|The George Black Ferry and the Yukon Lou wait for spring along the dyke. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the April 27, 2001 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 41 photographs and 32 articles which were in the 28-page April 24 hard copy edition. It was an artsy issue with a focus on events which happened at the Oddfellows Hall.
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by Dan Davidson
"Lost Cabin", a documentary production based on a booklet by Dick North, picked up top honours at the second annual Dawson City International Short Film Festival over the weekend. Videographers Richard Lawrence and Rachel Grantham spent just over a year producing this 27 minute account of the finding and relocation of Jack London's cabin in the mid-1960s.
Their video production was in competition with five other Yukon productions, which were just a fraction of the number of films shown over the festival.
The entire world may not have come to Dawson over the Easter weekend, but some of it did.
By the end of three day event close to 800 pairs of eyes had watched 47 films brought here from 12 countries. There were six screenings of short films and videos ranging from 3 minutes to 32 minutes in length between Friday and Sunday evenings.
In addition there were four workshops sessions on various aspects of the independent film business. These included Screenplay Structure and the Art of Screenwriting, Directors on Directing, Internet Exhibitionists and a panel discussion on funding.
Presenters included Barbara Samuels, perhaps best known for her work on North of 60 and ENG; Rick Gibson, with Vancouver's Centre for Digital Imaging; Hammad H. Zaidi, the president and founder of Los Angeles' Lonely Seal Pictures; and Mark Hill, the Manager of the Yukon Film Commission.
As for the films, perhaps the CBC's Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld put it best when she spoke to the crowd during her presentation of the MITY (Made In The Yukon) Award.
"It's been a wonderful film festival, even though I guess I only understood about thirty percent of it."
The MITY award is a $500 cash prize accompanied by a trophy epitomizing the spirit of independent film making. The base is a half round piece of wood surmounted by a large spike on which are impaled concentric rolls of duct tape and gilded bailing wire. Independent film makers have a sense of humour.
On receiving the award, Lawrence launched into a mock version of the traditional acceptance speech ("I'd just like to thank my mom, my dad..." before getting to the point.
"I'm just so grateful that so many people are making films. The nice thing about ... festivals like this is that you don't need a million dollars to make a film.
"A lot of people have said, 'I could never make a film. I'm just happy to be a fan.' Well, film makers definitely need their fans, but, you know, you can make a film too, and you'd be surprised."
There were a variety of awards given in jest by the panel as well: grossest, most uplifting, least scripted, etc., all of which were received with good humour.
Young people were also honoured at the festival and five of them received $1,000 scholarships to use if they should choose to attend the Centre for Digital Imaging. These students had worked on their videos during the two week Sight and Sound workshops which were held through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in March. They included Ben Rudis, Georgia Fraser, Clancy Hunter, Carla Mathers, and Taryn Campbell.
by Dan Davidson
Placed on the spot the night that the 2001 Dawson City International Short Film Festival closed, festival director David Curtis, still quietly glowing, had no problem summing up what made this one bigger and better than last year's inaugural event: variety.
"Films from twelve countries in total - six continents, that's new. There were only films from North America last year.
"The numbers of people turning out for the workshops and the screenings as well."
They had been expecting an increase over last year's numbers, but not quite so much of one. They broke year one's attendance on Saturday night with a whole day left to go, and they did it with fewer actual screenings. About 788 people took in the screenings and the workshops. Over 50 of those came from Whitehorse and were part of the multiple attendances that drove up the numbers.
Curtis was also pleased with the number of people from outside of town who arrived to take in the show.
"Part of the mandate of the (Dawson City) Arts Society is to help the town economically - to build a new structure. So that's great."
This year the committee is hoping to find out more about what makes a festival succeed, so they issued a voluntary survey form. They've asked about more than festival issues.
"We're also asking people how much they're spending while they're in town and, really, people are spending quite a bit of money. Lots of people booked into hotels, Peggy's is full and the B&B's have people staying in them.
"It's great for the town to help further our sense of being an attraction."
The way the ballroom was set up for the six screenings you could get about 140 people at each one. Two shows were packed and the others were more than healthy. Actually, the only problem with the space was that it was too stuffy. Once the rear doors were closed to darken the room, it warmed up quickly. Intermissions were necessary, not just for stretching, but for cooling the room off.
