The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Arts and Entertainment

vegfest pamelaDr. Pamela Fergusson is a Registered Dietitian with 15 years of experience. She would be speaking at VegFest about changing lives through better nutrition. Photo courtesy of VegFest.

Head down to Calgary VegFest this Saturday for a chance to enjoy an epic one-day festival filled with food trucks, music, a marketplace with over 80 vendors, kids activity games, a chill zone for pet dogs, interactive game activities, a beer garden with local musicians which is family friendly, art installations, and well-known industry speakers talking about a range of topics and social issues which has to do with the way food is produced and consumed.

Festival speakers include Camille Labchuk, one of Canada’s biggest animal rights lawyer who is will be talking about ethics and animal rights. Dr. Pamela Fergusson, a registered dietician with over 15 years of experience and she would be talking about health, wellness and nutrition. Dominick Thompson, a leading name in plant and vegan communities, will be addressing the specialized subject of fitness and masculinity.

Mexie,a popular youtuber whose channel is about issues concerning social/environmental/economic justice and veganism will also be at the Vegfest talking about environmental issues. In addition, Lauren Ornelas, the founder of Food Empowerment Project which is a program that helps to create a more sustainable world, will discuss the topic of food justice.

This event brings the community together by educating the public about veganism and supporting local businesses. VegFest Calgary is a free all day long outdoor festival in which anyone can attend to enjoy an immersive vegan experience and much more.

Attendance is free, however a voluntary donation is always gratefully welcome. Vegest takes place on Saturday, June 15th, from 12-8pm at the Shaw Millennium Park.

babylon film copy copyBabylon film explores London’s torn racial history. Photo Courtesy of Uncarved.

Babylon, a controversial movie directed by Franco Rosso originally produced in 1980 was never released because of its potential to generate racial conflict. This fascinating film, in more ways than one, follows the fictional character “Blue” a reggae DJ who's trying to make ends meet in the racially divided community of South London in the late ‘70s.

Based on real circumstances, Babylon explores the harsh day-to-day racism and xenophobia that black people in South London were forced to constantly confront in the workplace, dealing with police, on the streets, in bars and cafes, at video arcades, on the football fields and even in their own homes. Revealing the social injustice, marginalization, bigotry and the abuse of human rights, the film cuts to the core exposing how black immigrants were devalued and reduced to “jungle bunnies.”

A revolutionary must-watch film that’s genuine and pure tells the truth about the repulse cycle of violence instead of pointing fingers at any person or group. Babylon, deeply rooted in reggae music and soundsystem culture, mirrors the fact that 40 years later not much has changed.

The movie makes its debut in Calgary during the Riddim West Festival at the Plaza Theatre on Thursday, June 6, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10

Snotty Nose Rez Kids perform at Commonwealth on 10th avenue S.W. from MRU Journalism on Vimeo.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids with DJ Kokum made Calgary the first stop at Commonwealth Bar & Stage on their cross-Canada Trapline Tour. The rap artists brought out Indigenous people who are already tuned in with their sound along with a room filled with a mix of backgrounds who were united in moshing, fashion and friendship.

Darren "Young D" Metz and Quinton "Yung Trybez" Nyce from Haisla First Nation, a northern community in B.C., follow in the footsteps doing what A Tribe Called Red did bringing “indigenous folks together and throw a party for them in an unfamiliar place.” That unfamiliar place is a night club, which, until recently was largely void of Indigenous faces.

AE SnottyNoseRezKids Blackhorse1The Snotty Nose Rez Kids along with DJ Kokum perform at Commonwealth Bar and Stage. They played music from their album, Trapline, playing first in Calgary before going cross-Canada. “Energy, Energy, Energy/ drop face first in a mosh pit” chants one of their songs during soundcheck. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

“Ten years ago,” says Nyce, “when I was a kid growing up on our rez there was a lot of abuse when it came to alcohol. But now we're shifting. So you find a lot of Natives coming together around the stuff that we do or some stuff A Tribe Called Red does incorporating powwow into EDM music and bringing people together in club settings.”

