Red Robe Productions

"I'm new here. Can you show me around." Bill Callahan

Canadian Winter

April 8, 2011

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this recently but I've been neglecting my acoustic guitar for my younger, redder electric. (I feel like a guy going through a mid-life crisis) Yesterday I came home however, and decided to pick it up and play an old, old song I wrote around 2005. It's called Canadian Winter. I almost forgot it's E-A-A-D-A-D tuning. I sat there for probably ten minutes before I could remember it, and almost gave up, but then some brain path clicked and I went EUREKA! and away we went. I've played this song in bars and I've had it recorded a few times and when I had a band called The Correspondents it was one of our best tunes so it not only brought back some memories playing it, it also warmed me up a little...something the sultry essence of distorted electric sound just can't pull off. Anyway, here's another "home video" that I hope some of you will enjoy, even just for nostalgia's sake.



April 5, 2011
Well. I got out the old VCR recently. Don't ask me why, it's a long, sad story about the loss of free cable, broken DVD players and frustration with internet TV. I'm bringing it back old school. Along with the clunky rectangular dinosaur came a box of old VHS tapes lugged out from the deep dark dank of the basement. I thought I had watched them all but there was a movie called "Smoke" that caught my eye. It looked dated, but since it was "new" to me, I threw it in. It starred Harvey Keitel and William Hurt so it was hard to tell what to expect. Not too long into the movie those two actors sit down together, drinking beer and reminiscing about this and that when Harvey hands William a photo album. You quickly find out that they're all the same picture, well, different pictures of the same shot I should say. Harvey explains that he had been snapping pictures of the same corner just outside of his cigar shop every day at 8 in the morning for years. He called it "his life's work". I took a moment with that one: Life's Work. There is something grand to it but only because of time and repetition. One picture, two, three, thirteen, wouldn't hold the same weight. But a hundred or a thousand, phew, boy all of a sudden you've got an in depth documentation. And while it seems at first glance so simple - the same picture over and over again - it's the subtleties of light, different faces, the change from pants to shorts, cars once there and then gone - that pulls together the magnitude and scope of the everyday. It made me rethink the word bored. Sometimes days roll in to each other, weeks go by without meaning, or so I think. There's an innate beauty to everything and it's my own fault if I can't see it on a daily basis.


Where's Waldo?

March 11, 2011
Upon arriving at St. Ignatius School in Guelph this morning to catch a glimpse at the Prime Minister's speech on science and technology I found myself directly behind the black car entourage also pulling into the school's parking lot. I tried to act like I was with them, but the silver van didn't fit in. I was told to park on the street. It was wet and rainy and I finally got into the school soaked and somewhat resembling a drowned rat - an enthusiastic, drowned rat. There were two desks in front of me, one for guests and one for media. I went right and the woman asked me who I was. In my most professional voice I said "Emily Gleeson, CJIQ News" and showed her my laminate. She smiled and said "Look at you" very knowingly. She asked for some further ID and then told me to join the rest of the media personel in a room just down the hall. I entered a stale classroom full of cameras, camera equipment, cameramen, and women speaking into cameras. Wowsers. I found a chair which was made for a midget and quietly awaited permission into the gymnasium. I saw some cliques of people chatting, some novices introducing themselves to well known television broadcasters - I noticed the difference between the guys with the gear and the guys with the suits, and behind me someone from Radio-Canada spoke in broken English.

We were finally corralled into the gym and immediately cameras were set up on stands in a line behind the chairs pointed at the podium where the PM would speak. I stood there for a while thinking about where to stand. The line had already been formed and there was no room in the back to get a good enough view so I decided to take a corner right by the speakers - good enough for radio. I actually had a pretty clear view to the podium as well so I managed to take some pictures and video as well, for my own keeping. About an hour went by and I had already checked and re-checked my batteries and mic set-up. Guys kept moving around doing this and that. I just stood there. Waiting. Finally after some banter Mr. Stephen Harper took to the podium and delivered his speech on science and how important it was, blah blah blah, and oh ya apologies to the Japanese. Midway through a kid passed out in the bleachers behind him causing a stir. He kept talking but then personally went over to see if the kid was alright. I think he was.

