Saturday, September 20, 2008

here comes the ribbon project

This from the amazing Hannah Godfrey, it's almost time for the Ribbon Project again.

Hallo there

For five days in October a small group of people, of
which I hope you will be one, will tie ribbons to
things. When other people pass they
might see those ribbons and, if they do, something
might change for
them. They might smile. They might tut. They might
feel united, having
just tied a ribbon themselves.

Each day will have a different colour and the group
will be notified of the colour by email.

You will need 7 coloured ribbons:
Blue, yellow, green, red, pink, purple, orange

If you would like to join, send me an email entitled
“The Ribbon Project” and I will send you the dates and
then, at the proper time, each day’s colour.

See links below for photos from previous years and a
digital story about the project.

Warm wishes,


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An open letter to the Prime Minister

Hey all - This is an amazing letter from the playwright Wadji Mouawad, who works in Ottawa at the National Arts Center. I'm posting it because even tho i'm moving a little bit away from the arts world while i'm in school, i still care and am deeply affected by the heinous things the Harper govt. is doing to arts funding in Canada. This letter is a beautifully wrought call to arms, as Ross Manson put it. Ross sent it to me, and i am so glad he did. It was published in the Devoir, in Montreal, last week, and translated into english by John Van Burek.

An open letter to Prime Minister Harper:

Monsieur le premier ministre,

We are neighbours. We work across the street from one another. You are Prime Minister of the Parliament of Canada and I, across the way, am a writer, theatre director and Artistic Director of the French Theatre at the National Arts Centre (NAC). So, like you, I am an employee of the state, working for the Federal Government; in other words, we are colleagues.

Let me take advantage of this unique position, as one functionary to another, to chat with you about the elimination of some federal grants in the field of culture, something that your government recently undertook. Indeed, having followed this matter closely, I have arrived at a few conclusions that I would like to publicly share with you since, as I’m sure you will agree, this debate has become one of public interest.

The Symbolism

Firstly, it seems that you might benefit by surrounding yourself with counsellors who will be attentive to the symbolic aspects of your Government’s actions. I am sure you know this but there is no harm in reminding ourselves that every public action denotes not only what it is but what it symbolises.
For example, a Prime Minister who chooses not attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, claiming his schedule does not permit it, in no way reduces the symbolism which says that his absence might signify something else. This might signify that he wishes to denote that Canada supports the claims of Tibet. Or it might serve as a sign of protest over the way in which Beijing deals with human rights. If the Prime Minister insists that his absence is really just a matter of timing, whether he likes it or not, this will take on symbolic meaning that commits the entire country. The symbolism of a public gesture will always outweigh the technical explanations.

Declaration of war

Last week, your government reaffirmed its manner of governing unilaterally, this time on a domestic issue, in bringing about reductions in granting programs destined for the cultural sector. A mere matter of budgeting, you say, but one which sends shock waves throughout the cultural milieu –rightly or wrongly, as we shall see- for being seen as an expression of your contempt for that sector. The confusion with which your Ministers tried to justify those reductions and their refusal to make public the reports on the eliminated programs, only served to confirm the symbolic significance of that contempt. You have just declared war on the artists.
Now, as one functionary to another, this is the second thing that I wanted to tell you: no government, in showing contempt for artists, has ever been able to survive. Not one. One can, of course, ignore them, corrupt them, seduce them, buy them, censor them, kill them, send them to camps, spy on them, but hold them in contempt, no. That is akin to rupturing the strange pact, made millennia ago, between art and politics.


Art and politics both hate and envy one another; since time immemorial, they detest each other and they are mutually attracted, and it’s through this dynamic that many a political idea has been born; it is in this dynamic that sometimes, great works of art see the light of day. Your cultural politics, it must be said, provoke only a profound consternation. Neither hate nor detestation, not envy nor attraction, nothing but numbness before the oppressive vacuum that drives your policies.

This vacuum which lies between you and the artists of Canada, from a symbolic point of view, signifies that your government, for however long it lasts, will not witness either the birth of a political idea or a masterwork, so firm is your apparent belief in the unworthiness of that for which you show contempt. Contempt is a subterranean sentiment, being a mix of unassimilated jealousy and fear towards that which we despise. Such governments have existed, but not lasted because even the most detestable of governments cannot endure if it hasn’t the courage to affirm what it actually is.

Why is this ?

What are the reasons behind these reductions, which are cut from the same cloth as those made last year on the majority of Canadian embassies, who saw their cultural programming reduced, if not eliminated? The economies that you have made are ridiculously small and the votes you might win with them have already been won. For what reason, then, are you so bent on hurting the artists by denying them some of their tools? What are you seeking to extinguish and to gain?

Your silence and your actions make one fear the worst for, in the end, we are quite struck by the belief that this contempt, made eloquent by your budget cuts, is very real and that you feel nothing but disgust for these people, these artists, who spend their time by wasting it and in spending the good taxpayers money, he who, rather than doing uplifting work, can only toil.

