Sunday, July 31, 2022

Stardust Roller Rink

I'm not sure I ever skated/held hands at Richmond's Stardust Roller Rink. There have been more than a couple of roller rinks in my life, but the one I remember best was in Renton, a suburb of Seattle where, as a twelve year old, our Kerrisdale soccer team did a weekend exchange with a Renton team, and it was the Renton team that hosted us first.

Renton was still largely rural, with rundown factories and lands with once-grand houses on them. I was billeted with a family of nine kids (4 -18), of which the middle child, who was deaf, was my host. This boy was very sweet and got by without hearing aids (he would gently turn your head so he could read your lips), despite having aids for parts of the first years of his life, before the church that purchased them took them back after the mother was caught in flagrante delicto with the deacon. All nine kids lived in a massive attic separated by hanging sheets. At some point during the second night the fourteen year old sister came into my bed, wrapped her arms around me and cried against my back.

The big night out was the second night, when we went to the local roller rink. I remember the feeling underfoot (wooden wheels on wood that felt like butter) and the music. But of all the songs, the one I remember best, the song the DJ played more than once, was the song that seemed written for roller rinks, and that was Billy Swan's "I Can Help". 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Outdoor Cinema

Residents of the large house just north of the northeast corner of Clark Drive and E. 20th resumed their outdoor cinema with last night's screening of The Princess Bride (1987), a film that is/was to some kids what Goodfellas (1990) is to cis-gendered heterosexual white men over fifty-five. We were asked to bring our own chair and hydrations, while our hosts supplied two kinds of popcorn: one with engevita yeast, the other with a blend of southern U.S. spices.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Cooling Station

Sometimes I get the feeling that the VAG is willing to exploit every opportunity to get us into its building, if for no other reason than to show us how inadequate it is and why we need a new one. But shouldn't that be the purpose of any museum: to pay attention to what's going on in the world and offer a place of engagement, communion, refuge? The VAG's latest come hither pitch is the city's current stretch of hot weather: "Beat the heat with a visit to our temperature-controlled galleries this long weekend!"

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Res Hall Life Essentials

It is the end of July, which means marketing departments who met with senior management last January are now seeing the fruits of these meetings in fliers. The market was identified as parents of children setting off to first-year university, and how can we lure them from Ikea?

I am sure whoever was behind Bed, Bath & Beyond's "cell phone pocket twin sheet" gimmick is waiting eagerly to see sales figures for July thru September, as sales, unlike "like"s, remain the bottom-line measure of any successful business.

Funny to see the abbreviation "res" in this ad, though I will admit that the abbreviation for "reservation" has for many years now come to us as "rez". So residence then, as in on-campus housing, those little rooms that are usually shared with another student, with toilets and showers at the end of the hall, and meals dished out in a mess hall by those either too poor to attend the school that employs them or, if they are students, require more than their parents are willing to part with.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Patterns of Culture (1934)

As an anthropology undergraduate I remember my professors sighing when the name Ruth Benedict came up. "Ah, Ruth Benedict. Such a great writer." And it's true. Her Patterns of Culture (1934) is less known today as a call for cultural relativism (our current cultural relative moment exists at the level of the individual) than as a writer whose ease with words attracted students and allowed anthropologists to think of ethnographic monographs not simply as works of scientific discovery but of literature.

Like Margaret Mead, who wrote the preface to my ragged Mentor edition, Benedict was a student of Franz Boas, whose field work she drew on when contrasting the "Dionysian" Kwakwaka'wakw (dead name Kwakiutl) with the "Apollonian" Zuñi of western New Mexico. This past week I re-read Patterns of Culture's Chapter VI ("The Northwest Coast of America"), which focuses on Kwakwaka'wakw social organization (kinship and marriage), with an emphasis on social stratification, slavery and cannibalsm, but also on the potlatch -- not as happy party where everyone goes home with a gift bag, but a ritualized shit show of power, wealth and shaming.

Here's the concluding paragraph (with my asides):

"The segment of human behaviour which the Northwest Coast has marked out to institutionalize in its culture is one which is recognized as abnormal in our civilization, and yet it is sufficiently close to the attitudes of our own culture to be intelligible to us and we have a definite vocabulary with which we may discuss it. The megalomaniac paranoid trend is a definite danger in our society [she might well have been referring to the rise of Mussolini and Hitler]. It faces us with a choice of possible attitudes. One is to brand it as abnormal and reprehensible, and it is the attitude we have chosen in our civilization [Putin, Trump, et al.]. The other extreme is to make it the essential attribute of ideal man [Is Twitter a form of potlatching?], and this is the solution in the culture of the Northwest Coast." (195)

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Community Book Box

Robson Park has a community book box that often bares signs of attack, with books and, more recently, CDs strewn about it. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Painter of Signs (1976) 2

"His room was without table or chair. He had a mat and a roll of bedding; when he wished to sleep, he unrolled the bed, but when he wanted to read, he sat reclining on the rolled-up bed, lost in the pages of some ancient volume ... He knew a second-hand bookseller at the market who gathered books from far and wide. Raman's great delight was to pick up a bargain at the antiquarian shop. He wrote the bookseller's sign-board for him and burnished it anew from time to time, and picked up a book or two instead of presenting a bill ... The patterns and designs that book-worms created on the book-covers and inside made him ecstatic. He spent his hours studying them and discussing them with Raman. 'Book-worms possess a strange sense of design,' he would explain. 'Some books are tunnelled end to end, some they give up with the preface, in some they create a perfect wizardry of design but confined to the end papers, never an inch beyond. A real masterpiece must be read only in an ancient edition ....'" (17)

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Painter of Signs (1976)

Value Village has cottoned onto the value of used books and rarely will you find a paperback for under $3.99. When I came upon a spine that read: R.K NARAYAN THE PAINTER OF SIGNS, with the little Penguin logo up top, I withdrew it out of curiosity (an unfamiliar author, an intriguing title, a familiar and trusted publisher).

Christopher Brown's banal yet colourful cover did little for me, nor did the semi-colon in the first sentence of the text, which is something I never do in my own writing for reasons I am never sure of and can only explain as aesthetic.

But I read on, and soon enough I was under the spell of the sign painter and his story (he is a rationalist, a modern, while those around him are superstitious and addicted to the commands of their astrologers). A wry and funny book (so far).

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Gardening Gloves

Sometime back in March, on Day 6 of a stretch of wet days, I was walking through the Marine Drive Canadian Tire store when I noticed a pair of goat leather gloves on sale -- $19.99. I'd been gardening in cloth all these years and thought, Maybe it's time to buy a leather pair? A pair that would see me to the end of my gardening days.

The weather being what it wasn't, it was a while before I got going in the garden. But when I did, in mid-April, it was daily.

Yesterday I was on my hands and knees pulling up crabgrass with my weeding tool when I noticed a strange sensation at the tip of the middle finger of my left hand. Sure enough, a pencil-thick hole had worn through the leather, and that was my skin the ground was touching, not the glove between them.

Friday, July 22, 2022


This Techncolour title card is from the opening of High Society (1956), a screwball comedy concerning a society woman (Grace Kelly) and her three suitors: fiancé (John Lund), ex-husband (Bing Crosby) and a reporter (Frank Sinatra) assigned to cover the wedding.

Though our lead appears in a position in power, she is of course at the whim of her writer and director, who have made her shallow and unworthy of attention.

I barely made it through the first half-hour of this unforgivable "classic" before returning it to its case and placing it in a neighbour's community book box. I cannot sleep with stories like this in my house anymore. If there is anything good to say about High Society, it is the performances of "Louis Armstrong and his band."

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Jamey Koch

Yesterday's visit to the Warehouse in Gastown produced clean and crisp digital transfers, edits and masterings of my early Saving Grace songs (1985-86) and the Hard Rock Miners CFMI-produced simulcast of our Breakers concert at Point Roberts, Washington in 1992. Hayden Watson did the engineering, while Jamey Koch, who I have known since he was sixteen, provided musical supervision. That's Jamey up top, texting me to say, Stop taking my picture.

Jamey is a great musician, writer, engineer and record producer who has seen and done a lot in his fifty-plus years as a human being. A more recent project is an about-to-be-released collaboration between Bob Rock and Gord Downie that blew my mind insofar as it is nowhere near what I expected after he introduced the project to me.

I've never been a big Tragically Hip fan (if I have a favourite Hip song, it's "What Blue"), but I admire the band and how its members wove a blanket of itself, the kind you pull close if something isn't right in your world. For Bob and Gord's collaboration, it began when Gord asked Bob what he was writing (Bob was producing the Hip's 2014 World Container album at the time). A couple weeks later Bob sent Gord some music, and a couple weeks after that Gord returned the files with lyrics and vocals. The result is an album that sounds like what happens after a tour bus breaks down on the Texas panhandle and the band's Bowie-esque singer (Young American's era) shows up at the local roadhouse's karaoke night.

Speaking of breakdown's, here's Jamey in the Warehouse's courtyard, revealing the car that studio owner Bryan Adams stood on top of for a recent video. Those in the know will recognize the car as the make and model that launched consumer advocate and environmentalist Ralph Nader, whose first book, Unsafe At Any Speed (1965), was named after the designation given to the Corvair, which had a tendency to flip over over on highways.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Garden Path

I laid the path from the back of the house to the gate about 25 years ago. The flower-shapes that lead to the garage were added three years ago, once we began to use it regularly, a pattern that was reflected in the condition of the lawn.

About halfway through laying the path it occurred to me I was writing a poem as much as I was a path. Not an open, wide-ranging "composition by field"; more like a poem in the pattern of H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), William Carlos Williams and Robert Creeley. 

The picture above was taken about six weeks ago, before the butterfly bush on the right and the hydrangea on the left came into bloom.

Here, I'll show you:

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


From my door, of course. In a few minutes I will open and secure the door to the bird cage, add a bit more seed to the feeding tray, even though the finches and chickadees won't be here for an hour or so. The lawns also need cutting, so I will get on that. The beds too will need soaking. Maybe pick another pint of raspberries from my bushes. Who will I give them to today? Yesterday it was Jayne, who was in town to do some interviews and stopped by the house. Nice seeing Jayne again. One of the better editors I've worked with.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Overflow Chart

Two elements from Natalie Purshwitz's current Artspeak exhibition, Overflow Chart, where the emphasis is not specific to medium (e.g. ceramics), but on materials at various stages of development (from tree leaves to plastic, from the "organic" to the "refined", from the "finished" to the "ruined") and their arrangement, as one might arrange a floral bouquet.

Across the gallery, at what looks to be a reception desk, a selection of take-away watercolours and a bowl of charred sticks with which to register our footprint on them.

I thought a lot about Natalie's decision to mount these arrangements on the wall, as it were, effectively taking away our ability to circle them, as one would a modern sculpture. I don't think it's disingenuous to argue that the artist might prefer it that we not have access to all that a work has to offer, at least materially; that objects, if we consider them to be sentient, are entitled to a private life. And if we don't like it? Well, we can just take it out on those watercolours, write: IN PLACE OF WHAT LIES AHEAD on their horizons.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

2100 Block Kingsway

It wasn't until after I took this picture that I noticed the letters RIP, and below them another set of letters that to my eye and ear don't add up to a word or a name. Can you see it? Hear it? Maybe you can.

Someone has passed and is being remembered, memorialized. The tree sprouting from this painting could the subject of that passing, which would be fitting -- the dead tree standing in for what many of us fear could be the future of our "natural" world.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Park Warden

If the evening is particularly warm I orient my after dinner walk to visit a patch of southwest-facing boulevard that is both a garden and a place of escape.

Here, sedums and mosses thrive in ordered plantings around a hawthorn tree, amidst an array of igneous rock. Each planting has its own story, or at least the beginning of one, for its warden is quick to veer off, usually into the past, where he seems happier, if not more confused, a different man than he is today.

This man, like me, is about to enter a new decade. Him into his seventies, me into my sixties. The last time I set out to visit his garden, I stopped at the other end of the block to watch him, where I saw an old man fussing with a train set, that dependable world of comings and goings -- only this community contains no people or any sign of business.

His is a reserve, an eden, and this man, whose front yard is shaded by enormous trees, and whose partner waits an unregulated beat after I leave before hard whispering for him -- well, tears well up when I think of these two. Him because he is losing his mind, her for the work before her. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Surf Is Up On Death Row Beach (1985)

I finally got around to listening to the tapes Ingrid dropped off the last time we visited. The cassette above is a nine song album I made in Victoria with Bruce Cobanli (bass) and Douglas Turner (percussion, engineering) in the spring of 1985, when the three of us were in our early 20s and listening to a lot Woody Guthrie, Kinks, Jonathan Richmond and Meat Puppets. In addition to that, another three songs in a similar spirit I recorded (with Bruce) in Vancouver in the summer of 1986 on that same 4-track player I purchased from Patrick Pothier with money received from an ICBC settlement (we considered making ICBC the album's Executive Producer). 

Difficult to describe how I felt listening to those songs thirty-seven years later. Difficult because I feel it necessary to get the order right. For example, if I were to begin with mood, was it the quality of the sound (ghostly) that makes it so, or the lyrics (biblical)? Surely a combination of the two, and more, because nothing is ever singular anymore but an assemblage of things, a relationship. I hear this most in the blend of voices, the way Bruce's voice joins mine on the harmonies. Not so much meeting it, but knowing it. Back then I would have felt uncomfortable being known in that way, or expressed in that way; today, less so. 

Here's a sample lyric from one of the 1986 songs, a 6/8 number called "Come Down Town":

My mind is a broken clock/ Sometimes it tics, mostly it tocs a lot

We recorded Surf Is Up On Death Row Beach at my basement apartment in a once-grand Edwardian mansion at 221 Michigan Street in Victoria's James Bay neighbourhood, a house that was, until a couple years ago, still standing. I recorded the lead vocal and guitar on separate tracks. On the following day, when I had classes and Bruce and Doug didn't, Bruce recorded his bass and vocal harmony on one track and Doug recorded his drums on the remaining track. Two weeks later we had our fifty copies, with photography and layout by Doug. I took them around to local record shops, and never thought to check to see how many of them were sold or stolen.

Next week I will be taking these tapes in for digitization, editing and mastering. From there I'm not sure what I'll do, for the forms these recordings take are, more often than not, no longer to be held or handled.


Doug wrote to say that the address is 216 Michigan St., and the old house (still painted taupe) remains!

Thursday, July 14, 2022


Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was nineteen when he set Paul-Marie Verlaine's "Pantomime" to song. The version I listen to is sung by soprano Donna Brown, with accompaniment by pianist Stéphane Lemelin. The picture up top is of Verlaine; pictured at bottom (after Richard Stokes 2000 translation of Verlaine's poem) is a Verlaine lookalike, the poet Donato Mancini.

Pierrot, who is no Clitandre,
Gulps down a bottle without delay
And, being practical, starts on a pie.
Cassandre, at the end of the avenue,
Sheds an unnoticed tear
For his disinherited nephew.
That rogue of a Harlequin schemes
How to abduct Colombine
And pirouettes four times.
Colombine dreams, amazed
To sense a heart in the breeze
And hear voices in her heart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

1300 Kingsway

Peter Wohlwend is a few years passed now. I think of him often when I'm walking about the neighbourhood. Peter was active in the CityPlan process of the mid-1990s, when Kensington-Cedar Cottage, where I live, and Dunbar, where I ran amok as a teen, were its test neighbourhoods.

Prior to CityPlan, Peter was part of a citizens group that patrolled Kingsway neighbourhoods between Fraser and Knight Streets; not to confront those pandering or turning tricks, sneaking into yards or cars, but to bear witnesses to these activities and to notify police, if necessary.

Peter was more a designer than an engineer, and it was his wish to see the median strip on the 1300 block planted with trees and shrubs, like they do in Europe (he was born in Switzerland). This median strip is the visual legacy of those sometimes heated CityPlan meetings we attended: plantings, as opposed to subtractings. Nice that the City of Vancouver continues to maintain it. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Drugs in Film and Literature

Suddenly every book I read or film I watch has a scene of someone taking opium. Recently I went from Graham Greene's The Quiet American (1955; film, 2002) to Sergio Leone's Once Upon Time in America (1984) to Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971, above), all of which feature main characters smoking opium. In fact, both Once Upon a Time and McCabe end with their main characters lying on their sides in a den.

The novel I am currently reading, a western by Gil Adamson called The Outlander (2006), has its main character Mary Boulton purchasing a vial of laudanum (a liquid form of opium) from a dry goods merchant who said it would help her with her body aches. Strangely, the merchant doesn't suggest a dosage, and Mary takes not one tincture but five.

