New Forum literary festival taking place at Loft 112

A variety of art and literary events taking place throughout the month

Examples of the artform known as Exquisite Corpses on display at Loft 112 in Calgary on Monday, May 30, 2022. The art form has different artists work on a single piece, typically in thirds, not knowing what each artist will produce. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Sublime, surreal, and maybe a little crass –depending on your point of view—the New Forum Magazine Festival is back this June.

Taking place from June 3 through 24, the literary festival is celebrating the art and experiences that would normally be put into an issue of New Forum.

“We love bringing people together, and we love showcasing Calgary writers and artists and songwriters,” said Lisa Murphy Lamb, director for Loft 112.

“To be able to at least hire and open the doors and promote is really what Loft 112 is all about. It’s to bring people together and to sit in the richness of Calgary’s creative community is what we are all about. It’s what Loft 112 is for.”

Among the events planned are a pair of art shows, readings from New Forum Magazine, a round-table discussion, and a musical performance by singer-songwriter Elle McAndrews.

Loft 112 is also giving away a pair of tickets to Mira Black’s sold out performance on June 11.

Cadavers, curated curiosities, and the ‘C word’

Starting on June 3, the gallery will be presenting for the second year Cadavre Exquis. Translated into English, the exquisite cadaver is a collective art form that requires a leap of faith on the part of contributors.

Each artist independently produces a part of the work, typically a top, middle, and bottom section, without knowing what the others have created.

Last year, the art display was province wide, but Loft 112 has limited it to Calgary artists this year.

“At the end, all is revealed to the group, and so it’s quite intuitive, a leap of faith, and then you see what happens,” said Lamb.

Lacey Shurmer is participating in the showing for the second time with artists Karen Yuen and Craig Moser. The trio formed an art collective in 2021 as a result of their work in that first show.

“It’s very special to us, Loft 112, and what it’s done in terms of us building a little group,” she said.

“It’s so fun to just put things out there and then see how they connect.”

Each of the 18 works on display can be purchased by the public at the end of the show for $300.

One of the works of art will also be selected to appear as the cover for the next issue of New Forum.

Exploring a difficult and often taboo topic

Vivian Hansen, one of the original contributors to the original Forum Magazine, will be doing a workshop on reclaiming the “C word” on June 7.

Forum Magazine ran from the 1988 to 2000 as one of Calgary’s premiere feminist publications.

The idea is to lead a group in discussing the history of the C word, and then leading a writing workshop around its use.

“It’s the whole idea of women reclaiming the word c—t, and using it in a positive, beautiful, poetic way through writing,” said Lamb.

She said that the event would be completely gender inclusive, and open to everyone to participate.

“Absolutely gender inclusive, because we want to know, when somebody hurls the word at you ‘don’t be such a C word,’ we want to explore what does that mean? Is that an insult to be a C word? Or are you talking about, you know, warmth, depth and complexity?”

Tickets for the workshop are $15 each, and seats are limited to 15 people total.

Readings and music

Writers Jenessa Blanchet, Tasnuva Hayden, and Sarah Micho will be doing readings from their works that were published in issues two and three of New Forum.

Lamb said that she wanted to highlight the works written by authors during the pandemic. Which, she said, was a “lousy time to get your writing out there.”

Those readings will take place on June 12 at 1 pm.

Elle McAndrews will also be performing on June 17 at 7 pm. Tickets for that show are $15 each. Space is limited to just 30 people.

“We really want to welcome music back into our space,” said Lamb. But she said, the gallery wanted to make sure that people aren’t feeling crowded or uncomfortable as the pandemic continues.

Visitors to the gallery will also have one final chance to check out the third edition of the Boxed Stories Gallery. The closing event for that show ends on June 24.

The works, each housed in a drawer, offers viewers unique artistic experiences that encourages tactile examination.

“So this is the last month to see this collection of 30 drawers, and it’s outstanding,” said Lamb.

“I actually recommend that people come twice at least this month, because you can’t sit through the whole drawer in one sitting, unless you’re super dedicated. Because there’s some really thoughtful drawers in there that take a fair bit of time to go through.”

For more details on the New Forum Magazine festival, see Loft 112’s website at www.loft112.org.

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