Monday, May 28, 2007

HELLO hello Hello! ....

Sometimes I think I'm losing my mind - or maybe everyone laughs at flowers. I picked up this bunch of germinis at the grocery store tonight ... when I tried to put them in the vase, they seemed like a crowd of rather perky but slightly dim party-goers constantly greeting each other - they just kept facing each other in a completely unruly arrangement no matter what I did. The photo makes them look far more dignified than they actually are.

Speaking of flowers, the Bunkle is blossoming up. This has been an incredible year for rhododendrons - the flowers are so lush it verges on obscene - and I have a nice red one outside. The deck is now graced by a lovely yellow calla lily thanks to Mum, and I have planted a big concrete planter outside - photos to come later. Provided my neglect doesn't kill them, they should make for a pretty show in a few weeks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Larry, Curly and Lepage?

Busy day yesterday - painter finished the house, brothers took me for a birthday lunch, went to see The Andersen Project again as a birthday treat from brother M., then went to the opening of DOXA - a crazy sold out show of Edge of Eden, Living with Grizzlies. And weirdly, the Andersen Project (or the experience of seeing it this time...) and the Grizzly movie both raised some similar fluffy thought bubbles above my head.

Loved seeing the Andersen Project again - such a complex piece holds up to multiple viewings. The experience this time around was really different though...the first time it was with the shiney-eyed thrill, that almost-unable-to-breath feeling I get when my brain gets overwhelmed by - hate this cliched expression, sorry - artistic genius. I knew what was coming so could focus on some of the more subtle interplay the themes and stories that Lepage weaves together. And I was with my brother, who is my #1 choice of companion for things artistic, not only because we have similar tastes but because he is both open and thoughtful enough to take what you throw at him, sift through it and appreciate it... but the major difference? The audience. For some reason, this audience found a whoooole lotta humour in this play. Granted, there are some intentionally funny moments/dialogue, and some painful/funny moments, but there is a whole lot NOT to laugh at. Isolation, loss, weakness, disappointment, failure, fear, cruelty - not a laugh-riot. So, why the laughter? My brother and I mused a bit on that afterwards. My guess is most of the laughter was from a younger set - at least, you hope that's the case, that they are just too young to be affected or have a context. Or - and more horrifying - they just don't get it. And never will. Which scares me a bit...though maybe it shouldn't, I don't know. It just seems to me that you cannot be a compassionate member of society and NOT be affected. But I could be completely wrong.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.So how does Edge of Eden: Living with Grizzlies relate? The documentary follows Charlie Russell, who lives in a remote part of Russia for half the year raising orphan grizzly cubs to be self sufficient wild bears in a wilderness area that has been designated as a wildlife sanctuary. He's been doing it for years, and his approach is one of non-confrontational understanding and compassion - his point is that a bear will only become aggressive when he needs to in order to get something he needs/wants. It isn't random, there is always a reason. In his role as "mother" to these cubs, Russell routinely puts himself in-between his cubs and other bears that may (or may not) be thinking of taking a cub out as a snack. He talks calmly, walks firmly but not aggressively, and 9 times out of 10 the other bear accepts the situation and wanders off. The trust the bears have in him extends to mother bears actually dropping their cubs off with him to 'babysit' while they wander off for a couple of hours. You can question whether what he is doing is right or wrong, futile or not, but you can't question his intentions - what he does comes from a place of incredible respect, understanding and compassion. But maybe there are those out there that wouldn't see that facet of it, that might see what he does as a ridiculous waste of time, wouldn't see the bigger social implications of the sorts of respectful, considerate relationships he is trying to develop with the world around him. I guess those people can always skip the film and go see that new Lepage comedy...I hear it's a laugh riot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dirty little secrets

While work slowly but steadily progresses inside the Bunkle, nada has happened outside. It's a disgrace, but I have a whole raft of excuses (he dog ate my shovel; I refuse to discriminate against plants just because others call them 'weeds'....) Not sure what my neighbours (one of whom is a landscaper) think of me (well, actually I can guess - she has offered repeatedly to do something to my garden...). Luckily the other neighbour is a little old lady that has let her garden run even wilder than mine, so hopefully the horrified glances of passers by dwell there, not on the bunkle. I do like gardening, but have never had to deal with chaos quite this bad. The worst of it is at the back of the house, and I figured I would cut my gardening /weed pulling teeth out there. I removed two unnamed ratty looking shrubs, an incredible volume of chives, a lawn's worth of grass, and dandelions so large that I suspect they may actually be the origin of the species. Next comes the other side, which is an incredible forest of horse-tails, mixed with grass, dandelions, and lord knows what else. The mud-patch from yesterday's efforts still needs some (lots of) attention, but it's a start. I have no idea where to start with deciding what to plant back here. Those are supposed to be fun decisions though, right? It will be more fun once the garden is properly cleaned out. And would be more fun if my lower back didn't chronically twinge. Ahh well.

One day, one day, there will be fences and all sorts of other great stuff behind my place. One day.

Cylon Jan & the Green Room

Friend A. sent this along - an early bunkle shot of the place just at the beginning of floor refinishing fun & games - apparently it is best to sand when blindfolded? Anyway, point is really that this shows the now-gone (yay) green.....(and as for the rather special outfit, those of you that knew me in the mid-90s also knew those jeans...yikes)

Monday, May 21, 2007


I am taking a week off and much is happening at the Bunkle. The big thing - PAINT in the livingroom and diningroom, which up to this point have been mint green circa 1994 ... you get a sense of it in this snap of Miss Mags - what you cannot see is that the ceiling is this colour as well - a nice 90s touch. Of course, I was too much of a dough brain to take a proper 'before' shot of the livingroom/diningroom (I do have some, but they are on my PC not on my Mac), but you get the idea. Should also mention that the diningroom has been half green, half white primer which covered up new drywall for the last 6 months. So - family gave me the best birthday gift possible - A PAINTER! He is great, tidy, fast, and that rare thing with trades, seemingly without tics or quirks. He pops by tomorrow morning to finish off, but I am thrilled with how it looks so far. He did two coats on the ceiling and one on the walls of two rooms in 5 hours. Would have taken me 2 days. The colour is very very similar to the bedroom, but a little less yellow - kind of a putty colour, should be a nice warm neutral backdrop. The photos don't do it justice. Once I get everything back in place and some pictures (yay, my art!) on the walls I will take some more. Should also mention that Thomas is thrilled by the reappearance of painters tape, and spends most of his time trying to gnarl it off the floor where I've used it to put down some paper on the floors. Takes all kinds.

I had some complaints about how dark my shots of the couch/Mags were, so here is a typical Maggie -no-eyes flash shot. More soon.....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Divine Right

The concept of Divine Right incorporates the broader concept of "royal God-given rights", which simply says that "the right to rule is anointed by God (or gods)," this is found in many other cultures including Aryan and Egyptian traditions.

Cats originated in Egypt. Maybe that explains it.

That is the new couch. With it's new occupant. Who seems to know she matches it pretty well. Which may explain why she just about took my hand off when I tried to remove her.

The den seems to be All Couch - I am so used to seeing that (tiny) room nearly empty that such a big piece of furniture was a bit overwhelming at first. Unfortunately the cutest part of the couch (the way it looks from the side) is impossible to see in the small room, but that apparently doesn't lessen it's appeal as a lying-down spot...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Monkeys and Fairytales....

Yes, review time again. Saw a couple of very different things this weekend - Arctic Monkeys at the Commodore (not where this picture was taken - but same tour so close enough...) and Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Friday with the Monkeys: Arrived outside the show and waited for a friend to show up so we could go in and claim our table together. Quickly realized that tickets for the sold-out show were being scalped for $150/piece - considerably higher than the $30 or so they were bought for. Tempted, but only briefly. Knew it was going to be popular, didn't realize it was going to be that crazy. Went in and claimed our 'old people' spot - a pre-booked table on the balcony that allows a good view without the crush of the crowd, and also avoids the annoying "view blocked by gigantic pillar" issue found with the tables downstairs. The club holds about 950, and it was packed. Crowd was a slightly different demographic than expected - skewed slightly older than I would have thought (ok ok, our table did help skew that, but we weren't the only over 35s there). Opening act Be Your Own Pet was a bundle of slightly self-conscious and mannered garagey-punky averageness - you get the feeling they think they are doing something new, but really, they're not. Or maybe I'm just old enough to remember that stuff the first time around. The most entertaining thing was their road tech - a giant of a man looking strikingly like Richard Moll
who wandered on and off the stage fixing a whole slew of technical issues. Anyway, enough about BYOP. Arctic Monkeys came on at about 11, and they really couldn't have done any better. The sound was great - not incredibly loud (which I had expected), and the vocals were sitting nicely in the mix and were really clear (yay sound tech whoever you are). And they were tight, tight, tight. And cheeky without being annoying. The lighting was fantastic - simple and impressive, and working really well with the music. It gives me hope to see such young guys (lead singer is now 21, but they've been around a few years) doing such fresh and ... committed ... stuff. As for the crowd, I expected more from the floor. There was some bouncing and bobbing, a few legs jutting up from the occasional body-surfer, but with a band that has that sort of energy you expect more. The people standing behind us on the balcony bounced more than most of those on the floor. Weird. I know, I know, ridiculous complaint from a person who sat through the whole thing.... I got home at 4, , and got about 4 hours sleep before I had to get up for cultural event #2 - The Andersen Project (actually, had to get up because the phone rang, but same difference in the end).

It is seldom that you get to see a master actor, and a master creator, at the top of his or her form. Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project ... is one such show. If you have to borrow the cash, or sleep with someone to get a ticket, do it - Natalie Bennett, Blogcritics Yup, that about sums it up. I first saw a Lepage play in Toronto - The Far Side of the Moon, that he has subsequently made into a film that I haven't seen so can't comment on. But the play blew me away. Not even the unfortunate ex-boyfriend I saw it with could ruin that experience. The story was painful and beautiful and funny, and the production made my head spin - apart from being a fantastic actor, Lepage is a technical genius, using very complex technical tricks to bring very simple, beautiful things to the stage. The same can be said of The Andersen Project. I'm not going to go over the plot, except to say it involves a French Canadian librettist that has been asked to write a play about Hans Christian Andersen for the Paris Opera. The play is really all about isolation and connection, identity and otherness - which I really The Far Side of the Moon is all about too - and it is genius. It is a one man show, and Lepage inhabits his characters so smoothly and completely that you really forget the one-man-show conceit. As the pal I was with said afterwards, while his shifting between characters is fantastic and one of the wonders of the play, the play would be just as strong if each character was played by someone else - which isn't always the case with one man shows. The fact that this is all Lepage's doing - the writing, the acting, the staging - is incredible. I find it hard to believe that one human being can have so much talent. So - if you have a chance, go see it. It is playing in Vancouver all month. Try to get centrally located seats, as some of the staging is a bit hard to see from seats on the far sides. It is worth the $70. Really. That opinion may not be shared by a couple of people sitting behind us that got up and left part way through, but I'm guessing they were expecting to see a fairy tale, and not something that involved porn booths and psychologically disturbed pets...but I've said too much.