Monday, May 12, 2014

Thoughts about Mother's Day and Firehall Arts

*This post was begun on Sunday morning and finished on Monday morning.

I am thinking of so many mothers this morning, my own (no longer living), my sister, Bill's sister, our sisters' daughters and Chelsea, who's sweet Lilee-Jean was cruelly taken by Cancer.  The link to Chelsea's post is a heartbreaker but a must-read.  Never a mother myself, I nevertheless have profound respect for all who have dared to accept that ultimate life challenge. You are all in my hearts today. 

Yesterday was a good day in my city, and the meme Sundays in my City gives me a happy excuse to describe some of them.  Thank you Unknown Mami!  I hope you are having a beautiful Mother's Day.

In the morning, I rode with Black Jack to Stanley Park and left "our" bike in front of this lovely tree by English Bay.
I hoped to see baby heron chicks, but I guess they are still too tiny to be seen from deep nests at the top of very tall trees.  I did enjoy some lovely heron feathers on the ground.
 One mother with an expressive face waited for Dad to bring food.  There is a small shadow near the centre of the nest.  Could it be a chick?  Not likely, but it's fun to think so. 
On the way home, this mother walked alongside the bike path with her baby.  Many watched them.  I hope they will be safe.  Canada Geese are known to be amazing parents, but their job is a heartbreaking one, with 50% survival rate of the young being about standard. The little one seemed determined to explore his/her world, but I also saw..
 a lot of mimicry..
as s/he copied Mama's foot actions.
 Perhaps, not every moment..
 but enough to make it seem..
 more than a coincidence.
Here's a solo shot.  Babies are wired "cute" by nature for a variety of reasons that increase their chances for survival.  At least, that is my theory :)
Bill and I enjoyed our day on Saturday.  We went to Harrison Galleries for lattes and some crossword brain-work, but we also cycled in the evening to The Firehall Arts Centre to see the Spring Arts Festival.  Below, Sebastian Kroon, Pippa Mackie, Beatrice Zeilinger and Craig Erickson prepare for what turned out to be a stellar reading of.. 
"Fritters in Kandahar" by Peter Boychuk.  I turned from my spot in the front row to look back through the audience to snap this photo of the playwright.  His play won the Solo Collective Emerging Artists competition and deservedly so.  It is not for those easily offended by rough language and "mature" content, but there was never a moment when my attention strayed. Thoughts of it emerged on first waking this morning (Sunday) and continued to occupy my mind throughout the day.  Bill and I laughed out loud many times, but there was more than comedic brilliance to it.  (Post cont'd on Monday) I can't help but think that if we were to know the real reason some (many?) youth leave home to fight or support battles in foreign lands, we would recommend they take some time to grow up before they depart.  When "wanting to make a difference" has more to do with escaping an unsuccessful relationship, or looking for a way to "make it big" when life has gone awry at home, one shudders at the naivety.  Predicting who will survive an unjust-by-its-very-nature war experience and go on to lead some sort of fulfilled life is impossible.  There are as many stories as there are personality types and backgrounds, but I can't help but feel the odds are stacked against many young, wannabe soldiers.  "Fritters in Kandahar" allows us to laugh first, but perhaps, it opens some avenues of reflection by its conclusion.  I admit to feeling that if it keeps one young person from believing war is the best solution to conflict, it will have accomplished a great deal.      
I love that the Firehall Theatre is next door to a Police Museum, and situated in a poorer district of Vancouver known as the Downtown Eastside.  The range of economic and cultural backgrounds within its audiences is one benefit of its location.  One can't help but notice, however, the abundance of sirens and police cars in the neighbourhood.  Though our bikes would hardly classify as most likely to be stolen, I worried a bit when we locked them up.  Bill checked on them from the window of the room where we had watched the play.  All was well.  
Simultaneous performances took place in the courtyard (shown below) as well as in six other locations around The Firehall.  Admission was by donation (what a gift!) and audiences moved through the building as well as outside it, to attend the performances they had selected.  It was a difficult choice and both Bill and I were a bit sorry that we couldn't just move from one performance to the other in a dictated order, as we had a couple of years earlier at a similar event.  In fact, this way of doing things accommodated many more people, since there were other performances that could be seen if one location was full to capacity. 
I saw only the last few seconds of the performance here, but snapped a picture to give you an idea of the range of choices.  I loved the mural on the back wall of the courtyard.  More about that in the next post.
We were so happy not to have missed the performance below called "Double Faced Dyad" performed by Georgina Alpen and Charlotte Newman.  If you scroll to the bottom of the page of this link, you can learn more about their dancing partnership.
In the program, they describe "Double Faced Dyad" as a "mystical exploration of opposites inspired by Roman mythology and the mysteries of dicephaly."
Bill and I sat on a very comfortable sofa with a front row view of this mesmerizing dance.  
If ever you have the opportunity to see these women dance, I'd advise you not to miss them.  They are innovative and very talented.  As with the play, their performance continues to move in and out of my thoughts.  I don't think I will ever forget it.
I also loved this stain glass window just to the left of their set (designed by Jake Holt).
"Be Graceful in the Wind" took place on the deck.  We missed most of it as we had thought it would be in the courtyard.  However, Bill quickly recognized Julia Carr as the same dancer we had enjoyed at Woodward's Atrium at the beginning of the month.  You can see her in the first few photos of this post.
Here, we caught a glimpse of her at the top of the steps..
and here, she stands on her head.  The program stated that the dance "explores the spirit, magic and mystery of the forest."  Only now, do I begin to see that her costume actually mimics the trunk of a tree, with her legs depicting the branches.
There is Bill sitting at the table we had chosen, thinking we would see a performance in the courtyard.  I realize we should have read the program more carefully but to be honest, it was a little bit of a learning curve to figure out the best way of navigating all of the acts.  That said, the evening was, in my mind, a HUGE success.  We were stimulated and truly entertained by quality performances, and all for a small donation.  I am deeply grateful to The Firehall Arts Centre and its supporters.  
We took in one more performance before calling it a night.  Below, Delphine Leroux and Crystal Wills perform The Way They Walked Through the World, choreographed by Caitlin Griffin.
This was another case where reading the program more carefully would have been helpful.  We didn't realize that the dance "depicted the female experience of war" and was inspired by the women Caitlin met in Israel, and was dedicated to each of the Canadian soldiers whose boots appeared in the work.
Even with our lack of knowledge, the dance was.. 
interesting and beautiful to watch.  The poignancy of expression..
and movement, as well as the play of light..
and shadows on the wall kept us engaged and interested in the meaning behind the boots.
There were a couple of other acts that we could have seen, but Bill and I had absorbed about as much as our brains could handle, and we left the theatre feeling we had had..
a wonderful evening's entertainment.
Voices outside came from speakers.. 
that seemed to bounce the sound from the walls of this church kitty-corner to the Firehall where a small gathering watched yet another performance.  
Bill posed with the bikes..
and then we were off.  The bike path home is full of colour at night and we stopped..
to record a little of it..
on the way.
I am completing this post on Monday morning, after yet another day of adventure on Sunday. We are fortunate to have had more entertainment on the weekend than I could keep up with on the blog, but that is a problem I can definitely live with :)  Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone.  For more cities and sights around the world, take some time if you have it to check out the Sundays in My City blog meme. 


  1. i know you love art in all forms. :) love the little gosling! and the glaring heron, too. beautiful night reflections.

  2. Amazing. First I was mesmerized by the birds and then I was captivated by all the wonderful performances you got to experience.

  3. What an amazing place you live in. Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!