Pride prologue: days 566 — 575

Opening acts

We start on my birthday weekend, which was actually a week after my actual birthday. Blame my friends for having stuff already planned, and myself for planning things at the last minute. 47 isn’t a number with a lot of oomph, right? On the bright side, it’s just a number, and birthdays are arbitrary dates anyway. I can celebrate anytime, and did.

Sunday was the Pride Sports Day, formerly Picnic in the Park. Not only did they rebrand, they moved it from Brockton Oval to Second Beach. Probably for the best: more accessible, a bit more parking, more shade around the park, more stuff nearby. I kinda didn’t want to go, since it was hot, and I still had beach vball in the afternoon. But, a bit more practice wouldn’t hurt, I felt I should support Pride events, and it would get me out of the house. So off I went.

And it was fun! I ended up not playing much volleyball, instead sitting (in the shade!) in the VGVA booth. And eating popcorn.

Monday I saw pictures of BLM-Vancouver’s March On Pride. It looks like they added brown and black lines to at least one of the rainbow walkways at Bute & Davie, and I got the urge to see what it looked like as soon as I got out of work. Kinda faded now, but someone did helpfully point out that it was Art. And I agree.

Looks like the new 8-stripe rainbow (6 + brown + black) is spreading beyond Philadelphia. I wonder how it’ll compete with the old-school 8-stripe (6 + pink + indigo) even in the same city. That’ll be fun to watch.

Then, a bunch of non-queer stuff during the rest of the week. A little table under Burrard Bridge (do people actually use it? I guess that was queer in the sense of “odd”); a lovely shot of the evening sky from David Lam Park; some random sights and Canadian passive-aggressive graffiti on my evening commute.

On Friday I went to the Pride Premiere party at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was a fun time, though I got there too late to see the main drag acts. That’s because I was hanging out at a friend’s rented condo in the Sheraton Wall Centre. A deluxe apartment in the sky, you might say. It’s a gorgeous view of both the city and the sunset, but my acrophobia was acting up something fierce. I could not live long with these floor-to-ceiling windows, and the occasional bout of vertigo. No, seriously, I lost my balance twice in an hour. Guess I’ll stay in my 2nd floor apartment a while longer.

Saturday, instead of watching the fireworks I decided to get the hell out of the West End to watch movies. A very good one (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and a very not good one (this atrocity. Wasn’t even the first time I saw it. I regret nothing). Sunday was the last day of VGVA beach vball. That’s… kind of bittersweet. The summer’s not over, but it won’t stay forever. Silver lining: I’ll be grateful when the weather cools down.

More Pride events coming up this week. Vancouver’s only just begun to queer.

My 2018 Queer Film Fest schedule

Thursday August 9

It’s the opening gala, so there’s only one movie. A poignant drama set in the height of the AIDS crisis? Yep, I’ll take it.

Final choice: 1985

Friday August 10

1985 is playing again at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts that night, so let’s look at International Village. A creepy-weird family drama and a creepy-weird story of stalking and obsession? Yeah, why not.

Final choice: Octavio is Dead! and The Year I Lost My Mind.

Saturday August 11

I have other plans that night, so no movies. *sadface*

Sunday August 12

EITHER a documentary about Canada’s not-very-long-ago gay witch hunt which I’ll probably miss because of volleyball, a dramedy about dreams and drag in small-town Alaska, and an all-women’s comedy about crappy jobs and tech startups (International Village),

OR a showcase of Indigenous music on the theme of family, and local story tellers talking about their creative roots and inspirations (SFU GoldCorp).

The GoldCorp shows may be happening too soon anyway, so let’s go for International Village!

Final choice: The Fruit Machine, Alaska is a Drag, and Freelancers Anonymous

Monday August 13

EITHER two movies about avant-garde queer art scenes in NY and LA,

OR a showcase of local LGBTQ2S+ filmmakers and activists, and a documentary on San Francisco’s Imperial Council.

Hmm… I think I’m in the mood for some uplifting present and inspirational history.

Final choice: Troublemakers 3.0 and 50 Years of Fabulous.

Tuesday August 14

EITHER two erotic gay romance movies,

OR a two-part documentary on two young West Bengali girls who committed suicide, their past and never-to-happen future.

Final choice: tentatively, Al Berto and A Moment in the Reeds.

Wednesday August 15

EITHER the centrepiece gala, a romantic lesbian dramedy with themes of art, activism and racism,

OR another showing of A Moment in the Reeds followed by a documentary on a Black trans Brazilian singer.