Of the four workshops over the weekend, Curtis said he was most personally impressed with the one conducted by Barbara Samuels, who created North of 60 for CBC.
"There were 36 people at that workshop and she was a fantastic speaker. She gave me incredible insights, especially into writing for television and the creation of a television series and what goes into it.
"This is great even if people don't write, it just gives the a few more analytical skills when they watch t.v. Part of the festival's purpose is educational ... giving people a broader perspective on film practices and discipline, what it's capable of and how people use it."
The picture quality this year was limited to what could be produced from VHS and 16 mm images funnelled through an LCD computer projector which was not really designed for that purpose onto the big screen in the centre. Two large television monitors flanked the screen and sometimes the image was better on them. Curtis is hoping that the burgeoning DVD technology now becoming more common will enable the third festival to feature crisper images.
In the meantime DCAS, through its educational arm, the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, now own a brand new iMac computer and a G4 machine with a good monitor and a complete suite of editing software. These were in use during the Sights and Sounds video workshops in March and some of the locally produced material was still being edited and crafted until a few days before the festival. In one case, actually, the final video was still in post-production until shortly before it was aired.
Curtis says that the new equipment, funded by a Lotteries grant, has been used "almost non-stop" since DCAS got it.
"It belongs to the Yukon and will be used as part of the film and video program that we're developing." Curtis sees a time when a travelling workshop could provide service in this area to towns other than Dawson.
It's a big dream, but all the dreams at the Oddfellows Hall have been big, from the building's restoration to its present status as an important part of Dawson's service infrastructure. For now, it can be said that each step DCAS/KIAC takes seems to be a little bigger and bolder than the one just before and the increase in activity at this second festival is just another sign of that progress.
by Dan Davidson
The most common response given to questions during the April 9 public meeting with Chant Construction is summed up in this sample from Chant's consultant, Ray Gosslin:
"In terms of specifics I can't tell you right now."
To the nearly 30 people gathered in the Downtown Hotel's conference room the answers were a bit thin, but no one seemed to doubt that they were harbingers of work yet to come. Still, there were a lot of uncomfortable silences.
In fairness to Chant's Gosslin and Gerald Belanger and Yukon Energy's Ted Staffen, it would have been hard for them to put much in the way of specifics on the table. The agreement giving Chant the contract to do the work on the Mayo to Dawson power line would not be signed until two days after this meeting.
The project will see the construction of a 220 km power line from the town of Mayo to the City of Dawson, along with two substations. Stewart Crossing will become the base camp for a work crew that is estimated to be about 40 strong.
The agreement will establish a Socioeconomic Impact Board composed of one member from the Yukon Energy Corp., one from Chant and two from each of the first nations groups.
Clearing for the project, which should roughly follow the rivers and the roads will begin this coming August and end in December. The poles, power line and other necessary construction will take place between February and October 2002.
Until the ink is dry and the engineers have worked on the project's design a bit more, that was really all the trio could tell anyone at the meeting.
The real point of the gathering was to show the contracting community who some of the faces were that would be in charge of things and let them know that bids and interest would be welcome. This is seen as good news in a town which has suffered the decline of the placer mining industry and the impending closure of the short-lived Viceroy Mine. it's nice to think that all that equipment and expertise might have something else to do for a year or so.
"We're making a point to make ourselves available," Belanger said after the meeting. indicating that this would be the first of many to come.
Gosslin indicated to the group that further information would be coming from Klondike Outreach and from the project offices which will be set up through the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in in Dawson and the Na Cho Nyak Dun in Mayo.
by Father Tim Coonen
Dawson City's Seasonal Food Bank is preparing for another season, and once again looking for donations of food and cash.
The door-to-door food drive is being discontinued, but individuals are still encouraged to contribute groceries, either by dropping them off at St. Mary's (Fifth and King), or by calling 993-5361 for pick-up.
"Our volunteer base has eroded, and many of the original folks have left town. And knocking on doors is tough," according to Fr. Tim Coonen. "But we're hoping our regular supporters will continue to help."
