Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, essentially a August Sander photograph that moves. Anyone in Vancouver who hasn't yet seen it yet should head down to Tinseltown where it's still playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3:50pm, and where Christian Berger's striking black and white cinematography, which nods in turn to Sander, Rembrandt and Sven Nyquist, is shown off to good effect on the big screen.

Uneven Shutter Island: Oedipus (or Falling Angel / Vertigo / Mulholland Drive, each equally appropriate, take your pick) in Boston harbour. But I loved the shots above, and the quiet shift from gothic expressionism to straight-up naturalism in the final scene.
Up Grouse Mountain in grey morning light through steep forest for an hour and a half, past the resort's roaring snow machines and the eerily empty chairlift. Into the chalet, where a few Euro-tourists are watching Olympic downhill skiing on the big screens. Back out into the cold, and up along the service road to Dam Mountain. Cold wind, little flurries of snow. Up Dam Mountain -- crampons useful, the hard-packed trail all ice -- and then out east along the summer route to Crown Pass, which, past the turnoff to Thunderbird Ridge, quickly changes from an icy flat walk in the park to a 40 degree snowslope with a 500+ foot drop below it into Kennedy Lake. Sidehilling in the frozen boot track, bits of snow skittering away under my spikes, picking up speed as they bounce down the slope, ricocheting off trees and disappearing into air. Aware of my pulse kicking up a notch or two.

Crown Pass from below Little Goat Mountain looking very sheer and dark and cold, all black cliffs and white snow. Squalls blowing in from over Lynn Lake, visibility shrinking.

-It's, eh, pretty steep over there. Ted and I used a rope once. And pickets.

Words of wisdom from Mr. Blair, uncontradicted by Keefer and D. and I. No one complains as we turn around.

Steep ramble from slightly easier peak to peak to peak as the snow picks up, ravens circling around us, croaking heartily, delighted to have visitors. 1200m+ on the day.

Gondola back down to civilization, near whiteout conditions at the chalet turning to rain lower down. Trudging back along the muddy powerline to the car in torrential rain, the track flooded everywhere. Dog shit; pussywillows; salmonberry leaves budding out. Smells of spring.
Monday, February 22, 2010

Off climbing tomorrow in this unseasonal spring, with a group of old friends, and Rose T. Cat. Busily assembling crampons, ice axe, head lamp, cherry red Gore-tex jacket and green wool shirt.

4000-odd metres of elevation gain so far this year, and a narrower waist and better attitude for it. If there's a better cure for depression than walking steeply uphill, I haven't found it.

Back soon.

(Tomorrow's destination, the obscure but lovely west peak of Crown Mountain, visible at mid-right, and worth enlarging)
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sketches for pictures

John Latta usefully directs me to Patrick Swift's fine example:

"Swift only held two solo exhibitions during his career, the first being in Dublin in 1952. After this first, highly acclaimed, solo exhibition Swift showed no desire in exhibiting again until 1974, when he was persuaded to hold an exhibition in Lisbon (the venue being the deciding factor for Swift). David Wright has suggested that perhaps some trauma was suffered at his first showing, and it has been noted that much of Swift's early work has an underlying tone of disquiet. We know he distrusted publicity and celebrity, which he disliked and considered a distraction, and the success of his first exhibition would certainly have attracted unwanted attention. Whatever the reasons, Swift’s art seems to have been a very personal and private matter carried out behind closed doors- very few were allowed into his studio in the Algarve. In fact, most of Swift’s output during his life was seen -if at all- by a very small number of people that he was intimate with. [Brian] Fallon says: ‘[T]his is the typical Irish artist-intellectual of the post-war years, reared on Joyce and Baudelaire, introspective, cerebral, at once cynical and idealistic, at odds with much or most of what the society around him believed in or affected to believe in.'"

(Image credit: Patrick Swift, The Springs, Ashwell, 1960)
"James Boswell, himself a lawyer, once asked his great mentor about the propriety of a lawyer’s 'supporting a cause which you know to be bad.' Dr. Johnson replied: 'Sir, you do not know it to be good or bad till the Judge determines it. . . . An argument which does not convince yourself, may convince the Judge to whom you urge it: and if it does convince him, why, then, Sir, you are wrong, and he is right.'"
Saturday, February 20, 2010

"I think I have paid attention to the 'extraordinary.' But in general I think it’s more interesting to recognise the interrelation of what is ordinary and what is extraordinary, rather than seeing them as two separate entities, or ways."

