Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Around the City: Burma Rally; Hip Hop in the Park; Ben Calf Robe Pow Wow; The Office Show; Fort Edmonton

I've had a busy few days taking in a lot of events here in Edmonton. Festival season has not yet officially kicked off, but there were still a number of things going on this past weekend.

On Saturday, I swung by the Legislature to witness a small protest by the local Burmese community (as well as members of the local chapter of Amnesty International) for the Burmese junta to free their leaders Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was elected Prime Minister of the country, only to be forced into house arrest by the Burmese junta. Here are some photos and a short video.

From there, it was off to Hip Hop in the Park. Held for the second year, the event took place in Louise McKinney Park and was a celebration of hip hop culture including rappers, beat boxers, graffiti artists, and dancers. I wore a hip hop cap I bought recently, and was told that it was (and I quote) "phat" and "dope." That was the first time those two terms were applied to me in a positive way. I could not stay as long as I wanted, but managed to take some photos and shoot a video.

I rode my bike through the river valley, over the LRT bridge and to the university campus to the Butterdome, where the Ben Calf Robe Pow Wow was being held. I normally put my bike on one of the ETS bus routes to get to the south side, and after going up and down some major hills (walking part of the way) I remembered why I have not taken that route in years. Sweating and panting, I made it to the Butterdome in one tired piece, and took some photos and videos of the dancers and drumming groups. This is a composite video of different dancers. Some of the drumming groups in attendance included River Cree, Young Cree, Eagle River, and I also filmed a couple of groups whose names I did not manage to catch such as this one and this one. The Ben Calf Robe Society is an educational organization that works with Aboriginal children, in conjunction with the Catholic school board.

Sunday brought me to the High Street area to shop for bicycle parts, have coffee, and enjoy some local music in the MEC Second Cup. A singer-songwriter named Eric Miller was playing. On my way between shops, I passed by a local art exhibit called The Office Show. Part installation and part video, The Office Show examined how we view and use our work spaces. Some of the display was creepy, like the upside-down maps and clock with no hands, some was scary, like the cubicle where someone had obviously been killed or committed suicide, and some of it was familiar - sticky notes and personal photos, piles of shredded paper, home offices as opposed to blue collar sites. Take a look.

My time at home during the weekend was spent working on the final proofs of the two newspapers I edit, The SPURR and Boyle McCauley News. By Monday, things were winding down and I had enough free time during the day to head to Fort Edmonton Park with a couple of friends. Fort Edmonton is my favourite of all of Edmonton's attractions, and I am amazed how even now I can always find something I have never seen before. We dined in the Selkirk Hotel - a first for me. I renewed my yearly pass and hope to go again a few times this season. Here is my soon-to-be growing photo collection.

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