Looking Back at VSO, VAG, Money Laundering But Getting The Show on the Road; Defining Aspiration, Shiver Me Timbers; Groundbreaking

An Instagram saying from a new follower intoned: Don’t Look Back That is Not the Way You Are Going. That is generally my motto, my guiding light, my aspiration but not today. It suddenly occurs to me that aspiration will be a word of the day. It is a noun; desire, hope, longing, yearning, hankering, urge, wish; aim ambition, expectation, inclination, objective, goal, target, end, object, dream; informal yen, itch. It is definitely my aim, ambition expectation and yen not to look back but new information can require a backward look.

The source of the new information is CPI, my high school and university friend. She is highly intellectual, she is informed, she lives in Vancouver and keeps me abreast of the latest and greatest news emanating from that city where there have been groundbreaking changes in latitude and changes in attitude. Goodness gracious, already another word of the day: groundbreaking; it synonyms being innovative, inventive, creative, disruptive, innovatory, innovational, seminal, original, new, novel, fresh, unconventional, unorthodox, off-centre, unusual, unfamiliar, ingenious, unprecedented, avant-garde, experimental; pioneering, mould-breaking, trailblazing, revolutionary, radical, advanced, newfangled, new-fashioned, modern, modernistic, ultra-modern, state-of-the-art, futuristic; ANTONYMS conventional.

Here is some of the fresh, unusual, ingenious and newfangled news from Vancouver. There are three major areas of novel news. They are: VAG, VSO and Money Laundering. What a combination, huge news in each and every area – people, places and things that captured my time and attention during my residency in Vancouver. Huge changes have occurred within the last two weeks at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I was a frequent visitor to the building located in downtown Vancouver at Hornby and West Georgia. (I jokingly called it Horny and West Groping). The Vancouver Sun made the rather startling announcement that Kathleen Barttel’s contract had not been renewed – she had been the director for eighteen years. It was nothing short of amazing but then more news followed, made by the acting director Diana Augaitis. “Despite how it may appear, the recent departures of two senior staff from the VancouverArt Gallery are not connected. Ms Steiner hired as associate director and chief curator a year ago “has stepped down from the top art position at the gallery”. No reason was given. Steiner’s departure, announced Wednesday to staff came 10 days after Kathleen Bartels’ contract wasn’t renewed after 18 years as director.” Then later in the same article: “On Thursday, the Vancouver Sun reported that Mayor Stewart Kennedy said the departure of the two senior staff hasn’t jeopardized plans for a new art gallery building. He said securing the funding for a new home was “closer than ever.” .

How or why does this affect me? Well not these days as I no longer live in Vancouver, nor do I have any plans to visit. However, I was a frequent visitor to VAG, made friends with many many staff members and had an inside glance at how inefficiently and horribly the place was run. The construction of the new gallery was stalled and doomed for oblivion. Obviously, there was nothing I could do about it but my heart bled for the wonderful employees and wished for a larger gallery which could display Emily Carr’s magnificent painting. . Now there is a new regime, the old order has been repudiated, justice will reign and apparently there will be a spanking new art gallery. Uncle Dave is brilliant again: “Alexis! Stop fighting! Go to the sidelines, they will do themselves in.

Then a huge change at VSO, which stands for Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. VSO was huge in my firmament, I was leaving the bulk of my fortune to VSO but I was egregiously insulted by Mr. Middleton on my return visit to Vancouver In April. (Type Neil Middleton in the search engine of this blog to learn of the details.) I, a loyal patron, did suffer injustice at the hands of VSO, but in a way justice has been struck in a surprising move. The June 5, 2019 Vancouver Sun announced that the VSO President Lands New Job in California. The article went on to inform: “ The President of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra…..is leaving for the San Francisco Ballet , the VSO announced Wednesday.” Well, shiver me timbers! What does that phrase mean? An exclamation, of surprise or otherwise. This phrase originated from when the water or a canon would hit the ship, and the ship would shake. Hence, shivering, and timbers being the actual ship. The President, who joined VSO in November of 2015 was a definite mover and shaker – she was responsible for hiring my hero Otto Tausk, attendance dramatically rose, the massive centennial celebrations were under her baton, she had budget surpluses and increased endowments from 22 million to 30 million. It seems like she is coming to me and the or me the startling news is that she will be at the San Francisco Ballet, which is next door to my “homeless shelter” The Inn at the Opera. I happened upon a fund raising event in April and Instagram contains a video of me dancing with a young ballerina in a tutu that fell off. It was not my finest hour. But I met many volunteers and determined at that time to become a season ticket holder and join the ranks of the able and efficient volunteers. When in Vancouver I had met, and was very impressed with Kelly Tweeddale, she will be missed and leave a huge void. It somehow feels like a personal victory, an omen, a sign that all shall be fine. In humble moment it seems like I am not the centre of the universe but this is not one of those humble moments.

Money laundering is a whole other kettle of fish. Believe me when the decision was made to live in Vancouver I was totally unaware that the city was the Money Laundering Capital of the Word. Cash was accepted for luxury items, cars, real estate – you name it and it went on under the nose of everyone. I was observed a huge cash payment made at the Flight Centre, a travel agency. The acceptance of large amounts of cash turns the acceptor into a white collar communal so corruption and crime is rampant and an everyday occurrence. No one was doing anything about it and politicians and government officials were turning a blind eye to it all. It was not a victimless crime as the impossible real estate prices were a direct consequence. Of ready dirty money. However, things are being done and recognition of the problem is coming to the forefront. More about this later because it is necessary for me to get the show on the road. What does that mean? To begin an activity that has been planned.

What do I have planned? First there shall be breakfast, then a telephone call with the leasing agent for the apartment probably go and pick up a book that has been ordered, get packed because I am moving to my Marin Inn and last, but not least, the game where hopefully Warrior Man will meet his defeat and will be saying again to Alexis McBride:

He: You win.

Me: I hate winning. Hahahaha

Now I am being a liar because I love winning.

The photo is from the book given to me by Tracey for my birthday.


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