Scrumptious Or Elegant?
Saturday, June 21, 2014
|Hosta 'Hirao Majesty' |
Quite a few years ago two writers (Les
Wiseman and John Lekich) and I were sitting at a table at the Austin Hotel
(now a Comfort Inn or something like that) strip bar. We were discussing who our
all-time favourite beautiful movie stars were. We were oblivious to the action
on the stage but we still noticed that the place was getting full and the extra
chair at our table was whisked away. At on point Mr. Wiseman said, “Most of the
actresses on your list are all dead.” We had not noticed but indeed that was
|Hosta 'Hirao Majesty' |
The place was now full and we noticed two
women on stage with kitchen knives and all matter of vegetables in their hands, particularly
cucumbers and zucchini. Whatever it was that they were doing with the knives
and vegetables was short-lived because policeman arrived and rapidly took the
two women away. We found out that the pair were notorious. They were called the
I have no recollection if we went back to
our lists or if we left. But I do remember that our selection was divided
between women who were well shaped and the more sophisticated ones like Grace
Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and in my case, my fave Eva Marie Saint.
|Rosa 'Duchess of Rohan' & Hosta 'Hirao Majesty' |
When I look at the plants in my garden I
think I make the same distinction. I separate my gorgeous, multi petalled,
quartered old roses (over the top, perhaps?) with stately elegant plants like
some of my hostas and in particular their yet-to-open flowers on the stalks that
we hosta growers call scapes.
|Rosa 'Duchess of Rohan' |
The Men/Boys Of The Arts Umbrella Dance Company
Friday, June 20, 2014
I am a Buenos Aires
born Latin and although I have been in Vancouver
since 1975 I still sense inside all those terrible macho attitudes of the 20th
century Latin man.
Slowly but surely Vancouver style live-and-let-live with a
slight dosage of political correctness has made me a tad gentler in those male
|Paxton Ricketts - 2010|
For many years I lived in Mexico City. Few men carried umbrellas and
preferred to be drenched by the city’s summer downpours. You see carrying such
a useful contraption made one’s masculinity doubtful. In the late 60s when I
had long hair and I had a purse many made jokes.
Such was this idea of extreme masculinity
that the ranchera women (who sang ranchero songs) manifested extreme masculinity.
Lola Beltrán, the most famous of
them had a deep voice. No Mexican male would have ever questioned her sexuality
and indeed she would have been allowed to use an umbrella.
|Alex Andison - 2010|
When I first arrived
the whole macho thing sort of dissipated. I no longer had to drive aggressively.
This was a blessing. In Mexico
unless you took your chances you would have never entered a freeway. Driving on the street
we machos upon seeing a pedestrian, we would honk our horn and then accelerate.
In Vancouver I
even stop my car before a pedestrian hits the pavement.
In the early 90s I
fell in love with ballet when I was given the chance to spend a couple of days
taking pictures of Evelyn Hart and witnessing long interviews by the then Straight
dance critic Shannon Rupp.
|Christoph Von Riedemann - 2010|
I noticed when I went
to performances of Ballet BC a cadre of handsome older men wearing
black clothing and in some cases black leather pants. Who were they? Why where
they there? I soon found out that they were there to see the boys.
That seemed alien and
extremely stupid to me. Why would they want to look at ineffectual young men
whose only job was to lift gorgeous and graceful women?
It took one male Ballet BC
dancer to change my mind and it was all for the better. He was Miroslav Zydowicz. When
I watched him dance I noticed that I stopped noticing the women he was dancing
with. In a short span of time I began to appreciate male dancers. With Zydowicz
I understood the role of passion in dance.
In my memory I also
remember seeing Crystal Pite dancing when she was in Ballet BC
with Jay Gower (her present partner and father of their child). Gower (they danced Pite's Moving day) was a
gentle and kind man but danced with such elegance and so well with Pite that my
reasons for not watching men dance evaporated. Contact in my studio
with Ballet BC’s Donald Sales put the final blow in my
race to appreciate the men in dance. Sales, in particular, is also a
choreographer with a dazzling and elegant style rife with humour.
It was my contact with
Art Gordon, Artistic Director of the Arts Umbrella Dance Program that finally
set me straight. Until I met Gordon I felt a tad guilty about watching men and
boys dance. Gordon has a most un-politically correct and direct stance on
dance. She told me something like this, “You watch beautiful boys, men, girls
and women who are graceful and athletic show off their bodies in motion. There
is nothing wrong in liking that.”
When I watch dance now,
I watch the whole spectrum. But I have to admit that of late it has been the
boys. This was in particular the situation on June 15 2014 when I attended the
last day of the three-day performance of the Arts Umbrella Dance Recital at the
Vancouver Playhouse. I was principally there to watch my granddaughter Lauren
Stewart, 11, dance. I sat with my other granddaughter Rebecca, 16 on the front
row centre, close enough to hear the dancers breathe.
