I was given the personal assurance of the hostess that this event would have nothing to do with thievery. The theme of the evening was new art, crooked scoliosis & what can be done for those in need. Fall Down was a perfect venue for the fundraising art show, with just the right amount of shelves and hooks to showcase art for sale. The multicoloured portraits of white-haired women were rife with Wiccan symbols and sometimes violent wounds. I thought the centerpiece of the show was a green-skinned girl with a vertical scar from her nape to her pelvis, much like Kaylie Seaver‘s actual backbone.
You see, this event has been in the works for a while now, ever since Kaylie’s corrective spinal surgery in 2005 at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario really. Scoliosis is a debilitating curvature of the spine that can be agonizing if not treated early. Although modern corrective surgery can heal many cases in young folk, common practice was once only back braces & occupational therapists. Some, like Kaylie’s older sister, are helped when a back brace keeps the curvature from worsening. Kaylie was not so lucky and needed CHEO to fuse her spine to metal implants to correct the curve. Her ineffective back brace, once a source of embarrassment & discomfort, was hanging from the rafters of the gallery when we walked in the door.
To say Kaylie Seaver is talented is an understatement. This lady started local band The Epilogue with Jude Beacom and Krys Blaney in 2006, and during that time she also performed as Deus Ex Machina as a solo act. She only has a few videos of her emotive music online… She’s been a hands-on artist since she could hold a brush and just started her apprenticeship at The Ink Spot on Bank Street. I was quick to buy a rustic tambourine painted with animal skull and witchcraft tokens for a place of honour on my walls. Eric immediately purchased a print of a woman with “613” imprinted on her forehead, and “Support Local” on her blouse. I knew these things would have been snagged up quickly. Indeed, all prints flew off the shelves and the donations jar filled up quickly.
Thank you to Ming Wu who lent me an LCBO receipt for Key Lime Cherry Palm Bay on which I could scribble some notes between the live painting and the music sets.
The main musical talent came from Ottawa’s two-year old, The Haig. Dude, it’s Chris Davidson on drums, Treawna Harvey on organ, Mean Dorris on guitar & Richard Michels on bass. Two instruments that immediately caught my eye among their arsenal were the Ibenez bass, once purple, that was sanded down and carved beautifully by Richard’s mother, and the Magnus Electric Chord Organ, once Richard’s grandfather’s and now at Treawna’s fingertips. You’d hardly notice it if you didn’t go snooping around the sound stage, but the little beige beauty is a prize.
Eric described them as “delightfully chill.” Karine said they sounded like the band you hear playing in your cool neighbour’s garage. Lines from their track “Shredded Wheat” like “there’s a canned food drive at my school, is there a canned food drive at your school?” and song titles like “Lothar Smash” and “Starfruit (Galore)” tickled my penmanship. Richard & Dean piece songs together and the whole band then brings each tune into true being by just playing ’em. What struck me most about their performance was lead guitarist Dean’s style of playing, which I will not attempt to describe… I’ll just say his fingers did not exactly fly across the guitar but keeping track of them was difficult. His voice accompanied by Treawna’s make a fine harmony on their recorded stuff but unfortunately the mics were being difficult most of the evening.
The sound was still good enough for Kaylie’s set in the middle of The Haig’s performance, which had most of the audience freeze at the sound of her voice. With tears in her eyes, her heartfelt thank you for the support and funds raised came quietly but the applause answered uproariously. I suspect the warm feeling I had was shared by many. When she does play now, it’s as Kaylie C. Seaver, and if it was up to me there’d be more of her shows. All in all, a very fine evening saw 50 per cent of all funds raised go to CHEO and we were even treated to watch Kaylie paint. Canvas is fine but wooden tabletops are a wonderful thing to colour. And so are long legs for that matter!
I (one of many) am grateful to CHEO for helping scoliotic youth and particularly Miss Seaver. Without her spinal fusion, her restricted movement and unsafe pressure to her heart might have stunted more than her body. The indignity of feeling crooked must be enough for a child to wish his or her spine could be amputated… That’s when the Children’s Hospital steps in and tells the kid they are going to heal them, actually upgrade them with metal & mechanisms! And we all know what children choose when given the choice between becoming a cyborg and becoming spineless. They choose to become the opposite of spineless—undaunted, bold souls.