All in all I think I was more excited to be a part of the news entourage than about what the Prime Minister was saying. Most of the media guys there didn't speak to me, but one guy from CTV made a joke when the Principal asked the kids who the best Prime Minister in Canada was...they of course yelled out STEPHEN HARPER and he leaned into me and said "Isn't he the only Prime Minister?" I laughed, thankful for some kind of comraderie. At that point Stephen was surrounded by children and with a red and white striped sweater would have looked just like Waldo .



March 11, 2011
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'Cause Everyone Knows It's Stephen's...Last Night In Town

March 11, 2011

The ideal news reporter is as unbiased as possible when covering stories. Right? Right. Well. Okay. I wouldn't mind trying out news, it looks like a challenging yet fun job and I would be proud to get the chance to be a news broadcaster. It's difficult though, being a rather convicted person when it comes to politics. We have a news assignment due this Monday and we are supposed to go grab a clip from someone, and not just anybody on the street but someone who has the goods on whatever story you are after. I was going to try and get the Kitchener Rangers coach to let me record something over the phone regarding the hockey team, but then I was on - gasp - Facebook, and saw a friend had posted something about Prime Minister Stephen Harper coming to my hometown of Guelph. Apparently he is going to deliver a speech about science and technology at St. Ignatius School tomorrow morning. Hmmm, the wheels turned like rusty cogs, I even bother? It's not often that the Prime Minister decides to come to this area and it's not often that I'm supposed to try and get an audio news clip. So I've decided to go for it and called the school's Principal asking permission to see the PM's speech. He was very excited and said absolutely, and even gave me the number to call Ottawa. I don't know what kind of access I'll get to the guy but at the very least hopefully I can get a good enough clip of the speech. Here's the problem. I don't like the guy. Maybe that's wrong of me, I've never met maybe what I mean is I'm not a huge fan of his politics. I know why he's in the Waterloo area, it's to promote science and technology but more-so it's to promote a factory in Waterloo that is currently under contract to help build more fighter jets. I'm a "make love not war" kinda gal so this agenda doesn't impress me. But I'm still going to go there, and no, I won't be the jerk that I am behind closed doors when I see his face on television, or hear his voice on the radio. I will be unbiased, because that's what a news person is supposed to do.




Speigel Im Speigel (Mirror In Mirror)

March 8, 2011
"Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream." Ingmar Bergman

I learn something new everyday. If I'm lucky two! But today, I learned a bit more about the vast world of filmmakers: a topic that could never be completely covered. A friend of mine sent me an email containing the link to one of director Andrei Tarkovsky's movie clips set to the music of Arvo Part. Tarkovsky is from Russia and and Arvo is a composer from Estonia. I'm trying to figure out if they ever actually met. I have never heard of either of them. The clip is beautiful, both visually and musically and I suppose the best thing to do would be to rent one of them sometime and see what an entire movie of his is like, to see if the image is still as stunning without the minimalistic compositions of Arvo as the soundtrack. I have a feeling as separate entities these will still be interesting artists to experience. I kinda doubt that Blockbuster has anything by Tarkovsky. Call it a hunch. Mainly because I've never seen a "Metaphysical" section in one of their stores. For now Youtube clips must suffice. I'm thankful for them, don't get me wrong, but sometimes it's merely just a window into all the things I don't know, and maybe never will. I am starting to detest my steady diet of these clips, passed down to me from friends or sought out during a bout of insomnia - clips, snippets, chunks, parts, pieces, slices, slivers, broken pieces of glass from a mirror - you can never really get the full picture can you?


The Royal City

March 7, 2011

I live in Guelph. I moved to this city back in 2002 for one major reason: the music. Previously I had been in Montreal, which is also a great town for music, but not so good for an anglophone trying to work while attending school. I had been thinking about moving back to Ontario for a while and when a good friend of mine introduced me to Guelph's Hillside Festival the summer of 2001, I knew I was home. There are few moments in life that you can travel back to as if you never left. The first Friday of the festival I can recall sitting on the grass, sun setting genty over Guelph Lake, while Louis Melville took to the stage with other fellow Guelphite musicians. I had never seen any of them play before - they looked like a bunch of nobody's - but the first song along with the setting and company brought tears to my eyes. I don't cry easily, at least I don't think I do. So here's a song by the band Royal City, hailing from the Royal City, in a salute to the many great bands that not only made Hillside a great festival, but Guelph a great city to live in. It's nickname might be the Royal City, but to its residents it will always be the City Of Music.


