friday 13

13 Finds for a Blue Christmas

Tomorrow morning BLUE CHRISTMAS, our first art installation in our new gallery space, opens to the public. To you. For you. In celebration, or perhaps 'in contemplation' is more fitting here, I've compiled a list of 13 finds to get you in the Blue Christmas spirit.

Curl up with a hot apple cider, grab a box of kleenex, then read it and weep.

Find 1: Our Video

Our new video tells a BLUE CHRISTMAS story in just 1 minute. Because it is quick, we think it's very sharable. So please watch, and then please share.

Find 2: Over The Rhine

Our video features a song by Over The Rhine called Let It Fall. I'm so grateful for their permission to use this song for our show and video this year. They've put out a free-or-by-donation Christmas sampler called 'Even The Snow Turns Blue'. Could there be a more perfect soundtrack to BLUE CHRISTMAS? Get it now.

Click the player or visit this link. 

You should also check out the entire new Christmas album from Over The Rhine, Blood Oranges in the Snow



Find 3: Karla Adolphe

While we're on great Blue Christmas music, you should also pick up the new EP from Karla Adolphe, Lingering. It's haunting. It's beautiful. It's right here.

Find 4: Terrible, Terrible Christmas Tunes 

If you're more into Christmas music that is just straight-up depressing, and sometimes laughably so, you need to check out this truly terrible Songza playlist – 'For Shame: The Worst Christmas Songs of All Time'.

Find 5: Advent-ures

If you are looking to follow the Advent story this Christmas, might I suggest the Advent Gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

Find 6: Alternate Time

Speaking of Advent, The Christian Year just began. This alternate timeline focusses on major events of the Gospel story, and lays out major feast days of the Church. If you are interested in following 'Christian time' throughout the year, you really can't beat the Salt Of The Earth Calendar and international art collection. 

Find 7: CS Lewis Weighty Grief 

But let's get back to here and now. BLUE CHRISTMAS is all about grief, and for my money no one has written more eloquently on grief than CS Lewis, after losing his wife Joy quickly to cancer. You can read his journey out of the dark in A Grief Observed.

Find 8: Sadness, Circles and Spirals 

“For in grief nothing "stays put." One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often -- will it be for always? -- how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, "I never realized my loss till this moment"? The same leg is cut off time after time.” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

Find 9: The Ultimate Blue Christmas

Let's lighten the mood a little, shall we? You just can't beat Blue Christmas in a black leather suit.

Find 10: Blue Christmas Decor

How about a Blue Jean Christmas?

Find 11: Keith Walker

Back on track, our BLUE CHRISTMAS show features original glasswork from glassblower Keith Walker. You can find more of Keith's excellent work here, and even sign up for a glass blowing workshop (the person Blue Christmas gift to yourself).

Find 12: Dawn Saunders Dahl 

Our BLUE CHRISTMAS show will also feature a couple of paintings from Edmonton artist Dawn Saunders Dahl.  

Find 13: All I Want for Blue Christmas is Local Art

And last but certainly not least, speaking of Edmonton artists, you can't beat the Royal Bison Art + Craft Fair for original, local art and craft for Christmas gifts. The Fair's second Christmas weekend is this very weekend at 8426 Gateway Blvd. Put the smile of surprise on a loved one's face, support local makers, and make this Christmas a little less blue.

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A Friday 13 Sendoff So We Can All Take a Trip

Okay, I don't want to rub it in, but I'm headed to Europe tonight, and won't be back until after Thanksgiving. That means it's going to get a little thin around this blog for a couple of weeks. But I've made you a care package.

Here are thirteen fresh links to wander through. So now we can all take a trip. And hey, if you click just one of these a day, I'll be back with you in no time. Until then ...

