In an effort to continue pursuing my interest in both mountaineering and visual arts, I recently had a great pleasure of making this story for What Weekly Magazine about Renan Ozturk, an accomplished expedition climber, landscape artist and filmmaker. To showcase the wide variety of Renan's artistic work mediums and projects, I interviewed the artist ahead of the Sundance Film Festival award night, where his Meru Film won the Audience Award for Best U.S. Documentary. In creative partnership with photographer Isaiah Williams we were able to capture exclusive portrait photographs in the setting of nearby Gallery MAR where Renan had a rare exhibition of his original artwork.

 

Today, the award-winning documentary film Meru finally celebrates its official nation-wide release across the United States. It was an honour to brush shoulders with some of the filmmakers and follow all the exciting developments from the film premiere during Sundance Film Festival, to its limited showing at the San Francisco Film Festival, and to this day! The film hits New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and Boulder on August 14. Film goers in Baltimore and San Francisco, should mark August 21 on their calendars to catch the film opening at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and The Charles Theater, respectively. Although most Canadian viewers will have to wait until wider release dates, Albertans will have an opportunity to see the film at the Banff Centre Eric Harvie Theatre on October 31.

 

Meru is an excellent example of what personal passion and high-altitude determination can achieve. Big congratulations to Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk and their support teams on a truly impressive alpine and filmmaking achievement! Believe in the impossible!

Visit the film's official website for a complete list of theaters: http://www.merufilm.com/theaters

 


    San Francisco mountain film buffs enjoyed a limited screening of the film

during the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival in May.

Our added challenge was to try to bring the in-depth article to life through Baltimore's What Weekly Magazine ahead of other media outlets once the Sundance awards were announced. It has been an exciting experience to be covering the fascinating story of Renan and his team's Sundance achievement alongside Mary Ann Potts of National Geographic and their recent Proof interview with Jimmy Chin, Patricia Thompson of the American Cinematographer Magazine, Scott Macaulay of the Filmmaker Magazine, Canada's Gripped Magazine, The Clymb, Los Angeles Times, Park City Television and TheLip.tv.

 




 


If this day finds you in sunny Southern California, don't miss a rare international performance by Ottawa's young and rising blues and jazz star Isabella Nicole. Fresh off of the stage from the Ottawa Bluesfest where she performed for the second year in a row with the blues master T.J. Wheeler, Isabella Nicole will be singing at AIM for the Cures fundraising dinner being held on the sides of Pebble Beach Concours D'elegance, the grand finale of Monterey Car Week. She will be performing alongside singer James Durbin to help AIM for Mental Health raise money for mental health research for children, teens, and young adults, increase awareness about mental health disorders and help eliminate the stigma often associated with this. More information about this fundraising event is available here: http://aimformentalhealth.org/

 

Isabella Nicole is a 13-year-old singing sensation from Ottawa, Canada. Born in The Netherlands, Isabella Nicole's first major public performance was at the age of 8. After moving to Canada in 2010, her talent was quickly recognized and she began booking regular public engagements. In December 2014, Isabella Nicole released her first CD featuring a blues-styled rendition of “O Holy Night” cover.

 

Since 2012, Isabella has performed at many Ottawa River Valley fairs, as well as the Children's Wish Foundation, Roger's House and Heartwood House charity events. She has appeared on TV, sang the National Anthem at the Ottawa Skyhawks' basketball games and entertained at the Governor General of Canada's 2013 Christmas reception. In 2013, Isabella won Platinum Gold in the vocalist category at the Thunderstruck Canada competitions. Over the past two summers, bluesman TJ Wheeler invited Isabella Nicole to share the stage with him to sing solo at the Ottawa Bluesfest, one of the top ten music festivals in North America.


The evening will include a special preview of Gooding & Co classic cars to be auctioned, Monterey County wines tasting, a delicious dinner by world-class chefs, an exciting live auction with artwork by artist Eyvind Earle, and of course special performances by Isabella Nicole, James Durbin and the Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey County High School All-Star Band. Last year's dinner raised $250,000. AIM for Mental Health’s scientific advisory board includes top researchers and directors from ten major medical research institutions: Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan, Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, MIT-Broad Institute Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Kings College London Institute of Psychiatry, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Translational Neuroscience Program at University of Pittsburgh , Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Friedman Brain Institute, Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Thursday's fundraiser is taking place during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance week that celebrates the excellence in the automotive world, while also giving us the opportunity to support people in need. Dating back to 17th century paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris, Concours d'Elegance has evolved into an annual series of prestigious car shows across the U.S., Italy, UK and Switzerland with the most rigorous competition standards that require historic vehicles to be restored to the state that far exceeding that of the car when it was new. Together with competition entrants, judges, spectators and sponsors, Pebble Beach Concours has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 children in Monterey County through fundraising of over $19 million for numerous charitable organizations: Animal Friends Rescue Project, Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Community Hospital Foundation, Kinship Center, Natividad Medical Foundation, United Way Monterey County.

 

Be part of tonight's special celebration and be sure to follow Isabella Nicole on her musical journey!

 

 

Isabella Nicole performing at the 2014 Russell Fair in Russell, Ontario, Canada.

 

 


 

Over the past seven months I have been involved in a very interesting project witnessing the birth of a new community of entrepreneurs. What started out as an opportunity to document the inaugural StartUp Soirée​ reception for What Weekly​ Magazine, evolved into the most exciting and challenging story about a community of dedicated, creative and highly driven people celebrating ideas and local success stories. StartUp Soirée is run by four very enthusiastic individuals - Patrick Rife, Rachel Robinson, Jessica Gignac, Nicolas China - who have every intention to grow this initiative. This community is rapidly gaining momentum and support from local businesses. Join them this evening for the July edition of StartUp Soirée - the most anticipated monthly gathering of Baltimore-based business owners and entrepreneurs eager to share their experience, advice and ideas. Reflecting on my experience as I am back in Canada, StartUp Soirée may be a perfect example of a community model that Invest Ottawa​ could employ as we attempt to build similar momentum north of the border.  