I was absolutely charmed
by all the men (at age 16 and 17 they are really men) of the Senior Dance
Company. One in particular was Paxton Ricketts. I knew him as a little boy and
later as a helper in my Lauren’s class. She was carrying a torch for him and we
kidded her for a long time. Ricketts (a very long feather in Arty Gordon’s cap)
has been hired by Nederlands Dans Theatre II. The Dutch dance companies are
pretty well the best in the world.
But all the other
men/boys were fantastic, too. One, Christoph Von Riedemann, with wonderful red
hair will be soon seen and appreciated as an apprentice in Ballet BC.
The program I saw that
Sunday the 15 was excellent but I particularly liked all the performances of
the Senior Dance Company, Andante Sostenuto by choreographer Francisco
Martinez, Mushrooms by Choreographer Artemis Gordon, Enchanted (Revealed) by
the always fantastic Roberto Campanella, Rose Garden (Klavietta) by the extremely
elegant Simone Orlando and finally James Kudelka’s (with music by our very own Rodney Sharman) Alice’s Polka.
I cannot stress how my
love of dance at this late age (I am 71) has given me such pleasure. I owe lots
to Ballet BC
and Arty Gordon’s Arts Umbrella.
Good luck to all those
men/boys and I cannot wait for the next batch. But I am not ready to wear black leather pants at dance performances quite yet!
The day of the performance we were not allowed to take any photographs. I decided that curtain call photos were fine so I took these. I used 1/15 of a second shutter speed to convey the motion and excitement of the evening.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
I have blog friends, blog viewers that I
don’t know and some that I know are blog viewers but don’t tell me. I have
facebook friends, facebook friends that I don’t know and some that I know are
face book viewers (of my blog links) but don’t tell me.
Some like my “girlie” pictures and a
violinist friend dislikes my ventures into rock ‘n’ roll but really appreciates
when I write about personal and family matters. There are quite a few of those
girlie picture admirers who must damn the rose season. They know that I am
seduced by their (the roses) fragrance and their beauty. They mostly ignore
these pictures which are almost entirely direct scans.
I feel that today I can please all except
the violinist but then maybe not.
Rosa ‘Westerland’ was the first orange
coloured flower that my wife accepted in the garden. Her ideals are white and
blue (dislikes my pink roses and the yellow ones). Rosa ‘Westerland’ has an odd
(but attractive fragrance) that I would define as synthetic apricot jam. Rosemary
loves Westerland and so did the magazine Canadian Gardening a few years ago. I
believe that the cover might have marked the first ever photograph on a
Canadian magazine that was not a photograph. I would call it a scanograph and I
am a scanographer.
With that all out of the way you could now
enjoy the picture of Yuliya the Dominatrix (taken in my Malibu) and of the Rosa ‘Westerland’. The
latter was scanned today.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
|Rosa 'Fantin Latour' |
When folks who visit our garden invariable
spot this pink rose with intense perfume that blooms (once) all of June they
ask me who she is. My answer is the usual one of, “It’s a mystery rose, perhaps
a centifolia, of unknown origin from the 19th century called Fantin-Latour.
Fantin Latour was a French painter." And that has been that since I first
acquired the rose back in 2008.
Only lately did I finally become curious enough
to find out about Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) who
knew and was friendly with the impressionists but still painted in a
conservative fashion. He was known for his portraits of famous French people
and of flower paintings and lithographs.
|Self-portrait - 1859|
Marcel Proust mentions Fantin-Latour's work
in In Search of Lost Time:
Many young women's hands would be incapable
of doing what I see there,' said the Prince, pointing to Mme de Villeparisis's
unfinished watercolours. And he has asked her whether she had seen the flower
painting by Fantin-Latour which had recently been exhibited. (The Guermantes Way)
Marcel Proust was not the only French
author to admire Fantin-Latour. In 1880 Emile Zola was quoted:
The canvases of M. Fantin-Latour do not
assault your eyes, do not leap at you from the walls. They must be looked at
for a length of time in order to penetrate them, and their conscientiousness,
their simple truth—you take these in entirely, and then you return.
|Édouard Manet, 1867|
Fantin-Latour was a handsome man who
apparently led a mostly happy life. He was never troubled by the fact that his
friends, the impressionists became more famous.
I have a particular admiration for the man
because in the many times I have tried to photograph still lifes I have failed.
I will stick to portraiture in what remains of my life.
|An Atelier in the Batignolles, by
Fantin-Latour, Claude Monet, Emile Zola, August Renoir and others,
gathered around Edgar Manet, seated at his easel—the central figure in
what was to become the Impressionist movement. 1870|
|Henri Fantin-Latour, Charlotte Dubourg, 1882|
|Vase of roses - 1875|
|Henri Fanin-Latour, Roses in a Vase, 1872|
|Still Life with Roses and Torso, 1874|
| Naiade - lithograph|
|Rosa 'Fantin Latour' - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward|
|Caitlin Legault - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward|
Madonna At The Garage Door
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Nikon FM-2 Fuji Superia 800 F-4 1/60 50mm lens.
Fuji X-E1 1/30 f-4/5.6