Thursday, May 31, 2018
A garden shed at 21st and Clark.
In the 25 years I have lived in the Kensington-Cedar Cottage/Little Saigon neighbourhood, this shed has remained more-or-less unchanged -- a wooden structure wrapped in tar paper. The only thing that has changed is the addition of those black shingles near the roof.
Years ago, while hosting a German friend, I showed her this structure after she asked if Vancouver has any schrebergartens.
"This is not a schrebergarten," I was told rather seriously, in the way Germans can be serious about such things. "This is, in fact, closer to nature than that which it pretends to be at home with."
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Semmens & Simpson's Collingwood Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (2985 Kingsway) has a similar presence and opened in 1951. The Collingwood VPL was originally painted to match the colour of the earth. In the 1980s it was repainted to mismatch the colour of the sky.
The Vancouver Veterinary Hospital has undergone its share of alterations over the years. Besides its awning (signage?), the one that got my attention occurs at the southeast corner -- what might have been an entrance/exit in the original design, before its steps were turned into a planter and its door a window. And now its most recent "go away" incarnation:
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Monday, May 28, 2018
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Two instances where open spaces have been closed off: the space below the ramp to the upper parking lot of Glad Tidings Church at East 19th and Fraser and, three houses east, the space below a trapezoid-ed platform that leads to a flight of stairs.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Is Roberta's question sincere? Rhetorical? Evaluative?
Somewhere last year I read a statement by an exasperated Canadian art educator asking that institutions stop teaching Dan Graham, that course curricula should place greater emphasis on relationality, positionality...
Seems to me Dan Graham's Dancing Circles (2018) is aware of just that through the material (as opposed to the reflective and thus imagistic) merging of his glass pavilions and, given our long, increasingly spatialized, and ultimately timeless moment, the inevitability not of a stand (a position to take up) but a stasis (a statue that stands in for what what amounts to Time's memorial).
Friday, May 25, 2018
Yesterday morning I set out for Amir's to get my hair cut. On my way back I walked west down the lane just south of Kingsway and noticed an apartment building on Parry Street. I was drawn to the entrance, so I took its picture.
What attracted me to the entrance were the vaguely deco details near the top of its archway. Later, while looking at its picture, I noticed that the building is made of cinderblocks, and reflected in the window is a light standard the City introduced to the neighbourhood a few years back in recognition of its Victorian heritage.
There is more, of course.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Over what 1960s American film critics called a montage sequence.
...her laconic remembrance...
From where or when, we are not told.
...of Ferdinand, who appears as a mansplainer, and who Marianne calls Pierrot.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Not supposed to say anything just yet, but a North Korean "cultural publisher" is commissioning Harry Potter-like stories featuring contemporary artists in pastoral settings. I was given a choice -- pick one of five artists -- and last night I made my decision.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
I remember the first time I saw a camper without its pick-up. I was eleven or twelve, and the camper was "standing" at the side of a corner house on its spindly retractable legs like a baby moose getting to its feet for the first time. It seemed impossible, on the verge of falling over. Suddenly the door springs open and out comes this old woman in maroon coveralls holding a wrench and a whole lotta anger. "Fuckin' bolt!" she mutters, and I pretend not to hear her.
Monday, May 21, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Yesterday Brian and I drove into Vernon. Brian wanted a haircut, and I thought I did too, but somewhere between Little Kingdom and the Village Green I decided to hold out until I was in Vancouver later this week, when I would visit my usual guy, Amir, and catch up on what he's thinking.
While Brian was getting sheared, I wandered about the neighbourhood, where I came upon an apartment building with an unusual addition at its northeast aspect. Unfortunately the detail got lost in the shadows, but as is often the case with me and my phone, something unforeseen happens -- in this instance, the floral line and the line at the top of those clouds.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
With the ground tamped and the pavers placed, with the thesis project submitted and the previews for Preview in the bag, not to mention the book review I was asked to write for TCR that, at various points over the past three weeks, I was convinced I would not have time for, I allowed myself to drift into the Book Department of the Vernon Sally Anne, where I came upon a Julian Barnes novel whose sadness I had heard about when it was making the rounds six or seven years ago and, with my own unpuzzled piece of sadness in hand, purchased for a dollar and tossed on my bed with an I'll-get-to-you-later smile.
That "later" came the following evening when, after another German dinner, I began to read the unremarkably written first-person account of the equally unremarkable Tony Webster, who we meet in the last year of grade school sometime in the 1960s, where he motors along with three equally though variably arrogant male friends, after which he goes to university, dates Veronica for a year before going through a break up that affects his relationship with said friends, then, in the last seven paragraphs before the end of the first section, bums around the United States for six months before returning to England, where he becomes an arts administrator, marries, sires a daughter, divorces and retires.
Interestingly enough, it is in the second and final section where the writing becomes more remarkable, just as Tony's life takes a remarkable turn towards understanding both himself and the world around him. An example of form following function, but also of English men who, despite coming of age in the 1960s, still suffer from Edwardian adages like You can't hurt me and You love everyone, you love no one. Pity about the ending, with its improbable hook, and Tony still "not getting it," as Veronica would say, when, as Tony's deceased friend (and Veronica's deceased boyfriend) Adrian complained with respect to "the English", Tony, too, could not be serious about being serious.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
For the past few years Newport Beach on Westside Road has been an interior-lit sign advertising Campgrounds and a Mobile Home Park, R.V. Hook Ups, a Store, an ATM Cash Machine, and Visa, MasterCard and Interact receptivity. Yesterday, while driving into Vernon, Lindsay and I wondered, What's this place really about? What's behind the sign, its store, its bushes?
On our return we asked Newport's manager if we could look around. She nodded yes, and off we went down gravel roads lined with mobile homes, all of which have been added to over the years, from uncovered decks to covered porches, some of which have been turned into enclosed rooms, with more rooms added to them, reshaping their original design from minimal industrial to Bavarian cottage to west coast deco.
The grounds surrounding these homes have all been thoughtfully landscaped, many of them with hearty shrubs, some from the previous century, while others have been tamed with rock and pebble fields, at the centre of which stand birdbaths, wishing wells, driftwood sculptures. There is no longer camping at Newport, just lease-hold homes and monthly hook-ups. The boat launch, pictured above, is deserted.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
The waters have fallen since Thursday, when there was barely a foot between the creek and the bridge.
Yesterday morning, after some creaking and popping, a cottonwood fell across the creek, coming to rest in the fork of another.
All day long we walked around these trees trying to determine which way the tree will fall when it eventually falls to the ground, and whether we should move the trailer outside its potential fall lines.
We still haven't decided. Nor has Brian's evocation of Murphy's Law been much help: "If you move the trailer, it won't fall; if you don't move the trailer, it will."
Friday, May 11, 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.
Last night's hallway riot. I didn't see it, but I have seen it before and it always sounds the same: the dumb thump of a cat on fir, like a cursor at odds with its mouse.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
The rains began at exactly 5pm last night, followed by thunder and lightning. The sun broke through at sunset, followed by another blast.
When I awoke this morning, the creek was quieter than it had been in previous days. But when I looked out my window, it was noticeably higher.
If it it gets much higher, it will be higher still.
Monday, May 7, 2018
Kevin Schmidt paid a visit yesterday to test out his latest adjustments to his washing-machine-cum-hydro generator. Scott set up the pipe, while Brian supplied the land and snapped the pic.
Looking forward to Kevin's exhibition at the VAG this July.