Letters to the Editor

- - Everything Else
The London Yodeller


[Re: Immigrants’ experiences in their own images and words, Gallery Review, March 17, Herman Goodden] In your March 17 article about Rosemary Sloot’s 2012 exhibit Immigrant you refer to the current exhibit, Home and Away, running at Fringe Gallery, and as producers of this exhibit we would like to clarify a few points. To start, Rosemary Sloot did not jury the fifty pieces that comprise the show. This exhibit welcomed any and all artists, and no artists were turned away. Part of the reason for our successful CAIP II grant from London Arts Council was our intention to support all artists in the city by providing a forum for them to showcase their work. 

Your comment about the “rambunctious and uneven” nature of this exhibit suggests that you may have misunderstood the central and essential idea behind the show. Each entry was a “package”, describing in word and visual art, the immigrant experience in a personal and intimate way, and thus, the quality of the work is irrelevant. We invite you to take more time with the exhibit and read the stories that its participants have told. We believe there is unlimited potential for this show to evoke inspiration for further works of visual art, performance, music and writing, and we encourage you to reflect upon this exhibit with those possibilities in mind. Home and Away runs until March 31, 2016.Sincerely, Diane McClure and Franca Smith, Co-Producers of Home and Away

[Here at The Yodeller, we don’t make a habit of answering letters to the editor but you folks are clearly messing with my head. On page 6 of the brochure for Home and Away you identify Rosemary Sloot as “Guest Artist, Juror”. On page 12 headed, “Thank You!” you lead with: “Our first thank you goes to Rosemary Sloot for germinating the seed of inspiration for Home and Away. She was behind this project from the very first, and brought it full circle when she agreed to judge the show.Then at the top of the Acknowledgements page of the 100 page book, Home and Away, which the two of you put together with Eleanor Ovtscherenkoyou and which I read in its entirety, you write that Sloot “also graciously agreed to jury the art exhibit.” So if this reviewer was suffering under some sort of misconception about Rosemary Sloot’s role here, you’re the ones who planted it. And regardless of who did or didn’t act as juror, congratulations on a moving and thought-provoking exhibition and book. HG]


[Re: Cheesy Quotes, Theoretical Physics, Four Brothers and a Cow, The Pursuit of Happiness, March 17, Jeffrey Schiller] Morgan here, yet another VG Family member. I am married to fourth born Kevin and I run the marketing and creative for VG Meats. Thanks for the great article and the kind words. A really refreshing approach to your writing. I’m not sure if you are aware but we have a monthly meat drop there in London so you can make the journey even shorter should you choose. Our drop is part of our Farm to City program where we skip the middleman – the big grocery chains. Hopefully the French’s thing will open some consumers’ eyes to the struggles of small businesses with these giants. We bring our meat directly from our store to a driveway near you. We have hosts in three cities now who lend out their driveways to us once a month to park our freezer van and distribute the meat that people order from our e-commerce site.  You can check it out at vgfarmtocity.ca. Our next drop in London is April 11th at 7:30pm. The location is 39 Scottsdale St. in Lambeth – actually my parents’ home. Thanks for supporting local food and happy MEATing. - Morgan Van Groningen


[Re: Edgy as a Beach Ball, Riplash, Mar. 3, Jason Rip] First of all, what is “edgy”? The harsher aspects of life would hardly be considered to be “entertaining” by those living through them. Is theatre meant to be educational, political, entertaining . . . or a combination? Why shouldn’t the largest theatres in this community be a safe, numbing space? What if the “real world” is frightening, stressful and mind-numbingly grinding? What if theatre is escapism? The movies enjoyed a golden age during the Great Depression, because it was a place to go to forget. You may like to eat meat, but for some people, daily living is soul-crushing. The theatre may be the one and only place where dreams do come true . . . and the good guy wins . . . and justice is served . . . and babies aren’t abandoned, and young people aren’t sold into sex slavery, politicians aren’t criminals and climate change isn’t going to end the world. Because if you want edgy, watch the news. What if there is a place . . . a need? For healthy, beautiful young people to tap-tap-tap their hearts out on a stage . . . for an audience who desperately, for two hours, NEEDS to not process anymore agony.
[You write:] “Time to address the notion that edgy does not sell. Of course, there’s some truth to it, partly due to the fact that there are huge segments of society that do not go to the theatre at all. “

If theatres were presenting edgy, and people didn’t go, that would support the argument that edgy doesn’t sell. But theatres aren’t – and people still aren’t attending. Whatever theatre presents, there will always be people who don’t attend. I will never go to a Monster Truck rally or a Nascar race or a public execution. And there is “theatre” that I won’t attend. What is “theatre’s” mandate? To challenge prejudices? To entertain? To provide a mindless, heart-warming, brain-numbing escape for two hours? To educate? To stir political forces?
Yes. This, and so much more. Theatre doesn’t have to be “edgy” to be moving, impactful, or relevant. To look for theatre to be “edgy”, is like expecting your next sexual experience to be spectacular compared to the one before. Sometimes, theatre is and should be flannel pyjamas, curled up with your cat in front of a fireplace . . . because . . . sometimes, real life is shit. – Diane Haggerty


[Re: It’s a Weird Time When Nobody Trusts Government, Commentary, March 3, Susan Cassan] Meanwhile Canada’s 300,000 homeless, including London’s 2,000 homeless, rage against the treasonous Liberal bullying of giving homes, hotel & motel rooms, cell phones, Via Rail & YMCA passes and tuitions to Syria’s homeless. – mememine


Finally, some great reviews on the happenings of the art world in London. Enjoyed the articles by Moira McKee. Never been to Westland Gallery, the past articles made an out of towner make that special trip to see the show. Her notes on the Arts Project made me get a membership, see a few Fringe plays that were amazing, and go to a few art openings. I only get to London once a week, my first stop, Hasbeans at the Market to pick up a copy of the Yodeller, and enjoy 45 mins of calm. Keep up the great work on this mag - informative, a great read. – Kevin Morrell


[Re: How Art in London Gets Made, Hermaneutics, Feb. 18, Herman Goodden] Just want you to know how much I enjoyed your article. I think you are spot on. I lived, graduated OCA and worked in Toronto before making the insane move of buying an old ruin of a cottage and eventually moving to rural Co. Clare in Ireland in the 90′s. I came back to Canada in 2005 (just before the global bankers crash) and decided to settle in blue-collar St. Thomas. The reason being – a studio, affordable housing and the “safety valve” . . . that it was close to London. Well, when all the factories closed, I speculated what it would be like living in a ghost town . . . but it didn’t happen. And in the 10 years that I have been here, not only have I met and become aware of the vibrant art community in the area, I have also seen it grow as great people moved in too.  My living environment (and the web) has allowed me to continue in my preferred role of “outsider” - albeit within the periphery of “the Art Scene”.  Also various Public Galleries like St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre and the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (Sarnia) do so much to support regional artists. I only wish Museum London would ramp up its agenda. Anyway – end result – I like to visit Toronto but it’s good to come home. – Best regards, Josepha van den Anker

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