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Haven’t been here in a long time and I thought I’d open up again on the blog to show some of the things I’ve seen and done lately. Almost a year ago now I co-curated an online exhibit with the Virtual Museum of Canada and the Museum of Vancouver about Vancouver’s neon history. The exhibit is called The Visible City and I highly recommend it for the stories and the images, told and captured by some of Vancouver’s finest including Dal Richards, Joe “Sh*thead” Keithley (DOA), Gregory Henriquez (architect of the new Woodwards complex), Mark Brand (Save On Meats), and Bill Pechet (Great White Way on Granville Corridor) .
This post links you to many of the photos I took for the exhibit, which I’ve featured here in my Neon Neighbourhoods set on flickr. Enjoy!
If you’re thinking about heading out for a walk this weekend, you’re probably planning on a few hours, tops – and likely on pavement, or at very least a well-worn path.
But when Russian émigré Lillian Alling went for a walk in the 1920s, she strode clear across North America – through dense bush and over steep mountain passes – with nothing but the clothes on her back and an iron pipe for protection on her way from New York to British Columbia, then north to the Yukon.
Complete article here.
Stunning commitment to original work from the Vancouver Opera. Here is another example of their innovation.
What a sight: The second storey of the Vancouver Art Gallery, usually stark and pristine with priceless works of art, is filled with stuff. It would not be unfair to call the items, spread out on the floor across three large rooms, junk. But these things – pop bottles, cans of Raid, bits of outdoor carpeting, socks – were a treasure to one woman, and as such have travelled to art galleries around the world in a monumental installation called Waste Not.
This installation is the work of Song Dong, a noted Beijing-based conceptual artist. Consisting of more than 10,000 items, as well as the frame of the tiny house where he grew up, Waste Not serves as a memorial to his father, Song Shiping, and a tribute to his mother, Zhao Xiangyuan. There are strong echoes here of both the Cultural Revolution and of China’s new consumer culture. And there’s an environmental message too: Nothing in Zhao’s life was thrown out, or went to waste.
Full article here at the Globe and Mail.
Japan’s Good Morning to the World has won the Vancouver International Film Festival’s 17th annual Dragons and Tigers Award. The drama by 23-year-old filmmaker Hirohara Satoru edged out seven other films from Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, China and Singapore to win the award, which is given to young filmmakers from Asia.
Special mentions were given to the features Don’t Be Afraid, Bi!, directed by Phan Dang Di from Vietnam, and Rumination, directed by Xu Ruotao from China.
Good Morning to the World will receive an additional screening on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pacific Cinematheque. Satoru takes home a $10,000 cash prize along with the award.
From the Arts Club release:
Glamour! Intrigue! Suspense! A collaboration with the innovative Electric Company Theatre, the premiere of this stylish thriller is inspired by the “reel” history of the Stanley Theatre. Experience a multimedia spectacle featuring your favourite Hollywood film noir archetypes: the mob boss, the femme fatale, the hardboiled detective, and his girl Friday. Does the truth lie somewhere between the stage and the screen?
Photo: Brian Johnson
This is a must see. World premiere of the Electric Company Theatre’s “Tear the Curtain” at the Stanley Theatre. It opens September 9.
Censorship, to our way of thinking, is generally bad news. Is there ever a good reason to ban a book? Maybe not, but the cause for a recent Canadian ban on Annabel Lyon’s “The Golden Mean” strikes us as particularly silly. BC Ferries, a maritime transportation service in British Columbia, has removed Lyons’s novel from its bookshops—not because the author penned a controversial scene or racy bit of dialogue, but because the paperback’s cover art features a naked man’s rear-end!
Over at the ABE Books blog, Richard Davies offers this humorous assessment of the offending cover: “It’s a very nice naked bottom and the horse’s naked arse isn’t bad either.” And as for protecting children? “As a father of four-year-old and eight-year-old girls, I can vouch that children wouldn’t give a flying fig about the arse on this book cover.”
