May 17, 2013

Welcome to my blog

Mary saying Welcome!I’m glad you dropped by. Please stay for a while and let me introduce myself.

If you’d like to connect, just send me an email to maryinvancouver and I’ll get back in touch as soon as possible.

To see photos of my art and projects, do visit my website at:

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May 15, 2017

After Images from DOXA

For the fourth year, I volunteered at DOXA: Documentary Film Festival. Contributing 24 hours of volunteer time, one gets a pass to see as many screenings as you can possibly fit in.  In my case, that was 20. More if you count the “shorts” as separate films. I’m sure the film makers would want them counted separately, so make that 30.

On Sunday, the final day, I went home after my volunteer shift. I’d planned to stay for Manifesto, but felt “psychic overload” and possibly a cold coming on as well, because of a 12-hour film viewing/volunteering day on Saturday. Last night I slept 12 hours (off and on) from 6 to 6.

And now I’m trying to process aftershocks or after images. I’ve always been an active dreamer – and as a child couldn’t separate my dream life from waking life. I regularly visited my Auntie Elsie in Denmark and to my sisters’ embarrassment would give people an update on playing jelly bean games and eating orange sandwiches if asked how was I?

So perhaps I overdid it. I’m experiencing post-documentary stress syndrome. Some specific “stills” keep flashing on my interior screen.

The yellow markings on the asphalt from “For My Mother.”

Rita stuffing chocolate into her apron from “The Grown-ups”.

The man who’d previously yelled, “Nein! nein! nein!” to the woman trying to learn to use her computer, then weeping with frustration when he couldn’t make his own work (“Digital Immigrants”)

The young man who wore a suit to school and inspired by Regis switched from white shirt to red from “Swagger” dancing down the street and considering being a drug lookout.

So many more.

Enhanced by hearing filmmakers and panels talk about the issues and the people and the footage left for, for example, “Mermaids 2” or sequels. The audience members often had ideas for follow-up films. We wanted to know: what happens next? We wanted to know more about individuals we were fascinated by. The little girl who voices her fear of Mickey Mouse and Barbie. Sabrina who unsuccessfully ran for office in West Virginia.

We can follow up on some – The students who successfully get past the rigorous admission requirement of La Femis – in Claire Simon’s Le Concours – will undoubtedly produce films that might arrive at DOXA in future years.

On the sidelines of the films themselves, I met some interesting global citizens. Young people in Vancouver for limited times find DOXA a possibility for a volunteer experience, since many other organizations require a four-month commitment. Several fellow volunteers I met could easily have a documentary made of their experience and the context of their being in Vancouver.

Has anyone done a documentary about DOXA volunteers? Perhaps volunteers from years past have gone on to be more involved in documentary film making.

Is anyone filming for a documentary on what the Green Party holding the balance of power in the upcoming (probable) minority government may mean for democracy in BC?

What now? I’ll go to the volunteer party next Sunday. I’ll volunteer again next year. I’ll share my enthusiasm for the impact of documentary films with friends. In Le Concours one of the applicants said they’d considered politics or was it law, and decided that film making could change the world.

I’d love to hear comments or corrections …  Did you do DOXA this year? What was your experience?





February 23, 2017

Next Playdate series starts March 9

My next mixed-media basics workshop starts March 9. Thursday evenings 7-9:15pm

We have fun together making art.


February 19, 2017

Fake Nooz? Incomplete and irrelevant perhaps

I thought I’d weigh in on #fakenews.

I think covering an election rally when the election was several months ago is #fakenews. Or at least irrelevant, but that’s perhaps an elitist word. So I’ll be part of the hoi polloi and simply say #fakenews.

I think a news item that REPEATEDLY tells me that only 12 of the 14 leadership candidates were at the debate but spending most of the news clip on only one of the two no-shows – no mention of even the name of the other one is #fakenews. Or at least incomplete and biased. None of the 12 who are showing up were mentioned by name!

Hello! news people.

February 6, 2017

#LOL – new hastag Also #progressiveswhocareabouttheconservativepartyleadershiprace

OK, So I’m betting my proposed hashtag #LOL for Leitch and O’Leary. As in, let’s have less #LOL on my facebook feed, will be catchier than #progressiveswhocareabouttheconservativepartyleadershiprace but so far no one’s proposed something shorter that says it. I’ve rejected #progressiveconservatives as I’m #progressive but not #conservative.

But I *am* concerned about the CPC Leadership Race. After all, all of us will be impacted by the Leader of the opposition.

So I’ve been following coverage and feel there’s too much #LOL. imho. fwiw. btw.

Here’s an edited (just shortened not changed) email exchange I had when I objected to what I saw as an increasing coverage — esp with photos of #LOL or #OL in particular.

