Picking the Right Fight

ISIS Ebola

The Prime Minister and Conservative Party are beating the war drums in Ottawa today, offering a motion on the floor of Parliament to have Canada supply warplanes in support of the US mission against ISIS. A vote on the resolution will pass sometime next week, enjoying the support of a broad majority of Canadians. It will commit more than 600 Canadian Forces, six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one aerial tanker aircraft to a six-month “limited mission” of air combat. The cost of this war has not been estimated; but Canada’s seven-month air war in Libya, which involved similar force and equipment commitments (650 personnel and 7 fighter jets at the mission’s peak) cost Canada $347 million.

ISIS is hardly the only source of bad, scary news these days. The ebola epidemic is on-pace to kill more people than ISIS ever could and has the likelihood of a much broader global calamity.  By all accounts, the international response has been way too small and way to slow. Canada’s contribution to “humanitarian and security interventions” addressing the ebola outbreak total a mere $5 million, although Canada pledged last week to spend up to an additional $30 million. The United Nations and World Health Organization have estimated that it will cost nearly $1 billion over the next six months to fight the spread of the epidemic.

Here’s an idea for Canada: take all the economic and military resources we are so ready to spend in Iraq and Syria and deploy them against the ebola catastrophe. Canada could exercise real leadership in this fight, thereby re-establishing its moral credibility on the global stage and demonstrating that it chooses its international engagements thoughtfully. Continue reading ‘Picking the Right Fight’

Ben Brown: Improvising His Way to Clarity

Photo by Harley Spade

Photo by Harley Spade

Ben Brown is a Vancouver treasure.  He is the brilliant drummer of JUNO award winning Pugs and Crows.  He is an in-demand session player who has played with fabulous emerging artists as well as illustrious established musicians.  He is Composer-in-Residence at the Western Front.  He is the mastermind and instigator of Music and Movement Mondays, a boundary-crossing improvisational exploration of music and dance.  He’s also a lovely guy.

And one more thing: he’s the subject of my recent interview on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Hey Kids, Let’s Put-on a Show!

Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere & Jamie Taylor in Sarah Faye Bernstein's Apartment(PLAY) – Photo by Harley Spade

Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere & Jamie Taylor in Sarah Faye Bernstein’s Apartment(PLAY) – Photo by Harley Spade

Director Sarah Faye Bernstein produced a one-week run of a terrific play (the title of which was all-but-undisclosed) in her apartment, with superb performances from Anjela Magpantay, Carmine Santavenere, and  Jamie Taylor, and excellent technical work by Daniel O’Shea, Annie Therrien-Boulos, Nancy Tam, and Clinton Ackerman. Bernstein’s energy, discipline, and willingness to work outside-the-lines seem to represent an important and promising trend in the city’s emerging art scene. With access to proper venues limited, more-and-more young artists are availing themselves of unconventional spaces and producing their own shows.

My review is up on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Eight Ounces Half a Pound: a Sculptural Exploration of Vancouver’s Racialized Labour History

Eight Ounces Half a Pound - Access Gallery - cell phone snap by MBJ

An exceptionally smart show is currently running at Access Gallery in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Work by Guadalupe Martinez, Katherine Soucie, and Tommy Ting take-on Vancouver’s racialized labour history, as well as the relationship between industrial labour practices and the rapidly evolving post-industrial urban context.

My review is up on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Spatial Poetics XIII: WeMix

photo by Noriko Nasu-Tidball

photo by Noriko Nasu-Tidball

The thirteenth annual edition of Spatial Poetics, a series of curated performances pairing artists from different disciplines in collaboration, was just presented at The Western Front. My review is up on VANDOCUMENT. Check it out.

Hot Choir in the City

 

Image

My review of a recent, largely inaudible concert by Jenny Ritter’s two great rock & roll choral ensembles, Mount Pleasant Regional Institute of Sound (MPRIS) and The Kingsgate Chorus is up on VANDOCUMENT.  Check it out.

Exuberant Hues: Ben Skinner Colours Back Gallery Project

BGP Ben Skinner Mirror Window B -small

I have a new review up on VANDOCUMENT, covering a a show by Vancouver artist Ben Skinner at the Back Gallery Project on East Hastings in Strathcona.

Check it out.


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the Miami Dolphins NFL bullying episode brings the evergreen topic of the idiocy of manliness back into focus.

.

Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

.

Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

.

America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the re-election of President Barak Obama has done nothing to turn America away from its recent ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprinted in frustration that a dumbass nonevent brought down David Petraeus, the most brilliant, influential, deeply flawed military strategist since Harry Potter.

.

India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

.

Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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