 






 

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to see and write a review of Andrey Zvyagintsev's Oscar-nominated film “Leviathan” for What Weekly Magazine. The film's Baltimore premiere took place at the Charles Theater in February, coinciding with its much anticipated official release back home in Russia. Since its 2014 premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the film has won many international awards. Today, Andrey Zvyagintsev was officially invited to join the prestigious group of creative artists that comprise the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and to sit on the Oscars jury. I sincerely congratulate the Director on his achievements to date and look forward to seeing his future cinematic work on the big screen!





 

 

 

Back in April, I had an exciting opportunity to interview two very talented filmmakers behind the documentary film Uncertain for Baltimore's What Weekly Magazine. Having travelled through New York City, Toronto, Seattle, and Little Rock, What Weekly readers finally have an opportunity to see the film this week at the AFI Docs Film Festival in Silver Spring on June 19 and 21. Don't miss this exciting opportunity!

 

Self-funded and self-produced, co-directors Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol premiered their feature length cinematic debut Uncertain at Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 16, where Anna and Ewan took home the Festival’s Albert Maysles Award for New Documentary Director.

 

Their new documentary is a very thorough study and portrayal of life in a small lake-side town of the same name, “Uncertain” on the border of Texas and Louisiana. I got the chance to sit down with Anna and Ewan who revealed some truly impressive life stories of Henry Lewis, an aging fishing guide at Johnson’s Ranch Marina reluctant to let go of his youth, Wayne Smith, a convicted felon with an obsession for hunting wild boar, and Zach Warren, a young diabetic struggling to stay on own two feet. In the film the audience follows these men on their fascinating journeys in search of forgiveness and redemption, while the entire community balances on the brink of extinction. An invasive aquatic weed, salvinia, threatens to overgrow the beautiful and mystical Caddo Lake – the livelihood of both people and animals.

 

Read the full story of Anna and Ewan and their new film!

 






Thank you to The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. for hosting the inaugural installment of its amazing exhibition "For The Record: Artfully Historic D.C.”! All of the artwork features at the exhibition has been donated by local artists with the goal of raising funds in support of the Historical Society's future initiatives. An amazing $3,445 has already been raised through the online auction with final bidding set to close at tonight's live event at the Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square. Tonight (May 27) from 6:00 to 9:30 pm is the last opportunity to view the exhibition as the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. hosts its 121st birthday celebration.

 

As part of tonight's birthday celebration, the Historical Society will be recognizing Dr. James Goode, who has written many books on the history of DC, with a Visionary Historian Award. Dr. Goode was responsible for curating some of the best collections and exhibits about DC history, and lectured on many interesting subjects about DC history. This ceremony will be hosted by Wendy Rieger from NBC4.

 

If you did not have a chance to attend the exhibition, you can watch this excellent video prepared by Wendy Reiger of NBC4 earlier this month!



 

Having had an amazing opportunity to tinker with my creativity through What Weekly​ Magazine while exploring Baltimore over the past few months, I decided this was a good time to give something back to the city.

 

I am delighted to be taking part in “We Love Baltimore” art exhibition and silent auction at Metro Gallery from 7 to 11 pm on Tuesday, May 12. One of my photographs of the Washington Monument will be alongside 90 fellow artists and will be available for purchase. Whether Baltimore is your permanent home or whether you are here on a short visit, please stop by the exhibition and show your love for this amazingly creative city! All proceeds from art sales and the silent auction will go to the Baltimore Community Foundation's Rebuilding Fund.

 

The Baltimore Community Foundation has a long history of working with neighborhood leaders and community organizations to strengthen neighborhoods. In response to recent painful events in the city, the Baltimore Community Foundation has established The Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore. The funds will be used to repair the physical and emotional damage that has been done and strengthen the city's community for the future. Close to $350,000 has already been raised and six initial grants to the community have been announced to address immediate needs.




Washington D.C. is one of the several cities I have had the pleasure of calling my home over the years and I am very pleased to announce my contribution to the documented history of its changing cityscape. One of my photographs will be part of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s juried competition and exhibition, “For the Record: Artfully Historic D.C.”, that opens April 22 in the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

 

My photograph was inspired by America's oldest federal monuments – the 40 original stone mile markers used by surveyor Andrew Ellicott to establish the boundaries of the District of Columbia in 1791-92. Over the past 200 years, the capital boundaries have changed and some of the original boundary stones were damaged, moved and forever lost, in part due to urban redevelopment. The photograph of my light painting depicts the location of the missing boundary stone #SE4 – a ghost of the past – forever lost at the south-east outskirts of the historical Anacostia neighborhood. The area's built environment is under similar threat of disappearance due to neglect and redevelopment.

 

The exhibition artworks were selected by a jury of experts from local gallery and museum curators, including FotoDC, The George Washington University Museum, National Building Museum, National Geographic Society, National Portrait Gallery, NEWSEUM, and The Phillips Collection. The top five winning artists will become part of the Society's permanent collection, while the other 70 artworks will be available for purchase through an online auction. The exhibit and auction will close at the Historical Society’s 121st anniversary party on May 27, 2015. For a sample of the top 75 artworks and auction details please visit http://www.dchistory.org/ftr

 

April 22 - exhibition opening reception

May 8 - "A Toast to D.C."

 

May 27 - exhibition closing and 121st anniversary celebration: http://www.dchistory.org/events/121st-anniversary-celebration/

 

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., is a community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of the nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, it serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications.