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Little adventures

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.

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!

Little adventures

glamping at rockwater secret cove resort

glamping and getting our ewok on!

ever since a friend of mine told me about the rockwater secret cove resort on the sunshine coast, i’ve always wanted to go here. i suppose a 7th year anniversary is as good a reason as any.

getting to rockwater secret cove resort was a breeze. just a short 40 minute ferry from horseshoe bay to langdale. then a 45 minute drive up the coast to halfmoon bay. in less than two hours, it felt like we were a world away from vancouver.

imagine panoramic ocean views, coastal indigenous forest, arbutus trees, and a fun treetop boardwalk that reminds one of return of the jedi.  and that’s even before getting to our tenthouse suite #57.

the tents themselves are beautifully appointed with heated slate floors, hydrotherapy tub, shoji screens, a fireplace, kingsized bed and a private veranda.

some pics:

hydrotubas beautiful as it was in the day time, it was even more magical at night…

tent57and because this is vancouver in march, we experienced some intermittent rain, but we didn’t mind at all. how could we? nestled in our bed with the fireplace on, we delighted in listening to the rain bounce off our canopy roof.

turn off your devices. bring some books with you. go on some hikes. and sit in the disco bath. seriously, your cares will just melt away staying here. we only wish we could’ve stayed more than a night. perhaps for a 10th anniversary, we’ll treat ourselves to an entire weekend at the rockwater secret cove resort.

usfor more pictures, press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

for more pictures of the tenthouse suites, click here and if you’re wondering if it’s really as good as it looks, yes it really is.

Little adventures

a scandinaive birthday

the only thing i wanted to do for my birthday was to have a soak at scandinaive spa in whistler. it’s funny because i’ve never really thought of myself as a hot spring kind of person. i don’t like feeling uncomfortably hot. being submerged in the jacuzzi at the neighbourhood pool or enclosed in a sauna is not my idea of a good time.

but ever since harrison hot springs and the blue lagoon in iceland, i can really appreciate the relaxing ritual. it also helps if it’s outdoors and in a nature setting.

and in scandinaive’s case, the clincher was that there’s still some snow on the ground. i really wanted to experience scandinaive spa in a winter setting. i’m sure it’s just as relaxing in the spring/summer, but there’s something magical about being surrounded by a snowy forest. (although there was no more snow on the treeline due to our very mild winter this year)

sean and i did four circuits of hot pools and thermal waterfalls, followed by ice cold baths before relaxing in the solarium and by the outdoor fireplace. four circuits in about 2 1/2 hours. who knew that i’d enjoy it so much?

i think we shall have to come back next winter. thank you sean for a lovely, relaxing birthday.

Little adventures

hanging with birds of prey at raptors ridge

raptor hawk
on what was without a doubt, the hottest day of the year (so far), sean and i made our way out to maple ridge to hang out with some hawks at raptors ridge, a conservation for birds of prey.

for the hour and half that we were there, we got a tour of the facility, got some basic instructions on how to handle a harris hawk and a red tail hawk, went for a forest walk with the hawks on our fist and then free fly the raptors in their flying field.

some photos of our day:

raptors forest
raptors 2
raptor 3
i did have to overlook the fact that the handler was feeding them little pieces of chick chicks for food and to incentivize them to fly to us from across the field. insert sad, teary, frowny face emoji here. it was a little bit upsetting but i had to compartmentalize my personal feelings because raptors need food too. still, i couldn’t help but feel alittle sad.

that aside, the whole experience was pretty cool and it was such a great way to learn about raptors and get close up to them.

Little adventures

a visit with seattle friends

second time to seattle in so many months. this time we stayed at this quaint little house on mercer island, where my friends also live. i adore mercer island. it’s only 2 stops away from downtown seattle, but it feels completely removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.

unlike our most recent trip, we were able to spend some time with my friend and his family. sean and i also got to visit bruce and brandon lee’s graves at lake view cemetery, something we were not able to do on our last trip. to be fair, we crammed a lot in that trip: cirque du soleil show, 2 cellos concert and star wars exhibit at the EMP.

some pics from our quick getaway:

on carousel
ollie carousel
gabe carousel
kiddie carousel
lee graves
lee graves2i hadn’t been to bruce and brandon lee’s graves since the early 90s, not long after brandon lee was killed, so the visit was way overdue. sean had never been before, so i also wanted him to see it – sean being such a big martial arts fan.

and even after all these years, there were still fans of all ages, coming to pay their respects. there were three people there when we arrived and another two that came while we were there. so if you ever go to lake view cemetery and are not sure where the lee’s final resting place is, just look towards the top of the hillside and they’ll most likely be fans already there.

until next time, seattle!

Little adventures

6 years!

cirque du soleil. star wars exhibition at EMP. 2cellos concert. airbnb stay and an introduction to uber. might sound a tad geeky to other couples, but for us, it was a great way to celebrate six years together.

Little adventures

kurios: a steampunk cirque-cus

seeing is disbelieving. reality is relative.

and with that, i could not think of a better first cirque du soleil show to attend than kurios: cabinet des curiosites. the steampunk girl in me have been excited for this since they kicked-off their traveling show in san francisco last year.

although cirque has brought their traveling shows to vancouver – although not this one – i always held off going because i wanted my first show to be special. memorable. i would’ve wanted to catch a resident vegas shows over any that came to town. i would wanted to see the beatle’s love, michael jackson one or O. but i was   happy to pop my cirque cherry with kurios.

sean and i absolutely LOVED it. it had all the retro-futuristic elements that appealed to us: the half-machine/human neo-victorian era characters, victrola record-players, electric lights glowing in bell jars, ancient locomotive, the large mechanical hand making its way around the stage, underscored by the sassy 1930s french jazz music. and the teensy weensy mini lili played by antanina satsura, one of the 10 smallest people in the world. the 3 foot, 40 pound woman who lives in her host’s metallic belly is utterly charming as she serenades the crowd in her tiny rowboat.

click here for more on satsura and 10 other curious facts about kurios. but in the meantime, check out where we were seated! good seats, right?

my favourite acts were the one with the 4 asian contortionists as eel-like creatures, the team of high jumpers bouncing sky high on a huge net trampoline, the upside-down dinner party slash parallel universe and the goggle-wearing aviator in his biplane, swinging high above our heads a la moving pictures style.

and the exquisite costumes!

the show was reminiscent of the city of lost children, the extraordinary adventures of adele blanc-sec, the prestige, hugo, league of extraordinary gentlemen and van helsing. if you loved the movies and are a fan of jules verne, you’ll love this show.

cirque kurios
it was theatre of the absurd and whimsical, with oddball characters that made me wish i could run away and join this very circus. go see this show!

Little adventures

going back in time with vikings

it wasn’t all work and no play at our annual conference. on the last day, which was a half day, i had the afternoon free before our mardi-gras themed dinner. and how did i choose to spend it?

at royal bc museum for the viking: lives beyond the legend exhibition, of course. it was a pretty big deal, as victoria was the first north american stop. there were 500+ rare artifacts on display including jewellery, swords, axes and clothing.

as interesting as the vikings exhibit was, i actually enjoyed the natural history gallery more. the gallery was broken up into different sections featuring animals from a coastal forest, tidal pool and seashore. plus there was an impressive statue of an ice-age wooly mammoth and wall of ice.

i also enjoyed the many imposing totem poles in the first peoples gallery.

if you’re interested in first nations culture, there’s the our living languages: first peoples’ voices in BC interactive exhibition, which just opened this past summer. here, you’ll discover the incredible diversity of 34 first nation languages.

a well-spent afternoon of culture and history before putting my game face back on and diving back into work again.

for more pictures of my time at the royal bc museum, press play to start the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

Created with flickr slideshow.