Thursday, April 17, 2014


TV screen crawl reads, ARTIST MICHAEL SNOW DEAD AT 90

Cut to Parliament Hill.  Snow's last work rises from behind the Centre Block: a hot-air balloon, its envelope styled after Picasso's 1941 bronze Death's Head.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Satire from the Blue:

Amazing Live Band Vehemently Despised By Its True Fans

The Internet Times-Tribune, October 10 2013 - New York City, NY - Steely Dan, a jazz-rock act with a core membership consisting of writer/keyboardist Donald Fagen and writer/guitarist Walter Becker, have just concluded another successful North American tour that began back in July of this year, and once again the band's most devoted fans simply couldn't be more unhappy.

Most of this year's 53 shows were filled to near-capacity. Concertgoers danced in the aisles and many were heard to say they felt it was the best show they'd been to in years. Mainstream media and blogger reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers drawing attention to the unsurpassed musicianship of guitarist Jon Herington, the four top-notch horn players, the bass playing of Freddie Washington, the keyboard wizardry of Jim Beard, the delicious vocal infusions of the trio of female backing vocalists, and the drumming of Keith Carlock, who was often referred to in reviews as one of the world's greatest living drummers.

But on an internet fan site known as the Steely Dan BlueBook, regular contributors let it be known that they couldn't be more disgusted and disappointed with the band they named as their favorite musical act. As one poster angrily put it, "They keep playing these songs that people recognize and enjoy - why would they do that?" Another livid fan was so enraged after reading about the songs the band had selected to play at an out of town concert he hadn't attended, that he angrily posted he would, "Continue my long standing tradition of reviewing but not attending shows by this band." Yet another disgruntled Steely Dan fanatic wrote that, "I was so upset when I read on the internet that they didn't play Do It Again [editor's note: this is one of Steely Dan's best known radio hits] at The Beacon [Theatre] on Request Night that I couldn't even think straight. I'm still angry days later, even though I really don't like that particular song very much and I certainly wasn't at the show."

In stark contrast to the happy, music-loving concertgoers in the seats, from July to October the super-fans and band history experts on the BlueBook took exception to virtually everything their favorite musical group had or hadn't done in the past decade or so, was currently doing, or was planning to do in the future. While the many people who chose to leave their computers behind for a few hours got to bask in the glow of one of the planet's finest live acts, true Steely Dan fans stayed home in protest and took to the internet to vent their hatred for the band they love. One after the other, they railed against everything from ticket prices to concert venues to the band's song choices. As one mega-fan put it, "Unless I can read that they played a set dominated by songs most people wouldn't recognize and couldn't possibly enjoy at a show over a thousand miles away from where I live, I'm going to be one unhappy Dan fan."

One thoroughly fed-up poster summed it all up when he wrote, "As a true fan, I lost the ability to enjoy their live shows a long time ago. I'm bored to tears with their repetitive back catalog and I absolutely never play any of Steely Dan's music at home, on my iPod, or in the car. It's not always easy for me to truly express my utter contempt for this brilliant songwriting duo and their crew of stellar backing musicians, but it's comforting to know that The BlueBook is always there whenever I feel the uncontrollable urge to repeat myself."
CJB v. Commercial Gallery

To a show by a friend at Gallery X.  Close examination of pictures x 30 minutes prompts no response of any kind from the gallerist, the only other person in the big empty space.


GALLERIST:  So, do you have any questions?

CJB:  I don't think so.  I'm pretty familiar with [ARTIST FRIEND]'s work; I've exhibited him a few times.

GALLERIST:  Oh.  You're a friend.  [Turns, starts to walk away]

CJB [to GALLERIST's rapidly retreating back]:  Actually, I do have a question.  About a third of these images are [UNFAMILIAR PHOTO PROCESS] prints.  What's [UNFAMILIAR PHOTO PROCESS]?

GALLERIST:  It's a darkroom process.

CJB:  I get that.  I was just wondering, maybe you could tell me a little bit about it?  I'm totally unfamiliar with it.

GALLERIST:  It's a process that [ARTIST] uses in his darkroom to make the prints.

CJB:  Okay, that totally clears things up.

When Gallery X goes bust, as it inevitably will, my guess is that its owner will blame retail rents, or Vancouver's lack of aesthetic sophistication, etc. etc. etc., but not general stiff cluelessness.
Sunday, April 13, 2014

With L. to the last Vancouver performance of Stan Douglas' and Chris Haddock's Helen Lawrence.

Impeccable, but for a last-minute breach of the fifth wall. Douglas' best work since Hors-Champs.

Standouts among the amazing cast: Nicholas Lea, channelling full-on 50s film-noir-psycho-killer; Hrothgar Mathews; Allan Louis, &, finally, Haley McGee's wisecracking butch, one step ahead of everyone else.

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