  1. Distance can be difficult, and that personal touch can make all the difference. Handwritten notes mean a lot - even if they are written by robots.
  2. My visit to the Louvre in a couple of weeks will include a peek at the Mona Lisa - but lucky for me, it will also include a gander at this contemporary neon lightning bolt, shot straight through the Pyramid by Claude Lévêque.
  3. I'll be unplugging from social networks while away, including this new one called Mix, which is all about building on the creations of others. Very cool. Here's a 'mix' with relevance to The Bleeding Heart, for instance. What could go in that bubble?
  4. I'll even unplug from promising new social networks like the always-ad-free Ello. Really, they won't sell our data. It's right in their manifesto.
  5. Manifestos are pretty awesome. That's why we wrote one.
  6. Of course, we were inspired by some other great manifesto's, like this one from Holstee.
  7. When I unplug, I'll be keeping notes and drawing by hand. I hear that's good for the brain.
  8. Perhaps I'll stumble across some great public art. Did you read my recent piece on Murals and Morale in the Inner City?
  9. It has a great illustration by the best-named-Zine-in-history - WeAreNotAtTheMall.
  10. Speaking of local arts publications, are you reading Prairie Seen Notes?
  11. Back on the international scene, how about following an artist's hilarious imaginary adventures with his dog?
  12. And while we're on the subject of imaginary - how about an art museum where all of the art is imaginary? Not convinced? What if James Franco were involved?
  13. OK, I have to admit. That last one does sound a bit like a joke. Or, perhaps, exactly like a joke. Love the opening line of this story - 'Let's face it. Art is not really meant to be understood by most people.'

Your Turn Now

So I'm off folks. Want to add to the collective art consciousness while I'm away? Add you own links and recommendations to the comments below (one link per comment, please).

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You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

Friday. The 13 Arts, Faith and Community Links you Need to Visit.

This week I've got 13 more links about art, faith and community for you. We'll learn a bit about all there is to learn, listen to some new music from Leonard Cohen, meet a young songwriter named Braden Gates and carve out some sacred space. Sound good? Dive in.

  1. Before you go reading any of this stuff, remember that knowing does not necessarily make you wise. This charming animation reveals a great truth for our times from Maria Popova; Knowledge DOES NOT EQUAL wisdom
  2. This is Leonard #CohenWeek folks! Why? Because on September 21, the legend turns 80. And because CBC Radio 2 says so. To celebrate, Cohen releases his 13th album, Popular Problems, next week. If you can't wait that long, you can have a 'first play' right here, right now.
  3. Speaking of Leonard Cohen, you have read his poem, God is Alive, Magic is Afoot, right? Maybe you'd rather if Cohen read it to you?
  4. While we're onto words, do you like quotes about creativity? How about 45 creativity quotes in one post?
  5. And while we're onto music, last weekend at Kaleido I stumbled upon Braden Gates in a back alley. It was, perhaps, the best possible way to discover this local folk gem
  6. Amid the roar of the new U2 album, no one is really talking about the music. Well, neither is this guy, until the end of this insightful New Yorker article on U2's Christianity.
  7. While U2 gives an album away for free, many of us wonder how to make any money off of music. New models keep emerging, like my friend Jonathan J Bower's 'kick-ender' campaign. Have a listen and support great music.
  8. Wonder what it's like to start something you know little to nothing about - like a business? Listen to the process on a new podcast from the Producer of This American Life at
  9. Of course, here's what might really happen when you follow your bliss.
  10. But there are plenty of resources to help you succeed. CARFAC is launching a new series of Webinars (online seminars over Wednesday lunch hours) for just $15 each - and less if you register for all six at once. The series covers topics ranging from Marketing 2.0 to Doing Business With Commercial Galleries and crafting the Perfect Portfolio.
  11. How do you get the important stuff done? Here's how the most successful people manage their time.
  12. Rather than doing any of this, you might want to carve out a sacred space for deep thinking.
  13. You can get some good tips on crafting your own Sacred Space through a weekly Sabbath from the folks behind the Sabbath Manifesto. They've been slowing down lives since 2010.


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You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.