This weekend I’m at TitanCon. Last weekend, I was deep in Bounce! An event arranged by the Arts and Disability Forum, supporting deaf and disabled artists but not disability arts because that would involve paintings in wheelchairs or a canvas balancing on a crutch or another that looks perfectly fine because it has a hidden disability, but no, this is about art, ART.
The event launched with The Big Bouncy Shared Future Drumming Day! (photo-link), a 14ft in diameter drum in the grounds of city hall playable by 25 people. There was a n ice vibe, which got me thinking of culture, politics, harmony and rock actually. Here’s another photo link. The gallery showing unveiled Karen Forrester’s Madness in Mind photos, which look sort of like if Tori Amos’s album cover photographers made jigsaw puzzles. I’m told they’ll be up in the Royal Avenue venue (opposite Central Library), until September 22nd-Ish.
Stephen Downey and I hosted our third comics workshop for the ADF. There were a few admin messes: the Opera House marked it over 18s (perhaps mixing it up with Ben Jones’ digital film-making workshop) Also our limit was 12, but we took in 15 and that was largely my own fault. I was really blown away by the quality of contributions. We had a 7 year old, someone in the seventies, a blind comixer, my parents! Its effing brilliant. Includes ‘piss on pity’ wheelchair bound people of ambiguous gender kissing and the kisses produce stars which bringing zombies back to life. The collected effort is called ‘Going Places’, it’s about 20 pages, and it’ll hopefully be up here in a week.
The ADF ran a series of “Stories Behind the Picture” to promote the events.
It was the Saturday events winnng it for me, particularly Sonya Kelly and Fishamble Theatre’s The Wheelchair on My Face. The singer Victoria Geelan has a voice that is the stuff giants are made of, and you should definitely look for her stuff now. The soundman Declan were very competent and this probably helped. Nonetheless I have a yearning to stalk Victoria politely. She’s touring when the album comes out in a month or two.
So, good company and sexy culture beer.
Saturday was the bigger event. Bob Collins of the Arts Council opened, like so many people that weekend with something borrowed from Seamus Heany. Bob talked about the principle of access in Heaney’s work and how that related to making disabled artists work accessible to the public through the efforts of the ADF. Caroline Parker was a big draw for many people: apparently she’s something of the legend in the deaf community. I wasn’t knocked out by her one-woman piece on cabaret and undertaking like so many others were though it was was engrossing. The piece flowed well and had elements of sign song which I was keen to find out. I found myself taking note of the Bsl signer as I’m keen to learn and she was great too. It was nice to see the hat stand i painted was on stage.
Walking to the miracle bus that shall appeareth and bounce of nearer monica cornish’s creative writers workshop.
Bounce: caroline parker’s
Catherine Hatt is a singer-songwriter with a dippy hippy trip and dependably brought spinning tunes of twirling the room from blue guitar & good dress, gentle, elaborate, stealth profound. This was followed by Dan Eggs, who I’ve known through the ADF for a few years but I’d not seen in a proper live environment. He wasn’t all funny: this is important. His repertoire has some dark serious observations from life here.Take Eggs’ ride through the fucked up parts. He could well be Belfast’s E of The Eels. Dan works best in an environment without commotion such as the Grand. Choice heckling was welcome as part of a code of conduct and decency. Pat Dam Smyth took the stage next and yelled out depressions lyrics with guitar and keyboard bombasticism. Chris McConnell drummed a big band sound and the two men were twinned perfectly. Julie McNamara MC’d the evening and did a brilliant job. The crowd had the token dickheads. The performers gave 97%, or 110 if you like.
Monica’s writing workshop came on the Sunday afternoon: we had a few problems as the event was overbooked and one of the attendees took advantage of Monica’s giving out complimentary handouts to flyer the participants for his Tinnitus media event . More positively, the workshop produced a shower of fireballs around which different life-shapes fed, supported, grew histories and edutainments. (The session produced Little Green Box)
The evening opened with Kids In Control Adult Ensemble, a theatre company producing a piece called Blue Chevvy. I wasn’t expecting much but was happy to find my friend Linda Fearon teamed with three younger women as part of a gang acting out parts of their lives, with pieces of their relationship with community, their disability. The show was fast paced, it was funny with the best of Norn Irish satire, great dialogue, set backdrops and chalk graffiti surfaces, Nicki’s breathtakingly mentalist dancing. By the end of it, the women had me gushing like a dumb teen at a Boyzone gig. A shirt was signed that evening and the pub was fixed. Bounce! ended with a piece by the renowned Open Arts Community Choir which began in the cafe and led the crowds into the theatre. Some wonderful hosting, beautiful harmonies, superb composition.
So, wins then.