Lyons’s own response to the ban seems equally apt. The book will not be available at BC Ferries stores, she writes in a blog entry, “since the trade paperback still features a bare bum on the cover. Oh, BC Ferries. You have one too, you know you do!”
Read more on the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2010/08/banned-book-bummer.html#ixzz0xUmWdIE6
You won’t find Annabel Lyon’s brilliant debut novel, “The Golden Mean”, on BC Ferries bookstore shelves anytime soon due to a no-nudity policy. I wonder if bookshops in Florence refuse to sell books that feature images of Michelangelo sculptures or if the Musee Rodin wraps a “belly band” around the nudes on display there. Seems to me if you have to have a no-nudity policy at least you consider what the object is. This is a book that should be celebrated, not kept off the shelves because of a misguided nudity policy. Seriously, is there any possible way of misinterpreting this cover image as offensive? If so, I’d like to know how.
Bare bums are banned at the B.C. Ferries bookstore — even when they’re on the cover of an award-winning novel by a New Westminster author.
The offending work is The Golden Mean, by Annabel Lyon, which won the 2009 Rogers Writers’ Trust fiction prize and was in the final five for both the prestigious Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award.
Lyon wrote on her blog earlier this year that the novel, while on sale in paperback across Canada, was not available on B.C. Ferries, “since the trade paperback still features a bare bum on the cover. Oh, B.C. Ferries. You have one too, you know you do!”
B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall defended the move Friday.
“The publisher of this book approached us over a year ago,” she said. “Because we’re obviously a ‘family show’ and we’ve got children in our gift shops, we had suggested we could carry the book if there’s what’s called a ‘belly band,’ wrap around the photo.”
She said when publisher Random House refused, B.C. Ferries chose not to carry the book.
The cover features a picture of a naked youth on a horse and the book is a fictional account of the time the philosopher Aristotle was tutor to a young Alexander the Great.
“While some people might think it’s art or appropriate or whatever, parents of young people might not think it’s appropriate for young children to view,” added Marshall.
The book has been widely praised in literary circles.
“In this alarmingly confident and transporting debut novel, Lyon offers us that rarest of treats: a book about philosophy, about the power of ideas, that chortles and sings like an earthy romance,” reads the citation for the Rogers award.
For a complete series of photos take a look at Ziyian Kwan’s blog.
By Janet Smith
A veteran Vancouver dancer and her colleagues are taking their frustration over B.C. arts cuts to the streets.
Ziyian Kwan is dubbing her protests “what i am dancing sundays”. She’s organizing impromptu dance/rally/busking sessions in front of the Gene Cafe at Main and Kingsway.
Her next dance-protest is this Sunday (August 15) from 4 to 6 p.m., and she invites other artists angered by the provincial Liberals’ slashing of both gaming and core funding to the cultural sector to join her. So far dancer-choreographers Jennifer Clarke, Lee Su-Feh, Jay Hirabayashi, and others have joined her on the sidewalk.
Read the entire article here at the Georgia Straight.
Catch a rising artist at the Emily Carr grad show
Works by more than 300 students are featured in university’s annual exhibition
BY KEVIN GRIFFIN, VANCOUVER SUN MAY 2, 2010
EMILY CARR GRADUATION EXHIBITION
Where: Emily Carr University of Art and Design, 1399/1400 Johnston St., Granville Island
When: Sunday, May 2, to Sunday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
The annual Emily Carr University of Art and Design exhibition opens to the public Sunday at the art school’s Granville Island campus.
In the Charles H. Scott Gallery and the north and south buildings on Johnston Street are the works of about 300 bachelor students in fine arts — painting, sculpture and photography — as well as design, media arts and masters students in applied arts.
Had to take a brief break from the blog during the Olympics. Information overload. Back to some of the most interesting events happening in Vancouver. This new choreographic work by Jennifer Mascall looks very promising.
