Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Nov 30th 2009 5:30PM by Lonny Knapp
His third annual Basement Revue Series take place Tuesdays in December at Toronto's urban cowboy-themed Dakota Tavern. The multi-disciplinary variety show brings together some of Canada's most talented musicians, songwriters, poets and raconteurs.
While the line-up is kept hush-hush, rumour has it that this year's guest will include members of Broken Social Scene, Rich Terfry (Buck 65), k-os, Luke Doucet, celebrity chef Michael P. Clive and Melissa McClelland to name just a few.
"There will be plenty of surprises every night," said Collett.In addition to great music, this year there will be a focus on literary performances. Expect to see readings from musician-authors Dave Bidini (the Bidini Band / the Rheostatics) and Dave Pernice (Pernice Brothers) as well as poetry readings by Kevin Connolly and Damian Rogers. Collett says he's eager to offer a platform to Canadian poets.
"Being a poet in Canada is a tough go. As musicians, we consider ourselves the lowest rung on the ladder -- it's good to realize that poets are below even us," he cracks.
Sincere in his effort to promote poetry, Collett says he "gets off" on introducing this sort of "high-brow entertainment" to music audiences. "I was a part of the indie-rock scene in Canada as it exploded internationally. The scene here went from obscurity to being recognized all over the world. I'd like to be part of extending a hand to a whole other discipline, that being poetry."
Speaking with Jason Collett you get the sense his goal in life is to create and maintain an artistic community -- when not singing the praises of his literary friends, Jason is promoting his fellow musicians. These days he can't say enough about Zeus, a Toronto-based quartet featuring members of his back-up band Paso Mino. (Watch for the band's full-length debut, 'Say Us,' out in February on Arts & Crafts.)
Collett's 'Basement Revue' was predated by his now-legendary 'Radio Mondays' showcases from the early 2000s which helped connect Canada's disparate music scenes by bringing together songwriters , including members of Broken Social Scene, Kathleen Edwards, the Weakerthans and Hayden onstage to share insight on the craft.
While, his dual role as a solo artist and member of Broken Social Scene keep him too busy to continue organizing those songwriting circles, the annual Basement Revue puts him squarely back in the curator seat.
Collett says that he enjoys "tinkering with the chemistry of the various personalities involved" in these multi-disciplinary events. But he won't take credit for the role these events play in fostering an artistic community.
"I don't know if it is important," he demurs, "but I know that the exploration is very rewarding."