Field Notes

Kerri Breen longs for Shaggy’s return (…psych!)

Backstreet’s back, alright
First Dylan, then Cohen, and now…the Backstreet Boys? The tickets have gone on sale and the crowds have already camped out to see Brian Littrell (the cute one), Nick Carter (the other cute one), AJ McLean (the badass), and Howie Dorough (the other guy). They’ll will be gracing Mile One Centre on July 29th and July 30.

It seems their show has set the tone for a summer of benevolent, welcome, but overwhelmingly irrelevant visitors. The likes of Alice Cooper, Avril Lavigne, A Simple Plan, will be kicking around Sin Jawns throughout the season, with Lenny Kravitz to follow in the fall.

The Exploits Valley Salmon Festival, which is happening from July 17 to 21, however, has managed to buck the trend, with the loveable Trailer Park Boys and Metric set to headline.

Figgy Duff reunite for festival circuit
And if Alice, Avril, and Bubbles aren’t your thing, later this summer you can indulge in a rare opportunity to see the reunion of local 70s trad outfit Figgy Duff.

The surviving members of the legendary band named after the pudding will be playing at the Bella Vista on August 7, then they’ll play at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival on August 10. After that they’ll be playing at the Writers In Woody Point Festival on the 12 and 13—the gig which spurred the reunion.

“[Organizer] Stephen Brunt asked me to produce a tribute to Figgy Duff for the festival,” singer-songwriter Pamela Morgan told the Western Star. “I put together an alumni house band for the tribute, then it was just a few short steps further to a full reunion, and everybody was into it. So why not?”

Independent label branches out… far out
Rock Can Roll (RCR) continues to flex its muscles—with three releases already this year and summoning up psychic powers on the side.

Liz Pickard of RCR and the Independent Artists’ Cooperative says the organizations have been pretty focused on new media and virtual spaces in the past couple of years, including projects in the virtual world of Second Life, an online publication of contemporary arts, and recently, the training of two competitive telekinesis teams.

Yes, telekinesis. The ability to move things with your mind.

In fact, the Rock Can Roll team won the quarter-finals of the World Telekinesis Competition, but were later defeated by a British team.

Pickard explains that the competition—an art project—involves teams of three competing from wherever they are in the world to telekinetically force the wax of a burning candle to flow onto their opponent’s side of the board. Teams create a logo and a biography for the competition website.

“It is up to the teams how they want to participate—for the Monster Psionics League we talked strategy for a couple of weeks and read a few books, built a labyrinth to channel our psychic forces (well, Peter [Duchemin] and his partner built it), we had amazing conversations about the whole idea of telekinesis and the paranormal, about art and the history of magic.”

The competition is hosted by two artist groups, Noxious Sector and Deluge Contemporary Art, out of Victoria, B.C.


Emerging artists, emerging award

The Excellence in Visual Arts Awards on June 13 will round out a busy season of honouring our province’s artists.

This time, the young but growing ceremony hosted by Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador (VANL) is unveiling a brand new award for n00bs who are pulling their weight and turning heads.

The Emerging Visual Artist award “honours the promising start made by an emerging visual artist in the early stages of their career,” reads VANL’s website. The award also means a thousand-dollar prize and the honour of being the first person to receive it.

Other awards include the Long Haul Award, most recently won by Kathleen Knowling, which recognizes a substantial contribution to the visual culture of Newfoundland and Labrador by a senior artist, the Large Year Award, which was awarded to Michael Pittman, and the Kippy Goins Award, which was awarded to the Eastern Edge Gallery last year to celebrate their efforts to sustain and build the visual arts community.

This year’s shortlist will be announced on June 6.

New band alert!
Just after they had played a well-attended Wednesday night show, the boys behind a brand new boisterous band called This Is A War were probably tired and sweaty, not to mention singer Brendon Phillps’ feet were cut from the broken glass on the floor (he plays barefoot), but they were keen to talk shop and give Scope readers a taste of what they’re all about—or at least about what kind of movies they’re into.

“I think Star Wars is a big influence,” said guitarist Francois Van Zyl. “We always like to think about the force and how it applies.”

“It’s just the mentality of the Jedi,” said Phillips.

The band, which formed in March, is playing Turner’s Tavern on June 6, and they have already made a CD.

Check them out for yourself at myspace.com/thiscouldbeawar.