Fringing in Adelaide

Yabarra Spirit Trees, Adelaide

If you’re feeling a little blue about more months without travel and all of your favourite local festivals being cancelled, you’re not alone.

And if you’re a particular fan of fringe festivals, you’re probably also concerned about how those performing artists you’ve been waiting to see are making out.

Build a Rocket - before the performanceTruth is, they’re not going to be travelling to any festivals for the foreseeable future through this 2020 festival drought.

But there’s a wee bit of good news from Adelaide Fringe (the world’s second-largest annual arts festival), which managed to eke out its 2020 festival in February and March just ahead of the covid crisis’ descent on Australia.  It’s launching a new online pilot platform called Adelaide FringeVIEW, encouraging local and international performing artists to submit a digital version of their show to be presented to online audiences around the world.

“We want to help the artists who are unable to perform live or have had their shows cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO, Heather Croall.  “There is a need for the arts industry to band together and come up with new ideas, and with people at home and more time than ever to experience new shows, we want to provide an opportunity for people to access entertainment while supporting artists who have been impacted”.

Adelaide FringeVIEW  is designed to create an income stream for artists still looking to perform while restrictions are in place, with audiences asked to buy a ticket to help support the industry.  Artist registrations for the new platform have been open since April 15 and are free.  All proceeds from ticket sales are given back to the artist.

Fringe handbills - AdelaideThe Adelaide FringeVIEW platform will be live to the general viewing public starting this Friday, May 1 through to the end of May 2020.

“We are truly heartbroken to see so many livelihoods impacted,” Ms. Croall said, “but together we can continue to support and connect artists and audiences from around the world during a time where isolation is the new norm.”

So if you’re craving your fringe fix and want to support the artists who bring their innovative shows to you, see https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringeview for more info, and for tickets starting this Friday.

And to help satisfy your wanderlust  in the meantime (or at least soothe your clipped wings), check out “Fringing in Adelaide” – my take on Australia’s fabulous festival city when I ventured there in March 2019.  It’s an opportunity to look back and look forward to better days, and you can read it here or in the Spring issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

TandT-Issue-37_Cover-web-730x944There’s also a few recipes to expand your kitchen repertoire (and don’t we ALL need that at this point?), including a delicious vegetarian dish from Adelaide Central Market, and a bright prawn and pineapple Thai curry developed by one of Adelaide’s premier chefs, Chef Nu Suandokmai.

(And in case you’re wondering:  Adelaide Fringe has no idea who I am and certainly did not subsidize the article or this post in any way 🙂 )

Late to the Table: A Culinary Walk Through Tuscany

Tuscan countrysideLet me be upfront:  I never read Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. Never saw the movie. I’m unaccountably indifferent to pasta (and Italian food  in general, if truth be told). Yes, I missed the boat completely on the raptures of Tuscany.

Friends who’d spent time in the popular Italian region said this was a gap in need of remedy. Stat.

So I booked a culinary walking tour of Tuscany, offering hillside rambles and an abundance of wine. Now THAT’S something I could commit to…

Read the full story in the current issue of Calgary’s City Palate magazine.

Tenacious Crete

lunch at taverna monastiri, chaniaI’m here on the water’s edge of what’s considered to be the most beautiful Old Town in Greece.  From my vantage point, I see a Venetian lighthouse standing sentry over a narrow harbour entrance and a Turkish mosque – now serving as an exhibition hall – opening its doors to the morning air.

This is Chania, second-largest city on the island of Crete, where the architecture provides just a sliver of insight into a turbulent history…

Read the full story here and in the new issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

Profiles of Kerala

Photo credit: S. Dunk

The screen door creaks a quiet complaint as I ease it shut and slide into a rattan chair.  Beneath the low-thatched eaves of my cottage, I ponder the trees emerging from the morning mist and warm my hands gratefully on my coffee glass.  According to the card on my nightstand, the brew is podi kappi, “the traditional black coffee of the local people in the High Range area”.  I only know it is hot and dark and redolent with cardamom, cumin, and fenugreek.  As caffeine and sun make inroads on my hazy dawn, a soft hoot emerges from the canopy: an unseen langur monkey alerts his family to my presence.

