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Saturday, September 29, 2007

John Metcalf, C.M.

John Metcalf, C.M., originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Author John Metcalf launched his latest memoir "Shut Up He Explained" at the Manx Pub in Ottawa, Saturday 29 September 2007. The book is published by Dan Wells' Biblioasis. Don't you love the way that last sentence reads, "launched his book"? Sounds like he went outside and threw it against the brick wall. Anyhow...

As Metcalf already had a rather nice portrait taken by the Ottawa Citizen staff photog, Bruno Schlumberger, in last week's paper I could not compete with just a simple head shot of the author. So, here's my interpretation of an author engaged with one of his readers. The eyes say it all I think.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Banol Baqemtral

Financial degradation on Sparks St. Ottawa

About BMO Financial Group:
"Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of more than $311 billion as at July 31, 2006, and more than 35,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. BMO Financial Group serves clients across Canada through its Canadian retail arm, BMO Bank of Montreal and through its wealth management firms BMO Nesbitt Burns, BMO InvestorLine and BMO Harris Private Banking. BMO Capital Markets, our North American investment and corporate banking division, provides a full suite of financial products and services to our North American and international clients. It is the second largest small business banker in Canada and one of the largest in North America."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lana Slezic

Award-winning Canadian photographer Lana Slezic (right) spoke at the Hôtel Château Laurier last evening on the subject of her most recent book of photographs, Forsaken. More than just a pictorial reportage of the plight Afghan women, these photos are well-studied, intimate portraits. They are not merely snapshots of a given moment in time. The photos appear to be very carefully, diligently composed portraits. They are powerful as they are colourful. I would have expected muted bleak portraits as a result of the subject matter. Something probably in black and white, but was pleased that they are vibrant in colour giving some hope that all is not dark in the subject matter.

Being a very articulate speaker, I was surprised to note that she did not know what a white burka on a woman represented when an audience member queried her during her presentation of the group photo of women shopping where the rest of the women were in blue burkas. Khorshied Samad (pictured above), the wife of the Afghanistan Ambassador Omar Samad, had piped up from the audience responding that a white burka signified she was a virgin. Given that Lana Slezic had been there photographing the women of Afghanistan for two years, I thought that she would be expected to know this fact. (Of course, I didn't know the significance either. But that's me nitpicking.) She admitted to learning something new as we all probably did.

Her most iconic photo, I felt, is the Kandahar policewoman, Malalai, posed in profile with her a revolver raised from under her blue burka. This one particularly unsettled me. It appears to me to be an over-the-top pose that differs from the rest in her collection. It makes me wonder what or who she was pointing the gun at. That is to say, is this just a portrait for the sake of saying, "I am a police officer, and a woman in a burka. Here is my gun."? Like most photos, it is frequently the back-story that is as compelling as the photo itself. I was pleased that Malalai was also photographed without the burka to reveal her true self.

Check out her slick website ( and you will see Slezic's obvious talent shine as a photographer. I believe you will find that her photos are very reminiscent of the styling of Henri Cartier-Bresson. She has many beautiful and poignant photos on her site of her various studies such as the Mennonites, Dubrovnik, Jerusalem, and the Canada-US border.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brad Sucks (the band)

The other night I met Brad of the band Brad Sucks as I was leaving the William Gibson reading. Brad had gotten Gibson's new book signed along with all the other Gibson fans and, being curious, I asked what Gibson had inscribed in his book. This lead Brad to tell me that he's got this band called Brad Sucks, and not only that, but William Gibson even blogged about "Brad Sucks" recently this month:

"People sometimes ask what I was listening to during the writing of a given book. For Spook Country,... But I've been forgetting Brad Sucks, who I discovered when I was somewhere in the middle. Anesthetic's remix of "Dirtbag", in fact, came to have much to do with the tonality of my character Milgrim. I'd drive around and listen to that if I felt I was losing the peculiarly floaty grip that Milgrim required."

Thinking that this was pretty cool I decided to give the music a listen to and instantly was electrified by the track "Making Me Nervous". It's awesome and is the background music to this slide show. Please, please turn up the volume on this show or put on your headphones if you're viewing this at work.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

William Gibson

William Gibson
William Gibson, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

An evening with William Gibson in Ottawa Saturday 22 September 2007.

From OIWF blurb:
An evening with one of the most acclaimed writers on the planet celebrating his latest novel, Spook Country. In a Starred Review, Publishers Weekly said “Gibson's fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented, postmodern world... Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author's trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson's best.”

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blue Rodeo in Ottawa

'Blue Rodeo' were the musical guests today as part of a road show tour of Ottawa by CTV's Canada AM breakfast televsion show, Friday 21 September 2007. The concert was held in the heart of the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa at 8:00am. (Thanks to Pearl Pirie for the heads up)

My wife and I were newlyweds in the fall of 1998 and we honeymooned in Banff, Alberta. On our first evening there we ate a late lunch in the same restaurant Jim Cuddy was eating (not at the same table). We quickly found out that Jim was playing that night with his solo band. Needless to say we snapped up some tickets and had an amazing time.

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

'Blue Rodeo' were the musical guests today as part of a road show tour of Ottawa by CTV's Canada AM breakfast televsion show, Friday 21 September 2007. The concert was held in the heart of the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa at 8:00am. (Thanks to Pearl Pirie for the heads up)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fouhse in Public

Photographer Tony Fouhse is about town showing off some of his brilliant photos around Ottawa.

