HUNTSVILLE - lot of dreams & crazy scenes

 pop-up storefront - HUNSTVILLE!

pop-up storefront - HUNSTVILLE!

Huntsville's downtown doesn't need too much community spirit renovation.  In the summer, it's a happening place with tourists and locals cruising the main street strip.  We stayed in Huntsville for three weeks - did a series of interviews storymobile, listened to all those interviews, brought in our awesome FIXT POINT team and then created stellar scenes to perform in our pop up storefront at Nuit Blanche North! The whole town got on board in the story creation - from the mayor to the rotary club to the business improvement association, along with story contributors both young and very old.  To meet all of these lovely locals, check out our daily BLOG!

After our first two weeks in Huntsville,  we had to close up our storymobile to rehearse our show. But, each day, we found a note, or an old book or a newspaper clipping attached to the door.  How to include them all? There are clearly still many more stories to tell in this growing town.  And if you've got one - call our storyline at 1-855-CAN TALE.

Nuit Blanche North truly rocked the block - The energy that night in Huntsville was contagious. Our performance was ridiculous and amazing, with a line up at the door before each show.  A group of local talents performed alongside our team, including the Janis Joplin of the North - Tina Turley, and the best friend of a local hero who had now passed, whose story we told in one of our scenes.

 The Tale of a Town - Huntsville

The Tale of a Town - Huntsville

It was here in Huntsville we first realized how ripe old hotels are with memories. Mix locals and travellers with alcohol over many years, and some unforgettable things are sure to happen.  Here, it was The Tale of The Empire Hotel - a big old hotel on a downtown corner, once an elegant meeting place, turned seedy, then sold and renovated room by room while remaining a low income housing option downtown, and then suddenly taken by fire.  Now it's just an empty with a whole lot of dreams.

Check out this trailer created in Huntsville about our Tale of a Town tour to get a sense of the vibe.

And here it is, our podcast, for The Walrus, that will bring you a little closer to the spirit of the fantastic Huntsvillians we met.

A Walk Down Main Street - Huntsville Edition.

2013 Winter / Spring FIXT POINT Season Announced

Lots of news we've been wanting to share, and here it (finally) is...

THE MARKHAM TALES

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 24th @ 2pm

Come take a walk with us down memory lane on Main Street, Unionville, as tales from the past come to life right before your eyes!  

This site-specific spectacle will take us back to the days of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, travel through to the time to the era of antique shops, and then lead us into the future of this storied street.

TICKETS ON SALE HERE!

 

created by FIXT POINT for Diaspora Dialogues Written and Directed by Lisa Marie DiLiberto Starring Lise Cormier & Geoffrey Armour With live music performed by Dave Celia, Brad Hart & Tim Jackson

If we you're not convinced yet, take a listen to our podcast:

A Walk Down Main Street - Unionville!

    

THE TALE OF A TOWN - ST. CATHARINES

APRIL 26 to 28

Inspired by interviews collected by FIXT POINT for The Living Archive, this theatrical promenade will be presented as part of In The Soil Festival and produced in collaboration with Suitcase in Point Theatre Company.

 

Directed by Lisa Marie DiLiberto Starring Dan Watson, Rob Feetham & Deanna Jones Sound and Image Design by Charles Ketchabaw

Supported by:

THE TALE OF A TOWN - PARKDALE

APRIL 20 & 21

Look for our FIXT POINT storymobile at the Spring Into Parkdale Festival.  We'll be trading tales for tulips and then creating a podcast for our friends at The Walrus.

Supported by The Parkdale Village Business Improvement Association

THE TALE OF A T-SHIRT

FRIDAY MAY 3 @ 7pm

Our hit docu-comedy that follows the making of a t-shirt from seed to cotton to cloth will be redeveloped for young audiences.

 

Join us for a staged reading at Theatre Direct. Directed by Lisa Marie DiLiberto Starring Nina Gilmour, Lise Cormier & Marissa Zini Choreography by Amber-Kelly Mackareth Supported by Theatre Direct & Carousel Players through the Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creator's Reserve Program

The Four Corners - Launch!

COME TO THE LUNCHTIME LAUNCH PARTY!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29th, 2012, NOON @ Theatre Passe Muraille

Bring your lunch and be the first to hear this new radio drama exploring the diverse social and economic class structure that exists on this corners.

Based on neighbourhood interviews, The Four Corners was recorded live at the intersection Queen and Bathurst in Toronto with award winning actors alongside cameos from the community. To join us for the launch, RSVP to:  rsvp@passemuraille.on.ca

THE AUDIO DRAMA IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD HERE

THE FOUR CORNERS - we did it!

Last Saturday, on the corners of Queen & Bathurst, our live site-specific audio drama recording happened 3 x to sold out audiences!  We ambitiously imagined crowds of people moving around these busy corners in time with each other... and it worked!

Here's how:

Before each performance, the crowd met us inside The Design Republic, a furniture store on Queen West, where they were introduced to our tour guides through a hip hop rap comedy number.  The audience was then divided into groups by colour and were led out to the streets by their guides.

The tour guides recounted the history of the four corners, from architecture patterns, to settlement in the area, to what lived within the walls of the buildings still standing.  And, on each corner, the guides and their groups were met by likely activity.  A program worker, a starbucks barrista, an experiential advertiser and a pair of street buskers intersected the audience and added their voices to the mix, shedding light on the diverse socio-economic class structure that exists on this crossroads of Toronto.

This entire experience was recorded live by a team of sound engineers through locative booms, lavaliere microphones and binaural recorders.  And now, we are busy mixing this site-specific recording together into a 4 podcasts that will be released later this month! Stay posted for these podcasts that allow you to feel like you were right there with us on the corners.

But it's not over yet... in November, THE FOUR CORNERS will hit the studio to record the other side of the story... details to come.

Our live site-specific recording was a true blast.   Thank you to everyone who came out to see this live.  And, if you missed it, here are some pics to tide you over until the podcasts are released to the world!

THE FOUR CORNERS: Live performance produced by FIXT POINT Directed by Lisa Marie DiLiberto. Sound Recording & Production directed by Charles Ketchabaw

Script conceived by Lisa Marie DiLiberto and Charles Ketchabaw, based on neighbourhood interviews, and developed in collaboration with the artistic team.

Corner Characters: North East Corner (Starbucks) - David Brennan South East Corner (CB2) - Adam Paolozza North West Corner (The Meeting Place) - Varrick Grimes South West Corner (Pizza Pizza) - Dan Watson

Tour Guides: Viktor Lukowski (Team Red) Geoffrey Armour (Team Blue) Isaac Kessler (Team Yellow) Rob Feetham (Team Green) Fernando Lara (Tour Bossman)

Community Artists: Katt C. Budd (Musician) Bruce (Meeting Place Member) Terry (Meeting Place Volunteer)

Sound Recordists: Charles Ketchabaw Corby Luke Art Pisanski

Dramaturgy: Aviva Armour-Ostroff

Production Coordinator: Annie Wilson

 

STURGEON BAY – chopping wood and sound bytes

We headed south to Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park, a small little place near Pointe Au Baril.  We picked up some food for the fire and transformed our storymobile into a studio on wheels by day and a sleeping spot by night.  Early in the morning until late in the evening for three days we worked in the woods – listening to the stories we gathered from Little Current and Sudbury and Killarney, cutting up the interviews, mapping specific stories, writing around the clips for our podcast, and mixing it altogether.  The campground was bustling and we left only to record our voices deeper in the wilderness… It was a rugged and rustic 3 days, but being out in the woods helped us to relax while weaving the tales together. And then we drove our storymobile back to where the traffic outnumbers the trees and the buildings sometimes block the breeze, a place where faces are familiar and streets are straight and all the restaurants are open late.  Yes, we arrived back home, to Toronto to lay our heads in our own bed.

Go listen to what we found in all these awesome small and not so small towns.  The Tale of a Town X Ontario – it’s yours to discover…

KILLARNEY – fish and chips and roads and pics

Back when we were in Little Current, a group of people spotted our storymobile and pitched us to come to Killarney… so, to Killarney we went!  It was a long road into town off of highway 69, but finally we arrived in this small and splendid little town, population 500.

 

When we arrived on Channel Street, the main street in Killarney with one side water one side road, the mayor flagged us down in his truck and came to greet us.  He insisted that he treat us to the famous Herbert’s fish and chips.  Herbert's was the hottest spot in town and before long, the town historian, a town elder, and our connector from back in Little Current, Mary Jane, were all with us on the dock as the tale of a town turned the conversation to the changes in Killarney over the years.

Inside the storymobile I was fortunate to talk with the town historian, Rosiland Zimmiska whose family has lived here in Killarney for four generations.  The photos I saw of the main street in days gone by sent my imagination soaring.

 

In the meantime, Charles took a walk on the dock side of main street with Marvin Roque, town elder who told tales of the busy days of commercial fishing in the channel.

 

 

Later, Mary Jane took us to the hand built stone church whose name changed to St. Bonaventure from St. Joseph when one priest decided that he liked that name better…

Also, check out the backwards number 1.  Apparently the stone carver ran out of space, so he decided he'd just flip it...

 

 

 

 

You might assume with a name like Killarney that this is an Irish settlement, but think again. Killarney, Ontario is Native and French with a long and languid history.  No electricity until 1950, and no road to get in until 1962!! Life was isolated and insular here in most people’s earliest memories of this town, but apparently the parties were indescribable…. If you have a story about Killarney, call our storyline at 1-855-CAN-TALE and we'll be sure to add it to the collective community memory map of this small but sensational town.

Come sit in on our Killarney conversations to hear more about this joyful place where all you have to do is look out to see its stunning beauty.

A Walk Down Main Street - Killarney Edition.

SUDBURY – we did the elgin strip

First off, the drive from Little Current to Sudbury, across the swing bridge, along highway 6 & 16 was so breathtaking - you have to go and see it for yourself. The night we arrived in Sudbury, we got a phone call from our friend and colleague back home advising us to head straight to the Townehouse bar on Elgin Street and look for Paul, the manager.  So to the Townehouse we went! It was one of those restored, old taverns, with a seemingly secret side entrance and eventually we did find who we were looking for.  We booked a meeting with Paul for the next morning.

It was fascinating to hear what Paul had to say about the story of Sudbury’s downtown over the years.  Always a meeting place, a rail town turned mine town, with two standout flat iron buildings, many other torn down buildings, a mall where a market has been, and a strip that is making its way back on the map with cool new cafes, bars and boulangeries. The Elgin strip they call it, which apparently had been long neglected, is where we met Paul – at the other place he manages, The Laughing Buddha, where all kinds of imported beers are just an order away.  Guess what else we found out – Stompin’ Tom wrote that song at the Townehouse.  You know the one…

After our meeting with Paul we parked downtown.  A steady line of people came to see us at our storymobile and we got a feel for this nickel city built atop a meteor crater.  You can check out a selection of stories we gathered on our story map HERE.

Some of the local press caught us downtown too...!

Northern Life Article

Sudbury Star Article

After our storymobile stint we went to meet up at the Sudbury Theatre Centre with David Savoy to talk tale of a town.  David invited the creative and savy Matthew Heiti and the four of us imagined together what it would be like to take audiences down the streets of Sudbury while telling its tales…

A site specific performance is certainly something that would breathe life into these story filled streets and spread the good news that Sudbury’s downtown is here to stay.  Details to come…

In the meantime, why not tune in to our podcast and hear about if for yourself!

A Walk Down Main Street – Sudbury Edition.

LITTLE CURRENT - gi zah gin! i love you!

In Little Current, we stayed at the legendary Anchor Inn, one of those old hotels we've heard so much about, but this one was renovated and truly rockin'!  In their community room, we sat in on the live broadcast of The Cruiser’s Net with Roy who keeps the boats on the other side of water street afloat.  Outside, we met the father daughter team - owner and editor of The Manitoulin Expositor who convinced us to join the Let It Be campaign -a civic initiative to keep the Little Current Post Office downtown!

It was a whirlwind 24 hours in Little Current.  Trading ice cream for stories, we ran in to some of the most delightful people we have met so far.  It's true, there is something spirited about this island.  We could have stayed...forever!

To hear from the mouths of the haweaters themselves, tune in to our podcast, created for The Walrus.

A Walk Down Main Street – Little Current Edition!

TURTLE CREEK – writing, recording and a surprise wedding

How lucky we were that there was a cancellation at Turtle Creek Lodge on Manitoulin Island!  We drove straight from Markdale to Tobermory, drove onto a ferry boat, took a gorgeous cruise north to the spirit island, and found our way to this secluded paradise on the biggest lake on the biggest island on a freshwater lake in the world! It was in this mystical place that we wrote and recorded our first few editions of our podcast series: A Walk Down Main Street.  To check out the series in its entirety, go to our soundcloud page and take a stroll around! 

One very touching thing that happened while we were at Turtle Creek – a couple got married down at the water!  A bagpiper announced the surprise celebration and we joined in for the ceremonies.  Later that night the couple treated the lodgers to a fireworks show and we watched from our cabin as we worked the night away…

A thank you to Jack and Joyce who made our stay so, so nice.  I don’t want to advertise how amazing and gorgeous and beautiful their place is for fear that it will be all booked up for next summer when we want to go back… But that would be just too selfish, so here it is (but keep it under wraps!) http://www.manitoulin-island.com/turtlecreek/

Before we left we checked in with Points North on CBC Radio, to let the north know we were on our way to Little Current, then onto Sudbury.  CBC.ca | Points North | Storymobile lets people trade stories for ice cream.

