Revolution in the air

Digging 50 years of Beatlemania in North America helps to unearth a Canadian cultural treasure in Allison Crowe’s home province on the Atlantic. The Beatles landing at New York City’s JFK International in February 1964 was emblematic of the new – the “jet set” – a revolution in air travel that made it possible for jet planes to cross the Atlantic in record times. In the era of propeller planes and the refuelling stop-overs needed to make the trip between Europe and the USA, the key North American terminal – GIA – was located in Gander, Newfoundland.

Gander International’s VIP Lounge played host to Albert Einstein, Marlene Dietrich, Fidel Castro, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill and Jackie O., among countless others, during those years GIA was popularly known as the “Crossroads of the World”.

Then a thriving global hub, in 1959 a new terminal opened and its construction and furniture featured creativity of leading designers – including chairs by Charles and Ray Eames - , “Primasteel” seating by Robin Bush, and a six-foot mural painted by Kenneth Lochhead –

Gander International Airport – departure lounge photographed by Zach Bonnell

The advent of jet travel, however, soon redirected the flow of international air travel. With Gander facilities no longer bustling, it’s uniquely preserved a “time capsule” quality. Today, GIA is viewed as a marvel by art historians, architects and design aficionados – ”It’s still one of the most beautiful, most important Modernist rooms in the country, if not the most important,” says Alan C. Elder, Curator, Canadian Crafts and Design, at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. (Recently renamed, the Canadian Museum of History is this nation’s most-visited museum).

Gander, and such nearby communities as Lewisporte, Twillingate and more, earned international renown in 2001 as GIA became haven for dozens of international aircraft grounded when airspace was shut-down in the wake of the 9/11 NYC attacks. The character of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians opening their hearts and homes to thousands of people – flight passengers and crew – during the crisis is legend –

Less-known, across even its home and native land, is how Gander long-served as “Crossroads of the World”. Awareness of GIA’s style is enjoying a renaissance in our internet age – with features in The New York Times , Institute , “dwell” magazine – – and more –

Most recently, Bloomberg’s high-end “Pursuits”, (a publication “for the world’s richest people”) put Gander International on its cover, with a fashion shoot – – calling it “the world’s coolest airport”.

GIA image – showing mural – from series by Zach Bonnell on flickr

In a fab, 18-photo, flickr gallery, Zach Bonnell of St. John’s, NL is our guide on a magical mystery tour of GIA @

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Free to Fly

It’s four in the afternoon and not raining. Not in Baltimore. Not in Cleveland where the world’s first rock concert happened – sixty years ago this weekend.

In 2006, the wonderful songwriter and jug-band-Jedi, John Sebastian, told The New York Times: “The (record) industry has been in the corporate noose for so long, it doesn’t even have a leg jiggle left. There’s no one left saying, ‘Wait, we want to make art’.”

Keith Richards’ tranfusion at a Swiss clinic is urban legend. The new cultural blood that’s coursing through our digital world is ready to become truly legendary. A force :)

It’s a fantastic voyage from the “Moondog Coronation Ball” to now.

Among this week’s way-stations, we hear from the newest blogger to enter ourstream: THW – the UK music blog of The Human Wreckage – very kindly features Allison today, and says: “In a nutshell; Allison Crowe is what is missing from the music industry. She has a strong mind, follows her heart and just oozes talent.” With Allison blazing her own path, and such pioneers as Ani DiFranco and Janis Ian showing what’s possible, making music stronger than the corporate establishment, these are the best of times for music-makers andmusic-lovers!

Sister THW blog – Forget the Freak You’re Just Nature – presents Allison’s captured-live-in-the-studio performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah“.

And the buffet is laid out at Muruch – enriching blogger on music, literature and film, and a site familiar to fans of Allison Crowe. Muruch premieres a new recording of “Disease” – an exciting early listen to “Tidings Live:)


Tough Mama. Katey Sagal and the Sons of Anarchy.

Allison Crowe, with Zimmy’s “world of illusion” at her feet, is free to fly. “Free to possess truth in one soul and one body“.

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Victory for Visiting Artists Campaign!

Great news today!

Heeding a two-year+ campaign for reform by cultural groups and individuals, Theresa May, the UK’s Home Secretary, announces changes to immigration policy effective April 6, 2012. This delivers on promises made earlier this month by Immigration Minister Damian Green:“We do not want to be discouraging world-class performers from coming [to the UK]. I am aware that this has been a sore point forsome time and we are taking action”.

Starting this Spring, visiting artists can stay in the UK up to one month, under a new route, called “Permitted Paid Engagements”. This route does away with a range of onerous and arbitrary fees and regulations in place since November 2008 (red-tape that was supposed to combat terrorism and illegal immigration, and, instead, prevented many legitimate artists and academics from making short term visits to the UK).

Congratulations and thanks to Manick Govinda, Josie Appleton and all their team at the Manifesto Club who led this successful fight, and rallied support, for a greater measure of justice and sanity. Celebrate!! (more details @

Brings to mind what Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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Wake Up

Wake Up“: Performed just twice over the years, one of those concert dates – at the Chilliwack Arts Centre, British Columbia (near dear friend and tour merch monkey, Reena Kudhail) – was captured by audio archivists John MacMillan and Condor (a new, proud, Papa!) Kayla Schmah, “Spiral” producer, arranged strings for the song, and it’s rejoined Allison’s repertoire – to much appreciation :)
YouTube Preview Image

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Chimes of Freedom Flashing

The UK’s Point Based Visa System continues to be mis-applied to artists and academics visiting for a short term, even a single concert/event. This problem is highlighted in a new podcast by Rocca Gutteridge, produced by Clare Carswell @ Without Borders Allison Crowe’s song “Immersed” is included with this show. A complementary blog posting is @ Why Is Britain Treating Artists Like Criminals?

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