“They tried to bury us. They didn't realize we were seeds.”
On this day, we are proud to share with you what we stand for:
The vision of PerSIStence Theatre is community enlightenment based on the core beliefs of feminism.
We are a charitable.non-profit organization based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, that responds to the persistent and universal need for promoting, understanding and embracing the core beliefs of feminism. Through professional theatre and related initiatives, we work to change hearts and minds.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
We challenge discrimination and stereotype in all forms
We offer opportunities to all genders with a focus towards people who identify as women*
We respond to issues that affect women and girls in our community
We re-examine universal stories traditionally told by men, through a feminist lens
We produce stories where at least 50 per cent of the text is spoken by female character(s)
THE CORE PRINCIPLE
Feminism: The belief in political, economic, personal, and social equality for women*.
OUR CORE BELIEFS
Sexism against women (misogyny) is enduring, pervasive, systemic, cultural, and ingrained
All genders should have equal rights and opportunities
All genders are the intellectual and social equals of each other
All genders should be recognized and treated as equals
*Women: PerSIStence Theatre recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as nonbinary.
Intersectionality: PerSIStence Theatre works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all.
A great way to celebrate international women’s day
Apologue1 (The Anteater) 2016 48"x30"x24" by Emily Jan
Two little girls stand transfixed before a mixed-media sculpture by Emily Jan, which takes the life-sized shape
of a fabulous anteater. Its intense pink, shiny tongue is frozen in a gesture that snakes towards the girls and
then ends with a flourish of greenery. A large bouquet of vividly coloured flowers cascades from its
hindquarters and contrasts with the creature’s soft, snowy coat. The girls are puzzling this out. It doesn’t
resemble any creature they’ve encountered in reality. It is literally fabulous or fable-like; Jan calls this series
of sculptures Apologues,as in the animal populated stories of Aesop,although these are simply numbered
rather than titled. Jan’s sensibility may be literary but she is never literal. The girls want to know, “what is the
fable about?” They speculate about familiar squirrels and birds, “creatures that eat seeds and then poo
them out” starting a new crop of plants. Their conclusion: “it’s the cycle of life, just like in The Lion King.”
The earnest young art critics have successfully untangled the challenge of interconnectivity in Emily Jan’s
exhibition, The World is Bound by Secret Knots. Or perhaps they have enacted one of Jan’s favourite
concepts, “the artist as explorer.” They have journeyed to the safe jungle of the artist-run gallery, explored,
discovered and studied. This ambitious solo show of ten vignettes in fibre and mixed media is Emily Jan’s
response to a three-week residency in the Peruvian Amazon. This 2015 rainforest adventure was typical of
Jan’s creative practice, which alternates between research travel and exploration–she has been to 36
countries so far–and long periods of deep engagement with materials and process in the studio. She needle
felts raw wool into fur for her hybrid beings, casts resin for their skulls, teeth and impressive claws and hand
weaves caning into armature-like skeletons. Second hand flowers and foliage are up cycled into fantastic
accents that evoke forests and domestic decoration.
Characteristically, Emily Jan avoids plinth furniture that is common to art galleries. Her methods of display
are nuanced selections from the domestic arena: tables, desks, plant stands and shelves. These in turn are
harvested from the sustainable economies of the thrift shop or are temporary loans from the community of
the exhibiting venue. Think of it as an artistic variation of “catch and release” hunting.
The furniture choices for The World is Bound by Secret Knots extend the aesthetic and narrative possibilities
of her sculpture. Tables that would otherwise nest, are stacked vertically becoming small scale towers of
consumption. They perch upon each other with neat, poised feet. Curved furniture lines resonate with
curling talons, beaks and snake coils. Furniture references function and the warmth of the human hand. The
rainforest has come into this living space although not through the use of precious exotic woods. There is a
palpable animated energy in the room. A diamond-patterned textile leg from a pair of tights becomes a
sinuous serpent on an equally sinuous branch that sprouts a surprising pair of eyes. Will we get consumed
by our own habits of consumerism?