Metz’s high pitched raps are fast and furious while Nyce’s deep and raspy vocals pull the weight. They rap over familiar beats such as Jay-Z’s “Ni**as In Paris” and throwback melodies to ‘90s R&B. It’s these instrumentals where they break out from into their own style.

“That's what we’re trying to do,” says Nyce. “Just make positive vibes all the way through.” 

Snotty Nose Rez Kids chant, Skoden, at Commonwealth Bar and Stage in Calgary, Alberta on May 21, 2019. PRODUCER: FLOYD BLACK HORSE from MRU Journalism on Vimeo.

The rappers are known by Young D (Darren Mets) and Yung Trybez (Quinton Nyce) who interacted with the audience, breaking the crowd into a circle for their song, I Can’t Remember My Name, which was one of the night’s breakout anthems. PRODUCER: FLOYD BLACK HORSE from MRU Journalism on Vimeo.

Behind the turntables is Cheyanna Kootenhayoo, a.k.a DJ Kokum, from an Alberta First Nation who is also one of their show’s main acts. Fresh off a trip to Europe were she backed SNRK played two festivals, The Great Escape in Brighton and New School Rules in Rotterdam, Kootenhayoo wowed audiences on and off the stage.

“They hosted a boat cruise for their Canadian artists. I got to dee-jay there and show everyone what was up. It's pretty cool because they all were superhype about it. They didn't expect me because there's all these serious rapper dudes everywhere and there's this girl deejay. And then after I played everyone was like, Whoa!”

The up and rising DJ got her handle from a childhood nickname when friends started calling her Kokum. Initially at odds because of it means grandmother in Cree, Kootenhayoo came around to embracing it because it interpreted in a cool way. “People who don't know what I mean, think it means ‘cooking’. Like ‘cooking beats.’”

Kootenhayoo leans towards play trap, a dance mix about money, cars, girl and drugs that  really popular with crowds and it is a lighter mix in the set.

“I'm an open format dee-jay so I play everything. I play a lot of hip-hop and always throw in some oldies.”

Built into the show was a stunning performance piece which united the crowd. Nyce and Metz cleared the center floor, got everyone on their knees in a circle around them creating a pow-wow rhythm with the group.

They then parted the floor down the center and initiated a back and forth name-calling game.  One side were called Aliens and the other half were called Indians. The performance rocked the room.

AE NativesTokyo Blackhorse7DJ Caylem Simeon of Tsuut'ina nation played and hosted some of the night's musicians with a full access pass to the designers, models, guests, and mayhem that ensued. Luckily, he's one of the best and can handle any crowd no problem. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

Business owners of the jewellery and design company, Indi City, debuted their fashion collections at Paper Street on 8 Ave. S.W. that they will also be presenting in Tokyo on a trade mission. The event featured musicals guests, had a great turn out with all proceeds going to pay for the trip across the Pacific.

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Models wearing colorful Indi City collection with earrings and hats they are bringing to Tokyo.  PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

Angel Aubichon and Alexandra Manitopyes are owners of the Indigenous owned business, Indi City.  By sharing their designs and collaborating with an international market they hope to open new doors for the fashion and design company.

“It's a global exchange. We're stepping off of our home soil and we're seeing how everybody else responds to Indigenous fashion now. Fashion is a really important way to share messages. It's very subtle, so subtle that we can share it with other cultures without it being too in your face. But still giving recognition to the stuff that our ancestors had to go through to be here today so that we could share this art.”

Indi City is doing contemporary Indigenous art by using modern space outside ceremonial grounds to discuss something considered sacred. Designs they use translate into what that means for newer generations. For instance, alphabets from various Indigenous languages are used intricately in the making of beaded jewellery and hats. For Manitopyes, Indigeneity is also about facing cultural appropriation outside their homes.

“In different parts of the world we're portrayed as an extinct culture like we don't exist anymore. We're coming out loud and strong as people like a rising nation showing our art in our designs and very proud. Some confidence that we've been without for generations and now we're bringing it back.”

Manitopyes adds, “We're stepping up and taking the rights to own our designs and our own artistry and sharing it on a global platform. It's exciting.”

