Paul Aflalo speaks about Monthly Messes
by Darren Usher
Indyish! Mess is a monthly event that has grown from being miniscule to showcasing an eclectic variety of artists. Paul Aflalo is a filmmaker, producer, radio host of WatercoolerTalk, a talk show on Concordia University’s underground radio station CJLO 1690 A.M, photographer, intermedia artist, and a teacher at Loyola High School. The Plant recently met up with Paul Aflalo for a quick interview on Indyish! Mess awareness, and other projects he is doing.
First off, the Indyish! Mess has become a huge local event in the Montreal region. How did the Mess get started, and how did you get involved?
The Monthly Mess was started by Indyish! about three and a half years ago. Indyish! is a website that was started by Risa Dickens and Elran Oded as a way for artists locally and now internationally to connect online and promote what they are doing. It was a way to sort of network everyone together. And the Monthly Mess was a show that started soon after the birth of Indyish!, and it’s meant to showcase different artists, including some from the States. Each mess also always has a certain theme.
How I got involved… (Laughs) I got involved in Sept 2008 when I produced an event in association with CUTV (Concordia University Television) and Indyish! called Remember Griffintown, which was a three-day event celebrating the history of Griffintown. The Indyish! coordinators approached me at the very beginning of organising the event. They asked ‘Well, why don’t we put a mess in on of the days, which I thought would be amazing. So, we basically gave them a show and they put it together for us. I would meet regularly with Risa, and we basically became friends. Afterwards, I started helping out with the monthly mess in any way I could as of last year in Jan.. In the following Feb. Mess, we were doing our beer pick-up for the beer we were going to sell, and Risa was telling me that she wanted to have someone to produce the show. I said ‘Yes, I would love to do that’. Since March 2009, I have been producing them.
It sounds like a lot of fun.
Yeah, you meet so many different people, and you meet all different kinds of artists. From musicians, theatre arts, dance, improv, poets, filmmakers, photographers to painters, name an art and you will meet them. It’s a lot of work though. It’s really draining. The moment you come off one show, you want to take a break. But then, if you take too long of a break, you realise the next show is three weeks away. So, it’s kind of stressful.
You touched upon the eclectic variety of artists that are brought to do the mess. What type of artists does Indyish! strive to get?
We try and pick any artist; we try not to be picky when it comes to the artists we choose. This is not to say that there isn’t a screening process. We have a lot of people who will approach us, saying ‘We really want to be a part of a mess’. But if they don’t have essentially their shit together, we won’t want to actually work with them. It has to be an artist who really has the strive and the drive to actually push themselves further. So, we get a lot of people who are eager to work with us, but at the same time there is a selection process to it. It’s a mix, and there are all different kinds of artists we can attract. It can be stuff outside of the mainstream.
What are you guys planning for the next mess? Who are the acts going to be?
Next Mess is the improv Mess. I can’t tell you the acts yet. I’m not telling you until later. You’ll get a press release (laughs). Our musical guest I can’t tell you either, until they confirm. I can’t jinx it. If I get them, it’s gonna be a solid show, I’ll be ecstatic, and it’s gonna be awesome.
So, aside from the mess, what other projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a feature film project, which will be a series of short films put together. People will be able to check them online, along with more information on how they can participate. Check it out on http://www.montrealjetadore.com.
For more information on the Indyish! Monthly mess, you can check their website, http://www.indyish.com.