- 3 -
Musing on a rainy afternoon.
North - Editor
Summer finally ended in Vancouver and to compensate it has been voted
healthiest city to live in Canada. This is just as well, as
anyone trying to contact the Medical Plan people in Victoria will know.
Get ill here and you might as well turn up your boots if you arent
on the plan and getting on the plan is like something from Franz Kafka.
I still havent managed it.
Im beginning to understand the rhythm of this town and just how
exhausting it really is being interested in culture. Having
just spent three years in Cornwall, where there is the odd art opening
and some local acting troupe putting on the odd show, being in Vancouver
is a frenzy of activity.
The Film Festival has just ended, well covered by our correspondent Alex
Grant and now we have the Surrey International Writers Festival
and the Vancouver International Writers Festival. No doubt, lots
of would be writers and earnest readers will be hanging on every word.
I am not convinced they are of benefit. Meeting the writer whose words
you respect can be a let down particularly if they are drunk and
hit you up for money or sex as happened to a friend of mine with a successful
American author last year. Perhaps they sell books, but theres always
that stupid question How do you get your ideas? Writers
invariably lie or make something up, the truth is usually too mundane.
I recall a writer friend stuck for a plot wrote about the objects on his
windowsill and was astonished to discover publishers loved it.
have Yo-Yo Ma playing in town soon, tons of new plays opening
openings at the galleries by the hundreds every Thursday,
and films-last week eleven new films opened, this week nine. Then
there are autumn garden festivals such as the Scarecrow Fest at
Van Dusen Gardens and the Vancouver Symphony playing a new programme
at the Massey and Orpheum Theatres. Bramwell Tovey and HK Gruber
giving us Mussorgsky, Saint-Saens and more. On the 31st they are
playing the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera
the silent version. West Side Story opens at the Stanley
Theatre on South Granville soon and right now you can see Women
in Black starring Mathew Harrison and Kennedy Goodkey at the
Terry Fox Theatre in Pt Coquitlam. Box office Tel 604 464 5550 Its
fun and a very well told ghost story, perfect for the season.
© Photo of Vancouver Library by Sam North
This is a city of just two million, taking in the suburbs, and yet it
is rich in diverse culture, filled to the brim with aspirant actors, artists,
musicians and writers. There is nowhere you can go without meeting someone
creative, yet, it is also a hard to town to survive in as a creative person.
Go figure. It might also be a tad over-confident and self-congratulatory,
somethings that go over well here will not travel well and could use some
critical input. That same over confidence manifests itself in sarcastic
and self-important film reviews. Read the Georgia Straight (Vancouvers
Village Voice) and much like Londons Time Out magazine, whatever
gets a bad review will be brilliant and vice versa. A case in point
is the Avary production of The Rules of Attraction
a humourless reproduction of Brett Easton Elliss depressing
book about college life. Here is is perceived as a comedy
yet the brilliant and witty Igby Goes Down, the best
comedy of the year is dismissed. It is a clue to Vancouvers psyche
and love of trauma. Locally made feature films always seem
to be about miserable people doing terrible things to each other. Oddly
enough the short films made here are often comedies. I wonder what happens
These are just quibbles of course. The locals are always putting this
town down. Oh its a no fun town well clearly that is
just not true, and if they mean the clubs and pubs close too early, that
too is changing (sadly reverting to the drunken days of old Gastown with
Government sanction and no doubt kickbacks from the brewers). This is
actually an all-fun town. Who has time for any work when there is so much
to see and do?
This is a town punching will above its weight in cultural and other spheres.
From eye cancer treatments from QLT, electric power for cars from Ballard,
inspirational architecture from Ericson and Thom and others, and talented
crews that keep the movies coming back here year after year, this is a
town with style and poise. A city with a future.
I read somewhere that the average cruise liner passenger spends just 20
minutes in the city. Not only is that crazy, but what they should really
do is get off the damn boat and stay here a week, a month, get to know
a city that isnt scared of dreaming. Sure you can come here for
the walking and skiing, but if you really want to be exhausted, get involved
in the Arts. Its a killer.
Halloween is coming. See you the other side of October.
© Sam North
Oh yes you can read a feature by myself about Vancouver in November Elle
(New York Edition) You see why it's such a fun town to visit.
of new fiction in Dreamscapes
Take a look.
Section 9 in
the N.Y. Sunday Times
The Kids stay in the picture August
IN GLASS HOUSES
the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Sweats in a Cold Read at the Anza Club-
ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver on speed -September
NINA & ROAD
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island
- Off Fringe
is celebrating its FIFTH ANNIVERSARY. - September
the Community is for real -
WE ARE ALL GURUS NOW - September
Time to enrol
Film Festival Trade Show report
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