Saturday, December 22, 2012

Canadian charities, it's your time.


Oh thank god! The old Globe and Mail gem known as Margaret Wente has "curated" a list of charities to give to this holiday season. Thank god someone took it upon themselves to curate Canadian charities. They really need it, you know, in order to be considered of any aesthetic or artistic value. These organizations so desperately need to be contextualized amongst their peers! What has really been lacking over the years is critical and creative analysis of their work. Hm, I wonder if she will be producing a publication to go with this offering? Is this a touring endeavour? Will there be a curatorial talk? No? Is this just a list of charities you think are interesting? ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Child of the '90s

I was fifteen when Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was released. After school, I watched a lot of Much Music, ate a lot of pizza pockets, wrote a lot of words in my journal, and couldn't get enough of this:

Who isn't excited?


BLAMMO! It's Christmas-time!

In my early twenties, when I was a moody art school student that wanted to stay up all night drinking coffee while complaining about the Bush administration, I wasn't really allowed to like Christmas. It's so capitalist and empty, you know? All those presents! All these forced gestures and requisite time spent with family you were trying to get away from! Pure torture!

Here's a secret: I have always loved Christmas. It's totally amazing! Who doesn't love the production and consumption of delicious treats? Who doesn't love finding wonderful gifts for loved ones? Seasonal beverages? Holiday parties and holiday sales? The smell of evergreen trees and ambiguous woodsy things? Wool blankets? Gingersnaps for breakfast? Drinking during the day? Come on!

It's just the best.

Monday, November 19, 2012

HOT TIP: Your multicultural gestures just may be tokenism.


It's a tough gig, working in the arts in Canada. We don't get paid enough for the education we have or the work we have to do, and in order to earn our meagre salaries we sometimes have to jump through bureaucratic hoops. Like box checking multiculturalism.

It's a tough gig, trying to be inclusive, and diverse and equal opportunity and all that. But you know what? Here's a hot tip: it doesn't always help us (visible minorities) if you're just using our names to further your careers. It doesn't help us if you're just slotting us in like boxes that need to be checked without considering the fact that maybe some of us may be better than others, that some of us need more time to be more interesting, that some of our work isn't actually that great and that it doesn't help us to keep pushing us forward without support, criticism, and contextualization. That maybe, just maybe, like the rest of you, some of us are good and some of us are just awful and borderline offensive. And that maybe, just maybe, giving us all these hermetic opportunities is holding us (the human race) back. That maybe some of us (visible minorities with skillz) really deserve opportunities but you need to get off your lazy rears and find new and interesting people rather than showing the same names over and over again. The worst part is that we are hardly in a position to say no to your god damn offers because we are still considered second rate and we'll take whatever we can get. So instead, why don't you work harder for us?

It's like a box of Pot of Gold. Just because they're all chocolate doesn't mean they're all delicious - the good ones are just the square caramels in the corners. The cherry cordials don't deserve caramel status because jesus, those things are outdated and offering nothing to the contemporary chocolate conversation. You know what I mean? Of course you don't, go down to a Canadian Tire, buy a box, and figure it out for yourself.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Style Icons: Simon & Garfunkel

All my style choices can somehow be traced back to S&G.

Desert boots and jeans:




Wool coats, scarves and boots:

























Stripes and bangs: 


Hearts and bones:


Read It: 33 1/3: Paul's Boutique

If you're a Beastie Boys fan looking for a quick break from fiction, this book is awesome, and pocket-sized. 1989 forever.




Friday, October 19, 2012

How many striped shirts is too many?

For the record, they are all different in important ways.  And in winter, I can wear two at a time, ha!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

HOT TIP: Banana Bread


Here's a hot tip: when the weather forecast says you should expect rain (and lots of it) today, tonight, tomorrow, and until you are just about ready to drown in your jar of Vitamin D gummies, you should make yourself some banana bread. Take those bananas, blackened by your neglect, some flour, eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, some spices, and maybe some dark chocolate crystallized ginger to make it seem as though you're fancy or something, and you make yourself one hell of a banana bread. And then you bake it for half an hour and maybe an extra ten minutes because you haven't turned the heat on in your apartment yet because you are cheap. Then you eat it warm with butter and some mint tea. And then you tell the rain that it's not gonna win, you are totally going to win, because this banana bread is delicious. Then you are going to go to bed, wake up tomorrow morning, see the rain, and say, "No Vancouver, you win this round."

