Lauren Elizabeth Stewart's Take On Halloween
Saturday, October 31, 2015
|Lauren Elizabeth Stewart, 13, Halloween 2015 - Makeup Rebecca Anne Stewart, 18|
means to me is buying my costume and decorating the house with spooky art work
and putting up spider webs. I also like carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin
seeds. My neighbor Alina came and carved a pumpkin with me. She doesn’t
celebrate Halloween, but this year she wanted to carve a pumpkin for the first
time, so she did.
On Halloween we have a party at school and eat a lot of
candy. When I go trick-or-treating today I am going out with my friend Kaia and she
is going to dress as a dead Marie Antoinette, and I am being a dead Red Riding
Hood. I think that Halloween is one of the most fun holidays because you get to
go out with your friends and get lots and lots of candy.
At our school party
there is was a scary movie and music so you could dance. The grade 7’s danced to the song “Thriller” in front of the school. When I stop
trick-or-treating I will probably be 15 by then.
This year will be best
Halloween ever, and this is why I like it so much.
La Ignorancia Es Atrevida - Ignorance Is Daring
I had one additional parent in my youth. This was my Spanish
whom I called Abue.
She was the kind of grandmother that inspired me to attempt to
be the best grandfather I can be. I have prided myself in taking my older
granddaughter (when she was younger) to see the Justin Bieber documentary.
I know that I can never match the fact that in 1950 when I was 8 she took me to
downtown Buenos Aires to see all of the 15-part b+w Columbia serial Superman directed by Thomas Carr with
Kirk Alyn as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. All I can remember of this marathon is that
when we boarded the train in Retiro to go to my home in Coghlan I had a terrible
My grandmother never ever told me “Don’t do this or don’t
do that.” If I happened to be playing with matches she would have told me, “Los niños
que juegan con fuego se mean en la
cama.” Which translates to “Boys who
play with fire piss in their beds.” My favourite when my friends and I
would be making too much noise was, “Los
niños hablan cuando las gallinas
mean. Pero como las gallinas no mean los niños…” Or
children talk when chickens piss. But since chickens don’t piss, children don’t
She was forgiving in her Roman Catholic way. Of people
who made mistakes, said the wrong thing or mess up her dictum was, “La ignorancia es atrevida.” That is “Ignorance is daring.”
La ignorancia es atrevida is my only excuse for the
photograph here. I took it around 1977 and my experience with shooting nudes
was none at all. And yet I must point out that it is startling in its accidental
Mónica Salvatella - A Luscious Argentine
Friday, October 30, 2015
It should be understandable that since I was born in Buenos
Aires I would consider Argentine women as the most beautiful and sophisticated
anywhere. In recent trips to Buenos Aires from here in Vancouver I can at least
attest that those Argentines dress better.
I bring a lot of baggage from my past in that assertion in
the paragraph above. My mother said that Argentines, particularly men were courteous
to women. At the same time I knew that my mother, who had a perfect figure,
wore a girdle. She wore one as we did not own a car and she traveled in
colectivos, small city buses. She wore that girdle as protection from pinching
of her behind by those “courteous” men.
One of the most beautiful women I ever met in Buenos
Aires was my first cousin, the red haired Elizabeth Blew. I fell in love with
her when I was 21 and a conscript in the Argentine Navy. I was not too
attractive (so I thought) in my short haircut. But I did manage to have lunch
with her once at a corner boliche (restaurant-bar). Her accent, much like the
Queen’s (and you must know which one it can only be) was enhanced by an almost
identical voice to that of Joan Greenwood’s with a blend of Deborah Kerr. It
was the sudden appearance of a very tall and burly man in a army uniform (her
boy friend was of Norwegian origin and was a conscript, too) that held me at
bay. I subsequently had two Argentine girlfriends. One had freckles but both
sounded like the Queen.
Since my days in Argentina I have not had the good
fortune of taking pictures of many Argentine women – only three or four. All
are or were living in Vancouver. One of them, Mónica Salvatella, lives on the
Salvatella posed for me in my basement bathtub as part of
my 1989 tub series.
