Friday, November 25, 2022

Whistler's Other

Meeka contacted me a couple weeks back to ask if I would review the "Skateboarding" show at the Audain Art Museum at Whistler, and I said yes. The due date for copy is February. the issue scheduled for early summer.

The exhibition will have been down six months by then, but reviews have a way of living on, showing up years later at art school studios after someone drops off a parent's old art magazines for students to flip through. When they're not on their phones, that is.

This might have been my first trip out of town in over year. A shameful feeling for me, though there is nothing about Whistler today that makes me think I've missed anything. How it went from an improvised community rooted in skiing to an expensive back alley stop for the international jet-set is a story that belongs as much to its present as it does to its past.

Thursday, November 24, 2022


It's been a few days now since the passing of Michael Morris. Curious to see if the art press has posted anything, I went looking and, near the bottom of the bowl, found mention of the Palomar exhibition Michael did at the now-defunct Satellite Gallery.

Palomar was a show organized by Presentation House Gallery and mounted in conjunction with the Belkin Art Gallery's Letters: Michael Morris and Concrete Poetry exhibition. Pictured above is one of the Palomar sculptures, as photographed by Stella Hsu. Amidst it, yours truly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Bye Bye Love

Throughout All That Jazz (1979), director Bob Fosse's fictive stand-in   -- the weak-hearted pill-popping philandering workaholic Joe Gideon   -- converses with Angelique, whose name speaks for itself. Angelique is typically constructed: she is always there and awaits him at the end.

Anyone who has seen the film knows the amazing song-and-dance finale (a comp on "Bye Bye Love"), the spectacular death of the artist who appears on-stage in a hospital bed surrounded by staff and loved ones as his able-bodied self spins and twirls and kisses his audience goodbye.

His final passage is comforting, with Gideon moving along a cat walk high above the stage. A visually and sonically perfect shot-reverse-shot sequence. At the end of his "walk": Angelique.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Open Cage Feeder

Thirty-six days today since this picture was taken. Much has changed. Rains, for one. And frosts. The second day of frost slayed my begonias.

The chickadees still come a couple hours before sunset for their feeding, though more finches than chickadees of late. Finches mate for life and always come in pairs.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Life Aquatic (2004)

Last month I picked up the DVD of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. The clincher was the price ($5) relative to the distributer (Criterion).

Back in the early 2000s, I paid $70 for the Criterion edition of David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945), so mine was an act of revenge. Like it was revenge for Captain Steve Zissou in his mission to destroy the Jaguar Shark who ate his first-mate, only Steve learns his lesson by film's end. With the Jaguar Shark located, he leaves it to its beauty, though Steve's work on the patriarchy continues (unconsciously).

I first saw Life Aquatic when it was in the theatres. On second viewing, I was shocked to learn how little I remembered of it. Seu Jorge singing Bowie songs in Portuguese was memorable, as was Willem Dafoe running with a spear gun and Owen Wilson's first scenes, which stand as a masterclass in understatement. Other than that, this children's tale for grown-ups was a new movie for me.

The picture up top is from the scene where Team Zissou attacks the pirate fort on Ping Island and recovers their stolen possessions, which includes Ned's inheritance, locked in Zissou's safe. Zissou declares Ned's inheritance saved, then, after a few turns of the lock, opens the door, where we see that the back of the safe has been torched out. You could drive a truck through that metaphor. A toy truck, of course.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Websit Review

Dear K.O.,

Thank you for sending me your poems. Not sure where you heard websit (Websit?) is a literary review, but now that I think about it, I suppose I could thread one into it. 

Of the five poems you submitted, "Caulk" and "Bawl" from your "Home Reno Divorce" series show great promise. As for the three poems from your "BDSM" series, I want to feel more tortured by them, which is to say you could take them further -- by revealing less.

A writer you might be interested in, someone with whom you share stylistic tendencies, is Hamish Ballantyne, whose new book Blue Knight (Auric: Durham, N.C.) can be found in limited editions at Vancouver's People's Co-op Bookstore.



Saturday, November 19, 2022

Where Bread Is Broken

T. lives in the neighbourhood with her parents, who moved here in 2001. She is the family's third and final child, born sixteen years ago last spring, a home-birth I was invited to, so I can say I have known T. since she was a moment old.

Yesterday, while raking leaves, I saw T. coming down the block, all bottom lip and kicking a pebble. 

"What's up T.?"

"They're gonna close the cafeteria."


"The school," she said. "They fired two of the staff, including Ms. L. who everybody likes."

"I'm sorry to hear that. School cafeterias can be more than a place for soup and a sandwich. I learned a lot at my high school caf--"

"Yes, but the principal says she's fed up with bullying. But then D.'s mom said that's just an excuse to cut staff, so it's not about bullying; they're lying."

"So you never saw any bullying in the cafeteria?" 

"Well, I mean, there's mean people everywhere, right? So why should the cafeteria be singled out? It's not fair." 

And with that, T. held her gaze at me. As if for the first time. Hers were pleading eyes, glassy with tears. 

I felt my hands tighten on the rake. I did not want those tears to fall. "I'm sorry T."

"You have no idea how important that place is to us! And now they're gonna take it away! It's just not fair!"