Field Notes

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Kerri Breen is in bed by midnight, anyway.

Rockstars get sleepy, too

The debate has re-emerged: How late should bars serve alcohol? Some members of St. John’s City Council would like to see downtown dry up an hour or two earlier, and have prompted the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation to hold a public meeting regarding the issue.

In the last few weeks, almost everyone has had their say in the media. Councilors have grumbled about an increase in complaints from downtown residents and at least one bar owner would like to see staff go home earlier. The voices of bar performers have been a little less prominent in the coverage, despite how immediately the issue affects them.

To get a feel for their perspective, I contacted just under ten seasoned but mostly young musicians via e-mail. Somewhat surprisingly, the three who replied by deadline supported the change.

Jordan Young of the Cyanides says that the late nights are a drag for people who have to work early and people with children at home. Earlier start times could positively impact bands, patrons, and bar staff.

“Sooner than you’d think, I believe we’d see a change in show-goer dynamic and you’d ultimately see a lot more people coming out,” he said.

“I’d personally love to see bar shows start earlier and be successful shows,” said Ian Foster. “The idea of being the closing act in a bar is not much of a compliment to that act if they’re going on stage at 2:00 am, when people are starting to go home and those who have stayed are at the wrong end of a night full of drinking.” 

Davey Zegarac of the Brat Attack and the Class War Kids says that in his hometown of Winnipeg, shows start earlier and yet still fill up at a reasonable time.

“It’s better for the bands, in my opinion,” he said.

Last call has been fixed at 3:00 am on weekends and 2:00 am on weeknights since 2000. 

More awards for writers and artists

Wondering if you have won a Provincial Arts and Letters Award? While the official winners won’t be announced until May 31, according to its website all award recipients have already been notified. Sorry!

But in other awards news, the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador will announce its 2008 Book Awards winners on May 27 at Government house. The competition looks pretty fierce.

Nominated for the Downhome Fiction award are such distinguished writers as Kathleen Winter, Russell Wangersky, and Bernice Morgan.

Catherine Hogan, Robin McGrath, and Janet McNaughton round out the shortlist for the Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award.

Not sure what to make of the nominees?  Watch them read from their works on May 25 at 2:00 pm at the Studio, 272 Water Street, above Auntie Crae’s. 

Hunter Eves plays St. John’s

A certain keyboard-toting solo artist from Hamilton is coming to St. John’s again, but this time it’s not the guy who left you fiending for sketchy poutine and vintage videogames.

Electrogoddess Hunter Eves (her real name, sources say) returns for the third time on May 23-24 with a roots/folk band called Blind Mule—and a new E.P. She seems stoked about returning.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” she said. “St. John’s is one of my favourite cities in all of Canada to play.”

Unlike her first album, which was recorded with a full band, the new E.P., The Unagi, was created electronically.

“My music gradually evolved into a much more dance/electronic sound so I wanted to put out a recording that reflects what I sound like live now,” she said.

“It’s a very fun recording. I had a lot of fun creating it so I’m excited for people to hear it.”

Blind Mule and Hunter Eves hit up CBTG’s on May 23 with The Cyanides, and the Ship Pub on May 24 with Exit Party.

(By the way, the other keyboard solo artist I mentioned is B.A. Johnston. He’ll be here again later in June.)

Amnesty International hosts film fest

The highlight of this year’s Amnesty International Film Festival looks like it’s going to be Heavy Metal in Baghdad.  From 2003 to 2006, the doc follows Acrassicauda—said to be Iraq’s only metal band—in its struggle to exist in the war-torn region.

“Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis,” reads the film’s website.

The fourth annual festival, co-ordinated by Remzi Cej, is happening from May 21 to May 25 in Memorial University’s engineering building. 

It also boasts nine other documentaries on topics ranging from water commodification to human rights abuses worldwide.