The Food Bank operates out of St. Mary's Church, with the cooperation of several other churches and a number of like-minded individuals. Now entering its fifth season, the food bank offers one-time emergency grocery assistance to those in a tight financial position.
The number using the food bank in 2000 was down--there were fewer workers seeking the same number of jobs, and therefore less unemployment. But the number of families seeking help was up. "The perception around town is that we just help single transients," says Coonen, "but others, including a few locals access our services." Sometimes requests come through other community assistance agencies. However assistance is limited to a one-time emergency grant, and is not intended to become a regular means of support.
But the majority of those accessing the food bank are still seasonal transient workers who have just arrived in Dawson. They are occasionally surprised to find that jobs do not begin until the tourist flow is established, and that their first cheque may be delayed until they have worked several weeks. In the meantime some find themselves in straits.
Fr. Tim Coonen coordinates the service. "Our goal is to help people bridge the gap between their arrival and their first cheque without having to go to Social Services. They come up here looking for work, not welfare, and usually all they need is something to eat."
It appears the program succeeds in that goal--the number of summer workers applying for welfare has declined significantly, with a net savings to tax-payers.
The other program operating out of St. Mary's is a weekly community supper, which soon will begin for the season. Every Tuesday evening for around 6 weeks a simple hot meal is provided for all who show up--primarily the transient workers new to town. The gatherings give local Dawson agencies an opportunity to welcome and communicate with the new-comers, and a number of individuals (conservation officers, nurses, recreation programmers, volunteer coordinators) traditionally give presentations.
These meals are made possible by the generosity of a squad of volunteer cooks who prepare something for one or several of the suppers. Those interested in cooking or supplying food can call 993-5361.
by Dan Davidson
For Suzanne Harnois, the latest of our Berton House writers in residence, the most surprising thing about being in Dawson is Dawson itself.
"I did not come here expecting to live the way I did in Montreal," she said as we sat at the kitchen table. "It wouldn't be worth all the trouble."
So change was expected by this city girl, currently at home in Montreal.
"I took the bus coming from Whitehorse and it's very long. You go across all this deserted country, great big mountains and dark forests. It's very forbidding. And all of a sudden you arrive and you find this cozy little city all painted in bright colours and everything. it's a welcome surprise.
"I think the most surprising thing was to find this pretty little village - because it is pretty - right in the middle of this savage country."
Harnois had two reasons for coming to Dawson to work on her latest writing projects. One of them was a more abstract literary reason.
"I think the North, what we call in French "le grand Nord", it's one of those big things - like the seas or the desert - which is both very real and very symbolic.
"Especially I think that for a Canadian writer it's very important, because it's really part of how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about our country, despite the fact that most of us live in the South."
She could have satisfied that urge by just going north in her home province, but she had a personal reason for seeking out Dawson City.
"I happen to have a great-great uncle who was a gold digger. He was named George Demers and he was here at Discovery time. He got rich and he managed to stay rich."
At one point there was a large nugget in the family, but it's been mislaid with time.
"My grandmother and her sister told me about him. They knew him when they were children. This always interested me very much, because you know it's the sort of story that you read in books. But this was real. This man existed. People that I knew, knew him. Because of him I was curious.
"A few years ago I began to check on the facts, to see if the story was true, because I am always interested in the difference between reality and memory. I find out, to my surprise that, yes, most of what I have been told is true. After that I began to check things and began to read books and memoirs about the Yukon and got sort of involved in this."
Among those books she read was I Married the Klondike.
"I like the book Mrs. Berton wrote very much. I think it was very well written and very endearing. So when I saw in the newspaper a few years ago that the (Yukon Arts Council) was having this writer in residence program, I thought I must go there. I must try it. And it did work, so here I am."
Harnois actually studied to be a graphic artist, and has worked as one after studies in Montreal, Boston and Geneva. She doesn't see the connection as at all strange. Indeed two of the previous four writers in residence have also shared these interests.
"The connection between literature and the visual arts is very strong. Plenty of writers were fairly good artists and vice-versa. I always thought that I would write books some day, but first there was my interest in art. Of course when I was a teenager I wrote very bad poetry and after that I went into the fine arts.
"I was a bit scared of writing a book. It seems to me such an enormous undertaking. I wasn't sure I could pull it off and I was very afraid of just doing one more very bad book.
"There was moment when I realized that I could not avoid it any more. You know, it sort of grows on you and you think about it and it's a bit like a ghost in your life. Also I realized that there would never be a perfect moment to do this. There would never be enough time or a suitable situation, so I decided I was going to try to do it. At first it was a personal quest, and it was only when the first book (of short stories, The Perfect Woman) was done that I thought to myself, what shall I do?
She has two projects under way at Berton House. She doesn't like to talk too much about one of them because it is too new to her but the other is the story of a family which decides to buy a rural cottage. The story is something of a comedy of errors, but it is also intended to examine what she feels is this very Canadian urge to have a cottage in the country, even if it's just a shack somewhere.
"I often work on several projects at once" she said. "It's lonely work and you have to work at it steadily and it's time consuming. I don't think I would be able work on just one project for a long stretch of time. It would sort of wear you out, sort of make you disgusted with the project."
Harnois takes a very professional approach to her writing.
"I write every day. You have to work even if you don't feel like it. My prime time is in the morning. That is when I am very clear-headed and so I usually write most of the morning. Here I can afford to do something I don't usually do at home, which is to write at the end of the day."
Since she usually has to fit her writing in around her contract work as a graphic artist, her retreat here is affording her the opportunity to redefine her view of herself.
"Being here, for perhaps the first time, I live first as a writer," she said, reflectively. Her first month has made her wonder whether this time in the Klondike won't be some kind of watershed in her life, even as it was for her ancestor.
As things stand, on the day we talked she was just beginning the final month of her residency, and beginning to wish she'd been able to book a longer stay.
"Two months is not really that long," she said, "it's really rather short."
By Palma Berger
The feelings of our yearning for the sun brought on by our long dark winters was the inspiration for the work created by Dawson's Jackie Olsen for the art show at America House in Munich, Germany. Jackie said the oranges, yellows and reds seemed to stay in her mind as she thought up her creations.
In the past she has used a lot of papier mache to give further depth to her work as in her series of masks. This time she used mainly acrylics. As did the partner sharing the show, Ukjese Van Kampton of Whitehorse.
It was Van Kampton who first suggested the idea of a showing in Munich to Jackie. He too, had travelled in Europe, but he had scouted out several area for the possibility of a show. He found America House in Munich to be the most ideal.. This building was put up and used by the Americans following the war years. They gave up this building a year ago, but the Bavarian government wanted to keep it going. It has theatre space, lecture halls and gallery space. It is a publicly owned space and run by "volunteers" who do have an easier time of it than Dawson's volunteers.
The only down side to putting on the show was having to pay their own fare and freight costs for their work. But as Jackie said "When we each sold four pieces the first night, that covered the costs of getting there." The other help was that there was no commission for the artists to pay. They kept all monies for any pieces they sold.
The show runs until May 4th when they have to return to Munich to pick up the unsold pieces.
Jackie usually does large work on canvas, but as she had only the winter months to work on this she had to downsize her work so that the largest was 2 1/2ft. X 4ft. to get her twelve pieces finished in time. Besides, her existing work was too heavy to transport. All her work was abstracts working with circles and sun. She incorporated some of her block prints in the work also as well as using a little metallic paint and leaf.. She is of the Crow clan and was inspired to include a raven as the only piece of representational art in the show. This piece proved very popular.
The difference in her work and Van Klampton's was her use of the aforementioned colours and her partner used a lot more blacks and whites whereas Jackie used none. Both used acrylics. Van Klampton is of the Wolf clan, and Jackie of the Crow so they felt they had a link for their art.
In Germany there is great interest in "Indian" art, and were surprised to see so many abstract pieces. Their showing was listed in the Munich brochure of cultural events.
The curators of America House were excited as there was such a good turnout for the showing and at the end of the evening "they had to kick people out", as they did not want to leave.
