Monday, June 12, 2006

hop hop hop

Ok, after that little introductory post it's time for a MegaPost!

If you've been to my website, you'll know that one of the groups I'm involved with is the Grasshoppa Dance Exchange (both as musician and webmaster). We're a loose affiliation of dancers and musicians that bring movement and sound to city streets in an improv fashion called "Hops". Well, last week we were part of the Canada Dance Festival, performing a work called "Diffusion", which was commissioned by the Festival. This meant a Hop each day of the week, and while music wasn't needed for all of them, I did take part on three of the days.

(Photo by Mike Gifford)

For Monday's Hop I assumed the role of "official videographer", using my Canon digicam in movie mode to take short video clips. I had fun doing that, because there were Hops happening at six different intersections, all conveniently located in my neighbourhood. And one of those intersections was right at the end of my driveway! So I did not have very far to go to take part. ;o)

Of course, taking movie clips meant they had to be processed, which meant that I got to explore Apple's iMovie program. As with the other iLife programs, this was pretty easy to figure out and at least get some instant results (I love it when technology helps, not hinders, the creative process). I was able to do basic things like fade the clips in and out and add titles. I'm pretty happy with the results, and you can see them on the Hoppa video page.

Tuesday's Hop had dancing at various intersections along Bank St., Ottawa's main drag. Fellow musician Jason and I realized we couldn't just pick one spot and stay there, so we decided to each start at one end and move towards each other. He was to begin downtown at Sparks St. and then walk up. I had to start at Catherine St. by the highway, and was going to walk as well, but didn't want to walk all the way to that starting point carrying my drum rig. But if I took my bike I'd have to leave it there, then walk or bus back to get it when done. But as I looked out my window I had an idea...

My friend rgb had bought Mike Watson's bmx trike. Mike is our local crazy bike builder - this mainly means the bikes are crazy, though perhaps Mike must be to some degree in order to envision the things! This machine is basically a bmx bike with two front wheels instead of one, and it's loads of fun for stunt riding (mainly up on two wheels. A photo of me doing so in a parade can be seen here). After finding out the hard way that the trike's brakes were a bit out of shape, I took the thing home (rgb and I only live two blocks apart) to put some better pads on it and adjust things properly. So the trike was sitting under my window, and when looking at it I realized I could attach my parade drum to the front end, like so:

And it worked out brilliantly! I was even able to add my leather stick / accessory bag. I cycled to the start, played with that group while never leaving the seat, then pedaled off to the next one, eventually meeting up with Jason in the middle, then continuing on. And once done I simply cycled back home! Of course I got a few looks while doing all of this, but I've become rather inured over the years of doing silly things on bikes to not care. hehe

(photo by rgb)

Friday's Hop was a Parade in the Elmvale area involving the basic themes of loud and quiet. When we were soft there was no sound, and we each draped ourselves in dark clothes or blankets while moving slowly. Then someone would yell and we'd toss this stuff off and get rowdy and loud. This went back and forth for about ten blocks, ending with us collapsing in a grassy field off a walking path. And that was the end of the Diffuson project.

OK, there's other stuff going on, but that can wait for another (shorter?) post.


Anonymous said...

New blog....what's next?? :-)

Mark said...

A new hat! No, wait - I need new underwear first...