Bravo Bard On The Beach! Bravo Christopher Gaze!Monday, September 09, 2013
It seems to me that struggling artists are loved in Vancouver but as soon as they hit success they are methodically forgotten or considered too aggressive.
It seems to me that somehow we must be coy about achieving success. Perhaps our underlying ambition might escape notice.
Vancouver institutions, it seems to me experience the same slide in popularity. When was the last time you might have visited the Vancouver Umbrella Shop, or the Flag Shop? One of the most beautiful art galleries in our neck of the woods is the one in Surrey, the Surrey Art Gallery. Have any readers of this blog ever been there?
A writer, novelist, musician, composer, etc whose name I will not place here publicly while being on the board of the Canada Council proclaimed on CBC Radio that he/she had not been at the Vancouver Art Gallery since Luke Rombout was in charge when the gallery was on West Georgia.
We no longer, it seems to me, use that hackneyed term “world class”.
While on Skype with an Argentine intellectual friend of mine in Buenos Aires he complained the high cost of books there. And they do not have our Vancouver “world class” library there. He could not believe that I had found Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s Quinteto de Buenos Aires in Spanish in my local library. While Vázquez Montalbán wrote in Spanish even though he lived in Barcelona, Quinteto de Buenos Aires is one of the best novels ever written about the Argentine psyche.
Shortly before I left Mexico for Vancouver in 1975, my urbane friend Raúl Guerrero Montemayor warned me, and I translate from Spanish, “The fact that they are white in Vancouver, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are civilized.” He was wrong then and even more now.
Next Sunday I am attending an intimate concert featuring the Microcosmos String Quartet. The bill is unique as they will be playing: Henry Purcell - Chacony in G Minor (arranged by Benjamin Britten), Béla Bartók - String Quartet No. 4 and Benjamin Britten - String Quartet No. 2. Is Vancouver a cultural backwater? I don’t think so.
It seems to me that one of our most treasured and unique (besides Stratford, Ontario, who else?) cultural and entertaining (yes! that too!) institutions is our perennial Bard on the Beach. Some of us might be aware that most of the summer-long productions tend to sell out. But are the same people (those who know) attending these plays every year? I don’t think so as I have noticed that when randomly these theatre goers are asked who is there for the first time, I have seen plenty of hands. This is encouraging.
But, it seems to me, that we have to take stuff a little less for granted and give credit where it’s due.
Bravo, Bard on the Beach and bravo to its Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze!