The Diva in the Peacock Blue Badgley Mischka Gown
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Diva: late 19th century: via Italian from Latin, literally ‘goddess.’
(not a writer) but perhaps a photographer has never been a gossip columnist but
here I feel I am channeling the best gossip columnist Vancouver ever had in the
80s and 90s, Valerie Gibson who was nurtured for the job by former Vancouver Magazine editor, MalcolmParry. Parry is now the resident gossip columnist of the Vancouver Sun.
|Nathan Helgeson, Amanda Forsythe, Curtis Daily, Christ Church Cathedral, September 16 2016|
|Christ Church Cathedral - September 16, 2016 Photograph Jan Gates & that's Curtis Daily on the right wearing one of his two special concert ties. Photograph Jan Gates|
I could be
a professional music critic (and you know I am not) and I could rant and rave
about the two oboeists Matthew Jennejohn and Curtis Foster (stellar in George Frideric Handel’s Adagio from Concerto Grosso op 3/1 and Adagio from Concerto Grosso op 3/3 ably aided by bassoonist Nathan Helgeson. For someone who
was in a high school band and played the alto saxophone (that was me) I can tell you that the
oboe rarely sounds as sweet as these two gentlemen made their instruments
sound. More often than not an oboe is an unpleasant whining baby.
rant and rave about the two natural horn players Andrew Clark and Steve
Denroche that sounded so good in Handel’s March in F major, HWV 346 that the whole
Pacific Baroque Orchestra strings clapped in enthusiasm.
rant and rave about that perfectionist
with kid gloves that is Alexander Weimann, the Music Director of the Pacific
Baroque Orchestra who somehow manages to get his musicians to do as he demands
(ever so gently) and can still play on that lovely little Craig Tomlinson
rant and rave about baroque bassist Curtis Daily. Skip my part of the blog here and read Daily's detailed explanation on the instrument he plays.
rant and rave about concertmaster and violin soloist Chloe Meyers, she of the
neat black wrist warmers.
rather write about the apparition that glided on stage in a peacock blue silk
gown for Handel’s “Mio caro bene”
from his opera Rodelinda. The
apparition is New York city-born and Vassar College graduate soprano Amanda
stood to face us the first word in my head was, “delicious.”
At home I
promptly went to my hardcopy Roget’s International Thesaurus (1977 Edition) and
found the following synonyms:
pleasing, delightful, delectable, exquisite, delicate, dainty,
juicy, luscious, ambrosial, nectarous, and scrumptious.
|Ainadamar at Tanglewood, 2003,
with Dawn Upshaw (Margarita), Kelley O'Connor (Lorca)|
and Amanda Forsythe (Young Margarita)
such a long string of successes and appearances all over the world but her
Wikipedia page somehow mysteriously ends at year 2008. And if you think that she is an
expert baroque singe, she is a lot more. You might notice that she appeared in the 2003 inaugural
performance in Tanglewood of Osvaldo Golijov’s (my fellow Argentine but
supremely talented man) opera Ainadamar
about Federico García Lorca and his muse Mariana Pineda.
conclusion after listening to Forsythe sing Handel, as I have never heard
before, is that Early Music Vancouver’s Executive & Artistic Director, Matthew White has
pull beyond the fact that until recently he was a noted international countertenor. I do not
believe that Vancouver could possibly afford to hire the apparition in blue without his pull.
But it did and people knew about this as Christ Church was completely full.
|Alexander Weimann sans kid gloves|
As a former
photographer I wondered how I could manage to snap a picture of Ms Forsythe
without offending the secular concert police. At the interval I went up to the
stage (you can do this in the more informal nature that is the Vancouver baroque
concert milieu) and I asked my friend and house guest (when he is in Vancouver)
bassist Curtis Daily, who is a shy man, if he could ask Forsythe. He told me, “Nat can ask and he will
have a better chance.” He introduced me to the fellow Portland musician (both
play for the Portland Baroque Orchestra) bassoonist Nathan (Nat) Helgeson.
And Curtis has told me repeatedly that the man is the best bassoonist around.
handsome young man of about 31, seems to be younger. His clothes are fashionable
and in the best of taste. His smile not only convinced me that I would buy a
used Chevrolet Vega from him anytime but that he could ask the diva to pose for
delightful apparition, she is a bit shorter that I thought and most dainty, I
told her I will ask you only two questions. “Where did you get the fabulous blue dress? And the red dress?”
answer after a smile that went from one ear to the other was, “I got the blue
silk dress from Rent the Runway. It is very expensive it is a Bagley Mischka.
