Monday, November 29, 2010

Eastside Culture Crawl

On Friday November 26, Saturday November 27 and Sunday November 28 over three hundred artists, photographers and such creative people opened their studios for the public to have a look. I only went out on the Sunday and I learned that the next time I will plan to do at least two days. But here are a few of the artists I was lucky enough to be exposed to. Each name is linked to the artist's website.

The first is Lori Sokoluk.

Sokoluk paints, draws and works in multimedia.

As you can see her work is unique, interesting and appealing.

Gideon Hay is a sculptor who has taken a childhood fascination with monsters and movies and turned it into a career.

Hay not only does traditional sculpting but also cartoon sculptures, mold making, prop and object sculpture and teaches his craft to others.

Most of the artists had food etc laid out for the guests touring their studios. Photographer Gabriel Morosan was creative, not only with his photography but also with his choice of refreshments.

And he supplied visitors with entertainment.

It was a party in there with Morosan the gracious host.

The Eastside Culture Crawl officially started in 1997 though in 1994 an open house held by Paneficio Studios with four artists. Then in 1995 1000 Parker Street had an open studio event with 25 artists and 300 people attending. Paneficio Studios had an open studio event/fundraiser with six artists particpating. 1996 saw 1000 Parker Street, Apriori Studios and the Glass Onion having an Open Studio Event. This time there were 50 artists and more than a 1000 audience members. Paneficio Studios had an open studio event/fundraiser and as in 1995 it was to raise money for the victims of a neighbourhood fire. Since then the event has just kept growing.

This interesting piece was created by Robert Turriff. (The legs in the background are not part of the art. Those belong to another art lover)

Here's the artist flanked by two friends.

Stefanie Dueck is responsible for these intriquing metal pieces. Dueck has not only studied working with metal here in B.C. but also worked as a blacksmith in southern Spain. She works in steel, bronze, stainless steel and copper. She has the skill to unite classic craftmanship with a modern twist.

The Purple Pirate is an artist that makes some fascinating pieces.

You may be asking what is so remarkable about this but what if I told you it was made from balloons? Would that intrique you? It did me.

Dustin Anderson, the pirate, is a children's performer.

That's all for now. I will let you know more on Wednesday.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action

Vancouver is also known to some as Hollywood North. We are the world's third largest film centre and second only to Los Angeles for television production.

To give you an impression of how big the industry is here let's take a look at some of film industry related businesses that exist in Vancouver and its suburbs:

Vancouver Film Studios is the largest production facility outside of Los Angeles. It has 13 sound stages spread over 30 acres.

Lion's Gate Studios in North Vancouver has eight large stages that can be matched in a facade to match almost any background wanted.

Bridge Studios in Burnaby is home to North America's largest effects stage along with six others totalling 120,000 square feet.

Then there is the Boundary Road Studios in Burnaby. This  93,000 sq. ft. studio strives to centralize all functions of the filmmaking process. Boundary Road Studios have accomadated everything from low budget TV-shows to mega features.

Hollywood in Vancouver is nothing new. The first production was in 1913 although the 'Hollywood Boom' didn't happen until 1930. Our proximity to Los Angeles, our fairly mild climate (usually) and a cooperative government make Vancouver an ideal second location for filming.

When a person is walking around the city and happens to see a sight like either of these two vans then you know that a production is probably underway near by.

And don't be surprised if you walk in on a scene being shot like I did here. The show being filmed was Supernatural and this is in Chinatown.

The film industry may garner concessions from our government but it also generates a lot of work and money into the economy. Of course local actors get to mix with the big names from the U.S. and hopefully make a well deserved name for themselves. (Eric McCormack from Will and Grace I remember first seeing in Vancouver's own Street Justice with Carl Weathers) And there are many other areas directly related to production such as Production Managers, Unit Managers, Production Coordinators, Post Production supervisors, first assistant director, second assistant director, production assistant and so on that require people to fill the spots and look no further than Vancouver for competent and talented people to work in these positions.

There are also art directors and assistants, set directors, illustrators, props, construction and the list goes on. Then take into consideration catering. People have to eat. Trucks to transport sets etc from place to place. Mobile dressing rooms. And a million other little things that I can't think of right now. It all has to be done by someone and that someone is making money which is going back into the economy.

And don't forget locations. The industry needs those.

What a great use for old buildings! Turn the run down structures into money generating machines and with the magic of film who knows what these ordinary buildings will become.

