Photo credit: Levi Manchak

The season closer of Dirt Buffet Cabaret #33 will be curated and hosted by Mustafa Rafiq of Edmonton-based group Pyramid//Indigo. Natalie Loveless, curator and host of Dirt Buffet Cabaret #32, interviewed Mustafa over email about his upcoming show and what MZD audience members can expect on that night.
Natalie Loveless: Dirt Buffet is an amazing experimental space, with each iteration having a different theme and approach. Could you tell me a bit about what you envision for Dirt Buffet #33?

Mustafa RafiqThe artists involved in DBC #33 are all pushing forward with dedicated intention with their work. For me, they’re all incredible examples of what you can fit under the term “experimental”, but, for most, I don’t think that’s how they would brand themselves. The term can mean so many things now, and Edmonton is lucky to have spaces like MZD that are committed to breathing new life into our communities.

Loveless: Agreed! We are lucky to have Mile Zero. Question: Why don’t you think your artists consider their work “experimental”? How do they (or you) characterise the work that will be presented?
Rafiq: There will be a percussion/poetry duet, a film (Midnight Oscillations by Parker Thiessen) which is a film based on a soundtrack, which was “a soundtrack based on a film that doesn’t exist”, dance crew movement pieces, music for Santur (traditional Iranian instrument), and drum performed live. I have a hard time imagining what each would describe it as, every piece will be so different, pulling from different genres and influencers from their respective disciplines. I feel they might use the word “honest”, or “intentional.”

Loveless: You are active in many interdisciplinary art communities. What is most exciting thing for you about the scene in Edmonton? What keeps you here?

Rafiq: I feel really blessed to be a part of what is happening in Edmonton. I love the fire that young artists have, it gives me so much life! Getting to put on shows for so many amazing musicians, like actual DREAM shows. I feel that what I do is really crucial. I used to be a lot shyer about the deep pride I have in the booking work that I do, but the response from different communities/niches I’ve had after getting the opportunity to collab often leaves me in a loud glow and keeps me motivated to do more. Also working for Nextfest (they showed me I could make art my life when I was 16, never looked back).

Loveless: I love that way of framing it…”loud glow.” Lovely! I have to admit that I don’t know very much about the experimental music scene. Who are your influences? Anyone I would know?

Rafiq: Major recent influences have been Le Guess Who (an experimental/Avante Garde festival in the Netherlands) and Elsewhere Space (a venue in NYC) for curation. There’s a series in Brooklyn called Ambient Church, where they bring in ambient/noise composers and pair them with live visual artists in gorgeous old churches. Seeing their updates on scouting locations gets me in the mood to explore more of Edmonton and the spaces it has to offer.

Loveless: I’ve never heard of these places, spaces, and people, but the way you describe them really makes me eager to come hear your lineup! If there was one more thing you could tell us, to get us excited for the Dirt Buffet to come, what would it be?
Rafiq: This lineup is a cultivation of love. Come feel it with us!
Loveless: Thank you! Can’t wait! 

Dirt Buffet Cabaret #33
Thursday, May 24
8 PM
$10 at the door (or best offer)