Sunday, November 18, 2018
Yesterday afternoon I walked to VGH to visit Amarjot, who had emergency surgery last week. As much as I wanted to bring his and Althea's dog Maybe with me (she is staying with me until Am is released), hospital rules are strict about animals at bedsides. Instead, I brought with me a coat covered in Maybe's hair and the picture above, which I took on Friday.
Saturday, November 17, 2018
A lesser known mondegreen from Side Two of Led Zeppelin IV. This was the side that provided Mike Carroll, Roger Nay, David Holmes and I our soundtrack during a fateful 1978 trip to Gabriola -- an island from which we were subsequently banned.
Friday, November 16, 2018
Great to hear Tanya Talaga on the road with the 2018 CBC Massey Lectures.
Last night's "All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward (I Breathe for Them)" broadcast came from Tanya's stop in Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory, home of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas (1904-1986), the "father of universal medical care in Canada," she told us. The "father."
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Talonbooks tends to launch its Fall (or Spring) titles all at once. Last night's Fall Poetry Launch featured five books and six authors, with Jónína Kirton hosting.
Pictured up top is Tiziana La Melia, author of The Eyelash and the Monochrome. Below is Treaty 6 Deixis by Christine Stewart:
Christine''s book, like Fred Wah's contribution to his and Rita Wong's beholden: a poem as long as the river, was written beside a river (the Columbia River for Fred; the kisiskâciwani-sîpiy or the North Saskatchewan for Christine). I have just started Christine's book and have not yet settled on who she means by "they".
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
A small room behind a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.
The shoes come off outside the door and are left on a mat to the right of it. Inside the door are a pair of felt slippers, always warm because beside them is the heating vent.
On the inside of the door is a hook with a red mac on it. When I return, I remove my coat and replace it with the mac.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Saturday, November 10, 2018
The Known Soldier
for Dana Claxton
I know her. I don’t know her
well, but we were friendly once
until she said she had to go away
and that was it, when I saw her next
she wasn’t, not mean but indifferent
or preoccupied. I didn’t press
I just looked away, as she did with me
and this went on for some time
until one day we were approaching
each other and as we were passing
she reached out and touched me
touched my shoulder and I stopped
watched her hand slide away
but by then she was gone, crossing
at the light at the end of the block
Friday, November 9, 2018
Whenever I think the world can't get any worse, and me with it, I look at Ettore Sottsass's Casablanca Sideboard (1981) and I think, Yes, things can get worse: I could visit my mother on Sunday and find Casablanca Sideboard jumping for joy in her dining room.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Consignor Canadian Fine Art's Live Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art is less than two weeks away. Among the highlights is a 1964 Kenneth Lochead painting consigned from the collection of the TransCanada PipeLines Limited of Calgary, Alberta. Yes, this Hard-edge panting looks "like" its title (Colour Rotation), but it could also pass for a buckled (pipe-) line.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
"Only those safe from fascism and its practices are likely to think that there might be a benefit in exchanging ideas with fascists."
after Aleksandar Hemon
are likely to think that there might be
pulled from its quotation, entered
into Google’s engine, exciting
(but not matching) a BBC
Learning English course
disappears to be mine
and I am free to present it without
quotation marks, a staircase stanza
climbed from right to left, walked across
then jumped from -- without anything
to catch us
who among us are likely to think that
there might be a point in lifting something
from something published and dropping from it
this length of poem?
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
A couple months ago I found these two books at the East 12th Avenue Salvation Army Store, at opposite ends of the shelf. Neither bookends nor binaries, they are nonetheless attempts at raising questions of decreasing relevance. Does that make them unimportant? No -- they are of their time.
For those interested in those times, these books will be around as long as publishers keep them in print, retailers keep them on shelves and libraries continue to lend them. What determines their availability is another question. Whether that question is based on the market or a public depends on your disposition.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Yesterday's walk suddenly turned into a Skytrain trip from Broadway-Commercial to Metrotown, where I purchased a couple pairs of pants. I thought I might catch a matinee after, eat a bag of popcorn, but the films didn't interest me. Plus it was too warm and sunny to spend the afternoon indoors -- so I walked back from the 4500 block of Kingsway to the 1200 block, where I live.