Read from bottom up. Otherwise it makes little sense.

I feel comforted. And looked at some of your other columns online and see what I perceive as more balance there.

May it be so!

Take care,

On 2/6/2017 11:25 AM, JOURNALIST wrote:

It is not similar to the coverage of Trump. He was on every  American’s TV, on many channels, 24/7. Most Canadians would not recall there is a Conservative leadership campaign on right now.

But the point is that writing occasional political columns about a candidate is normal. That’s what I do in every leadership race. Putting them on e-talk and morning shows is not.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mary Bennett []
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2017 1:58 PM

Subject: Re: no more O’Leary and Leitch features please

Thanks for your quick response. You are not the only journalist I’m sending a message to.

And I hope it will not be similar to the US coverage, but that’s what I’m seeing so far across the board.

Take care,

On 2/6/2017 10:55 AM, JOURNALIST wrote:

Thanks for your note Ms. Bennett,

I understand your sentiment, but I think it is misplaced. It’s one thing to bemoan the attention that Donald Trump got in constant coverage on 24-hour news channels and in nearly every medium. It’s another to moan about an article about a leadership candidate’s performance in his first debate. I write columns about politics, and that includes writing columns about aspiring prime ministers and candidates who might win the leadership of one of the country’s major political parties. Mr. O’Leary is exactly that. It’s not unusual. It is relevant, and it’s not gratuitous. And it’s not comparable to the wall to wall live coverage of Mr. Trump.


—–Original Message—–
From: Mary Bennett []
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2017 1:18 PM

Subject: no more O’Leary and Leitch features please

Re: your column along with the 5×8″ photo of my least favorite candidates.

Although I don’t vote conservative, I’m aware that the Leader of the Opposition has impact on the country and at least the media. I watched the entire CPC debate and have been following some of the candidates.

IMHO O’Leary and Leitch are among the least suited to this role and many of us are bemoaning the attention that Trump got through media in the months leading up to what many of us thought was an unthinkable election, inauguration and executive orders left and right.


So far my favorites are Michael Chong and Lisa Raitt with Deepak being the most adorable.

Andrew Scheer who I don’t agree with on much is the candidate who has received the most endorsements by fellow MPs.

Surely professional journalists can find something newsworthy beyond those two!

October 9, 2016

Louise Bunn’s Salon on Poetic Landscapes

lbunn6x10Louise Bunn and I will have a shared art exhibition in January at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. 

Louise is working on paintings inspired by alchemical processes and my work will be the series that I’m calling: It May Be a Sign (but what could it mean?)

I’m eagerly awaiting The First Signs by Genevieve von Petzinger about the 32 geometric signs found in caves that go back before the beautiful paintings by mammals.

The Creative Neighbours Salon on October 23 will feature Louise talking about “Poetic Landscapes” and I of course will be there as well as one of the hosts for the series.

RSVP is very much appreciated so we can plan as space is limited.


October 6, 2016

Make a Skeleton; Dance With Your Skeleton

SkeletonI made my first skeleton several years ago, just after we put PETE the Polyethylene Bird to rest 9RIP, PETE).

The second milk jug skeleton will be easier, but this guy has gotten thumbs up from my neighbours. When the wind blows, he’s particularly charming, I think.

Hoping my neighbours are giving out treats for Hallowe’en as I’ll be at the Cemetery for All Soul’s and I do think it’s a little misleading to decorate and then not be home to answer the call of “Trick or Treat”.

Hmmn. Maybe I could put a pillow case out by the skeleton to invite donations of treats!

Now I invite you, your friends (and your milk jugs) to a workshop to learn how to make your own.

Register here for the Tuesday, October 25, FREE workshop at Kits House.

You need 7 milk jugs to make a whole skeleton, but if you have only one, you can make a skull. Come along and help others and learn how to do.

Tip: If you have a favorite coffee shop, they might put aside their milk jugs for the day and you’d have enough just like that!

(That’s what Tammy did. Thanks Arbutus Coffee.)


And then, bring your skeleton along to out Post-Hallowe’en/Samhain Circle Dance at the Unitarian Church, 49th & Oak, on Tuesday, November 1st.  At this time of year, the veil between the worlds is thin and we honour our ancestors. We’ll  have a table for an ancestors’ shrine, if you’d like to bring a photo or object of remembrance.


Here are some detailed instructions:

A Milk Jug Skeleton is a Fun Recycled Craft Decoration for Halloween




September 9, 2016

Peripeteia by the Elegant Ladies Collective

Google tells me: “Perepeteia” is a sudden reversal with negative effects or when a Greek hero realizes everything he believed in is wrong.

There’s a site for explaining literary terms. Who knew?

