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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

July 24, 2003
 Student View

What to do on Poor Avenue

Free, or ridiculously close to free, is all I can afford these days. Like so many of you, I am living off student loans and they really don’t give us much money. With beer prices what they are, cover charges at every other bar, movie tickets being near on 10 bucks a pop and restaurants conspiring to eat up all our money – unless you’re talking McDonald’s, and let’s not – how are we supposed to have fun “until daddy takes the T-bird away?” Mind you, I don’t have a T-bird.

We’d probably all like a trip on the Scademia, go whale watching, see the bird islands or experience a sea kayaking adventure but there just never seems to be enough money to do these touristy things. However, there are many cool things to do in St. John’s, even if you’re broke. I had some time, what with being penniless and all, so I took it upon myself to have a little look-see for amusing events in the city.

One of the bigger activities scheduled for this summer is the upcoming Festival 5. This 10-day celebration of the arts, which started July 20, includes participants (both local and imported) from five artistic disciplines: theatre, dance, visual arts, music and literature. Performances will be indoors, outdoors, morning, noon and night, and, to make a good thing even better, all daytime shows are free with the evening ones being relatively cheap. If you’re interested in art at all you should check this out. While surfing the Web I read about some of the talent involved in the festival: from a modern musical performer who’s described as “a one-man rhythmic ballyhoo,” to a theatre production dealing with “humiliation, videos, kinky sex, a Dictaphone and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.” There’s something for everyone.

In addition to the festival’s live acts, the LSPU hall will fill every nook and cranny (of which they have plenty) with art. This exhibition, called Images of Us, will cover the gamut of visual art: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, etc.

If you appreciate good, free fun then I urge you to gather some friends and explore the Contemporary Visual Festival, sponsored by Eastern Edge Gallery. This summer a collection of local artists will donate their work for a city-wide exhibition with a twist. No gallery. You find the art yourself. Just drop by the EEG, pick up a map and stalk the streets, storefronts and hidden places to experience the finest of local artistic talent.

And it doesn’t end there. The Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador (that’s the one in the Arts and Culture Centre) will display the work of emerging artists in a show called Thresholds from June 27 until Aug. 29. As well, the Botanical Gardens presents its Garden and Nature Art Exhibition until Aug. 3. I was at the opening of this one and there are some amazing pieces. You won’t regret having a look.

Newfoundlanders are exceptional dancers. If you don't believe me (and you probably shouldn't have such blind faith in one man), witness it for yourself at the Summer Dance Festival. It’s held every year in Pippy Park next to the Fluvarium and it’s been great in the past. It’s free, of course, and this year starts at noon and goes till 6 p.m. on Aug. 9-10 and features both professional and amateur, folk, ethnic, classical ballet and modern dance. There are many other opportunities to see fantastic dancers, for example, I’ll again draw your attention to Festival 5, which designates its first three days to dance performance.

If music is your thing then you want to go to the Ship Inn on Wednesday nights for folk night, run by the St. John's Folk Arts Council who, consequently, put off that big folk festival every year. The folk night is just five bucks at the door and you’ll get to hear some of the best traditional musicians in town and have a good time with great people. But if folk music’s not your cup of tea, stop by Bannerman Park on Aug. 16-17 for Peace-a-Chord 2003. It’s always a rocking good time with plenty of live local and “come-from-away” performances. You can let your hair down, dance in the grass and party for two days with your friends.

For more information on any of these events or countless others see:

I’m almost done, but before go I must remind you that every year, for as long as I can remember – as long as anyone I know can remember – on the first Wednesday of August (weather permitting, of course) this whole city takes a holiday. No great hero died on this day; it’s just a day to party. And we all know how to party around here. Don’t forget to go down to Quidi Vidi Lake, eat some hotdogs, play a few games, listen to the band and watch North America’s oldest sporting event, the Regatta.

You see; it’s not so bad. Being poor isn’t the end of the world. There’s lots to do and fun to be had; therefore, being broke is no excuse to stay home watching those annoying ASN movies and eating stale potato chips while wishing you could be out with your friends.





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Next issue: August 7, 2003

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