Lisa Pijuan is a dynamic, multi-talented artist and performer in Toronto. Three years ago, she created RED: A Night of Live Performance, a bi-monthly event at the Lula Lounge. Tonight marks the start of an extra-special two-night third anniversary Red celebration, just brimming with interesting artists and performers of all stripes.
1. How did you come to create Red?
Well, the story goes like this. It was three years ago and a great venue called Residance had just closed. This was a place the presented theatre, dance, and music in an informal venue. It was a studio loft that at the time was being organized by modern dancer Lucy Rupert and Dennes Pehadzic. It was a venue that had a great vibe and the audiences were welcoming to risk taking artists. Unfortunately that venue closed and there was an obvious void in the Toronto scene. I was interested in something that was the same but different. I wanted something that was curated and provided performers that came from different disciplines and the would never be seen together in any other space. In August of 2002 I came across the Lula Lounge and decided that I would love to do a show there. In October, I assembled six different artists and it was a success. People kept on asking me about more shows and so I decided that I would put it together every two months. And that was three years ago!
2. Why “Red”? Why not, say, chartreuse? Chartreuse doesn’t get a lot of play these days.
I think that will be my next performance series, all things green. Or perhaps the Periwinkle Pieces, I always loved that word. Periwinkle. Anyhow, yes, RED…well, if you have ever been inside the Lula Lounge it would be quite obvious.
3. Has Red evolved much over the past three years? How?
Well, it’s grown much larger than i had ever anticipated. Last year I hosted the first RED festival which was a four day festival of Live Performance. Over 100 artists performed. It was unbelievable. I have also been asked to curate events under the banner of RED. Last year I curated 40 Tiny Performances Under a RED Light at Buddies in Bad Times and next February, RED will be part of the Free Fall Interdisciplinary Festival at the Theatre Centre. It has also grown in the scope of the performers. Originally it was just a few of my friends. Very quickly i realized that I had to go and find some new and innovative performers.
4. Who are some of this week’s performers that you are particularly excited about?
Can I say everyone? It’s an amazing line up. I am very excited about Glimpses of ExtraOrdinary Life. It was a toy theatre project that local puppeteer Noah Kenneally had created a few years back using three performers. On Wednesday night, we have about eighteen puppeteers with their toy theatre pieces. Each performer will be assigned a table to perform at. It should be quite lovely. There is also the very exciting return of two wonderful performances. In 2003 Erin Sheilds created a piece called The Night I Confronted Racoon Man. She will be doing that piece again. Miko Sobriera and Hana Watanabe will be showing their latin dance fusion piece that they did a few years ago called Swimming. These are some of my favourite pieces. I think they are rather brilliant. But all in all, these artists are very talented and creative people. I feel proud to be working with them.
5. Do Tuesday and Wednesday nights have different themes? If I have to pick just one, which one should it be?
Flip a coin. It’s the easiest way.
6. Finally, you just got back from Europe – what were the five awesomest things you saw, did, and ate there?
Five Twelve Things I Saw, Did and Ate:
1. Paris Catacombs – The bones of 6 million people are buried under the city. It really reminds you to live life to the fullest.
2. The Gargoyles from St Vitus Cathedral in Prague- They seem to be watching you.
3. Cinque Terre – Five coastal towns in Italy joined by footpaths. Breathtaking
4. The Coastal Town of Hvar in Croatia
5. Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France
6. Ate amazing Pesto Pasta in Italy for four days in a row.
7. Tartinade and sour cream in maple syrup in Arles, France.
8 A great pina colada in Prague
9. An amazing puppetry festival in Zagreb, Croatia.
10. Birds sleeping on a wire in Hvar Town in Crotia. It was one of the most beautiful things ever.
11. Sitting with a one eyed black cat named Luigi in Riomaggiore Italy as the world goes by.
12. Being in Paris with my love, my new husband David and buying too many books to bring in our packs so we had to mail them!