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  1. Today
  2. Archives for Artists, a workshop by Bev Pike

    This 3-hour workshop will introduce the benefits of preserving historical records that show how artists perceive, communicate and invent projects. Participants will learn basic archival principles, including setting priorities for collection management as well as basic records classification. We will discuss paper and electronic documentation. The workshop will help those thinking about artist's estates and those needing to create valuable artist-run centre histories. There will be a mixture of listening and hands-on approaches to this information. Artists are welcome, as are administrators, and all in-between and beyond who are interested in archives. Topics to be discussed: value of historical records definition of a record benefits of organising records basic archival principles simple tasks needed to establish an archive benefits of creating finding and descriptive aids costs in time, space, staff benefits of depositing artist-run centre archives in public repositories Bev Pike is a Winnipeg polymath and artist known for her large paintings of neo-baroque underground shell grottos (www.bevpike.com). Since 1983, she has specialised in establishing archives from the kinds of completely unprocessed material usually found in basements. This workshop requires registration. To participate in Archives for Artists, please call 250 383 8833 or email program.coordinator@openspace.ca
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  4. BC’s Legacy Composer Film Series

    This series of short films focus on five BC composers: Murray Adaskin, Barbara Pentland, Rudolf Komorous, Jean Coulthard, and Elliot Weisgarber. Each has contributed something unique and remarkable to the nation’s cultural mosaic through their body of work and the living legacy of students they inspired. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker John Bolton — made possible by a grant from the BC Arts Council and support from the Canadian Music Centre — the films each feature a performance of a signature work by the composer juxtaposed against a storyline unique to that piece. Many UVic School of Music faculty and alumni can be seen and heard in these videos. This event is part of the UVic School of Music’s 50 th Anniversary New Music & Digital Media Festival. Contact name: UVic School of Music Contact email: concert@uvic.ca Phone: 250-721- 8634 Website: http://finearts.uvic.ca/music/events
  5. UVic Orchestra: New & Now

    The UVic Orchestra performs Round, a new composition by UVic School of Music alumna Cassandra Miller (BMus '05) commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. Also on the program is Isolation by Shabahang Safari, winner of the 2017 UVic Composers' Competition, Philippe Leroux's Envers IV, as well as works selected from a national call for short scores. This concert is part of the UVic School of Music’s 50th Anniversary New Music & Digital Media Festival. Regular $20 / Seniors $15 / Students & UVic Alumni $10 Contact name: UVic Ticket Centre Contact email: ticket@uvic.ca Phone: 250-721- 8480 Website: http://www.uvic.ca/auditorium/ticket-centre/index.php
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    Troy Emery Twigg (Blackfoot) from the Kanai Nation in Southern Alberta. He is a performer, choreographer and writer that works in dance and theatre as an educator and artist. On Saturday 20 January at 1:00pm at Open Space, Twigg will lead a discussion that illuminates several methodologies, various servicing communities and diverse approaches in practice. This event requires pre-registration. To register, email rsvp@dancevictoria.com with "Twigg" in the subject line.
  7. Feeling Measurements

    Please join us for the closing events of Feeling Measurements, the culmination of Kerri Flannigan’s residency at Open Space. Since July 2017, Flannigan has been devising and delivering a number of actions, performances, and skill shares, investigating queer experiences of place. Anchored in the fathom as a metaphor, Feeling Measurements has become an emergent, collaborative, and inter-generational methodology of research, skill-sharing, and storytelling. Exploring the body in space, Flannigan has investigated how we relate to, and move through our physical, emotional, technological, and sonic environments, asking these questions from queer perspectives.The residency format references the Collaboratory models engaged at Open Space in the 1970s, wherein Flannigan has collaborated widely to deliver a number of thematic public programs, focusing on skill-sharing. Through Feeling Measurements, Flannigan has organized a number of components, seemingly disparate in nature, into an intimate space of shared experiences and skills. Residency Open Studio with Kerri Flannigan: 8-27 January, Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00pm-5:00pm Facilitated Risography Drop-In with Kerri Flannigan: Every Thursday between 12:00pm-6:00pm or by appointment Slow Scan Action + Residency Finissage: Friday 26 January, 7:00pm Invasive Species Cordage Making + Discussion with Alexis Hogan and guests: Saturday 27 January, 4:30pm
  8. Book Launch with PATRICK LANE

    A lauded Canadian poet returns to fiction in his exquisite second novel, a story of trauma and hope in the aftermath of World War II. Set in a remote Canadian sawmill village, Deep River Night follows characters haunted by far-flung massacres and residential schools, by their own sins and the horrors they have witnessed. This artful, multi-layered story is sure to generate thought-provoking discussion. Join us for a much-anticipated launch with Victoria’s Patrick Lane.
  9. An Autographing with NICK BANTOCK

    Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series made waves with its unique blend of stirring art and fictional letters. His latest book, My Foolish Heart, combines quirky pop-up images with heart-themed expressions for another singular reading (and viewing!) experience. Delight your literary lover with a personalized copy for Valentine’s Day!
  10. FILM: "A New Economy"

