A must see film Astronaut with Richard Dreyfus on now in theaters across Canada!
A wonderful interview on the World Poetry Cafe, CFRO, 100.5 FM with the talented Shelagh McLeod! Calling in at 1: 30 pm PST July 18, to announce the opening of her new film Astronaut, She spoke about her idea for the film and the message behind it.
I loved the film since it showed that it is important to follow your dreams no matter what age and the importance of the support of family and friends. It gave me hope. Richard Dreyfus was great in the film, bringing a mixture of mischievousness and seriousness to his part.
Synopsis : “When lonely widower Angus moves into a retirement home, his life seems over; he feels worthless and alone. But Angus’s long extinguished dream is reignited when an exciting national competition is announced. The prize? One golden ticket for a trip to space! Way past the age limit, he doesn’t have a chance. But spurred on by his grandson, Angus fudges his birth date, and enters the competition. Against all odds, he must battle against prejudice, ill health, and time, to win the ticket and take the trip of his dreams.
It is our dearest wish that this story will offer a vision of hope and provide an uplifting message to families universally: that if we support one another, we can all achieve our seemingly impossible dreams regardless of our age and, in so doing, make our own metaphorical journey to the stars.
Astronaut is a deeply personal story, and one that I feel is timely and I hope will resonate with a universal audience. Because we are all on a one-way journey – and what if we could, at our bleakest moment, perhaps the end of our life, take the trip of our dreams and have another go?”
Source: Shelagh McLeod and TARO PR.
Astronaut! Written and directed by Shelagh McLeod.
STARRING: Richard Dreyfus, Lyriq Bent, Krista Bridges, Colm Feore, Richie Lawerence, Graham Greene
Shelagh McLeod : Writer/Director/Producer. Shelagh McLeod was born in Vancouver. After training as an actress her first film role was in Jacques Demy’s Lady Oscar. She played Jean, in Dennis Potter’s Cream in my Coffee and went on to become a leading actress in film and TV in the UK, Canada, and the US. She embarked on the three year film and writing programme at Kingston University, graduating with First Class Honours in 2013 and received her MA in 2015. McLeod produced and directed three award winning short films, including the ghost story David Rose (2011) and the poignant and emotional Run (2012/13.) Run was nominated for best short and screened at Vancouver, Berlin 11 mm short kicks, Asia, and San Jose Film Festivals. McLeod was awarded Best Female Director for The Great Escape (2017) and her feature screenplay NEXUS was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
The World Poetry Ambassador AMITA SANGHVI from Oman, phoned in and hosted from Oman on World Poetry Poetry Cafe, CFRO 1005.FM, June 13th 2019 ; the poet Ali Mehdi who was keen on peace and was a poet and a wonderful short story writer.
This is the first in the series of the World Poetry Ambassador whose goal is to introduce poets from Oman to the world . World Poetry Canada International hopes that other W.P.C. ambassadors will do the same in their different countries. Also, at the Vancouver, BC Coop Radio Station were: Ariadne Sawyer, MA, host and producer , host Dr. Diego Bastinutti. super tech, Victor Schwartzman and special volunteer, Sharon Rowe.
Ali Mehdi juggled in many roles as a poet, a columnist and a prolific blogger and writer. He initiated several blog sites that were very popular among his generation; there sites were:
Sleepless in Muscat
Oman Community Blog
A Secret Arabian Journal
Pens of Passion
Gonu Relief Blog
Hope of Islam
Ali Mehdi published three collections of his poetry: Rapidly Blue (2002), Wondrous World (2005) and his posthumous book, ‘In the Dimmest of Light’ (2008) and numerous columns and articles on his blog sites, the online edition of the Times of Oman, Oman Daily Observer, The Week and Sultan Qaboos University’s Horizon.
On reading ‘Wondrous World’ I had this initial impression/ reflection on his poems.
Amidst cathartic out-pour of thoughts and wishes, I have found and collected the ‘real gems’, those words and phrases, lyrical images and metaphors, that capture and represent the mindful philosophical Ali.