Choreographer Jennifer Mascall’s White Spider scales wild heights
By Gail Johnson
Publish Date: March 4, 2010
Rare is the 21st-century dancer who’s limited to a single style. Rather, more and more of those who call the studio and stage their workplace can execute a breadth of forms, from classical ballet to contact improvisation, modern dance to martial arts.
But mountain climbing?
True to modern-day form, when Vancouver choreographer Jennifer Mascall asked five dancers to take up the activity for a new piece, none of them blinked.
“We went to the Edge [Climbing Centre] and got our belay tickets,” Mascall says in an interview before a rehearsal at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Centre. “We weren’t so much interested in getting up as we were exploring the physicality of what the harness does with your body.”
Scaling peaks is at the heart of the Mascall Dance artistic director’s latest work, The White Spider. It takes its name and inspiration from the book of the same name by Heinrich Harrer, who in 1938 was on the first team to successfully climb the north face of Switzerland’s treacherous Mount Eiger. The 5,000-foot ascent, whose name means “ogre”, is also known as the Murder Wall because of the number of lives it has claimed.
The parallels between mountaineering and dance are undeniable, Mascall explains. Whether it’s a group of climbers ascending a precipice single file or an ensemble of performers swirling together on-stage, each member is completely dependent on the others. One slip-up and everyone suffers.
Then there is the unshakable commitment that climbers and dancers make to their chosen activity, a loyalty that leaves some people perplexed.
Read the entire article here.
What were your hopes for this performance?
“In the arts community, lines are being drawn between people who are part of [the Olympics] and people who aren’t. People are upset about cuts to arts funding. My hope was to galvanize us again because the arts community has always had a strong united front.”
Thanks to the Vancouver Sun for posting Shane’s poem. Here’s the link.
This was one of the most surprising and inspired choices from last night’s ceremonies.
kd lang’s performance of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” absolutely stole the show, hitting just the right balance between celebration and mourning last night. I’ve never seen the song rendered so soulfully. One of the most memorable moments of an often truly inspired opening ceremonies, and especially moving given the moment of silence given to the Georgian Luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili.
Below is a version recorded earlier in concert since the OL version is not available …
I thought the Georgia Straight really nailed it with this list of remarkable events in the Opening Ceremonies. I especially agree with the choice of slam poet Shane Koyczan:
Vancouver Olympics opening ceremonies: the top five surprise artsy moments
By Janet Smith
Usually Olympics opening extravaganzas are about pomp and ceremony—big stars and obvious symbolism.
So imagine the Straight ‘s arts section’s surprise to see some genuinely eccentric, even subversive choices on the roster at last night’s big bash at B.C. Place Stadium—and no, we’re not talking about Bryan Adams.
Here, then, are the top five moments that made us proud:
1. A visit by Brock Jellison, former Tap Dog, head of Vancouver’s Ruckus Company Productions: great to see this rock ‘n’ roll rebel in tap shoes.
2. A surprise appearance by Shane Koyczan, representin’, unimaginably, for the city’s thriving slam-poetry community—a gang usually relegated to coffee houses.
3. Jean Grand-Maître’s inventive choreography: hard to know if it translated to the folks watching it live at B.C. Place, but the Alberta Ballet maestro crafted some truly transcendent moments.
4. One-time cowpunker k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah : sublime, in the most un-extravaganza-ish way.
5. Mohawked fiddler-bad boy Ashley MacIsaac stomping his combat boots and kicking up his kilt .
Great post from Miss604 today. Easily the best part about any Olympics is the people you meet from around the world. If you’ve ever been in an Olympic city or to a Cultural Olympiad before, you have memories of everything from giving directions to the nearest hotel or bar to striking up friendships that can last for years …
The Olympics are a time for the host nation and city to shine brightly but they are also about bringing the world together.
Vancouver will be a temporary home for athletes and visitors from dozens of countries during the 2010 Olympics and there are many who have rented spaces around town to showcase their culture, cuisine, and hospitality for visitors and residents a like.
Read the whole blog post here.