Emily Jan blurs the distinctions of time and being in her sculpture. It is hard to tell if her creatures are
flourishing or becoming extinct; are they regenerating or are they in a state of decay? Fungus, plant and
animal merge in ways that erode the boundaries of species. A fierce bird of prey is festooned with strands of
beads that resemble both entrails and caviar. Jan confounds our categories of understanding into a fertile
hybridity of fact and fiction. A rich ambiguity seems to have replaced the laws of nature.
Although the series is called Apologues, Emily Jan does not moralize. Instead she seduces the viewer with
voluptuous form, detail and colour that is ultimately mysterious. Beauty resides in both the flowers and the
weeds. The domains of science and art, which are both ways of understanding the world, are brought
together to enhance each other. If fallacy is allowed in art, it is simply because it is another kind of truth.
I have often joked that my business card should read, "Ms Words, For Fun and Profit". Yes, words are my friends and I truly relish them.
A long while ago, a colleague of mine quipped, "what's the use of big words if nobody can understand you?" I agree that words are meant for communication and there is little use in obscuring meaning with "fancy words". However, I do refuse to dumb things down because that seems to me to be a race to the bottom.
I was a little disappointed. This week there was only one word that I had never seen before: freegan. Not surprisingly, it refers to someone who only eats free or recycled food.
I didn't realize that I would get to use the word the same day that I made its acquaintance courtesy of Miriam, or rather Merriam. (Yes, I am having fun anthropomorphizing words and books.) Last night, I was in a Spanish restaurant where they are testing new recipes for a February launch. I was offered a bowl of quail soup. It was excellent– a great combination of creamed onions, quail and Vallencia oranges. In turn, I offered a taste to a friend of mine. His response was "no thank you, I've become a vegan". I couldn't resist saying that what I had become was a freegan. (Yay!).
Hellcat Foos (For Protecting A Space), 2018, Lindsay Montgomery.
One of the aspects I most enjoy about my professional life is its unpredictability. Assignments, invitations and projects come out of the blue and many of them have last minute deadlines. Juggling all that can be a challenge, and I confess the older I get the more selfish I get –accepting those tasks I find most educational and enjoyable. Jurying competitions, whether it be for grants, awards, or exhibitions, is on the top of that list.
I try and always say "yes" because having to study a number of applications (often dozens of them) is a great crash course on what is being made by some of our most talented artists. I can spot trends, get inspiration for articles. Reading letters of recommendation are indicators of who are the power players. And then there is my favourite– getting to work with my colleagues, who are a well informed and good natured bunch from across the country. Last but not least, there is the pleasure of giving back to my community. Given the professional path I have chosen, I will never have enough money to be a benefactor of any significance to an artist or institution. This is the closest I get to being a cultural Santa Claus.
Most recently, I was involved with the Winnifred Shantz Award, which is a national award with the aim of transforming the career of an emerging ceramics artist–to the tune of $10,000. The unanimous choice of the jurors, Dr. Rachel Gotlieb, Paul Mathieu and myself, was Lindsay Montgomery of Ontario. You can read more about it: http://www.theclayandglass.ca/events/awards/
The award winner will be celebrated at the host venue of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Kitchener on December 1st.
Ah, the rythms of writing and publishing. It is its own kind of ebb and flow. I submitted the following review for a mid August deadline in Musicworks magazine. I was excited by the opportunity to write about a new topic for me…experimental music and I threw myself headlong into the exhausting opportunity, not to mention the challenge of trying to cover an event that spanned ten days and 53 artists. Now that it is published, I get to share it with you too.
Sound Symposium XIX
St. John’s, NL
Although this year marked the 19th iteration of the biennial Sound Symposium, it was distinguished by several firsts such as colloquium, new awards, and of course–risk taking world premieres. The Symposium commenced with the Indigenous Improvisation Colloquium: Freedom and Responsibility–and heritage, ceremony and cultural ontology quickly became themes that threaded throughout the ten following days of performance.Raven Chacon, who is a member of the American Indian arts collective Postcommodity, situated improvisation as a “safe place” for marginalized cultures. Meanwhile, Dawn Avery and Cris Derksen–both outstanding and innovative cellists–added First Nations voices that challenged simple categories.Featured artists from Norway, Frode Fjellheim and Snorre Bjerck, expanded the scope of discussion to include the resurgence of the Sami vocal tradition of yoiking.These themes, which probe the symbiotic relationship between place and identity, have a special resonance in the cultural psyche of Newfoundland and Labrador.