Final choice: the centrepiece show, White Rabbit.

Thursday August 16

EITHER a documentary on Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman killed by a US Marine in 2014, and what looks like a musical about queer / trans youth in New York,

OR a retrospective on dyke cinema followed by a repeat of White Rabbit.

I mean, no point in repeating myself, right?

Final choice: Call Her Ganda and Saturday Church.

Friday August 17

EITHER a brand new showcase of trans, genderqueer and nonbinary stories, then a series of shorts centring trans women, then a lesbian romantic comedy (SFU GoldCorp)

OR a history of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus (yay!) followed The Coast Is Queer (York Theatre).

Now, I never miss The Coast Is Queer, so unfortunately I’ll have to miss The Coast is Genderqueer. Boo.

Final choice: We Are The Vancouver Men’s Chorus and The Coast Is Queer.

Saturday August 18

EITHER a documentary on the genderfluid Leitis of Tonga; the award-winning and atmospheric story of an Armenian trans man; and a gay Buddhist love story,

OR a showcase of Indigiqueer shorts and a look at life and love in Toronto’s indigenous communities.

For some reason I’m drawn to the moody, spiritual Buddhist love story. Also, the first documentary is done by the same people behind Kumu Hina, which I very much enjoyed.

Final choice: tentatively, Leitis in Waiting, Apricot Groves and Malila: The Farewell Flower.

Sunday August 19

Just the Closing Gala, which is absolutely not a happy-happy feel-good story.

Final choice: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Celestial: days 556 — 565

I’m seeing stars

It’s been quite the heat wave on the earthly realm of Vancouver. Hot summer days of bees pollinating rather dry lavender flowers or playing secret agent to save the city from a mad terrorist; less hot summer evenings of sunset reflections, dappled walls and green-roofed streets, and mornings of silly sticky things on city property.

And then you’ve got my birthday weekend. I hadn’t gone to the Folk Music Fest in many years and hadn’t planned to this year, but a friend asked me if I wanted to be in the lantern procession. Sure, I said, and made my way to Jericho Park. I wouldn’t anything to do until the sun went down, so I listened to some good music, ate some delicious food, and watched the scenery.

The lantern procession itself didn’t go so well, since there was so much wind we had to keep stopping to relight our lanterns—except for those fitted with electric lights—but I didn’t care that much. For however long it lasted, I loved being part of something this magical and beautiful. Most lanterns were five-pointed stars, painted in various pretty patterns. A few were rather more elaborate—hell, the photos don’t even do them justice, because that moth was actually carried on a little rig above the performer’s head, with mechanisms to flap the wings. Plus there was a TARDIS lantern that was unfortunately deemed too fragile to go out in the wind.

To cap off the weekend, on Sunday I witnessed some further-out heavenly bodies when the Moon and Venus appeared just a couple degrees apart in the night sky. I hadn’t gotten any good photos that day, and when I saw it all over my Twitter feed I realised this was my chance. It’s a great photo, if I do say so myself, way better than any other moon pic I took, even with my real camera. I do wish my phone had physical zoom, but c’est la vie.

Walkabout: days 551 — 555

Where do I go from here?

Last Thursday was the 1 year anniversary of my joining Gossamer Threads. Well, one year plus one day if you want to get technical. Since it was my special day and my choice, a couple of us went way out to Daisy Sandwiches to celebrate. Damn, I missed that place. It felt good to be back, with my new friends. It felt good to celebrate a whole year at a job I really, really enjoy despite occasional bouts of nerves and imposter syndrome. Here’s to another year!

Friday after work I walked up the Seawall headed for Stanley Park. My plan was to trek all the way to Lions Gate Bridge and shoot nice photos of the sunset… but I stopped at the marina. The rain was coming down, on and off, I wasn’t enjoying the walk so much, and worried the scenery just wouldn’t look good when I got there.

I gave it another shot the following day. I was feeling restless again, a great need to push against the envelope of my world though my feet were hella sore. I made it this time. It was good, but the best was yet to come. Because it was on the way back, and with my phone battery dipping below 5%, that I took the perfect shot of downtown Vancouver from the marina. I mean look at that, that is amazing. The colours are great, the composition is right, it’s an all-around winner.

Food after volleyball on Sunday, and wandering about Jim Deva Plaza on Monday. Not for the first time, and not the first time I shot those glowy signs either. A bit over a year ago, the night before my in-person interview with GT, I looked for…affirmations? revelations? something? Whatever it is, I think I’m looking for it again. Not out of nervousness about some easily quantifiable challenge, but worrying about finding my way forward, and how to build on what I have. I admit I feel lost sometimes and doubt my abilities, but I know I have the tools to connect the dots and pull me through—steadily, gracefully and strongly.

