An Open Letter to CBC's Catherine Tait
Saturday, April 02, 2022
|Gloria Macarenko - Wayne Gretzky on the Paul Anka Show - Michael J. Fox in Leo & Me|
Journalism - D.O.A.
The CBC - The Ties that Bind Us
The Benign Neglect of the CBC Vancouver Orchestra
The CBC in Lilliputz on its way to irrelevance
When my Canadian wife, this Argie and our two Mexican
daughters arrived in Vancouver in 1975 nobody would hire this fledgling photographer so
I washed cars for Tilden Rent-a-Car. I was promoted to counter clerk and soon CBC chaps from the old building on West Georgia were coming in to rent blue station wagons.
In 1977 CBC – Radio Canada started a French TV station and I
was given the job of taking station ID slides. And that is how my photographic
career began. From there I was hired to shoot variety shows and portraits of
broadcasters for bus shelter ads.
One day I happily arrived home to tell my Rosemary that I
had learned from CBC Radio that Nefoundland was pronounced Newfun-land. I
believe that the CBC made me a Canadian.
After the CBC I was gainfully employed by a slew of
magazines across Canada until journalism became moribund some years ago.
In the beginning years of the 21st century the CBC had a culture web page and they hired (low pay) correspondents in cities across Canada. I was the Vancouver guy and wrote stuff for a year until the page disappeared. One of my most popular entries I converted later into a blog. It is this one on Evelyn Hart.
Here in Vancouver we have four brand names that are
instantly recognizable – CBC – Kitsilano – Georgia Straight and Vancouver Sun.
Kits is doing fine, I know because that's where I live. The Vancouver Sun is languishing ( I am a paying hard copy subscriber)
and the Straight’s
parent company (also owns Toronto’s Now) has filed for bankruptcy.
What about the CBC? I
listen to CBC when I am in my car and I particularly like CBC Ideas and CBC
Reclaimed. During the day the news
on the hour with weather afterwards and a road report is all that I seem to
have available. But I must state here that the CBC's The Debaters is the most serious (but funny) show on radio.
Inspired by CBC Ideas The Table of Existence
I have fond memories of going to listen to the CBC Vancouver Orchestra in the terrific Studio One (now used for storage).
When the former CBC arts reporter (excellent he was) Paul Grant retired his position was not replaced.
I once called him and asked him if he wanted to interview a baritone who sang in a falsetto. He agreed. I brought contertenor Matthew White on a Wednesday. The interview ran the next day and on Friday the Pacific Baroque Orchestra concert sold out.
In Vancouver we have a very good arts scene of theatre,
classical music, avant garde music (The Turning Point Ensemble), dance and art
galleries that seem to always have a show.
But how do we know about any of these? The Straight used to
be one source as was the Vancouver Sun. We have an on line culture page called
Stir and The Tyee is good too. But the average person out there is unaware of
Stir or The Tyee.
I believe that the CBC can step in with a healthy daily one
hour show of city news laced with lots of stuff
on the arts.
I know that the Vancouver Sun’s John Mackie has a head-full
of information on Vancouver news as does Ian Mulgrew. Then there is Charles Campbell, former
editor of the Straight and former Vancouver Sun opinion page editor, etc.
Charlie Smith (editor of the Straight) has a dogged memory for facts that
rivals Mackie’s. Janet Smith and Gail
Johnson of Stir and all the others mentioned here could contribute to the CBC
daily program. And I am sure that Malcolm Parry could be coaxed back as well as Max Wyman.
Will this ever happen before journalism dies in
The Compression of Time
Friday, April 01, 2022
Loss can be heart wrenching. I suffer one almost every day. Consider
the three photographs I took in Arboledas, Estado de México around 1972. I found
my colour negative and scanned it properly. Rosemary’s I cannot find and the
versions here are from a blog.
At one point do you tell yourself that finding something is
not so important anymore?
I look at these two photographs and I note the simplicity in
them.These photographs contain items we still have. The chair, the hexagonal
white lit table (which I made) plus the fireplace tools are now at Alexandra’s
home in Lillooet. The red pot with the fern has a plant now in my guest room. The hanging chair is hanging in a corner of my Kits living room.
But I always go back to the thought that when I did these
photographs there was no idea in me of the importance of the moment and that I would see 50 years later.
There is a simplicity here of fewer possessions and a life
that had the comforting routine of both of us driving in our VW to teach English at some
American company while our live in housekeeper took care of Alexandra and
The comforting routine was so because we had a purpose which was to make money so we could raise our two daughters. It is now difficult for me to find the order or routine and purpose.
Now, looking back, and staring at a version of myself so
long ago, it would seem that those 50 years are no different in how they
started and finished when compared to the week that has ziped by.
It was Einstein who said that in order to note movement you
had to be outside that movement. Is my present life in a moving train while I
look at my past in a train going in the opposite direction outside my window?
My grief for the loss of my mother in that 1972 has
dissipated with time. I know that I will not have that lessening in the grief
for the loss of my Rosemary.
My only hope is
Nor would I be a Poet - Emily Dickinson
Thursday, March 31, 2022
|Kimberley Klass Spademan|
This below is a repeat blog but I have added an explanation at the end.
I would not paint — a picture — I'd rather be the One
Monday, March 30, 2020
On September 21st 2009 my friend Kimberley Klass
Spademan died by suicide. She was 40. I will never be able to figure out how such a sweet
soul could leave without saying goodbye. She inspired me to take some of the
best photographs of my life.
There is one occasion that will be impossible for me to ever
forget and most of the series from that one session are here. She called me one
day to tell me, “I have a new boyfriend called
Glen and he is an artist. He paints.” In an instant I said, “I have an idea. Tell Glen to bring one of
his thinnest paintbrushes and we will meet in my studio.”
I would not paint — a picture — (348)
By Emily Dickinson
I would not paint — a picture —
I'd rather be the One
It's bright impossibility
To dwell — delicious — on —
And wonder how the fingers feel
Whose rare — celestial — stir —
Evokes so sweet a torment —
Such sumptuous — Despair —
I would not talk, like Cornets —
I'd rather be the One
Raised softly to the Ceilings —
And out, and easy on —
Through Villages of Ether —
Myself endued Balloon
By but a lip of Metal —
The pier to my Pontoon —
Nor would I be a Poet —
It's finer — Own the Ear —
Enamored — impotent — content —
The License to revere,
A privilege so awful
What would the Dower be,
Had I the Art to stun myself
It is not often that I repeat a blog. This time I will
With my Rosemary gone from my life on December 9, 2020 I
am having a difficult time finding a reason to keep going with my life.
My two cats, Niño and Niña give me a modicum of
responsibilities and lots of affectionate pleasure. I occasionally photograph
people who come and pose for me in my little Kits home studio. My daughter
Hilary visits me once a week and cook dinner for her. We have a similar taste
for films (old ones and no none that are superhero movies).
With spring here I have been working in the garden and
getting it ready for the June garden opening for the Vancouver Rose Society. If
anything when I work in the garden I think of St. Luke and what he wrote about
Christ parting the loaf of bread saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.” This
garden, that was our garden, is now my garden, but it is also a living memory
(the plants are so) of my Rosemary.
The most important activity that I have left besides the
need to feed myself and sleep is to write my daily blog. I have discovered for
some time now that almost everything I write has something to do with my memory
of Rosemary. Some say that writers are compelled to write their novels and
inspiration comes from who knows where. With me I now I am being compelled and
somehow writing with her in my mind feels almost like a relief to withstand
grief that simply will not go away.
One of my pleasures in writing my blogs is that it was
quite a few years ago that I discovered the fun of combining my photographs
with poems from my favourite poets. I am sure that this discovery had something
to do with shooting for magazines and waiting for the surprise of seeing my
photograph in a magazine with copy by a writer. With those magazines gone, my
blog is my own private magazine for which I am the publisher, editor (not a
very good) one, art director and photographer.
More Emily Dickinson:
November left then clambered up
You cannot make remembrance grow
the maple wears a gayer scarf
Journalism - D.O.A.
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
|The photo that appeared in Interview|
found out that the company that owns The Georgia Straight and Toronto’s Now has
means is that arts coverage will be lessened even more. Some years ago Paul
Grant was an excellent arts reporter for our local CBC Radio. When he retired
his position was eliminated. What we now get on CBC Radio is plenty of road
So much of
our city’s heritage has been its active theatre, dance, visual arts, music
(including the avant-garde stuff that the Turning Point Ensemble plays), etc.
Our memory for these activities are receding and as I often write here,
Vancouver has a poor memory for its past.
one day when my doorbell rang in our Burnaby home in 1984. It
was Joey Shithead who when I opened the door asked me, “How would you like to
have a photograph in Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine?” I took the photograph
of D.O.A. and as Shithead promised it appeared (full vertical page) in
Early in my
career as a magazine photographer shooting for Les Wiseman’s In One Ear rock column in Vancouver Magazine, I realized with Wiseman that anybody could
take concert photographs but few ever bothered to go back stage or to
photograph our Vancouver punk bands in locations of our choice. So for as long
as Vancouver Magazine survived, as well as a then very thick Georgia Straight I
photographed many local bands as well as bands from abroad.
that my thick file of rock band photographs is an important legacy of a scene
that was one of the most active and best known in the world.
At a photo
lecture that I gave in Buenos Aires back in late December when my audience so
my photographs of D.O.A. they demanded that we watch D.O.A. videos after my
are now aware that Joey Shithead (AKA Joe Keithley) is now a Burnaby Green Party
Councillor? He was a political punker like most other Vancouver punkers were
and are (Art Bergmann is a good example). We who live in this city need to know
all this. How will they find out?
|Joe's wedding (one of the very few I ever shot).|
is just a modest attempt to do this as I am able to put my photographs here
with my plebian writing. As we all know about that dog that… I do it because I
|I borrowed the fire plug from the city to take this photograph in Yaletown|
|Marv Newland, Dave Gregg, Les Wiseman & Rick Staehling|