Monday, October 8, 2012

So many questions, so few answers.

Mark Flood at Zach Feuer

Contemporary art is really depressing me these days. Why is everyone so apathetic? Why is the work so cold and inaccessible under the guise of complexity? What does it mean to live anachronistically? Why are we gardening and presenting tutorials on mushroom spores when there are actual honest to goodness FARMERS who are not getting nearly enough credit or pay to do this for a living? Why do we think shaking hands and high five-ing is going to save us from the depression of our economic and political state? Why are we so obsessed with the fifties and sixties and giving HJs to artists that have already done a bunch of stuff that we have already acknowledged them for? Why are we just recreating things but not in a better or transformative way? Is that just another couple of sticks leaning on the wall? Is that just ephemera in a vitrine and books on a plinth? Is that ephemera on a book on top of a stick, near a vitrine, with more ephemera on a plant? Are we still talking about community? Aren't gradients over? When did 'just enough' become enough? Why are upper middle class twenty-somethings making art about being skids? Why didn't I become a pastry chef?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Things






Forest walks:





Beatles piano (played sad and slow):







 Gorgeous West German pottery from the impeccable PopBam:
Fluffy clouds:


Monday, September 3, 2012

Secret Feelings

People in Vancouver love to go to the beach in the summer. Me, not so much. In fact, I secretly hate the beach, especially the gross crowded ones in Vancouver (crazy, I know!)

But every summer, I re-discover a wonderful benefit to the collective beach impulse of Vancouverites: when everyone's at the beach, the parks are empty!




















Vancouver has amazing parks - grass for miles where you can lie on a blanket and listen to the wind with all the privacy of your own backyard. They are tucked in around all of the city's residential neighbourhoods, and discovering new ones is like gaining perspective on a place you've lived for years.






And yes, no dirty water or sand in sight, but that's just fine by me because you can climb trees, walk along trails,




eat snacks you brought along from the farmers market, discover new kinds of fluffy plants:



Parks are spacious and clean and completely beautiful. They are great places for thinking about stuff and taking naps. Yay parks.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Textures

As I mentioned, I'm reading this great book called Midnight Movies and have just arrived at the chapter about David Lynch's Eraserhead. Almost everything Mr. Lynch says is worthy of quotation, but especially his observations on textures: "I'm obsessed with textures. We're surrounded with so much vinyl that I find myself constantly in pursuit of other textures."

Think about it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gallery Girls



What is this show about exactly? Is it about a rivalry between twenty somethings in the Upper East Side and Brooklyn? Is it about girls that are "middle class" and the ones that are not? Is it about commercial galleries we've never heard of and the date rapists that run them? Is it about drinking too much on the job? Wearing too much black and sheer sleeves? Touching your hair too often while pretending to ignore the cameras that are following you?

What is this show not about, exactly? The exploitation of overeducated labour? Misogyny in the art industry? The absurdity of starting a hybrid clothing boutique and commercial gallery in the Lower East Side for $17,500? That doing demeaning tasks for skeevy gallery owners is an expected and acceptable entry into working in the visual arts? That trust funds and art history degrees go hand in hand with working for free and getting your Mrs.?

Everyday, I am learning new things. Thanks Bravo.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fall Style

Paul and Linda McCartney: setting the bar high since the 1970s


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The End of Summer

Summer's wrapping up. I'll be spending the final days...

1) Wearing white jeans and white shoes:



2) Petting horses (if I see any):




3) Lying on the grass in parks near baseball diamonds . . .




4)  . . . while finishing this great book (the chapter about John Waters is particularly fantastic):


5) Riding home along the tracks, looking for roadside blackberries.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

I love you. But let's leave that out of this.


Before I went to art school and became a cynical, borderline conspiracy theorist who was easily offended (isn't this just what happens when you go to art school?), I was a depressed teen in desperate need of romance. Not being allowed to date in high school, I turned to stories of love, dating, and heartbreak in popular culture. Romantic comedies just seemed so adult - grown ups, working as journalists, newscasters, or in advertising, falling in love with their co-workers after a series of misunderstandings. They were probably nemeses at first! Or maybe the person they were attracted to was their best friend's ex! Or maybe one was a widow and the other an engaged neurotic and they lived in opposite sides of the country.

