May 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen: Kevin House

The title of Kevin House's new show - tonight, that is May 6, 2010 at the Red Gate Gallery at 156 West Hastings Street at Cambie - is telling. It's the grouping title, you could say, of a whole group of strange and wonderful pieces that House has done about Vancouver at some unspecified point in its just-pre-Modernity. What House has going on here are a number of developed back stories - of singers, performers, side show freaks and assorted other demi-tragedies of a more innocent era - that have been extruded through his imagination and into his latest (greatest, weirdest) form: the painted and miniaturely sculpted 78 record.

Posted: Thursday, May. 6, 2010 6:01am

The Original Tourist Destination

Would You Walk 500 Miles?

This month in EnRoute Magazine.


The place has a gravitational pull all its own. Just passing Amenal, 10 kilometers east, walking through a light rain, before I even glimpse the tips of its famous cathedral spires, I feel Santiago de Compostella like a spinning vortex just over the green rim of the Galician horizon. It moves people.

The Spanish town has had this effect for a long time. Consider that it was way back in the ninth century when the Apostle James’ tomb was reportedly found on a hill nearby. Word spread; people began to arrive. On foot, on horseback. Alone and in caravans. So many people that by the 12th century, an ambassador for Emir Ali ben Yusuf wrote back to his master, “So great is the multitude that comes and goes, that there is barely enough space on the pavement.”

Posted: Monday, May. 17, 2010 6:25am

New Cameraman: The Coin of the Realm

Brilliant street artist Byron Cameraman hits "Granville Rise" again. What I love about this piece is it's power to demonstrate just how beautiful filthy lucre can appear. If we did not find it beautiful - that is, if we didn't exalt money aesthetically and otherwise - you could argue, "Granville Rise" itself would not exist.

Up close, the hugely magnified silver dollar reveals all its nicks and scratches, evidence of the thousands of hands and lives through which it has passed. An asset, a debt, a store of value. Emblem of plans well made or evidence of what is always is short supply. Pleasure and hardship. This is the coin of the realm indeed.

Posted outside the Equinox Gallery, which shows Fred Herzog's wonderful photography, Cameraman's new work is striking, rich and underappreciated. I love this work and the city is lucky to have it. I also acknowledge a huge debt to Camerman, who inspired many ideas in my writing of The Blue Light Project.

More pictures after the jump.

Posted: Tuesday, May. 25, 2010 9:07am

The Envy Economy



From the Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine

When Oliver Stone's upcoming sequel to Wall Street (Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps) is released this fall, there will be renewed debate on whether "greed is good." People may disagree with Gordon Gekko, just as his protégé Bud Fox ultimately did in the original film, but most will accept that greed is, if not good, then at least centrally relevant to the argument. Since the 1980s, you could say that greed has become the economic and cultural meta-factor: either the juice that drives markets and innovation, or the corrosive force bent on bringing the global economy to its knees (again).

But what if the Gekkos and the Foxes were arguing about the wrong variable entirely? What if greed were secondary, a shadow cast by a different meta-factor altogether? That's what Eric Falkenstein, a U.S. economist with a growing following, argues in his book Finding Alpha, published by Wiley last year. Falkenstein does not believe the market is driven by greed. He thinks the market is driven by envy.

Posted: Friday, May. 28, 2010 7:07am

Rabbit Receiving his own Information

On a gig for Western Living Magazine, I toured the Willamette Valley recently. Lots of gems to discover there, like Whole Hog Wednesdays at the Dundee Bistro. And of course several hundred small, high-craft wineries that produce the amazing fruity, farmy pinot noirs of the region.

But I particularly enjoyed "meeting" the mascot of the Scott Paul Winery. He's a rabbit. And the painting of him, which Scott Paul used to inspire the rabbit on their label, is by Oregon artist Cody Bustamante. The painting is called "Rabbit Receiving his own Information", and it shows the animal with his head cocked to the sky, as if listening to a timely bit of advice.

The story behind the painting is a good one.

Posted: Monday, May. 31, 2010 10:58am