Field Notes

Kerri Breen serves up a healthy serving of arts news

A studio is born, a distribution company dies (sort of), and a local film gets props from one of the world’s most renowned festivals. Meanwhile, wrestling fans on both sides of the overpass are in store for live shows this summer.

Here are the details…

ViVa Studios to open in June
ViVa Studios will soon answer the cry of local musicians—as well as their parents, neighbours, and other curmudgeons—by offering space for artists to jam and record. Operator Grant Abbott says finding good space is necessary for the success of both emerging and established bands.

“If you want to break the scene, it takes a lot more work than learning to play your instrument and jamming once a week while your other half is out at bingo,” he said.

The studio will be located on Harbour Drive. In the next few months Abbott says it will be outfitted with isolation booths and a monitored alarm to guard your gear.

Jam space costs $25 an hour, with price breaks on larger chunks of time, while recording costs $34 an hour. For more information call 747-VIVA

Landwash washed-up?
After facing a 35 per cent decrease in profit in 2007 and a dismal 2008, Atlantic Canada’s biggest record distribution company, Landwash Distribution, has decided to call it a day, but not for long.

Citing the takeover of downloadable music and the tendency for bands to self-distribute as the cause of its demise, the 13 year-old company is in the process of returning all its stock and is looking into reasserting itself online, owner Charlotte Story told CBC news.

The company currently represents over a hundred artists.

Pro Wrestling goes provincial

A St. John’s professional wresting league is embarking on its first mini-tour. Heavy Metal and Jigger Jack, two wrestlers from Alberta’s Monster Pro Wrestling, will join the RPW team for two shows in St. John’s, one in Dunville, and one in Witless Bay.

The Witless Bay event, happening at the P4 community centre on May 9, will feature the resurrection of the inter-cities championship belt, which RPW’s operator Mike Barrington says was originally awarded in that very community centre ten years ago by now-defunct Cutting Edge Wrestling.

On Saturday fans in Dunville will get a rare opportunity to see all RPW’s titles defended at the same event.

The tour, which kicks off on May 8 with a 19+ show at Junctions, is just the beginning of a busy summer for the young wrestling league. It’s planning a province-wide tour in late July, starting with a show as part of the Bay Roberts Klondyke festival.

“We are extremely excited to have been invited by the town of Bay Roberts to partake in their festival and [we] look forward to announcing other dates in our summer tour,” said Barrington.

No word yet as to whether any of the wrestlers are daring enough to challenge Chomper, the town’s mascot.

Hynes to hit Cannes
The film based on Joel Thomas Hynes’ novel Down To The Dirt has been selected to screen at the 61st Festival de Cannes. It is the very first feature-length film from this province to screen at the prestigious festival, but it’s also part of what the Film Producers Association of Newfoundland is calling a banner year for the industry.

Down To The Dirt is being shown as a part of Telefilm’s Perspective Canada series, and will be screened twice during the festival, which runs from May 14 to 25 in Cannes, France.

Artists honoured by Arts Council
But Hynes has even more to smile about this week. The young writer/actor’s achievements were honoured on May 3 at the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s (NLAC) annual awards ceremony where he was named Artist of the Year.

Visual artist Mary Ann Penashue of Sheshatshiu received CBC’s Emerging Artist award, giving a heart-warming, impromptu speech. The seminal Gerald Squires was inducted into NLAC’s Hall of Honour, while Aiden and Neil Flynn of Rabbittown theatre won the Patron of the Arts award.

The Arts in Education Award was presented to Dorrie Brown, a visual arts, theatre, and music teacher in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Local Tough drop new record
The loud and loveable Local Tough are set to release a 10-song album at CBTGs on May 15. They will be joined by Be Alright, who will be distributing a free demo, and Danny Keating, who will also be launching a new disc.

“It will be a wild night,” said guitarist Steve Abbott. “Local Tough will end by playing the record in its entirety.”

Along with the album, Local Tough posters and T-shirts will be available at the show.