I’ve never been to NYC

Given that my recent job interviews have all fizzled, my relationship has horrifically dissolved, and my birthday is fast approaching, I have decided it’s finally perfect timing to use up my plane ticket to visit Van Sise in New York city*.

I fly out of SeaTac to NYC on May 20th and return June 2nd.

I am going to miss Rafael’s Folklife and a few other things, (my original birthday plan was to set up a Whole Beast Feast, hit up the 40th Annual Folklife for a day, then hitch-hike with some strangers to the 10th Annual Sasquatch Festival for the rest of the long weekend), but given my present circumstances as a connoisseur of sad situations, it just seems like a better idea to be gone. Every night my dreams ache, my body wrenches with unhappiness, yet in the morning, I can’t seem to find reasons to be awake. I lie there motionless, wrapped up in nothingness, unable to conjure any appetite for life, any thread of grace, any desire at all for my bland, banal hopes or disembodied future. If I had a job or were in school, I’m sure it would be different, I would feel that my life was moving forward instead of slipping away, but as it currently is, a lonely narrative of inevitable failure after inevitable failure, all I want is to be away from here, all I want is escape.

*Originally we were going to wander around the southern states, visiting Atlanta and New Orleans, rounding off the trip, if we were lucky and it was delayed, with the last Space Shuttle Launch. Instead his work got in the way and the already-purchased plane ticket was cashed in for credit and put aside for a visit with him later.

“now that these days have conspired against us, we keep our fists up”


365 2009: 18.01.09
365 2009: 18.01.0

The PuSh festival starts today, Vancouver’s most fascinating little performance festival. Two weeks of perpetually rewarding dance, theater, music, and, this year, astonishing puppetry. (festival event calendar). A slice of my heart is breaking that I’ve no resources this year to make it to anything. Shows have been especially calling to me, too. Ronnie Burkett’s Requiem for a Golden Boy, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Woodpigeon at Club PuSh, and a rare concert by one of my favourite bands, the beige, who are playing at Performance Works at 11 pm next Thursday. After all, what’s life without marionettes, otherworldly collaborations, and stripped-back sweetheart jazz?

darling allow me to introduce someone i met in the hallway
they say they remember when we first were sweethearts
lightning around us
and i knew you were the one for me


Jan 21-26

"Ten eye catching classic effects laden films, 20 fascinating speaking events and 6 fabulous days. SPARK FX 09 is bringing films like Alien, Forbidden Planet, T2: Judgment Day and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers back to the big screen. Many will be introduced by historians and filmmakers to give you some insights into the making of these popcorn gems. On top of that Dennis Muren of ILM, Kyle Cooper of Prologue, Dr. Paul Debevec of USC and Jeff Barnes of CafeFX will be speaking at the show, as will dozens of other film, FX and games industry leaders. We’ll have panels on pipeline architectures, rendering human beings, VFX in Vancouver and why practical effects still rock. Come join us for the week at SPARK FX 09 – you’ll be sorry if you miss it!

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad JAN 21 // 7:00 pm BUY TICKETS
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl JAN 21 // 9:30 pm BUY TICKETS
Forbidden Planet JAN 22 // 7:00 pm BUY TICKETS
Alien JAN 22 // 9:30 pm BUY TICKETS
Pan’s Lanyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) JAN 23 // 7:00 pm BUY TICKETS
Terminator 2: Judgement Day JAN 23 // 9:45 pm BUY TICKETS
TBD JAN 24 – Check back soon!
Pleasantville JAN 25 // 7:00 pm BUY TICKETS
The Abyss JAN 25 // 10:00 pm BUY TICKETS
The City of Lost Children (La cité des enfants perdus) JAN 26 // 7:00 pm BUY TICKETS
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers JAN 21 // 9:30 pm BUY TICKETS

fricking frack: things I hate to miss more than

It’s that time of year again…

12th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl
November 21, 22, & 23

The 2008 Crawl map.

FRIDAY November 21st 5:00pm – 10:00pm
SATURDAY November 22nd 11:00am – 6:00pm
SUNDAY November 23rd 11:00am – 6:00pm

The Eastside Culture Crawl is a free, annual 3-day arts festival that involves artists opening their doors to let the public tramp through their creative studio-spaces, (and sometimes homes), to exhibit work for sale.

“Painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, musicians, weavers, potters, writers, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those of international fame… these are just a sampling of the exciting talents featured during this unique chance to meet local artists in their studios.

Purchase something that strikes your fancy, commission something to be uniquely yours, or just browse through the studios and meet the artists, learning about their specific works of art, materials and tools, approaches and techniques. This is a once a year opportunity to meet many diversely talented artists and view their creations in the studios where they work. Be part of this exciting event, which brings people from all over the Lower Mainland, and share in the imaginations that enrich our neighbourhood and lives.”

Last year Dillon and I went to a bit of it, and it was absolutely spectacular. Almost endlessly fascinating, as every room contained an entirely new collection of art. 1000 Parker St., especially, as it has the highest concentration of artists. (Though there seems to be more paintings of crows at 1000 Parker St. than there are actual crows in a fifteen mile radius of the building itself. Go figure.) Thankfully few studios were devoted to watercolour trees or flowers, instead it was a little like coming home, exploring every room as new, colour-spattered, welcoming universe. Last year there were over 300 artists showing. This year there’s going to be more.

It’s one of the few Vancouver events I consider unmissable, which is why it’s killing me a little that I’m not going to be in town while it’s happening. Instead I’m going to be in Seattle, and then hopefully on a plane, making my way South, towards Lung and the Salton Sea, the ecological disaster desert west outside of L.A. Take pictures, everyone. Attend, discover, and explore.

starving for change

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City.

Persistence. It’s important to try. The boxes have been melting away, leaving the clear bones of a more functional home behind, newly blue and shiny red, that will be nice to live in, once we’ve finished sculpting muscle from the remaining meaty mess. I still need to buy brackets for the glass shelves, chemicals to take the tacky glue off the big hall mirror, wall-paper glue and a smoothing brush, put up the shelves and the last mirror, drawer my clean clothes, arrange the hall closet, shelve the still-to-be-mailed packages, rinse the last two batches of the dusty dishes, sort the last pots and pans into under the sink, catalogue what’s being given away and post the list on-line, launder the dish towels, fold them away, organize the bathroom, disinfect the counters and sink, bathe the cats, inventory what’s left, (as I’m sure to miss something), schedule an optometrist appointment, sweep the hall, vacuum, all of which will likely take me until Friday, if I don’t get any help, then take a week off. Finally.

That Mike‘s going to be in town not this weekend, but next weekend, playing the Folk Fest as a featured artist, which will take a bit of the stress away. He might even be coming along to see Crispin Glover with us, (us being, so far, me, Duncan, David, and possibly Lung), which I expect will be oodles of fun. It won’t be until after he’s left that I’m going to tackle the wall-paper that’s going up in the living-room, a vogue knock-off pattern of black and gray flowers on white. I need some time where I’m not concentrating on cleaning, on tidying, on sorting and shelving and assimilation.

Hanging the wall-paper will be an entire day’s work, even if I move all the furniture and wash the wall the night before. I’m not looking forward to it just yet, though I know after a break I will again. The Folk Fest will be a perfect distraction. Already I’ve started figuring an itinerary, planning on who to see and when. Start Saturday with Mike at Stage Five, with Kobo Town and Dubblestandart, move on to Eliza Gilkyson at Stage Three, snack on a delicious picnic, spend some time at the super sekrit backstage hammock, wander, dance, find Mike’s next show, and end the night with the glorious Béla Fleck. Sunday, more of the same, except with Jayme Stone and Mansa Sissoko, Jorane, and my once acquaintance, (friend of Shane and Mike), Michael Franti, who let me stay on his couch once, back in the nineties.

didn’t see much

Small Metal Objects started with a sense of wonderful displacement. We sat in tiered rows of seats placed in the main square of the Vancouver Public Library, wearing headphones that were wired directly into microphones worn by the actors. A fantastic idea – as the soundtrack started, suddenly all of the people who happened to be walking by were part of the production. They acquired extraordinary depth and meaning as we scanned faces, trying to pick out what we were meant to be watching for, much like background music sets tone in movies. Voices began, a plodding two-person conversation punctuated with surprisingly effective ambient pieces of song. It was interesting watching other audience members examine the surrounding pedestrians, searching for the actors we were ostensibly there to be watching. I liked how divorced we were from our surroundings, how replacing what we heard created an artificial barrier between participants and everyone else, molding us into a rather ultimate audience. Suddenly absolutely everything was part of the show. One man, dapper in a works-at-university sort of way, white hair, books in hand, did a little dance number as he walked past, enjoying the attention, as did a tiny girl. Another pair stood directly in front of the actors, blocking our view entirely, and pointed to our smirking amusement, unable to figure out why everyone was suddenly looking right at them.

The story itself was not particularly arresting, an (unconfirmed) awkward drug-deal that didn’t go anywhere, tense, interesting and fun without being captivating, but I loved how simply the production premise transformed the beautiful, though otherwise mundane space into a gloriously semi-anonymous stage. It reminded me of what flash mobs have evolved into, groups of people participating in what seems to be something completely random to anyone not in on the event. Invisible theater. Pillow-fights, flash-freezing, going without pants on subway trains, silent dance parties. Especially silent dance parties, but with an extra level, as we were only passively participating, yet could be mistaken for a performance all our own when we laughed in unison at apparently nothing.

I saw another hyped show this week, Clark And I Somewhere In Connecticut. Heavily relying on video, it involves a man in a subversive, slightly creepy, caramel coloured bunny suit telling the story of a suitcase full of anonymous photo albums he found in an alley behind his home. Tied in with accounts of a famous Japanese cannibal and strange repeated interviews about a story of a puppy killing, the facts and fictions woven around the family history he reconstructed from the photo albums make for a fascinating narrative, as well as a perfect background for the legal saga that unfolded once he found the family pictures. The family that, unfortunately, did not want him to use the photos in any way whatsoever and threatened him with a lawsuit if he continued, which led into a very interesting exploration of copyright and the use of found images in art.

I felt somehow that it started out trying to be provocative, but ended with a catch in its voice, thoroughly sincere, as if it’s impossible to remain cynical or ego-less when dealing with such personal subjects. One of the books, for example, the fifth book, is devoted entirely to a poet Pomeranian, Mandy, who gets more attention than the other fourty years of family combined, and it was easy to tell that the artist who wrote and acted the piece, James Long, found something inescapably heartfelt about it. Though initially he mocked the dog-obsession with a wry condescension, his tone becomes compassionate, more serious as the emotions tied to the books become increasingly anxious and urgent. In the end the little dog is a showpiece, a fluffy little metaphor ferociously loved and compellingly protected. There were other choices I appreciated, like how, in order to avoid mentioning any of their names, he created complicated physical memetics for each one, like the patting of his breast to signify as the name of The Archivist, his title for the woman who seems to have put the books together. The tone was heavy water, but bright as an oil slick on a puddle. Michael tells me he’s booked it to play at the High Performance Rodeo next year. by then, we agree, it will be really worth seeing.

you’re crazy but you’re lazy, drivefest happens again


The Drive will be closed to all motorized traffic from 1st Ave to Venables from 10am to 8pm, with free entertainment from noon to 6pm. (Yes, expect the Carnival band, though fantastically, artists are welcome to perform in the street all they want, with respect to the neighborhood and festival rules).

It’s a grass-roots event, entirely funded by local businesses, (word has it they turned down corporate sponsorship from Pepsi this year), and run by volunteers, with performance stages at either end and in the park, a roped off street hockey area, a contingent of crazy chopperfest types, (the Burrow-y people with the strange bicycles). Last year there was an approximate twenty-thousand people wandering about and enjoying all of it. (Which might explain why it was impossible to find anyone). According to their website, “new this year is the WORLD CUP ZONE in Victoria Park. In honour of the ongoing World Cup of Soccer, the Festival will celebrate this truly global sport and the Drive’s cultural heritage with a showcase of international entertainers as well as family activities hosted by the Vancouver Whitecaps.”

Last year‘s first-ever Car-Free Commercial Drive Festival was wonderful. Regrettably I missed most of it because I was too busy with other things, (Sunday Tea, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Trout Lake), but even late, the street was a sea of clearly happy people. This year I’m going to devote my full Sunday to it and run around to see as much of it as I can, camera in hand.

Monday, Korean Movie Mondays is showing Shadowless Sword this week, a Duelist-like, style over substance, sword-fighting film. As Duelist immediately catapulted itself into my top twenty within the first half hour, I highly recommend dropping by. Remember, if you’re reading this, you’re pretty much invited. Psychic lady building, 8 pm. If you don’t know where to go, just say.

holy hells is good theater inscestuous

The Vancouver Art Gallery has switched cheap day from Thursdays to Tuesdays. This week, luckily, that’s the day the Ad Mare Wind Quintet premiere music written especially for the rotunda’s unique, reverberant acoustic qualities. They’ll be playing new pieces by three local composers, Jennifer Butler, James Beckwith Maxwell, and Jordan Nobles.

7:00 pm
Tuesday, March 7

Rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Admission by Donation
Information: 604-730-9449

I haven’t seen the current exhibition, though I’ve been wanting to, (Brian Jungun being snazzy and all), so I think this will be a perfect opportunity. It’s always a treat to have someone provide sonic landscapes to compliment the gallery’s exhibits. Wandering the vast rooms in silence just isn’t as kind.

Also, and more personally important, Theater Under The Gun is this week. What happens is that 10 to 12 theatre companies and/or ensembles are given an inspiration package that contains an image, a prop, a sound bite, and a line of text, all of which must be used in the final performance. They have 48 hours. When I worked in theater, this was one of the most twisted, intensely fun things I ever took part in. (I will carry the mental scars of John Murphy, (he of The Heretic), fucking a plant on stage to the end of my days.)

This is splendid news, because as far as I was aware, Theater Under the Gun had died this year. Chris McGregor and Trever Found, the two folk I used to know who ran it, hadn’t been able to find time for it. Apparently, though, it’s been taken over by two fairly-strangers-to-me, Heather Lindsay and France Perras, and they’ve stuck it into the new Show-Off Festival, Here Be Monsters, (here’s a flyer), which is being run by Monster Theater, a group who work occasionally with my Calgary friends, One Yellow Rabbit.

Tickets are $12, unless you’re interested in checking out a few shows, then a pass is $25. I’m planning on getting a pass and letting the festival take over my life for days at a time. Anyone care to join me? It starts tomorrow at Performance Works at 8pm. You’ll miss the Low concert, but that’s forgivable. I promise.