The Window in the Park
Sunday, August 19, 2018
The car was in the parking lot of Queen Elizabeth Park. It
was a silver Chevrolet Malibu circa 2007. It was raining. I had walked to the
park from 41st and Cambie. I was looking for shelter in the park’s
trees. I had not brought my umbrella.
As I was walking by I heard some tapping on the window. I
got close and saw this apparition of a woman flattening herself against the
window. I had my camera bag so I pulled my Mamiya and shot a Polaroid. This is
the result. The woman lowered her window and told me her name was Liz. I
thanked her for the picture. The rain stopped and I walked back to 41st
to take a bus home.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
My love has always been the photographic portrait.
I like to
look into my subject’s eyes. I am aware that what I see or think I see in my subject
is that which my subject thinks or wishes me to see.
My technique for shooting portraits is to never tell my
subject to relax. I never play background music and I tend to use uncomfortable
benches. If anything this makes the person facing my camera have a straight
back with no slouch.
Sometimes the best portrait is the first one or in many
cases the last one.
I will never tire of shooting portraits.
The profile portrait can be striking but since I cannot look
into my subject’s eyes the result, while elegant can be detached.
In the profile my subject can look straight ahead, look up,
look down, close their eyes. They can smile or be serious.
I find this particular profile of Astrid to be just right.
|Unknown artist from Florentine School 1460-1470|
Mr. Price & my Grandmother the Postcard Collector
Friday, August 17, 2018
|My grandmother Dolores Reyes de Irureta Goyena with my mother Filomena, uncle Antonio and aunt Dolores Nov 1919|
Many weeks ago I received a request through my web page
to contact a gentleman called Mike Price. I noted that his place of origin had
the initials MI so I assumed he
was from Missouri (he is from Michigan). I do not know anybody from that State and his request for
info on my grandparents simply made me ignore that first request. My thought
was “Anything he might want to know I will not know as when I was young enough
to ask these questions of my mother and grandparents, I was much too stupid to
ask. And when I finally became curious I was an old man and all of the persons
who could answer my questions were dead.
But Mr. Price persisted and he called me up. Imagine the
surprise to find out that as soon as my grandmother married around 1910 she
embarked on a postcard mailing blitz and had friends all over the world. I
thought I knew my Abue (as I called her) well but this I never suspected and I
even wonder if my mother knew.
Then Mr. Price sent a postcard with my grandmother’s
lovely handwriting and his piece de resistance was my grandmother’s passport
photograph taken in 1919 when she, my mother Filomena, my uncle Antonio and
aunt Dolores left Manila for the Bronx via a Japanese steamer ( I only rememer the Maru part of the ship's name) that brought them
to Vancouver, BC and from where they took a train to Montreal or Toronto and
from there to NY City. My Abue often spoke of this place that had mountains and trees.When I am in downtown Vancouver I sometimes go into the old Canadian Pacific train station and sit in the cavernous hall and imagine the three (and Antonio in Abue's arms) walking across to their train platform.
Mr. Price, after seeing the photographs on my website told
me that he had the suspicion I had inherited the talent from my grandmother who
sang coloratura soprano and painted some lovely pastel flowers (with a Oriental
touch to them) that I treasure. I told Mr. Price that Abue saved me from many
spankings (chinelazos using a Filipino slipper called a chinela) by telling my
mother that like her I was an artist and that she should allow for it.
In fact from kindergarten onwards could draw and paint
very well. When we moved to Mexico City in
1954 I was told I was going to have painting classes. My teacher was an English
man called Robin Bond. In WWII he had used his expertise in London as an expert
on camouflage. In Mexico he earned good money interpreting for the b+w TV
network Televisa the colours for sets
that would best be seen on a b+w TV screen.
I took lessons until I was almost 14 and suddenly one day
I told my mother I could not paint anymore. I told her I was no longer going to
go to see Robin Bond. I remember well that at that age I was given a spanking.
My grandmother must not have been around.
Here to illustrate this blog is one of my framed paintings
from that period. I have two others, a wolf (that my rosemary says resembles a
burro) and an eagle. I am choosing the cat because Rosemary’s cat Casi-Casi and
I have been alone in this Kits duplex without her. She went with our two
daughters to visit relatives in Prince Edward Island and in Brockville,
Ontario. They return tonight. Both Casi-Casi and I will be very happy.
And thank you Mr. Price for proving that some pleasant situations
in this 21st century could have never happened in the past one.