The Munich Museum of Anthropology is opening its section on North American Indigenous work on May 8th. The Museum purchased samples of work of each of the artists for their collection. They were given a private tour of this museum and Jackie reported it is just beautifully laid out. The director of this Museum purchased the raven of Jackie's for himself personally. Jackie had been a little worried about the raven, but as her friend pointed out he looks as if he is struggling and that is what the Crow clan has done over the years, struggled on and survived.
Both artists found great friendliness and help and encouragement while there.
Halin DeRepentigny also found this last year when he too had a successful showing in Germany.
Jackie's next showing of her work will be in the SYANA juried show in Whitehorse in June.
by Dan Davidson
With the Rotary Music Festival coming right up (this week) April 17 was the evening for Dawson's music students to showcase for the community the pieces they will be taking to this annual competition. With Band classes at Robert Service School, an extra-curricular choir, and private piano lessons through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Dawson's young musicians and their teachers work hard to prepare for this event, and a standing room only crowd packed the school's ancillary room to hear the results.
This is the first year that band teacher Shelley Rowe will be taking a Band 7 class to the festival and they proved themselves ready, opening the evening with three lively numbers: "Rhythmantics" by John Kinyon, "Dance Celebration" by Robert W. Smith and "Let's go Band II" by Albert Ahronheim.
Betty Davidson's Robert Service Choir has been a fixture at the festival for 15 years, and the wistfully hopeful "Somewhere Out There" from the film "An American Tail" showed them at their best. The choir closed the program later on with the rollicking number, "The Kazoo Concerto", as written by Mary Donnelly and arranged by George Strid. In this piece, the voices carry the tune and kazoo versions of various classical melodies and scattered throughout the song.
The choir always spins off a few vocal soloists and duets. This year Ashley Graham presented Stephen Foster's "Some Folks" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'". Jessica Burian also turned to Rodgers and Hammerstein for "My Favorite Things".
Mindy Anderson sang "Little April Shower" by Morey and Churchill; Laura Audet presented "Searching for a Gift" by Nancy Telfer; Jessica & Mindy pranced through a duet of "Following the Leader" by Cahn & Fain.
Gwen Bell's piano students have also been busy. Caitlin Gammie played "Early One Morning" (F. Silvester); Alix Causer-McBurney played "March in Lydian Mode" (D. Duke) and "Mist" (Clifford Poole); Heather Touchie played "Bears" (Linda Niamath) and traditional tune called "Ooga Booga Booga".
Robyn Touchie played "Climb Up On An Elephant" (Telfer); Luke Hunter played "The Little Bell" (J. Garscia) and "Blue Moon" (Richard Rodgers); Ted Hunter played "A Folk Tune" (J Lefeld) and "Singin' in the Rain" (N H Brown).
The Grade 8/9 Band performed "Palisades Overture" by John O'Reilly, "Elements of Chance" by Jack Bullock and "Off to the Races" by Eric Osterling.
New this year is the Jazz Band which offered up "A Blues to Blow On" by Paul Bullock, "My Heart Will Go On" arranged by Michael Sweeney, and the theme from "Peter Gunn" by Henry Mancini.
The Instructors and Directors of all this talent are: Gwen Bell (through KIAC), Shelley Rowe, Betty Davidson. Gwen and Betty accompany the choir and the vocal soloists.
This year's Choir Members are: Natasha Burian, Danielle Mayes, Gemma Gould, Laurie Van Bibber, Ashley Graham, Ashley Bower, Jessica Burian, Mary Fraughton, Mindy Anderson, Laura Audet, Tumara Everitt, Sydney Larsen, Lisa Perry, Axel Nordling, Ted Hunter, Alix Causer - McBurney, Julia Spriggs, Tamika Knutson, Aurora Knutson, Kimmy Graham, Mandy Graham, Eve Derry The Grade 7 Band includes: Heather Touchie, Robyn Touchie, Caitlin Gammie, Gemma Gould, Laurie Van Bibber, Donald Russell, Alexander Derry, Russell Magee, Riley Read, Kevin Mendelsohn, Kevin Beets, Noel Roberts, Victoria McLeod, Katie Fraser, Kyley Henderson, Kyrie Nagano, Colleen Taylor, Nicholaas Jansen, Allison Kormendy, Nicole Cook.
