Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Who will Stand Up for The Maritime Museum?

Recently I wrote in The Province about art and culture. I mentioned specifically the disgrace of our Maritime Museum, how it is starved of funds, how it ought to be a beautiful showcase for who we are as a maritime community.

Today, the Sun reports that the geniuses at Vancouver City hall have told the Maritime Museum to close its doors by the end of 2009.

Close before you have secured a new home.

Close before the 2010 party.

Close before you any firm plans for the future...not to mention regard for the past. Remember the past? We used to call that History. We used to have some interest in it.

The President of the the non-profit society that runs the Maritime Museum has placed considerable blame at the feet of Sue Harvey. He has called her dismissive and disrespectful.

You may not know of Sue Harvey.

But you should.

She is the Great Czarina of all things cultural in this hick town.

She spends your money and you have never heard of her.

Harvey is the city's managing director of cultural services.

And I can testify that Harvey is arrogant and dismissive and disrespectful. I've met with her. Once is more than enough, thank you.

But, you see, when you get to control an entire element of your community for years and without any apparent oversight by your employers, that's what happens...you become arrogant and dismissive and disrespectful.

Harvey's abrasive style and personality aside, the treatment of the Maritime Museum by this city, province and federal governments is a crying shame.

A pox on all your short-sighted, short-lived and short-armed houses.


Last week, I parked my car on Cordova near Abbott at 6:45 pm.

I walked a block and a half to The Spaghetti Factory to meet an old friend. We meet there about once every four or five months.

Here is what I saw.

Four homeless men lying in rags under the eaves of buildings, one after another.

Then, on the corner, and immediately adjacent to the homeless men, a new and very upscale chi-chi eatery. Big windows, big show. And filled with chi-chi folk, clearly happy to be seen in the big windows as part of the big show.

Vancouver April, 2008.


Below are two videos of The Byrds, I believe from the same concert on the same day.

The first, "Turn, Turn, Turn," is their brilliant version of Pete Seeger's wonderful musical adaptation of the great poetry of The Book of Ecclesiastes.

The second is yet another of Dylan's anthemic calling cards, "Mr. Tambourine Man."

What is wonderful, aside from the great music and arrangements, is the moment when Dylan walks out on stage. The audience just completely loses it.

Also wonderful is remembering, as we watch and listen, how we all knew the words to songs like Tambourine Man, while I'm sure we had and have absolutely no idea what they mean or meant.

"In the jingle, jangle morning, I'll come following you..."

The Byrds - Turn, Turn, Turn

The Byrds - and Dylan! - Mr. Tambourine Man