Sunday, August 19, 2018

Public Space

Some nicely-stencilled 11x17" graffiti going up at Broadway and Main these days. A welcome relief from those building-sized, up-with-people murals compliments of that mysterious organization known as Create Vancouver Society.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Your sudden urge to buy a turntable is your body's way of saying you need to get out of your chair more often.

Friday, August 17, 2018

VAGue Notions

Can you hear it, the tolling of that bell? Slow and solemn, it is less a tolling than a knell.

In a city where everything appears to be temporary except for poverty and wealth, Vancouver city council has voted to allow the B.C. government to build 98 "temporary social housing" units on its Larwill Park property -- the proposed site of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

Not sure what your experience has been with temporary social housing, but once a site is established, closing it can only come with conflict. Suddenly, the VAG is no longer a gallery waiting to quit its current building for an unbuilt one, but a gallery whose move will inevitably be linked to an eviction.

Can you imagine what the VAG's ground-breaking ceremony might look like, if indeed it raises the money for its new home?

Is this recent council decision payback after VAG director Kathleen Bartels's comment to the Vancouver Sun about never expecting to meet council's 2015 funding deadline

Dong ... Dong ... Dong ...

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Spent all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday applying the proper MLA style to my thesis project. At 4 p.m. yesterday I clicked the COMPLETE SUBMISSION button and, for the third time this month, await word on whether my formatting will be accepted or rejected.

It was while reading through my bibliography that I came upon the English publisher of Nathalie Sarraute's Tropisms (1963) -- John Calder. A moment later I was on the Web checking the spelling of "Sarraute" when I saw that a John Calder had just passed, and it was him!

Sarraute was 99 years old when she passed, Calder 91. Conclusion? Experimental writing is good for you!

Someone else has just passed -- Aretha Franklin. Here she is singing about a doctor who, as she tells us, helps her with her laryngitis -- but not before she thanks her accompanist, the band conductor and the band. Ever gracious, ever honest, forever in our memory. It is not the songs we sing, but the way we enter and exit their performances.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lloyd's Got Came

Yesterday's haircut at Amir's (5175 Victoria Dr.) was followed by a visit to the thrift store down the street. A couple of rare DVD's, including Sitting Bull (1954), which is noted for its "sympathetic" portrayals of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and the usual list of resisted purchases, stuff that makes better pictures than objects.

The image above is of Lloyd's "Came Calculator", a game from the looks of it -- and if that's the case, a misspelling, too. I am posting its image because I tried finding more information online but couldn't -- there is nothing.

Sitting Bull was the first independent film to be shot in Cinemascope. Lloyd's was among the first calculator-makers to use the LCD interface.

That's all I got.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Publicity Trumps Journalism

The Sun Wah Centre is now open for business(es). To celebrate, news services are running property manager B.C. Artscape's press release verbatim, as if it were their own.

Here are the opening two paragraphs of the CBC's July 29, 2018 story:

Here are the opening two paragraphs of the Toronto Star Vancouver's July 29, 2018 story, as attributed to Spencer Harwood:

It is not enough that agencies like B.C. Artscape are brokering studio and administration spaces for artists and galleries and related arts organizations, not when news of this venture is being "reported" identically in both public (CBC) and private (Torstar) news agencies.

As usual, it is a disregard for the way things happen in favour of them happening (regardless of the means) that saddens me. Shouldn't it be the way things happen, in the way a snowball rolled over grass and gravel contributes to our cultural experiences? By grass and gravel I mean the conversation that is inextricably part of these experiences, as criticism is to art.

What is B.C. Artscape's Sun Wah Centre, then, if it is going to permit itself to be spoken of in its own words? Where is the community dialogue in that?

Not a good start, B.C. Artscape. As for Sun Wah tenant Centre A, good for you for holding out and cutting your own deal with the landlord.

Monday, August 13, 2018


This firehose has been outside Amy and Sylvain's apartment for years, yet it looks brand new, like it was just unwrapped. Every time I leave their apartment I commune with it, count its folds, sometimes touch it. (Does someone dust it?) Amy told me Hannah has a similar response.