    A co-presentation by Transition Sooke and Awareness Film Night. What if working together for all was the most common business model? In this 2017 film from Vancouver director Trevor Meier we follow several organizations and businesses as they build a more cooperative future by experimenting with non-traditional and open ways to operate that put humanity before bottom line. There are seven interwoven stories, including a small craft-brew, a peer-to-peer open hardware lab and an urban agriculture social enterprise. There will be a post-screening discussion lead by UVic professor Ana Maria Peredo. Dr. Peredo was the former director of the UVic Centre for Cooperative and Community-based Economy and is currently at the School of Environmental Studies. By donation. Info: awarenessfilmnight.ca; transitionsooke.org and their associated facebook pages.
  11. New Music & Digital Media Festival

    The landscape of new and experimental music in Canada has been greatly influenced by the creative individuals who have taught and studied at the School of Music. Join us as we celebrate this vital community with a weekend of new music, technology, and concerts featuring the UVic Orchestra, faculty, students, alumni and special guests including Buchla synthesizer specialist and electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani. Visit the New Music & Digital Media Festival website for the complete schedule of events. https://finearts.uvic.ca/music/calendar/newmusic/ School of Music, University of Victoria Various times and locations Contact name: UVic School of Music Contact email: concert@uvic.ca Phone: 250-721- 8634
  12. Thank the goddess we have professional journalists like David Broadland, to standby and report on this long, strange saga of misinformation and concealment by the City, our politicians and engineers hired to protect our interests. Keep up the good work Dave ! Hold the feet to the fire, until we get some answers.
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  14. Again, sincere thanks David for undertaking this. What a lot of work and stress. I know I'm not the only one who believes you. CD Mazoff, PhD Victoria BC
  15. Did Mayor Helps conceal a serious bridge design flaw from other councillors and the public at a critical moment? Only the expeditious public release of pertinent records will show what happened. TWO BOLT-ON PLATES DEFACING THE FRACTURE-CRITICAL RINGS of the new Johnson Street Bridge aren’t a problem, according to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. The real problem, Helps stated in a Facebook post, were “a number of serious factual errors and inaccuracies” made by me in my story about the issue in the January/February edition of Focus. Below her Facebook statement Helps endorsed comments posted anonymously on the social media site reddit. On reddit, anyone can call themselves an “engineer” by providing an email address to a computerized registration system. Helps’ and her Facebook fans were moved by the assurances of reddit “engineers” HollywoodTK and thisguy86 that there was nothing unusual about a new $115-million bridge sporting repair patches before it even opened. My own article on the issue, on the other hand, even though it is likely subject to the careful scrutiny of libel lawyers working for the companies and professionals named in the article, is, according to Helps, untrustworthy. I will come back to Mayor Helps’ role in the City’s response to the issue, but first let me report on information that came in after publication of my original story. Firstly, City of Victoria Councillor Jeremy Loveday confirmed that he had not been informed about the issue before he read our story. Loveday’s statement seems to suggest that Project Director Jonathan Huggett, a professional engineer, did not properly inform his client—the City of Victoria—about a significant structural issue that had arisen during construction of the rings in China. However, it’s also possible that Loveday is the only person at City Hall that wasn’t told. Secondly, photos taken in Victoria show the work of cutting steel out of the rings and then adding the bolt-on plates took place at Point Hope Shipyard in Victoria in October. Thirdly, engineers and experts in steel fabrication have expressed concern that the bolt-on steel plates will likely create a corrosion problem that could increase maintenance costs and shorten the useful life of the bridge. While social media comments have focussed on the way in which the steel plates diminish the structure’s aesthetic value, the plates may end up costing City of Victoria taxpayers tens of millions of dollars as a result of premature loss of use. Professional engineers and steel fabrication experts that have contacted Focus have confirmed that the concerns we identified in our story are reasonable. Even with only one sentence of the Atema report that first identified a weakness in the rings during construction in China, engineers confirmed that at least partial responsibility for the issue likely lies with the rings’ designers, Hardesty & Hanover. Until the full Atema report is released, the full extent of Hardesty & Hanover’s responsibility for the weakness in the rings is unknown. If the City had insisted on rings that did not have bolt-on plates, whatever additional costs were incurred would have been borne by the various parties to the extent they were responsible for the weakness in the rings. The extent of blame assigned to each of the parties involved is unknown. What we do know is that Hardesty & Hanover’s Engineer of Record for the project was able to sign off on a cheap, bolted-on plate solution even though he was the Engineer of Record at least partly responsible for the structural weakness that needed to be addressed. The record of how all this played out needs to be made public since there seems to be an inherent conflict of interest at work in what occurred, with City of Victoria taxpayers coming out on the losing end. Following publication of our story, a concerned steel fabrication expert asked Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC) to confirm that the addition of bolt-on plates to the fracture-critical rings needed to be approved by an engineer other than the Engineer of Record. The EGBC confirmed that such an approval would have been required and directed the expert to Hardesty & Hanover’s Keith Griesing, the Engineer of Record, for Griesing’s confirmation that such a review took place. In response to advice from one professional engineer, we checked EGBC’s online membership directory to confirm that Griesing is a registered professional engineer in BC. The EGBC did not confirm his membership. Griesing has not yet responded to a request for information from Focus. The expert in steel fabrication told Focus, “I believe it is not necessary for the Engineer of Record to be registered as a member of EGBC provided that he is registered as an Engineer in a jurisdiction acceptable to EGBC.” Lastly, we have learned that the public statements issued separately by Helps and Loveday—the same statements, word-for-word—were provided to them by City Manager Jocelyn Jenkins. Since Jenkins is not an engineer, the claim Loveday and Helps made that what we reported in our story as a “design flaw” should have been called a “fabrication challenge” had to come from Huggett. (Loveday has since apologized for not making it clear that his statement was copied from a briefing note. Mayor Helps’ has made no such clarification.) The entire attempt to build architect Sebastien Ricard’s unproven design has definitely been a “fabrication challenge,” but the specific way in which a structural weakness had been engineered into the rings remains a design flaw until further, more complete information proves otherwise. Aside from the important issues of safety, lowered life expectancy and diminished aesthetic value, there are other questions involving professional and political conduct that need to be examined. If it isn’t clear to you already, let me outline why the City’s characterization of our story as “a number of serious factual errors and inaccuracies” ought to be seen as obfuscation—a non-denial denial, as I predicted in my initial story. The weakness in the rings was first identified on December 9, 2016 in China. At the time, the rings were still being fabricated. Reinforcing the problematic section of the rings in a way that would not create long-term corrosion problems or diminish the aesthetic value of the bridge was still possible. Since the cost of that refabrication would have been the responsibility of those companies whose work had contributed to the structural weakness in the rings, the best interests of the City of Victoria would have been served by refabrication. But that didn’t happen. Why not? On the surface, it appears that no one in Victoria was told, so there was no opportunity for the City to consider its options. If the City had been told, and it had insisted on refabrication—and why wouldn’t it?—who would have had to pay? Hardesty & Hanover and/or PCL. Somehow, Victoria got a defective bridge and PCL and Hardesty & Hanover got a free pass. What happened? Huggett should have been informed about the Atema report’s findings shortly after December 9, 2016. If he was, it’s not clear whether he even notified the City. The evidence that he didn’t tell his client, so far, is the absence of any mention of the issue in his public reports, and Councillor Loveday’s public statement that our story was the first he had heard of the issue. So let’s pursue—cautiously—the hypothetical case in which Huggett told no one at City Hall. What would be the implications of that? Keep in mind that Huggett is paid approximately $300,000 each year by taxpayers to watch over the City’s interests on the project. If Huggett had told no one, the main beneficiary of such a concealment would have been Hardesty & Hanover and/or PCL. But Huggett’s client is the City of Victoria. If this was how things happened—Huggett telling no one—how would we expect a sensible mayor to act when the existence of the design flaw was publicized by Focus? A sensible mayor would see that if Huggett had kept the City in the dark, that would have allowed Hardesty & Hanover and/or PCL to avoid the higher cost of refabrication as compared with bolt-on plates. A sensible, cautious mayor would, on first hearing of this issue, understand that Huggett’s apparent failure to inform her would require the immediate production of all the records that could show exactly what took place during the nearly eight months between the Atema report and shipment of the rings to Victoria. Otherwise, public trust in civic government would plummet. A sensible mayor would demand: “Release the records.” But that didn’t happen. Rather than acting swiftly to push for release of those records, Helps parrotted Huggett’s statement, assuring the public that the real problems plaguing the bridge project were serious factual errors and inaccuracies in the observations of the guy who first noticed the bolt-on plates. So, given that Helps is a reasonably sensible mayor who is perfectly capable of sniffing out corruption, we can likely reject the hypothesis that Huggett didn’t tell anyone at City Hall. That leads us, inevitably, to the only other reasonable hypothetical possibility—that Huggett informed one or more officials at City Hall, and that between them they decided that the best course of action was to keep the issue concealed from Loveday (and probably other councillors) and settle for a quick, cheap fix that kept the bridge on schedule for completion well before next