Sunday, November 30, 2014

Don't Argue

Don't Argue is a pizzeria that opened last year in a former Hungarian goulash house on Main Street. Its proprietors -- Anna de Courcy and Nathaniel Geary -- are artists, and they hire artists to work there.

Although careful in my consumption of wheat, I like Don't Argue's crusts. Same with the pizzeria's layout and design. Unlike Globe and Mail freelance contributor Alexandra Gill, who, in her September 26, 2014 review, writes as if one needs a didactic panel to place an order, not to mention her own critic-specific chair.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Food (1971) and Untitled (Free) (1992)

Two food production and distribution projects by visual artists. The first, Food (1971), was initiated by Gordon Matta-Clark, Tina Girouard, Caroline Goodden, Suzanne Harris and Rachel Lew; the second, Untitled (Free) (1992) by Rikrit Tiravanija, first appeared at Gallery 303 and was later reprised at MoMA in 2012.

Friday, November 28, 2014

No Lokum

Centre A's current exhibition by Derya Akay is built around meals and mealtimes. Last night I joined a group of eleven for a yummy supper of lamb, polenta, kale salad and wine.

Those interested in dining with Derya can find more information here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Magazine Building

Earlier this year, Capilano University announced that it would no longer contribute funds to the Capilano Review, a magazine founded at what was then Capilano College, in 1972, and a champion of vanguardist writing and visual art. While the magazine receives revenues from advertisers, sales and government, institutional funding was key.

Rather than allow the magazine to fold, editor Jenny Penberthy has sought additional funding sources. Most recently, she instigated a kickstarter campaign, with goods and services in return (including a tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery's upcoming The Poetics of Space exhibition with yours truly).

For those who cannot afford a yearly subscription ($25), the kickstarter campaign offers rewards for contributions of $10 and $15.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stuart Building

In 1982, one of my favourite Vancouver buildings was demolished. In its place, a private residence.

The Stuart Building (1909-1982) stood at the entrance to Stanley Park, at the northwest corner of Chilco and West Georgia Streets.

Not sure who took this picture. John Mackie might know. If not Mackie, then John Atkin.

Artist Barb Wood remembers the demolition:

[W]e were told it was too frail to stand, so it should come down. When they drove the first bull-dozer through it, the results were like a Bugs Bunny cartoon -- the structure was so sound that the machine left a bull-dozer shaped hole, side to side.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Park Drive (1994)

Earlier this year, the Pinakothek Der Moderne in Munich displayed a Jeff Wall light box entitled Park Drive (1994). A couple years earlier, former Canaccord Financial Inc. chair Peter Brown was goaded into paying too much for a smaller ink-jet print on paper on aluminum version at a Vancouver Art Gallery fundraising auction. Now it is for sale again.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Gastown Police Riot

Long before the mayors of Burnaby and Vancouver took a stand against transnational companies and their potential threat to the environment, when a magazine like the Georgia Straight concerned itself not with the advertising revenues of private developers, as it does today, but a critique of the social forces behind such companies, there was the Gastown Police Riot.

Friday, November 21, 2014

On Burnaby Mountain

My respect and admiration for those who, on these rainy days, have left the comfort of their rooms to take a stand on Burnaby Mountain against a Texas-based oil company that wants to make as much money as it can, by whatever means, and a Canadian federal government that is acting as its enabler.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A small room inside 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.

At my bedside are four books. Each book has a different bookmark.

For this one, a plastic picnic knife:

“Immersed in solitude, he would dream or read far into the night. By protracted contemplation of the same thoughts, his mind grew sharp, his vague, undeveloped ideas took on form.” -- Joris-Karl Huysmans, À rebours (1884)

For this one, a receipt of its purchase:

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” -- Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (1929)

For this one, a real-estate agent's "Just Sold!" postcard:

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” -- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (1958)

And for the English translation of Karl Ove Knausgård's My Struggle: Volume One (2012), a printout of Kyle Buckley's November 4, 2014 Hazlitt interview with its author:

"I feel the novel is very much like a room, or rooms: that you’re in this room or that room, and that the whole aim of writing is to create a room where you can say something. And that’s what writing is about. You have to build up a place where it’s possible to say something. If you understand what I mean."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong (1969/2006)

The above work was made at the Western Front (1973-), in a large upstairs room known as the Grand Luxe Hall.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Numb" (1993)

Received in my inbox this morning notification of SFU Galleries' upcoming For a Long, Long, Long Time: The Music Appreciation Society Presents Drones, to be held at Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre on Wednesday, November 19th at 7:30PM.

