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Anya Wassenberg

Freelance writer

Anya is a long-time freelance writer with a varied career that has included everything from books to print periodicals, and loads of online writing from social media to copywriting. Along with writing, she is a singer and has been known to work as a fine art model. Visit her at www.anyawassenberg.ca and www.artandculturemaven.com. Follow her on Google+.
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When I Turned 50 I Realized I Could Sing

I have a history of doing things out of sync with the rest of the world. I started nude modeling at age 34 (a whole story unto itself). I realized I could sing right about when I turned 50. An outside observer might have noticed that the signs were there.
07/03/2014 11:54 EDT
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A White Canadian in Harlem

It's impossible for me to be invisible in Harlem. I'm not just me; I stand for something. "They even come up here now," a guy said to my face with disdain. I'm a they; some kind of collective face. I feel strangely protected in my conspicuousness, but that might be an illusion. But I'm not the only white woman in Harlem, of course.
11/19/2013 05:15 EST
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Stories from Canada's Afro-Caribbean Music Artists

Coming to Canada from across the globe represents a giant leap of faith in this country -- a faith with sometimes shaky foundations. Newly-arrived African and Caribbean artists find themselves joining a growing yet largely unrecognized contingent of immigrant musicians trying to carve out a living.
06/12/2013 05:00 EDT

True to the Avant-Garde: Wadada Leo Smith

For acclaimed jazz composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, the avant-garde is much more than a genre in the art world; its imperative of experimentation has been the foundation of his artistic life....
05/20/2013 12:46 EDT
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The Renaissance of Aboriginal Culture

Is there a renaissance of Aboriginal culture in Canada? I only stepped off the beaten path of mainstream arts and culture a few years ago, so I had no context when I began to see that concept floating around in media releases over the last little while. Those who write media releases being overly fond of turning catchy phrases and declaring trends, I decided to ask around and let those who know tell the story.
02/02/2013 12:12 EST
AP

Canadian Playwright Brad Fraser on Keeping Things Interesting

Canadian playwright (screenwriter and director and producer) extraordinaire Brad Fraser has been lighting up Canada's literary scene for many years. Outside of his stage projects, he shares his blunt take on politics and other hot topics in Xtra Magazine every month in his Fraser's Edge column. Like the man himself, his columns are reasoned, outspoken, often witty, and never boring.
10/01/2012 04:55 EDT

The Woman Who Plays the Pipa

Borderlands: Wu Man and the Master Musicians of the Silk Route on the Smithsonian Folkways label is the 10th and final CD/DVD set in the award-winning "Music of Central Asia" series, co-produced with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. It follows the journey of musician Wu Man in finding the future of her instrument, the pipa, in its past.
07/15/2012 12:28 EDT

Musical Activism: Wake Up Madgascar

When most North Americans think of Madagascar, they think of the adorable animated creatures who inhabit the DreamWorks Madagascar film franchise. New York-based, Malagasy born singer Razia Said is hoping that she can attract at least a little of the interest in the film to the real Madagascar.
07/13/2012 04:28 EDT

This Artist IS Present

This HBO documentary on the life and work of Marina Abramović, The Artist Is Present, which airs in Canada this month, will be of interest to performance art enthusiasts, to be sure, but should also be of interest to all the sceptics out there. You'll be convinced by what you see in the film -- people in tears, smiling, obviously moved.
06/11/2012 03:05 EDT
bigappleticket.com

Experimental Theatre is Back in the Spotlight

To say that the theatrical works of Young Jean Lee are thematically diverse is something of an understatement. They may tackle different issues, but what they do have in common is their origins: her work begins by putting herself into an uncomfortable situation and then writing/performing her way out of it. It's a unique working process that has resulted in some of the most celebrated experimental theatre on the continent.
05/09/2012 12:32 EDT

Do Black Dance Companies Hit a Glass Ceiling?

It's hard to understand a rationale for the lingering reluctance of mainstream society to truly embrace the work of people of colour as an essential element of its own culture -- not an exception, not as a special category forever locked in a time vault of supposed historical purity.
02/01/2012 03:31 EST
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Why I Watch Movies to Get My News

The arts offer a view across cultures and geography, and sometimes, seeing the "other" point of view can be startling; if you're from Cambodia, what we call the Vietnam War is known as the American War. That's what art will always have on corporate news.
12/31/2011 12:08 EST

Dance = Life

All the arts are subjected to a kind of elitism that removes it entirely from the experience of the common man, and perhaps dance most of all. You are not a dancer. Your role as a loyal patron of the arts is to sit very still and very quiet in the dark as you watch others perform.
10/29/2011 08:31 EDT