The Editor-In-Chief & The Articulated BusWednesday, June 28, 2006
A couple of thrilling things happened to me yesterday. One of them was in a B-Line 98, articulated bus. When I got on Homer and Davie on my way home, I spotted a handsome Japanese woman with gray hair. I removed my sun glasses and stared at her. Then she remembered the connection and said, "Ramona." I had photographed her and composer director Ramona Luengen for the Straight as a preview to the young person's opera Naomi's Road based on Joy Kogawa's (the woman on the bus) experience with her family in a Canadian internment camp during WW II. The opera was comissioned by the Vancouver Opera and it was a smash hit last year. I had met Kogawa socially before so I used the opportunity to chat with her and entertain myself on my way home. I brought up the subject of being typecast (to my wife's perennial distaste I am known by many in Vancouver to only photograph the opposite sex sans clothing even though in my past I did once specialize on sewing machines) and how it affected her. She told me she was trying to do this in a current book project. I told her about writer/artist Michael Kluckner who specializes in documenting historical locations and heritage structures in British Columbia through his watercolour paintings. He also provides historical background context. His latest book Vanishing Vancouver was very well received. Rosemary and I visited Kluckner and his wife rosarian and author Christine Allen in their Langley rose farm, Killara Farm on Sunday. They have sold it (and the sheep, the ducks and the geese) and all of Christine's old roses. They are moving to Australia. Both Kagawa (when I told her) and I understand their motive. They want to start somewhere where they are unknown. Kluckner wants to paint with oil and go abstract. He believes that he could not go to a Vancouver gallery and have his oil work judged objectively. As heart wrenching as it might be to leave their beautiful farm they are young enough to enjoy the thrill of change and adventure. "I want to go to an Australian gallery and have my work rejected (or accepted)without them knowing who I am," he told me as we sipped lemonade under an oak tree. I wonder what Kogawa has in mind and what her next book will be?
And something else happened yesterday that thrilled me, too. There is nothing like going through the length of the Vancouver Sun newsroom with the Editor-in-Chief, Patricia Graham (above right), into her office. You are noticed when you leave.