I’m looking forward to the site-specific play by the Elegant Ladies Collective at the Fringe tonight at 6:30 pm at Ron Basford Park on Granville Island.

Tickets available here:



September 8, 2016

Vancouver Fringe opens tonight – See you around the Island?

Oooo! Can’t wait for the opening night to catch a couple of minutes of a bunch of different Fringe shows.

Not to mention the first glass of beer at the Fringe Bar.

Then Friday I do two shows and 3 on Sunday. I’ll be posting my reviews here.

My first one is a site-specific one for the always creative Elegant Ladies Collective.

Hope to see you around Granville Island.

September 6, 2016

Nice article about the labyrinths at the Unitarian Church

Just got an email from a friend saying they’d seen the article about my role with the two new labyrinths at the Unitarian Church.

Here’s the link to the Vancouver Courier article.

– See more at:

The church’s family program “Messy Church/ Make Dinner” is going to be focused on tending the “Living Labyrinth” this Friday night. I’ll be at the Fringe, so can’t attend, but I’m delivering calendula seeds and bulbs to our program director, Kiersten.

Open to all – families with young kids but also elders and singles often join in the fun.

Here’s a description of the monthly program:

And a link to the event, if you’d like to come along.

Questions? call 604-261-7204 and ask for Kiersten or send an email to

And yes! your bulbs for fall planting are very welcome!






August 30, 2016

Fringe is coming

OK so it’s time for my annual stay-cation absorbing as much Fringe as I possibly can. I’ll be reviewing for Plank Magazine and while I await my assignments, I thought I’d browse through the program guide and make a list of 10 shows I definitely want to see.

I have my favorite genres. They may not be yours. But if a show shows up in two or more of my favorite genres, it usually makes it to my top 10 wanna-see-list. These are numbered for my convenience (and perhaps yours). It doesn’t mean anything else.

Poetic genre

  1. Another tip: When TimeOut London says it’s good, it’s probably very good indeed.
Lock and Key Theatre
Surrey, Canada
Playwright: Deborah Brevoort

2. Electric Company’s 20th anniversary.

Electric Company Theatre
Vancouver, Canada
Playwright: Jonathon Young


3. On site Elegant Ladies Collective

I saw their Shakespeare piece – brilliant. And they donate ticket sales to charity. How sweet is that?

The Elegant Ladies Collective
Vancouver, Canada

Genre: Intellectual

4. Local Fringe Hero Ryan Gladstone’s latest

Monster Theatre
Vancouver, Canada
Playwright: Ryan Gladstone




Here’s how to select the “weird” ones:  one of my favorite Fringe genres.

5. Space Hippo

If you’re new to Fringe and want a relatively safe bet (there are no 100% safe bets) go for the ones who paid a lot of money to get here. Typically (but not guaranteed) they have reason to believe they’ll sell enough tickets to at least break even. Also I love that the playwright’s last name is “Wishes.” A Fringe tip: “puppet” does not necessarily mean, bring the grandkids…

The Wishes Mystical Puppet Company
Winnipeg, Canada
Playwright: Daniel Wishes

6. I saw Birdman last year and so I’m on for this one.

Gold Coast, Australia
Playwright: Trent Baumann


All Ages suggestions

Fringe is pretty dominated by well fringey topics not so appropriate for the grandkids. But here are a few I can recommend.

7. Travis Bernhardt’s !Unpossible magic show got 4 thumbs up from Em and Luke!!/events


Mary’s top picks

8. Tara Travis Fan Club Top Pick. This was one of my favorites a few years ago–turned me into a Tara Travis fan! If you haven’t seen it (and you like the “weird” category) go see it!

Monster Theatre
Vancouver, Canada
Playwright: Ryan Gladstone

9. It’s so hard to leave the Island where everything is happening – and the Fringe Bar  – but I’ll try to get over too see more Suburban Motel!

Punchback Projects
Vancouver, Canada
Playwright: George F. Walker

10. Not in the weird category?

Not sure why this didn’t make the weird genre list. It sounds weird to me and in fact was the first one that caught my attention on the first online perusal of all the listings. Hope it’s weird enough for me.

A dark and twisted folktale about a mildly farfetched, highly illegal immigration across metaphysical borders
Once Once Producciones
Mexico City, Mexico
Playwright: Paula Zelaya Cervantes


The Fringe program guide is so well big! that I decided my pre-Fringe goal was to select 10, but I  hope to see more. And I don’t know why I didn’t manage to include Mind of a Snail in this initial top 10. Because they’re very, very good.

Here’s a more considered list of top ten.

Our picks this week: ten (plus ten) shows not to miss at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival

I agree with seeing Martin Dockery – reliably excellent.


I’d love to hear your comments!

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