Read the full story here and in the Spring Issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

 

Following Vernon’s Culinary Trail

Paddling with ELEMENTS Adventure Company
Photo credit: ELEMENTS Adventure Company

When I came in search of food experiences in British Columbia’s North Okanagan Valley, I didn’t expect to find myself HERE.

Pine forests tumble down the Monashee mountains and cottonwoods throw shadows over the canoe, as I float with seven other paddlers down the Shuswap River.  Other shadows flit below the water:  Chinook and Sockeye salmon returning to their birthplace to spawn.  A Bald eagle whistles from a tall snag, but before I can locate his partner, my guide, Charles Ruechel, sounds his call to stroke hard on my side of the canoe.  By the time we clear the “sweeper” – a tree laid low over the water – we’ve left the eagle behind.  No matter.  Minutes later, another eagle splits the October sky.

Read the full story in the Summer Issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

Comfort & Joy at Seasons of Bowness Park

Seasons of Bowness Park entryway

There’s a basic problem to running a restaurant in a 75-acre park.  Especially when it flanks one of Calgary’s most popular outdoor skating haunts.

How to keep the wind off your customers every time someone whooshes in with their gear?

Solution:  the glass-and-metal vestibule installed at Seasons of Bowness Park.  It’s a simple but stylish affair of irregularly-sized panels that frames this new casual fine dining restaurant with a watery effect akin to the light playing off Bowness lagoon.

But when I sit down with Alex Solano, one of the operators of  Seasons (as well as two Salt and Pepper locations and Lolita’s Lounge in Inglewood), I learn there’s more to this portico than meets the eye.

Seasons glass - closeupIt’s pieced of ten historic styles of glass – some wavy, some bubbly, some seemingly dripping with movement – that each derive from a different decade of the park’s 100-year heritage.  It’s a silent tribute to the park’s storied past of campsites and swimming pools , teahouses and trolleys, dancehalls and midway rides – and to the stories of generations of Calgarians who have skated, strolled and played under the poplars.

“I wanted the vestibule to make you stop and think,” says Alex.  “To take a small [subconscious] pause and say: ‘Oh, actually this is really nice.  I’m now somewhere else’.”  A somewhere else he hopes that’s peaceful and neighbourly, where people can savour food and good conversation along with the view.

A place where the servers are quick to recognize that the couple at Table 12 want a little privacy, the solo diner devouring Road Trip Rwanda along with her arancini needs her glass topped up without interruption, and the pair by the window crave an ear with which to share the thrill of their grandson’s first steps.  Or perhaps bemoan the emigration of their daughter to Toronto for want of a local job.

Seasons' chicken pot pie
Chicken pot pie with apple beet salad Photo credit: Seasons of Bowness Park

Now almost five months into its rise from the Flood of 2013, Seasons is gearing up for the winter season with a new menu focusing on warm, comfort foods.  Think bubbling chicken pot pie.  Fresh Alberta Arctic grayling reminiscent of fishing trips with your dad. And an apple-ring confection that looks and smells like mini-doughnuts on a pillow of sweet cream.

With the ice scheduled to be ready this weekend,  there’ll be coffee-and-Bailey’s on the deck for the skating crowd; hot chocolate, of course, for the alcohol-disinclined.  Weekends will continue to bustle with brunchers, and the gas fireplaces on the new plaza will light up to warm frigid hands and feet.

Look for special date-night events by Valentine’s Day:  how about a cocktail/appetizer interlude, followed by a moonlit skate while servers prepare your table for a cozy fondue?

