Monday, February 19, 2007

It's raining in Victoria


and I miss my friend Jeremy.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Vancouver, again.

It's Friday the 16th and I am back in Vancouver. This is the last place I expected to be this weekend but last Sunday, after I had attended Cayce's memorial service the day before, Derek Sheplawy called me while I was watching the Grammys with Wig and Ad. Since Derek never calls me and it was so out of the blue I knew it had to be bad news. Sure enough, Derek informed me that Jeremy Deighton ended his own life the day before. I was so shocked and stunned I think that I barely reacted at all. I didn't get much sleep (I had nightmares about James Blunt's face singing that horrible song at me) and woke up crying the next morning. I had no time to process Cayce's death and then had to immediately start making plans to get to Victoria for Jeremy's service.

On Monday I had to make my way to SFO for my flight to Portland. I cried all the way from 24th street BART to the airport. I called Bob Whittaker from the airtrain for moral support and started to feel a bit better (especially when he called my ex-boyfriend "creepy", which he sort of is but only Bob would come out and SAY it!) but when I arrived at check in and they told me I was too late for my flight I finally lost it. I started crying uncontrollably, the woman at the counter was as helpful as she could be and came around and hugged me. She even told me she loved me and offered to get me a sedative. We walked together to the medical clinic and she told me about her life and the people she has lost. I decided against the sedative and just went to my gate. I was thankful for the copies of Who is Bozo Texino that Bill Daniel had given me that morning. I lay down on the floor and watched the movie and ate the butt end of my burrito (El Tonayense, Super Veggie, no cheese) until I could board my flight.

Snow picked me up at PDX and I stayed over on her couch, I wasn't ready to face my lonely studio. The next day JW came over and we listened to the Damned (trying to find songs for Jer's funeral) and I cleaned my place. After JW had to leave Craig Thompson took the next shift and got me out of the house to walk downtown for Japanese food. That was just what I needed, fresh air and raw fish. The days got progressively less hellish until I arrived in Vancouver last night.

All I want to do now is see my dear, grieving friends so that we can comfort each other. If anything good comes out of times like this, one thing is that we all end our phone calls and emails with the words "I love you" because it's really important to remember to tell the people in your life and we get that now.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Inverness

On Friday the 9th I flew to San Francisco for my friend Cayce's memorial service. I was still somewhat in shock, desperately worried about his wife, Chela and sons, Django and Taj. Cayce ended his own life and it shocked many people. I knew that I needed to go to the service to give and receive whatever comfort I could.

On Saturday morning Windy, Laura and I drove to Inverness in west marin county, where the service was held. We took the more scenic route over Nicasio Valley road. I thought it would be too depressing to drive through the yuppie enclaves of Ross and Fairfax. Green, windswept hills, rain and grey skies made it really feel like we were going to a funeral and added to the catharsis. We didn't talk a lot in the car but remembered to tell one another that we loved and cared about each other like sisters (despite the bickering, Windy added, is she trying to tell me something?). Poor Laura had only learned about Cayce's death the day before because she had been in Germany. She didn't have any time to adjust to it before going to the service and she seemed pretty raw.

When we approached the porch of the house I saw nothing but long faces. It was painful, I didn't know if I was ready to see Chela. How can I explain how amazing this family is? I was so lucky to spend Christmas, 2006 with them as an honorary Jew. The five of us, with Chela's Mother, sister, brother, nephew, sister-in-law, and Jesse all went for a walk in Tilden Park. It was a gorgeous day and even though I really hadn't ever spent a holiday with these people, they made me feel as though I was one of the family. Chela and Cayce radiated a unique warmth which I was touched by the first time I met them. They were High School sweethearts. They broke up after school but came back together a few years later. They were the best parents I ever met. Elisabeth introduced them to Dmitra and Pascal because Dmitra and Chela were pregnant at the same time. The four of them were instant best friends. We were all a circle and now the circle is temporarily broken.

