Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm back...

Have to admit, I'm writing this more out of some absurd sense of duty than anything. I just haven't felt like writing recently. Maybe this will kick me out of my current blog-funk, who knows...

So - what has been going on over the last week?

  • I saw Studies in Motion at the Playhouse last weekend. Absolutely stunning to watch, and unfortunately the last day of the run or I would have been telling you to GO.
  • Spent three hours with Leonard Cohen last Sunday. The man is a marvel at 74. Or at least he seems more spry than I am. Fantastic concert. I didn't bother taking video footage for once as the whole thing is pretty much reproduced on the Leonard Cohen Live in London DVD that was just released.
  • I ordered this for my bathroom...step one in the upcoming renovation that you are bound to read about in the coming weeks/months ...
  • I have finally ordered lighting for the kitchen. This and this to be exact. This unfortunately does not mean that the 2' X 1' hole in the ceiling from the electrical work done 3 years ago will be fixed. It does however mean that I will be less likely to cut myself while slicing vegetables in near darkness.
  • Starting to get excited about this year's DOXA festival lineup - 10 days, starting on May 22. Book your calendars now!
  • Speaking of DOXA, we are finalizing our celeb list for Exposed!, our celebrity camera auction. I have my eye on one or two already. Hopefully it will stimulate as much excitement with the fans of these generous people as it has within the DOXA staff.
  • This hasn't happened quite yet, but it will later today so it still counts - CBC Canada Live is broadcasting a stunning show by Dan Mangan and Danny Michel, recorded in Ottawa. Listen on CBC Radio 2 at 8pm tonight, or if you miss it, listen at your leisure here. (Impatient as always, I have already listened, which is why I know it is stunning ;)
  • And finally, my eldest brother turned 50 - commemorated by this delightful piece by local artist Boy (yes, I know, a crappy shot, but it was late...). Happy Birthday P!:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The BEST news EVER (almost)...

This week SFU announced that their new downtown cultural centre would open with Robert Lepage's The Blue Dragon in February 2010. Olympics? What Olympics? THIS is the event Vancouverites should be excited about.

Lepage is by far my favorite playwright/director. Hands down. When I saw his production of Far Side of the Moon in Toronto a number of years back, my whole concept of what theatre could be shifted. He manages to marry very intimate, personal stories with unbelievably creative (and technically mind boggling) staging, without letting the staging become the dominant character. It may just be that the issues he deals with in his plays resonate particularly strongly with me - I spoke to someone else that saw his staging of The Andersen Project here a couple of years back and he felt absolutely no connection with the characters or the story. I felt like checking him for a pulse.

Needless to say, I have tickets already, and am counting the sleeps until February 2010....

You can watch short clips of some of his works (including the Blue Dragon) here - though you really can't get a good sense of it all without actually being there. So - if you can - go.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dat'll Learn Me...

SO - the saga of the English Beat videos continues. My brother took the memory chip from my camera to his pal Ryan at InterAction, aka North Shore computer-guru land. My understanding is that it was a bit of a slog to retrieve - but he managed it in the end. ("Ryan at InterAction, he's bound to give you Satisfaction"...see, I put it in, I put it in...) Now, it ain't perfect, but I am just very, very happy that it exists at all. There is data loss that I have tried to fix with MPEG Streamclip, to no avail. When I uploaded to YouTube, the data loss gets glossed over (good I guess), but that means that the audio & video get out of synch. And it has ended up being an interesting study in subliminal effects - at 1:49 in the video here , you'll find a flash of Hawksley Workman, sideways; the Breeders pop in at 5:03. Watch, and make a game of it - I'm pretty sure you can find Weezer and Black Mountain if you look closely enough... Thinking about it, I may have ended up with far more interesting video files than I started out with.

I have learned my lesson. I will be careful with that little garbage can that sits, taunting me, from my MacBook doc. And I will soon upgrade the memory in my computer so I won't be so "delete" happy.

Here's Tenderness - the out of synch-ness is not too disturbing on this one...though the fact that Jason Collett suddenly appears at the end of the song is a bit whacky...

(& thanks again, brother & Ryan!)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I beat my head against a wall....

