My experience of this year's THIN AIR, Winnipeg International Writers Festival will be incredibly tangled.
I'm going to be reading at the festival for the first time, which I'm OVER the MOON about. I've got a contract to run their blog, now in its fourth year. And I'm working at Aqua Books, which is hosting events for the fest for the third year in a row.
Basically, I won't know who I'm working for - the fest, Kelly, or myself.
But this Friday, I'll be appearing on Kelly Hughes Live! as part of his annual THIN AIR preview.
For those of you not-from-Winnipeg, KHL! is a live talk show that bookstore owner Kelly Hughes does most Friday nights. He has guests, he has a band, he even does a monologue.
People like it. He likes it. And it bleeds off some of his excess did-I-mention-I-used-to-ACT energy, which believe me, is a good thing. (Fewer showtunes while I'm at work for one...)
I was reluctant to appear on the show because goddamn it, I work there and everyone knows it. Also, working there is all Kelly Hughes Live all the time.
Also, when I attend regular events at Aqua that Kelly is hosting, I tend to heckle him voraciously. And vice versa. So it might be ridiculous.
But Kelly asked nicely and the festival asked nicely and so I'm doing it.
It'll either be an EPIC meeting of banter or chairs will fly.
* * *
Kelly Hughes Live! Into THIN AIR I
Host Kelly Hughes interviews writers Charlene Diehl, Ariel Gordon and Jordan Wheeler, with music by classical guitarist Skender Sefa
Winnipeg's only live talk show, Kelly Hughes Live! brings you all the trappings you've come to expect from the television talk show: comedy, music and celebrities.
The only difference is that (with the exception of a few ringers like Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald and Hugo-nominated writer Nick DiChario), it's all local heroes.
Guests like Tina Keeper, Fred Penner, Al Simmons, Brian Glow, Margaret Sweatman and Robert Enright have been joined onstage by the likes of stellar Winnipeg musicians The Paperbacks, Todd Hunter, Ingrid Gatin and Rollin Penner and the Traveling Medicine Show.
(But it's not like TV in that you will have to leave your house.) It's the TV talk show without the TV.
Charlene Diehl is possibly best known in these parts as the brightly plumaged dynamo at the hub of the THIN AIR writers festival. But she is also a hard-working poet, and the author of the new book, Out of Grief, Singing.
Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg-based writer and editor. She has two chapbooks to her credit, The navel gaze (Palimpsest Press, 2008) and Guidelines: Malaysia & Indonesia, 1999 (Rubicon Press, 2009) and this spring, Palimpsest published her first full-length poetry collection, Hump. She is the 2010 recipient of the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Writer. When not being bookish, Ariel likes tromping through the woods and taking macro photographs of mushrooms.
From the Charles Gordon First Nation (Southern Plains Cree), Jordan Wheeler has been writing professionally since 1982 and working in film and television since 1984. An author (Brothers In Arms, Just A Walk) and columnist (Winnipeg Free Press, Weetamah), Wheeler’s focus since 1992 has been scriptwriting, story editing and show running for television drama including the award winning series North of 60, The Rez and renegadepress.com. He’s been nominated for numerous awards including three Geminis. He won one, but still smarts at losing to Paul Haggis in ’94.
Skender Sefa is a professional classical guitarist with four full length classical guitar CDs on the GFI Masterworks, Uncontrollable Records and Marquis Record Labels. He teaches classical guitar performance and music theory at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts and is a Director of the Winnipeg Music Festival and the President of the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society. In recognition of his career in classical guitar performance, Skender has received awards from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Manitoba Arts Council. In addition to performing, teaching and recording, Skender is an active music adjudicator/clinician.