By Owen Maxwell

Innovation pods open to artists

Though it may appear innocuous from the outside, the new Innovation Pod at Lansdowne Park has a lot going on inside its walls. The pod, which is temporarily relocating from its Bayview location, is inviting artists of all disciplines to use its space until November.

“We want to be able to showcase the new technologies available at Course Bayview Yards, and also learn from the people that engaged with us in different communities,” said Rebecca Black, Director of Operations for MadeMill.

The pods are also offering workshops and instruction for artists interested in their tech offerings, to make learning more accessible.

“We’ve taught fashion design in VR, 3D-printing basics, green energy workshops, and art themed workshops featuring some of Ottawa’s best visual, spoken-word and dance artists,” said Black.

On top of these classes, the pods are also offering music training workshops, podcast tutorials and intros to demo recording to help those trying to make their way in music. Anyone interested in pitching ideas can reach them at

Remembering Geoff Johnson

After years hosting the Saturday open-stage at Irene’s Pub, Ottawa’s own Geoff Johnson passed away this month from complications related to pneumonia. Learning piano and guitar as a child, Johnson fell in love with music and quickly picked up even more instruments. After growing up in Quebec City and spending time in Toronto, Johnson moved to Ottawa during the 1980s to learn philosophy and legal studies.

Though some of his recent work involved web design, Johnson was always working on music. Johnson played gigs with his band Gojo’s Mojo where he would really cut loose on guitar, and also put out a solo album in 2015, called Some Friends. Described by family and the community as kind, supportive and always bringing a few surprises, he always made a point of fostering new talent without overshadowing them. Johnson was 57.

The music of Maman

Though we may all know Ottawa’s iconic spider statue Maman visually, one musician is giving it some musical accompaniment. After creating similar works for sculptures in Kansas City and the Golden Gate Bridge, composer Rob Kapilow’s latest piece focuses on our local landmark. Taking inspiration from sculptor Louise Bourgeois and the grief that influenced her spider, Kapilow wanted to reflect the community’s take on the statue as well.

The piece was originally commissioned by Chamberfest, and Kapilow has held discussions for the past two years to brainstorm ideas for the piece. Along with Bourgeois’ own loss, Kapilow is focusing on a mix of fear and love based on his talks with audiences. With excerpts to be posted online, the piece has been revealed to be an octet (because of a spider’s eight legs) using a piano, a viola, a flute, two violins, a clarinet, a cello, and a percussion instrument. The piece is set to be unveiled at the 2019 Chamberfest.