Monday, January 26, 2009

Roadkill gets a second life as art

Would you wear a deadthing? OK, Ex-boyfriend jokes aside, it seems like a neat way to recycle and not kill a cute'n'fuzzy being for a pair of earrings... But roadkill? Read on my friends...

This article is from

VANCOUVER, B.C. - When Amy Nugent sells her line Roadquill at craft fairs, she sometimes hears snarky remarks directed at her by overzealous browsers.

The 33-year-old artist uses the parts of dead animals to create high-end key chains, jewelry and accessories: Rabbit feet and turtle hands hang off small gold key chains, and moose and bear bones are carved into feathers and used as slides for a tie or velvet necklace.

The materials aren't knockoffs.

A quick inspection of her art leaves no doubt that the parts are real. The anger from certain onlookers often turns to confusion when Nugent tells the critics her pieces are completely sustainable.

Every part was taken from dead animals scooped off the highway.

The Pembroke, Ont., native became fascinated with roadkill in 2001. She had moved to the Algonquin Park region after taking three years to hitchhike across Canada, and play music in Montreal.

Having grown up near the Algonquin First Nations reserve, Nugent was intrigued by many of their traditions and was drawn to the animals in the region. In her time back in Algonquin, she couldn't help but notice the large number of dead porcupines that lined the highway and roads.

"I started realizing, God there's all those quills and I'd heard about people collecting them up there and making art," she said.

"Not knowing what I'm doing I just stopped one day and thought 'How am I going to do this?"'

She put together a kit of Tupperware containers and plastic gloves and started taking what she could from the dead porcupines.

She wanted to "resurrect this stuff that we just pancake out there."

"This is all about honouring the animals and recycling," she said.

Soon, she started using the quills as beads for cuffs made from safety pins and elastic bands.

She was wearing one when she attended a powwow in 2003 in Algonquin. She happened across a man at a booth who had a huge bag of quills. They started chatting and Nugent soon learned that the man was known as the Roadkill Warrior - his real name is Peter Schimanski.

His mission was to collect as much roadkill as he could and use the parts in any way possible.

"I mean, I was just getting the quills of porcupines, but this guy, if he sees a chipmunk, a little turtle, hummingbird wings - from the small to bear, deer, moose, he'll take anything," she said.

Nugent gave the Roadkill Warrior one of her cuffs and the two formed a close friendship.

When Nugent moved to Vancouver five years ago, Schimanski became her supplier. Every time Nugent is back in Ontario, she apprentices with Schimanski on customs like skinning and cutting up animal carcasses.

"Throughout the years, the bond has become incredible," Schimanski said from his home in Algonquin. "Some of the work she does I just find incredible."

(Schimanski distributes his material through word of mouth. He's created a network of people interested in using animal parts, that spread from across Canada to parts of the United States.)

Nugent's future plans are as vast as the Trans-Canada Highway. She wants to start a line of fastenings - buttons, zipper pulls - in collaboration with a local designer. She's also reading up on the history of the Trans-Canada and intends to use the iconic imagery of road signs on her jewelry.

But her most ambitious idea is organizing a children's play.

"When I do a table (at a craft fair), and have all the stuff out there, (children) go crazy," she said.

"(They ask) 'What is that? What's that from?' and you get into this whole discussion about modes of transportation, highway, spirituality, death. It opens so many doors."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Valentines in the Mountains

So.. it's Valentines coming up soon. And Feb 6th I have my monthly "First Friday" party that I DJ out at Aurora in Banff. I'm a bit of a sucker for that town, as I've been DJing there since 1999 now (getting old, I know...). So this Valentines, why not consider heading to Banff? My Bride and I will be staying out in Banff for Feb 7th for our "Valentines", as we have the Cupid's Ball the next weekend with Energy 1015... so we HAVE to have our night!

My personal fave places in Banff to go are Fabutan... for some strange reason, having a tan while in Banff just feels better! Also, a new place has just opened called EDDIES BURGER + BAR, which has the best Chicken and Beef Burgers. Go There. So probably there for lunch.... for shopping, check out the Silvercity Mercantile, or Rocks and Gems Canada! Maybe the Maple Leaf for dinner, or the Keg in the Banff Caribou! Early drinks downstairs at HooDoo Lounge. Then late night fun at AURORA Nightclub. Then back to the Hotel. My faves are THE FOX, BANFF CARIBOU and HIDDEN Ridge. Check out for this company that has the best stack of hotels in Banff... and something for every budget!

Just felt like sharing some of my fave places to hit... the Red Earth Spa at the Banff Caribou is also SUPER awesome.

Happy Valentine with your squeeze! Come spend yours out in Banff!

Friday, January 9, 2009

No Sh!t

Can i say that on my blog? That's really all I can think of to describe how good of a singer Lady GaGa is! Enjoy Poker Face Acoustic!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


When I was in Maui, I did everything I could to NOT listen to the radio. That may sound strange, because I am a fan of radio stations... but in an attempt to try to relax and "turn off work", it was worth a shot. Truth is it completely failed... but I managed to stay off of mainstream radio, and listened to Hawaiian radio only. It was a nice change! Here is a version of Jason Mraz's I'm Yours covered by Hawaiian group TEN FEET.

Single Ladies a la Carlos

Man. this is funny. Listen to Freeway and Meg for more info on what the hell Carlos is doing... and yes, this IS Carlos's living room

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gift Cards are NO GOOD!

Thanks to my buddy JoJo on the Radio here on Energy 101.5, I heard this weekend that there are a BUNCH of stores closing their doors tout suite here, and your Gift Cards MAY become nothing but a chunk of plastic!

This happened to a business in my home town too, that sold memberships for tanning (minutes) right up to the day they closed the doors! How can you put your head on your pillow at night? That's $40 for 150 minutes, thanks! Without a glimmer of info that you will have to use all 150 minutes up by tomorrow. That's such a crime that a business can do that. I hope the planners (scammers) that came up with that plan get bad Karma.

Here is the list that JoJo gave me to share with you, of stores closing their doors. Please note that this IS NOT Calgary specific, and some is all US Store chains. But still...

Circuit City stores... most recent (? how many)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be shuttered
Lane Bryant,, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 store nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January (including Calgary downtown)
Cache will close all stores
Talbot’s closing down all stores
J. Jill closing all stores
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wicks Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Sales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ (New Brunswick)
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pacific Sunware closing stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/ Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Lowes to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores

Monday, January 5, 2009

Zoooo Lights Extended!

Just got the inside scoop from the Calgary Zoo, that ZooLights will be extended! With all the cold (i'm asssuming a little) over the christmas holidays, you will still have a chance to see the amazing and cool Christmas lights at the Calgary Zoo!

Starting on Wed January 7th, through Sunday Jan 11th head to the zoo for ZooLights! Here is a the feature length video of my light display at Zoo Lights! Please go see it!