And zoom! we were off again to search out some more stories in this province of towns and trees…

MARKDALE – ice cream and cake wheels

The main street in Markdale seemed quiet at first glance, but once we got chatting, stories started seeping out!  We started our search with the very friendly Eric Robertson, a real estate agent who grew up in Markdale.  And as we walked with Eric down the main street, we ran into almost everyone in town going in or coming out of the post office to pick up their mail.  And that's when we discovered the post office is where we should always park our storymobile downtown... and slowly but surely, the people came. We spoke to former mayor Stan Baker,

Rotarian Jerry Bartley,

former school principal Willard Foster... among others.

 

 

 

 

 

In  between storymobiling, we stopped into some stores on the strip.  We hit up the Bargain Store, where whoppie cusions have been selling for a dollar as long as anyone can remember;

 

we popped into Jeans Jeans and More Jeans where the band the Constantines got their swag;

 

we waltzed into Quilter’s Line to find out about the this gathering place that threads together the stories of rural women;

And we ducked into a café where every customer has their own mug to talk to a local teen; and we pranced into a toy store for a little play on words.

Finally, we headed to the Chapman’s newly built factory, which replaces the old creamery that burned down only a few years ago.  I’m sure the old Chapman’s had a nostalgia that can never be duplicated, however, this new ice cream machine is sleek and sexy and sensational.  We interviewed Ashley Chapman, the vice president of Champan’s Ice Cream.  He's the grown up version of that little boy whose face is on the Chapman’s logo!  He's the kind of guy you just can't help but hug.  (well, I couldn't help it, I'm a hugger...)

 

After a great chat with Ashley, we met his magnificent mother, Penny Chapman, who co-founded  this fabulous company along with her husband David.  It was a real treat to talk to Penny in person and hear the story how this booming business began, firsthand from the one who built it up.

Markdale is full of memories.  A farming town that became an important industrial town which became once again the small town that it is today.  In the heart of grey county – a beautiful, beautiful part of this province.

Take a listen to some to hear more of the memories we gathered in the land of ice cream dreams!  Tales of the street frolic, the cake wheel, the house of refuge await you...

A Walk Down Main Street - Markdale Edition! 

INGERSOLL- love and marriage

We stopped in downtown Ingersoll to see gather some stories in Charles’ hometown!  We heard tales of a fire on the main drag, legendary department stores, and we even heard a love story!  Don’t take my word for it, check our SoundCloud story map on our website www.thetaleofatown.com and read this article in The Ingersoll Times. Story 'catchers' stop in Ingersoll | News | Ingersoll Times.

And when you are done reading, tune in here to our podcast created for The Walrus to hear the stories for yourself!

A Walk Down Main Street - Ingersoll Edition.

LONDON DAY 15 – au revoir!

Charles got up and took the storymobile in for service – the air conditioner is on the fritz!  So, I packed up our hotel and we met the awesome Andrea and lovely Lisa from Downtown London for lunch at Che – a mouthwatering new downtown resto. Then to the office to pack up from yesterday’s brown paper presentation, a quick stop for Christmas cards from Kingsmill’s sidewalk sale (I just HAD to – after all we’ve heard about it), and we were OFFFFFFF!  So long farewell London Town!  We hope to see you sooooooooooon!!!!!

Check out some of the stories we collected in London on our SoundCloud story map by visiting our website thetaleofatown.com, and listen to our radio broadcast A Walk Down Main Street - London Edition!

LONDON DAY FOURTEEN – from me to you.

This morning I wrote a quick rhyming diddie to add to our presentation so that in hopes of getting everyone out of their seats and on to the streets at the end of the presentation today.  It was quick and dirty and I think quite clever!  If you want to hear a bit, listen for it in the middle of our radio podcast A Walk Down Main Street - London Edition.

Downtown London, The London Arts Council, The Heritage Council, The Grand Theatre, The City of London, The London Fringe all gathered together at the Downtown London office and we unveiled our proposed plan.  That’s all I can tell you today.  There’s lots of work to be done but it’s going to be very very very… FUN!

After the presentation, we had a beer, ordered a pizza, and slept for many hours.  LONDON Town was done for now, but the tale continues…

LONDON DAY TWELVE – do you hear what I hear?

Ohhhhhh – it’s time to listen.  And we need help.  We called in our friend, Sandy Gribbon, an incredible theatre artist who lives here in London and teaches at Fanshawe College.  We also needed a few more sets of ears, so I called Tyler from City Lights books (he seemed way smart), and although he couldn’t come on the drop of a dime, he sent us two awesome people, Andrew and Chris.  Thanks guys.  Your ears let us hear so much more. Thanks to Bob Usher we had the Labatte Lounge at the market for a spell, making lunch time selections a highly anticipated part of the day… salads and smoothies and sandwiches and smoked salmon, and… the list goes on.