Road trip: days 546 — 550

Walkabout is good for the soul

Last time we looked back, but this time we’re going somewhere new: Surrey Pride!

I know Surrey’s in the GVRD, but it felt like a road trip, Holland Park being near the very end of the Expo Line. And true, it doesn’t look like much—some booths, a couple food trucks and a stage—but my friend and I had fun visiting the booths, getting our photos taken with the local Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and listening to some queer folk rock band from Abbotsford.

And here’s something I haven’t seen in a while: some Christian guy protesting a Pride event! When was the last time that happened? I do remember my first couple parades in Ottawa (’93, ’94), there were a couple guys at the start, just outside the park. Or parking lot. Wait, parking lot? Is that right? They weren’t big affairs back then… so yes, that does feel right. A high school or community centre parking lot, maybe.

Anyway. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it’s just a reminder that homophobia is not a thing of the past. This isn’t even about Surrey as such—I know it’s got a reputation, and the first time I went into Surrey was to protest SB36’s censorship of those gay kids’ books back in ’97—hate and bigotry can pop up everywhere. Even towns sporting a rainbow crosswalk (recently vandalised but now good as new).

Which I think makes it even more important for us Big City Folks to support the small Pride events. They have to deal with this shit a lot more than us. Next up for me would be Abbotsford Pride, yeah?

I was pretty much a hermit the rest of the long weekend, not helped by the iffy weather. So here’s a nice shot of Davie Street.

On Monday, though, I was feeling restless (maybe from too much hermiting?) and decided to take a long walk. The weather was better and I planned to just stroll through Davie Village and see what my camera could pick up. I ended up going all the way to the Seawall, then back via Denman Street. It’s beautiful, and I know I’d love living in that neighbourhood. I mean, if I could afford it.

Mind you, money isn’t everything. You just need to stop and smell the flowers… or zoom in on the ladybugs. This was as big as I could get it, though, which frustrated me a little. There’s no macro zoom on this phone, and when I moved in closed the camera wouldn’t focus. Oh well, at least I know my equipment’s limit.

The classics never go out of style: days 536 — 545

Same except different. Old except new.

A lot of familiar sights in this batch.

And you know what? That’s okay. I don’t have to strike out every day to explore new worlds and new civilisations. Sometimes I tell myself I should, that every photo should be totally unique. From day one I worried I’d run out of inspiration going round and round the same routine. The fact is, though, I don’t need to push every day. And I don’t need to feel super-inspired with every shot I take. Spur of the moment is fine, as long as I keep plugging away at the challenge. And even old familiar faces can be made new again.

Yaletown towers after volleyball. And again. Sunset Beach Park during volleyball. Urban Beach after volleyball (and before the rain).

Wow, that’s a lot of volleyball, isn’t it? And pretty familiar, right? But then: some weird shoots on a palm tree on Harwood. I must have walked down that street a thousand times and never even noticed there were palm trees there! And they’re apparently flowering structures, not some weird parasite as I first assumed. So hey: live and learn.

And then: East Side Pride. I don’t think I went last year, though I’m pretty sure I went in 2016. When did Pokemon Go start? It was that year. Some friends and I were catching Eevees at one end of the park, and apparently some people were giving us funny looks, thinking we were Christians with our heads bowed in prayer or something.

And then: Watching The Ten Commandments after The Incredibles 2. I’d never seen it before apart from the Red Sea parting scene and, no joke, it’s really good. Surprisingly engaging movie, with some good tweaking and massaging of the original story to make it flow better on the big screen, interesting camera work that seems reminiscent of theatre or silent movies, and no expense spared in creating a sumptuously epic experience. Janky special effects, but hey, it was 1956, and I figure they did the best they could. Not everybody’s cup of tea, sure, but I had a great time.

Tuesday I decided to walk home along the Coal Harbour Seawall, shooting super neat things I’d never noticed before, then up Broughton through Davie Village. That was a neat experience. Coming up to Georgia St I flashed back to all the times I came home from my old job in North Van. I don’t miss it. In fact, I regret staying as long as I did. Bright side: I can look back on it and reflect on how much better off I am. I can take more pictures of Davie Village without associating them with stress and an unhappy work environment.

And so we end with a lovely English Bay sunset after dinner with friends. Been there, done that? Sure. The geese, though, that’s new!