She was brought by a friend to our Thursday afternoon
lunches at the Railway Club. She had slightly and most endearing buck teeth and
a luscious mouth that pouted.
Inga Vollmer - The Proliferation Of The One-Of-A-Kind
Thursday, October 29, 2015
The concept of the one-of-a-kind to me has been a
sacrosanct topic. I have to note here that I may be changing my mind. I have to admit that I began to question the concept in 1968 when I
met and married my Rosemary in Mexico City.
Until then I thought that the loveliest legs anywhere
were my mother’s. In those days when flyers deplaned onto the tarmac (and in
some cases the doors were opposite the viewing area) I always knew which
passenger was my mother by noting her legs. For years I have boasted that I
inherited my mother’s legs.
The fact is that when I noticed Rosemary’s legs, the first time I saw
her walking away in her mini skirt in a school we both worked, I was smitten.
Her long legs led to my now 47-year marriage. And, yes, there has to be more than
one-of-a-kind of anything and everything.
This most certainly applies to the many one-of-a-kind
women I have had the luck and pleasure to photograph all these years.
One of them is Inga Vollmer. The first time I saw her she
seemed to be like a young beautiful ice queen (she can and could look down on
you on either side of her patrician nose). But she wasn’t as scary as that
first impression. Here she is when I was still a tad afraid.
The Shot - One Out Of 40
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Often I am asked, “Which is your favourite hosta or rose in your garden?” My
answer varies depending on the day and the time of the year. If I had to pick
one rose from my garden before a sudden demolition I would be lost.
As a magazine photographer from the times of contact sheets
and strips of transparencies I learned to quickly look at the “the shot”. Frequently I coincided with the magazine’s
For a show in 1989 when I featured b+w photographs of 18
individual women posing in my basement bath tub I was singly responsible for
picking “the shot”. Now all these years later I have looked at them again and
noticed how my age has affected my eye for “the shot” I have become a tad more
subtle and less in-your-face.
The case in point is this lovely photograph of a
woman that I knew as Susan Jane. She was extremely thin and had prominent eye
brows. She liked to dance at parties and was a happy kind of woman.
Having to pick one shot from about 40 that I took for that show must have
been easy enough for this magazine photographer. “The shot” was always salient.
Now I am not too sure and I am happy for it.
The Postmodern Camerata Restful Requiem
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
|Artistic Director Dr. Greg Caisely, Alexandra Hill, Camyar Pazandeh & Rei Ikeda|
I asked the young man what kind of horn he was carrying in
his case that was strapped to his back .
“An alto trombone."
This was Friday October 23 in the afternoon and I was near
Nitobi Garden on my way to the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 at the Chan Centre.
I told the young man, “You must be going to rehearse Mozart’s
He did look at me with some reserved amazement as I was
right. But if you investigate the circumstances you will find that my correct
guessing has a lot to do with that Spanish saying that the devil knows more,
not because he is the devil, but because he is an old man.
At my age of 73 with most of the communications between my
neurons and synapses not diverging into dead ends it can simply be explained
that if you have gone to a few performances of Mozart’s Requiem you will know
that somewhere on stage left of an orchestra or stage right (for Sunday’s
performance of the Requiem
by The Post Modern Camerata
at Dunbar Heights United
Church you would see three trombone players with one bass, on baritone and one
alto trombone. Since I knew about the Camerata’s schedule and indeed attended
the Sunday concert it should make sense.
|Leanna Wong's Double Bass|
Where it does not make sense is why during the very nicely
loud (I like to sit up front and be blown away) Requiem (good to have a tympani
on board) I could hear one of the three sopranos with a crystal clear sound that was above all
other sounds of a middle sized orchestra with 13 singers.
The soprano in question is Alexandra Hill. Her voice does
not pierce. It is a beautiful and pleasant voice. To me it has all to do with
some very good diction and whatever can be explained by her ability to project
Some years ago my younger daughter gave me Requiem played by
the Chorus and Orchestra of Ancient Music directed by Christopher Hogwood. One
of the singers is soprano Emma Kirkby. The first few minutes of the Requiem powerfully
pull you in. When it is all over you are at rest in silence. This is
appropriate as requiem comes from the Latin root to rest.
