Lost in the music

the kills return to vancouver

the kills
although i haven’t kept up with the kills latest albums in the past few years and that i haven’t seen them play live since 2009, i had no doubt that their may 31 show at the commodore was going to be killer. i was right. lead singer alison mosshart is one bad ass front woman. she owned that stage. guitarist jamie hince is still as mysterioso as ever. and the duo still has that “it” factor, that palpable chemistry on stage.

sean hadn’t ever heard of the kills before the gig, but afterwards, he was a total convert. mission accomplished.

here’s the setlist:

if you missed the gig, check out their performance on CBC2’s the strombo show on sunday:

Little adventures

mash up: the birth of modern culture at VAG

billed as a ground-breaking exhibit, mash up: the birth of modern culture at the vancouver art gallery would feature mash up strategies employed by 20th century artists such as picasso, marcel duchamp, jean-luc godard, andy warhol, keith haring and more. it would also be the first time an exhibit would take over the gallery. 371 works by 156 artists, filmmakers, musicians, architects and designers spread out over all four floors. 3 years in the making by 30 curators. that’s what hooked me.

i know i can be hard on our cultural institutions in vancouver, because of the much more amazing things i’ve seen and experienced in cities like new york, san francisco, LA, london and paris. i still view vancouver as a “big small city.” whenever i hear someone rave about our culture offerings, i can’t help but to think that they need to travel more.

so i was très intéressant when i read about the set up and the works to be featured at mash up: the birth of modern culture.

the floors were organized by themes:

floor 1 – the digital age: hacking, remix and the archive in the age of post-production

floor 2 – late 20th century: splicing, sampling and the street in the age of appropriation

floor 3 – the post-war: cut, copy and quotation in the age of mass media

floor 4 – early 20th century: collage, montage and readymade at the birth of modern culture

it was a mix bag. there were a few neat things, a few ok things and lots of meh things. i felt a little duped when the sign outside loudly advertise a work by quentin tarantino, and then it turned out to be just a reel on repeat with a couple scenes from kill bill. same with william burrough with one of his book being displayed, plus 3 recordings. or jean-luc godard’s pierrot le fou and 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle being screened, as well as, one U2 video and one brian eno recording. but the VAG did include works by jean-michel basquiat, jeff koons, andy warhol, marcel duchamp and keith haring, which was good.

here are the things i really liked:

cory arcangel’s recreation of arnold schoenberg’s opus 11 entitled drei klavierstücke (aka three piano pieces). this multi-screen installation featured kitty youtube videos. so fun.

another mountain man aka stanley wong’s exhibition featuring those ubiquitous red, blue and white striped plastic bags commonly used by asian people to store items that they’re hoarding. using these multipurpose striped bags, wong creates large scale and immersive installations.

tobias wong
tobias wong’s stark lamp chair. i only wish there were more tobias wong pieces. museum of vancouver’s object(ing) exhibition of 2012 was a really comprehensive retrospective.

a recreation of futurist painter and musical composer luigi russolo’s intonarumori, italian for “noise intoners.” russolo developed 27  types of intonarumori with different names according to the sounds they produced: howling, crackling, thunder, crumpling, gurgling, exploding, buzzing and so on.

i absolutely loved the wall sized print of jacque villegle working.  i want this on my wall!

but my favourite thing, as i’m sure are many people’s, is barbara kruger work on the walls and floor in the VAG’s rotunda. when you’re on the higher floors, looking down at the philosophical quotes, done in all caps black and white, it’s quite the impressive sight – winding around walls, crawling up staircases and inhabiting niches.

overall, i found mash up: the birth of modern culture to be ambitious and interesting. i’m glad that the VAG decided to shake it up and exhibiting something different and modern (enough with the emily carr’s already). they still have a long way to go to catch up to london, new york, paris and such – but it’s a good start.

for the complete list of works, click here. press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

Lost in the music

pet shop boys super tour coming to vancouver

PSB super
in my tiny fists of fury, a pair of tickets to pet shop boys’ super tour!

how is it that in my history of going to concerts, i have never once gone to a PSB concert? wha!?! and i’ve been a fan since the 80s. i’m baffled. i suppose it was always something: scheduling conflict, sold out shows, deciding to go to another gig, etc.

well, it’s about time i rectify that. oh gosh, if being boring is on the setlist, i’m seriously going to lose it. favourite PSB song ever.

Little adventures

a visit with OJ the jaguar at the vancouver zoo

for sean’s birthday present, i surprised him with a behind-the-scenes tour at the greater vancouver zoo. the experience offered an up close encounter with either a hippo, lion, tiger, jaguar, baboon, black bear, red panda or variety of reptiles in a fun and safe environment. course, this did not mean being able to touch the animal or being in the same enclosure, as the zoo is a no contact facility. but as it’s a private tour, we would be in areas where the public is not generally allowed.

for $175 for 2 people, we would spend 45 minutes to an hour learning about our chosen animal and an opportunity to feed them a snack or treat. and the zoo team would take pictures of our encounter, so we didn’t have to and we could just focus on the experience at hand.

as sean is a huge cat lover, he chose a visit with OJ the jaguar.

we arrived at the zoo bright and early to meet with menita and her team. while we walked over to the facility, menita gave us some background information on OJ the jaguar, OJ for “our jaguar.” he’s 18 years old, born and raised in captivity. we had chosen a really great animal encounter, as he’s a very social cat and likes being around humans.

we were brought into the animalasium (their education centre), so that we could create an enrichment item for OJ, in this case, a cantaloupe stuffed with straw, jerky and cinnamon. the cantoloupe shape and the straw was to encourage OJ to paw and hunt for his treats. we headed over to OJ’s space to meet him. the team beckoned him into his secured indoor enclosure (where he sleeps when it was cold outside), so that we could go into his pen and lay down his treat. once we left the area, the indoor enclosure door was opened so that OJ can go back outside, into his pen.

no doubt he could smell us in his pen. but as much as he may have been curious about us, he seemed pretty happy with finding his yummy treat. he tore into it, a plume of cinnamon smoke being released into the air, while rolling around on the grass, as if it was catnip.

although he was a senior jaguar, he acted like a kitty cat. OJ was social and came up to us and rubbed himself on the fence. then he sat right against the fence, while we knelt down on the other side. we were so close, we could see all his teeth when he yawned. OJ is a really sweet animal and we were really glad we chose an encounter with a jaguar, instead of sean’s alternate choice, the giraffe.

here are some #DYK facts about jaguars aka panthera onca:

  • the jaguar is the largest member of the cat family found in the americas
  • all jaguars are spotted with rosettes, which are large open spots which ring smaller spots
  • the coat may be tawny yellow colour with very visible spots or may be melanistic (the black colouration) with the spots barely visible
  • as excellent swimmers, jaguars are generally found in areas near bodies of water, with dense coverage and plenty of prey species
  • built for power, not speed – large jaw, lean body with muscular limbs
  • hunt by pouncing on unsuspecting prey from a concealed location with a direct bite to the neck or skull
  • males on average are 10-20% larger than females
  • jaguars are solitary animals, as well as, territorial, except during mating season when they will seek out a female in estrus
  • most active during dust and dawn, and will choose to lay in deep shade during the heat or high up in trees
  • jaguars communicate through vocalization – often described as “grunts”

some conservation facts:

  • jaguar numbers in the wild are continually declining due to loss of habit, poaching for fur and persecution as a predator
  • they are found mostly in central and south americas, in the forest and wetlands. their lifespan in the wild is 12 years, compared to 22 years in captivity
  • humans are primary predator of jaguars, often poaching illegally
  • jaguars are a keystone species and their population directly affect population of other animals that share the same ecosystem
  • conversation efforts thus far has been focused on increasing legislation to protect from illegal poaching
  • the jaguar is classified as near threatened by IUCN (international union for conversation of nature)

after bidding OJ goodbye, we walked around the zoo to see all our favourite animal friends: arctic fox, capybaras, lemurs, african lion + lionesses, squirrel monkeys and the newest addition, the red panda!

arctic fox
red panda
press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

happy birthday, babe!