November’s civic election, bolt-on plates and all. Let’s cautiously explore this possibility. As a reporter, I’ve found that when public officials won’t answer direct questions, they are usually trying to avoid public embarrassment. It’s awful to be publicly embarrassed, but public embarrassment is a powerful and legitimate tool that has been traditionally used to hold people accountable for their actions when they screw up some decision they had to make. In preparation for my initial story, after Huggett declined to say whether he had informed the City, I emailed questions to Mayor Helps, including whether she had been filled in by Huggett on the issue. The questions were simple and could have been answered with a “Yes” or a “No.” I also asked her for important dates when things might have happened. The mayor did not respond to any of five emails sent over a one-week period. Then, following Helps’ release of the Huggett-Jenkins statement on her Facebook page and her implicit endorsement of the anonymous reddit engineers, I emailed her a request to itemize the “serious factual errors and inaccuracies” she had referenced in her statement. Normally, a public official that makes such a claim would have proactively provided that information without being asked. That’s the process: We make a mistake, the official tells us about the mistake we made, and if they are correct we acknowledge our error. So I asked the mayor to make those mistakes clear. Then something peculiar happened. Mayor Helps’ inadvertently copied me on a “proposed response” to my questions that she had meant to send only to Jenkins and Huggett and one other City staffer. “Do you see any downfalls in this approach?” the mayor asked Huggett and Jenkins. Later, realizing what she had done, Helps emailed me: “David there you have my response. Sent before my morning meditation and copied to you inadvertently. But truth may walk through the world unarmed. So please feel free to use what I have said.” She had written: “I trust all of the reporters at the Times Colonist. I trust all of the reporters at Vic News. I trust all of the reporters at CBC and CFAX. I trust all of the reporters at CTV, CHEK, and GLOBAL. This trust has come through hard conversations, good reporting and relationship building. I do not trust you. As such I feel that however I answer your questions you will use the answers to suit your own needs, not to serve the public good.” Mayor Helps made no attempt to point out even a single error or inaccuracy. The mayor’s insistence that Focus needs to negotiate stories with her before she will provide factual information is an interesting issue all by itself, but it’s not the issue at hand so let’s not be diverted by it. Why wouldn’t the mayor respond in a straightforward manner and provide the “serious factual errors and inaccuracies”? Added to her failure to answer questions for the first story, my reporter’s nose tells me Mayor Helps is hiding something. Here’s what now appears to me to be the most likely chain of events: Atema issued its report in December 2016. Huggett informed then-City Manager Jason Johnson. Johnson informed Helps and perhaps City engineering staff. Between them they decided to accept the quickest fix to the weak-rings problem and to conceal the issue from the other councillors and the public, perhaps thinking that no one would notice the bolt-on plates. Now the City is busily trying to hide their miscalculations and errors in judgement to avoid embarrassment. If I’m wrong, and neither Helps nor Huggett have anything to hide, all they need to do to prove that is to release the full Atema report, the record of all Huggett’s communications about that report and the bolt-on plates, and the required independent third-party review of the proposed fix, if that was done. Then all local media can share that information with the public, which will then be better able to gauge whether the public interest—or a corporate, political or personal interest—was served by the actions of whoever was involved. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. David Broadland is the publisher of Focus Magazine. He has been, reluctantly, following the bridge issue for about nine years.
  16. David Broadland's article on the Johnson Street Bridge design flaw—and on the city's failure to openly disclose it—displays an uncanny level of diligence and public-spirited curiosity, unmatched by anyone in Victoria. Incidentally, the City's FOI web page contains links to information on the Johnson Street Bridge site. But on January 9, shortly after publication of the Focus story, the links all reveal nothing but error messages. For instance, clicking on the main bridge site link yields the following: "Our site www.johnsonstreetbridge.com is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance." Did someone at City Hall discover matching weakness or fatigue in the bridge website as well? Perhaps, as we speak, City Hall staff are furiously bolting steel plates over those website weaknesses as a temporary fix. All under cover of darkness, to be sure. There are two flaws here: The first is in the bridge design. The second lies in the way the City dealt with the first. Mr. Broadland raises some essential questions regarding who knew what, when. It is simply not credible that none of the councillors was told of the problem shortly after the December 9, 2016 non-compliance report. When they were told—likely no later than December 10, 2016—one has to wonder who advised them that the better path was to keep it undercover, and hope that nobody noticed. Fortunately, Mr. Broadland did. And I bet that, on hearing of the flaw, more than one city councillor uttered two words. The first would have been "Oh," and the second started with "S." Russ Francis
  17. Open Word with Laurie D. Graham