In the shadow of the Burnaby Skytrain track, between Jersey and Smith Streets, is Minoas Taverna (above), an ongoing work of restaurant architecture that I hope to dine at one day. Below, a thoughtfully cultivated garden (topiary!) by the owners of the Quán Chay Pháp Uyen Veggie Deli (at McKinnon St):
Near Khan's ladder (Gladstone St.), an upholsterer:
The former Rona store between Dumfries and Perry Streets at the 1400 block (below). Last week saw the last of the rebar bundles removed and the safety fence opened. This morning Lowe's, who purchased a number of Rona stores a couple years ago, announced it would be closing many more stores, even though they said they would integrate these stores if and when the day came.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Door stops can be springs made of coiled metal wire. They are intended to be flexible. Rubber is flexible, too, and sometimes spring door stops have rubber tips.
Sometimes our stops are too flexible, and are not stoppers at all but slowers, delaying what they are designed to protect. Sometimes adjectives are nouns and appear as such with red squiggly lines under them.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Yesterday's oddly balmy morning...
At 11am I began my ten-block walk southeast on Kingsway to see Khan Lee's 126-foot tall 108 Steps (2018). On my way back I stopped at a second-hand store and picked up two CDs (Sonic Youth's Goo, 1990, and Beck's Mellow Gold, 1994) for $1.50 each; an IKEA stool for $5; and my biggest score, an Expo '86 umbrella ($2!), whose logo was like a swastika for many of us in the mid-1980s.
At 3pm, a Collective Acts "symposium" at UBC featuring presentations (poems, tales, stories, speculations) by Marilyn Dumont and Candice Hopkins, followed by a Q&A led by moderator Tarah Hogue.
Friday, November 2, 2018
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Page 50 from Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North (1967):
I heard Mansour say to Richard, "You transmitted to us the disease of your capitalist economy. What did you give us except for a handful of capitalist companies that drew off our blood -- and still do?" Richard said to him, "All this shows that you cannot manage to live without us. You used to complain about colonialism and when we left you created the legend of neo-colonialism. It seems that our presence, in an open or undercover form, is as indispensable to you as air or water." They were not angry: they said such things to each other as they laughed, a stone's throw from the Equator, with a bottomless historical chasm separating the two of them.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Vancouver Art Gallery Associate Director/Chief Curator Rochelle Steiner began her current position on June 1, 2018. As a member of the VAG I was looking forward to finally hearing something/anything from Ms. Steiner at the VAG's November 7th 5:30pm Annual General Meeting, but she is speaking at another 5:30pm members-only event that night, a membership I am not a part of -- the Globe and Mail newspaper.
Monday, October 29, 2018
A small room behind a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.
Fell asleep last night to tapping rain. Awoke at one point to furious typing, or applause -- finally to swooshes made from pooled water and passing cars.
Radio news is telling us to keep our drains free of leaves.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018
There is a lot to recommend Dana Claxton's Fringing the Cube exhibition, which opened last night at the VAG. For starters, a great exhibition design, some of it, according to curator Grant Arnold, was adapted from the previous Cabin Fever show. Other elements include a number of diagonal placements, like the banner in the exhibition's "Red Room" (above) and a ceiling-hung veiled work that greets you as you enter the exhibition and bids you farewell as you turn its final corner.
Friday, October 26, 2018
Aggressive Shopper/Hudson’s Bay Department Store, Granville and Georgia, Vancouver
I was in no hurry, last out of the elevator; you were determined, in possession of your pronoun. The white lino floor reflected the fluorescents above, allowing the aisle its luge track allusion. “The fuck out of my way!” you roared, bowling me over.
When: October 25, 2018
Where: Hudson’s Bay Department Store, Granville and Georgia.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Whale Hunt (2017) is a large oil painting by Megan Kyak-Montieth.
