Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
35MM: A Musical Exhibition
Whether it's an obvious connection or not, all art is an interplay of inspiration, creating an infinite abundance of creative possibility.
A result of this is Ryan Scott Oliver's 35MM, a musical exhibition that ties together photography, multi-genre music, poetry slam and visual art. The production is making its Edmonton—and Canadian—premiere with the help of Grant MacEwan grad Corben Kushneryk and an all-local cast of artists and performers.
35MM is the result of Oliver's newly found inspiration in photographs captured by his partner, Matthew Murphy. From these photographs—the catalyst being a shot of a boy and girl with giant yellow happy faces walking along a fence, inspiring Oliver's song "Make Me Happy"—Oliver began to compose music and lyrics, crafting stories from each, resulting in the 16 songs performed in 35MM. Each song possesses its own narrative, bringing together love and loss, the creation and consumption of art, an abused southern housewife, homicidal cheerleaders and even a little vampire love.
"He has this really amazing way of combining a lot of different types of music, so the music in the show is part rock-inspired, there's some dance-pop aspects to it and there's even some musical theatre, Stephen Sondheim-type sounds in there," says Kushneryk of Oliver's work, which he performed at various points throughout his career at MacEwan before graduating last April. "It's really rich; it's a dissonant sound and he has this great way of making songs both comedic and dramatic at the same time."
Kushneryk, who is a designer himself, sees the production as a beneficial experiment in how art influences itself, with his own interest in art spanning its diverse range of possibilities.
"I really appreciate the relationship between the performance and visual esthetic of the show. It's a show that takes us through every part of the human experience from fun, campy pop songs to creepy campfire stories ... it takes us through the gamut of emotions," he says, adding that it's important to also take the stories for what they are and not to dig too deeply or think too hard about their meanings. "They're all songs written about a single moment in time, so the theme of the show is to enjoy the moment, because it's not going to last forever."
Wed, Feb 27 – Sun Mar 3 (8 pm; weekend matinee 2 pm)
TransAlta Arts Barns, $17.50 (advance), $19 (door)
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