    Open Space will host poet and Brick magazine editor Laurie D. Graham as part of Open Word: Readings and Ideas. On Wednesday, January 24th at 7:30 p.m. Graham will read from her work and join in conversation with University of Victoria English professor Dr. Misao Dean. In her two books of poetry, Rove (2013) and Settler Education (2016), Laurie D. Graham deftly engages with the prairies where she grew up, her Polish and Ukrainian heritage, and vital questions about how settlers locate themselves in history and on Indigenous territory. During her time in Victoria, Graham will also take part in readings at the University of Victoria and Planet Earth Poetry.
  18. Victoria's new policy on short-term rentals

    STRs another Fairytale from Fantasyland Pamela Roth’s article on Victoria’s short-term rentals dilemma presents a balanced view of this controversial topic; however, it fails to consider why STRs appear to be exacerbating the housing crisis in every major city around the globe. The Context for our Tale The new internet-based, unregulated ‘sharing-economy’ business model lies at the heart of the issue. Few governments have been able to exercise their regulatory control or taxation authority over this online lodging-booking platform. The massive expansion of the deregulated global economy over the past two decades, proliferation of off-shore tax free-safe havens, and the rampant growth of investment in a highly speculative asset class such as real estate, has concentrated wealth in fewer and fewer hands; this has eliminated the possibility of earning the decent living required to put a roof over one’s head without assuming intolerable debt levels. Before Airbnb, (the premier “online marketplace and hospitality service” established in 2008), all bed-and-breakfast operators in the City of Victoria were required to obtain a commercial business license to operate as a lodging supplier; and, to pay appropriate taxes as hoteliers do. The disruptive digital technology home-sharing enterprise said their business model was simply an intermediary tool to link property owners willing to rent unused space to guests interested in alternative, if not cheaper accommodations, than those provided by hotels. At the crux of their argument is this: data on host properties and transactions is confidential information which cannot be shared with any regulatory agency. Consequently, if said authorities wish to exercise control over the home-sharing economy, they must assume the costs of regulating and monitoring the property owners and housing units listed. The convergence of a new technology offers the means to book temporary use of a room or a home offered by property owners to guests at a suitable price; this, together with the rapid growth of new high-end condos downtown, serves the interests of developers who sell the units as income-generators. And, prospective owners stand to benefit, especially those who seek a financial investment property and part-time personal use. To suggest that Council , who approved the downtown development permits over the past decade, were unaware that the new units were being used for this purpose, is at best a red-herring. Or, perhaps just another excuse, like the Johnson Street Bridge fiasco, to remind everyone of their incompetence. Victoria’s Spin on the Home-Sharing Tale For several years, senior city staff and Council have refused to obtain STR data by any credible third-party monitoring service. In fact, they’ve relied on a brief, cursory real estate development report by Vancouver-based Coriolis Consulting Corp. suggesting that STRs were an inconsequential factor in the housing market. These same parties had nothing to say about the City’s 3,450 unoccupied dwelling units which, according to the 2016 Census, were likely used on a short-term accommodation basis, and comprised 7% of the city’s total housing stock. No wonder one of Union Building condo owners was dismayed at the sight of “a wall of black windows…altering the structure of the City”. This was done to justify doing nothing to assess the potential negative impact on housing from other non-homesharing downtown condo owners, hotel operators, or renters who comprise 60 per cent of the City’s households—in a City with a near zero vacancy rate. Unlike many other cities facing STR regulatory issues, Victoria ignored the problem, and did not bother to conduct any extensive community-engagement surveys, public workshops, etc. All this took place while two Council members and the Mayor recused themselves from Council discussions to consider the matter, or listen to concerned citizens speak to the issue of noise and security concerns in buildings where STRs were operating. While few Councilors addressed these matters in public, the Mayor had no difficulty speaking as a panel member and featured speaker in a real estate investment network meeting held in early 2017 to promote real estate investment in the City, particularly short-term rental properties. There is no level playing field in this City when property ownership determines the entitlements and benefits in the real estate game – be it corporate or individual owners; while tenants simply don’t count. Almost 80% of the STR units are for entire residences; and more than half of all listings are operated by multi-unit commercial operators. These are from the much media-hyped, social-enterprise fairytale that was being spun about a Fernwood single-mother using her spare bedroom as a mortgage helper. There are more than 3,339 lodging units in the Inner Harbour and downtown area (Catalyst Consulting, July, 2017). When you add in the estimated 1,500 short-term rental listings to the mix, this means STRs represent 31 per cent of the total accommodation sector, whereas they comprise only 14 per cent of the total rental units in Victoria. Last year, 16,661 purpose-built rental apartments existed in this City, 361 more than in 2016 (CMHC Fall 2017 Market Rental Report). Currently 12,693 condo units exist in the City, 140 more than in 2016—most of the stock built over the past 15 years. The same CMHC report reveals that 25.6 per cent of the condo stock, or 3,253 units, are in a rental pool. What the report does not indicate is what proportion of these housing units are rented on a short-term versus a long-term basis. Judging from the presentations to Council by some higher-end lodging operators, there is a growing market for temporary accommodation: executives; contract employees; consultants working on major projects in the City; health care professionals on locums; foreign students; families awaiting completion of new home construction or renovations; respite care individuals, and winter snow-birds. Competition between diverse and expanding housing accommodation-user groups, favours the higher-profitability short-term guests over long-term tenants—many of whom are city workers, students, and modest-income retirees. Little exists to suggest that the City is serious about addressing the growing displacement of thousands of long-term tenant population; this, due to costly renovations, demolitions and replacement with condos, or the conversion of older hotel properties into owner-occupied units or high-end rentals. The City’s own Market Rental Revitalization Study is already earmarking 10,000 aging purpose-built rental units (more than 35 per cent of the City’s rental housing stock) for potential demolition or costly energy and seismic upgrades. Who will benefit from these renovated or replaced housing units? Visitors willing to pay premium short-term rental rates? Or long-term residents in need of affordable accommodation? Who Benefits from this Fairytale? Question—why is Council turning homes into micro-enterprise hotels, rather than providing much needed accommodation for those who live and work in this City? Answer?— for developers, real estate investors, financial institutions, and building contractors who stand to reap the lion’s share of the booty from the booming housing economy, in which STRs play a starring role. Taxpayers are about to spend $500,000 a year to monitor about 800 short-term rental property owners and hosts who want the right to conduct business untaxed, without regard for neighbours, or the health, well-being and sustainability of the City in which they live and do business. Are these citizens entitled to more than their fair share of the pie? Should we support and subsidize their home-occupation business? Or, are we just the unwitting recipients of the so-called “unintended consequences” of elected officials and senior staff who will be long gone when the irreparable and harmful impacts of these ill-conceived plans and measures are felt by us all? “Semper Liber”, (Latin for “always free”), may be the motto of our royal fairytale city, but the proverbial “free lunch” is available only to those who own a piece of property in this island paradise of privilege.
  19. Martina Edmondson

