Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great Big Sprawl

The apartment is pretty much as good as it's going to get at this point. The exercise bike has been put together, which was the last piece. Everybody in Iqaluit has an exercise machine of some sort. Go figure. Perhaps people don't feel like going outside unless they have to when the temperature is -50.

We also have all the plants set up in one location, along with the humidifier and natural light lamps. A little greenery goes a long way to cheer the apartment up. Plus, we're hoping the plants might absorb some of the cigarette (and recently dope) smoke. Faint hope, but dare to dream.

Once everything was put away we finally had time to take the car and drive around the community. Even though we've been here for about six weeks, we've only seen a portion of it. So that meant taking the car up over the hill and out into the burbs. And yes, Iqaluit has burbs.

There are a lot of new houses being built in the community. And mostly nice ones. Although it's easy to spot the demarcation line of what Iqaluit was like when it was part of the Northwest Terrorities and when it became a separate territory. The older part of Iqaluit, which we live on the edge of, is a lot more run down looking. Some of the business buildings are new and modern, but a lot of the housing isn't.

But once you go up the hill, there's a modern new school and a ton of new houses. A few standalones, but a lot of town houses.

It reminds me, in a weird way, of growing up in Virginia Park. I appreciate most of you won't get the reference, but I moved to Virginia Park (Little Havana, according to some RNC people, because of the drugs and violence in parts of it) when I was five years old. It's when the subdivision was still being built. So there were lots of new townhouses and a few standalone place. And lots of mud and dirt roads as the place was still being built.

So it felt eeriely familar as I was driving through it. And it really is an unorganized sprawl. You build where you can, which means it's all over the place. I forgot to grab a pic of the Road to Nowhere. Maybe later the week.

On an unrelated note, I downloaded (via iTunes) the new Great Big Sea record this morning. I've listened to it twice so far. Give me another listen or two and I'll do up a review in the next day or so.

Entertainment writing was always one of those dicey things with The Express. I remember running into Mark Vaughn Jackson (former entertianment writer with The Telegram) and asking why he gave it up to became a desk editor. After all, it sounded like a pretty cool job. Interview musicians, actors, writers, etc and do stories about it. Get free stuff and go to shows for nothing. How bad that could be?

I believe Mark's answer was "You'll find out for yourself soon enough." And he was right, to a degree. it is a fun job and there are a lot of perks to it. Covering the Junos and the ECMAs were great experiences. But it's also harder, and more tedious, than it looks. And there is the unwritten rule of local entertainment writing - Thou Shalt Not Criticize the Local Talent. Which can drive you nuts. Honestly, when was the last time you read something that criticized a local record or theatrical production?

I did it occasionally, but I should have done it more.

Also, local arts people have almost no clue about how to pitch a story to a newspaper. There is an intrinsic belief that if you have a new show coming out or a new record that that is a newsworthy event. It isn't. God only knows how many plays open in St. John's each year, but it's got to be between 50-100. According to some old MIA stats, there is about 60-80 new CDs each year by Newfoundland artists. It...isn't...a...story.

Off the top of my head I can only think of three people who knew how to pitch a story and be persistent about it in the local arts scene: Donna Butt, Aiden Flynn and Bonnie Leyton. The rest, no clue.

One of my regrets is that I always swore, while with The Express, that I was going to do a workshop on how to pitch a story to an entertainment reporter, because so few knew how to do it. Perhaps that's something I'll work on and post in the next week or so. Just on the off-chance anyone from the local arts scene is reading this.


TS said...

As an artist (in Newfoundland and Labrador), I'd be very interested to read how to pitch to an entertainment reporter.

Kirsten said...

Yeah, I could definitely use some tips as well... probably going to be doing mucho music promotion in 2006 and, well, anything and everything helps.