gift guide: I have both wagered life and land, Your love and good-will for to have.

By almost any argument, living in an apartment is good for the environment. By compacting our living space, we’re using less resources, reducing our footprint, and discouraging car culture. Sure. Okay. But where’s the garden? No matter how nice our pad, public parks and apartment complex courtyards don’t measure up to having a back yard, which is where this next bit of gift guide list comes in, presenting indoor garden alternatives to augment our kitchen potted plants and tiny windowsill flower boxes.


  • Air Plants: Like fresh air but don’t have the knack of keeping plants alive? These weird, bizarrely wonderful plants grow on anything, in any direction, even upside down, and require little to no watering. I first encountered them at Paxton Gate, where dignified arrangements of them were hanging flat on the walls on square planks of wood. Distinctly odd, that, and terrific. Etsy is an excellent place to find a whole spectrum of terrariums with air plants inside. Steampunk vases exist, as do sleekly modern vases, vases in the shape of cute teapots, faux jellyfish, and miniature arrangements.
  • Wooly Pockets: First spotted over on Apartment Therapy in June, these vertical garden eco-planters have been spreading to design sites everywhere. Created by the same couple responsible for the SmogShoppe, the greenest event space in California, they’re lightweight, made from recycled bottles, suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use, and positively elegant, as both an object and a solution. The only drawback is that they’re a little pricey. Pockets start at $39 and go up from there.

    Which brings me to..

  • DIY Windowfarms: Vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials that generally cost about $30 to start. They’re not as chic as the Woolly Pockets, but for a similar thing, they have a higher yield for far, far cheaper. Instructions on how to make your own are available on their site as free PDFs and starter kits will be available for purchase soon. (If you live in NYC and are feeling especially short on time, you can commission a team of windowfarm experts to come make you one.)
  • in an era obsessed with junk culture, I like to make things grow

    We came home last night with bags full of treasure – groceries, favourite films, promising books, and a round black pot, some soil, and two miniature rose bushes tucked under my right arm, one red, one moonlight white, like the flowers assigned by Hans Anderson to Gerda and Kai. I planted the flowers before I even took off my boots, sitting at the kitchen table, fingers smeared with beautifully scented dirt, palms pricked scarlet from the thorns, smiling as if I was giving a home to a child. I potted them so close their roots will mingle as they grow, tying their lives into a thriving, inseparable mass, his and hers, with the simple breathing act of survival.

    cut and pasted from

    I do these every year and I have yet to regret it. The Eye of Newt Collective is an exceptionally good group of musicians, I’ve been an avid fan of the NOW Orchestra ever since I was a little kid. The people who come out to these tend to be of the fun and educated sort. I’m going to be at this tonight, you should be too.
    Also, in lieu of a Friday night party at my house, we’re having another Sunday Garden party at my night-time house,so drop by this Sunday, at Victoria Drive between Grant and Graveley, anytime between 2 pm and 8 pm. Bring instruments, and food if you like, we’re stocking up at the farmer’s market tomorrow, and we can throw together a meal for 6-ish. (And of course there will be copious amounts of red wine.) Then, at 8:00, we’re trooping down to Grandview park for the outdoor screening of the 1927 silent classic Metropolis, (see below).

    Silent Summer Nights

    Celebrate the End of Summer in Style

    Grandview Park, Commercial Drive at William Street, Vancouver
    September 1 – 3, 2006
    Screenings begin at 8:15pm – FREE !

    Do something a little different this Labour Day weekend—stroll into Commercial Drive’s Grandview Park for the sixth annual Silent Summer Nights, three glorious evenings of the best in silent film. Park your blanket under the stars and enjoy great cinema, all to the thrilling accompaniment of original live music by Eye of Newt and special guests. A Labour Day classic.

    Weather Update, Sept 1, 2006: It’s Sunny—see you there!

    The Gold Rush

    Charlie chaplin - the gold rush

    (1925) Friday, September 1, 2006

    The film Charlie Chaplin most wanted to be remembered by – The Gold Rush is the quintessential Chaplin film, with a balance of slapstick comedy and pantomime, social satire, and moments of tenderness. A Lone Prospector, a valiant weakling, seeks fame and fortune in the mad rush for hidden gold in the Alaskan wilderness.

    Featuring live accompaniment by Stefan Smulovitz (viola/laptop), Viviane Houl (voice), Pepe Danza (winds/percussion), and Peggy Lee (cello).

    Three Monks

    A da - three monks

    (1980) Saturday, September 2, 2006

    Winner of a Golden Rooster and a Silver Bear, A Da’s animated Three Monks is an adaptation of a Chinese folk proverb:

    “One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch the water.”

    Featuring live accompaniment by Stefan Smulovitz (viola/laptop), Viviane Houle (voice), Pepe Danza (winds/percussion), Peggy Lee (cello), with narration by Andrew Laurensen.


    Fritz lang - metropolis

    (1927) Sunday, September 3, 2006

    Possibly the crowning achievement of silent cinema, Fritz Lang’s blockbuster fuses the frenetic storytelling of twenties pulp fiction with Lang’s personal fascination with the dark side of human nature. A vast towering city’s exploited subterranean workforce threatens to overthrow the technocratic elite who callously rule them from above – even if it means destroying the city itself. Lang’s dystopian vision of the future pits science against religion, love against death and revenge against redemption.

    Featuring live accompaniment by Chris Kelly (sax/laptop), Randall Schmid (guitar), Pete Schmitt (bass), Skye Brooks (drums)

    Eye of Newt’s Silent Summer Nights is a Rumble and Radix co-presentation.

    This event is supported by Black Dog Video, The Wise Hall, Artrageous, and Now Orchestra.