I'm pretty "meh" about the Winter Olympics, but I loved last night's Opening Ceremony in Vancouver last night. It was a wonderfully eclectic combination of art, music, design, celebrity, dance, acrobatics, native culture, high culture and low culture, with some truly breathtaking moments (whales? in BC Place?).
Seeing Bobby Orr and Donald Sutherland and Barbara Ann Scott and Anne Murray and Betty Fox and Romeo Dallaire carrying the five-ring flag was pretty exciting for any fan of Canadian culture and history. And Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado?
But the highlight for me was that the organizers found a place in this primarily visual spectacle for the spoken word. They made a hero of a bespectacled "slam poet" from Yellowknife named Shane Koyczan, whose poem "We Are More" summed up Canada and the Canadian spirit better than any other single moment of the $30-million opening event.
Kudos to the organizers for a brave move. Based on the Internet chatter I have read today, it was a popular choice.
Commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission, "We Are More" talks about the people and promise of Canada. It contains some wonderfully evocative images:
* "Canada is the “what” in “what’s new"
* We are an experiment going right for a change
* we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
* we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
* we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own.
Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Poetry for the people - what a concept.
If you want to read the full poem, click here (Shane's website).
Click here for a Youtube video of Shane reciting his poem on Vancouver's waterfront. But he was better last night. If I find a video, I'll post it here.