Juan Castelao and the VPO
Saturday, February 18, 2006
There is plenty of culture in Vancouver but there is nothing worse than conflicting schedules of good stuff. Tonight will be the performance of the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra's Scandinavian concert, 8pm at Shaughnessy United Church, 1550 West 33. My problem is that I have two tickets to Ballet BC tonight. But my friend, Pamplona born Juan Castelao, the orchestra's musical director always has a fine dress rehearsal on the same day. That's where I'm headed in a few minutes this morning. Juan Castelao corrects my iffy Spanish and we exchange our favourite Spanish and Latin American authors. Best of all we both share a passion for Nando's Chicken on West 41st. Here you can see a picture I took of Juan on Christmas Eve.VPO
Ballet BC and Acacia Schachte
Friday, February 17, 2006
Fresh from learning her dance at Arts Umbrella and a new dancer for Ballet British Columbia I photographed Acacia Schachte in Sept 1999 with dancer Terri Gardener. Last week I photographed Acacia again to mark her final performances for Ballet BC this week. My wife Rosemary rarely likes anything so I have been amazed on how she enjoys Acacia's dancing. Acacia has a style all her own and I can only compare her movements to some that I have seen by Evelyn Hart. Acacia is off to dance in the world - New York, Europe? But Rebecca (who assisted me last Friday to help relax Acacia in front of my camera) and I will be there this Saturday night for her last dance.
Libertador General San Martín
Thursday, February 16, 2006
General Don José de San Martin is Argentina's maximum hero. In 1950, the 100th anniversary of his death, that other general, General Juan Perón decreed that all oficial documents that year would have on every page:
1950, Año del Libertador General San Martin. Furthermore all children in school had to write that on every page of all their notebooks. So I was most amazed when in our trip to Buenos Aires in December 2005, my granddaughter Rebecca felt an affinity and a curiosity for the man. We had to return twice to the site of his tomb inside the Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza de Mayo. She was awed by the 6ft tall Granaderos who stood guard. Rebecca was almost as curious to see the balcony on the Casa Rosada (very near the cathedral) where Evita had made her speeches to the shirtless masses! At the Jardin Botánico Rebecca posed by the bust of the general surrounded by agapanthus which grows like a weed in Buenos Aires parks.Boulogne-sur-Meragapanthus
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Through the years I have had several opportunities to photograph Wayne Gretzky. In one of them I went to Edmonton to photograph the then Canucks coach, Bill LaForge whose team was plastered by Gretzky's Oilers the evening that I was there. I sat inside the TV cameraman's booth with CBC cameraman Mike Varga. On the other side sat Gretzky. But this picture is my favourite as I took it on Gretzky's 21st birthday. He was in Vancouver to sign a one million dollar contract (the highest in NHL Hockey at the time). He was also a guest of the Paul Anka show in CBC's Studio 40. I remember that Anka sang him happy birthday.
Hugh Pickett's Letter
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Hugh Pickett - Impresario 1914-2006
This photograph ran in Vancouver Magazine in October 1987. When I asked Hugh to tell me what he would save if his house were to catch on fire he unequivocally pointed out this bust of Marlene.
The Coyoacan Church
Monday, February 13, 2006
It's Monday but I am still thinking of churches and church doors. This one is in the main square of the lovely and very old Coyoacan neighbourhood in Mexico City. I got married to Rosemary here 39 years ago, a few meters from this door. Since both of us were not Mexican, on two previous occasions the judge had refused to marry us, saying we needed permission from the Mexican government. For once the judges were honest and I was not able to bribe them (even though I knew they were wrong about the rules). The third time around I found a judge who accepted a bottle of Castillo rum as payment for the ceremony. We were married but none of our friends or my mother showed up. Both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived in this "colonia". Leon Trotsky was pick-axed nearby. I took this photograph in 1962 with a Pentacon F and a Steinheil 135mm f4.5 Culminar lens. Looking at the photograph I remember that it was a few days after Palm Sunday. Frida KahloSteinheil
Rebecca in Guanajuato 2005
Sunday, February 12, 2006
When we went to Guanajuato in August, 2005 we stayed at the Hotel Castillo de Santa Cecilia. This hotel was built in the 40s over an existing fortification and it was made to resemble the castle of Segovia, Spain. Rebecca loved running around the long dark corridors but there were quite a few spots with plenty of light, too, like here. Rebecca poses by the door of La Iglesia de La Valenciana. Sometime in the late 18th century, the nearby Valenciana mine produced a big chunk of the world's silver and gold. The money helped build this church in the Churrigueresque style. We had to return several times because Rebecca fell in love with a large 19th century painting that showed Mary Magdalene about to be stoned by angry men but with Jesus intervening. Rebecca was both impressed by the size of the stones on the ground of the painting as well as the fact that Mary Magadalene is portrayed as a beautiful blonde.
La iglesia de la compañía
I took this photograph in 1964. I entered it and two other photographs in the annual Mexico City College student art show. It is the only time I have ever entered photographs but my first prize and considering that the judge was Rufino Tamayo perhaps egged me on to my present profession. I took this photograph in Guanajuato, Mexico. This is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. In August 2005 I returned with my wife Rosemary and granddaughter Rebecca. It was only then that I noted that my photograph was taken in an example of daring archtectural site-sharing. Over this building is the church of the Jesuits. It was the church of the Company of Jesus until the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico.