PuSh Blog

Club PuSh – Curatorial Statement

December 14, 2012

After shows at Club PuSh, delighted patrons often ask me, “What’s the secret of Club curation? Do you and Norman and Veda have a magic formula?”

One would think that they would be busy stargazing, complaining about drink prices, buying swag, yelling requests at the DJ or touching. But no, curation concerns are paramount.

There is no secret formula that I’m aware of — but what’s the harm in faking it anyway, just as a platform for experiment?

Formula for successful curation revealed: 11 per cent experience/historical knowledge, 8 per cent curiosity, 14 per cent organization, 33 per cent pure patience and 44 per cent getting off my ass to go out to see work or meet artists. (All percentages approx.)

Experience: Herald Nix was one of the first Vancouver talents I was really taken with when I moved to the city in the ’90s. Some late-night thing at a gallery space on 100-block Hastings. A charismatic character with a hypnotic country noir blues sound, Nix was someone I followed over the years, his music the soundtrack for a handful of Railway Club New Years’ Eves, a bunch of road trips, some friends’ affairs, and a Conspiracy festival event (pre-Club PuSh) that we titled PuSh Theatre Drugs (the t-shirts sold very well). I went up to see Nix perform in a Caravan Farm Theatre show this past August, and while the show was well-produced and entertaining enough, my prejudices maintain that there is more drama in a single Nix tune like What a World. I think Nix should be at least as big as Lightfoot but I won’t go on. Afterall, isn’t his name Latin for “say nothing?” Nix plays the Club on January 19. Another curatorial success story.

Christian Barry of Halifax-based 2B Theatre has taken his longtime obsession with Hawksley Workman to a whole other level in a way that I can really identify with. Over a beer together downtown last spring, Barry pitched The God That Comes, which he developed with Workman, by saying he was a fan first. Barry was awestruck by those early bar gigs, which rose to a bacchanalian fever pitch (not a rare thing in a Halifax bar even without a band so Workman must have been exceptional) and, as a theatre-maker, Barry was inspired to tap into that spirit. Over the years he made a point of getting to know Workman until their rapport evolved into recent woodshedding sessions in rural Ontario. I’ll be interested to see where a conscious application of theatre practice takes Workman onstage and if bacchanalia is still one of the results when The God that Comes opens Club PuSh this year.

It seems I’m already out of space for this particular curation statement but I look forward to touching on matters of curiosity, organization, pure patience and getting off my ass in upcoming blog posts and, of course, in the “ask the curator” lineup at the Club.

— Tim Carlson, co-curator, Club PuSh. www.conspiracy.ca