The other dress, the satin one is cheap.".
interesting is that right after she said, “I got the blue silk dress from Rent
the Runway,” she added, “For divas!”
is Amanda Forsythe an exceptional soprano, but she also is has a sense of
humour and does not take herself as seriously as most divas must.
photograph of Forsythe with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra was kindly sent to me
upon my request by the official Early Music Vancouver photographer Jan Gates.
L Una Amíga Como La Gente
Friday, September 16, 2016
cuando tenía 13 años y vivía con mi mama y abuela en la ciudad de México en una
casona en Lomas de Chapultepec teníamos muchas fiestas. Mi abuela trabajaba para la embajada filipina
y le gustaba entretener. Invitaba a gente de la comunidad filipina. Siempre
venían tres niñas que tendrían 8 o 9 años. Una de ellas era una prima filipina nacida en Buenos Aires.
Las otras dos, una era de origen europeo/filipina y la otra filipina/vasca.
mí aún no me gustaban las mujeres las veía con cautela y desprecio. Una de
ellas, la de origen vasco se peinaba para atrás y notaba yo orejas tipo auto
con las puertas abiertas.
no les daba bola como dicen mis compatriotas porteños.
últimos años de los 80 mi Rosemary y mis dos hijas y yo viajamos a Europa y
pasamos por Málaga. Allí estaba la familia de la niña de las orejas (desde aquí
L). No me acuerdo el porqué L no se encontraba en la ciudad.
más sobre la L pero hace poco a través de mi prima argentina me he comunicado con
ella por “feicbu” y somos amigos. A L, que parece tener tendencias culturales
(vive en España) le gusta la ópera, comer y beber bien y viaja a Turquía a menudo.
L ha puesto comentaríos sobre mi blog (bitácora ) el cual también aparece en
feicbu y Twitter con enlaces al blog. En sus comentarios ha usado la
palabra perversidad para describir
algunas de mis fotos. Enseguida me di cuenta que no opinaba que yo era un
pornógrafo pero otra cosa. Me fijé en mi mataburros de la Real Academia Española
(unos de los mejores diccionarios de la red) y encontré:
Sumamente malo, que causa daño intencionadamente. U. t. c. s.
Que corrompe las costumbres o el orden y estado habitual de las cosas. U.
t. c. s.
segunda definición a la cual se refiere L.
me he olvidado de las orejas y me doy cuenta mi desperdicio por ser un boludo
(como dicen mis compatriotas porteños). ¿Si
la hubiera conocido un años después que hubiera transcurrido?
ahora somos amigos en distancia geográfica grande pero de distancia intelectual
muy cercana a la mía y muy amena.
mucho esta nueva amistad con la cual aprenderé mucho sobre como piensa una
mujer liberada en todas sus actitudes.
su última comunicación (usa un poco de spanglish, una costumbre muy filipina. Y tengo que admitir y confesar aquí que yo también tenía y tengo orejas tipo cupé con las dos puertas abiertas.
“saboreado” por partes todo el material que me mandaste and I have enjoyed it
modelos, todas mujeres especiales; la relación con la danza, que me encanta;
los cuadros de Courbet del que yo sólo conocía el del Sueño... uff, qué
he tenido envidia de la gente que tiene talento, sea como tú para la
creatividad fotográfica, para la actuación (la frustración de mi vida) o la
ópera (una de mis pasiones como amateur porque no soy ninguna “entendida”). Por
mucho que uno quiera aprender algo en concreto, si no tienes ese germen del
talento, puedes llegar a hacer lo que sea pero para hacerlo “bien”, hay que
encanta que cómo tú dices, a pesar de que ya tenemos una edad, ésta no impide
las ganas ni la pulsión de seguir en contacto con los desnudos y el sexo, sea
cual sea su modalidad. Tus fotos son impresionantes y me encantaría “ver por un
agujerito” algunas de las muchas que dices tener guardadas sin publicar, tienen
que ser cojonudas.
el desnudo atrae a todo el mundo, lo que pasa es que hay mucha gente de
“trenzas amarradas” (jóvenes y no tan jóvenes) que no sabe cómo enfrentarse a
él aunque le guste. No hay más que ver las risitas tontas que hay a veces en el
cine cuando hay una escena subidita de tono. También es curioso observar a la
gente en exposiciones de fotografía o pintura cuando se encuentran de cara con
algo sobre el tema y hacen ver que “es lo más normal del mundo y yo estoy por
encima de estas cosas”.
relación con el desnudo se ha limitado a una vida sexual de la que no me puedo
quejar, y que hace unos años es inexistente pues ya mi cuerpo no me gusta y por
lo tanto no me sentiría cómoda. Eso si, desde hace muuuuchos años, voy siempre
que puedo a playas nudistas pues el placer de tirarte al sol y tirarte al agua
sin ropa es... pues eso, un placer del que puedo seguir disfrutando, aparte del
inevitable punto voyeur, claro.
momento volveré a leer por partes tus blogs, porque éstas cosas tienen que ser
saboreadas poco a poco.
así, me encanta!