Proof That (Robert) Random Exists

March 5, 2011
I have this friend, Doug. He's a philosophy major turned refrigeration repair man (the big ones, like at Zehr's). He's 56 years old. I can't remember the first time I met him, but I used to work as a cook at the Albion and he has been a regular there for more years than I've been alive. Close enough. I've long since stopped working there but we still get together weekly to drink a few beers and talk about nothing. It's like Seinfeld but in Guelph and at a bar, not a cafe. My hair isn't quite as big as Julia Louis Dreyfus either. Anyway, we've been debating the word "random" for some time now. He claims "random" does not exist since everything is pre-ordained or chosen or reactionary or something. That's the philosophy major talking. I'm an English Lit grad so I say since the word is in the dictionary with a definition beside it, it exists. If we use the word and people understand its context, call it slang if you will, but it exists because it is there. I think, therefore I am sort of thing. He got into the mathematical theory of probability after that which lost me a little, especially if I'm onto my third pint, so I let it go until I could store up some ammo against him. My points are usually too conceptual compared to his need for proof in science and the physical world. But while I stand firmly planted in my belief in the word random, I don't take it for granted as much as I used to. I now try and use the word with more discretion. I'm sort of getting the concept that not everything is "random" in the way that I've used it before. If something is weird or funny it isn't necessarily random. However, I have proof that Robert Random, the human exists, so next time I see Doug I'm going to bring this picture along and hopefully the debate will end there.

This is Robert Random

*Picture sadly was asked to be taken down by the rightful owner of the photograph. Therefore, no visual proof of Robert Random is able to be displayed. He emailed me randomly the other day, asking me to kindly remove it.

Coming To A Fake Screen Near You!

March 4, 2011
I had the pleasure of watching a video that some fellow classmates made for their Creativity class presentation yesterday. It's about Brainstroming, so what did they do? They made a movie trailer, for a movie got it: Brainstorming. Normally when it's presentation day I try to make myself a nice breakfast, pack lots of treats, listen to my favourite music before I head out - anything to inundate myself with good stuff - 'cause presentations are usually either boring, ill-prepared, or both. But these guys blew me away! They went the extra mile and made something for the class, and seemingly for themselves as well. It not only set the bar for the rest of us, but also exemplified how work can be fun, especially with the equipment that we have at our disposal. So. Kudos to Jeff Weber, Adam Knetsch, Gord St. Denis, Eric Drozd, and Tom Gadsdon. Well done boys, well done! It made me proud to be a part of this class.


As It Happens...To Your Body

March 4, 2011
On CBC's "As It Happens" tonight host Jeff Douglas played some unique clips about how radio broadcasters are "subject to the whims of our stupid bodies". (Here's the link: Go to 23.30 minutes. His intro was great as he confessed his own career nightmares. Then he aired the tragic yet brave attempt by Australian Kate Wilson to deliver the weather and news while going through a very severe attack of the hic ups. It was painfully funny. Then, while still laughing, Jeff played a second recording of a guy who chokes so terribly on an orange it's not only hilarious, it's kind of disgusting! You want the guy to just take a second and drink some water, but he can't! And the best quote outta the reporter after he finally digests the news is "I guess that's about it." I laughed so hard, and along with Jeff I had guilt about it, because I can only imagine how awful that would have been as my own reality.

But then I got to thinking...I was a listener and I was laughing. I was enjoying myself. That's good radio, isn't it? Sometimes, and only sometimes, I think radio gets stripped of its raw ability to act human for the listener. Everything is so scripted - and for reason, I know - but it also seems that these moments, for better or for worse, catch our attention. I listened, and then I came home and listened to it again on my computer. I laughed even harder. And I bet you if I had heard those two incidents as they were happening, I would have found it just as hilarious. At the very least, I wouldn't have touched that dial.




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