer, Creator, Writer: Oliver Jane / Collaborator, Performer: Leah Pritchard / Collaborator, Performer: Jillian Rees-Brown / Video Collaborator, Editor: Jon Jorgensen

Enter the mind of Jo, a nonbinary trauma survivor, video artist and clown. Meet Jo’s consciousness embodied: their performative imaginary friend Oli Oli Ennui, a snarky clown who doesn’t take all this modern art stuff too seriously. If you know Jo’s personal story (hailing from NYC, navigating OCD and PTSD while occupying space in Toronto during the pandemic), do you know Jo? If you hear Oli sing punk-injected cabaret, do you know their soul? Experience Jo’s multimedia happening: a video series, music playlists, Instagram uploads, photo exhibition and a live installation performance at 651 Dufferin Street. This collection of fragments resonates in permanent refrain: Do you know me now?

Founded by Maria Wodzinska and Oliver Jane in 2017, goat(h)owl generates collaboratively devised experiences. Grounded in the body, at the core of every piece is a question. We take flight through our investigation of the thematic territory, of our position to the question, and of our will-to-know. We attempt to affirm the unknowable with proposals — playing in-front-of/with/around an audience. We want to shake up sedimented modalities of meaning and truth-telling with our moving ensemble. We point the eye to the kaleidoscope of forms created. Do we invite the audience to make meaning? Yes. Do we make meaning? Come and see.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Loud Sounds, Mature Language, Nudity, Rape and/or Sexual Violence, Sexual Content, Suicide

ALSO OF INTEREST

Mad Poetry Apothecary

Mad Poetry Apothecary

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photographic still life image with an ink bottle, books, a round analog clock with Roman numerals, large transparent bottles containing handwritten messages on yellowed paper, and a quill pen spelling out “Mad Poetry Apothecary” on a piece of paper.

Creator: Hanan Hazime

GENRE: POETRY

TYPE: WORKSHOP

Join multidisciplinary artist and creative writer, Hanan Hazime, for an online poetry workshop and art installation. Instead of psychiatric medicine, participants  of “The Mad Poetry Apothecary” will be prescribed creative prompts that encourage mental wellness. Participants will be guided through the creation of mixed-media poetry postcards and given the opportunity to virtually showcase their work. Those who would like to participate in the virtual art installation but cannot attend the online workshops have the option of submitting their poetry postcard via email. All levels of writing and artistic skills are welcome. Folks with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues are highly encouraged to contribute their voices to this project.

Click here to view the virtual Mad Poetry installation.

Hanan Hazime is a multidisciplinary artist, creative writer, community arts educator and writing instructor living in Tkaronto/Toronto. She also identifies as a Lebanese-Canadian Muslimah Feminist and Mad Pride Activist. Through her intersectional and interdisciplinary artwork, Hanan aims to push boundaries, question arbitrary binaries, dispel stigmas and shatter stereotypes. Her primary mission as an arts educator is to provide accessible arts education to marginalized communities with a special focus on crafting safe, empowered spaces for Muslims, individuals with mental health challenges, folks with disabilities and BIPOC youth to discover and enhance their writing and art skills.

Online Workshop on ZOOM
Two Dates Available
  • Wed, Oct 21, 3 PM
  • Sat, Oct 24, 6 PM

If you’d like to participate in the workshop over email, please click here to register.

ACCESSIBILITY

ASL interpretation or live transcription during this event is available by request; please contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com if you require these or other services to take part.

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 12PM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Hanan Hazime will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Literary Balms: the Healing Properties of Art and Text on October 19, at 4 PM. Click here to book a ticket.

Queen Latifah Give Me Strength

Queen Latifah Give Me Strength

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A simplified icon depicting a person in a hospital gown hooked up to an IV drip placed within a photograph of a hospital hallway.

Creator: Rochelle R

GENRE: THEATRE

Queen Latifah Give Me Strength centers around a woman’s struggle with her identity and her expectations of being disregarded and ignored by the medical industry. Queen Latifah Give Me Strength depicts the frustration, isolation and raving madness that comes with being a Black woman who must rely on medical professionals to stay alive. After an anxiety-filled evening watching the classic 90s film, Set It Off, featuring Queen Latifah, the main character is faced with her strange connection to the celebrity. In a search for answers about her health, she turns to the icon she had once forsaken. Previous version partially developed during Emerging Creators Unit 2020 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Rochelle R (She/They) is a Canadian-Caribbean multidisciplinary theatre artist, writer, producer and advocate for Black, Queer, Mentally Ill/Disabled communities. Rochelle is passionate about promoting and developing opportunities for Black Artists and encouraging difficult conversations about intersectionality. Rochelle holds a BA in English and Theatre Studies from the University of Guelph and continues to pursue additional training within the GTA and Peel regions. Select companies and programs include b current (Playwriting) bcHUB, Buddies in Bad Times (Play Creation) Emerging Creator’s Unit, Nightwood’s Young Innovator’s Program (Arts Administration/Producing), PIECE OF MINE Arts, dance immersion’s Legacy Leaders Program and more.

CONTENT WARNING

Mature Language, Violence, Loud Sound 

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 12PM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Rochelle Richardson will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Resistant Bodies: The Intersections of Self and Health on October 21, at 1 PM. Click here for more information.