With ten international and forty-three Canadians artists creating sonic adventures in concert halls, cathedrals, galleries, pubs and the unforgettable Harbour Symphonies it is difficult to convey a cohesive review in a few words.Performances went from dawn to dawn.I have to admit I didn’t make the 4:30 a.m. organ and voice performance (David Buley) in the Anglican Cathedral, although I know from previous experience that the 4-manual Casavant organ is a treat.One of the advantages of having afternoon, evening, late night concerts and even later night jam sessions was that there were multiple opportunities and impromptu contexts in which to absorb the many talents singly and together. If you didn’t make Subhira Quartet’s set in the formal concert hall, you could pick up their pub feature of Chilean infused world music. How often do you get to hear a guzheng and didgeridoo throwing down dance tunes?
Concerts were interspersed with events from sunrise meditation (Rosalind MacPhail), mindful sound walks and gatherings (Gayle Young and James Harley), to technical workshops on composition, instrument building and graphical scores. The screening of Sonic Divide (Payton MacDonald) gave audiences an in-depth appreciation of the training, inspiration and interpretation of MacDonald’s unique approach to using his mountain bike along withfound materials as percussion instruments.
The evening that MacDonald played live, he was on a concert program that included Rokkur and NL knitters and storytellers, and Doron Sadja.That meant the audience was taken on an odyssey that went from pure acoustics –think bicycle wheels, spinning wheels and wool winders– to synthesizers, extreme frequencies and dense noise.This is ambitious programming that requires an audience to really open its mind and ears.As the week unfolded it was rewarding to see both audience and artists grow to accommodate each other.
The ambient Cinquanta (Jordan Nobles) played by percussionists, guitarists, keyboard and harp situated on the different floors of the open atrium of The Rooms charmed audience members.They actively listened not by passively sitting but by walking through the environment, almost as an act of collaboration. Nobles’ composition was ideally suited to the soaring vistas of sky and sea on view through the expansive windows.
A few hours later we figuratively transported to cliffs and ice flows. Roarshack, the impressive NL team of Paul Bendenza, Rob Power and Andrew Staniland, aptly performed Birds & Ice Report.This composition is an artistic retrospective from Sound Symposium 1983 conceived by visual artist Frank Lapointe and the late percussionist-composer Don Wherry.It is delicate without being precious and is a rare instance where neither image nor sound overwhelm each other. Photographer Greg Locke designed and digitalized Lapointe’s original images for this 2018 version.
Throughout the Symposium, the strength of women composers was evident.Adding to the well recognized Hildegard Westerkamp and Gayle Young, we were introduced to powerhouse players like Cris Derksen; Dawn Avery, who performed from her North American Indian Cello Project; Jennifer Thiessen (viola d’amore) and Ida Toninato (baritone sax) who as a duo admirably build performances based on their contrasting instruments; and improvisers Susan Alcorn (pedal steel guitar) and Amy Brandon (acoustic guitar and electronics) who combined their and the audiences’ energy.
The Sound Symposium has been a consistent creative pressure cooker for decades.This 19th event, with its sense of adventure and community, could not be dampened even by Hurricane Chris that was reduced to a post-tropical storm and one more contributor to the St. John’s soundscape.
PHOTOS: (Top) Percussionist performing with others (not shown) the world premiere performance of Jordan Nobles' Cinquanta; Local knitters joining Sarah Albu (far left) and Reuben Fenemore (far right) of Rokkur; (bottom) Paul Bendzsa performs as part of Birds And Ice Report. SOUND SYMPOSIUM XIX PHOTOS BY: Greg Locke.
Gloria Hickey is an independent arts-and-culture writer based in St. John’s. She has written articles for C Magazine and Billie.
It is with great sadness that I share the news that our good friend Len E. Carmella passed away on August 18, 2018. Lenny was just 64. I have pasted below a brief obit and details of his celebration of life.
