Fringe and foilage: days 611 — 623

[sic]

It’s still summer—technically—but you wouldn’t know it from looking around. The sky’s greyer, the air is cooler, and the trees are turning all sorts of lovely shades.

We start off late Labour Day evening, as I went on one of my impulsive walks and ended up at the A-Maze-ing Laughter public art thing by English Bay. I’ve shot a few public art pieces in this challenge so far, but never this one. Maybe because it was out of my way? But I walked around the laughing men, noting how the light changed when cars turned from Davie on Denman. Tried to use that but there wasn’t enough traffic late at night… oh well, I didn’t need the extra light anyway.

The first photo of fall foliage marks the end of summer, right? These half-orange leaves up the street had been taunting me for a few days, and I finally gave in on the way to work. Other fallen leaves beckoned, and eventually I started seeing red everywhere.

I’m told film folks call this “the magic hour”: that time when the setting sky tinges everything with just a hint of gold. It looks especially lovely on Vancouver’s silver towers, and the little patch of reflected light in the water is a great bonus. I’d say I was lucky to catch it, but this was just one of about ten photos I shot on Granville Bridge. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Another way I know summer’s over? Indoor volleyball is starting. Whether that’s drop-in at Britannia or with VGVA, no more burning my feet on sand, or slipping on goose poop at David Lam. I’m gonna miss all that, but I’ve also missed indoor 6’s play. So it’s all good.

(Also: Jeebus, my 18th year! They’ve been pretty good years overall.)

Mid-September is Fringe Festival time, and one of the shows I planned to see was a Die Hard parody. Problem, though: I’d never seen the movie! Solution: watch Die Hard with my Fringe-going friend so we’re both ready!

So let’s talk about the Fringe Fest. I saw a total of 9 shows: 4 on Saturday the 8th, 1 on Monday the 10th, 3 on Thursday the 13th, and 1 on Saturday the 15th. In order:

Fake Ghost Tours: a very silly and definitely 100% true peek behind the veil at Granville Island’s supernatural past, complete with stories of horny sailors, man-eating seals, burning bees, tragic crinoline and ghost gentrification. Some parts could have used a little more planning (walking around on narrow streets, and getting in people’s way when we stopped), but even the goofy janky stuff was clearly rehearsed and polished. 2 irreverent thumbs up, and I’m glad it wasn’t raining.

Dyck Spacee: an improv number in the style of an old-timey radio show about a daring detective and his tough-as-nails secretary sidekick… which fell flat. Maybe other performances were better, but in this one they had a lot of trouble keeping up the energy, the narrator (I felt) took too much control of the action, and the other players couldn’t play off each other since they were all facing the audience and their mics. So it seems to me the show’s very format was working against it.

I posted a hashtagged selfie to enter some draw but I felt kind of bad about it.

Die Hard: The Musical-ish: Oh my sweet Eighties, I Eighties loved this Eighties song and dance extravaganza to all things Eighties. A fourth-wall-breaking retelling of the movie’s plot, with the expensive scenes papered over, drizzled with Top 40 hits from the era, it was a delicious feast for the eyes and ears.

Hullaboo and the End of Everything asks “what happens to imaginary friends when their human stops believing in them?” It’s a quirky and affecting piece about growing up, gracefully accepting the inevitability of change, and facing the moral choice to become a monster. Awesome.

I picked Trevor and Margaret mostly because it was playing at XY in my ‘hood. It’s the… interesting tale of an unrepentant abusive asshole, his girlfriend and his father. I liked it? Kinda? Well done, though it was unpleasant to sit through sometimes.

Fun fact: in the director’s notes, Trevor is identified as a gay man, though he’s played by a straight man and doesn’t himself identify as gay (he has a girlfriend / fiancée and sleeping with guys is just “a hobby”). Interesting bit of casting.

Precious Little: I’m a sucker for stories about stories. About language and communication and consciousness and memories and difficult life decisions and oh my god this was so good. Hard to summarise since there were so many interweaving plotlines and layers, but trust me, it was wonderful.

Bonnie & Clyde: The last days of the notorious outlaws, as they reminisce about their lives and we flash forward to their deaths. My friend was bored out of her tree, but I loved the acting, the contrast of gritty reality vs soaring legend, past dreams vs precarious present. Maybe not everybody’s cup of whiskey, but I liked it, and that’s all that matters.

The Shape of Things: a tale of art, truth, betrayal and transformation. Lovely, cruel, infuriating, hurting so good in all my heart’s tender spots, it was all those things, and smarter than me, because I seriously did not see the twist until it was right in front of my face. Great job.

Angels and Aliens: an awkward hookup leads to a universe-controlling game as two roommates process their feelings for each other while competing to shape human destiny. Smart, sweet, funny and wonderfully acted. Many thumbs up.

Goodbye grey skies hello blue: days 597 — 610

I can breathe again

The smoke hit its peak in Vancouver right after the VQFF ended. Even at night the smog was visible, and the moon very orange. Sunsets were very, very orange. The North Shore Mountains were very, very grey.

Tuesday was the worst; for whatever reason I wanted to see what Lost Lagoon looked like, and I was not disappointed. I do love this photo—and I am planning to including it in my Year 2 retrospective—but I hate what it represents. I don’t want this to happen next year, but I’m scared that this is the new normal until we run out of forest to burn.

The very next day, things were looking up! And kept looking up that evening as I enjoyed a drag show at XY in support of Positive Living BC. Look at all these lovely ladies!

Visually, sunsets were back to normal too, which means a lot of sunset pics. Here’s Digital Orca, one of the many public art pieces around the Convention Centre! And here’s a nice little one taken from Prospect Point. I’d been wanting to make the trek there for a while, and now I know (a) the best way to do it, and (b) that I can walk under Lions Gate Bridge. And (c) there’s a pedestrian walkway under Second Narrows Bridge, overlooking the train tracks! Now that’s one for my bucket list.

But also, in this late August week, I saw many hints that the summer was ending. I call this series “Shadows on Buildings in the West End”. You wouldn’t see these angles if the sun weren’t so low in the sky. The annual end-of-summer BBQ and croquet evening at my friend Kenn’s house in the burbs is another sign of the times, as is my annual pilgrimage to the PNE to check out the horsies and cows and pigs and assorted critters; and also, the main exhibit which seems to always be some permutation of nerdy sci-fi stuff, and an excuse to trot out old arcade games. One year it was Missile Command, this year in happened to be Donkey Kong. Not that I’m complaining (too much), but it does get kinda repetitive. One year they had a whole thing on the history of candy, that was original. I’d like to see something like that again.

The seagull framed by the setting sky, I don’t know what that portends.

So here we are, heading into September. I’ll miss summer, with the outdoor volleyball and Pride and all those fun activities. But I’m okay with this. Cold and rain and snow will help me appreciate the summer more when it comes around again. And hey, rain has its own beauty, as does fall foliage of course! Not to mention that indoor volleyball starts next week. I’m looking forward to this new season, and to see what I will make of it.

PS: because I couldn’t find a way to fit it anywhere else, here’s a photo of a bee landing on a flower. It was one of half a dozen I took around the Maillardville Village clock, and I didn’t realise later just how gorgeous it is. Look at those wings, they’re only a little blurry! According to Wikipedia a bee’s wings beat 230 times / sec, and according to the EXIF metadata on my phone, the shutter speed was 1/3906 s. Holy cow, I didn’t know my phone could do that! Thanks Pixel 2, I got to marvel at a bit of Nature I never thought I’d see just with the phone in my pocket.