And yet, I still cannot fathom your reasoning. Plenty of politicians, for the past fifty years, have done all they could to depoliticise art, to strip it of its symbolic import. They try the impossible, to untie that knot which binds art to politics. And they almost succeed! Whereas you, in the space of one week, have undone this work of chloroforming, by awakening the cultural milieu, Francophone and Anglophone, and from coast to coast. Even if politically speaking they are marginal and negligible, one must never underestimate intellectuals, never underestimate artists; don’t underestimate their ability to do you harm.

A grain of sand is all-powerful

I believe, my dear colleague, that you yourself have just planted the grain of sand that could derail the entire machine of your electoral campaign. Culture is, in fact, nothing but a grain of sand, but therein lays its power, in its silent front. It operates in the dark. That is its legitimate strength.

It is full of people who are incomprehensible but very adept with words. They have voices. They know how to write, to paint, to dance, to sculpt, to sing, and they won’t let up on you. Democratically speaking, they seek to annihilate your policies. They will not give up. How could they?

You must understand them: they have not had a clear and common purpose for a very long time, for such a long time that they have no common cause to defend. In one week, by not controlling the symbolic importance of your actions, you have just given them passion, anger, rage.

The resistance that will begin today, and to which my letter is added, is but a first manifestation of a movement that you yourself have set in motion: an incalculable number of texts, speeches, acts, assemblies, marches, will now be making themselves heard. They will not be exhausted.

Some of these will, perhaps, following my letter, be weakened but within each word, there will be a spark of rage, relit, and it is precisely the addition of these tiny instances of fire that will shape the grain of sand that you will never be able to shake. This will not settle down, the pressure will not be diminished.

Monsieur le premier ministre, we are neighbours. We work across the street from one another. There is nothing but the Cenotaph between our offices, and this is as it should be because politics and art have always mirrored one another, each on its own shore, each seeing itself in the other, separated by that river where life and death are weighed at every moment.

We have many things in common, but an artist, contrary to a politician, has nothing to lose, because he or she does not make laws; and if it is prime ministers who change the world, it’s the artist who will show this to the world. So do not attempt, through your policies, to blind us, Monsieur le premier ministre; do not ignore that reflection on the opposite shore, do not plunge us further into the dark. Do not diminish us.

Wajdi Mouawad

the photo was found on the internet and traced to Ursi Paltenstein

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a new adventure

Hey there y'all -

Well. Here's some news. In just about a week, yours truly will be beginning something i never thought i would - my undergraduate degree.
I'm taking a hiatus from full-time arts-making and i'm going to learn about child development in an Early Childhood Education program. I want to be a teacher, and to do that i have to go to Teacher's College. To get into Teacher's College, however, i need to have an undergraduate degree. Never mind that i've been working with kids for longer than i haven't been working with kids, and i've been working in schools for the past 7 years. I need the piece of paper, and that requires an undergrad, which will require the next 4 years of my life. And then teacher's college, which will take at least another year.
However, after i've paid all that time to various institutions i will be able to do what i feel is important for me to do - have a Grade 2 class of kids of my own.

This came out of something i did with my amazing friend Jen Bulthuis, and about 14 years of working with kids and thinking about it. Jen is a toymaker, and she asked me to help her launch her new puzzle/puppets with a workshop for kids at a local kids shop. Well - I had about 20 kids under 5 all working together and having fun, the parents all asking where i taught - and in the middle of everything i asked myself 'why am i fighting this?' For years i have been working with kids and feeling pretty good about it, why not try to dive into it in more concentrated way?

I began looking into it, and all the Education Faculties said that they needed me to have an undergrad before accepting me. So i started looking around at the possibilities of an the same time as doing a six month residency at Islington Junior Middle School. The time I spent there with the students and teachers confirmed for me that teaching was something that i was feeling more and more called to do. Especially after spending time with the wonderful Grade 1s and 2s. So, i did even more research and finally decided on Ryerson here in Toronto and their Early Childhood Education program. That'll give me an even more solid base in child development than i already have, and then off to whatever teacher's college i can get into, maybe OISE at U of T. FIVE YEARS!!! Five years of school is what i'm looking at. It's a lot, and a big shift.

So, less art projects will be filling up my days. However, i won't be able to stop completely, so stay tuned if you like, and more will be coming. I've started another blog too, about ecological and sustainable can check that one out too. It's called Artists of Unwaste at

Take care, keep checking in. I'll be seeing you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

well howdy!

Hello the peoples. Hope yer all dandy.

Me, i'm fine. I have been very busy making crazy art, first with about 530 elementary and middle school students, and i just finished a bonkers re-enactment of a 1920's Jewish Children's Work Commune. 28 kids dressed up and pretended to be living collectively in Communist Russia, shortly after the Revolution. It's been intense, but swell.

And so the world turns. Been working with kids so long, i've decided to make it official. I'm thinking of becoming a public school teacher. So, got accepted into Ryerson University's Early Childhood Education programme here in Toronto, set to start in the fall, on my way to Teacher's College and that little piece of paper that folks seem to think is so important. I'll be working with Jumblies and MABELLEarts for the rest of the summer.