Brad Phillips, True Story, 2009
Friday, February 19, 2010

New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles CA, 2010

Not really an art photograph; more of an attempt to make a straight-up, documentary picture of a place discovered totally by accident on the way to art photography, where L. and I later saw a terrific double bill of Cat Ballou (Jane Fonda! Nat King Cole! Lee Marvin chewing the scenery!) and Blazing Saddles. A wonderful small family-run theatre programming a mix of classics (Bresson!) exploitation-sleaze, spaghetti westerns, etc. etc. etc. Very much in the spirit of the old Vancouver East Cinema, c.1986 or so.

Apparently we're not the New Beverly's only fans.

(Also nb. film-nerd bus bench ad)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"PS: We never hear about that cat of yours. . ."
Sunday, February 14, 2010

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Rodney Graham, Good Hand/Bad Hand, 2010

Something's Happening Here!
Saturday, February 13, 2010

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Ken Lum, Monument for East Vancouver, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010

Coca-Cola and the Royal Bank of Canada say, "It's a free Olympic party!" DANCE!!!!!

"The Olympics are yet another painful example of a public-private partnership gone awry. Taxpayers have been surreptitiously soaked by private developers who've created a real-deal budget-buster for the city. Were it not for an emergency infusion of taxpayer money to cover cost overruns, the Olympic Village would be half built. The closer we get to the Olympics, the more people agree [...] that 'The Olympics are a corporate franchise that you buy with public money.'"
Thursday, February 11, 2010


"I have read a lot of prospectuses over the years, but I cannot recall any as baffling as this 240-page document. The purchasers of the securities may be just as well off for not having read it. . . ."

Up Grouse with D. on a rare dry day, warm February sunlight through the trees. The silent city emerging below.

Today Show setting up in the lodge. Crossing a hastily-erected sound stage halfway between the coffee bar and the gondola. Lost tourons wandering outside, gawping at the visible lack of snow, Olympic athletes, Mukmuk, and massive cheering crowds. Magic curtain pulled right back: no "electricity," just an unhappy technician on a ladder, trying to wrestle a spotlight into position.

-Hey CJB. You might want to lose a layer.


Suddenly aware of walking in the middle of a little self-generated fogbank.

"Dave Vocadlo, Mike Buda and Dave Dexter on a cold November morning in the Chief parking lot psyching up for an aid ascent of Cannabis Wall. Dave is eating cold McDonalds hot cakes with a piton. Mike is thinking about sticking some duct tape to his pink lawn flamingo to bring it up the climb with him. Dave is reading the guidebook."

(via dru)
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

“Do not have Pepsi or Dairy Queen sponsor your event. Coke and McDonald’s are the Olympic sponsors. If you are planning a kids’ event and approaching sponsors, approach McDonald’s and not another well-known fast-food outlet.

If you have a speaker/guest who happens to work for Telus, ensure he/she is not wearing their Telus jacket as Bell is the official sponsor.

If you have rented sound equipment and it is not Panasonic or you can’t get Panasonic, cover the brand name with tape or a cloth.

If you are approaching businesses in your area for support and there is a Rona and Home Depot, go to Rona. If there’s only a Home Depot don’t approach them as Rona is the official sponsor."

Friday, February 05, 2010

Beverly west from Vernon, 9am Sunday morning. A little light in the sky. Potholes, taquerias, deserted 50s-style gas station behind high chainlink fence. Palm-tree residue from a succession of storms littering the bumpy sidewalks and clogging the gutters. Ridiculous desert plants crammed into a rockery at the corner of Wilton and Beverly, like aliens dropped from space.
Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sleeper, 2010

The last of the current round of Los Angeles photographs. I like the light - even the light in this picture, all grainy and grey, much closer to Vancouver light than LA's typically endless proliferation of detail and hard edges - and only wish I'd had another week to shoot.

Antique Dealer's Window, Los Angeles CA, 2010

Chevron, 2010

"You took what you could from Rubens and made Delacroix of it. In the same way, I think of you and what I make is my own."
Tuesday, February 02, 2010

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): TV Kitties, by Lauren Fryer

(sighted last night proudly displayed on a friend's mantleshelf)

Romance Fail

LJH: Oh, this mountain pass is so romantic, all lit up with moonlight!

CJB: Yeah (pause) and, it's where the Donner party ate each other.
Monday, February 01, 2010

"A community of seriously hip observers is a scary and depressing thing."

(Breaking news: DF chimes in on Franny Glass)

"Century 21," San Jose CA, 2010

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