Glue Pour (1970) was a performance by Robert Smithson.
In 2016, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun exhibited some ovoids at Larwill Park.
Thirty Below (1980) is an installation by Nancy Holt.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
On Friday March 4, 2016 Dana Claxton performed Follow the Red Sinew at the Belkin Art Gallery. At the end of the performance, she gave me a piece of red cloth, which I tucked into a red folder and filed on a shelf devoted to Vancouver art and artists.
After Dana and Skeena Reece's on-stage conversation at last Sunday's Vancouver Art Book Fair, Dana asked if I still had the cloth, and could she borrow it for her VAG show. "But it opens on Friday," I said somewhat incredulously. "Yes, I know," said Dana smiling, "so I'll need it soon."
Because I was out most of yesterday I had told Pauline, Dana's assistant, that I would leave the cloth on my porch. Not on the chair, as it says in the picture, but under its cushion, which I did.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
I am finding this helpful.
Auto-aggression develops out of the gap between the real ego and the ideal ego. The ego struggles with itself, is at war wth itself. The society of positivity, which believes it has freed itself from all external compulsions, entraps itself in destructive self-compulsions. Psychic ailments such as burnout or depression, the exemplary ailments of the twenty-first century, all exhibit auto-aggressive tendencies. One does violence to oneself and exploits oneself. External violence is replaced by self-generating violence, which is more devastating because its victims imagine themselves to be free. (36-37)
Thank you Byung-Chul Han.
Monday, October 22, 2018
Some great tables at the Vancouver Art Book Fair this year. One of them belonged to L.A./Berlin-based artist Kandis Williams.
Kandis was giving patrons a rapid-fire tour of her Cassandra magazines when I noticed her Black Twitter anthology. "Wallace Berman," I said to myself. "Of course," said Kandis, without missing a beat.
Yesterday I attended Kandis's talk, which began with a Charles Sanders Peirce abductive reasoning inspired schemata ("Lover", "Artist", "Fetishist"), followed by some video clips of Hortense Spillers ("Shades of Intimacy") and Rachel Dolezal, then some light on writers and artists Michael E. Jones, Adrian Piper and Kazimir Malevich, whose Black Square (1915) was an important moment for an artist who, like Malevich, identifies as a Suprematist.
Black Twitter was priced at $25. After Kandis's talk I gave her $40 and she gave me $4 back. "Twenty-five dollars, right?" I said. "Twenty-five American," she said, moving on.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Last Tuesday Catriona Jeffries took me on a tour of her nicely apportioned new gallery at 950 East Cordova. Thought it best not to take pictures of the interior until the February 2018 opening. In the meantime, two Pit Stops in the parking lot. Gallery design: Patkau Architects.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
A quote often attributed to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) has it that "If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain."
A variant came to mind in the 1990s when I began to notice how certain post-war Baby Boomers who self-idenitifed as anarchists in their youth were suddenly behaving like libertarians. And yes, BC Bookworld's Alan Twigg appeared to be among them.
During a Writers' Union of Canada event at the Vancouver Writers Festival last Wednesday, TWUC equity, membership and engagement co-ordinator Rebecca Benson, who is Tuscarora from Six Nations, was interrupted by Alan while presenting an outline of the TWUC's "equity policy and programming and subsidies for writers." Apparently Alan felt it okay to shout out his two-bits. But to what end? An instance of free speech -- for free speech's sake? Failing to hear ceremony where he only felt exclusion? Apparently, according to a statement he posted on his B.C. Booklook site.
I have pasted Alan's disturbing I-wrote-about-you-so-I-own-you statement below (followed by his revised version that appeared later this morning [and after that a more recent update, as of October 27th):
A public message from Alan Twigg
In an age when tweets can easily be misconstrued as truths, I wish to make a public statement beyond 140 characters.
Friday, October 19, 2018
Earlier this month Calgary's derek beaulieu was announced Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The following day I received a package from derek, inside which were some recent publications from his No. Press, including a piece of mine, entitled "PutFord [Mad".
after Ezra Pound
mp tyro omna
ked foran hou
Thursday, October 18, 2018
The Vancouver Art Book Fair is this weekend. This is the seventh year of the Fair, and ECUAD is hosting a number of its events.
