Sunday, January 14, 2007

50 ways to . . .Part 2

When it comes to dealing with cold or windy weather, I’m a big wuss. Monday I’d planned to go in to Vancouver for what sounded like a great reading at the Robson Square series. And no doubt it was: Caroline Adderson and Jeff Thran. But no, the winds blew up, and I chickened out. So my list of seven Canadian arts-based events for this week probably sounds pretty lame. To be fair, I’ve classed a few of them as half-events. Here goes.

#8.0 (January 8) Even though I didn’t go to the reading, I found two television shows that displayed some quirky Canadian content. The first, another guilty pleasure, was a celebration of 40 years of Star Trek. Not only did this feature Canadian-born actor Bill (Can you say cheese?) Shatner, it was produced by Space TV. This Toronto-based group used a Star Trek convention (that took place in TO) as the focus of the program. Half-marks as an event worthy of 50 for 50, still.

#8.5 (Jan 8) I’d heard this promo’ed on CBC radio, and was glad I was able to find the Omni channel on my TV. Canadian journalist, Jonathan Roth, had himself a coup: an interview with Robert Mugabe the first in over two years by a western reporter. While Roth didn’t push Mugabe (in fact, the interview could be called ‘soft’), the piece offered insights about Mugabe I’d never known (his background as a Jesuit, for one). Mugabe avoided discussing the superinflation that's gone on his country (Roth cited 1100% a month!), and he sure as heck didn’t want to talk about his infamous “Operation Clean Filth” project, offering way smaller numbers of displaced persons than other sources have. Half-marks, I suppose as a 50 For 50 event, even though it’s great to see the art of journalism in action.

#9.0 (Jan 9) Again, the weather (This time, a dump of nasty snow which saw my partner having to take a crazily circuitous route home – over two hours for what is usually a twenty-five minute drive.) drove us to the idiot box. Only this time, television was anything but idiotic. The first half of Rick Mercer’s show featured a visit with Stephane Dion. His interview provided the most in-depth coverage I’ve seen since Dion was elected as leader of the Liberal Party.

#9.5 (Jan 9) After all the ads I’ve seen – on bus shelters, in newspapers, you name it – I had to see the first episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie. The opening was so bad, I nearly shut it off. ‘Talking head’ shots with each actor’s name. Really, the last time I saw that kind of opening set-up was probably on The Beachcombers. I made it through the whole show, and while I can’t promise I’ll stop by again, at least I know what the fuss (or lack thereof) is about.

#10 (Jan 10) More than ever, I regret not forcing myself to go into the city for the reading on Monday. I read Jeff Thran’s book, Every Inadequate Name. This guy writes great poems. Treat yourself, and buy it. Or at least get your library to order it, so you can check it out.

#11 (Jan 11) There’s still way too much snow on the ground for this to be Lotus Land. But since I had to go to the dentist, I bundled up and trekked uptown. Then, since I was there anyway, I stopped in at my nearest branch of the Surrey Public Library. The only art I saw there (besides their permanent piece, a sculpture by Arnold Mikelson) was some very colourful work by up-and-coming Canadian artists. Their work was bright and fresh enough that I had to take a photo.

#12 (Jan 12) Really, with this weather making me want to stay indoors, I thought this might be the day I’d have to take a break from this quest. But no, a Canadian artist found me! We’d rented a DVD, a Russian film called Dom durakov (House of Fools). Well, who plays a feature role? BC’s own Bryan Adams! It seems there’s just no getting away from Canadian art and artists.

#13 (Jan 13) Even though this is supposed to be Hockey Day in Canada, I’m not willing to stretch this list to include Don Cherry as Canadian art, though I suppose when it comes to cultural icons, he’s right up there with Tim Horton. To celebrate the day, I'll post a poem, which is (in a very small way) about hockey:

I just wanna marry
the Zamboni driver
he looks all reliable
a steady kind of guy

it really turns me on
the way he makes those zooming sweeps
perfect down the whole length of the ice
how he speeds it up so fast
pushing when he swings so tight
hard into the turn inside the corner

love his handsome face
riding high on that machine
wonder will I love him still
the game

#14 (Jan 14) Here I thought I was being so good, returning a book before it was due. Sheesh, but when I got there I learned that I had a video out -- and waaaay overdue! The White Rock Library doesn't yet send out 'almost-due' reminders (they're supposedly catching up soon on this), and they don't have a 'no-late-fees' policy. So here I sit with big fat fine, not feeling like going back down there. Whatever, it was fun to see that they have a new art show up on their walls, some lovely work by Akiko Michael. This photo doesn't do justice to the work's elegant simplicity. Too many reflections off the glass. But seeing the work made me glad I'd stopped in, despite the not-so-good seven-dollar news.

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