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Capturing the wild and free

Creative 5 Eclectic is an open mind night for... well, anybody!

Whistler is missing the beatnik scene. Well, everybody's missing the beatnik scene because beatniks don't really exist anymore, save for retro art students haunting Berlin coffee shops. But Whistler is not Berlin and we have no beatniks.

But we're starving for something exciting, free and experimental, where weird artists can express themselves in dynamic and dangerous ways, propelling art, Art or "art" in unexpected directions. Whistler, for all its wonders, tends toward snowboard photography, and that's not the same thing at all.

So Stephen Vogler, writer, local historian, one of the many Whistler weirdoes, had an idea - why not have a cabaret-style evening evoking the Gerrard Street Village coffee houses of yore, where anybody and everybody can stand up and have at the whole creativity trip? Whatever comes up is "It", man. Pure spontaneity if you want it. Art for the Moment. He's called it the Creative 5 Eclectic and it's an open mic night for all types of artists: writers, poets, comedians, ranters, painters, actors, musicians, dancers and any combination there of.

"It's really a grand experiment to see what Whistler's creative artists have to offer," Vogler says.

"It seemed timely now for something like this because the arts community is really getting quite vibrant. I really liked the idea of the interdisciplinary aspect, where you start getting different artists working together and trading ideas."

Vogler had participated in open mic poetry readings at Phil's Lounge but that was years ago now. That lounge is now the Fitzsimmons Pub and much of the experimentalism Whistler had harboured in those days has been mostly diluted by corporate sponsorship of art exhibits.

But while the town's creative scene may have sagged for a period, Vogler has noticed revitalization in the arts community. This was a way for him to wrangle all these personalities into one place.

As part of the Point's centre for artists, Vogler noticed a desire in the community for more free expression and collaboration in a public forum. He says that while the Point will eventually become Ground Zero for this type performance and collaboration, the Creative 5 Eclectic acts as a precursor of sorts to how Whistler's arts community will hopefully function in the coming decade.

"It feels like a new idea," he says.

"I have a feeling there are some awesome spoken word poets, some stand-up comics perhaps, but I don't really know. I hope that it pulls out a lot of those people that are doing something interesting and worthy of sharing and go from there.

Vogler will be hosting the event, as well as performing songs and poems alongside Rajan Das on stand-up bass. Also featured are visual artist and sculptor Christina Nick and musician Trish Jamieson. And, of course, anyone else who decides to stand up and let expression fly.

Vogler said it "should be fun and entertaining" for everyone, audience and artists alike, and everyone should hold him to that. If it's not, we'll have to string him upside down by his toes and tickle him until he bleeds from his nostrils because Whistler could use some variety.