Wild West fas­ci­nates theatre artist

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Bob Arm­strong

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.

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