Hello! I sent a
brief message through your photography website yesterday, but a now trying a
direct email to your listed address.
It's about your grandparents from the Philippines, mentioned in one of
First I wish to say
I looked through your on-line portfolio of portraits and found them absolutely marvellous.
I'm not a
photographer myself, but own a most extensive collection of photographs from
the Philippines, mainly from the years 1898 to 1946, altogether about 250,000.
I'm trying to
contact you because in my Philippine photo collection I have some pieces
relevant to your grandparents, I'll be writing something on that, and would
like to talk with you about them.
Please write, email
or call me anytime.
Thanks and best
Hello, many thanks
for accepting my call yesterday evening, I'll try again soon. Meanwhile, attached here is an example of the
many photo postcards sent overseas by your grandmother, front and back, so you
can see what generated my special interest in her. And that's also why I suspected you inherited
your love of photography (and art, as you said) from your grandmother, even if
I recognize the
location of this photo as along the facade of Binondo church in Manila.
evidently was unable to continue her overseas postcard exchanges when World War
I began in Europe in August 1914 for obvious reasons, her correspondents that I
know of were in Spain, France, Belgium, and the Ottoman Empire. She was obviously fluent in at least Spanish
and French (plus English of course, and Tagalog as you noted).
Am greatly appreciative of your patience and narrative
skills in telling me bits and pieces about your grandmother, and your extended
family and experiences and connections.
Attached here is a passport photo of your newly widowed
grandmother with her three young children, dated November 1919. In this photo, I can see a strong resemblance
of her to you, judging from a few photos of you I've encountered among your
Maraming salamat ulit, Mike
Apparently she only began corresponding and collecting
postcards after her marriage to your grandfather Tirso Irureta Goyena, a
marriage probably around 1911, do you happen to know the exact date? He may have encouraged her. And/or the marriage may have given her the
leisure time or the disposable income to facilitate a latent interest. I have not found any postcards mailed by an
unmarried Dolores Reyes.
Best wishes, Mike
Michael G Price, Michigan Center, MI
Mr. Rampage, Mr. Pinhead & a Backseat Bombshell
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Randy Rampage did not always ride his motorcycle. There was a white Cadillac convertible, too.
The story below is a story that needs the personal experience, wit and
style of John Lekich. So I cede today's blog to him.
Guest Blog by John Lekich
Perhaps you think that punk rockers have no heart – that they are
simply serial-puking cynics with safety pins stuck in all the wrong
places. Thanks to a consummate gentleman known as Randy Rampage, I know
better. His generous role in my sputtering love life all came back to
me when Alex innocently asked: “Who was in Randy’s Cadillac with you
I should explain that, many years ago, I had a fierce
crush on a gorgeous blonde who has since attained an august reputation
in local journalism circles. (For reasons of discretion, she will
henceforth be referred to as Betty Bombshell.) My well-known adoration
earned me little more than pitying looks from my fellow freelancers and
the occasional medicinal glass of scotch from a sympathetic editor. All
this changed when I made the acquaintance of Mr. Rampage who encouraged
me to confront Betty with my feelings. When I explained that I was
clearly out of Betty’s league, Randy related his own story about a
seemingly unattainable blonde. “I worked up enough courage to ask her if
she liked red wine,” he said. The gleam in his eye told the rest of the
story, which he finished off with: “You just never know.”
thought nothing more about it until – thanks to Alex’s vast social
network - I found myself sharing a table at The Railway Club with
Rampage, his fellow musician Zippy Pinhead, and none other than Betty
herself. I recall stammering quite a bit. Mr. Rampage grasped the
situation and – toward the end of lunch - asked Betty and me if we’d
ever ridden in the backseat of a Cadillac. When we both responded
negatively, he said: “Well, you’re going to now.” I recall that Mr.
Pinhead also wanted to sit in the backseat, which had more space than my
living room couch. Nevertheless, Mr. Rampage continually repeated that
there was no room. When Zippy persisted, Randy barked: “You’re sitting
While I was unable to conquer my shyness, my
proximity to the lovely Betty made for a cherished memory. After all
these years, I continue to regard Mr. Rampage as alternative music’s
answer to Miss Lonely Hearts. And – when I finally took his advice to
become a little bolder with women - I discovered he was right. You just
Randy Rampage- Bassist
Zippy Pinhead - Musician
Randy Rampage - 55
A gentle soul of passion
A Gentle Soul of Passion
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Susanne Tabata called me late on Tuesday night, “My Randy
After that there was no way I was going to go back to sleep.