Several people spoke and Alan recited from Hebrew texts. Many people shared their memories. The hardest part was seeing Cayce's Mother, she seemed shattered. I knew that she is very ill herself and Cayce had been to see her in January. Glenn played Townes Van Zandt's If I needed you, and was really struggling with it when he asked for some help. I stood up and tried to fill in the melody to keep him going. If you know me, you know that I almost never sing in public. That was weird but I'll blame Cayce because of the musical encouragment he gave me. I was proud to sing for him, and I actually remembered the words.

The magic of putting 60 grieving people in a room together happened and by the end of the slideshow the mood had dramatically shifted. People were talking and smiling and remembering, hugging and appreciating one another. There was enough food for us all to live there for days. After the sun went down there were just a few of us, sitting around the fire, listening to Sean sing his beautiful songs. There was magic there in the house. Maybe it was Cayce's spirit, maybe it was just a room full of love. Whatever it was I think it helped us all to feel better, knowing that we were united by our love for Cayce and his family. I hope we can all remember.

Rest in Peace Michael Cayce Lindner 1968-2007


What I remember most is how much you made me laugh.
I remember the first time I met you and Chela and I felt so warm around you both, you gave me an image of a relationship to aspire to.
I remember you imitating Tim from Project Runway and making me laugh so hard.
I remember what a strong, caring father you were to Django and Taj.
I remember the love you showed for your family by your childlike enthusiasm for giving.
I remember the first time I saw you and Pascal together and I thought you had been friends for a million years but you had only known each other a little while.
I remember you sitting in the backyard with me in Oakland in September and telling me how you used to think that you were a loser and not as cool as the people that you liked and I remember thinking, “But they probably think they’re not as cool as you.”
The last thing I remember is the hug you gave me when I woke up on your couch the day after Christmas. We sat and talked for a little while and I remember thinking that I wished that I knew you better and that I was so glad to be a part of the circle that you and Chela have created.
I remember how many times Dmitra and I would say “Cayce is SO cool! Man, I love that guy!” Now I can only wish that we said it to you. Why didn’t I ever say it to you?
I worried about you sometimes, I knew that a darkness could grip you at times and that you were fighting it, fighting the darkness that made you feel like you weren’t good enough. I wish you knew, I wish you could see how good we all knew you were.

Toshi Sushi

So..all weekend long I was dreaming about eating at Toshi Sushi on 16th and Main, since I was working just around the corner, and on Tuesday night my friend Rob and I finally went there. It was great, we got there at 9 pm so there was no wait. We ordered kani (crab) sunomono, baked eggplant and agedashi tofu to start with. The sunomono was the best I have ever had. The vinegar was smooth and good quality, very lightly sweetened with a hint of dashi (fish stock) taste. The noodles were clear, glassy and slightly toothsome. The presentation was nice with real Japanese cucumber and lemon slice with 2 pieces of crab. The agedashi tofu was very good. Light and crispy with lots of green onion in the broth. The eggplant was okay, it was cooked to a mushy consistency and the sauce was a bit too sweet. Our next course was salmon sashimi. The slices were a gorgeous, deep red color, indicating real, wild salmon, cut small and thick rather than thin, which I prefer. Served on daikon and shiso leaf. We also had the tuna tataki, which we agreed was our favorite of the night. It was ever so lightly seared, sliced quite thin and served in a yuzu-soy sauce that had a perfect balance of acid, salt and sweetness. That tuna seriously melted in my mouth!
Next we had grilled squid in a ginger-soy sauce. I love squid but I never cook it, it seems like it should have been a little more tender and not so chewy. The sauce was very good but a little too sweet. Anyway, we ate every bite. We had two maki sushi rolls, unagi with cucumber and unagi with avocado and tobiko and only two nigiri, hamachi (yellowtail) and suzuki (bass). I ate the hamachi and it was perfect. All in all, it was the best meal I had all weekend. Toshi sushi is perfect for a casual dinner date but hey! Not too casual! The two men who were seated beside us spent their entire meal talking about therapy and bowel movements! I’m not kidding! I tried to record some of it with my phone because otherwise I didn’t think anyone would believe me! Our meal with one beer for Rob was $60 Can, including t&t.
Oh, and we both agreed that our green tea was really, really good! That meal was exactly what I needed after a week of hard work and no time to relax. Plus I got to eat it with Rob, the rock & roll posty, who all the girls at my opening were fawning over, even the gay ones.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Queen of Esquompton

Sometimes I wish they would just build the freakin’ bridge!
I grew up on Vancouver Island, which means a 1.5 hour ferry trip to get to or from home. I remember so many times as a teenager, sneaking onboard with my friends to go see a show in Vancouver. Then, as now, I would always bring teabags and make my own tea. Everyone always loves a Ferry Boat mocha, which is a hot chocolate from the machine mixed with coffee. On this trip I tried a Ferry Chai Mocha using the chai spice tea bags and it was quite good. The snack bar lady even checked the package for me when I asked if the hot chocolate was dairy and it is NOT. Ever since all those Ontarians and Albertans started moving to BC taking the ferry has sucked even more than usual. Now, it’s not ucommon to arrive at the ferry half an hour before the one you want and find that it is already sold out and you’ll have to wait for the next one. Sometimes the next TWO ferries are sold out! At least in the summertime they run every hour from 7am til 9pm. There is not much worse than sitting in the parking lot for 3 hours, waiting for your ferry. A reservation costs $18 and requires a credit card. If you are a foot passenger there’s no problem, you never have to wait. When I was a kid it was normal to go to the cafeteria for fries but ever since The White Spot restaurant took over the food I try to avoid eating on board. The White Spot is a BC chain restaurant best known for causing several cases of botulism poisoning in the nineteen eighties. The clam chowder has really gone downhill too, it tastes like they just switched to the cheapest possible ingredients. It used to be good though! If you need to get fries during the voyage I recommend asking for them well done because otherwise they are big, fluffy potato strips and not crunchy.

The breakfasts are a complete rip-off at about $7 per plate with pre-scrambled eggs sitting in a steam tray waiting for you to order them. I wouldn’t mind the salads if they weren’t served in giant, plastic, disposable containers. I think you can get a Caesar on a real plate. Of course they serve Starbucks coffee too. Anyway, you are always better off bringing your own food and drinks. I usually try to get some Chinese dumplings to go before I leave for the ferry.
The ferry has changed so much since I was a kid, it really started when they put in the frozen yogurt bar and coin-op massage chairs. They also built newer, fancier ferries which are much bigger than the old ones. The new ones are all called “the Spirit of…Coquitlam ", for example and the old ones are called Queens. I always think it’s fun to ride on the old ones, especially the one that’s named after me, The Queen of Esquimalt

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Li Che Mon Bee See


It’s been a little hard being separated from my van, especially because I left my pyjamas, my toothbrush and my phone charger in there when I dropped it off with Wee Wong on Thursday.

It’s funny that I spent almost this entire trip right on or near Main Street, which is where I lived in 1989/90 before moving to Montréal. First at 20th and Main and then the one bedroom at 7th and Main that I shared with
Ken Jensen. The neighborhood has changed so much and for the better! Vancouver is a city where I actually like to see lots of businesses open and flourish, even if they just sell soap or whatever. Vancouver used to be much more economically depressed and I’m glad that that is changing. It's not quite a yuppie hellhole, yet. I'm pretty sure there's still no Lululemon store in East Van.

Eva took me to get my car Monday morning and we stopped for breakfast at the Lion’s Den on Kingsway when we saw the “Breakfast all day” sign in the window. They were flying a green, gold, and red flag and the place was decorated with, guess what, Lions. Our waitress, Junko spoke with a really thick Japanese accent so I didn’t understand most of what she said. They serve a combination of regular eggy breakfasts, Carribean food, Cambodian food and Japanese food, including okonomiyaki! I ordered eggs over-medium and got eggs, over-hard, the hash browns were burnt, and the toast had margarine, not butter. Oh well...it was only $3.50 plus a dollar for tea. Junko told us the entire story of the taxidermied lion (which we didn't understand a word of) right above our heads and had us sign the calendar which indicated that they had been open for 2704 days. I’m sorry that my recording of Junko doesn’t include the very awkward exchange of me asking for my eggs over-medium.

I picked up my car from Wee Wong and then left for the ferry. I had some time to kill so I went to Value Village in Richmond . I always stop at the Value Village In Richmond because they have the best selection of Chinese tchochkes. This time I was looking for a new car mug to replace Palm Springs. I didn’t find one but I got a new blue tea thermos to add to my collection.Richmond is a suburb of Vancouver, which is home to the largest population of ethnic Chinese outside of China! I don’t know if that’s a fact but it sounds right. I go there every time I come to the lower mainland. I usually stop at the Daiso store in Aberdeen Center and get a mango, pomelo and coconut drink from the food fair. So good! If you go to Aberdeen Center in the morning there are lots of people doing tai chi and often you can see a dazzling light and fountain display! If there’s time it’s nice to go to Yaohan Center too and get some food at any one of the zillions of Asian restaurants in Richmond. When I was taking Chinese language classes my teacher told us that the word for Richmond in Chinese is Li Che Mon, say it really fast.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sunday Dim Sum

Got up Sunday at noon to go meet Ellen for Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah on Main and 23rd. Sun Sui Wah is exactly what you want from a Dim Sum place. The food is good and fresh and the place is incredibly busy! You have to get there before 11 am or after noon on weekends or else you will have to wait at least 30 minutes for a table. It’s worth the wait though, I know there are other good Dim Sum places in Hongcouver but Sun Sui Wah is so dependable, why would I go anywhere else? I actually really did not enjoy Pink Pearl on Hastings, the shrimp had a weird texture and didn’t seem as fresh. Ellen and I had clams in black bean sauce, deep fried squid, ha gow, shrimp and chive dumplings, tofu vegetable rolls, fried shrimp toasts and some other tofu and enoki mushroom dish. My favorite is the shrimp and chive dumplings, the clams were perfect and the shrimp toast was great, with crispy toast and moist, fried shrimp, topped with sesame. Ellen and I talked about my upcoming trip and a little bit of gossip. Hey! If two ladies can’t gossip at Sunday Dim Sum then where CAN they gossip?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Hongcouver!

Started installing the show on Thursday. The gallery, Blim, is a delight! Yuriko teaches screen printing and other classes there almost everyday. We have a really obvious aesthetic affinity so me and Blim are a natural fit. I went in there around the 15th of January and said I’d like to do a show and they said “How about February?” So I went home to Portland and two weeks later I was back to install. It seems as though it was all meant to be. Yuriko said she wishes my show could stay up all the time! Sweet!

I had to take my Van into the shop so Eva drove me to the gallery and helped me do some set up. We went for lunch at Hakata on Broadway. I chose it because I wanted to review some hybrid restaurants for the zine and Hakata serves Japanese/Vietnamese food. In my best case scenario I was hoping for tempura Pho or some crazy combination like that but it was really just a restaurant with a Vietnamese menu AND a Japanese menu. We ordered Bun Cha Gio Chay, vegetarian imperial rolls with rice vermecelli and Futomaki, Dynamite roll (no mayonaise!) and 2 pieces of saké nigiri for me. The sushi was better than the imperial roll, which was pretty greasy and served on a plate of warm noodles, the only salad was some brown iceburg and 2 cucumber slices. Lame. Normally it is served in a bowl which has a salad of red leaf lettuce, shredded cucumber and carrot, mint, peanuts and sometimes pickled onion with cold rice noodles and imperial rolls on top.
















Thursday night I stopped in at the Legion on Main street and ran into Jeremy Deighton and Derek Sheplawy, both from Victoria. We had a great time talking and catching up. Jeremy and I talked about really old times in Victoria. I have known those 2 since I was 14! I interviewed Jeremy for my zine project and it was quite beautiful, what he had to say. He'll be in the first issue, about BC. Jeremy and I shared 2 pints of Rickard's Red (apparently old veterans don't like good beer, because that is the best one the Legion serves) and then I drove his giant truck up to the Honey Hut. I was going to drive Jer home an crash at his place but after 20 minutes wating for the truck to warm up, by the time we got to Main and 48th Jeremy was sober enought to drive home.