Leonard Eugene Carmella, 64, of Zellwood, Florida, passed away August 18, 2018. He was born July 29, 1954 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Carmella is preceded in death by his sister Christine Puskas. He is survived by his loving wife Karen Sue Carmella; son L. Eoghan (Natasha) Carmella of Wales; sister Lenna C. Lipman and several nieces and nephews.
Celebration of Life
Kat’s Vine & Tap
1061 W. Orange Blossom Trail
Apopka, Fl 32712
(In Victoria’s Plaza)
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Starting at 6:30PM/Music & Art Show at 7:30
After a string of deadlines and a little personal time off I went back to my computer to discover this message from a colleague from my university days at The Loyola News. We were a crew of many differences and no shrinking violets, which is what I guess you'd expect from a bunch of opinionated young journalists. Anyhow, we became incredibly close despite our differences and to this day the vast majority of us are involved in communications and media.
This October is when I learned of Len E's passing and it was truly sad. Len was our cartoonist and had an acerbic wit. Being the Entertainment Editor, I had a keen interest in Len E's talent and his ability to communicate ideas and humour through images. We became fast friends.
The only way I could make sense of his sudden death was to summon one of my favourite memories of Len, whose visual art practice also included fashion illustration and painting. My favourite memory is of me modelling for Len E in his apartment in Montreal on a Wednesday afternoon. I was wearing a midnight blue satin negligee–very vintage. I think there was a Vermouth martini in the picture somewhere.
Anyhow, our creative adventure was interrupted by a knock on the door. It turns out it was the landlord come to collect the rent. Len invites him into the apartment and goes to get the payment. I felt a little silly but any discomfort I might have felt was overcome by my surprise when I recognized the landlord. It was Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who was famous even back in the seventies for his advocacy of pro-choice. (Today there are five clinics across Canada.) He had been in the news after his first clinic was targeted by pro-life protesters. Morgentaler was a frequent subject of death threats but he had withstood internment in Dachau and he wasn't going to give in.
So, all of sudden the afternoon with Len had gone from satin and martinis to religious opinions and firebombs. It made for a charged conversation. I will miss the ever colourful Len E Carmella.
Karl-Friedrich uses his tail as a comfort blanket.
Turning on the news, regardless of your choice of outlet, is getting to be a daunting task. Mass shootings, natural disasters, celebrity suicides and then of course there is always a steady stream of Trump antics. It used to be that Canada was the "safest" compared to the United States or other international continents. But this summer, we've had our share of all of it: raging wild fires in multiple provinces, the shootings in New Brunswick and Ontario, the passing of Ricki Genest a.k.a Zombie Boy, and Trump's tariffs. Even in Newfoundland and Labrador there is much handwringing over the fate of Saudi students at the province's university. All these events are recent and in addition to anything else you might have already been worrying about. Summer movies aren't a sufficient escape.
I've noticed that there has been a corresponding spike in animal stories on television, radio and print media. Cats have dominated the internet for awhile. All joking aside, I do think we are gravitating towards animal related stories as a remedy for so much bad news that is beyond our control. Even late night TV hosts are reaching beyond their usual acerbic humour and bringing animals into the spotlight. Steven Colbert took great glee in sharing with the public an account and video of Pancho, a dog in Spain who administers chest compressions to would be heart attack victims and then checks for a pulse by resting his furry chin against their necks. Here's a link, if you'd like to see for yourself:
One furry criminal caught my attention–a baby red squirrel chased a man in Germany with such persistence that the man felt threatened and called the police. The tiny rodent had probably lost its mother and was looking for a replacement. When the police arrived on the scene the exhausted squirrel lay down on the pavement and went to sleep. Charmed, the officers took the sleeping squirrel back to the station. The commanding officer said they could not keep it as a mascot. The squirrel, who had been given the name Karl-Friedrich, was brought to an animal shelter.
A theme park in France is taking advantage of its crows' clever ways and has implemented a system of reward. When the crows collect a piece of trash, say a cigarette butt, and place it in a special waste bin, a food pellet is released as a reward.
Oh yes, and on Quirks and Quarks the CBC science radio program, it was reported that goats' anxiety levels in Italy were measured by satellite as an early warning system to predict volcanic eruptions.