On Friday evening the Contemporary Art Gallery is launching Robert Kleyn's Page 10 (Brussels: Gevaert Editions, 2018), an artist's book comprised of scanned page 10s from a number of academic and literary sources, including a page from my 1999 novel The Pornographer's Poem.
The pages are organized alphabetically based on the first word that appears on the page. For example, Susan Sontag's page 10 (from On Photography, 1978) is in the "B"s because it begins: "be exacerbated by travel." I am in the "B"s too: "But a funny thing happened." And it's true -- it did!
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
When I was in elementary school (late-60s/early-70s), some of us came to school in our Brownie uniforms (Brownies met after school, while Cubs met after dinner). Of those I know with kids, none attend or attended Brownies.
Yesterday, while walking on Main Street, I noticed The Brownie Handbook in a book bin. I almost bought it, but I am trying to cut down on my book intake, so I took its pictures instead.
Here is the page (74) I was looking for:
find long and short weeds and grasses
tie at neck, wrists, waist and legs
to make an Indian grass doll
cut heavy paper in this design
fold at the dotted lines and paste the sides together
drop in a few grains of rice
tape it to a stick holder
and you have an Indian rattle
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
A picture of Neil Wedman early in September at his Wednesday Ouisi salon on South Granville.
Neil has an opening at Equinox this Saturday. Entitled Spotlights, the works consist of a dozen or so large acrylic on canvas paintings of a spotlight on a curtain above a stage.
Later that day the spotlight will be on Vancouver's Mayor elect, as British Columbians will be voting in municipal elections.
Who am I voting for? Looking through the CoV's list of candidates, I still think Hector Bremner makes a better cartoon character than Sophia Cherryes Kaur Kaiser. Katy Le Rougetel impresses (a Walmart cashier and Communist League member), while Kennedy Stewart fills me with inertia.
Monday, October 15, 2018
Yesterday I visited Mina at her studio. Because I am always early, I walked around the neighbourhood and took in its changes.
A notable change was the demolition and replacement of what was once the Exercise (and later Model) Gallery and artist studios at the 100-block of Main Street. But a bigger change was to the overall volume and density of the area.
Lots that sat empty for years suddenly had buildings on them. And unlike past buildings, these new ones were built to the street, with guarded porticos. Same for the spaces between these buildings -- nooks and crannies where people once took refuge.
The picture above is from a location that was once the Helen Pitt Gallery. The Sardine Can refers to itself as Spanish tapas, but when I caught its sign from the corner of my eye, I saw not its can but its ovoids.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Two blocks west of the Commercial Hotel was the opening of a 7-11.
I have never seen an opening for a 7-11 before. They just appear, as if they were always there.
Not sure who these figures are, how they figure into the store and its story.
Friday, October 12, 2018
During my studio visit with Brenda Draney we talked about eye-balling. I was tempted to share with her this picture I took from my hotel, my attempt to get things to line up. I am happy with my work on the vertical axis, the cinder block wall to the right.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, you notice. I am speaking of when a Canadian government enterprise that works in both official languages provides its public with a text that has been translated into French, and later, from French back into English. How else do you end up with Air Canada in-flight movie descriptions like the above?
A 105 minute movie on a 90 minute flight.
For my protection.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago on 20th after turning east off Main Street. I thought it was spilled paint. Then I noticed the "K", then the "O"s. Then I thought of Raymond and what he might make of it, what he's up to.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
A sunny drive to Little Kingdomville last Thursday, via the Coquihalla, to winterize the trailer, returning four days later, via the Canyon.
I like the Canyon on the way back, its modulating scenery. Under six hours door-to-door, with a gas stop halfway in Lytton. The Coquihalla route has fewer miles and more driving lanes, but is more harrowing, with longer stops, though I never intend to stop longer.
The picture above was taken in Merritt, on the way up.