Name the Speaker, Toast the City
1995, 32:00 minutes, colour, English
Name the Speaker: Toast the City is the result of an almost impromptu residency in the Western Front's Media Arts Programme. This production is almost a collage of my ongoing fixations about the borderlines between academia and popular culture and between performance and documentary crossed with Eric Metcalfe's interest in Vancouver's impressive and not-so-impressive new cultural landmarks. Vancouver has been designated by many to be North America's fastest growing city.
Name the Speaker... mixes up elements of The Gong Show, The Larry Saunders show, the perverted travelogue and the angry documentary. The game show format provides space for celebrity contestants to toast or 'toast' particular buildings. The contestants/performers are chroma-keyed in front of their building of choice or default; and the studio audience becomes inaudible as the tape veers uncomfortably between performance testimony and documentary testimony.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes the network bosses are anxious about Name the Speaker... How well researched is it? Who is this host anyway - doesn't he have a shady or at least checkered past? Eric Metcalfe and Margaret Dragu reprise their uneasy sinister executive roles from Metcalfe & Dana Atchley's Steel & Flesh (1980). Wasn't Paterson previously some sort of dangerous visitor or even alien ?
Name the Speaker's... cast comes from Vancouver's communities of artists, academics and cultural workers. The players include Dana Claxton, John O'Brien, Phil McCrumb, Paul Wong, Carol Sawyer, Mark Handley, Keith Wallace, and Zainub Verjee. Subject areas of interest for this tape could include media, performance, urbanity and architecture.
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