Race Car Drivers and Commuting 

The following is an open letter to the young man driving the hopped up import car with the super fat muffler that sounds like a jet engine running down the street in front of me. Seriously dude, you remind me of a young Mario Andretti. Maybe even an Al Unser. You control your car in a way that is rarely seen on our city streets.

The way that you are able to weave in and out of traffic at such an incredible rate of speed is absolutely amazing.

You are able to come up behind a vehicle at an incredible rate of speed and then wheel around them so amazingly quickly. Your reflexes are second to none.

And your ability to follow behind somebody else’s car, not even a few centimetres off their back bumper? Wow. You are amazing. Your reflexes must be superhuman.

And of course the car you’re driving is an amazing piece of engineering as well.

Your tinted windows make it almost impossible to see who’s inside, but I know when you pass me in your race car, I know that you are one incredible driver. It really is too bad you are not on a real track.

I love the fact that your car is so hopped up that it would be a natural for the race track. You have it lowered to within mere centimetres of the road. And those low-profile tires? Wow. Again. You are amazing. And your car is equally amazing.

However, there is bad news for you.

You are not actually on a race track. And the people driving cars around you? They are not nearly as qualified and competent behind the wheel as you are.

In fact, some of the drivers, even people like me, are not giving their full attention to the road.

Some of us are sleep deprived. Some of us are worried about our kids or our jobs or the cup of coffee we are trying to balance on the steering wheel while watching the road and mediating a fight that the kids in the back seat are having, and trying to ignore the fact that we are probably going to be late for work because the kids could not find their clothes and are therefore distracted from the actual race event that you believe you are in.

Yes it’s true, distracted driving means more than just using a mobile phone in the car.

Even though you are an amazing human being who has the ability to control your hopped up, super engineered race car, the vast majority of other people on the road are a bunch of distracted slobs driving poorly tuned vans with many other things on their mind than the race that you believe that you are in.

So in short, slow the fuck down, quit tailgating me, and get your noisy piece of shit of a car off the street in front of my house especially when my kids are trying to have a nap.

Burnaby Art Gallery; Art in the Community

The Burnaby Art Gallery is continuing their tradition of taking art out of the gallery and into the community with two new exhibitions opening next week at local libraries.

Set to coincide with the start of the school year, Ben Duncan’s Ever Onward will explore the long history of the art of the doodle at the Bob Prittie Library (near Metrotown) from September 19th to November 15th 2016.

Catherine M. Stewart is an artist featured in the City of Burnaby’s Malaspina Printshop Archive. She also has a background in physics and mathematics, which have influenced her artistic practice. Her exhibition, Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings will run at Burnaby’s McGill Library.

Ever Onward is a presentation of new work by Ben Duncan in the longstanding tradition of the doodle. Whether in the ancient papyrus loose leaf notes of the Babylonian magi, or the hastily jotted, nearly illegible plans of the great scholar Dapti, crudely scrawled drawings and scribbles abound.

This showcase honours those whose artwork earned them the “easily distracted” distinction in their report cards and presents a loosely tied narrative of pilgrims, denizens and otherworldly entities who dare to venture ever onward.

With a humorous bent, Vancouver-based artist Ben Duncan focuses on a variety of themes, including but not limited to cartoonish displays of explosive violence, surreal gang culture and an insectoid value system applied to traditional human societies.

The Catherine M. Stewart exhibition titled Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings continues the BAG’s exploration of the Malaspina Printshop Archive. The exhibition runs from September 20th to November 16th, 2016 at  the McGill Library, 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby

Catherine M. Stewart’s Distillations differs from the other Malaspina Printshop Archive exhibitions in that the artist herself has chosen the works to be displayed from both the Malaspina Archive and her own collection.

Stewart earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Her early exposure to science and mathematics continues to be an influence that resurfaces in her artistic practice. Her work has won awards and been shown locally, nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions.

 

Riverfest at the Fraser River Discovery Centre

The Fraser River Discovery Centre is pleased to announce the return of its annual RiverFest, Metro Vancouver’s biggest celebration of the environmental, economic and socio-cultural importance of the Fraser River. Riverfest will run from September 22 – 24th at the New Westminster Quay.

Presented this year by Port of Vancouver, RiverFest 2016 will open with the Canadian premiere of YAKONA, BC Director Paul Collins’ multi-award winning film about Texas’s San Marcos River and its relationship with the world around it.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s festival, which attracts over 10,000 visitors to the Westminster Quay,” said Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC) Interim-Executive Director Stephen Bruyneel. “Adding to the excitement is our opening night event – the Canadian premier of BC Director Paul Collins’ stunning film YAKONA.”

YAKONA follows the San Marcos River from source to sea, through the changing seasons, interpreting the river’s time and memory and documenting this relationship between the natural world and man. The film has won five major international awards since its release, including the coveted SXSW Visions Audience Award at its World Premiere in Austin TX.   

“While YAKONA focuses on the San Marcos River, it can be seen as a metaphor for rivers all around the world,” added Bruyneel. “It serves as a reminder that rivers must be shared and cared for by all users as a tribute to those who came before, and those who have yet to experience their glory.

