Monday, December 8, 2008

Art, Good Food, Some Shopping . . . must be a weekend

This photo is taken from the Vancouver Art Gallery website.

I've had such a good weekend, despite having to begin each day by working through a big pile of marking for several hours. Some productive Christmas shopping and some even better whoops!-I-guess-this-is-a-Christmas-gift-for-me shopping (I'll tell you later!), great long walks with Pater, a session of baby-sitting our new granddaughter (altho' Granddad Pater hogged her -- got her sleeping on his lap and wouldn't give her up), skirting the crowds at the Santa Claus Parade, some good meals at favourite spots, an Art Gallery visit, and catching some good movies. Very satisfactory indeed.

Vancouver Art Gallery: If you're in the neighbourhood, you really should check out the ambitious, impressive travelling exhibit (organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, curated by Connie Butler of The Museum of Modern Art, New York) called WACK, a show of feminist art from the 60s on. It takes up two floors of the VAG and surveys a comprehensive array of artistic approaches by women trying to represent women's lives and issues through the last four or five decades. Some of the conceptual art I admit to finding a bit tiresome -- once you've got the concept, the aesthetics of the work are generally exposed as ho-hum, even banal -- although I value very much the impact of this work at the time in moving feminist concerns into a societal limelight, getting them noticed. There's also work which has, for me at least, some inherent beauty or power that transcends immediate political efforts or statements -- Louise Bourgeois', of course, is an easy example, but there are many others. Go see!

And if you have energy and interest left after you see this massive show, go up one more floor and check out the Jeff Wall exhibit -- what this man (and others in the Vancouver school, especially) does with his huge, backlight, realist-documentary, colour photographs is very compelling. These images linger; I'm still viewing them in my own private gallery of closed eyes.

The meals:

We're getting soooo predictable. Yes, we had grilled calamari at Taki's on Thursday night, again, and we enjoyed it very much -- but we've both decided that good as it is, we'll branch out next time and check out some other possibilities in the neighbourhood.

We're not trying to shake up our Saturday morning post-run breakfast routine, though -- we had our usual Number 5 with buckwheat, coffees, cream and waters (as our young friendly, Francophone server always rattles off when she seats us, checking to see if we'll finally go wild and switch to Number 3 or Number 4 or . . .)

And a lovely bowl of Pho up the road after dodging the Santa Claus parade crowds Sunday afternoon -- do all Pho places smell as wonderful? The Thai basil and lime in this tiny place made me want soap that smelled exactly like it.

Probably the best meal was at Rangoli, Vij's little cousin right-next-door to Vij's, where we stopped to break up our long walk to our daughter's after Sunday afternoon's movie. They sell sous-vide packaged entrées (of Vij food, renowned internationally) to fill the freezer with, and they've got room for about 16-20 inside and then a heated, covered porch area with room for another 20 outside. We could have had an inside table if we'd waited 20 minutes, but we decided to chance sitting outside where our server brought blankets (Pater declined but I was wearing a dress and gratefully draped the fleece over my legs). The cold air (within perhaps 6 degrees of freezing) just outside our shelter, the picnic-style romance of the blankets, the appetite we'd worked up walking, the seductive, inimitable smells of mingled spices, all this made us even more appreciative of the meal. A plate of pakoras to share, Indian-spiced pulled pork on a bed of greens for Pater, curried lamb with fragrant rice for me, deliciously chewy naam for both of us, a glass or two of Chianti (yes, a questionable wine to match with Indian food, but we enjoyed it -- we were really craving a red), and then a rice pudding redolent with Indian spices, cardamom notable among them.

I was glad we'd broken our walk at this more-than-halfway point -- Mt. Pleasant/Main is always a bit further than I start out thinking it is. As we walked the next section, Pater commented once or twice that his favourite noodle place was just a few blocks away, and actually started thinking how busy they might be -- I couldn't take him seriously, given that we'd just finished a meal, but he ended up phoning Shao-Lin from B&A's place (where we picked up our car that we'd lent them for the day) and picking up an order of eggplant and tomato, pork-and-dumpling chives, and green onion pancakes which he happily hunkered down with in front of the news when we got home. He did pack half away to bring for lunch today, but still . . . And the guy fits the same 32 waist pants he did when we started dating!

I'll tell you about the movies later. How was your weekend?


  1. J'aurais préféré de beaucoup passer mon weekend dans votre superbe musée Mater. Chez moi ce fut un weekend de discussions politiques fédérales, quelle horreur! Cependant, la bouffe et le vin furent excellents.


  2. I could have passed right by you this weekend and never known - I was everywhere you mentioned (except the restaurants, but in the areas).

    Not sure what I think of WACK, in particular the fact that out of all the artists represented only two are male. That seems an odd gender breakdown - did so few male artists reference feminism during that time?

    The Art Gallery store was 20% off for members this weekend, and Charlie helped me buy the Blackbird, fly camera from Japan. I heartily recommend it.

  3. Okay, why have I not seen this show that was organized by MOCA/L.A. That is just wrong. I LOVE Jff Wall's work. He is sort of the male Cindy Sherman, in my mind. Sure, he isn't in the photos. But, they are both all about constructed realities, identity and narrative. I saw a retrospective of his work at MOCA many years ago and I became an instant fan.

    My weekend: eat, sleep, work and repeat. It doesn't sound exciting but it was productively satisfying.

  4. Ah, Orane, vous êtes d'ou? Canada? pas France? Yes, it was quite the weekend here in Canada for political discussions!
    Thomas: I'm sure we must have passed each other at some point! I did resist the Gift shop, though, with the 20% discount. That's a very cool-looking camera -- I'll be curiously watching your blog for examples of the images it produces.
    As for the WACK show, that 60s-70s period of feminism isn't associated with many male artists I can think of and there wasn't too much trust of those who might purport to be supportive, quite frankly (the history of their gender went against them, fairly or not).
    LBR: Sorry for the confusion -- the Jeff Wall exhibit was separate from WACK. I'm impressed that you know his work (although I know he has an international reputation -- we Canadians are always a bit surprised when our own artists, writers, etc., are known outside our borders).

  5. Oh I wish I had had the simple pleasures of your weekend, the show sounds great, the food even better. I am in the process of posting the shambles that was my Christmas weekend.
    There is nothing better than the smug satisfaction of getting a baby to sleep on your lap!

  6. materfamilias, I too admire Jeff Wall (and another Canadian, Ed Burtynsky). Getting a baby to sleep on you is #1 or #2, other top contender is getting a big chortle from her. My weekend included a visit to Body Blitz (therapeutic water spa) with a GF and Le Duc's sweetbread risotto.

  7. I don't even know how I ended up here, but I like. I'll be back!

  8. So grandpaterfamilias has turned out to be a baby hog! I'm sure you'll sort that out quickly :)

  9. Alison: Yes, a sleeping baby in one's arms has a way of putting the world in perspective.
    Duchesse: Yes! Burtynsky's great as well. I do look forward to the chortling stage, altho' this time round I know it'll come flying by and be over before we know it. . .
    Your weekend sounds great as well.
    Derfina: Thanks for stopping by, and do come back!
    Cybill: Yes, I'm going to have to keep an eye on that situation ;-)


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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