You see Tabata’s Randy (58) was known as Randy Rampage. There are
only in my estimation two passionate virtuosos of rock/punk music in Vancouver.
One is a guitarist, Art Bergmann and the other was (!) Randy Rampage on bass.
To see him perform with D.O.A or with his heavy metal Ground
Zero was to see what seemed to be a powerful and intimidating individual kicking
himself up into the air.
And of course that was never Tabatta’s Randy, or his friend’s
Randy or my own friend Randy.
He was all the opposite. He was a gentle man of grace in
spite of his burly stature (he worked as a longshoreman), a man of kindness
with a tender but almost bittersweet smile.
Around Randy I always felt safe. He was a mountain on shoes.
This gentle soul liked to use four letter words. But I could
see through that smokescreen of apparent toughness. You see, Randy was an
excellent cook and at many parties that I attended at Tabata’s home he was the
Rock n’roll will
never die, but everything exciting is over and done. Myself, I listen mostly to
classical stuff these days. I’m really into Bach and Vivaldi – dudes like that.
You just can’t beat that shit. Those old masters were fucking geniuses.
Randy Rampage 2016
While I photographed him many times the photograph you see
here is my favourite. I told him that I wanted to take his picture in the
spirit of Jean Harlow. He kind of looked at me so I said, “You are tough and macho and there is no way that you on a divan with silver satin will make you look any less
Benjamin Britten & David Lemon Smiles
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
|English Rose Rosa ' Benjamin Britten' August 10 2018|
Some years ago I photographed (many times) the urbane and
smiling English man, David Lemon who made lots of money taking the big chance of
ensuring fishing boats that roamed the Bering Sea. Lemon is a connoisseur of
the arts and particularly of music. In more recent times he became a
miniaturist artist painter.
My mother used to say (and I believed her) that no good
English composers followed Henry Purcell.
I decide to test Lemon’s smile by repeating my mother’s
words. Lemon frowned.
Since then I have become less of an idiot and I have come
to appreciate English music. In fact in the early 70s I listened to a lot of
Vaughan Williams and I had a fondness for his Sinfonia antartica (he gave it an Italian title). This particular
symphony complete with wind machines would help to cool us down these days.
Thanks to Marc Detrubé’s Microcosmos String Quartet
have been able to listen to Benjamin Britten’s three String Quartets. In fact I
may be on my way to perhaps approaching the urbanity of Mr. Lemon before I die.
David Lemon's Health Arts Society
takes music to the seniors and people in hospitals. The society thus employs musicians who always need to make more money!
Lemon is the founder of Health Arts Societies and the Executive Director of
Health Arts Society in BC and Health Arts Society of Ontario. The seven
societies, including Société pour les Arts en Milieux de Santé in Quebec,
provide first class professional music under the banner Concerts in Care to
elders in residential care across Canada.
insurance career began at Lloyd’s in 1964 and continued after his immigration
to Canada in 1971. In 1976 he co-founded Harlock Williams Lemon Ltd, a marine
insurance underwriter. It was sold in 1989 to the Co-operators Group. David
continued as President of the company until 1997. David owned The Magic Flute
CD store from 1992 to 2004. From 2004 to 2012 he was a board member of the
Roofing Contractors Indemnity Company, a captive insurer. During his business years
David was active as a board member of organizations including Vancouver Opera,
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver New Music,
Ballet BC and the Vancouver Bach Choir. He was the first chair of sponsorship
for Vancouver Opera and the Vancouver Art Gallery, a founder of the Opera Round
Table with President Colin Warner, and initiated and implemented the first
Vancouver Art Gallery Auction. David also produced a number of projects,
including the visits to Vancouver of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the New
European Strings. He initiated and sponsored several programs with the
Vancouver Bach Choir, including the first Canadian performance of Hector
Berlioz’s newly discovered Messe Solennelle. As chair of UBC’s Adaskin Society David
produced several private concerts for the benefit of the School of Music, and
assisted Herbert Auerbach to produce several concerts for the Bill Reid
Foundation at the University of Northern British Columbia.
David donated his
collections of prints and drawings to institutions including the National
Gallery of Canada. David commissioned, for the benefit of UBC, an oratorio, Job
from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. It opened the Chan Centre for the Performing
Arts in 1997. In 1996 David was granted the Edmund C. Bovey award and in 1997
he received an honorary degree from