George Bernard Shaw Brevities of Social Criticism Walking Tour

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The Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) has claimed responsibility for an intervention in the Ontario town best known as the home of the Shaw Festival. Members of NAC have painted neatly stenciled text onto the sidewalks of Niagara-on-the-Lake to create a walking tour punctuated with ten social criticisms attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

The quotations, each only a few sentences in length, combine to make the George Bernard Shaw Brevities of Social Criticism Walking Tour and they express Shaw’s conviction that a fairer and more equitable society is possible. They were painted on the sidewalks by visual artists in the approved heritage colours of Niagara-on-the-Lake in an attempt to stir visitors into reflecting on today’s social and economic issues. As well, the walking tour reconsiders the role that art plays in forcing us to engage us with these issues and preventing us from sidestepping them. In the critical, irreverent, and impudent spirit of Shaw, the walking tour is presented in a way that shows the impatience Shaw would likely have had with many of the bourgeois niceties of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

There are ten quotes on the George Bernard Shaw Brevities of Social Criticism Walking Tour which makes its way from Shaw’s Festival Theatre down Queen and Picton Streets and past the Festival’s Court House and Royal George theatres.

It’s estimated that the latex paint will remain on the sidewalk for about eight to twelve weeks before it wears away on its own from weather and pedestrian traffic

Ten quotes on the George Bernard Shaw Brevities of Social Criticism Walking Tour:

  1. There is no future for men, however brimming with crude vitality, who are neither intelligent nor politically educated enough to be Socialists.
  2. Gambling performs for the poor what property performs for the rich. Something for nothing.
  3. Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the Rich is Uselessness.
  4. A gentleman of our days is one who has money enough to do what every fool would do if he could afford it: that is, consume without producing.
  5. All who achieve real distinction in life begin as revolutionists. The most distinguished persons become more revolutionary as they grow older.
  6. Man is the only animal which esteems itself rich in proportion to the number of and voracity of its parasites.
  7. Most of the fashionable pleasures are too miserable to bear thinking about. That is why intellect is so unpopular.
  8. We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it, than to consume wealth without producing it.
  9. In Hell there is no hope, and consequently no duty, no work, nothing to be gained by praying, nothing to be lost by doing what you like. Hell, in short, being a place where you have nothing to do but amuse yourself, is the paradise of the worthless.
  10. The worst sin towards our fellow-creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity.

NAC Movie Club

The NAC Movie Club
Spring 2012

Over our more than forty years, NAC has consistently presented film. Typically we present one-off screenings or a short series programmed around a theme. Most often, we’ve presented documentaries and we almost always include a Q&A with one of the film’s creators or a discussion led by an expert on the subject. We will continue this type of film programming, but the NAC Movie Club is going to be a bit different.

As downtown St. Catharines prepares for the arrival of the Performing Arts Centre and the 180 seat film house that will be a part of it, the board and staff at NAC thought we should devote some energy to nurturing the community of local film enthusiasts. There are many organizations doing good work in this regard already — The Brock University Film Society, Cinéfest Niagara, The Shaw Festival Film Series — come to mind, but as we all know, we’re starved for cinema experiences in Niagara and there’s an ever expanding feast of film out there. So NAC is going to serve up some cinematic fare of our own.

To build cohesion in the film community we’ve decided to form a club within the NAC collective, the unoriginally yet aptly titled, NAC Movie Club. To join you must be a NAC member in good-standing. It costs $25 to sign on to the movie club and in exchange you’ll get special email notices of the screenings and free popcorn. Club members will also enjoy improved presentation facilities with the newly designed audio and video system installed thanks to the efforts of NAC member Gavin Fearon. If you’re interested in joining email with MOVIE CLUB in the subject line and we’ll set you up to join the club.

We’ve put together this spring series, check it out, maybe we’ll see you out.

The Sister Act Project

The Sister Act Project
Film Screening and Performance
Wednesday 29 February, 8pm
In the Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC

Neil on the Sister Act Project:

I’ve been watching Sister Act (1992, directed by Emile Ardolino, starring Whoopi Goldberg) once every day for the month of February. It is the only television, internet, or movie entertainment I’ve been experiencing. The project culminates with a screening at NAC on Wednesday 29 February where you can join me in watching Sister Act for the last time.

This is fan art at its highest level. Well, this is fan art at some level.

The intention is to spend a month reflecting on my mindless consumption of media and my fascination with religion. I grew up in a world where limitations on consumption were relaxed and my relationship to religion could be described as a cafeteria shopper. Basically, my relationship to things I watch and religious gestures were always very shallow.

I am taking a month to reflect on these two things. I often say to people that I am not religious and I don’t tend to enjoy movies. Yet, I still keep the bible next to my bed and watch movies frequently. I love some movies and Sister Act is one of them.

Maybe my intention was to drive myself crazy or maybe my intention was to punish myself. Maybe it was to have something bizarre to talk to strangers about in bars. I had a vague idea and I wanted to run with it. I wanted to be able to write about it and by the end have a more in-depth understanding of myself.

Please join me for my final viewing of Sister Act at NAC.

Bless You All,
Sister Mary of Niagara (Neil LaPierre)

Neil LaPierre’s blog about the Sister Act Project:

Lost + Found: Photographs of the Rolling Stones

Lost & Found | Photographs of the Rolling Stones
By NAC Member Denis Cahill

Saturday 15 October at 7pm
Featuring a live performance by Attic Daddy

Rolling Stones film screenings on Friday 14 October at 8pm

Lost & Found is a series of previously unseen photographs of the Rolling Stones taken in April of 1965. Denis Cahill was in a Montreal hotel room with his camera when the English language TV station CFCF interviewed the Stones. It was their first North American tour with Canadian dates in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and London before heading to New York City for rehearsals for the Ed Sullivan Show.

In conjunction with this exhibit, NAC is presenting a screening of Stones films on Friday night. It’ll include the CFCF interview, Charlie is My Darling (a documentary of the 65 Stones tour of Ireland), and CS Blues (a documentary of the 72 Stones tour).