I’m Back!

March 30, 2011

Where have I been? Here, of course; but my mind has been elsewhere — mostly on the final details of getting my “The Drive” published. This is the cover.

Now that I have gone through a couple of Proofs and the necessary edits, I can pretty much push the Publish button anytime.  However,  I’ve been fussing with email lists, drafting a release letter, getting review copies sent etc etc. I have to follow up on what Amazon needs from me by way of websites, previews etc. With luck I will publish on or about April 15th.


Deathly Hallows At The Rio

December 6, 2010

We went to the movies yesterday afternoon, to see the latest Harry Potter film.  I am not a big Potter fan; I’ve seen a few of the films and read none of the books.  But the Boss has read them all and seen every one of the movies. She loved it, thought it was just great.  It certainly was well made, but I would have had no idea of the plot without having at least seen the first couple of films. As it was a lot of the background story passed me by.  Still, it was good to be out together.

We went to the Rio at Commercial and Broadway.  The last time we were there was ten years ago when we went to see a documentary about the D’Arcy Island Leper Colony, and the seating was fold-up chairs.  Now, I am happy to report, the Rio has wonderfully comfortable seats, perfectly good for a nap if your mind wanders.

I was also very impressed by the efforts they have made to get local small business to advertize between shows.  The Van East Cinema could learn some useful lessons from them.


People’s Co-op Bookstore

September 25, 2010

I have lived on Commercial Drive for twenty years, and I’ve been a member of the People’s Co-op Bookstore almost as long.  Local bookstores, well-run, add depth, freshness and a certain intellectual frisson to any neighbourhood. The collectively operated People’s Co-op Bookstore at 1391 Commercial has done all that for decades.

Although I have been a member for a long time, work and life commitments have previously kept me from being involved in any way other than the occasional purchase.  Now that I have more free time, I thought the least I could do was attend the store collective’s Annual General Meeting last night, and I was glad to find that about 30 other people had been willing to come out on a chilly evening to support the store.

Like many businesses, the last few years have been tough, but the bookstore — supported by a tiny staff and a core of dedicated volunteers, and specialising in social justice, environmental issues and local authors — has survived and there is hope for the future. The store has become a centre for book launches in Vancouver, they are active on Facebook and Twitter (@coopbooks), and have become involved in a number of outside events — good for PR and fund-raising, including Word On The Street tomorrow.

I’m glad I went to the meeting and hope to stay more involved.  If you happen to be on the Drive anytime, stop in the bookstore and take a look around.


Greenscape

September 23, 2010

Greenscape” found at Commercial & Venables.


Dykes on The Drive 2010

July 31, 2010

Today we had the 7th Annual Dykes on The Drive Parade. There seemed to be about 50% more marchers this year than last, and an excellent turnout for the Party at Victoria Park (Grandview Park was supposedly “closed” this year for maintenance, though you could have fooled me). The hot sunny day no doubt helped.

Here they come …

It takes all sorts to make a parade …

Kim Kuzma played at the Party in the Park …


Missing The Happy Lube Lady

March 12, 2010

I have only just noticed — I can be so slow and unobservant at times — that the gloriously happy and life-affirming mural on the side of Womyn’s Ware at Commercial & Venables has been painted over and replaced with a decidedly more aggressive and, to me, far less pleasant image.  I miss the happy lube-lady, so here she is again as a reminder of what we lost…


A Wonderful Surprise

December 12, 2009

Lina Delano is an odd bird.  In her late 80s now, she has been a colourful character on the Drive for many years.  I used to see her in Bukowski’s Bar when that watering hole was at its busiest back at the end of the 1990s.  But mostly I knew her as the grumpy old woman who scrapped other people’s posters off street lamps.   This was serious business for Lina and she kept up her cleaning work for hour upon hour, unimpressed with any interuptions, a cigarette dangling.

Once, late at night, feeling powerful from my poetry performance at Bukowski’s, I saw Lina scrapping away at some band’s poster.  After a moment’s hesitation, I approached her and asked — pleasantly enough, I thought — why she was doing what she was doing.  She spun around and, brandishing the little scraper, roared at me in a voice that could be heard blocks away: “Fuck off!  Fuck off!”  My relationship with Lina has never really developed beyond that point, although my wife has a chatting relationship with her whenever they meet.

I haven’t seen Lina on the Drive for quite a while; and I had never known what she did beside scrapping posters.  It was a surprise to me, therefore, to learn that she was an artist, having shared a studio for many years with her sister Dita Arntzen, and that Havana Gallery was holding a show of the sisters’ work.  I saw that show today.  It was, by a country mile, the best show I have ever seen at Havana.

Lina’s work consists in assemblages of wood, furniture parts, doll’s heads, beads, small items.  They are large and bold pieces that strike the eye first and the brain soon after.  They are beautiful objects.  Her sister created interesting and attractive collages.  I can’t find any images to share and can only urge you to rush to Havana Gallery on Commercial before the show ends on the 19th.

A small book of Lina’s works printed to coincide with this exhibition included a picture of the artists at a show of her work in New York back in 1966.  She was a striking looking woman then, and she has retained a deal of that power to this day.  As I mentioned above, I haven’t seen Lina for a while.  I sure hope I get to see her again soon to congratulate her on these wonderful works of art.


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