Zvonko Markovic - Tiko Kerr & The Dominion Building
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Anybody who might be tempted to pick up a copy of the
today might be slightly perplexed (only if you notice details)
that there is a nicely deformed painting reproduction of the Dominion Building
in every one of the five pictures (and the sixth on the cover) in what is the
Straight’s Fall Arts Preview issue.
Some years ago I sort of started the idea of picking a theme
for this yearly one job I get from the Straight. They know that eventually when
they make a call (usually in August) my widow will answer the phone. Last year's theme was the Tatra car
. This year’s was the use of the 1909 built Dominion
Building at VictorySquare
What made the photographs possible was the happy help from
building manager Zvonko Markovic
It was Zvonko who gave me keys to access the roof for the
cover photograph of the dancers and the picure of the two visual artists in the
elevator engine room that is also on the roof. Zvonko provided me with a key to
lock the elevator, also for the dancer shot.
I photographed the musicians in the Gold Saucer Studio
happens to be a dance studio during the day (the very studio where cover dancer
Natalie Gan practices) and by night it is an avant-garde music concert venue
where I have witnessed several concerts with cellist Marina Hasselberg
the Straight’s featured musician (with erhu player Nicole Li
) two years ago in
that Fall Arts Preview. She played concerts with music written for her by many
of our city’s best composers including John Oliver.
The building for me represents the memories of many freelance
writers I worked with in the past including Ted Laturnus and Mark Budgen
both had offices there. So did “Robin Hood” lawyer Cameron Ward.
I like to think that the building is going strong. In fact
it is judging by all the young people (artsy looking) I saw while waiting at
the lobby for my subjects to show up. One is dancer/choreographer Alvin Erasga Tolentino
who has his office there. It is also interesting to note that Opus
has a nice store on the corner of the building at West Hastings and Cambie.
But what was most fun was plotting the use of a
reproduction of the building (especially done for me by the artist) originally
painted by Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr
. We have been friends for year. The
original is owned by building owner Jacqui Cohen. Zvonko has his office wall
full of photographic reproductions of the Dominion. Tiko Kerr’s
copy will now
be part of it. And today Tiko Kerr, Zvonko Markovic and I plan to have some of
Zvonko’s wine before noon in celebration!
But the little hint of Kerr's painting in today's Georgia Straight cover is not Kerr's first. Some years ago the Straight was running an article about the Lions Gate Bridge. I convinced then editor Charles Campbell to run the Kerr version of it. In those days the Straight did not have colour reproduction. I went to the Diane Farris Gallery (on 6th Ave) and photographed it. The person holding it up is our friend (Kerr's and mine) Anne Macauley.
Greg Potter - The Man Who Kept Growing - Rest In Peace
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Greg Potter was the man who was always growing. He wasn’t
fat. It just seemed that every time he sat across the table from me on the
Thursday noon lunches at the Railway Club that he had grown bigger and taller. His
large presence was ameliorated by a gentle voice and a sort of aw-shucks-don’t-take-me-too-seriously
attitude that served him well in his career as a journalist.
I first met him in 1985 when I was introduced to
him by John Armstrong. They and three others were forming a band called the
Lost Durangos. They wanted me to take the photographs. In those early 80s I was
going through my rip-off George Hurrell period so I used multiple lighting
setups. The key to the photographs was my makeup artist Inga Vollmer. I
instructed her to make the female lead singer look like “Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind.”
Where? Find Out in the Georgia Straight Thursday (September 15)
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Where did I take these photographs? My only hint it that is somehow involves Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr. I previously wrote about it here
. If you want to know the answer pick up a Georgia Straight this Thursday.
El Mate de la Bienvenida - The Welcome Mate
Monday, September 12, 2016
“Un mate es como un punto y aparte. Uno lo toma
y después se puede empezar un nuevo párrafo.”
Cortázar - Rayuela
“A mate is like a
paragraph break. One drinks it and after you can begin a new paragraph.”
Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch
|Rebecca Stewart & Pancho - September 12 2016|
Today Monday and extraordinary event happened. I picked up
my 19 year-old granddaughter downtown and brought her home for lunch. We had a
vegetarian Mexican rice and barbecued Poblano chillies on the barbecue. We had
freshly made Concord grape juice and for dessert we had Manila mangoes.
After our pleasant lunch on our sunny deck Rosemary
asked, “Are you going to offer Rebecca some of your coffee?” At this point
Rebecca looked at me and said, “Why don’t we have mate?”
My heart burst on fire and with it I scampered to the kitchen to
put the kettle (the water must be hot, close to boiling but should never boil).
I brought out the sugar as Rebecca likes her mate slightly sweet.
|Rebecca & Perica|
There is one undeniable fact that I can state here.
Rebecca is the only person in Vancouver I can share a mate. A mate unshared is
an aberration. A mate is a social endeavour.
Of this Argentine novelist, essayist and short story
writer Julio Cortázar (August 26, 1914 –
February 12, 1984) wrote in his most famous novel Rayuela (Hopscotch, 1963):
"Tomar mate es más que beber un líquido a
través de una bombilla, es una sensación, un sentimiento, una tradición, una
To drink mate is
more than to sip it through a silver metal straw, it is a sensation, a feeling,
a tradition, company.”
While some would understand that the mate, the gourd and
its bombilla or metal straw is good company I would argue that Cortázar meant
that the pleasure of mate was the pleasure of human company to share it with.
As I watched Rebecca sip on her mate (I had previously
poured warm water in the gourd,the mate,in the kitchen and spat out the very
bitter contents. This is the ritual or a good host simply sips that first
terrible one) I thought of something I had never thought before.
In 1950 before Cortázar emigrated to France he used to
come and visit my father in our home on Melián Street in Coghlan, a Buenos
Aires barrio. I never did ask my father (I was 8) and I forgot to ask him in my
early 20s before he died why he and Cortázar were friends. But the fact is that
Cortázar came often and I was usually dispatched to the corner store to buy
Arizona cigarettes which Cortázar chained smoked. The two drank Nescafe or they
It is today that it dawned on me that Cortázar sipped
mate from my father’s mate gourd (el mate)! This was and is the very utensil
that Rebecca and I shared today. For anybody not Argentine I would find it hard
for them to understand what a bolt of lightning that was to me.
Furthermore in my searches I found that President Obama
likes mate. There is this
A translation of what he said about this experience which I found here
discurso en la Casa Rosada, previo a la conferencia de prensa que brindó junto
a Mauricio Macri, Barack Obama destacó sus lecturas de Jorge Luis Borges y
Julio Cortázar, dos escritores fundamentales en la literatura argentina. "Siempre he sido un aficionado de la cultura
argentina, cuando estaba en la universidad leí mucha literatura argentina. Me
enorgullece decirles que probé mate por primera vez en mi vida, cuando estaba
en la universidad leía a (Jorge Luis) Borges y (Julio) Cortázar y hablaban de
mate y me dije, tengo que llegar a Buenos Aires y probar el mate. Me gustó
bastante. Yo creo que me llevaré un poco a Estados Unidos. No sé qué controles
de importación o exportación estaré infringiendo pero cuando estoy en el avión
Force One, por lo general, me lo permiten" , bromeó el presidente de
los Estados Unidos.
There is a traditional Argentine belief that anybody who
drinks mate in Argentina (as a foreigner) or as a foreigner abroad, will
eventually make it back to Buenos Aires.
|Juan Manuel Sánchez|
Of the mate I have written many times in this blog. Here
Perhaps buried in one of them is the story of my
experience with mate cocido or boiled
mate. My friend Nora Patrich makes mate cocido in a French press. In my years
in the Argentine Navy breakfast was galleta
a hard unleavened bread and tin mugs
of mate cocido. In large pots milk, water and mate were boiled for hours. The
concoction looked like swamp water and you had the idea that any moment a nasty
crocodile would peek on the surface. The mate came sweetened (sickly so).
Anybody who knows about mate knows that it is a hunger suppressant.
The folks at the Marina de Guerra Argentina obviously knew this.
But getting back to sharing a mate with Rebecca was and
will be the high point of the week. I believe that my Rebecca will eventually
be the Rebecca I used to know. We obviously have one very important bond
between us. My father and Cortázar would understand.
And so would my good friend Argentine painter Juan Manuel Sánchez who is not well this moment in a Buenos Aires hospital. I often visited him and his wife Nora Patrich to converse and to drink mate. The mate that Rebecca is drinking as a young girl was at Juan and Nora's and that was Juan's parakeet Perica.
|Linda Lorenzo & Nora Patrich|