27 February 2010

Gâteau de City Hall on a Bed of Olympic Village

No. 0012 - 27 Feb 2010 - 23:00

Get Thee To The Rink Mr. Crosby

No. 8003 - 19 Feb 2010 - 14:08

Gastown, Vancouver

I cannot leave the house without tripping over No.87, Sidney Crosby: sightseeing, rushing for transit, visiting venues and pavilions.

There is a hockey mania on the downtown streets and in the bars and restaurants where the public roams and which will erupt in a mighty roar sometime early on Sunday afternoon. The land is filled with collective pride and bravado, no matter the outcome of the hockey final and some bad press from Britain and Russia. It is ironic that the national media most critical are hosting the IOC in the next four years. Britain is perpetually focused on securing the attention of America and remains uneducated in its imperial history while the Russian media has brought up matters of Arctic sovereignty and military mis-doings, subjects beyond sport that require perspective and scrutiny.

My favourite undertopdogs are the Americans who are never more fetching than when they are humbled. Almost a decade of terrorism and security agendas, protracted corporate war, social change, and a deflated economy has altered the American psyche introspectively.

Tomorrow could be a rare international exposition of the Canadian psyche: a brief, attractive, red and white twizzle. Then, it is back to school on Monday, budget on Thursday.

No. 9645 - 26 Feb 2010 - 15:38

**Update: 28 Feb 2010, eight minutes into the overtime period, Sidney Crosby scores the tie-breaking goal against the USA thus winning the tournament and Canada's 14th gold medal of the 2010 Games.

26 February 2010

Building Fun City

No. 9731 - 26 Feb 2010 - 15:47

Gastown, Vancouver

The concept of Fun City is a recurring theme rooted in civic feelings of smallness and dullness.

According to recent, local history this is still a small town though never less than urban even before European settlement. It is a gritty port town with all the crime, corruption, and fluidity of a busy harbour. Together, the uptight entitlement of the English and the hardworking sobriety of the Chinese, forged a vein of morality which developed alongside the one horse, boom or bust, robber baronet tendencies of a frontier wide open to development . Past wrongs are being addressed while many endure but there is now more serious cultural and political significance given aboriginal fine art and social history in British Columbia than could be imagined thirty years ago.* It is this diversified, tentative, self-conscious, multi-cultural process, including immigration from around the world and a slow seeping westward of other Canadians, that writes our civic story. I believe Vancouver has the potential to be a great Pacific/Eur-Asian City.

Meanwhile, due to the provincial code of sobriety, alcohol licensing, off-sales and rules of consumption have been strictly controlled over the years and make it more difficult to obtain liquor here than in a fun province such as Québec. In any case unavailability is a poor deterrent and bar and restaurant owners complain that by-laws and neighbourhood reluctance have made it difficult to create the kinds of fun establishments and entertainment hubs necessary to maintain excitement in the city. Perhaps it is due to years of relative repression that the locals sometimes have difficulty controlling their drunken ardour and exhibit loud, messy, embarrassing behaviour at closing time.

I enjoy being in the city centre to experience the energy and liveliness of so many souls milling about and welcome the suburbanites, who are now here in droves, to get on the Skytrain or Canada Line (what a stupid name by the way - I preferred RAV/Richmond Airport Vancouver and suppose the train naming committee thought people might be confused about where they were and think if its Tuesday this must be Belgium BUT I DIGRESS) and come to town for the fun of it. I suggest trying the cultural activities, eating the delicious food, visiting the parks, walking the beaches, watching the people and saving the drunky drunk for the rec. room on Friday night. Knowing the line between conviviality and obnoxiousness in public is a worthy goal.

When the party is almost over, and the crowds have thinned, let us participate in the Para-Olympics. Especially to those who did not see an event, I recommend taking the opportunity to roar and stomp and cheer with strangers, should it arise. Fun, it feels good, that is all.

* It is worth noting that organizers of this corporate, cultural, sport event are not being charitable when they utilize the images and ceremonial aspects of First Nations artists and traditions. They are fully aware that it is the most iconic and recognizable art of the region and of the most interest to the world and therefore valuable to the enterprise.

Photo credit: Camilla Côté Hatfull

25 February 2010

Patriotism Patriarchy and Patronage Tra La La

No. 9564 - 25 Feb 2010 - 18:06

Gastown, Vancouver

These images were taken from the TV in the lobby of the YWCA on Hornby Street. Having just completed membership paperwork I was lured into the excitement of gold medal entertainment and settled down with a few others to watch the rest of the Canada/ USA women's final round game. It ended with U.S. tears and CDN pride (sometimes the roles are reversed), CDN male hockey players watching pensively from the rafters and wanting a piece of that, a roaring sea of red and these three men perhaps visiting not a women's match but a winning match. The event was barely over when IOC President, Jacques Rogge, announced that the women's teams had best correct, what he referred to as, lopsidedness within the league. (These inequities exist throughout the pantheon of international sport and are easily forgiven in male leagues). C'est la classe dirigeant que les règles.

Women's sport is marginalized because women's sport is marginalized: funding and access is often negligible or difficult to obtain. Softball and ski jumping are gone and now a public threat to ice hockey is made.

You are playing a racket, on the ladies, gentlemen. I do not have any particular interest in hockey but it is easy to see and enjoy the sheer finesse, speed, and high calibre of these two teams at play. Women look good playing the sport . Let them share their skills with eager, young teams internationally: fund with ingenuity and collaboration. Canadian women continue to out-medal the men at these games and their success deserves an appropriate amount of respect and financial acknowledgement. Remember whose game you came to observe and glory in for photo-ops and feel-good glad handing.

The same goes for the boys in the rafters. I wish you well but, no matter the outcome of your tournament, please stand up for the ladies of your sport and what all around me say is our sport. Be like men and make public your subdued admiration for the women.

"For this relief, much thanks."*

*Something Shakespeare used as a closing line by Simon Loekle, WBAI Radio, NYC

24 February 2010

Hockey Hoopla

No. 9043 - 24 Feb 2010 - 17:33

No. 9023 - 24 Feb 2010 - 17:19

Gastown, Vancouver

During a stop-over at Goldie's for the best hand-crafted pizza on pizza row (500-600 block West Pender Street) a few goals were scored in the Canada/Russia grudge match. The people of Vancouver get excited about very little but the triple threat of hockey gold at home, as well as anything ice rinks or ski slopes is irresistible to a red-shirted Canadian. Twizzle anyone?


No. 1930 - 21 Jun 2008 - 20:17

23 February 2010

Warm Fuzzy Transit


Gastown, Vancouver

Buses look good with public art covers. It is not a disguise but an enhancement. I will be submitting a version of my Skypaper series exploring weather and birds.

22 February 2010

Cherry Blossom Olympics

No. 5707 - 20 Mar 2008 - 10:43:52