Friday, August 24, 2012

Awesome Ideas abound! Plus: Kids in kilts

This month, Awesome Calgary's Thousand Dollar Thursday was held at The AREA in Inglewood, in conjunction with Mark Hopkin's We Should Know Each Other #99.3, an event where people are encouraged to expand their social circles by meeting and mingling with people they may never have met before.

Dubbed Awesome at The AREA, an Awesome Space was able to be highlighted for those who had never been, Awesome People could meet other Awesome People, and four really Awesome Ideas would be able to have their time to shine in the spotlight.

The emcee for the night was AF-Calgary's very own Trustee of Awesome Kevin Hayes and it was with this back drop that the Top4 Finalists for the month of August would take the stage for 90 seconds each to try the wow the AF-Calgary Trustees and audience and convince them why they deserved to win the $1,000 no-strings attached micro-grant.

Pitch 1:  Gorilla House LIVE ART

First up was Rich Théroux with Gorilla House LIVE ART.  Art Battles take place on Wednesday nights at the Gorilla House studios where two artists are given a theme or idea by spinning a wheel and have two hours to produce a piece of art.  These art battles are free for the public to attend and all finished pieces created that night is later auctioned off.  The appeal to viewers is that they have an opportunity to see pieces that they like grow and become a part of that growth as well.

The $1,000 would be used by Gorilla House for rent, art supplies and advertising for the gallery as well as to ensure that the Live Art Battles can continue.  Leftover money would be used to create a children's gallery at the Gorilla House and other improvements.

If you'd like to catch one of the live art battles, drop by the Gorilla House at 1503 - 15 Avenue SW.  To learn more, check out this recent article by FFWD Weekly as well as their Facebook page.

Pitch 2:  YYComedy Festival

Up next was Cory Mack and Harry Doupe with the first-ever, brand new YYComedy Festival.

From September 24-30, the YYComedy Festival will celebrate the best of the local comedy community.  Featuring the best comedians in stand-up, sketch and improv, all performers at this year's festival have some kind of connection to Calgary.  Among the performers invited to perform are Bruce McCullock and Mark McKinney from the Kids in the Hall, Gavin Crawford of This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Just For Laughs favourite Ryan Belleville.

Currently, there are only three people (Cory Mack, Harry Doupe and James Sutherland) organizing the entire festival, and the $1,000 would go towards helping fund advertising and getting the word out.  Cory and Harry feel that Calgary is the best comedy community that doesn't celebrate itself, and this festival aims to change that.

To learn more about the YYComedy Festival, check out

Pitch 3:  CLOUD

Third up was Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret with CLOUD, an 18-foot interactive sculpture created from 5,000 re-appropriated incandescent light bulbs.

Created as a part of Calgary's first-ever Nuit Blanche, CLOUD will allow the public to wander beneath an installation representing a giant cloud created out of light bulbs through a rain of pull strings allowing them to switch on and off lights to create the illusion of lightning on the cloud's surface.  CLOUD is also an experiment in community collaboration, as they hope to create the installation entirely through the use of donated light bulbs.

However, with a debut date of September 15, Caitlind and Wayne are far short of their goal of collecting 5,000 light bulbs as they have only managed to scrounge up about 300 so far.  The $1,000 would go towards a promotional campaign raising awareness of the project as well as to encourage ordinary Calgarians not affiliated with Calgary's art scene to donate their used light bulbs.  This would be achieved by purchasing ads in local newspapers and other avenues and channels that ordinary members of the public frequent.

Those in Calgary who are interested in donating incandescent light bulbs for the project can do so at the Alberta College of Art and Design (1407 - 14 Avenue NW) as a collection box has been set up in the front lobby.  To learn more about the types of light bulbs that they're looking for, see here.

Pitch 4:  A Strong Impression

Dressed in kilts and with caber in hand, last up was Marshall and Ryerson Ennis with A Strong Impression.

Marshall is a former highland games competitor and youth coach who wants to introduce the junior highland games to youth in Calgary to help build up an appreciation and awareness of Scottish heritage, tradition and family values among youth.

The $1,000 would be used to create "kits" consisting of the equipment that would be used to teach kids how the sport is done, as well as to help fund the camps that this education would take place in.  All youth would be invited to come out and try the different highland games, such as Putting the Stone, Caber Toss and Hammers.

The hope is that these camps can get youth interested in the Highland Games and perhaps motivate them to compete in the official tournaments in the future.  Fun fact:  Marshall is in training to flip the caber 150 times for a world record.

And the winner is…

AF-Calgary's August 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant went to Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret and CLOUD.

Make sure to check out their installation at Calgary's first-ever Nuit Blanche on Saturday, September 15 at Olympic Plaza Park from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.  And if you're interested in helping out with the project by providing some used incandescent light bulbs, make sure to drop them off at the Alberta College of Art and Design.


Congratulations Caitlind & Wayne!

BIG Thanks to Dave Winkler and our venue sponsor for this month, The AREA, as well as Mark Hopkins for allowing us to collaborate with him for We Should Know Each Other #99.3.  If you haven't been, you should definitely check out a We Should Know Each Other party.  They're awesome.

Finally, we're still accepting submissions for our September 2012 prize.  The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 10 at 11:59 p.m. and if you'd like to submit an idea or project for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy evening to come down and watch, and we hope you'll join us next month for a very special Thousand Dollar Thursday!  Stay tuned for more details on that coming up later…

In the meantime, check out some photos from our event on our Flickr channel!

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