Thursday, March 27, 2008

World Theatre Day

Hats off to Mansel Robinson, the playwright who's serving as the wonderful writer in residence at our local library. He assembled a terrific event to celebrate World Theatre Day. After reading greetings from Robert LePage, we heard performances from Mansel, Pam Bustin, and Mark Leiren-Young.

That's Pam reading from her one-woman show about Georgia O'Keeffe.

Before this event, I'd never even heard of World Theatre Day. Truly, something to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No more washing dishes in the tub


It feels like supreme luxury to have water in a sink in the kitchen. One of the joys of getting closer to the end of a kitchen renovation.

Although I've not enjoyed kneeling beside the bathtub to wash the dishes, I realize I'm lucky to have had a choice -- when one sink wasn't available, to have been able to go to another. The bathtub method wasn't fun, but it sure sounds a lot easier than doing the washing-up in the rocks down by the river. It's easy to forget that some people don't have even the luxury of a river with rocks -- or for that matter, the luxury of water at all.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hornby Island, and it's spring

What a great place to have spent the Vernal Equinox. Everything is alive with green. Grape hyacinth, bluebells, and even wild daffodils are scattered throughout the forest in the most surprising spots.

Looking out onto the field, I'm lucky enough to get a click at the perfect baby lamb, newly arrived to greet the season.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A weird question about movies

Yesterday, after a day of more kitchen reno-ing, we watched an odd little Renee Zellweger film, A Price Above Rubies. Supposedly set in NY (I suspect it was actually shot in Montreal or Toronto, as it's credited as a Canadian production), I couldn't help notice the skyline.

Whenever I see the NY skyline, I can't help scan for those ridiculously tall twin towers. When they aren't there (as in this film), I wonder about them. Paranoid as I guess I must be, I sometimes consider whether there's been editing done to ensure they don't appear, reminding us of what used to stand there.

I think I'd like to start collecting films with skyline shots, to see what they show. Strange quest of the week, no doubt, but still, I'd like to know. Besides, it sounds like a great excuse to give Manhattan another chance.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

O say can you whaaat?!

So the budget for security for Vancouver's Olympic extravaganza in 2010 has finally come out. Just about a billion -- at least so far.

And guess who they're hiring as the big guns. Army from the U.S. of A.

Does Gordon Campbell know something about the border that we haven't heard about yet?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wow, what a birthday!

If my gramma were still alive, she'd be ancient. Either 108 or 109. We're pretty sure she lied about her age -- that she said she'd been born in 1900 because 1899 sounded too old.

The youngest of 13 kids, she was raised on a farm, but went on to make a life for herself in the city. She got herself through business school and became (if I have my story right) assistant to the city's top cop.

She raised four kids pretty much on her own, no easy feat considering that this was during the Depression. She made wonderful molasses cookies, smoked cigarettes (which likely led to her early death), and loved playing cards. In fact, she's the one who taught me to play Canasta. That handful of 13 cards was quite the feat when I was five!

If you need an excuse to celebrate today, raise a glass in memory of one very cool woman, Mayme!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bill C-10 and its dirty little secret

Here's a copy of a letter I just sent off to Senator W. David Angus, Chair of the Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce.
- -
March 3, 2008
Senator W. David Angus, Chair, Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Angus,

I am writing regarding Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, and specifically section 119 (3) (b) of that Act, which would, in essence, impose a new form of censorship on Canadian creators of film and/or video productions.

Last week saw Canadians celebrating Freedom to Read Week. That fact seems more than a bit ironic in light of the quick action that’s been taken with the above amendment, which clearly threatens the artistic integrity of film and video directors.

The Senate is always portrayed as the place for sober second thought. I can only trust that this will indeed be the case in this instance, and that the Senate will defeat this bill and return it to the House of Commons.

Surely, the Members of the Senate recognize that freedom of expression is essential to the creation of meaningful art, and that the creation of meaningful art is essential to a vibrant culture.


Heidi Greco
Writer and Editor
- -
To give you some background, I'm going to quote extensively from a letter sent out by the Executive Director of The Writers' Union of Canada.

She explains the Bill to members of TWUC like this:
"You may have heard about Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, that was made public last week. This is an Income Tax Act with a twist. One small section of the 50-page Act, section 119 (3) (b), proposes changes to the Income Tax Act that are a peculiar new form of censorship."

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that … (b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.” [Bill C-10 section 119 (3) (b)]

"This bill received, on October 29, 2007, first, second and third reading in the House of Commons without debate. It is currently in the second reading stage in the Senate.

"The Writers’ Union of Canada is deeply concerned with conformity to public policy becoming a test for any kind of a tax benefit for artistic productions. The application of this principle to movies is unacceptable and establishes a precedent for similar future repression of book and magazine publishers."

- -
With luck, this link to a story in the Globe may even still work. Fingers crossed; they are often quick to charge.

I hope you will take a minute to write a note of your own to Senator Angus -- and, if you can, cc it to the rest of the Committee. I am enclosing Senator Angus' email address [], as well as addresses for the other Members of the Committee [;;;;;;;;;]. For the record, those Members are: Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce.

Angus, W. David, Chair - C - (Alma - Quebec)
Goldstein, Yoine, Deputy Chair - Lib. - (Rigaud - Quebec)
Biron, Michel - Lib. - (Mille Isles - Quebec)
Eyton, John Trevor - C - (Ontario)
Harb, Mac - Lib. - (Ontario)
Jaffer, Mobina S.B. - Lib. - (British Columbia)
Massicotte, Paul J. - Lib. - (De Lanaudière - Quebec)
Moore, Wilfred P. - Lib. - (Stanhope St. / South Shore - Nova Scotia)
Oliver, Donald H. - C - (South Shore - Nova Scotia)
Ringuette, Pierrette - Lib. - (New Brunswick)
Tkachuk, David - C - (Saskatchewan)