    January 16–27 MARTINA EDMONDSON: NOW AND THEN Gage Gallery Martina Edmondson’s assemblages combine her own handmade materials, nature’s treasures and found ephemera. Like an archeologist, sifting through bits and pieces, individual vignettes are created, and their stories combine to form larger narratives. The use of natural materials and manmade objects creates tension and balance, reminding of the struggle between man and nature, and the propensity, especially in the Victorian era, to collect, identify and catalogue everything.Opening Jan 18, 5-8pm. Daily Tues-Sat 11am–5pm. 2031 Oak Bay Avenue, 250-592-2760. www.gagegallery.ca
  20. January 25–May 13 Landmarks: The Art of The Malahat Review Legacy Maltwood, Mearns Centre, McPherson Library This exhibition, curated by Caroline Riedel, pays tribute to the role of art in one of Canada’s most iconic and long-standing literary journals. Selected from 200 cover images over the past 50 years, the exhibit focuses on works from the journal’s home institution, the collection of the University of Victoria. Featured artists include Maxwell Bates, Robert De Castro, Glenn Howarth, P.K. Irwin, Davidee Kavik, Jack Kidder, Elza Mayhew, Eric Metcalfe, Myfanwy Pavelic, Margaret Peterson, Bill Reid, and Gordon A. Smith. www.legacy.uvic.ca, 250-721-6562.
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    January 6–25 British Columbia Artists Group Show West End Gallery Participating artists look to their own backyard for inspiration for the New Year. Paintings featuring the diversity of the landscape hang alongside whimsical still life paintings offering bright and cheerful colours. Participating artists include: Steven Armstrong, Naomi Cairns, Rod Charlesworth, Richard Cole, Ken Faulks, Greta Guzek, Gabryel Harrison, Dana Irving, Patricia Johnston, Paul Jorgensen, Ken Kirkby, Mary Ann Laing, Grant Leier, Joel Mara, Elka Nowicka, Glenn Payan, Paul Paquette, Peter Shostak, Deborah Tilby and Peter Wyse. 1203 Broad St, 250-388-0009, www.westendgalleryltd.com.
  22. Black History Month

    Black History Month • throughout February Victoria may seem blandly, blithely British, but the population here includes a healthy and diverse smattering of close-knit sub-communities who identify themselves by their cultural and ethnic heritage. The contributions of these communities are many, but they aren’t always visible, appreciated, or acknowledged. Black History Month in Victoria is a passion project for devoted community members who have formed the British Columbia Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS). Sylvia Mangue is the president, and explains that even the UN is urging more dialogue and awareness among cultures in any given town. “There are key issues that people should talk about in their communities; not only for black people, but for everybody,” she says. “The purpose of celebrating Black History Month in Victoria is to make people aware of the contributions and achievements of black people in Canada, not just here in Victoria, but throughout the country.” Entertaining and educational events are planned throughout the month of February; most are by donation. It kicks off with an informational event on Saturday, February 3, noon to 3:00 pm, at the main branch of the Library on Broughton. Members will be available with displays, posters and to talk about upcoming events and answer questions. At the Belfry Theatre on February 12, 7pm, energizing live music and spoken word combine to create an evening to add some excitement to the pre-spring darkness. Ann-Bernice Thomas, Youth Poet Laureate 2016 for the City of Victoria, will read some of her work, and Vancouver vocalist Cathy Essombe will perform with her band, Ardent Tribe, providing rock, blues, soul, and pop inspired by Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, David Bowie, and Santana. BCBHAS has joined forces with VACCS (Victoria African Community Cultural Society) to produce the concert and tickets are by donation. Speaker Michael Regis of Dispute Resolution, UVic will discuss his research on policing on Sunday, Feb 18; and on Feb 23, there will be a guided tour of the graves of Black pioneers at Ross Bay Cemetery. Mangue is determined to help community groups network. On January 31, leaders from other small ethnic and cultural communities in Victoria have been invited to a special private reception at City Hall, with an aim to build connections among them all. “We need to make people aware;” Mangue asserts, “there is an Islamic group, a Sikh group, a Jewish group…we must let [these groups] know we exist as a community, like they are. It’s about networking, and getting to know each other…different people in our community make it stronger.” For a comprehensive list of all Black History Month offerings, see http://bcblackhistory.ca/index.php/events or pick up an events booklet at any Greater Victoria Public Library branch.—Mollie Kaye
  23. Pacific Baroque Festival