The Grade 8/9 Band is made up of: Sam Phelan- McCullough, Randi Procee, Danielle Mayes, Heather Mayes, Nathan Shultz, Daniel Fraser, Katlyn Reynolds, Mitchell Irwin, Karl Knutson, Amanda Taylor, Cyle Brandon, John Vogt, Cary Power, Bianca Beets.
The Jazz Band members are: Jennifer Touchie, Jennifer Russell, Kristen Cook, Miranda Adam, Russell Magee, Sam Phelan-McCullough, Mitchell Irwin, Heather Touchie, Robyn Touchie, Kyley Henderson, Nathan Schulz.
by Palma Berger
That is how a class in Dawson learned to do their monoprints; by painting on fabric. Carol Pettigrew came up from Whitehorse a few weeks back to hold this class in the Oddfellows Hall (Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture).
A monoprint must be done on cotton that is 100% cotton and is specially prepared for the dyes. The other tools are a piece of Plexiglas and some sandpaper. The Plexiglas must be burnished both sides with sandpaper to ensure that the dyes when added will hold, then the dye is added to the "glass" in a design of your own. After cutting the fabric to the same size as the Plexiglas, wet the fabric, lay it out flat, then plop the glass with your design on it face down and press hard.
Voila, your design is now on fabric.
But you are not finished yet. Take the fabric and put it through the dryer to set the dyes. It then has to be washed in water at a warm to cool temperature. Press with a hot iron, and you are finished. Each design is unique as only one print can be taken off the Plexiglas as it has to be "re-inked" each time.
Those with a good finger painting technique also made great designs, and had fun.
Under the direction of Ms. Pettigrew the class then cut up their monoprints to incorporate them into a quilt or wall hanging of their own design.
The class really had fun doing this, and the results were worth seeing.
No wonder the Art Institute is wondering about having an end of year showing of Art work of its students some time in the future, as the general public is really missing out on seeing some great stuff.
by Dan Davidson
"Did you break into the Sun office?"
It seemed an odd question, but our office manager at the Klondike Sun's home in the Waterfront Building sounded perfectly serious.
Now there have been times when I've felt like breaking in. I had a really bad key last summer and it sometimes took as many as 20 twists back and forth to engage those little pins inside. On one memorable rainy day (as many were) last summer I was about ready to go through the front window.
But would I actually do that? No. So the question seemed, as I said, odd.
Karen McWilliam was quite serious though. She had arrived at our office to find all the blinds drawn, which was strange. Looking around, she could see that nothing seemed disturbed, but the rear door of the office looked not quite right. On closer inspection, it was slightly ajar, which it hasn't been since last summer. Worse, the wood around the lock was shattered, as was the adjacent door frame.
When I got there, the damage was obvious. Whoever it was had walked up the outside steps of what used to be a loading dock, avoided leaving any tracks in the remaining snow, and forced entry to the building. Some sort of pry bar had been inserted under and around the metal plate around the locks and heaved mightily some six or eight times.
While we'd love to be charitable and think that it was just someone trying to get in out of the cold, the likelihood of someone taking a casual stroll with a pry bar under their arm seems dim.
The door was splintered and the interior workings of the two locks were gone. The door frame was a mess. Our landlord, the City of Dawson, will most likely have to replace a few things.
Fortunately, nothing was taken from the office. Our three computers are not new enough to be desirable booty. Our CD/tape player wasn't taken. Our photocopier and printer were kind of bulky and fairly conspicuous. Thankfully, our dark room's enlarger was still out on loan to the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, so it wasn't a temptation. If they found the cash box in one of our unlocked filing cabinets, they didn't take the $3.85 in change. The most portable item, our digital camera, was out being used by one of our volunteers, so it was safe.
We are thankful that whoever broke the door didn't break anything else, as often happens when that much energy has been expended without any return on the investment.
We appreciate the prompt attention to the matter by the RCMP. We thank Henry Procyk, of the City of Dawson, for fastening the door shut that night. We sympathize with the other people who were, we have been told, vandalized in the same manner recently, and we hope whoever it was gets caught. We'd love to sit in a Community Group Conferencing circle on this case.
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