A booming business to be sure. One that it would benefit us to keep in Vancouver.

We can't forget about our local forays into the world of television either.

CTV is Canada's largest privately owned network and the main television asset of CTVglobemedia. In the last eight  years CTV has consistently placed in the top with the most viewers according to key demographics.

And as Canadian as the flag with its maple leaf is the following emblem:

The CBC or Canadian Broadcasting System, was established in 1936. (That predates our flag which came to be in 1965) This Canadian crown corporation supplies not only radio service but also television stations around the nation. Many Canadian talents can credit CBC with giving them a start.

I grew up in Northern British Columbia in the seventies. The only television station we had at the time was CBC North and as much as we laugh about the programming that was available, CBC was the only one that cared enough to supply northern residents with television entertainment. The original theme to Hockey Night in Canada will always bring a smile to my face though as will the mention of the long running CBC drama, The Beachcombers.

The CBC building on Hamilton Street is the second largest CBC production facility in English speaking Canada. The building was designed by Paul Merrick and from what I just read it wasn't always popular with Vancouverites.

The original building was one of concrete without a lot of windows, oddly shaped with giant air ducts. Sounds interesting I think. You can see the 1975 version in the background of this photo and I guess the critics are right. It does resemble a bunker.

The new, glass filled building looks much more inviting and less like a cold war prison that, if you enter, you might never emerge.

So that was a little look into the film industry in Vancouver. There is much more to write on the business and who knows. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to look at it again.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Changes

Isn't he cute? The snow has fallen here, melted and now we are supposed to get more. The temperature has dropped and things are freezing, including me. For the winter months I will be writing Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are days that it is just too cold for me to go out there.

During the summer and early fall months I enjoy nature's sweets. Wild berries are everywhere. Today I happened to see a bush with some berries still on it.

Those berries aren't bad even when they are frozen.

If you were a stranger visiting Vancouver or perhaps low flying over the city, you might wonder about this sight.

What in the world is that?

That is BC Place Stadium. This building was finished in 1983 in time for the 1986 World's Fair - Expo 86 and was the world's largest air-supported dome stadium. The reason those spikes are up there is that in May of this year the dome was deflated for the last time due to damage. A new one is being made.

(In this shot you can see the top of Rogers Arena, formerly GM Place. I'll write on that building when I get better photos of it.)

The stadium has a lot of history from Pope John Paul II hosting an event in 1984 to Prince Charles and Princess Diana's visit to Madonna's first ever Vancouver show -  during the Sticky & Sweet Tour on October 30, 2008 - that sold out in 29 minutes. However I don't want to go into detail yet. I would rather wait until the renovations, and the new roof, are completed sometime in 2011.

Alliance Grain Terminal is located on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. So I walk by it often and took this picture from Powell Street on my way home. The terminal is a 102,000 capacity tonne export terminal and part of a large consortium.

A couple of years ago I was walking by here and asked someone what those things were. He must have thought I was a real city slicker as he informed me they were grain silos.

This is the CIBC, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, at the corner of Main Street and E Pender. Alhtough I didn't find any information on this building I am guessing it was built in early 1900s. Banks were built like this at that time to remind people of classic structures that could give the impression of stability and trust.

The security guard outside the bank told me that people take a lot of photos of this building. The architecture impresses and intrigues people I would say.

Here is another example of buildings that were built as banks in the early twentieth century. Although this now is home to the prestigious jewelry merchant Birks and was renamed Birks Building in 1994, it was originally built for the Canadian Bank of Commerce later to become known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce - CIBC.
Architects Darling and Pearson used Ionic columns, decorative stonework and prominent roof cornice to create this example of revival architecture. The building was constructed between 1906 and 1908.

Vancouverites have, for many years, used the phrase 'meet you under the Birks clock'. And this is the Birks clock.
Originally it stood on the northeast corner of Hastings and Granville Streets when the Henry Birks and Sons establishment was located there. When Birks moved in 1913 to Georgia and Granville so did the clock. In 1994 when Birks relocated to the southeast corner of Hastings and Granivlle Streets the clock came along.

(this has nothing to do with the clock. It's just interesting and actually part of the Europe Hotel in Gastown)

E. Howard and Company from Boston Massachussetts designed this clock. It has four sides and has foliated capitals, columns, friezes and cornices. Made of cast iron this clock reflects the Victorian fascination with ornamental detail and historic style.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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