Black's cancels long-running jam night 

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Kostaman's long-running Wednesday jam nights at Black's have been cancelled, much to the chagrin of local muscians, including Kostaman. Black's manager says the pub is moving toward a different format where musicians will be paid for their performances. Photo by Joern Rohde/joernrohde.com

The long running and much-beloved jam nights at Black's Gastropub have been cancelled.

After 10 years, the Wednesday jam session had become a cornerstone of Whistler's music scene and the cancellation comes to the chagrin of some local musicians.

"We've been there for 10 years!" says local reggae musician Kostaman, who hosted the jam session every week. "For a reason that is beyond my understanding, he has decided that it (the jam session) is done."

The "he" in question is Black's general manager (and former councillor) Chris Quinlan. He says the cancellation has come after a management decision to move toward a format that will feature paid performers through a "live Wednesday night music program."

"As we move toward our new gastro-pub format, we wanted to be able to say, 'Listen, we want to have some quality paid entertainers here," Quinlan says, noting that the pub will be holding auditions to find talent.

"It's an opportunity for some local musicians to get some paid gigs," he says. "Ten years of the jam have obviously developed a lot of local musicians. You saw Rachel (Thom) come up through it and Sean Rose was part of the program. These guys end up playing for regular paid gigs so we thought of we could pay people for some professional entertainment, we'd rather do that."

Kostaman, meanwhile, says he will take his jam night to "the neighbours." He says the Longhorn Saloon has expressed serious interest in hosting the event on Wednesday nights.

The Gibbons Hospitality Group, which owns the Longhorn, may also hire him to host jam sessions in all their venues throughout Whistler.

"Without even thinking about it, they (Longhorn managers) said, 'Yes!'" Kostaman says, adding that details are now being finalized.

In the meantime, Kostaman hosts the Sunday Jam Session at the Crystal Lounge every week.

Ali Milner picked for PEAK Performance Project

Whistler's favourite redhead has been chosen for yet another high-profile music competition.

Less than a year after her impressive bid on CBC's Cover Me Canada, Ali Milner will take part in the PEAK Performance Project this summer, a "professional development program" to help emerging artists make careers in the industry organized by 100.5 the PEAK in Vancouver,

The competition begins July 1 and will include a series of showcases, as well as the PEAK Performance Project Boot Camp, a week-long program that includes training in stage performance, songwriting, online and traditional publicity, marketing, tour planning and other facets of the music business.

Twenty B.C.-based artists have been chosen for the 2012 competition, with the winners picked in part by online voting in October. First-place prize winners receive $100,500, while second and third place prize winners receive $75,000 and $50,000. The top three PEAK PP artists will be announced at a special concert at the Commodore Ballroom on Nov. 22.

Past winners have included The Matinee, Current Swell, Kyprios, Said the Whale and We Are the City.

Check back with Pique for what will probably become frequent updates on Ali Milner. Yes, we love her. No, we're not in love.

The Point offers writing course

Whistler loves its writers. It's true. It's a good place to be a writer — even if you can hardly afford a red pepper. But who needs peppers when you have a healthy support network, right?

A crucial component of that network, Rebecca Wood Barrett, is now offering her services through The Point Artist-Run Centre Society in a six-week creative writing course, Feeding the Seed.The $120 course, which begins June 25, will offer new writers the chance to develop their writer's voice through weekly exercises.

Assignments will be workshopped while weekly lectures and roundtable discussions will offer more insight into how to develop ideas. Visit www.the pointartists.com for more info.

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