"One's at The Ottawa City Hall Gallery. It opens Thursday Sept. 20th, 5:30 to 7:30.
The other one is at Gallery La Petite Mort. It opens Friday Sept. 21st, 7:00 to 10:00.
The big opening Party is at SAW Gallery Thursday Sept. 20th. 7:00 to 9:00."

Like Tony says, "Go see some photography."

Journalism Ethics

Just a FYI. My photograph of Canadian satirist Rick Mercer is currently featured on the Journalism Ethics website, a part of the School of Journalism at the University of British Columnbia. Jesse Ferreras, is in his final year of a Master's of Journalism at UBC, contends in his feature article that Mercer has lost his edge.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

JC Sulzenko's Bootquet

JC Sulzenko's Bootquet, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Children's author JC Sulzenko launched her latest book at the Archives & Library to a huge crowd of all ages. Here's a boot filled with flowers I dub a 'bootquet'.

See more photos of the event at

By JC Sulzenko: Illustrated by Mary Moore

A free event. Donations in support of our free literacy programs welcomed.

An evening with the author and illustrator, featuring readings, a talk on the publication of the book, and book signings. Refreshments will be served; children are very welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alootook Ipellie 1951-2007

A photo I took of Alootook Ipellie at the hospitality suite of the Ottawa International Writers Festival in October 2005. For more info see:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Final Mass at St. Brigid's

Final Mass at St. Brigid's, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Ben Valiquette hands out white roses to members entering for the final mass at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Ottawa 16 September 2007.

For complete photographic coverage of today's last mass see:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

David Reevely - Greater Ottawa Blog

One of my recent photos was profiled in Ottawa Citizen writer, David Reevely's blog, Greater Ottawa.

He wrote of the photo, "The latest superb addition to the Greater Ottawa photopool on Flickr is "St. Brigid's Church" by John W. MacDonald. There are more on his own pages, which are very much worth a look as this Ottawa landmark enjoys its last days as a house of worship."

Thanks, David.

Rick Mercer

Rick Mercer

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rick Mercer Visits Ottawa University

Rick Mercer Visits Ottawa U Students: Tackles Mosquitoes and Malaria With National Launch of Spread the Net Campus Challenge.

Rick Mercer, co-founder of the anti-malarial bed net fundraising initiative Spread the Net will launch a new, national challenge for all Canadian university students, faculty and staff on Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 11:30 am at the Morisset Terrace, 65 University. (thanks to Steve at for the heads-up)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Saint Brigid's Church

Saint Brigid's Church, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

The final mass in Saint Brigid's Roman Catholic Church is set to be celebrated 16 September 2007 at 10am. Parishioners are awaiting an 11th hour Vatican appeal to halt the sale of the 117 year-old building which was designated a heritage property in 1981 by the City of Ottawa.

According to a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen, "The archdiocese plans to amalgamate most of St. Brigid's parishioners with Notre-Dame Cathedral. An Irish community group has pledged to buy the property - including the rectory - for $450,000 and transform the building into an Irish-Canadian cultural centre. Patrick McDonald, a spokesman for the prospective owners, said the group would work to address the problem once the sale is finalized - expected later this month."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ottawa Magazine's Summer Fiction Issue

Monday, September 10, 7:30 PM
With readings by Elizabeth Hay, Alan Cumyn, Scott Randall and Jean van Loon
A free event. Donations in support of our free literacy programs welcomed.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Pose, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

2007 Lampman-Scott Award Reading

Arc Poetry Magazine and the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation are proud
to host the 2007 Lampman-Scott Award Reading on Thursday, September 20,
7:00 p.m., at the Beechwood Cemetery Memorial Centre, 280 Beechwood
Avenue. The event is free.

This year marks the merger of the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry
with the Duncan Campbell Scott Foundation and the creation of the new
$1500 annual Lampman-Scott Award. The Lampman-Scott Award recognizes an
outstanding book of English-language poetry by an author living in the
National Capital Region and will be announced at the Ottawa Book Awards
ceremony in October.

Both Lampman and Scott were residents of Ottawa and prominent
Canadian poets during the late 19th century. They are among several
important poets memorialized at Beechwood Cemetery, including the Governor
General’s Award winners Arthur Bourinot and John Newlove. In 2006, Poet’s
Hill was dedicated as a site at Beechwood to honour and inspire the
capital’s rich literary heritage.

The Lampman-Scott Award Reading will feature readings by many of
this year’s nominees. The nominees are:

Sylvia Adams: Sleeping on the Moon (Hagios)
Ronnie R. Brown: Night Echoes (Black Moss)
Terry Ann Carter: Transplanted (Borealis)
Michael Dennis: Arrows of Desire (GeneralStore )
Oni The Haitian Sensation: Ghettostocracy (McGilligan)
Christopher Levenson: Local Time (Stone Flower)
rob mclennan: aubade (Broken Jaw)
rob mclennan: name, and errant (Stride)
Monty Reid: Disappointment Island (Chaudiere)
Grant D. Savage: Their White with Them (Bondi Studios)

Please join us on September 20 to celebrate Ottawa’s past and
present literary achievement. For more information about the reading,
contact Steven Artelle: For more information
about the Lampman-Scott Award visit