C.R. Avery has a pattern.
After six weeks of touring across Canada—from Montreal to Haida Gwaii—the East Vancouver creative is ready to drink up artistic inspiration again.
"Last week, I went to the symphony, Cat Power, and the opera. I put out for six weeks then I have to bring it in—fill up the well," he says.
That input-output equation might be true, but Avery seems like the kind of multi-talented artist who gleans inspiration wherever he goes. He's a musician, a beat boxer, a spoken-word poet, a painter, an author and a filmmaker.
"Most great art was a combination of things," he says. "Chuck Berry changed blues forever when he started telling stories instead of just [singing] 'My baby, my baby.' He started doing blues and then a country song and going back and forth. That happens a lot with me. I think it's going to be a hip-hop lyric and next thing I know I'm singing over a country shuffle."
The East Vancouver musician—who has been described as a "one-man hip hop beatbox blues harmonic Americana iconoclast"—is bringing his musical act to Whistler on Friday, Nov. 8 as part of The Point Artist-Run Centre's takeover of the Maury Young Arts Centre. Mainly, it will be him and a piano tackling his unique style of performance.
"It's so hard to describe the show," he says. "It's all the things I really love."
But he will be setting that performance aside early next year when he debuts a new project that includes weaving a performance by a 45-person orchestra and dancers into the screening of his new film.
"It's around a film I've been working on for the last two years," he says. "[There will be] a bit of film while there's music playing. The film stops, live music starts, and the film comes back on. We're playing with the three mediums. I love going to live shows, but it takes a lot for a live show to reduce me to tears or have me laughing so hard I can't control myself. Movies do that."
Because transporting so many people is a bit of a daunting task, that show will stick to eight or nine B.C. dates. The goal is to tap into a medium that seems to be resonating with people lately.
"When you hang out with people now, they're not talking about so-and-so's album," Avery says. "They're talking about the Netflix show they're watching. I made a 12-minute short a couple of years ago [and then] I dove in, took two years off from heavy touring and made a film. Instead of sending it to theatres everywhere, I said, 'what if it tours with a movie and an orchestra?' It's such an old school thing."
First up, though, he will wrap up his tour in Whistler. "That combines piano ballads and folk music with beatbox to keep the hip-hop urban thing," he says. "Piano and a voice, there's so much history to it."
Catch C.R. Avery play ahead of the play About the Moose at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.