As we always seem to do – we lined the walls with brown paper and started scribbling time codes and character ideas and quotations all over until bit by bit lines began to bunch together and singular stories became tales of the town.

Even though we had vowed that we were not interviewing another person, Charles checked out for a quick chat with the mayor – we did not want to pass up the opportunity to catch this man while we can…. I mean while we could.  what tense am I in here?  Whatever, it’s better to rhyme.  bed time!

LONDON DAY ELEVEN – morningstars and ceaser salad

The day began with a delightful interview a la Dana Morningstar.  Dana is the chair of media arts at Fanshaw college and a Londoner through and through.  She told us tales about that market parrot swearing at her when she was a kid at the market, and stopping off at The Bay downtown on way to work to get a squirt of perfume in the early days of her career.  After the interview, Dana treated us to a tour of the INCREDIBLE Fanshawe College media facilities. Wow.  Those students are spoiled, as they should be.  And very lucky to have what they need to get their waves flowing and their bytes dining.  Things have changed a bit since Charles graduated from their Music Industry Arts Program, but the tour still led him on a sound scape down memory lane (just go with the metaphors people – I’m trying to keep it interesting…)

The afternoon took us to an interview with the fascinating memory making machine Jack DiCarlo at Michael’s on the Thames.  Oh Jack – he is retiring this coming Tuesday after almost 40 years serving up silver service tableside a la flambée here in London Ontario.  His heart bursts with passion and his dedication to his patrons is beyond measure.  He reminds me of my “nonno” (Italian grandpa) and I feel that somehow I know him.  I think Jack just has that effect on people – he makes everyone feel welcome and his personality is warmer than a hot toddy.  In fact, a hot toddy shrinks in comparison to “Jack’s Coffee” – one of the specialties that combines ice cream and liquers on fire that we had to cap off our meal on Saturday when we came here to Michael’s on the Thames for Londonlicious.  After that coffee, we couldn’t help but wonder about who this “Jack” was, and that is brought us here today to meet him in the flesh.

To hear more about the real life legend of Jack DiCarlo, listen in to the Huntsville Edition of our podcast A Walk Down Main Street!

HUNTSVILLE DAY TWELVE – Listening, logging and a little bit of walking…

May we present to you our amazing artistic collaborators for:

The Tale of a Town - Huntsville!

DEANNA JONES 
Artistic Director of Suitcase In Point
(sister company to FIXT POINT!)

ANNIE WILSON
Artistic Producer of Suitcase in Point 

ADAM PAOLOZZA
Artistic Director of TheatreRun
(brother company to FIXT POINT!)
ROB FEETHAM
Toronto based Actor, Clown and Creator

 Everybody arrived, and we got right down to it.  As you can see from the pics, listening to all the stories we have gathered was the top order of the day.
 Logging clips of what jumped out at us  was also par for the course.
It didn't happen as this fast, but check us out in action here:

And for a break, we took a stroll down Main Street so the artists could see some of what they were hearing about for themselves...
Here we are on the lot of the old Empire Hotel.
….73 interviews later, and 48 collective hours later, we called it a day.  And our imaginations began soaring with ideas for The Tale of a Town – Huntsville, the show we would put on in 5 days from today…. eeeek!

LONDON DAY TEN – organizing chaos and dr. lendt

Today we tried to organize the many interviews we have taken in, and make a plan for the week to come.  How will we listen to over 70 hours of tape before we leave London next week?!  And the interviewing isn’t over yet!  London has so many downtown stories, and as always - there are so many sides to each story.  But alas, that is where creativity comes to play, and artful decisions will rule the day, as we make something beautiful from what the people say….  That rhymes, non?! In the midst of the organizing of tracks and tapes and papers and plans, I skipped off to meet with Dr. Barbara Lendt who had an office in downtown for many years where she delivered babies and promoted health.  Barbara painted a picture of downtown from the perspective of a Torontonian who came over 30 years ago, just for a short time, but was drawn in.  Above and beyond the insight this interview provided, I loved hearing Barbara’s love for the downtown store Novak’s – that’s one for the story map for sure!

 

The weekend has come.  And my friend Jo from London, England is getting off the via rail train tonight to visit us here in London Ontario!!  I can’t wait to show the downtown off and take her out Londonlicious!  (I wonder if Jo will feel more at home here with The Covent Garden Market and the forks of the Thames nearby…)