Say what you want about U2, but who can forget their 1993 "Numb", a monotonal droner that the band released as the first single from their Zooropa album at the height of their record-selling powers.

Note the opening of the video, which features an impatient homage to Bill Viola's He Weeps For You (1976), with later allusions to Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1965) and General Idea's Body Binding (1970)

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Who is this Duane Linklater and what significance is his wanting to see the sunrise before anybody else at Cape Spear!!!!"

In addition to tonight's George Bowering reading at the Western Front: a Duane Linklater opening at Catriona Jeffries Gallery.

Not sure what Duane will have on hand, but here is a project he has contributed to over the past few years.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Garry Thomas Morse on George Bowering

When I first met George Bowering I was still singing Italian arias and he would only answer in Spanish. I never listened when he called Rimbaud (or someone) a little puke but I picked up the lingo anyway. In spite of all the leaves of poetry I gave him, his response was almost Buddhist in nature; but, man, when you listened to him read a sonnet by Archibald Lampman or talk enthusiastically about those Montreal cats like Artie Gold and three-headed dogs like Irving Layton and Louis Dudek . . . and the other guy . . . man, then you were a believer in CanLit, zeow! Then he would pitch you curve balls like Lola Lemire Tostevin or George Stanley. At one point, I threatened to leap out of a window, but that didn't stop George. He was always willing (allegedly) to head to Helen's Grill to talk about The Double Hook and other Canadian stumpers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

George Bowering Reads "Fred Wah" and More

This Friday at 8PM the Western Front hosts a reading by George Bowering. The event is co-presented by The Capilano Review and will serve as a launch for their current issue, which, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, is dedicated to George and certain of his books.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Recent Publications

A couple of publications out this week, with recent work by yours truly.

The reproduced cover of Kevin Schmidt's EDM House catalogue* (top) is notable because a) the title of the work is misspelled and b) its co-producer's logo translates less as a profile of the island that bears its name than that of a torn edge.

As for The Capilano Review (bottom), it makes sense that an issue dedicated to the books of George Bowering would have a picture of George reading a Pogo comic on its cover, but nowhere are we told about the little guy beside him. [Correction: TCR editor Jenny Penberthy emailed to say that the "little guy" is George's brother, Roger, as stated on Page 4.]

* the reproduced cover on the Sternberg website has since been corrected

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Billy Budd (1962)

Not a blond cabin-boy but a bottle-blond foretopman.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"La Condamné à mort" (1942)

The seventh stanza from Genet's "La Condamné à mort":

Ne chante pas ce soir les "Coustauds de la lune"!
Gamin d'or sois plutôt princesses d'une tour
Rêvant mélancolique à notre pauvre amour,
Ou sois le mousse blond qui veille à le grand'hune

and its translation ("The Prisoner Condemned to Death") by Mark Spitzer:

Tonight, golden child, don't sing "Lunar Studs"
be instead a sad princess in a tower dreaming
of our poor love -- or the blond cabin-boy
watching from the main mast

Friday, November 7, 2014

Un chant d'amour (1950)

Small rooms -- without bay windows.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A small room inside 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.

Last week a parcel arrived: a 1965 Bernard Frechtman translation of Jean Genet's Journal du voleur (1949). A book I did not order, and as I later found out, a gift from a friend.

Those familiar with the book will know that it begins with a description of the convict's pink-and-white striped outfit. Then the proposition that sets the tone for what follows: "there is a close relationship between flowers and convicts."

As the last of the penal colonies close, Genet blooms, his tendrils taking us through Spain, Italy, Austria, Czechoslovokia, Poland, Nazi Germany and Belgium in the 1930s, mostly at night.

Something else: on Page 165 he writes:

"In a friend's room, looking at his bed and all the bourgeois furnishings:

'I could never make love here.' That kind of place freezes me. To have chosen it I would have had to make use of qualities and have preoccupations so remote from love that my life would have grown disenchanted with it."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Rain

November rain was what I drove through today -- from the Centre of the Universe to Vancouver.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Emily Dickinson

"November always seemed to me the Norway of the year."