Monday, October 22, 2012

He makes 60 seem so appealing

Had the privilege of going to see David Byrne & St. Vincent last night at the Centre in Vancouver. Reasons I loved the night (in no particular order)

1. David Byrne - 60 and still making inventive, relevant, unique music - and still busting out those signature dance moves.

2. SECOND ROW SEATS!!! Wow. So great.

3. The Byrne voice over before the gig encouraging people to film, photograph, while being mindful of one's neighbours. Yes. YES.

4. The venue nazi who kept people from sneaking down to the stage. OK maybe I'm a Scrooge but I was loving my aisle seat, and the fact the was no one crammed in the aisle beside me - so more power to you, aisle Nazi!

5. Fantastic horn section. Heck, fantastic musicians all round

6. Did I mention second row seats?

7. No opener and an early show. I'm such a late night lightweight that I appreciated that.

These two talents work really well together, no doubt, and the music they've produced is complex, catchy and bright (thanks, horns!). Sure, I missed the tutu Byrne wore last time he was in town, but you can't have everything.

I taped three songs - here is one for your entertainment.  The lighting is a bit harsh in this one, but his dance moves make it worthwhile.

I also saw Sarah Polley's fantastic documentary "Stories we Tell" - beautifully conceived, postmodernist delightfulness - after "Take this Waltz" (LOVE that film), Polley may be my new Canadian filmmaking hero.  In this one, she interviews her family and family friends as she pieces together the story of her mother, and ultimately of herself.  Really, really worthwhile.  And for me, strangely timely as I had just had a conversation with my brother the night before about events from childhood - and how, like in Polley's film, our memories of the same events, and the stories we carry with us, are unique, incomplete, molded by time and by our own individual perceptions.  Engaging stuff, and well worth a watch.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

VIFF 2012 - over and out

And to be honest, I saw a lot of solid films, but few I would really push anyone to see.  My best day of the fest was last Friday - the last day as it happens.  A couple of films really stayed with me - one, like a bad dream, the other quite the opposite.

The bad dream?  Virgin Tales, a great Swiss documentary following the Wilsons, an Evangelical Christian family headed by Randy, field director for the Family Research Council (shudder) and founder of the father/daughter Purity Ball (double shudder).  A fascinating glimpse into a world that I find, quite honestly, terrifying.  Listening to the 20 year old daughter wait for her perfect man to miraculously appear while dismissing utility of higher education and embracing teaching young women how to modestly drink from water fountains made my head hurt.  The director handles it all with a considered, delicate hand.  Well worth a watch.

And making my head hurt for a very different reason? How to Grow a Band, which follows the insanely talented Chris Thile as he embarks on his new project, the Punch Brothers - and their first tour, which revolves around Thile's 40 minute string quartet written for bluegrass instruments. Try to sell THAT to an audience thinking they are in for a typical night of traditional bluegrass. Typical bluegrass this isn't, by any means; nor is Thile your average musician- footage of him playing a mandolin like a pro before he was anywhere near puberty left me shaking my head. I'm not a huge bluegrass fan by any means, but I love me a band that really stretches the borders like these guys do.
Here is a clip from the second movement of the 40 minute work
And just for fun, a cover of Radiohead's Kid A.

Debating whether to go see their show at the Chan Centre in November - the only thing holding me back is that I need to travel on work the next day. We shall see... And in other news, my weekend highlight was a rip roaring games night with good pals - and a happy birthday celebration for the talented, lovely Avril. Fun, fun, fun time :)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Portland, portLAND, PORtland

Back from a whirlwind long weekend with my pal A in guess where? Man, I really do love Portland. We stayed with friends of A's just outside the city - convenient, and they were great hosts. And the weather was insanely beautiful. Walking around in early October with bare legs and no coat? Unless you're homeless or crazy, that's just not usual. So what did we get up to?
  • Coffee. And lots of it.
  • Enjoying the food options in a truly Gluten Free mecca - whole cafes dedicated to GF baking - it is enough to make you cry.
  • Powell's Books. Powell's Books. Powell's Books. If I say it three times, does that mean one will appear in Vancouver? Gads I LOVE that store. Between us we bought about 20lbs of books I believe (we actually weighed them) - next time, we will drive down so we can pack the whole trunk full.
  • A night at the theatre. A bit campy, but boy the sets and art direction were amazing.  More amazing? The couple sitting a few rows ahead that were Portlandia incarnate.  
  • An afternoon at the Japanese Garden. Calm sigh.
  • The farmer's market at Portland State University. LOVED IT. Such a gorgeous setting and amazing produce, cheeses, meats, GF baking, and peppers you could watch being barrel roasted right before your eyes.
  • Trader Joe's. I know, I know, not that exciting for you American types, but it is a magical land of inexpensive surprises for us poor Canadians.
  • A whole lot of walking and exploring and appreciating. Portland just feels so very livable.
If I was 24, I would be going to school there, no doubt.  There is a vibrancy and artsy quirkiness that is just so darned appealing - and unlike Vancouver, the city somehow manages to pull it off without pretension.

I've skipped over a lot of stuff, but I'm running out of steam. My one regret? Missing the Grizzly Bear concert, but my valiant sibling pretty much video'd the whole thing so I can get a sense of the wonder that I missed (check it out here)

Stumptown Coffee.  So good.

An example of what has become the all pervasive trend in signage in Portland - multi-font, slightly folksy. It is EVERYWHERE


PSU Farmer's Market

PSU Farmer's Market

Beautiful cherry toms

Japanese Garden - so lovely, such great patterns.


Look down....

Ya, I didn't do much clothes shopping, but this little number came home with me.  Figured I could scare Mags with the fox mask.  OK, ok, maybe not.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Don't give me false hope

( *if you are viewing this on an iPad, for some reason it will show the most recent video I've posted, not what I've actually embedded - so you'll have to view on your computer to see the right vids - or tell me how to fix this!!*)
Couple of videos from Glen Hansard's EXCELLENT show at the Vogue this week - first, Back Broke

And When Your Mind's Made Up....enjoy (I did!)

Off to PORTLAND today - more later :)