The Jumblies project is Phase 2 of that re-enactment project i mentioned above - a movement/installation piece called Di Velt Ven Vern Yinger (The World will Grow Younger) detailing the history of the jewish secular communist summer community Camp Naivelt in Brampton. The MABELLEarts project will be Lantern Garden, the outdoor art garden we started last year. And then i'll be off to studentsville. For the rest of my life!

Maybe. Or maybe i'll discover something else in my scholastic adventures, and go off in an entirely different direction. Anyways, the Lab will be quieter than usual i think, with less beakers bubbling and more internal experimentation happening. I think that THE INFLAMMABLES will have more work to do, and i'm sure other weird stuff will be popping up. I'm looking forward to a change, tho.

In other news, permaculture is very good, i am trying to grow a good supply of tea for us this winter in my birthday herb garden, and the most fun that i'm having these days is composting. Remember to be good to yourselves and the earth, drink a lot of water from faucets and hoses, and become talented artists of unwaste.

Talk to you all soon - noah

Photo of Mimico Creek puppet by Katherine Fleitas
Photo of 12th Jewish Children's Commune by Michaela Otto
Photo of water found on the internet

Friday, March 14, 2008

How much i love our band

Our next gig is on April 23rd at the BREAD Cabaret, at Bread and Circus in Kensington Market. I am excited. I hear it's a small venue, so do what you can to squeeze yourselves in there. There's going to be A LOT of INFLAMMABLES, we'll try not to outnumber the crowd.

***ACTUALLY, THIS GIG NEVER CAME TO BE! BE ON THE ALERT, MY FRIENDS, FOR OUR NEXT APPEARANCE! this post was updated after our unfortunate run-in with fate and mis-remembering.***

I've also discovered that THE INFLAMMABLES has a spiritual sister out there - sort of like a secret Princess Leia to our Luke. If you haven't checked out LESLIE HALL and her amazingness, PLEASE DROP EVERYTHING AND DO SO RIGHT AWAY!
Her band Leslie and the Lys are very very very amazing. If you haven't had your sense of humour removed, go to

or search the beloved YouTube for her brilliantness and good dance moves.

I dug this out of the Lab's archives this afternoon - i love it, and hope you will too. It's a press release from a couple of years ago.


The ever-fabulous RED Cabaret will be happening at
Lula Lounge again on FEBRUARY 1ST - and Cardboard
heart has some amazingness to share. It's THE
INFLAMMABLES!!! Part rock/folk/doo-wop band, part
ambassadorial envoy from the collective imagination,
and part revolutionary heart-stopping love-machine -
THE INFLAMMABLES will try to tickle your fancy,
squeeze you and please you, and leave you feeling
better than before.

THE INFLAMMABLES - unstoppable performance
crunch/jive/puppet band, is made up of a loose
collection of brilliant and talented musicians and
performers. At RED they will be represented by Andrea
Peneycad, Songstress and Chief Wheezedoodler,
and Noah "Thrash/Slash-Hug-Attack" Kenneally, Plunker
and All-Around-Humdinger. They will be playing
selections from their first album OMYGOD WHIZBANG
JAMBOREE. Don't miss it!!!

I shall keep thee all posted on the details.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The INFLAMMABLES will be performing at the MASC. fundraiser at The Gift Shop on Friday - come and see the ridiculousness!

MASC magazine fundraiser!
art, performance, share ideas, mark your calendar

Host: MASC magazine

Time and PlaceStart Time: Friday, February 22, 2008 at 7:00pm

Location: The Gift Shop Boutique 1550 Queen West toronto, ON


It's a gathering because we want to see and hear from people who share our excitement about this magazine. It's a fundraiser because we want to start spending money and making this all happen. It's a party because a party is never a bad idea when you've got 100 cool people together on a Friday night.

From 7pm to late, the evening will be a combination of participation and performances.

masc is a magazine providing space for young men between the ages of 15-22yrs old to express themselves and their realities. masc magazine presents positive, alternative examples of masculinity and is a catalyst for discussion, particularly around ideas of gender, stereotypes, sexuality and health. masc magazine supports and challenges young men to be better, more whole human beings.

still confused?
see this:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

oh dear


it's been a while since i put anything up. YIKES! i have been busy, working on gearing up the Islington Junior Middle School Giant Puppet Pageant and keeping going on various things with The Gathering Space. I'll be telling you more about the puppet pageant as it progresses, and you can always go to the Gathering Space blog at - Many happy surprises there!

really, tho - these days i'm excited about iceland. saw a wonderful film about the band Sigur Ros and their tour of their home doing 10 free concerts in remote areas. It's called Heima and i'm jazzed by it, and by them, and by their amazingly beautiful country.

check these out - sigur ros videos on youtube:

hoppipolla -
glosoli -

found this beautiful photo on the internet, by a man named Marc Isberg. That's what Iceland looks like! Wow!

more soon...