Remember that Sesame Street song, “These are the people in your neighbourhood?” Well, here’s a new feature about the people at your community radio station! You like to party, and we like to party, so why don’t we party together? Join us for...
GET TO KNOW A CFCR VOLUNTEER!
This month is a bit of a bitter-sweet edition of this feature. Like last month, we're getting to know another longtime CFCR volunteer, but in this case, it's someone who is just about to leave CFCR, and the provice of Saskatchewan. A Word (Thursdays, 7-7:30pm) host Bart Gazzola has been a CFCR volunteer for nearly 10-years, bringing listeners his passionate (and often unabashed) take on Saskatoon's visual arts scene. Over the years, Bart has also lent his hand to other CFCR endeavours, such as offering his guidance towards in-house digital graphic design, helping recruit artists for CFCR's annual "Artists for Alternative Radio Art Auction," and has been dedicated to engaging Saskatoon's art & gallery community into CFCR's fundraising efforts. You may recognize Bart's signature "Central Canadian" drawl from the many CFCR ads he has voiced over the years, and he also unintentionally invented a hot new drinking game whereby you take a swig every time he says the phrase "in terms of" on The A Word...
Although Bart has announced his departure from CFCR, we are proud to announce that there will still be a program dedicated to the comings and goings of Saskatoon (and Saskatchewan)'s visual artists on the airwaves. Local art personalities Michael Peterson (pictured with Bart below) and Alejandro are developing a program to launch later this summer (more details to come).
How did you first come to learn about CFCR?
I became familiar with CFCR while still an MFA student (back in 1997), as a friend who had worked in the UK was trying to mount a show about various art practices (dance, visual, etc.) and he knew I'd worked in radio in Windsor, ON. Not much came of that, but it stayed on my radar as I began to write about art here for numerous publications, and I was often listening to the station.
Why do you volunteer? Why is CFCR important to the community?
I was offered the amazing opportunity of a weekly show that was all about visual arts, entirely defined by me: there was nothing like that in Saskatoon, or Saskatchewan, or on the Prairies at that time (I don't know about now, either).
This was something that couldn't be turned down: and the fact that CFCR has let me interview artists and curators that are significant on local, national or international levels is something that is a real rarity, and this visual arts community has come to realize how unique CFCR's support of the visual arts here has been. I'm a facilitator of that: but I also got to talk to many amazing artists and curators, so it was also great on a selfish level.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on the air?
Sadly, this was recent (considering I've been doing the show for eight-plus years): I pre-recorded an interview over the phone with an artist in Regina, and at one point she said she "forgets the question." I just said "Don't worry, I'll edit out all the bad crap later." (CFCR Station Manager) Neil told me he actually heard all that on air, and I had to frantically track it down and edit it out.
While that instance was unintentional, one year for FM-Phasis, I agreed to sing the song I usually played as my theme song: it was horrible, I was accompanied by a local artist, but the things we do for fundraising...
What’s your favourite CFCR show(s)?
I enjoy Tonight It's Poetry (Thursdays, 6:30-7pm): I've gotten in trouble for suggesting that some spoken word poets are more impressive than some performance artists in the "art world" sphere, but I stand by that.
Who is your favourite local band? Non-local band?
Local would be either The Deep Dark Woods or Shooting Guns (the former is dark and calm, while the latter shook the walls at a LUGO when I was a volunteer bartender). In terms of non-local, I've been listening to the Mountain Goats lately, but have also been addicted to the True Detective soundtrack, as I have a weakness for Southern Gothic.
Aside from radio, what else do you like to do?
I'm usually eating/breathing/spitting-up the visual arts: I've written for the Planet (S), Magenta, Galleries West, BlackFlash, PrairieSeen, FUSE, Canadian Art and others. Just recently I was on a panel with Finding City, all about how to represent your city through print, and I was part of a panel at the Mendel about Modernism in Art. I've also exhibited my own work at paved, Gallery 44 in Toronto, and the Mendel, and have worked at various galleries, artist run centres and art magazines.
WILD CARD QUESTIONS:
What’s your favourite/least favourite pizza topping?
Meat. Any kind of meat. I used to rate art gallery receptions on whether they had meat among the gallery food (there was a period where a gallery in town, that I shall not name, seemed to have good food/bad art, or bad art/good food, but never both).
What’s the best book you’ve read/movie you’ve seen recently?
I recently watched the movie Predestination, and it may be the best science fiction movie I've seen in ages.
Because I write about art, I divide up my reading into theory/art stuff, and more enjoyable reading: the best of the former I've read lately is Boris Groys' The Total Art of Stalinism (I warned you) but I also recently read Black Rabbit and Other Stories by Salvatore DiFalco (Canadian, out of Southern Ontario). He seems to only write short stories, they tend to be somewhat dark and odd and are just excellent.
We normally include a playlist of music from the volunteers featured in this segment, to give you an idea of what you'd hear on their show. Since Bart's show is a Spoken Word program, it'll appear a bit differently, but he does play a fair amount of music on the show, and has been a strong supporter of audio art as well:
The Cedar Tavern Singers / Les Phonorealistes were guests on the show in 2010, and they write amusing and insightful songs about art. Their song "This is How to Talk About Art" was The A Word's theme song for years: any similarity to how I actually talk about art is purely coincidental.
This is the CTS/Les PhonoRealistes, performing at the Mendel. In this video, they play "International Klein Blues", and they dedicate the song to me before they begin.
And I cannot resist posting out a link to Joni Mitchell's River. I was unimpressed with her first solo show at the Mendel: the second was much more engaging. But her song River is one that is, to me, all about this place. I mention it here as my positive review of her second show received more shock than my harsh panning of her first, and was a landmark point for me in talking about art in this community.
Over the past two years, I've reviewed a few shows that feature the work of Buffy Sainte-Marie, who's a groundbreaking artist as well as a musician, and Bear Witness, who carries both banners into a younger generation. I've played A Tribe Called Red (of which Witness is part) several times on the A Word. Here's their special "Thanksgiving" song from this past year, "Burn Your Village to the Ground," and their newest release, a remix Buffy Sainte-Marie classic: "Working For The Government 2015."