RiverFest 2016 will continue on Friday night with the annual *click* photos of the fraser exhibit, which brings together an assortment of perspectives of the Fraser River from the Rocky Mountains to the Salish Sea. Each year a new selection of photographs is unveiled on a different theme, which this year is “Time”.

RiverFest is always one of the region’s premier events, both because of its family-focus and due to the fact it is held in conjunction with BC and World Rivers Day,” concluded Bruyneel. “The Fraser River is an economic, environmental and social icon for the Lower Mainland, British Columbia and all of Canada and we invite everyone to join us in celebrating our mighty river!” 

RiverFest 2016 concludes on Saturday with its signature outdoor festival, which includes music, food, activities and the famous Lucille Johnstone Work Boat Parade.

The Evergreen Cultural Centre Celebrates 20 Years

Here is the TLDR for this blog post: The Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their 20th anniversary as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off our new season with a dance party featuring SweetPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse.

Celebrating 20 years as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities, the Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their season launch party on Friday, September 16 @ 7pm. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off the new season with a dance party featuring SweatPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse. A silent auction will also be available for patrons to bid on great items from community partners and sponsors.

“All of us at the Evergreen Cultural Centre – staff, volunteers, and board members – are extremely excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary,” says Doug Matthews, Evergreen Cultural Centre Society Board President. “Over this period, the number and quality of our performing and visual arts presentations have grown considerably and we are proud of the fact that a diverse group from the Tri-Cities area use our facilities on a regular basis. As well, our professional theatre, comedy, dance, and musical presentations are among the best in the lower mainland, and our art gallery shows are of the highest quality found anywhere.”

SweatPea Swing Band

The SweetPea Swing Band has been performing their own unique brand of traditional jazz in and around Vancouver for many years. The band repertoire contains a lively collage of hot jazz music dating back as far as 1916. Although the band’s music is firmly rooted in traditional jazz, The SweetPea Swing Band presents their music in a hip, modern style that continues to incite audiences into a dancing frenzy.

Brickhouse

Brickhouse is one of the most uniquely “Vancouver” music experiences – seeing Brickhouse Live is one of the “Top 10” coolest things you can do in Vancouver. With their brand of original, funky tracks and cleverly covered classic R&B tunes, Brickhouse blends classic and modern (Blue Funk) with ease and makes hearing and seeing Brickhouse an addictive experience.

Tickets are only $20 for this great event!

Contact the Evergreen Box Office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca for tickets and more information.

Keith Langergraber at the Burnaby Art Gallery

Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) present Betrayal at Babylon, a new installation by Vancouver-based mixed media artist Keith Langergraber that will be held at the gallery from September 9 to October 23, 2016.

Investigating the impermanence of language and the complexity of human myth-making, the exhibition merges historical and fictionalized narratives set in British Columbia and beyond.

Reinterpreting the biblical Tower of Babel as a western mine and ghost town, Langergraber’s sculptural work fuses spiral train tunnels, dilapidated rigging systems and downed power lines. The show incorporates a series of large-scale mixed media works on paper, scraps of handwritten journal entries, detailed drawings of fossils and relics, and maps of natural terrain and settlements.

For the project, Langergraber worked with Carl Alexander, an elder from the Nxwísten (Bridge River) Indian Band in Lillooet to explore traditional St’át’imcets place names and provide an account of the impact of industry—dams, forestry, mining and the railroad—in the region.

Double Negative, Double Whammy (2016), a short film by Langergraber, screens as part of the show – following a gang of meteorite hunters across a surreal landscape, the film draws on motifs from sci-fi, western and disaster film genres. A mythic tektite meteorite also stands on display.

Betrayal at Babylon examines not only the construction of language, but also demonstrates the limitations of language in conveying environmental issues that have occurred through natural forces over time as well as through more recent human-driven exploits.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

  • Opening Reception | Thursday, September 8 | 7-9pm | FREE
  • In the BAG: Family Sundays | 1-4pm | FREE
  • Sunday, September 11 – Drawing Spaces
  • Sunday, October 9 – Mapping Terrains
  • Artist Talk + Film Screening | Saturday, September 10 | 2pm | FREE
  • Art Tour Tuesday | Tuesday, September 20 | 12:15pm | $5 | NEW PROGRAM
  • Tour & Tea | Tuesday, September 20 | 2pm | $7.50 | NEW PROGRAM
  • One Place, Many Names Talk | Sunday, September 25 | 2pm | FREE
  • Culture Days Guided Tour | Sunday, October 2 | 2pm | FREE

To learn more about the Keith Langergraber exhibition and other shows at the Burnaby Art Gallery, you can visit their webpage.

Summer for a Parent 

This summer there have been three phrases that I have heard from my kids approximately 17,375,869 times. Not that I was keeping a precise count. Actually, I I was. 

The first phrase I heard the most frequently, from the earliest time of the morning was, “Papa, can you get me …” 

The next phrase quickly became the proverbial burr under my saddle was, “Papa can I have…”

The third phrase I heard that helped push me to the brink of madness, but not over was similar to the Papa can I have but with the added monetary factor, “Papa can you buy me…”

17,375,879 times. Yep. To the brink. 

