Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Author chat and doggie drugs in Toronto

(Lawren Harris, Grey Day in Town, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa)

Toronto must agree with me; today I heard a song by Rush, and I liked it.
***
Spent yesterday afternoon in Kensington Market, a colorful neighborhood that, unlike others of its kind, remains more than a relic. Today it was Greektown (or, simply, "the Danforth") , where signs display street names in Greek right under the English versions. No "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH" signs here.

Earlier, it was coffee, bagels, and musing about the state of publishing with John McFetridge, and more book shopping at Sleuth of Baker Street. The lunchtime chat generated some panel ideas for Bouchercon 2011.
***
Back chez Brother Beyond Borders, the pace of daily life must be getting hectic because the veterinarian prescribed Pepcid AC for the family pet, German Shepherd-Lab Mix Beyond Borders.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels: , , , ,

29 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

I really like that painting.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I confess to not having seen it on my current visit. It's in Ottawa; I'm in Toronto. But I could not find a reproduction of a similar painting by Lawren Harris that I did see last week.

Harris was part of an iconic set of Canadian painters from the early and middle years of the twentieth century called the Group of Seven. They are so iconic that Canadians sometimes tire of hearing about them. That's why it was so interesting to see their pictures with fresh eyes. They're reminiscent of any number of artists and trends in European art without ever really looking like any of them.

November 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

The Group of Seven! I was cleaning up a record about paint boxes owned by Jackson and Fairley the other day.

I'm only familiar with Emily Carr, loosely associated with the G of 7, esp. Harris, because of the British Columbia connection.

And Peter, please, try not to employ the word "iconic" twice in one post. It's most distressing.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Funny, there was a perhaps similar Bay Area California group called the Society of Six, which I only know about because of a book that came out when I first started working at the bookstore called Society of Six: California Colorists. It was about a group of plein aire painters that started in 1917. I really should read it one day.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, repeated iconics are permissible if the second is an amused or ironic reference to the first, as was the case here.

I saw some Emily Carr on this visit, and I bought a postcard of one of her paintings that is likely of a British Columbia scene; it includes totem poles.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I wonder if certain currents in North American culture inspired both groups. The Group of Seven started just a few years before your Californians, and I wonder if both groups were driven to paint the wildnerness by an awareness that it was being encroached upon.

November 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Well, with Adrian joining in tonight and discussions of Chandler and Irishness on tap... I'd like to add the Northern Irish architectural firm, twenty two over seven.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Ironic iconics--but of course.

Yes, that's an interesting idea about the reason behind the groups. I am kind of surprised that these artists thought so much of their identity as a group that they actually gave themselves a a name.

v word= yogics. Now there's a Ph.d topic. At least in Santa Cruz.

November 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Seana, I admire much of the S of 6's work. In my dreamland vision of a Craftsman home, some of their paintings would have to be on the walls. Although I try to remain mostly loyal to local SoCal landscape painters of the early 20th c. like William Wendt.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I probably should know something about twenty two over seven, but this is the first I've heard of them. The name sounds precious, but I'll try not to let it prejudice me against the firm's work.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Boy, to get my hands on one of those Craftsman homes. There are a lot of them in Santa Cruz, many in excellent condition. It's a very congenial style and I see exactly what you mean about the paintings finding a good home in one. I know Wendt as a name, but can't place his work.

November 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Have you noticed how many architectural firms do have precious names? Go ahead and let it prejudice you against their work.

If the Emily Carr postcard includes totem poles it is most definitely a British Columbian (or at least West Coast Canada) scene. There are quite a number of her paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her totem paintings are particularly evocative. You can almost smell the moist and piney air.

And speaking of Canadian museums... possibly my favorite non-art museum in the world is the Royal British Columbia Museum (formerly the Provincial Museum) in Victoria, BC. It is everything a general/natural history museum should be and has a significant totem pole exhibit, among many other wonders.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, yogics sounds like something that will step up when pilates has run its course.

I was surprised to learn that the Group of Seven was based in and around Toronto. That suggested the possibility that they may have been city boys fascinated by the country.