    Pacific Baroque Festival February 15–18 The Baroque-era harpsichord is small, but mighty. Unlike its massive, percussive, later-arriving cousin the pianoforte, the strings inside the light and dainty wooden case are plucked instead of hammered, yet provide a rich, powerful, chord-booming lower register. Baroque music, with its myriad trills and ornaments, gives this instrument ample opportunities to show off its crispness of attack and precision in note delineation. And as a melodic voice, it mesmerizes, with the resonance of the plucked strings creating layer upon layer of pleasing harmonic complexity. If you’re a fan of this instrument, you can hear it in all its glory this February, performing the works of one of the great masters of Baroque harpsichord music. We’re all familiar with the Bachs, but another celebrated musical dynasty of 17th and 18th century Europe was the Couperin family. This year, the Pacific Baroque Festival’s theme is “Le Grand Siècle: Music in the Glow of the Sun King.” It will celebrate the 350th anniversary of François Couperin (“Le Grand”), the Johann Sebastian of this French tribe, who authored possibly the most comprehensive and stunning works for the clavecin. Couperin also wrote many works for pipe organ, and keyboardist Michael Jarvis handles both instruments deftly in this series of concerts all centring around the court of France’s Louis XIV, “The Sun King.” There are five concerts in all, featuring a large range of string instruments and vocalists, and will also include works by Couperin contemporaries Jean-Marie Leclair, Marin Marais, and J.S. Bach. The Couperin offerings will include a sumptuous trio sonata, “L’Impériale,” and a performance of one of the masterpieces of French baroque music, his surviving three “Leçons des Ténèbres,” for two sopranos, viol da gamba, and basso continuo. The Festival will feature Montreal violinist Chantal Rémillard performing, with festival director Marc Destrubé, several of the extraordinary sonatas for two violins by Couperin’s younger contemporary Leclair, often described as the “Corelli of France.” The two violinists’ recording of the works has garnered high praise. John Keillor of the Georgia Straight writes, “Destrubé and Rémillard’s luminescent dialogues are so coherent that the listener feels privileged to overhear them. The players are so honest and unreserved together that anyone can instantly hear the musical intimacy in operation here and marvel at it.” Also performing will be St Christopher’s Singers; Hélène Brunet, soprano; Alexander Weimann, organ; Catherine Webster, soprano; Benjamin Butterfield, tenor; Nathan McDonald, baritone; Soile Stratkauskas, baroque flute; Natalie Mackie, viola da gamba, violone; Michael Jarvis, harpsichord, organ; and The Victoria Children’s Choir. Festival pass, $100; tickets $20-30, pacbaroque.com, 250-386-5311, or at Ivy’s, Tanner’s, Munro’s, Long & McQuade.—Mollie Kaye
  24. until
    January 20–March 29 Innocence: West Coast Art & Artists Through a Visitor's Eyes Legacy Downtown, Inner Gallery This exhibition presents Leonard Forest’s 1963 NFB film In Search of Innocence and examines the notion of innocence as it pertains to the West Coast in the 1960s and the artists Forest featured in his film. See work by Jack Shadbolt, Margaret Peterson, Roy Kiyooka, Fred Douglas, bill bissett, Joy Long, Sing Lim, Jack Hardman, and Donald Jarvis. On Sat Feb 3, 3-4:30 there’s a curator’s talk and tour, with light refreshments. Curated by Art History & Visual Studies graduate student Nellie Lamb with supervision by Dr. Carolyn Butler Palmer, Williams Legacy Chair, UVic. 630 Yates St. www.legacy.uvic.ca, 250-721-6562.
  25. Great Big Show

    Great Big Show McPherson Playhouse, February 7-10 On an unseasonably warm, sunny December morning in Victoria, I arrive, as directed, at an Art Deco building situated on the edge of Beacon Hill Park. All the way up the stairs I hear singing. Upon entering the apartment I am greeted by 12 happy faces, who roar with approval when they hear I am a writer from Focus magazine, but they immediately get back down to business: an all-day rehearsal for Great Big Show, an original musical co-created by the cast, all of whom are developmentally disabled adults. Seated at a keyboard facing the group of performers is Wes Borg (perhaps best known as a member of the 90s comedy troupe “Three Trolls in a Baggie”), who accompanies, sings, directs, and advises on dialogue all at once, with enviable patience and skill. First I hear the familiar opening theme of Sesame Street, grafted onto an original song the cast has created. Borg tells the group, “You’re not children; let’s take out this Sesame Street thing and go straight to the verse.” A brief discussion ensues, the group easily agrees to the change, and the modified number is run again. “You’re not children” is a good way to sum up the mission of Great Big Show (GBS). Borg and Kathryn Popham, co-producers who successfully brought in the $120,000 of Canada Council funding for the project, have been running a day program for developmentally disabled adults interested in performance, songwriting, and stage tech since 2015. “All the cast is 19 or over,” Borg explains, “so we can have darker and more mature content.” Borg and Popham intend, through this raw, tender, funny and entertaining theatre production, to get a real conversation going between the larger community and this population. All material is created by developmentally disabled people—they’re not simply performing it—and it highlights the myriad challenges they face in their lives as they transition to adulthood. “19 is when the system drops you because you’re no longer a child,” Borg says. “All kinds of funding goes away.” Borg characterizes the material as “ever so slightly subversive.” Popham continues, “The end is sweet and light and airy, but it’s a long road to get there. The first act is fairly dark, it brings up a lot of the disability issues, challenging the audience. Going into intermission, we want them to be saying, ‘I’m not sure what I should be thinking about this’…But then there is the resolve in act two, in a classic oldies style.” This is what I was seeing rehearsed as I walked in. I got a wonderfully sweet and rollicking Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe from the songs, which focused on romance and marriage. The Derwin Blanshard Orchestra will provide the live accompaniment. In the promotional materials for GBS, Borg says the term “Adults with Developmental Disabilities” will be crossed out, with the word “artists” written above. It’s certainly an eye-opener for me, to see performers from this population working with incredible dedication, wit, focus, absence of ego, and presence of collaborative spirit. It’s otherworldly; I have never seen a group of adults co-create and rehearse so joyfully and efficiently. And I’ve certainly never seen children do it, either. Supporting professional artists include Juno-nominated Carolyn Mark, Brad Fraser, Geoff Berner, Kris Demeanor, Alice Nelson and Britt Small. At McPherson Playhouse. Tickets $49.75 at www.rmts.bc.ca.—by Mollie Kaye
  26. French Impressions Group Show