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Metis design on a floppy hat make impressions (top); earrings with Indi City logo are part of the jewellery items for sale. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE  

The government agency, Canada Trade Missions provides “opportunities to create export partnerships,” as well as business-to-business transactions benefitting participants. Helping to build global relationships for city businesses makes access to top foreign markets easier.

CEO and owner of Dream PK Modelling Rodrick Rabbitskin recently moved to the city aiming to recruit Indigenous youth from Calgary and begin to expand his operation. With Executive Assistant Nathan Slawinski, the pair were thrilled with the show and the possibilities that exist.

“I just moved from Saskatchewan and came straight for the fashion show. What I'm most looking forward to is gaining so much new beautiful talent from Treaty 7 territory.”

Many who attended the show supported it in different ways. They came to volunteer, model, network and for some, just a good old fashion mingle. Kehiy Eagletail, 18, from the Tsuut’ina reserve outside Calgary, came after seeing an Instagram post that drew him to the event.

“I love seeing my Indigenous people strive to do something with their lives. Indigenizing the society, the fashion industry. It's actually really great.”

AE NativesTokyo Blackhorse2Denalene Manitopyes shares a moment with friends including Autumn Eagle Speaker (third from left), Brandy Sangwais (left from center), Denalene Manitopyes (right from center), and IndiCity's Angel Aubichon (far right). Manitopyes modelled for Indicity's design pieces going to Japan later this summer. Exciting times guys! PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

AE NativesTokyo Blackhorse2Rodrick Rabbitskin (Left) and Nathan Slawinski (Right) run a regional model and talent agency called Dream PK Modelling who were at the show looking to recruit some of Calgary’s talented people who are interested in furthering their careers. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSEAE NativesTokyo Blackhorse5 copyThe social media reach of gathering people together turned out to be a success for the organizers. Out to support the fundraiser, Josie Eagletail (left), Kehiw Eagletail (center) mingling with friends decide it was time for a press photo. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSEAE NativesTokyo Blackhorse2Chas Eagletail (right) wearing blue and white colors for the evening event. Tickets cost thirty dollars at the door. Thanks for popping up for a photo honoring Natives In Tokyo and also for the Calgary Journal. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

Powwow Styles and Native Diva Creations also presented couture at the fundraiser, worn by models on the runway. International music artist, Drezus, was the evening’s highlight followed by up and coming band NDN Family.

NDN Family performed at the end of night for a room filled with people ready to cut loose. Trew Awattsinaaw, also known as T.A., is a group member who defines his genre as pow-wow rap.

“Pretty much we rap about a bunch of Native issues.” T.A. also says, “We make real bouncy music to get other genres into our performances. We want everybody to listen to our music just not N ative people.”

NDN Family includes LB Savage, K Dub C, Styles B and himself.  They are considered the main cast.  What sets this group apart, says T.A., is they are also “a variety of different people from all nations” that make up their group. T.A.’s arm tattoos express his Blackfoot indigeneity.

AE NativesTokyo BlackhorseBrenn Dacity (left) and Trew Awattsinaaw (right) performed part of NDN Family, a hip hop group from Calgary bringing out the dance party after the fashion show for everybody. Great set, one you don't see too often when you get a jingle dress dance spinning through the crowd with whirling regalia. PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE

For owners Aubichon and Manitopyes, they feel presenting their culture is tackling perceptions of who Indigenous people are in North America.

Manitopyes says while a lot of their designs are contemporary, they’re also “bringing back old things but in a new tradition.” In addition, the duo emphasize the importance of oral history.

“Everything we do is rooted in story, oral teachings. That's deep rooted. It's a visual of the oral stories is what it is. And our understanding and our interpretation of those oral stories and traditions.”

The fundraiser is already in partnership with Indig Inc. whose Indigenous marketplace highlights stories for Indigenous artisans and small business sellers. The trade mission is set for the summer of 2019.

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Paper St. marks the site of all the action.  The restaurant is on 8th ave S.W. serving streetstyle food such as tacos, steak and burgers.  PHOTO: FLOYD BLACK HORSE