Friday morning I discovered I’d locked myself out of the gallery so I went to Bean around the World coffee shop to kill time. I ordered a Soy Chai Mocha and the girl at the counter said “Are you from Victoria?” that’s the funniest thing I heard all week! I like Bean around the World because they have good tea and they try to recycle everything. Nobody there gives you a hard time when you ask for a real glass instead of a paper cup for water.

Friday night I took a break from the gallery and walked over to Alex Morrison's house, he's another friend from Victoria. Alex and Lucy had come from somewhere else and I think they may have drank a bit of booze. I drove Lucy’s car home to the downtown Westside and slept in the extra bed at her place. I was thankful to have a dark, quiet room and I actually slept in til 9 am. In the morning I walked from Lucy’s to Granville station, stopping at London Drugs to get a new memory card for my camera. Made it to the gallery by 10:30 and edited the video I shot to display in the window of the gallery.

Since I have no DVD burning super drive on my computer I was planning to transfer the video to Andrew’s computer and burn it on his drive. In order to do so I went back to London drugs on Broadway to buy a firewire cable and some DVD’s. Arrived at the Honey Hut at 5 pm with 3 hours left to get this video working. Got it transferred to the other machine and then discovered that Andrew’s copy of iDVD does not work properly so I was unable to burn a disc. You know, if I have learned anything about making art shows it’s this: There will always be one thing that doesn’t work. By that time anyway, I was starting to feel the stress of the show and I knew that if I tried to make everything perfect I would have a meltdown. I also knew that if I could just sit down and eat a big bowl of noodles that I would feel so much better!

So, I did some laundry so I would have a clean shirt to wear to the opening. I had slept in the same clothes for 3 nights, which is actually unusual, even for me. Eva lent me her car to go to the gallery and I stopped for veggie pho at Vietnamese restaurant on Main street.

Super friendly service, they are one of the only Vietnamese joints in Vancouver that I know of that make veggie soup and imperial rolls. The vegetables were a little over cooked but the broth was good and served quickly. I considered going to Hawker's Delight across the street, which is a great, cheap place to eat Singapore/ Malay style noodles and street type food. I also always love the tofu curry at Mui Garden, also across the street. That block of Main street is one of the best areas for food in Vancouver. However, I knew I wanted noodles and I knew the Vietnamese place had the veggie hook up. I also knew that the nice man there will bend over backwards to make you what you want and PLUS I got a parking place right in front!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Going to Vancouver

First thing the morning I was leaving to set up my show in Vancouver, BC my favorite mug cracked and broke when I poured hot tea into it. Earl Grey and honey all over the floor and counter. Palm springs rainbow mug gone forever.

Set the day back on track with a phone call to Bob Whittaker, who was at his cabin 300 miles NE of Seattle. Sometimes I think he just SAYS it’s 300 miles so that I don’t try and go up there. Anyway, good to know that after all these years Bob still loves me. (He said so, that’s how I know, plus he sends me pics of himself all the time.)

I left 2 hours late for Vancouver and had a phone chat with Bill Daniel during rush hour going through Seattle. I have never met Bill but I sure loved his film, Who is Bozo Texino? It was Kal Spelletich from SF who put us in touch since we are 2 van living hobo artists out to change and inspire the world. It’s great to talk to someone who fully understands the need to travel, and the ups and downs that go with choosing that lifestyle. Interesting too, because most of the people I know who travel a lot are musicians and Bill is traveling around showing his film! I can't wait to hear all the travel tips and advice that he has!

Arrived to Amy Honey and Mandrew's Honey Hut exactly 6 hours after leaving Portland. Greeted by Honey and her sister Eva Makebelieva then joined by Mandrew, Goose and Dee, who was leaving the next day to tour the east coast, western Europe and Africa with Po' Girl. Lots of hugging and shrieking all around. Amy and Andrew have hosted me and a constantly revolving crew of hobos and musicians over the years. It’s absolute luxury now that they moved out of the 3 room apartment above their record store REDCAT, and into a real house!

Then on to a Wednesday night house party near 12th and Windsor. With Amy Honey wearing lipstick and everything. Super nice party, lots of warm, friendly folks and good music. So glad to be back in the 'couve!

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