So....went to see the English Beat last weekend. This is the second time I've seen the current touring version of the band (which, really, is Dave Wakeling with a backing band). As expected, it was good, bouncing fun. And I would usually blog about it in detail. But I'm still IRKED by the fact I deleted what had turned out to be half a dozen good quality videos from the night from both my camera and my computer. And the thing is, in some way, I knew what I was doing. There were signs all along the way. And as soon as I hit "OK" to the message "Do you want to permanently delete these files?" I knew, I knew. If only the computer had prompted me with "Have you finished your coffee yet? Don't you think you should before you make a decision about deleting files?" Sigh.

I like to think this is some sort of lesson in how to let go.

Anyway, here is a video from the Beat's heyday in the early 80s (that! pink! shirt!)...enjoy the trip back in time.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

My desert island CBC host...

I had the good fortune to go see a live taping of CBC Radio's Go! last night. I am a huge CBC Radio fan, and an even bigger fan of Go!'s host, Brent Bambury. In fact, to use my friend T's language, I 'luff' him (luff being that intense, giddy, weak at the knees admiration for someone that - in most instances - you've never met.). You have to understand that Brent has been an integral part of my musical growing up - host of the late night CBC radio show Brave New Waves for years, he brought great alternative music to the air every night. I stopped paying attention to him for a while in the late 1990's, as he moved on to host CBC TVs Midday, and I moved on to my jazz phase. The luff was rekindled with the CBC Radio musical quiz show, "Groove Shinny", and now with the great variety show, "Go!" - the last of a rare breed, the live radio variety show.

I should add that I have actually exchanged a few brief emails with Brent (did I say luff?)- he has graciously agreed to participate in a fund raiser for DOXA. And I do mean graciously - I received an "I'd be delighted, it sounds like fun!" much to my giddy delight. As an employee of the CBC he is keenly aware of the challenges facing arts organizations I am sure, and it is generous of him to help us out.

So - yes, Brent is my desert island CBC host. Some may choose Strombo and his dark good looks, but I'll take Brent any day. I know, I know, if it's a desert island it might be in my best interest to choose a straight guy, but my luff is too strong. I'd have way too much fun talking to him. And heck, I seem to be growing a goatee myself these days so maybe in a few years my gender won't be an issue...

Seeing the show live was great fun - and it confirmed my passion both for the CBC and for Mr. Bambury. The recent budget cuts really sadden, anger, and worry me.

Take a listen Canada. Realize the treasure you have. And do what you can to preserve it.

(And thanks to A. for sharing her photos of the night!!)

Friday, April 03, 2009


A post - very late I'm afraid - about the Great Lake Swimmers show last Sunday. It was one of those beautiful marriages of band and venue (the ex-church St James Community Hall being just where you want to hear this sort of loveliness), and we were lucky enough to be in the front row - not usually what I would choose to be honest, but we figured heck, why not. People started sneaking onto the floor around us which made the atmosphere even more congenial. At least, it did because there was no fire. If there was a fire, their bodies would have provided nice soft things to stampede over...but I digress.
Kate Maki opened up for the GLS and she was a perfect choice. Clever songwriting, lovely voice, and a warm, funny personality that quickly won the audience (that I suspect was largely unfamiliar with her music) over. And the Great Lake Swimmers were fantastic - nice selection of material from Ongiara and their self titled album, and a lot of new stuff from their brand new CD, Lost Channels. The new material seems to have moved a bit away from the etherial beauty of Ongiara, but it sounds good ... I did manage to knock off a couple of videos of their new tracks. I swear the stage was lit by one 40W bulb, which made videoing kind of...imperfect...but I was enjoying things too much to fussing with taping anyway. Besides which, sitting in the front row, you end up feeling like you are being invasive, no matter how stealth your camerawork. But I quickly realized my black-plastic-covered camera is far less invasive than the KA-KLICK, KA-KLICK, KA-KLICK of the digital SLR being used by the woman on the floor infront of me. Do digital cameras actually need to make noise or have they added sound just to make them feel more like film cameras? Who knows. Whatever, ultimately nothing could detract from the beauty of the sounds from the stage.

Here is New Light, from their brand new album Lost Channels. Enjoy.