Monthly Archives: March 2009

Ono meets Montreal

Ono with apple

Ono with apple

Tonight marks the opening of The Peace Ballad of John and Yoko at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, an exhibition honouring and dedicated to their peace protest and Bed-in, which took place 40 years ago at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. An event that toured part-way-around the world and yielded iconic photographs of the long-haired couple and permitted the hotel to charge the stunning price of $900 a night for the same room.
Now, before you start thinking I’m some sort of Lennon-crazy I’m just going to come out and say it—I’ve never cared that much for the Beatles (I’m a Rolling Stones fan). And I care even less about Yoko’s comments about Lennon’s brilliance and talent but I am excited about the possibility of even catching a glimpse of Ms. “Yes, I’m a Witch” Ono at what is bound to be a very packed opening.
Because what I find most interesting about her—and this can be lonely territory—is her work as an artist, both visual and musical.  Her piece involving the ladder and the magnifying glass and the tiny decal of the word Yes, which brought the couple together in 1966, is one of the more interesting and fun installation pieces to come out of the ’60s. All at once it invited audience participation and encapsulated the exuberant, unrestrained perspective of the time. Also, Sean Lennon’s late-90s record Into the Sun kind of killed me when it came out.

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Virtually Bound

p2190705I love a good book. A book with a great cover I love even more. Shallow as that sounds, it’s the truth. Covers are like clothes (they call it a dust jacket for a reason) it’s the first thing you notice.  And just as clothes help to shape our immediate impressions of the person wearing them, so does a cover shape our immediate impressions of a book.

Had I not become a writer, I like to think I could’ve turned to designing things that contain writing (despite being incapable of drawing hands—even my life drawing subjects wore mittens, albeit nude mittens—and just about everything else, I was accepted to art school) things like books, magazines, health pamphlets.

Book Cover Archive, is a new site dedicated to book covers and the designers who make them. Clicking on any cover will take you to info about the author, publisher and designer. Some even have notes on the typeface (!) Run by two design dudes out of the States, the focus in strictly on new design and contemporary covers, few titles on the site were designed before 1995.

Flipping through the collection it’s funny to look at the similarities in the titles you’re drawn to. I found myself thinking of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book I was lukewarm about, looked a hell of a lot more interesting given a more updated cover (though, I’m guessing the contents are still original). 

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Amber Albrecht

Albrecht Last Saturday was Nuit Blanche here in Montreal, which is basically all about drinking too much, staying up too late and gallery hopping. This was my third year going out and it can be a real hit or miss, it all depends on timing, what you decide to see, how much free alcohol you find and how crowded things get. Last year we hit up the Centre for Canadian Architecture, discovered they were giving out free booze and pretty much stayed put. This year their party was a little weak (though they did have a giant pink blow-up doughnut that you crawled into and made roll forward by shifting your weight. We were having a pretty amazing time with that until the security guard kicked us out by saying it,  “wasn’t for everybody,” which basically just meant us and our somersaulting) so we stayed just long enough to check out the exhibit then headed home. By that point it was already 2 am and my night had started early.

It all kicked off in the afternoon at a vernissage for Demarcations, a solo show by Amber Albrecht. I’ve been a fan of Amber’s work for a long time, even before I got to know her, and have always found her style and narrative voice to be haunting in the most beautiful way possible. I stopped into a lot of galleries that night but her show was by far my favourite, in fact I even popped in for a second time, shortly before midnight and found myself again pulled into her delicate and dreamy world. Amber and I’d spoken about her work (which I wrote about in this weeks issue of the Mirrorthe day before and speaking to her about it added a layer of clarity that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. Finding out she loves patterns and math has totally made me look at her work in a completely different way, and I find myself looking at her pieces as though they’re one giant maze and there’s only a single way out. 

The show runs until April 04 at Division Gallery 373 Ste-Catherine W., #311.

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