Wild West fascinates theatre artist
THEATRE artist and writer Grant Guy is best known to Winnipeggers for his company Adhere + Deny, which presents plays, often drawn from continental Europe, involving actors and puppets.
His even longer-lasting interest in the myths and legends of the Wild West takes centre stage in his book On the Bright Side of Down, described as “a road trip across the changing landscapes of time, styles and form.”
A fascination that began in childhood during the era when oaters dominated big and little screens inspired him to create theatrical monologues about Butch Cassidy and Wyatt Earp, and animates his travels in the west to this day. “I just got back from a trip to Death Valley,” he notes. “The whole time I had images of 20-mule teams running through my head.”
To Guy, western legends are a made-in-North-America equivalent of the tales of Olympus or Asgard, and explain much about today’s social and political realities. “What America is today, as Canadians are what we are today, is built on the bricks and dead bodies of our Old West past,” he says.
Guy launches the book Friday at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
A Cuban treasure trove of Ernest Hemingway’s books, hunting trophies and other possessions is being conserved with a little help from the host of PBS’s This Old House.
Hemingway left his Cuban home, known as Finca Vigia, to the Cuban people; it has been maintained as a museum since his death. But while the house recently had restoration work done, a guest house that contained more than 9,000 books was in need of work.
NPR reported recently on the plans of a Boston-based foundation and TV host Bob Vila to oversee a project to create a weather-proof archival facility at the complex, a project described as a result of the thawing of relations between Cuba and the U.S.
J.K. Rowling made a big splash a few years ago when she launched Pottermore: a source of online Harry Potterthemed content, e-books and games.
Now, according to The Scotsman newspaper, the site’s profitability has been hit with something between a Reducio spell and the Avada Kedavra curse. After posting a 15-million pound ($30.4 million dollar) profit in 2014, Pottermore lost six million pounds ($12.1 million dollars) last year and was forced to lay off staff after a licensing deal with Sony expired.
Manitoba artist Robert Freynet is launching the second volume of his French-language graphic novel as well as the full English-language version just in time for Louis Riel Day.
Louis Riel: Patriot ( Patriote en français), published by Les éditions de plaines, details the political intrigue, political and military conflict and personal drama of Manitoba’s founder.
Freynet, who also created a graphic novel on the explorer La Vérendrye, studied the graphic-novel form at L’Ecole Internationale de Bordeaux. He launches the graphic novel at McNally Robinson Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
Rosemary Sullivan is the lone Canadian shortlisted for a U.S. National Book Critics Circle Prize, which will be announced March 17.
Sullivan is nominated in the biography category for Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva.
High-profile works on the short lists include Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me in the criticism category; Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk in autobiography and Anthony Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno and Lauren Goff’s Fates and Furies, both in the fiction category.