My Daughter and Her Outlandish Ideas

Sometimes Olivia has ideas. Outlandish ideas. Like “I’d like to have a jazz combo play my birthday gig” or “we need to only watch movies that family members watched while living in Ontario,” or “we need to make a musical about travel problems,” or “I need to organize a Zoom unconference of everyone I’ve ever met.”

Often I sigh when I hear these ideas, as I realize their inevitability, and realize that I will inevitably be required to executive produce them.

The thing is, when all is said and done, the ideas brought to life, the chips let fall where they may, they’re almost always awesome ideas.

Witness this weekend: months ago Olivia insisted that we needed to find a way of marking Catherine’s contribution to the 2012 edition of Art in the Open, a project she executed with Lori Joy Smith that saw them create a labyrinth in Connaught Square. At the same time she wanted to mark the anniversary or the rogue Type in the Open project I did the same year.

She was unwilling to take no for an answer, and unwilling to consider issues like “this is impossible.” Gnashing was had by all. Therapy appointments were devoted to coming up with a way to communicate the urgency of the issue to me.

Eventually Olivia came up with a tenable plan: we would do something at our house that involved some of the creatures that Catherine created for the labyrinth, along with a type-related interactive activity of some sort.

What we came up with was centred on the maple tree in front of our house: using wooden type I purchased a few weeks ago, I printed № 6 shipping tags with single letters, and we hung these letters on clothespins in the tree. Below and among the branches of the tree Olivia artfully organized the creatures.

We announced the rogue operation the day before. People came. In great numbers. New people. Old friends. Curious wanderers. It was, true to Olivia’s outlandish form, awesome.

Round sign in front of our house.

Vertical panorama of the tree with the letters and sign.


Olivia and tree and creatures.

Gathering masses

Panorama of letters in the tree.


Derrick Biso's picture
Derrick Biso on August 30, 2021 - 13:15 Permalink

I am so charmed by this project and your writing about it Peter! Way to go Olivia!! What a brilliant 'rogue' installation!! It looks like an amazing and awesome 'happening' to me!! Wish I were there to participate this year!! Looking forward to seeing what you two work on together next!! Brilliant brilliance!! :) <3

FAS's picture
FAS on August 30, 2021 - 13:31 Permalink

Your creative spirit is wonderful, Olivia!

vbj's picture
vbj on August 30, 2021 - 14:26 Permalink

You two have great complementary skills.

Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on August 30, 2021 - 15:32 Permalink

Is there a way to form a more widespread production team perhaps? Outlandish Productions Inc.?

Oliver's picture
Oliver on August 31, 2021 - 05:48 Permalink

Awesome teamwork