This is by far the funniest scene in an otherwise serious book, when the merchant, who had contracted Mary to shave his miner clients after they bathed in his tubs, corrals her dazed self, hands her a straight razor and points her to a chair where one of two men are waiting:

"In the end there was no bloodletting, though the Norseman was unusually closely shaved." (274)

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mental Patients Association (1971-)

Last night I watched The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Stories from MPA (2013), a 36 minute documentary on Vancouver's Mental Patients Association and its attempt to humanize mental illness by collapsing the systems that exacerbate it. Providing a horizontal governance structure was one such strategy; another was speaking its name -- an organization run by and for patients with mental health issues.

The documentary managed to pack a lot into its 36 minutes, from the haphazard closing down of Riverview Hospital (until the late-1960s, Riverview had over five thousand residents, where in the early 1970s its population had dropped by 90%) through the opening of its historic drop-in centre at the corner of 2146 Yew (five blocks east of yesterday's picture).

Where did everyone go? Well, the same place they went when Riverview underwent its next "deinstitutionalization" in the 1980s, when residents were given a new coat, fifty dollars and the address of one of Vancouver's three emergency services shelters -- and that was Vancouver's downtown eastside. Prior to that, the downtown eastside was more popularly known for seasonal resource workers and those addicted to drugs and alchohol. 

The picture up top is CBC footage; the picture below I believe was taken by Lanny Beckman, who is prominent in this documentary.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Khatsahlano Days

NADUH performed at Sun Yat Sen Gardens yesterday, an evening that included tattooing and, if I'm not mistaken, public marriages. I thought I would take in the band's show after walking the length of Khatsahlano Days (from McDonald to Burrard and back), but I took in too much sun and was done by the time I reached my car.

Khatsahlano Days also had public marriages, so this is thing now, I guess. As for the rest of it, I thought there would be more evidence of those who were there in the late-1960s, the ornamental hippies of past Days, but the only body artists on display this time were those promoting gyms and pole dancing. As for the descendants of those who were there when Chief Khatsahlano's presided, I saw no more than three booths operated by Indigenous people. Heritage Vancouver was also absent. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

An Evening With NADUH

In my garden last night with friends Jeff and Chin, and members of NADUH, who released their latest album earlier in the day. I had not heard of NADUH, but I never told them that. Too much to learn in the be-here-now present. Like the drop of Loti that Rosita deposited under my tongue.

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Capilano Review 3:47

This week I received my contributor's copy of The Capilano Review, the second ("I-R") in its three part 50th Anniversary issue (the first was "A-H", the final one, "S-Z"). I was offered the letter "O", and wrote a song lyric to the tune of "Bingo", substituting "Bingo" with the word "Onomastics". What does onomastics mean? Onomastics is the study of proper names. It is used in data mining and, more insidiously, in ethnic profiling.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

"Hot town, summer in the city..."

Another building on Hastings Street caught fire last night: the Vancouver Street Church near Hastings and Main. The week before that it was the Value Village between Commercial and Victoria. Both are places where no or low income people go to get by. Will either be rebuilt as places where people can expect shelter? In a land where Housing is fast becoming the capitol of Impossible? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Outlander (2007)

Last year I posted something on Newfoundland-based writer Lisa Moore's excellent short story collection Open (2002) as an example of a book published ages ago that I finally got around to reading. The latest example is Ontario writer Gil Adamson's The Outlander, a gripping novel about a young woman on the run from her dead husband's brothers in 1903. Adamson's Mary is a cursor moving over the Western Canadian landscape, where each clicked-on encounter brings the secretive Mary into deeper relief.

There's lots of strong writing in this Cormac McCarthy-esque western, and the strength of it is Mary's strength, too, regardless of her reason or reasons for killing her husband (I have read up to Page 135, a third of the book). My favourite of Mary's many remembrances are those of her father and his mother, Mary's grandmother. Mary's father was a High Anglican minister or priest who left the ambiguity(?) of the clergy for the certainty(?) of law, much to the chagrin of his deeply religious mother, whose faith extends beyond Christianity to the occult:

"Her grandmother thought there was nothing so alluring as the unknown, a world revealed in seances, in art, and in the inscrutable code of the palm. It was written in tea leaves and cards -- all of it infused with Christian hope, because these things belonged to God, and He could always be appealed to. Her father, however, felt the mistake lay in the asking, in the infantile need for answers when there were none." (129)

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

My Life (1928)

"... in the month of July of that year 1914 a strange oppression came over the earth. I felt it, and the children felt it too. When we were on the terrace overlooking the city of Paris, the children were often silent and subdued. Huge black clouds gathered in the sky. An uncanny pause seemed to hang over the land. I sensed it, and it seemed to me that the movements of the babe I bore were weaker, not so decided as those of the others had been.

