Thursday, January 31, 2013


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Five Leaves Left (1969)

Music can make a space in our lives. This is an album whose island I sometimes paddle to.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blätter des Grases

Leaves of Grass (2012) was Geoffrey Farmer's contribution to dOCUMENTA 13. A couple weeks ago I learned that the National Gallery of Canada had acquired it for the collection, like they did a piece of Christian Marclay's The Clock (2010) a few months before. It would be nice to see these two works displayed together.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Scrivener's Monthly

At the Western Front tonight is the latest issue of Scrivener's Monthly, a "periodical that talks," edited by WF Exhibitions curator Jesse Birch, who devised the series last year. Tonight's presentation -- THAT SOUND SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUR TITLE: Ekphrasis and the Novel in Contemporary Art -- features writer and Emily Carr University of Art & Design educator Aaron Peck and his respondent, artist Dan Starling. (The image above is from Mark Z. Danielewski's 2000 novel House of Leaves.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Swan Song

Last night marked the end of the Waldorf Promotions era at Vancouver's Waldorf Hotel. Next week the hotel re-opens under the direction of its current owner, Marko Puharich, until the new owner, Solterra Group of Companies (and their hotel arm, Viaggo Hospitality Group), takes over this spring.

For those curious as to what this next phase of the Waldorf will look like, imagine Puharich at the front desk carping about how Waldorf Promotions cost him over $300K in unpaid rent (but not the millions more they made for him by adding value to his property) and Georgia Straight journalist and newsmaker Charlie Smith stapled to the far end of the Tiki Bar, boasting how he had a hand in Waldorf Promotion's demise -- and if we buy him a lemonade, he will tell us all about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lego Hotel

The Lego Hotel is purchased for assembly. Included within that assembly, something that is passed onto children, is the naming of its spaces and how they differ. In this video we are reminded that the Lego Hotel has a "Presidential Suite" and an "Economy Room."

Friday, January 18, 2013


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bedside Reading

Bill C-45 is a great read. Slow at times -- the plot is so intricate! -- but after awhile you just can't put it down. A well-crafted horror story.

As for current reading, I just started B.C. Law's Real Estate Development Marketing Act, and it too is scary. New terms and words include "material fact" and "rescission".

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

120 Days of Waldorf

Last night, while driving home from the opening of Neil Wedman's excellent exhibition at the Charles H. Scott Gallery, I had the displeasure of hearing CKNW junkyard dog Bruce Allen opine on Waldorf Promotions and why they do not deserve of our sympathy. This was a typical Allen rant, full of froth and vituperation, and, as usual, left me not with answers but with questions about the former bouncer's emotional health.

Earlier that day I received Waldorf Promotion's latest press release/open letter, which says that although they will be moving on, they will continue to scrutinize the Solterra Group of Companies as the developer waits out the City-imposed 120-day stay of demolition of the Waldorf Hotel site.

Prior to that we had the Georgia Straight's Charlie Smith reporting on his conversation with Marko Puharich, who sold the hotel to Solterra, and who was obviously hurt that Waldorf Promotions had been speaking to developers (Westbank) about buying the hotel and putting a tower in its parking lot, a conversation that might explain why Puharich stopped communicating with WP last August.

So now what? Where does that leave things? What will happen in a 120 days?

Seems the City likes Waldorf Promotions. Not just Vision buts its civil servants too. Because the City owns a number of buildings, might they give WP a sweet lease on one of them? Will WP provide a similar function as that other City-favoured licensee, David Duprey?

Does Solterra like architect Scott Cohen's renovation of the Waldorf Hotel, or does it interfere with their vision of money? Personally, I would be sad to see the hotel razed in favour of a tower, just as I am perplexed as to why a man such as Puharich, who loves the hotel (his father started as a line cook there), would rather see it destroyed than sold to a developer eager to integrate it within a mixed-use concept (if indeed that developer existed).