Burnaby Art Gallery; Public Library Offsite Exhibitions

The Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) presents two summer exhibitions at public libraries featuring works on paper by local artists who have strong connections to the Malaspina Printmakers Society.

Salme Kaljur Marina
Salme Kaljur Marina

These Burnaby Art Gallery Offsite Exhibitions present a selection of prints from the Malaspina Printshop Archives, a compendium of all works created at the print shop between 1977 and 1982.

Matrix: Perspectives from the Malaspina Archive (1979-1982) is a retrospective of works by women artists from the society. The exhibition runs from July 11 – September 18, 2016 at the Bob Prittie Library (located at 6100 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby).

In printmaking, the matrix is the surface upon which the artist creates a print design. The matrix – be it a metal plate, a wood or linoleum block or a lithographic stone—is inked to make an impression on a sheet of paper by pressing it by hand or through a printing press.

As the foundation for the art form itself, the matrix is thus the basis for the experimental printmaking taking place at Malaspina in the 1970s and ’80s. The term “matrix” comes from the Latin mātrīx, meaning “uterus” or “womb,” and is derived from māter, meaning “mother,” making the matrilineage of the word clear.

This exhibition brings together the art of female printmakers working at the Malaspina Printmakers Society between what were the turbulent years of 1979 and 1982. Further looking, analysis and questioning of these works of art in relation to the larger art historical, social and political concepts of the time ultimately make the gender of the artists irrelevant.

Across town in the McGill Library (located at 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby) is a solo show of new and past work by Bowen Island printmaker Marty Levenson. The Levenson exhibition is on from July 12 – September 19, 2016.

Marty Levenson’s exhibit, Now and Then, features four coloured etchings and a mixed media composition printed at Malaspina in the early 1980s together with recently created monoprints. Most of these newer prints reference the garden maintained by Levenson’s wife, Jacquie. The three works from the series entitled History into Nature were inspired by the writings of Roland Barthes. Levenson’s more recent monoprints appear courtesy of the artist.

Still a member of Malaspina, Levenson now does his printing at his home studio on Bowen Island and maintains a studio in Vancouver for his registered art therapy practice.

Both exhibitions use the City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection’s Malaspina Printshop Archive as a base for investigating printmaking activities in the early days of the organization. The archive was gifted by Milton and Fei Wong in 1988.

 

 

Bard on the Beach; Othello

Today we went to see the Bard on the Beach production of Othello and I have to admit, I had very mixed emotions while watching the performance.


Yes, it was a beautiful stage, amazing acting, and an interesting spin on Shakepeare’s classic story by setting it in the American Civil War.

So what was my problem? Well, I was uncomfortable with the outright racism directed at Othello by his new father in law. I just felt myself squirming in my seat a little while watching the other players refer to Othello as “the Moor” and their plotting against him.

However, I did stay for the production and I have no hesitation in telling you it was a beautiful performance that is worth seeing even if it does make you squirm in your seat. I also have no hesitation in advising you to bring at least a couple tissues with you to the performance. No spoiler, it IS a tragedy.

All Bard on the Beach productions are performed in the tent-theatres at Vanier Park in Vancouver. You can call the Bard on the Beach box office at 604-739-0559 or go online to get tickets.

The Things Kids Say…

I like to run my more “out there” ideas past my kids to see what they have to say about them and I have to admit I love some of their responses. 

For example, the other day I read about how kilts are making their way into more mainstream wardrobes. Not just traditional kilts, but kilts for every day wearing (read that as kilts you can feel free to wear underwear under).

So I thought, what a cool idea! “Hey kids, what do you think about me getting a kilt?” 

After a long pause my one daughter (age 7) says, “Don’t do it. You’d look like a French guy playing bagpipes.” 

Huh? Where did she come up with that?! 

Live Screening of The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration

If you were not one of the fortunate ones and you did not get a ticket to one of this summer’s Tragically Hip concerts there is still a chance you can see the iconic Canadian band through a number of outdoor live screenings.

The city of Burnaby is hosting a live screening of one of the most memorable concerts to happen in years: the CBC and the Tragically Hip presents ‘The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration.’

As The Tragically Hip’s tour crosses Canada, live screening opportunities have arisen for those who cannot view the concert first-hand. Burnaby residents will have the opportunity to come together and celebrate the musical magic at Civic Square with an open-air live screening of their own.

“The City of Burnaby is pleased to host a live public screening of the CBC and The Tragically Hip Presents: ‘The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration’,” says Mayor Derek Corrigan. “The Tragically Hip is an iconic Canadian rock band and these live screenings are another way to bring Canadians together.”

The live screening at Civic Square (next to the Bob Prittie Metrotown Library) is free to attend and open to everyone. The event starts at 4:30pm, with the live screening beginning at 5:30pm.

Donations will be accepted to the Canadian Cancer Society. Viewers are encouraged to arrive early and bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Food Services will be on-site with food and a beer garden.

To better serve all attendees, the City of Burnaby is requesting that those interested RSVP on the official Facebook event listing: www.burnaby.ca/outdoorscreening