The jewel collection which I am editing and will soon be published, will contain edited poetry from all his three books, re-edited for impact. The essence of his poetry has its impact in brevity; where each poem hammers and echoes universal feelings and invaluable meaning. These priceless ‘jewels’ I have gathered and edited his poems from across his entire works. Here are a few:
In the eye of Death,
In the eye of Death.
I’m not that kind of a person,
Although I try to be
That kind of man-
To look upon danger,
To move on, again.
Its out of place,
Not so super manly.
Upon her smile,
In love I stumble,
In her eyes
To be a Superman,
My heart tries.
Ali Mehdi (C) All rights reserved.
“These are but a glimpse of his heart and mind; his short stories are worth a whole new article that I will come up with in the near future.
To Ali, writing was an integral ingredient of his survival kit.
Ali held a BA with honors, from Luton University in collaboration with Majan University College in Muscat majoring in Business Administration (Tourism).
Prof. Gargi Chugh, (Senior Quality Expert at OAAA and Honorary President of the Indian International Cambridge School Management Committee) who taught him in Majan college, recalls Ali wistfully:
“I remember Ali as a very gentle, lost in his thoughts kind of a student. He was always good with words and a charmer always!!! I still remember his lovely smile.”
Following this degree, he joined a professional diploma course in Insurance at the College of Banking and Financial Studies but was often interrupted due to illness.
Ali traveled not only in the depths of his soul, but also extensively throughout the World and enjoyed learning from and about other individuals and cultures; this precisely makes him so suitable a poet to be introduced on the WORLD POETRY CANADA Forum as the first voice of Oman, writing poetry in English.
Ali was an amicable, sociable, affable and transparent individual. He loathed hypocrisy and sought fulfillment in open-minded, down-to-earth and truthful exchange of thoughts and feelings.
Sadly, his soul-searching expeditions had to come to an end when he succumbed to his illness, on his hospital bed on June 21st 2008, among family.
Ali Mehdi left a legacy of a young courageous daring individual and an articulate poet and columnist who sought to reach out with an earnest desire to change the World and reintroduce sincerity and truthfulness in our lives and relationships. That was his never ending desire and quest. He touched the lives of many with his openness, sincerity, dedication and noble selflessness. He kept reminding us of his fighting attributes by often saying that he managed to “snatch success out of the jaws of defeat.”
A person is his thoughts and words. Ali Mehdi is always among us with his thoughts and words questioning, seeking, consoling, sharing deep concerns, deeper uncertainties and deepest fears that bind all humanity.
A poet lives on, forever.
His thoughts and words are universal and at once deeply personal, and this in itself make his poetry so connectable to every soul, every reader.”
By AMITA SANGHVI
(M.A., M. PHIL, B.ED FROM MUMBAI UNIVERSITY, INDIA, AND M.A. (TESOL) FROM UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER, UK)
POET AND FACULTY AT SULTAN QABOOS UNIVERSITY, MUSCAT, OMAN
The World Poetry Cafe radio show, CFRO 100.5 FM July 1:30 pm PST welcomed the talented Claire Ritter celebrating the debut of the new CD Eclipse Orange with legendary Ran Blake. It was a delight to talk to her and hear her describe her work and experiences. It was also fun to hear her accent since some of my ancestors came from the Carolinas and I had not heard it for a long time.
It includes a tribute at 1:10 PM PST for World Poetry Ambassador to Japan, poet and composer Yoshifumi Sakura. Also, beautiful poems from the Greek poet ILIAS FOUKIS.
