Happy Birthday Sam!

June 26, 2009

It is my son Sam’s birthday today.    Happy birthday son!   See you next month.  Love you!


Changing My Mind

June 26, 2009

vic6I’m sure we would all agree that the media is a powerful influence on all of us.  I had a personal experience with that this very morning.

For a dozen years or more I have been a firm disliker of Michael Jackson and all that he did.  His death didn’t change my mind.  But a CBC radio commentator did.  He talked about how he hoped that Jackson’s death would allow us to move past the ecentricities and possible criminal behaviour of the last decade or more, and let us concentrate on the cultural value he has brought to my and later generations.

The commentator (God, I wish I knew his name) spoke about how Jackson had personally changed music, changed dance, changed video and thus TV.  He spoke eloquently of Jackson’s abilities and marketing skills. And, yes, he turned me around.

I’m not going to go into the sort of religious frenzy I see on TV today, and on the net.  But I am now able to put myself back in time to when “Off The Wall“, “Thriller” and “Dangerous” were released.  These were extraordinarily fine albums by any measure, and he made wonderful movies to go with them.  I am able now to go back to the very beginning and remember his as the leader of the Jackson 5.  Such precocious talent.  I loved every song.

Thanks, commentator.  I needed that.

A Deadly Few Days

June 25, 2009

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and John Houghtaling, the inventor of the vibrating bed — all dead in less than a week. Almost makes you want to stay sober.

Of course there won’t be any black humour about Jackson’s death.  Vitiligo saw to that.

The Business of Art

June 24, 2009

There has been a recent change in the blogroll (over on the right —>).  I have added a “Jak’s Store To Buy Prints” link which goes to my brand new shop at http://jakking.etsy.com.

I have a few photographs and art prints there right now, and I’ll add more as I can.  If I can work out the shipping, I’ll also put up some paintings.

Hope you enjoy them!

The Worst Person In The World

June 22, 2009

Keith_Olbermann-1Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, who certainly used to have some value as a commentator, has become the Bill O’Reilly of the liberal Democrats; an extremist, a clown, a caricature of his earlier self.  His ungainly performances are all the more stark coming as they do between the generally sensible Chris Matthews and the excellent Rachel Maddow, both of whom represent similar constituencies.

Olbermann has a segment on his show called “The Worst Person In The World.”  This is used to bash his regular targets at Murdoch and FoxNews companies.  Tonight’s “Worst Person In The World” was Cynthia Davis, a Missouri Republican, who had the temerity to espouse a libertarian/anarchist position on funding food for poor children.  She suggested that it is not government’s role to feed families with taxpayer dollars (isn’t that role of churches and charities and community?), that poor families could be given help in learning how to prepare economical nutritious meals, that parents should spend less on candies and ice cream and meals out.

One doesn’t have to agree with her position (though I do) to recognize it as a reasoned political opinion, an opinion allowed under the Freedom of Thought and Speech that the liberal left likes to hoist on a pedestal whenever they are attacked.  But Olbermann doesn’t see it that way.  He doesn’t agree with her, she used an unfortunate phrase (“hunger as motivator”), and so she has to become an object of ridicule.  His intolerance was rank and smelled to high heaven.

To me, this knee-jerk hypocrisy helps elevate Olbermann himself closer than Davis to the position of “Worst Person In The World.”

The VAG Today

June 20, 2009

Emily_Carr_331There is so much good stuff going on at the Vancouver Art Gallery this season that is hard to swallow it all.   Luckily, we had already seen the Vermeer/Rembrandt exhibition on the ground floor, so we were able to head straight upstairs when we went today.

The second floor has two shows sharing the space:  Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt on one side, with Stan Douglas’s photographs on the other.

It has taken me a long time to appreciate the art of Emily Carr.  I was just slow, I guess, and I now accept her as one of the masters.  Her eye is so keen and many of her designs simply radical.  They had a few of her First Nations’ village pictures, which I don’t care for.  But the work in the forest and with totems is exquisite.  I particularly liked a series of charcoal drawings.  I’m glad I have gotten this far with her.

The show looks, in part, at her influence on Jack Shadbolt and his reaction to that influence.  He definitely comes off second best.  In his other works, I just don’t care for the butterfly works; and some of the works looked like over-elaborated Miro paintings.  But an entire wall of large scale charcoal drawings called “India Suite” was wonderful.  As were “Voices” and “Silent Land“.

The other half of the second floor, and all third floor is given over to photographs;  large format works of the BC Interior by Stan Douglas, a wide chronological range of works by Anthony Hermandez of Los Angeles, and others from Andreas Gursky.  There were individual images that were simply superb, but overall I wasn’t so impressed.  A lot of the works touched on themes that I have photographed, especially by Gursky.  Technically, their works are far superior to mine.  But conceptually and artistically, I prefer my stuff.

Running from the ground floor up to the top of the gallery is an installation by Reece Terris consisting of six apartment layouts, one on top of the other, called “Ought Apartment”.  They represent interior design and living from the 1950s to today.  According to the Inflated Phrases of the VAG catalog:

“The work of Vancouver-based Reece Terris focuses on the relationship between constructed architectural spaces and our common experiences and encounters within them. Through amplifications or shifts in the function of an initial design, Terris’ work reconsiders utility in both object and place to create environments that highlight the larger cultural contexts implicit in our built environment.”

Hmmmm.  My gal and I agreed this was a disappointment.  We didn’t learn anything about architecture, culture, or even artistic endeavour from this VAG-commissioned work.

Still, it was a worthwhile visit.  We have a proactive Gallery and Board and they deserves our support.

Tweeting The Revolution

June 20, 2009

Twitter-LogoThis is the week that Twitter has come of age, shown its worth, whatever. The coverage out of Iran has been mesmerizing, with Twitter and YouTube being almost the sole non-governmental sources of information after the media crackdown.

If you are on Twitter, look at #iranelection especially.

One of the most fascinating things to me about this new media has been how quickly lies can be uncovered when there are so many eyes watching. For example, earlier this week, the Iranian Govt issued pictures of a pro-government rally showing huge crowds. Within minutes, people on Twitter and elsewhere had shown how those images had been doctored in Photoshop to make the crowd look bigger than it actually was.

With foreign media banned, the revolution may not be televised, but it will certainly be tweeted.