Somewhere, in the years recent, I became embarrassed to admit how much I loved Nora Ephron and Sleepless and Seattle. But that film was one of my favourites. Tom Hanks, living with his son in a waterlogged home in Seattle, and Meg Ryan, with her nineties ponytail and sassy friend Rosie O'Donnell, were so special. Two people, brought together by the radioThere are secret investigators, star-crossed letters, and, to top it off, a young Gaby Hoffman who conspires with Tom's son to bring it all together. It's an appropriately sweet film, and one hardly worthy of art school credibility. But it was the perfect anecdote for a teenager looking to be wooed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Challengers

Don't tell me you haven't seen this.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simic Wisdom


"A poet worth reading lives in the present, which keeps changing continuously into something else." 

~Charles Simic

*Read his essay "Poetry and Utopia" here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chatelaine, the worst



If you call yourself a curator of extraordinary things, you are an asshole.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer Wardrobe Inspiration

As much as I love sunshine, bike rides and afternoons with a good book in the park (currently reading the delightful Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem), summer is not my season. Despite the lovely weather, I often feel out of sorts, rashy, sweaty, uncomfortable in all my clothes. I require style muses to get through to September.

Inspiration: Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood in The Talented Mr. Ripley: crisp white short-sleeved collared shirts, ponytails, full skirts, espadrilles. Yes.



I'm even liking the headband:





For evening, add a chunky cable-knit sweater and a pensive expression:




Monday, April 23, 2012

The greatest shade of yellow.



I woke up the other morning after having the most magnificent dream. I had gone through a strange journey through my hometown at sunset, with every building and field reflecting the most beautiful golden light; a light that is at its most brilliant in the middle of summer in the prairies. I could practically feel the warmth of the setting sun against my skin as I floated down the gravel roads, staring at the old familiar houses. A few new buildings, townhouses of some kind, replaced some of the structures I remembered, and I felt sad at the idea of this town changing, moving further out of my reach and out of my memory. Despite this, I felt calmed by the bright red and yellow hues of the whole scene, and when I awoke I was relaxed, nostalgic, and content.

I very rarely dream of where I grew up. The handful of kids I went to elementary, middle school, and subsequently high school with occasionally appear in my sleep, but the town itself is but an abstraction. Since moving over ten years ago I have not returned very often, every few weekends the first year I moved away and less frequently every year after that. By the time my parents had retired and moved out of the town in 2009 I had not been back in several years, visiting only for a final send-off as my parents packed up their belongings and moved out of the little green and white house that would never be my home again.



I had my first kiss in the brush behind those trees during a game of truth, dare, double dare.


As kids we once found a gross used condom on the sand near these swings.


Bargains & Deals used to be a gas station/video rental/convenience store. It was located just behind my house and in the summer I would often walk over with a few coins to buy a handful of puffy pink marshmallows.


This was the view from our living room window.






Sunday, April 8, 2012

16 years later, still dirty.



This weekend I attended a surprise birthday party on a boat. As the sun set, countless glasses of vodka soda and gin and tonic were consumed and the dance floor was bustling. And, without fail, as soon as the crowd heard the opening notes of Ginuwine's Pony (1996), things got dirty.

In high school the song was appropriately crude. It was brash and certainly not sweet, a quality that was appealing to jerk teenagers in need of some messy makeouts. By university, it was hot. I wish I could say it was sexy but looking back at those Friday nights spent at disgusting dance clubs I can only remember being sweaty and reckless with my body, in the way that people in their early twenties are prone to be. There was nothing sensual about your clothes smelling like cigarettes and grinding.

So what is the song now, years later, at a thirtieth birthday party? Does it feel risque? Is it dated and dare I say, tame? I am happy (?) to report that after all these years the song is, unsurprisingly, still dirty. The dozens of thirty-something hips gesturing towards each other proved this. But maybe it finally felt a bit sexier this time around. Maybe it was the yacht and the full moon. Or maybe it was the absence of body issues and poor decisions.

ps.
I had to listen to this song 4 times during the writing of this post, you know, to get into the mood.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

5 days and counting.