The Impressionists were a self-named group, but I know of no names as assertive as those of these groups and societies of sixes and sevens.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I saw a totem pole or two for real and in paint on my visits to the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.

The poles in the painting on my postcard look alive, like the trees in Macbeth.

November 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, re your wondering "if certain currents in North American culture inspired both groups." I think it was even broader than that. These groups were regional manifestations of nationalistic fervor in many American and European art movements of the period. But certainly part of their choice of subject was, as you say, due to the realization that wild landscapes were increasingly encroached upon. Of course, this theme was taken up by many American landscape painters during and after the Industrial Revolution.

William Wendt's SoCal landscapes are esp. appealing to me partly because they depict a California that I saw bits and pieces of as a child. All gone now! Covered with subdivisions and shopping malls.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, I'm ready for an introduction to Willam Wendt, Craftsman houses, and the Society of Six.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The Group of Seven was avowedly nationalistic in its aims, so your suggestion makes sense. Thanks.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

'I heard a song by Rush, and I liked it.'! Get out NOW! Go to the airport. Get on the plane. Don't talk to anyone. Just leave!

Nice pic,though.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That is a bad sign, isn't it? But feat not; I plan to leave today. And the song I heard is the closest Rush ever got to a song that was halfway good. It's not as if I liked-- but decency forbigs me from even mentioning titles by what may be the worst successful band ever.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Forbigs me is good, though.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"G" is pronounced "d" in Canada.

November 24, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Oh, ridht.

November 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're making fun of my accent.

November 25, 2010  
Blogger John McFetridge said...

Talking about the Group of Seven on a crime fiction blog and no one mentions the mystery of Tom Thompson's death?

The strangest thing about Rush, I think, is that all three guys are quite good-natured and each one even has a sense of humour.

So what's with the songs?

November 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're right. I'm a disgrace to my genre and to my home and native land. I knew Tom Thompson had died mysteriously, and a brief description I read this week included the tantalizing phrase "with a head injury."

I've never heard or read anything about the personalities of Rush. But almost everything of theirs that got played on the radio was the sort of thing a deep thinker might like at age 15 and be embarrassed about later. I mean, use the word "underlying" in a rock and roll song, and you're skating awfully close to the edge. And "Tom Sawyer" is a strong contender for most wince-making song ever.

The tolerable song is "Fly By Night": good, simple major and minor chords, nice loping tempo, passable rock and roll. Still, it there were justice in the world, Pagliaro would have been the megastar and these guys a pop curiosity.

I have a nice, self-descriptive verification word for this post, as if the verification-word gods balked at completing the word they had begun: hesit

November 25, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I got through to the website on the Tom Thompson stuff but it said service was unavailable. I'd kind of like to know, as one of my friends here's parents owned a Tom Thompson painting for many years that they had bought for a song, not knowing anything about him. When they realized it was valuable, they entered it into a Canadian auction and it was all very exciting. I'd like to know that story and pass it on to them. Actually, I just spent Thanksgiving with all of them.

November 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's odd. I linked successfully to the Tom Thompson site about twenty minutes ago, but I got a "service unavailable" message just now. Let's both try again later.

When preparing this post, I found a story about someone who had bought a Tom Thompson painting or drawing for four dollars at a rummage sale in New Zealand.

Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope your hosts provided a lavish dinner with the proceeds of the Thompson auction.

November 25, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Well, my hosts did provide a lavish dinner, but it was their parents who got the money. I think it was more the excitement of the auction than any kind of huge payoff, though I don't remember the details now.

If I recall right, they actually rented it from the library, which was something you could do back in our childhood. They eventually bought it for some not so princely sum. I like the fact that they enjoyed it without worrying too much about who the painter was for many years. It was really the responsibility that began to weigh on them, not the money that attracted them so much.

November 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I can well believe that the responsibility would be a burden. And it is heartening to learn that they enjoyed the painting without knowing its provenance. The whole story sounds a bit like a folk tale.

November 25, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home