Are there other questions worth asking on this issue, or are we content to enter the Bruce Allen answer phase?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Toderian Says

Former Vancouver chief planner Brent Toderian (above) has commented on the Waldorf saga. Based on those comments, Business in Vancouver reporter Glen Korstrom had this to say:

"The public outcry over the decision by the former leaseholders to cease operations likely handed new owner Solterra Group added clout to negotiate bonus density if it keeps the beloved hotel."

Could this be what Solterra had in mind all along: a property with a built-in chorus, one that could provide Solterra an even more valuable density bonus?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Watt on Rennie

Yesterday, while at the Waldorf Hotel's love-in, I was approached by someone who told me that my previous post on Ian Watt was unfair, that Watt is as much a real estate industry analyst as he is a real estate industry promoter, as evidenced by his post on Bob Rennie (see above).

However, after viewing Watt's video (as sent to me by this person) I see less evidence of an analyst than that of a competitor, someone out to make his bones in that bottom-line, winning world of the market.

Had Watt provided some time and space figures to support his claim, I might have thought otherwise. But whatever. It was up to me to find out, and find out I did (sort of) in the form of Watt's response to those who accused him of the same unfairness I was accused of yesterday (see below):

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Inside Bosa's Brothel

Ian Watt is a Lower Mainland-based real estate agent who promotes condominiums from behind the wheel of his car. These promotions are uploaded and made available on his vlog.

I have viewed a number of Watt's videos, and most apparent is not the availability of condominiums but the praise he has for those who develop them.

What kind of man is this? What kind of man sits in his car and cheerleads for those whose buildings he sits in the shadow of?

Not far from where I live is another man Watt's age who sits in his car from midnight to 8 a.m. and collects money from those who work a four block stretch of Kingsway. The difference between this man and Watt is that Watt is no longer the one behind the wheel.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Latest Developments

On January 10th I posted a video of the Solterra Group of Companies opening an Abbotsford market housing development with Mayor George W. Peary.

The man to the far right of Peary is Solterra VP of Acquisitions Mike Bosa, of the Bosa family of developers, while the man in the middle is not Moses Znaimer, as some have argued, but real estate's equivalent -- Solterra President and frontman Gerry Nichele.

For a story on Solterra and their political and economic relationships, I refer you to Maria Wallstram, Nathan Crompton, Tristan Markle and Andrew Witt's January 10th article at The Mainlander.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Open House" at Solterra's Dolce Symphony

Real estate agent Renata Steele walks us through "Sub-Penthouse II" at the northeast corner of Smithe and Richards.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Solterra Group

The man with the scissors is the new owner of Vancouver's Waldorf Hotel.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

James Luna

James Luna is an artist who lives on the La Jolla Indian Reservation between San Diego and Los Angeles. He is a Pooyukitchum (Luiseño) Mexican-American. The medium he is best known for is performance.

The above video is an excerpt from one of Luna's performative lectures. From the clip it appears that he is speaking about his Artifact Piece (1987).

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Come and Get Your Love"

Redbone guitarist Tony Bellamy, a Mexican-American of Yaqui descent, opens his band's 1974 appearance on Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special with what I think is a deer dance.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

American Idle

Idle No More taking it to the streets of Los Angeles.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Exiles (1961)

A recently rediscovered film about American Indians living and working in Los Angeles.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Best Actor of 1973

Why Marlon Brando would not meet with the Academy.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Natasha's Turn

While Chief Spence's hunger strike is motivated by "pain," Natasha's post, as she says herself, is motivated by "anger." Both are right to say that Bill C-45 (now before the Senate) will result in further destruction of the environment and those communities that lie in the path of proposed oil and gas pipelines.

There are three impediments to the neo-liberalization of the world: trade unions, the environmental movement and aboriginal peoples. Bill C-45 is omnibus legislation designed to challenge all three.

Take some time to read this bill, particularly with respect to changes in the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 23

The CBC interviews Chief Spence on Day 8 of her hunger strike.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Three Predictions for 2013

1) Gold will hit $2000 (USD) per ounce

2) The Idle No More protest movement will result in an "Aboriginal Spring"

3) The development of Larwill Park will include the Vancouver Art Gallery