I suppose I was all very tired from the effort I had made to change grief and mourning into new life, and as the month of July advanced L. suggested that he should send the school to England to spend the vacation  at his house in Devonshire. So one morning they all trooped in, two by two, to say goodbye to me. They were to spend August by the sea and return in September. When they had all gone, the house seemed strangely empty, and in spite of all my struggles, I fell prey to a deep depression. I was very tired, and would sit for long hours on the terrace overlooking Paris, and it seemed to me more and more some danger loomed from the East." (218)

Monday, July 4, 2022

A Chip Off the Old Path

Our house is an inversion of the neighbours to our west, and vice versa. Between our houses is an easement that allows us an outside route to our backyards from our front yards, and vice versa. The area pictured is at the south end of the easement, where an ancient piece of concrete was removed after I found a hole that was likely the result of what happens when you bury a large amount of organic matter (cellulose) 110 years ago. Fearing a break in the sewer line, my neighbour dug back a metre to make sure everything is sound (it is). To do so, a section of concrete had to be removed, and the rock work above is my attempt to replace it.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Fire Hydrant Red

His name is Derek, he works for the City. 

Derek's job is to travel between Camosun Street and Boundary Road five days a week (save the three weeks holiday he gets each year) and touch up Vancouver's 1,314 fire hydrants. He did not see me take this picture.

As Derek stood up, I noticed his name tag and asked him what shade of red he uses. He showed me the can. The label said: FIRE HYDRANT RED.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Green House Art Sale

Parking on Victoria Drive was impossible Thursday morning, so I turned right at 39th and found a shaded spot a couple blocks west. The walk to Amir's (my barber) would do me good, especially in the sunshine.

On my way back, a young woman was setting up a table on the overgrown lawn of a small bungalow. "A lemonade stand!" I rejoiced, and she smiled back "An art sale. Twelve noon. You should come." So I did.

The person who invited me is Nico McGiffin, the artist responsible for the invitingly even-tempered "I Love Lesbian" tags that stretch between Victoria and Fraser on Kingsway. Nico works in ceramics, but more recently has taken up painting. Below is a porcelain cast she made and glazed, and below that, a mixed-media work.

Nico's porcelain work attracted me for its lumpy purity, but later, when I got home, I noticed the way its lumps play with the artificial light above -- a celebration of the form's reflective surface through the assignment of its highlights. What attracted me to the picture was the subject's crown. A queen at sea, her raft a mass-produced palette. Our queen (Elizabeth II) will be dead soon, and we will be talking about what it means to be one.

Behold! A wood-cut:

Alyssa Thompson is at times a carving artist who works with wood and its byproduct: paper. I was attracted to this print (13/22) because the colour we associate with what a lamp does is the colour of the picture (my reproduction is much darker). Not just a lamp, but the diamond on which it sits, thus supplying us with three primary shapes: the more-or-less rectangular shade, the more-or-less circular body and the diamond-shaped mat (a square rotated 90-degrees). Moholy-Nagy might also see another form in the out-sized on-off chain, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Nadia Mahamoor's illustration of a woman sitting on a stool attracted me for its energy of presence -- specifically, the simultaneous force of hands and feet, the tension between getting up and sitting down, neither of which the subject is doing. Nor does this tension suggest any uncertainty on the subject's part, for she is in complete control of her situation. A portrait of human agency? I think so. Plus I like the way her bosom breaks from her chest, how delicately it is held by her dress. I like boobs like these.

Bella Roberts had three slip-cast pots on display. This one is my favourite:

I have a succulent for this pot -- and I can't wait to plant it!

It is encouraging to experience events like the Green House Art Sale, and from people so young (at least two of the artists are undergrads at Emily Carr University). I hope to see more activity like this. More refreshing than lemonade. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Pivot Noir

Given the ongoing shortage of restaurant serving staff, the City of Vancouver is now allowing businesses to adapt their previously approved curb side patios to other purposes. On such restaurant is now offering burials. The catch is that these burial plots, like the time limits placed on diners, are temporary, as one brother and sister found out recently when they showed up with their mother's corpse. "I have a seven p.m. interment available," the siblings were told by the maître'd, "but I'll need the grave back for nine."