The first-annual Human Touch show offers a sensory surplus to raise money for Calgary’s homeless families
Paul Spenard speaks energetically as he shares his manifesto: “I look for joy in the moments...wherever I can. Positivity is infectious.”
It’s this drive that motivated Spenard to perform for the inaugural Human Touch show, to be held March 13, at the Commonwealth Conference Center in northeast Calgary. The show is a benefit combining local artists and fashion designers to showcase their interpretations of the five senses.
Proceeds raised from Human Touch will be going towards Inn from the Cold.
Spenard was originally asked to record video of the fashion show. “But I didn’t just want to do video," he said. "I wanted to be in it.”
Spenard cracks open his suitcase to prepare a small demonstration of what can be expected from his Human Touch performance.
Paul Spenard performs his mind-bending magic in Eau Claire Market.
Photo: Farhana Rahman/Calgary Journal
The suitcase itself is a testament to Spenard’s passion and serves as a tribute to the masters. The images covering the case are worn and several of them are scratched. Houdini, Thurston and Alexander look back at Spenard as he unleashes his street magic in the centre of Eau Claire market.
Spenard will be representing sight along with local design duo Beatrix.
Spenard said that his performance is inspired from the masters.
“We’re doing an interactive, 1920s style magic show, where I will be performing a straight- jacket escape and be interacting with the audience.”
Interactivity is key to Human Touch, according to co-organiser Janet Risdale.
“People are going to be a part of this evening,” she said.
According to Risdale, choosing Inn from the Cold was obvious. “It’s a well-rounded service, they help homeless families by enabling them to get and stay off the streets.”
Beverly Reynolds, a volunteer with Inn from the Cold for 13 years, explains the how relationship between the homeless shelter and its visitors differ from other services agencies.
“We don’t call them residents or clients," Reynolds said. "They are our guests. You treat people differently when they are your guests. While they are your guests they will receive your compassion, respect and understanding as they deserve.”
A former guest of the Inn will be making her runway debut in the Human Touch fashion show. Reynolds says that the model, whom she refused to name, is very excited and nervous about her debut.
Risdale added that “this model has never experienced anything like this...she’s received instruction on how to work the catwalk.”
To Risdale, this model is an example of how Inn from the Cold is enabling its visitors to get their lives back.
“Attitude is huge for recovery," Spenard said. If I can get people to laugh and feel positive, then it makes me feel great too."
Spenard then leaned forward to share the story about the key he placed on his palm. As he explained the supernatural forces behind it, an onlooker gasps and attention moves away from Spenard’s face and down to his hand.
The key began to turn.