Outside Laura Dawe’s North Street house there’s a chalkboard, livening the neighbourhood with the regular truisms she writes upon it. “Someone described it as analogue Facebook updates,” says the Edmonton-born, Ontario-bred, fourth-year Dalhouse student. The “community outreach” started with Dawe collecting plastic figures to create a shrine, a plastic garden of sorts out front. “People told me time and time again,” she affects a dumb-guy voice, “‘Like, you shouldn’t do that, it’s gonna get stolen from, blah blah blah.’ But in fact, the opposite happened. People started adding to it, or left me notes saying ‘Thank you so much, it’s so beautiful.’ If you’re ever sad you can lay in the front room by the window and hear little kids go,” she squeals in a convincing kid voice, “‘MOOOOM! OH MY GOD!!!’ It’s pretty good. A fulfilling public action that didn’t take long.”
Dawe is a painter, a writer and an art director (for The Gazette, the Dalhousie newspaper). She’s pals with local musicians, has toured with the Burdocks and Rebecca Higgs (as her emotional support companion). Most recently, she’s become a filmmaker, and has earned a lot of attention by the ingenious ways she’s funding her first dramatic feature---the working title of which is The Inevitability of Something That Once Felt Impossible, a name that Dawe calls “a fucking mouthful.”
Fundraising efforts for her film have included raffles, auctioning off her paintings online and having a number really great parties and house concerts---where she also sells her paintings. The house shows take place at her home or at her ex-boyfriend’s, and they’ve featured performances by Roomdoom, Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees, Cousins, Rad Rat, Chris Martin and the Troubleshooters and bands consisting of the actors in her film.
One of the social events of the summer was Jenn Grant’s birthday party and fundraiser at the Company House, with artists such as Acres and Acres, Zac Crouse, Ruth Minnikin and Jon McKiel playing songs in celebration of Grant’s birth and Dawe’s career as a filmmaker.
“It’s kind of like whatever you can do,” she says. “Movies are very, very, very, very expensive. Even though everyone’s volunteering, but as a person who has never made one before and, more importantly, a person who is in school, I’m not eligible for any grants. The government is like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to go to school and do stuff? Fuck you.’ It takes as much of my time trying to make money for my movie as it does to make my movie.”
If you’d like to find out about Laura Dawe’s work and/or parties, there is a Facebook group dedicated to The Inevitability of Something That Once Felt Impossible.
“We keep waiting for some big benefactor,” she says. “We’re waiting for the art lottery. But you can’t wait for something like that. If you want to make something you gotta make it.”