Wayward Artists

April 21st, 2019

Buona Pasqua!


April 20th, 2019

How It Appears Depends on Where You Stand

Oh my, first post of the new year, and April is nearly over! No aplogies, aside from a little teaching/coaching, I've been taking it easy on the performing arts front. And since the beginning of April, I have been in Italy!

I will get around to singularizing the domain name, but for now I want to add some new content from the wayward artist abroad. This is my first video that involved any degree of editing. There was a bit of learning curve, it took some getting up to speed but I'm hoping to be able to turn out video more swiftly.

I would say that I think video is the future, except that it is the present and has been for most people for a long time. One hesitates to say that theatre is dead, since people have been saying that since the earliest days of cinema, and yet theatre persists. What is different now, however, is that the cost of entry to video has dropped to essentially nothing.

I've been staying in Novara, a lovely town with this rather cool basilica that was built on the highest land in the town to be seen from miles around. The only problem is that other buildings crowd round it, obscuring it. In the 19th century a very tall cupula was added, a veritable arm waving, indicating "Here I am!"

And here it is.


December 7th, 2018

Subscribe To No Ism

The Wayward About page attempts to outline Wayward values, starting with, "It is a perpetual work in progress, beams exposed. It subscribes to no ism."

Wayward Artists should be singular these days, mostly just me, Deimon Slagg. Back when I was setting down what it should be about, it didn't occur to me to include anything about equal opportunity for all, or the importance of freedom of speech, perhaps because I'm a child of the sixties and these principles are part of my bones from my mother's milk. It seems to me that those battles were fought and won back when I was a tot barely aware of the seismic social changes going on around me, so we don't need to say any more about them. Done deal.

The other day I get this email:

2018-12-05.  I need a big favour from you guys.  The AMF has given me another hoop to jump through to get our grant.  They need me to get the whole cast to sign the attached Statutory Declaration by this Friday.

It came out of the blue and it's pretty frustrating that CAVCO numbers won't suffice.

The one concession they are giving us is that it DOES NOT need to be signed by a commissioner of oaths, we simply need your signature, to write in your info and check the lines that apply to you.

Sorry for the short amount of time to do this but I really appreciate the help!

If you could send it to Shaun Donnelly at xxxxxxxxxx by Friday I'd be very grateful :) Hope all is well!

I was very grateful to Jarvis for the opportunity to act in his film, John, 316. I set out to attend to this immediately. I open up the attached form.

____ I am a resident of the Province of Alberta, and/or
____ I self-identify as female, gender non-conforming, a visible minority, a member of an Indigenous group and/or a person with disabilities.

It took me a couple of moments to figure out the second clause. It seemed related to the progressive privilege stack of social justice ideology, so much so, I just assumed inclusion of gay men, but on further examination, it appears they have been dropped from the stack.

If you had to neatly summarize the second check box, it would reduce to:
I am not a white male.

So basically, a production in Alberta can get support from the Alberta Media Fund provided the only white men it employs are from the province of Alberta. The production can employ anyone else in the world, so long as they are not white men.

It also raises issues of privacy, because they are asking for information they don't need to know and have no business asking for.

Why do they need to know your intersectional status, unless it is to discriminate, that is to say, to make distinctions based on race, gender, or other intersectionally recognised group determiners. Though in this case, the distinction is pretty damn specific: white men and everyone else.

Principles apply to everyone. When you try to fudge a principle by saying it applies to these people but not to those, the principle is reduced to a prejudice.

As I mentioned, I erroneously assumed gay men were still part of the stack, so I replied

2018-12-05.  I find this really difficult, as the second clause is racist and sexist, discriminatory against straight white men.  I know in some circles, such discrimination is acceptable, it it isn't for me.

My initial inclination was simply not to sign it, but I appreciate you're looking recoup costs on production and may not share in a hateful philosophy which uses 'diversity' as a euphemism for race and gender quotas, and are merely trying to make back some money on cost of production.  So for the purposes of this exercise and as a form of protest, I self identify as a hobbit female from Middle Earth.

Alternatively, I'm happy to sign a residency form which does not have the discriminatory race and gender clause.

Sorry to be a pain in the butt, but this is some serious racist, sexist bullshit for which my tolerance levels are extremely low.

Jarvis was sympathetic, but I got the feeling he was disappointed that I hadn't checked the residency field, so I came up with another option: remove all the discriminatory material from the form thus turning it into an inoffensive residency confirmation form.

In the meantime, I get the following from Shaun who I believe is handling the paper work.

2018-12-05. This is a required document from the Alberta Media Fund and must be signed in the same name you signed your contract and are credited on screen.  It is now a requirement of all AMF funded projects.  Refusal to fill it out properly will result in you not counting as Alberta spend and likely not being cast very often. Up to you.

As if I would want to work on productions which discriminate against people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other stupid reason for discriminating against a person.

2018-12-05. Thanks, Shaun;

I'm not interested in being cast in racist productions or productions supported by racists.

I believe my contract is under Eric Pettifor, but I had asked that I be credited as Deimon Slagg.  My name has been legally changed to Deimon Slagg and I prefer not to be dead named.

I'm attaching a second option for residency with racist/sexist clause removed.



To which Shaun replies

2018-12-05.  I have never known Jarvis to be racist or sexist but I will make sure everyone knows your concerns so they can avoid these issues with you in future.

I hadn't read the end of Shaun's previous message as a threat, but now I'm hearing a Monty Python mob voice in my head saying "nice little career you got going here, guv, shame if anything bad was to happen to it."

2018-12-05. Thanks, Shaun, and I've printed out your threat in order to have it on record even if my hard drives dies.

Deimon, it's either "hard drive dies" or "hard drives die", you can't have that many 's's. Clearly Shaun has me rattled.

But then I get this from Shaun:

2018-12-05.  What threat?  You said you didn't want to be involved in productions that require you to sign a statutory declaration so I have let the AMF know your concerns.  Producers will need to budget accordingly if they cast you.  I happen to agree that the clause is ridiculous (although probably not for the reason you do) but in Alberta it's very difficult to produce anything without AMF involvement.  As producers if we take their money we have to follow their rules whether we agree with them or not.

What threat indeed! Silly me. I certainly accept what Shaun wrote at face value, and have thanked them for the clarification (I'm using plural pronoun to avoid misgendering). But it is interesting that in spite of having my best interests at heart, as well as the best interests of producers, that I could feel as though my livelihood was being threatened.

And I should have clarified myself that I don't regard Jarvis as a racist or a sexist, of course not. He's made a movie, it cost money, he needs to recoup the cost, so he is compelled to bend the knee to the ideology. As Shaun says, "As producers if we take their money we have to follow their rules whether we agree with them or not."

Shaun and Jarvis aren't the baddies -- never castigate someone for telling the truth. Shaun isn't threatening me, they're just telling it like it is: bend the knee to the ideology, or your prospects for employment will be jeopardized.

I feel a cold wind blow over me from the past. Can you think of an authoritarian regime from history which demanded people publicly declare for an ideology (even if they didn't believe in it), or else they couldn't work (or worse)? Maybe you can think of more than one such regime. Maybe you recall a time and place where people were black listed because authority didn't like how they thought or expressed themselves.

Emails above are quoted verbatim with only contact info redacted. I know you can google, but I would prefer Jarvis and Shaun be left alone; as I said, they're not the villains of the piece.

If you want to do something in relation to this, and you live in Alberta, write to your MLA (Find your MLA), as well as to Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Mirando, and to Culture and Tourism Critic Ron Orr.

I suggest we encourage our politicians to hit the ideologues where they want to hit us, in the wallet. Any arts organization which serves primarily as a means of promoting an ideology should not receive government funding. All of our arts organizations should be apolitical and serve the people without prejudice or discrimination.

For those outside Alberta (and more broadly), please consider carefully before voting for any left or centre-left party which has not disavowed social justice ideology.

Our society moved forward by huge leaps as a result of the principles at the foundation of the civil rights and women's liberation movements, principles of equality of opportunity and freedom of expression. We should oppose anyone who would turn these principles to prejudices. We should resist being dragged backwards to a darker time when it was ok to treat individuals differently because of their race or gender.

ADDENDUM 2019-01-09
I fired off a summary of this article (with link to it) to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, his counterpart in the opposition, and to the MLA who nominally represents me.

I got a response from Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Mirando on January 3rd saying that they are going to change the form. No response so far from the opposition critic or my MLA.

Dear Deimon Slagg:

Thank you for your email of December 8, 2018, regarding the Alberta Media Fund’s Statutory Declaration Form. I am pleased to provide you with the following information.

The Screen-Based Production Grant (SPG) is designed to provide funds to cover Alberta costs only, including labour costs. To ensure productions are following this requirement, we ask applicants to submit Alberta Residency Declarations for each Alberta worker they are claiming.

Additionally, the SPG offers a one per cent bonus to productions that demonstrate the inclusion of individuals that self-identify as females or members of an under‑represented or marginalized group. This is to encourage the hiring of diverse and under‑represented groups in the film and television industry. These types of initiatives are critical as part of our government’s commitment to making life better for Albertans and ensuring our province is diverse and inclusive.

The form you referred to included a question targeting both Alberta residency and the inclusion bonus. While the two were not related, I do appreciate your concerns. I am pleased to inform you that, as of November 2018, the question regarding personal identity has been removed from the Alberta Residency Declaration forms, as the program now provides an additional one per cent funding bonus to those applicants who can demonstrate corporate policies and/or practices for diversity and inclusion of marginalized or under-represented people or groups.

Thank you again for writing to share your comments.

Best regards,

Ricardo Miranda

Minister of Culture and Tourism

To which I replied:

Thank you, sir.  These things should never have been conflated in the first place, but I am glad you have corrected the situation. In the 21st century people shouldn`t feel pressured into conforming to the ruling party`s ideology if they want to work.  Likewise favouring some over others because of skin colour or gender is something best left in that darker time.  Governments especially should serve all of the people and not discriminate.  They should be exemplars of principle.  A party that cannot live up to that should not be in power.

Deimon Slagg

And done and done, I thought. But I hadn't anticipated that the good people at Alberta Culture and Tourism would be so thoughtful as to put me on their mailing list.

Check out this event announcement:

Dear Deimon Slagg;

In January 2019, the Government of Alberta is celebrating the inaugural Month of the Artist.  You are invited to join us for a panel discussion on January 23 in the theatre at Glenbow Museum at 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

The discuussion will feature the following artists:

-- Clare Preuss, Artistic Director, Downstage Theatre (moderator)
-- Aritha Van Herk, Literary Artist and Faculty ad the University of Calgary
-- Chris Hsiung, Documentary Filmmaker and President of Hidden Story Productions
-- Su Ying Strang, Director of the New Gallery, Calgary
-- Michele Decottingnies, Founder and Co-Chair, Calgary Collective for Equity and Diversity in the Arts
-- Dwight Farahat, Community Arts Facilitator, Antyx Community Arts,Refreshed

Participants will discuss the nature of the work in their unique artistic disciplines, their experiences in their field, and the challenges and opportunities of being an artist in Albert.  Following the panel's discussion, there will be an open question period for the audience.

This event is free but space is limited so please RSVP via Eventbrite.

The Glenbow Museum is located at 130 - 9 Avenue S.E.  The theatre and washrooms are wheelchair accessible and ASL interpretation will be provided during the event.  Light refreshments will be provided.

There are many events featuring the work of artists throughout this month.  This panel discussion is an opportunityto promote dialogue about the experiences of artists in Alberta.

We hope to see you there!

-- Culture and Tourism Arts Branch

They're certainly true to their ideology, aren't they: not a single white guy on the panel (even though they represent over a third of the population), but they made sure to have a papered social justice ideologue included!

People who use a term like 'inclusivity' as a euphemism for 'everyone except white guys', or who use 'diversity' to mean 'race quotas' shouldn't be allowed in positions of power or influence. They shouldn't be elected to government. Or re-elected.

Even if you're an old school lefty like me who believes in actual diversity of thought and culture, and in freedom of expression, of facts over feelings, of principle not prejudice, you might want to consider resisting this new left even to the extent of voting conservative. I honestly believe that they are less dangerous than this new left, since they believe in dialogue (you can't have that fully without freedom of speech), and they know where the line that you do not cross is: Extremism, even on one's own side, shouldn't be allowed anywhere near actual power.