Market goodsIf seasonal shopping is more front-of-mind for you these days, head next door to the Market grab-and-go counter.  While the barista pulls your latte, scan the small-but-growing collection of retail items, including Chilewich runners and placemats, and soft navy throws featuring Seasons’ retro-cool canoe logo.  And bring home a few shortcuts for your holiday entertaining, like house-made bone-broth, pumpkin hummus, and fresh tomato salsa.

2016 showed us that Bowness Park is back again to thread through the warp of our urban lives.  It’s worthy of a pause – don’t you think? – to appreciate Seasons’ glass century passage next time the wind blows you in.

Seasons of Bowness Park and Market are open daily, including Christmas and New Year’s.  Check their Facebook page for hours.

Text and photos © 2016 Catherine Van Brunschot (except where noted)

It’s Beakerhead time!

big data image
(Credit: infocus Technologies (Creative Commons license))

At the point where art intersects with science, something exciting happens.  Something innovative.  Potentially game-changing.  Possibly delicious.

And from September 14 to 18, 2016, Beakerhead – Calgary’s annual “smash-up of science, art, and engineering” – promises to deliver all of those things and more.

Think interactive art and science experiments in the streets.  An inside-the-studio look at the art and mechanics of special movie effects (read:  autopsies and snow flurries).  A Rock ‘n Roll History of Space Exploration, featuring a real astronaut.  And a plethora of workshops that plumb the intricacies of memory, revenge, and each of the five senses – including my obvious favourite: taste.

H Tech High-Balls - web
(Credit: beakerhead.com)

Food nerds, get excited – because there’s a veritable buffet of activities and samplings at this year’s festival.  In the chemistry class you wish you had in high school, Hi Tech High-Balls lets you create “engineered drinks” under the guidance of Hotel Arts’ Mixologist, Franz Swinton.  Coffee-lovers can join Phil & Sebastian coffee roasters as they explore java/milk synergies in Cafe-au-Lait Scientifique (who knew these guys were both engineering school grads?).

For those who believe there’s no better workshop than one with take-home treats, there’s Spicy Palate Workout, The Squeak Behind the Cheese Curds, and the Science of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.  And in the realm of epic events, Torched  brings six top Calgary chefs and mixologists together with a car turning a spit and wire baskets of trout roasting over a giant flame.

Around town, Engineered Eats sees over 30 Calgary restaurants and bars creating engineered treats and molecular cocktails for you to try, using the 2016 festival’s theme ingredient: milk.  I’ve already got my tickets to Exploring the Milky Way, a Stampede Trolley tour to four of the participating restaurants, where we’ll meet the chefs, learn how the dishes and drinks were created, and taste the results of their experiments.

(In truth, signing up for the Milky Way event had my loyalties divided, as it meant having to forgo the engaging Seven Wonderers session – a panel of first-rate science writers and storytellers telling tales of their own wondering.  It was my Man’s and my favourite session at last year’s festival).

lucky iron fish
Lucky Iron Fish (Credit: beakerhead.com)

On the game-changing front, several Beakerhead events present a half-dozen social entrepreneurs:  folks intent on improving the world with small inventions that have potentially big social impacts.  Products like wearable technology to assist autism-sufferers interpret social cues.  An iron fish that tackles world malnutrition one pot at a time.  Disaster relief in a box, and a tsunami survival capsule.  An inflatable solar light that packs flat.  And a solar-powered bike pod to keep you warm on your winter commute.

Calgarians who favour careening around the city on two wheels will be happy to know that a multitude of free art, cultural, and science exhibits and activities will be placed in cycle-friendly locations around the downtown core.  There’s a foldout of these Chain Reactions inside the program guide to help you map out your route.  And those for whom this is new territory can join the Cyclepalooza folks for a free guided bike tour through all the major installations – finishing up at Beakernight,  the festival’s culminating all-ages street party in Bridgeland.

There truly is something for everyone among the more than 50 events and exhibits at the 2016 Beakerhead festival.  Check out the full list at beakerhead.com or download a PDF version of the festival program here.

Text  © 2016 Catherine Van Brunschot