After Sunday’s performance, the silence that came after
provided me with that restful moment to consider how lucky I am to have the
opportunity to witness Mozart’s Requiem in the intimate surroundings of a
church in preparation for that Christmas season when I do my best to avoid any
of those choirs singing in English that work by a composer whose surname begins with an H.
|Brian Mix's cello|
There was something else that this amateur of music noticed.
This was the voice of Kamyar Pazandeh listed in my program as a bass. My
experience with bass singers of the past is that it is easy to sound like burping
in melody. This was not the case with Pazandeh. The voice was clear and I could
hear him by simply looking at him while blurring with my vision the other
The afternoon's performance began with J.S. Bach's Cantata BWV in which I was able to enjoy that very good local tenor Clinton Stoffberg. Then I heard a marvelous compostion by Vancouver's (tall) Jocelyn Morlock who wrote a Lacrimosa (the very same words of the Latin Mass and in Mozart's Requiem Lacrimosa) in memory of her father. Morlock's "new" music while always different, it always eases you (gently) in to enjoying something that is not in the general repertoire. She is currently the Composer in Residence at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The best part of her Lacrimosa was that it featured only two singers, Alexandra Hill, soprano, and a startlingly good Melissa Howell, Mezzo Soprano.
After the performance I got to meet Pazandeh and Rei Ikeda
the alto trombone player.
I have to pleasantly report that Pazandeh is studying to
be an actor at Studio 58 and that it seems he has only had a couple of voice
He obviously is one fast
learner (handsome, too) but he will not have to learn how to project his voice
from anybody much less that fave soprano of mine, Alexandra Hill.
Vocal Projection - by Alexandra Hill
The question: why is it that I could be heard to “cut”
through the orchestra?
The short answer: A familiarity of melody and the perception
that higher is louder.
The longer answer: well it has to do with voice type,
fundamental frequency, harmonics, and the human ear. It also has to do with a
mix of how the music is orchestrated, what the acoustics of the performance
space are like, how many people are in the audience, and where they are seated
relative to the performers.
Pitch is like colour. It is perceived. Higher pitches are
often perceived to be louder than lower pitches (recall that frequency (pitch),
which is measured in Hertz, is not the same thing as amplitude (loudness),
which is measured in decibels). Melodies are often the highest line of the
woven fabric that is a song, a cantata, or a symphony. When you hear a chord,
your ear often picks out the top note. Perhaps this immediate focus to the top
note has to do with the way we are taught to listen to the melody rather than the
harmonies. It is a cultural thing.
If you have ever sung in a choir, and you’ve been asked by
the choir director to sing the bass, tenor or alto line, you’ll recall that
it’s often the sopranos that get the “easy” part - the part that everyone
recognizes - the part that could have taken you less than 30 seconds to learn
if only the choir conductor hadn’t saddled you with the tricky harmony part.
We, as listeners, bend our ear for a musical phrase, and the soprano being the highest
voice type, is the voice to deliver that line.
I am a soprano.
Alex asked me to write an essay on vocal projection after
attending the Postmodern Camerata concert on Sunday. A thorough essay would
have been one that included definitions, equations, theories, models, and
perhaps even images of spectrograms and vocal folds; one that would have really
provided insight into the physics of sound – air molecules in motion. For this
type of answer, I point the reader in the direction of Keith
Johnson’s book Acoustic and AuditoryPhonetics.
I will conclude by simply saying this: Bach
, Mozart and
are masters. The music they have written is crafted in such a
way as to permit the human voice to soar. The harmonics of the soprano voice
are much higher than those of the orchestra, and are therefore easily picked-up
by the human ear. Alex was also sitting in one of the front rows at Dunbar
Heights United on Sunday, just feet away from the soprano section, which may
provide further explanation as to why he could hear me very clearly