Spring is near! Even though the first few days of Spring Forward are always painful, that extra hour of daylight (or in today's case, sunlight) is a welcome reward for those grumpy mornings. The feverish energy is building and it seems everyone on the street is sporting a smile and feeling, dare I say, a bit bold. Case in point: this evening at the grocery store while I was trying to select a jar of pickles, a fellow passing by said to me, "I can tell you are a pickle lover." It's strange what a shift in a few degrees will do to a city smothered in clouds.

Despite this bizarre encounter I am still eager and excited for this new season. Some reasons to get jazzed about spring:
  • Wedge and stacked heels with no tights
  • Liberty print blouses and longer hemline skirts
  • Rhubarb
  • Trench coats
  • 3/4 length sleeves
  • New plants and the start of herb gardens on the deck
  • Strawberry and lemon sorbet
  • Rose wine
  • The return of the bicycle
  • Scarves, scarves, scarves (this is true of any season, really)
  • Cashmere cardigans and the magic of layering
  • Listening to Give Me Just a Little More Time on repeat
This weekend I have a date with some lemon cream cheese buns, tea, and the Sunday New York Times, followed by some closet cleaning. I cannot think of a better activity to usher in the spring.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Don't See It: L'Amour Fou




















I had been wanting to see L'Amour Fou for a while. I had heard good things about it. I enjoyed reading The Beautiful Fall, a great book about the rise of YSL and some good party stories about Marrakech in the '70s with Betty and Loulou.



















(Perhaps the book is better because it is also more about the fashion industry and YSL's rivalry with Karl Lagerfeld, and some generally great zeitgeist-y stories). But this film was really lame. Sad, rich Pierre Berge has to part with his half-billion fortune in antiquities and art from the massive homes he shared with Yves. He wanders around. He stares contemplatively out his gilt-framed windows. He says boring things. Cry me a river.


Synth Britannia!

...and if you're really interested in the development of British synth music, from Wendy Carlos to New Order, watch this excellent BBC documentary:



Sidenote: Dave Gahan used to be so adorable.


Friday, March 9, 2012

OMD!



















Rainy Friday nights with one of my favourite albums of all time.



The songs are great, but the dance moves are amazing:

Monday, March 5, 2012

I am not exactly sure what is happening here, but I'm into it.

Pina


This past weekend Laura and I went to see the new Wim Wenders' film Pina, a 3D documentary on the influential German choreographer Pina Bausch. The film is elaborate and beautiful and while you may not leave with a firm understanding of Bausch or the Tanztheater you will easily be seduced and exhilarated by the movement and the cinematography.

Those Germans mean business.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jury Duty

The Situation or Pauly Shore?

I have been doing jury duty (peer assessment, arts sector styles) for the past week and much like my time in grad school I find myself preoccupied with everything but the texts I should be reading. Such as making a pot of Minnesota wild rice soup. Or watching episodes of Downton Abbey. Or wondering what's up with solar flares? Or trying to figure out what happened to that old moustachio in the Backstreet Boys, followed by wondering when he turned 40? Or asking what is up with Cee Lo and this cat? Or trying to figure out WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GUY??

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birthday Time



















My 32nd birthday is just around the corner. I'm not the biggest fan of parties, hosting things, or drawing attention to myself, but there are a few things I always (almost always) do to make the day memorable (most revolving around food).

1) Don't work! This is a no-brainer. Why would you go to work on your birthday? If my birthday falls on a weekend, as it does this year, I take the Friday off!

2) Sleep in. There is nothing more decadent in the winter months than this.

3) Go out for a decadent brunch. Eggs, bacon, hollandaise, strong coffee.

4) Follow this up with breakfast-dessert: doughnuts or cupcakes.

5) If it happens to be a sunny day, bundle up and go for a refreshing bike ride.

5) Regardless of the weather, go to a matinee. This is my favourite thing in the whole world to do. Eat popcorn and Junior Mints. I'm thinking A Dangerous Method.

6) Buy a bunch of favourite magazines and read them while lying on the floor and listening to records.

7) Go out for an amazing dinner - for me this usually means Italian. Warm, comforting pasta, red wine, burrata, olive oil, cracked pepper....amazing.