Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Victory is mine

One dream.
Eleven months of strategizing and ignoring naysayers.
Five and a half months of unemployment.
Countless emails.
Reams of paperwork.

Victory is mine:
The ability to continue living and working in Canada.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pour Swain

" The truth is the only thing worth having, and, in a civilized life, like ours, where so many risks are removed, facing it is almost the only courageous thing left to do.

E.V. Lucas

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Love #2

It's been a while since I've done a blog love post. The following bloggers are thought provoking, gutsy, funny, outspoken, courageous, artistic and intelligent (although not necessarily in that order).

Shoplifting in a Ghost Town

Chloe Rice is a New York based photographer who mixes music, photography, film, food and snippets from her life on her blog.


Annie & the Little Pinch of Salt

Annie is a photographer/artist/writer who takes beautiful photographs and is one of the most eloquent bloggers around. A gifted storyteller.

"I started blogging in 2006 when I was living in Iceland and didn't have any friends. Since then I've documented two relationships, three break-ups, a journey to Everest, and one long, hot, entirely inappropriate love affair with Nashville, Tennessee. You'll have to search the archives: I cannot bring myself to speak of such things again."


The Anti-Room

The Anti-Room was founded in 2008 by four Irish journalists including Anna Carey, Sinead Gleeson and Edel Coffey who initially wrote under pseudonyms. After a sabbatical Carey and Gleeson returned as site managers/editors. The site has continued to expand, with an extensive list of Irish female writers covering everything from feminism, religion, pop culture, politics and personal observations.

"I once bled onto a Flintstone sock for four days in a Ballsbridge bedsit ’til it was hard enough to slash through human flesh or qualify for a Garda weapon’s seizure. Another time the man I was sleeping with just plain refused to crawl into my bed: ‘June, I can’t…there’s a phone in there and a half-eaten plate of pasta, beer cans and what looks like a piece of an ironing board.’

He was very sweet not to mention the month’s worth of dirty clothes, unread books, loose wires, odd shoes, an upturned lamp and decorative wooden salad fork set I bought as a present but was too lethargic to pass on. While not very apt descriptions of prototypical depression, these two scenarios sum up the cloisterphobic clutter and superglue awfulness of an internal mood shift that can recalibrate your customary life into a bizarre orgy of silent dislocations."


Molls She Wrote

Boston native Molly McAleer documents her life in L.A as a "blogger and internet personality". She is searingly honest, funny as hell and has worked for Defamer, Gawker, Thought Catalogue and The Smoking Jacket among others.

"The universe is fucking cyclical, dawg. I have been in so many situations in my career where I’m interviewing someone who’s being a life-sucking dick the entire time and I just wanted to say to them, “Hey, fuckface! I don’t give a fuck about your movie as much as you don’t give a fuck about telling me about it. I really don’t care. So why don’t you give me my quote so I can leave and you can fulfill your obligation to the studio to promote this piece of shit?”

Molls She Wrote
Molls on Twitter



"Zoetica Ebb – artist, photographer, writer, magazine editor, style technician and cosmonomad. I believe in making life extraordinary and beautiful through all means necessary. I can be hired to write, photograph or draw – simultaneously, if the price is right."

Zoetica has previously worked as a freelance makeup artist, a fashion columnist and photographer with Suicide Girls and in 2007 co-founded Coilhouse Magazine with Nadya Lev and Meredith Yayanos. Coilhouse is a web and print publication dedicated to alternative culture.

Zoetica on Twitter



An anonymous L.A based blogger who combines a feisty attitude and a no bullshit approach to life, love, sex and drugs. Be warned - those who seek her advice will hear the uncensored version, she doesn't sugar coat things. For example:

"At moments like these, I want to drive up to Forest Lawn, find Walt Disney’s grave, dig up whatever part of him wasn’t cryogenically frozen, and bitch-slap him for infecting generations of American women with something I like to call “Prince Charming disease.” This is a terrible affliction that causes grown-ass women to ruin perfectly good relationships by pining away for a nebulous cartoon fiction: passionate, steamy, “happily ever after” love."


Image of Molls: Jennifer Nies

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Blasé City Council & The Pantages Theatre

I sighed heavily this week upon hearing about the fate of The Pantages Theatre in Vancouver. Those of you who read regularly are aware of how much i like Vancouver BC. There are some really wonderful things about the place and that's why i continue to live here. However there are many things about the city that bother me, for example the issue of homelessness, how Mayor Gregor Robertson and his cronies attempt to regulate/control political expression and the lack of support from city officials for independent music and arts.

Another is the complete lack of regard for heritage and architectural history. I moved from a city where there was a 1,000 year old cathedral in my neighbourhood to a city where a developers idea of architecture consists of yet another steel and glass skyscraper or overpriced concrete condo building. I've never been to any other city that cares so little about its heritage and historical buildings. Tragically in Vancouver, these buildings are being ignored and destroyed by the very people who are responsible for maintaining that history.

The Pantages Theatre is located at Main and Hastings and is the oldest surviving vaudeville theatre in Western Canada. It was the second in a chain of 70 theatres built by vaudeville impresario and early film producer Alexander Pantages and designed by Vancouver architect Edward Evans Blackmore.

The 650 seat theatre cost nearly $100,000 and was fireproof, being made entirely of brick. The first front foyer featured white enamel bricks, surmounted by a beautifully ornate plaster ceiling. The stage was 30’ wide, and 38’ deep. Below the stage were nine dressing rooms and an orchestra pit.

Pantages actually built two theatres in Vancouver. The other was located two blocks away at 20 West Hastings, designed by architect Bernard Marcus Priteca (who also designed the Orpheum on Granville Street) and opened in June 1917. It was known as The Majestic/The Odeon Hastings and was a much larger, more ornate venue, seating nearly 2,000 people. Despite public protest it was demolished in 1967 to make a parking lot.

The Pantages was a much loved and used venue, over the years it served as a theatre, music venue and cinema. Over the years, the theatre has changed hands several times and it has been vacant since 1994. Numerous attempts to save it have failed and the building slowly fell into disrepair, a sort of demolition through neglect.

In July 2008 the previous city council turned down the current owner Marc Williams final proposal to restore the theatre and a proposed blackbox studio, art gallery and 136 units of housing. Instead city council agreed to conduct a feasibility study. Once a new council was in place there was still no discussion with the owner about reversing the previous council's decision. As the council and politicians procrastinated, Williams was unable to restore the site and as a result it continued to deteriorate, to the point where it was deemed unsafe.

In 2009 The Pantages Theatre Arts Society abandoned its attempt to preserve and restore the theatre. Salvage work has been done in the past year to try and save any interior objects possible.

The Pantages Theatre Arts Society released the following statement in December 2009

"You may have heard that the Pantages Theatre Arts Society has given up its three-year long fight to restore the historic theatre on East Hastings Street in Vancouver's downtown east side. It is not because we have abandoned the many social, economic, heritage and cultural objectives inherent in the proposals that have been put forward to the City of Vancouver (and others). Simply put, the theatre has deteriorated to such a point that there is virtually nothing left to restore.

Its decades-long deterioration was exacerbated by a roof fire last summer, which resulted in the fire department cutting holes in the roof to ensure that the fire was contained. Since then, the stage has collapsed into the basement, the balcony is no longer safe and, according to the owner's engineering consultant, the building is now structurally 'stressed'. Indeed, because of insurance and liability issues, it is no longer safe to enter the building to retrieve anything of historical significance. Those of you who have toured the theatre over the past three years, or participated in any of our events, would not recognize the theatre in its current state.

As you know, we came within a whisker of saving the building about a year ago when we thought we had the full support of Vancouver City Council to purchase the theatre and adjoining properties for a combination theatre restoration and social housing project.

However, Council opted instead to undertake further studies on the project -- despite the fact that we have been warning everyone for years that a decision was required soonest, or there may not be anything left to restore. Alas, our prediction has come true even sooner than we had guessed."

Photo: Ian Smith, PNG, Vancouver Sun

Despite years of protest, proposals and pleading, a demolition permit was issued by the city last week for The Pantages and surrounding buildings. The Pantages joins a long list of historical sites that have been demolished in Vancouver. Yet those in city council seem content to sit in their offices while yet another piece of the city's heritage is razed to the ground this week. Remaining Pantages theatres in Seattle, Winnipeg and Toronto were designated as historic sites and saved. Vancouver wasn't so lucky.

To read more about Alexander Pantages and his theatres:

Sunday, April 10, 2011


'Freaks' is a movie that i heard about as a teenager. Prior to the internet exploding in popularity and accessibility, zines/magazines/friends/books were my only options for 'culturally' educating myself. I read a number of music and film magazines religiously in order to keep abreast of new music and gems that i hadn't yet discovered. It was around this time that 'Freaks' was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant".

Reading a short article on it i mentally made a note to try and track it down to see what all the fuss was about. However this was easier said than done in my tiny village where livestock outnumbered humans 10-1. It was only a few years later when browsing through a friends extensive DVD collection that i found a copy. It was not strictly a horror film as i'd previously read but rather a tale of human relationships and the moral that beauty is more than skin deep.

Watch 'Freaks' above

Tod Browning produced and directed the film which was released by MGM. The film was based on Tod Robbins' short story "Spurs". Browning was an American actor, director and screenwriter who had been a member of a traveling circus in his early years. He had run away at the age of 16 to join the circus and spent a number of years traveling with sideshows,carnivals and circuses. Since Browning cast actual deformed actors, moviegoers of the time found this shocking and distasteful. As a result the film was banned for over 30 years. In the early 1960s it was rediscovered and gradually became a cult film. In 1994, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant".

Much of the film was drawn from his personal experiences and the film nudges the viewer to question the perception behind physical appearances. The so called freaks may be physically deformed but they come across as trusting, generous people while the real monsters are two of the non deformed members of the circus who are self serving and deceptive.

The plot revolves around stunningly beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra. Hans is a sideshow midget who, although he is engaged to Frieda, is smitten with Cleopatra. The wily trapeze artist learns of his large inheritance,who feigns affection and sets about seducing him. She succeeds and at their wedding reception the other 'freaks' resolve that they will accept her in spite of being a 'normal' outsider. During the reception they hold an initiation ceremony to show their acceptance which freaks Cleopatra out. As a result she accidentally reveals that she has been having an affair with Hercules, the strong man.

Shortly thereafter, Hans is taken ill and Cleopatra begins to gradually poison him by spiking his medicine. Her plan is to kill Hans, inherit his money and run away with Hercules. One of the circus performers overhears Cleopatra talking about her plan and informs the others. In the film's climax, the freaks attack Cleopatra and Hercules with guns, knives, and various sharp-edged weapons, hideously mutilating them during a bad storm. The film concludes with a revelation of Cleopatra's fate: she herself has been turned into a freak, reduced to performing in a sideshow as the squawking 'human duck'."

Friday, April 08, 2011


'Plexus No. 3'

My usually robust immune system appears to have short circuited in the past month, leaving me with one cold and one flu in the space of 3 weeks. Actually to call it a flu wouldn't really do it justice, my attempts to stave it off with zinc, vitamins, Neocitran, healthy food and lots of rest has done little to stem the sneezing and sweating. Charming eh? I guess in a way, it has a positive side as I'm currently zonked on my couch wrapped in a blanket and catching up on blog stuff and terrible television (What??! My brain cells can't handle anything intellectual right now). Oh and let's just say that 'The Plexus Series' by Gabriel Dawe looks positively psychedelic when you're taking flu medication!

'Plexus No. 3'

Dawe was born in Mexico City where vibrant color was imprinted on his psyche from an early age. In 2000 he wanted to travel and decided to move to Montreal where he worked as a graphic designer. It was during this time that he began experimenting, creating artwork which led to him to explore textiles, weaving and embroidery. Traditionally in Mexico, these activities were associated with women and generally men were not encouraged to participate.

'Plexus No. 3'

Dawe lived in Canada until 2007 where he gained dual citizenship as a Mexican-Canadian, his art then took him to Texas where he began an MFA in Arts and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. The Plexus Series consists of large-scale installations made with Gütermann thread "creating environments that deal with notions of social constructions and their relation to evolutionary theory and the self-organizing force of nature."

'Plexus No. 4'

These large scale pieces utilize vibrant color and intricate threading that creates an almost prism like effect when viewed from different angles. Each piece is woven from a structure containing anchor points and can take up to a month to complete, one thread at a time. The video below shows the construction and completion of 'Plexus No. 4'.

Dawe lived in Canada until 2007 where he gained dual citizenship as a Mexican-Canadian, his dedication then took him to Texas where he began an MFA in Arts and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. His work has been exhibited in Dallas, Houston, Montreal, Toronto and Barcelona.

'Plexus No. 4'
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