We have been so busy with the Buddy Holly production that I’ve only been able to make it to Miep’s painting studio once in the last little while. I’m working on a mixed media painting inspired by the northern landscape; here’s a work-in-progress picture of it. The studio is on the outskirts of Fort St John, near Charlie Lake, in beautiful countryside – here’s a photo of the road along the way.
It has been cold, snowy and sometimes icy almost consistently since the end of September, very early for here according to locals.
The above photo was taken from the highway just outside Taylor, a small town about 20 or so kilometers from FSJ on the way to Dawson Creek. We passed through it on the way to Dawson to buy me a snow suit; while FSJ has a lot of outdoor clothing outfitters, they only cater to men. We could not find a woman’s snowsuit in the city.
The snowy landscape is beautiful when the sun comes out.
Here are a few photos from one of our regular walks on the northern edge of the city.
Our friend Marsha gave me the advice to “Look up!” at the big sky – it is great. No tall buildings to block out the expanse of blue and the rolling clouds.
Kathryn had asked us to make her a snowman, so I obliged by adding a head to this big body already made.
I saw hoar frost for the first time, too – stunning first thing in the morning on a sunny day.
These trees are just a few blocks down the road from our place.
Eliza, an artist friend up here and a keen walker and hiker, took me out for a snowy walk in the woods.
Beavers live here in the Fish Creek; you can see evidence of them everywhere in the forest here.
We came upon two old 1940s vehicles abandoned among the trees, driven up here when the Alaska Highway was built – not sure why they’ve been left here but it was very cool to come across them.
Ty and I went to the big annual fundraising art auction for the North Peace Gallery at the Pomeroy Hotel near our place. It was a masquerade affair, so everyone wore masks.
I had never been to a live auction before and the fellow calling had a bit of difficulty with some of the “art terms”; possibly he was more used to auctioning off cattle …
It was lots of fun; we bid on and purchased two artist handpainted masks, one of which Ty’s wearing here.
We have been working on the Buddy Holly story now for about two months and it opened this weekend to thunderous applause. But, wow, what an enormous amount of work about 50 people have put into getting this show together, all the way from building and painting the sets, transporting them in multiple vehicles to the theatre, dissassembling and reassembling the sets to get them in the door, and setting everything up again inside.
Below is Director Blair Scott and Music Director Mike O in action, directing Buddy and the Big Bopper in the Cleak Lake concert scene.
Ty and I worked hours trying to get our screens and projections to work, encountering quite a few issues beyond our control, such as problematic computer ports and projector signals. Below Ty is setting the screen, rolling it up to the rafters and putting the quick release, a chopstick attached to mason cord run along the pipes and down through half a pop bottle to the computer, in place.
Here Ty is working booting one of the Buddy videos up.
Sound man Jim looks on from backstage at the Apollo theatre scene.
I was asked to be Jim’s assistant, helping him take on and off the various microphones needed for the musicians – a very complex set up that he looked after admirably, flying around the set plugging and unplugging cords and adjusting amps.
Here you see all three screens deployed and all three videos working – this was a major accomplishment.
Below is my two computer set-up, roped off with ribbons and “Do Not Touch Under Pain of Death and Destruction” sign. Our contribution to the play, a Buddy Around the World video that takes place on the big back screen in the first act, and three videos on three screens of Buddy, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, at the very end, after their death in a plane crash has been announced, was quite a complex undertaking and has caused me an enormous amount of stress to put together. At the appropriate moment, after the deaths of the three artists is announced, Ty and I each pull the rip cord to dislodge the chop stick and unfurl the side screens, then hit the play button on the videos. But, when it finally worked, it was a beautiful thing.
The show has played four days last week and will have its final four days this week.
Here are some photos taken at one of the performances by Show Case Photo, a local photographer.
Here is a video I took from backstage at Saturday night’s performance, a fantastic show in which everything came together; the audience went wild with thunderous applause and a standing O for all these very talented folks.
When this play closes, I will sleep for a month! See more photos here.