Archive for March 25th, 2011

25 Mar 2011

Children, War, and The Forgotten Ground of Healing

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This essay deals with ways to focus on the strengths and gifts of communities, and especially children, in war and other adversity. It comes out of the many years that I worked in the field of child health and rights.

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25 Mar 2011

Karate Kids: Reaching The Unreached

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The Karate Kids AIDS education project was famous in development circles, because it defied the conventional wisdom with its explicit sexual information for children, including the f- word. It was also famous because it went on to be translated into about 30 languages, and the video was distributed at street level all over the world. Produced in 1990, it is still in use today. I was a co-producer and Managing Director of the project, which included language versions, as well as editing and publishing books and comics with partners in many countries.

Karate Kids, Derek Lamb, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


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25 Mar 2011

Play, Learn, Work, Struggle, Suffer, Belong: Children and the Dynamic of the Street

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Illustration by Bernice Schwartz

‘le plus ça change…’
Not much has changed for the prospects of street children worldwide since I wrote this research paper in the late 90s for CIDA and Street Kids International. The work remains rewarding, and the need is increasing (check out the new book, Arrival City).

This paper deconstructs some of the common images and assumptions that cloud the subject. “Pity would be no more/ If we did not make somebody poor.” —William Blake.

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25 Mar 2011

Folky

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Dirty Old Town

(Ewan MacColl)

My inspiration was the Pogues. We played with the arrangement to make something new, and I think we did bring out some primal loneliness with Teilhard’s bodhran and the Ansgar’s harp solo.

Millworker

(James Taylor)

Like John Prine’s ballad “Angels from Montgomery” this song is about suffering and regret written by a man in a woman’s persona. Full of defiance, it cuts to the heart of a factory worker’s boredom and a poor single mother’s desperation. Yet in her dreams she soars toward the light. This is probably the first time Francis Cabrel’s French version has been mixed with James Taylor’s lyrics.

25 Mar 2011

Rocky

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Saint James Infirmary

(traditional)

When I came across the lyrics to this song in a book, it conjured up a long-dormant memory. I must have heard Louis Armstrong’s recording of it when I was a kid, so this arrangement grew out of that fragment of melody. This song has the alchemical power to take a singer deep down inside where that paradox of the blues happens, where sadness becomes energy, where grief is transmuted into joy.

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

(Robbie Robertson)

This one reminds me of my dad, Ben Hugh Lowry (1919-1992). Like Virgil Cane, he had a particularly Southern sense of betrayal in his blood, and a fierce courage. When I was very small he had a wonderfully aromatic cigarette lighter with a Confederate flag on it. One of my earliest, fondest memories is the magic of that lighter, because when you flipped the lid open it played Dixie and burst into flame.

25 Mar 2011

Video Production

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Ecotone is currently developing new documentary projects. Keep an eye on the site for details.

25 Mar 2011

The Brewers Plate

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The 4th annual Brewers Plate April 6 at the Wychwood Barns was a sold-out success.
For Info and tickets for April 2012 click here.

 

 

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25 Mar 2011

Event Production

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Ecotone produces events for advocacy, public education and fundraising. Read more

25 Mar 2011

New Article in Alternatives Journal and Other News

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Update from Chris Lowry (March 2010):

In March I gave a guest lecture to Dror Etzion’s MBA class at McGill University, for the second time, by Skype, on a laptop in my Toronto office, on the subject of local living economies and green business. A virtuous carbon footprint, to be sure, but I would have loved a trip to Montreal!

My new article on energetic responses to ‘peak everything’ featuring conversations with Jeff Rubin, Richard Heinberg and James Lovelock, is in the Spring issue of Alternatives Journal.
http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/articles/greener-pastures

25 Mar 2011

Patterns of Place

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Whenever I see an interesting texture… I like to capture it. Check out this Flickr gallery of some of my recent pics.

25 Mar 2011

Chambers: Tracks and Gestures (Excerpt)

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Here is a clip from an award winning film I produced in 1981-82:  a biography of the Canadian painter Jack Chambers.  I worked with director/cinematographer John Walker and Altantis Films.  

“… a fascinating and invaluable portrait.”
J. Hoberman, THE VILLAGE VOICE (New York)

“One of Canada’s most
important artists… a painter
of fierce dedication and uncompromising vision.”
David MacFarlane, MACLEANS MAGAZINE

Shot on location in Spain and Canada, this visually lyrical film provides a carefully constructed narrative of the artist’s complex, inspired life. As a young art student Chambers left the provincial town of London, Ontario in the early 1950’s and sailed to Naples. In Spain he broke into Picasso’s house to ask him for advice, and ended up enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. He lived in Spain for nine years, and when he came back to Canada he brought with him an artistic discipline as sharp as Spanish steel, a sophisticated Argentinean wife, and a new religion—Catholicism. The film includes the full range of Chambers’ work up until his death at the age of 47 including oil paintings, drawings and experimental films. His effort to integrate the influences of photography and to reconcile abstract art with the conservative technical tradition that he embraced in Spain reflects the central conflicts that have defined artistic expression in the 20th century. For the last nine years of his life, Chambers struggled with leukemia, traveling as far as India in search of a cure, yet during his last years he produced much of his most radiant work.

“…reveals the heightened perception and transcendence
that comes after terrible inner struggle. Exquisite…”
Joyce Nelson, CINEMA CANADA

“Strong, precise, romantic and real…
a moving picture of Jack Chambers… an acknowledged art hero.”
ARTMAGAZINE

Tracks and Gestures includes penetrating interviews with Jungian analyst and writer Marion Woodman, critic and scholar Ross Woodman, multimedia artist and co-founder of Canadian Artists Representation (CAR) Kim Ondaatje, and the great Spanish realist painter Antonio Lopez. It also includes original footage of masterpieces by Goya, El Greco, Velazquez, and Rembrandt from the Prado Museum in Madrid. The film has a delightful original musical score, and is narrated by two of Canada’s finest actors, Ted Johns and Cedric Smith.

I also wrote about a short review essay about the 2012 Jack Chambers exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in The Mark News.

WINNER OF SEVEN INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARDS

BEST DOCUMENTARY over 30 minutes,
CFTA (GENIE) Awards, 1982
BEST DOCUMENTARY CINEMATOGRAPHY,
Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards, 1983
BEST DOCUMENTARY EDITING,
Canadian Film Editors Awards, 1983
BEST FILM OF THE FESTIVAL, Yorkton Film Festival, 1983
BEST HUMAN CONDITION FILM, Yorkton Film Festival, 1983
BRONZE MEDAL, Houston International Film Festival, 1983
BLUE RIBBON for Best Documentary,
American Film Festival, New York 1984

The 56 minute film can be purchased on DVD at the Art Gallery of Ontario, or directly from Ecotone.