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!

July 18, 2016

Insert Words – and she did

If you’ve heard about the 91-year-old woman sometimes called “the old lady”, crone, “hapless pensioner”, granny or… retired dentist who took the title of the piece as instructions you might be interested in seeing the piece by Arthur Kopcke. I didn’t find it easy to find an image and still am curious about the size. My understanding is “Insert Words” is the title of the piece. Here’s a link to (not very good) images:

He has others titled “Fill with Imagination” – showing a white hole in the centre. Maybe someone will do an Arthur Kopcke colouring book so we can all add to art works that could be mistaken for cross word puzzles and fill collages with our own imagination. Indeed, I might do a series as homage to Arthur Kopcke along with my “Signs” series.

Good thing no one took the piece titled “Cut Along the Lines” literally.

The series is called Reading Work Piece. I learned Kopcke died in Copenhagen and has another series that in English (translated from Danish) means Best Partial Contexts.  Now, that I could fill with my imagination!

Here’s the Telegraph article:—only-to-discove/

What did she use? A ballpoint pen it seems.

Through my google searches I learned a lot more about the other artists who were part of the Fluxus movement. Several had pieces in the recent MashUp exhibit at the



June 23, 2016

It’s raining on the labyrinth, and that’s a good thing

The thing about being a gardener is that you like sunshine and you like rainfall just as much.

I was motivated by the expected rainfall to do some gardening in my labyrinth at 49th and Fremlin – harvested some compost and added to some of the transplanted calendula too. I’d spent four hours yesterday and three on Tuesday, trimming some of the edges, so was surprised when a friend arrived last night and said, “Your labyrinth is looking ‘wild and woolly’.”

“Well, parts are wild and woolly and other parts have been tamed. It’s a dance,” I replied.

I love that people come by and chat with me.  Last night two men probably in early 40’s complimented me, “I like your design.”

“It’s a labyrinth,” I responded. “A walking meditation.”

“Cool,” they said as they checked their smart phones and walked on.

I usually do at least some work on Sundays after church, so I’m looking forward to checking on the balance between wild and woolly and tamed, domesticated.

June 23, 2016

No straw. No ice. No cream. No sugar. Please.

I just posted the following to White Spot’s facebook page. I knew that avoiding plastic straws was going to be challenging. The friend I was with suggested I get a business card size item made and just put on the table any time I’m at a restaurant. Since I drink my coffee black, thought I’d add that too. A retired sign-maker calls these the, “no no no no no” signs.


NO STRAWS PLEASE. I recently pledged as part of a focus on eliminating plastic straws to not use them. The trouble is, it’s so rare I have a hard time doing a “preemptive strike”… Now most stores ask: do you need a bag? In the old days, you had to be quick and say; NO BAG. I HAVE MY OWN. Serving a plastic straw with water (came with ice, even though I did say NO ICE.) is just not a good thing. Please stop automatically putting plastic items in beverages. You know what? I’ve heard Tofino restaurants now have PAPER straws. This could be a White Spot Heritage thing – Nat Bailey didn’t use plastic straws, right?

June 20, 2016

Could it be a sign? And if so what does it mean? – my current art series…


Three friends pointing to their favorite sign – at the Roundhouse Artists in Our Midst opening Wednesday, June 15.


This is the “before” picture. I delivered the 12 pieces and got to put them in the order I felt they worked best. The following day, they went up on the wall and lighting adjusted.

I’ve been working on a series of small 8″ x 8″ canvases that are loosely grouped as “signs”. Many have letters or numbers; Some have labyrinth symbols; some maps. In a way, it’s just a continuation of other work such as “Mapping the Journey” (lots of maps) and “Incubating Poetry” (lots of words that could be incubated into poetry).

Saturday morning before heading off to sit with my art – mainly the “signs” series (that was still looking for a more interesting title) – I heard a CBC interview with Genevieve von Petzinger about her book The First Signs.

Could that be a sign? And if so.. what does it mean?

I tend to pay attention to synchronicity so have now put the book on hold at (I’m #16 for two books). and have been googling all over the place, liking her page and photos etc.  After several hours I have finally found a place where the distinct geometric signs she’s catalogued can be viewed.  She says 32, but this lists 28, so not quite sure, but I’ll find out why four of them aren’t included.

Here you go:

I’ve collected way too many links and ideas to put it all here, but fortunately Genevieve has quite a distinctive name so if you want to know more, GIYF (Google Is Your Friend.)

So I think I’ll call my series: Could it be a sign? Maybe even with the subtitle “and if so, what does it mean?”

And further more, I consider “meeting” Genevieve at the start of an art show weekend means that I should keep thinking about and making art about signs.

June 7, 2016

Are You “Gung Ho” about Gong Fu Cha style tea?

The new Creative Neighbours Salon series will be featuring  Sarah Jacobs serving you tea – Gong Fu Cha style — from 6 to 7 pm at the second salon on  Sunday, June 12, 2016. l+printz_eby+office_1

The salons are usually on the 4th Sunday, but since both the 3rd Sunday (Kits Car Free Day Block Parties) and 4th Sunday (Greek Day on Broadway) are big Kits attractions,  the group decided on the second Sunday for June.

From 7 – 8 pm, several of the Artists in Our Midst exhibiting artists who will be opening their studios to the public the following weekend (June 18-19) will be on hand to introduce themselves, their art and their creative process.

Continue reading

May 16, 2016

International Visitors to the Vancouver Unitarian Labyrinths


Unity Way Labyrinth – the “home” labyrinth of our visitors.

On Sunday, May 8 (significantly the day after World Labyrinth Day), I was working on “my” labyrinth at 49th and Fremlin (one east of Oak).

A couple arrived, looked at me quizzically and said, “We’d like to walk the labyrinth.”

“Of course!” I said enthusiastically, and moved to pruning the hedge so they could enjoy some privacy.

When they finished, they hugged. And then they each took a photo of the other on the “flower labyrinth”.

So I felt it was OK now to approach them and ask how they knew about the labyrinth.

Here’s their story. They live in San Diego, attend the Unity Church which has a labyrinth. They were here on a trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They were travelling to Vancouver on World Labyrinth Day so didn’t get to walk a labyrinth. They went to the Labyrinth Locator (where I had just registered our two labyrinths a week or two prior) and we weren’t far from where they were staying.

“There’s another one here.  We’re going to walk it, too,” they said.

“Great!” I responded and pointed, but they were already well on their way to the courtyard having done their research.

BTW, this year World Naked Gardening Day (the first Saturday in May) was also on world Labyrinth Day. Boggles the mind.

May 7, 2016

Art and Philosophy at DOXA Documentary Film Festival

Compared to some of my Unitarian friends who prioritize the (overtly) social justice films at DOXA, I always feel like a little bit of a light-weight as I go to the schedule and click “art” and “philosophy” to select my top picks. That said, I was volunteering last night with a first-time volunteer who was of the social justice priority type, affirmed that “art is about social justice.” I so like nice people.

She and I got to go in to see “Love Bite” about the art of Laurie Lipton. Filmmaker Scott James was there and we got to tell him afterwards that we were both going home to google “Laurie Lipton”.

Her current work is commentary on the negative side of the U.S. culture and society, especially technology and greed.  She calls the series Techno Rococo.

She comments in the film that when she was speaking to a group of high school students about her critique of how the country is going, she was asked: But what are you DOING besides complaining?

Her answer: I draw.

She draws about 12 hours every day.  To see what she produces (currently very large pieces, approximately 6′ x 9′) go to her website or facebook page (where close to 150,000 people LIKE.

Lots more films at DOXA – If art is your thing, The Final Escape on Tuesday night is about the cave drawings in France. It’s my top pick. I begged to move my book club in order to attend (They complied.) #doxa2016




May 7, 2016

Walk a Labyrinth today – for World Labyrinth Day

FremlinLabyrinth2016-03-19Yes, there really is a World Labyrinth Day. And it’s today–May 9th.

I’ll walk the labyrinth at the Unitarian Church tomorrow because today I’m caught up with DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

The 49th and Fremlin lawn/flower labyrinth is doing well and attracting neighbours. Yesterday we planted some spring bulbs a friend gave me – leftover from her best intentions last fall when they didn’t get planted. The “Just Kissed” tulips felt a little soft but the White and Yellow “Cheerfulness” daffodils seemed in good shape. Hopefully they’ll settle into the ground, enjoy the summer and be ready for next spring to share their cheerfulness.

Plants, especially bulbs, are very welcome – seeds too. Just no invasives please and nothing that’s likely to grow beyond 24″.

March 29, 2016

Mashup at the VAG for seniors – by donation on first Mondays

Here’s a tip for those of you over 65. The Vancouver Art Gallery is offering seniors the special opportunity to visit “by donation” on the first Monday of each month. 10 am to 1 pm. I’ve now been to MashUp five times. The member newsletter recommends going multiple times, but I may not have a lot more visits in me. They also recommend starting from floor 1 and working your way up – which is in reverse chronological order.  Me, I’m a 4th floor kind of gal.MONDAYS:  April 4 | May 2 | June 6

On the other hand, if you go frequently and enjoy the  guided tours on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, here’s another tip. I did the math for you. Seniors can purchase a one-year membership for $55. All memberships come with two free passes to bring a friend (of any age). Since the regular price for a one-day visit is $18 for seniors and $24 for adults, if you were to come just once with two friends, the total value would be $66. You’ve already saved $11 and you can visit any time over the remaining 350 days or so.  As a member you also get to bring a guest to opening nights. Make yourself popular.

The other thing I learned recently is for persons with disabilities (of whatever age) their membership comes with an additional membership card for a caregiver  I went to the opening with my friend, Keiko Honda, who is in a wheel chair and I certainly learned that this would be a welcome and needed benefit.  As we were trying to leave (exhausted), I realized in a busy room people standing simply don’t see someone in a wheelchair. Just at the moment Keiko asked her 11-year-old daughter to walk in front of her, it had finally dawned on me that without someone “blocking” for her, it would be very slow and very frustrating. At times such as when we were getting into the elevator, the other visitors were very respectful and polite.

I got a few other insights into some of the accessibility issues. Some display cases are difficult or impossible to view the contents from chair-height. They’re designed to be looked at from above. Keiko very graciously said, “Yes, I do get a different perspective.” Also, while I can understand that they want people to use the stairs and escalators if possible, if I wasn’t already familiar with how to find the elevator, it would have been difficult to find.

The show is interesting, more about that later. I’ve been five times now. Membership has its benefits. Another member and I have dropped in for less than an hour when we’re downtown for other reasons.

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