American jazz master, composer/pianist/educator Claire Ritter, is a multiple award recipient, and “among the most successful Thirdstream synthesis of jazz & classical musics” author Ed Hazel/ Wikipedia encyclopedia. In 2014 Ritter was the recipient of an artist grant awarded by the NC Arts & Science Council, her third, as well as a previous NC Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship. AllAboutJazz describes Ritter as “an under sung jazz master, with each engaging melody buffed up like a little jewel”. JazzTimes notes the music as “painterly, exquisite & poetic”. Beginning with the great Mary Lou Williams at Duke University in the 1970s, Ritter has studied, worked, performed & recorded with the best, which includes over a decade with MacArthur Grant Genius recipient Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Boston, where she taught her contemporary songwriting class in the Contemporary Improvisation department during the 1990s. The economic song-like quality & harmonic sophistication of her tunes are hallmarks of Ritter’s style, described by Owen Cordle, writer for JazzTimes/News & Observer as “direct, succinct & skillful – like the NC born pianist/composer, Thelonious Monk’s style.
Claire Ritter is the author of over 200 compositions, most of which have been published and recorded; and performed in festivals, concert halls, and museums in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her work has been the subject of numerous publications & radio interviews on WGBH Boston, WHRB Harvard University, WBUR Boston, & WFAE Charlotte, and has been recorded on European labels Soul Note, HatArt, and the independent label Zoning Recordings, founded in Boston in honor of a major work by Mary Lou Williams. Ritter’s compositions have been recorded by internationally acclaimed Jazz artists including Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Christine Correa, Ricky Ford, Jon Metzger, and Franz Koglmann, as well as performed in concert halls including Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Festival at NEC, American Women Composers Boston, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Brandeis University Jazz Band, New England Conservatory Jazz-Thirdstream Festival, Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium, Osterreichischen Museum in Europe, Multicultural Arts Center in Boston, Queens University, 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival, and Central Piedmont Community College 21st Century Music Series & Tate Hall Music Series in Charlotte, NC, to name a few.
Ritter’s discography includes 12 CD/DVD recordings on Zoning Recordings: In Between (Ran Blake, Dave Holland, Dominique Eade/1988); Ain’t Life a Circus (Christine Correa, Stan Strickland/1991); Mistral (by Eleni Odoni, with Ran Blake/1991); At One (Taki Masuko/1994); True (Taki Masuko, Kaku Sato/ 1998); Castles in the Air (Steve Swallow/2001); River of Joy (Steve Swallow, Ran Blake/2001); Greener Than Blue (Stan Strickland, Bob Weiner/2004); Waltzing the Splendor (Jon Metzger, Jane Hart Brendle, Ashima Scripp/2007); Stream of Pearls Project (Taki Masuko, Ashima Scripp, Toni Naples/2011); Claire Ritter & Friends at Multicultural Arts Center in Boston (Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Taki Masuko/2013); Soho Solo (2015). Recorded by others: Ran Blake (“Short Life of Barbara Monk”/Soul Note/1988); Franz Koglman (“Orte Der Geometrie” with Ran Blake/HatArt/1989); Documentary “Streaming” New England Conservatory; Southern Arts Federation “Jazz South # 3”); Film collaboration, Queens University & Charlotte New Music Festival with photographer JoAnn Sieburg-Baker “Mirrors Project/Six Jazz Variations.”
Other compositional performances/workshops include:
* 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival
* Central Piedmont Community College Tate Hall New Music Series
* Ottawa Jazz Festival
* New England Conservatory Jazz-Third Stream Festival
* Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium
* Osterreichischen Museum
* Brandeis University
* University of North Carolina
* Queens University
* Festival of Women Improvisers, Boston
* Multicultural Arts Center, Boston
* Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance
* Stockbridge Music Series, Massachusetts
* Berkley School of Music
* Longy School of Music
* American Women Composers
* Club Passim, Cambridge
Claire Ritter is the recipient of a 2014, 2006 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant; 2001 ‘Composers Charlotte’ Grassroots Grant as Artist Director/Queens University, 2000 NC Arts Council Jazz Composers Fellowship, and 2000 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant.
Another great guest from Braitewaite and Katz.
Additional grants/awards include the Massachusetts Arts Lottery in Boston, and the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, Georgia. Claire Ritter is also the founder of the Ziggy Hurwitz Jazz Scholarship at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.
Claire Ritter teaches and composes in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is the Artistic Director Composers Concert at Queens University.