    February 3–22 French Impressions Group Show West End Gallery West End Gallery artists create a group show based on the endless inspiration provided by colour, light, and landscape. Whether Quebec or France, that allusive je ne sais quoi is magically captured on canvas by these talented painters. Participating artists include: Aleksandra, Alain Bédard (shown on facing page), Claudette Castonguay, Ariane Dubois, Joanne Gauthier, Jean-Gabriel Lambert, Raynald Leclerc, Annabelle Marquis, Guy Roy and Robert Savignac.1203 Broad St, 250-388-0009, www.westendgalleryltd.com.
  27. Victoria Film Festival

    Victoria Film Festival • February 2–11 Now in its 24th year, the Victoria Film Festival (VFF) is Vancouver Island’s largest and longest-running film festival. With over 118 films screened in various locations over the course of 10 days, VFF could leave movie-lovers a bit dizzy with all the possibilities to choose from. The full listing of all 74 confirmed feature films to be screened is not available until January 8, but here is a “sneak peak” of a few of the highlights. Pickups, directed by Jamie Thraves, will have its international premiere at the festival. Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen is featured in this low-fi, high-stakes drama about the bizarre life of a jobbing actor who suffers from insomnia. Oh, Lucy! is a Japanese film directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, and will have its BC premiere at the festival. When a middle-aged woman in Tokyo decides to escape her oppressive office life by taking an English class taught by a charming American (Josh Hartnett), she dons a blonde wig and adopts the name “Lucy” at his urging, all to better understand Americans. She then ends up on a rescue mission to San Diego, accompanied by her constantly disapproving sister, to bring back the young, impulsive niece who has run off with the American fellow. Kayak to Klemtu will have its BC premiere at the festival, and was filmed here in the province as well. Zoe Hopkins (Heiltsuk/Mohawk) is the director of this film which chronicles Dave Ellis (Evan Adams), a Kitasoo/Xai’Xais activist who dies. His 14-year-old niece Ella (Ta’Kaiya Blaney) sets out on a voyage to take his remains home to Klemtu and stand in his place at a community gathering protesting a proposed pipeline. The voyage is arduous, requiring her to paddle the challenging waters of the Inside Passage. Ethel & Ernest, a charming, animated British chronicle of a “greatest generation” couple’s sweet, enduring relationship, is a beautifully hand-drawn film. It tells the true story of award-winning author and illustrator Raymond Briggs’ own parents—two ordinary Londoners living through a period of extraordinary social change. The characters’ voices are those of Brenda Blethyn and Jim Broadbent. The Film Festival’s opening gala on February 2 features a screening of The Waterboys, at the Victoria Conference Centre Theatre. Festival film passes range from $129 to $299; there are five-film vouchers at $56, ten-film vouchers at $110; single admission $11.43. See victoriafilmfestival.com for tickets, passes, film directory, locations, film trailers, and more.
  28. Pulp and Process III

    Pulp and Process III Madrona Gallery January 13 - 27 2018 Opening Reception January 13, 1-4 PM Madrona Gallery thrilled to announce Pulp and Process III, our third annual show celebrating the diversity of works on paper. This group exhibition explores paper's many uses, from sketches, drawings and paintings on paper to photography and collage. In this year's Pulp and Process, we draw special attention to internationally recognized and award-winning photographer Diana Thornycroft. On exhibition will be selections from Thornycroft's Group of Seven Awkward Moments and Canadians and Americans: Best Friends Forever / It's Complicated series, both of which deconstruct tropes of national identity and question the role of the wilderness in the collective national imagination. This year's Pulp and Process will also showcase works by Meghan Hildebrand, Pudloo Samayalie Nicotye Samayualie, Tamara Bond, Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas, Hashim Hanoon, Morgana Wallace, Barry Hodgson and more. January 13-27, with an opening on Saturday, January 13 from 1-4 pm. M A D R O N A G A L L E R Y | 606 View Street | Victoria, B.C. V8W 1J4 T: 250.380.4660 E:info@madronagallery.com
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