Happy 100th Birthday, Eleanor!

“She could start fires by rubbing two notes together!” – Vancouver Sun columnist Jack Wasserman on Eleanor Collins (December 1953).

Eleanor Collins Photo: Franz Lindner

There are not enough adjectives to describe the luminous, talented, inspiring… Ms. Eleanor Collins. Jack Wasserman does a pretty good job (above) describing her singing performance. And in an article from 2006, Red Robinson said that “[Eleanor] lit up our city by her very being”. On November 21, 2019, Eleanor Collins celebrates her 100th birthday. Time to celebrate and honour this amazing centenarian.

I first wrote about Eleanor, in 2014, in a post called All That Jazz which was about the history of jazz on CBC-TV in Vancouver. 3 years later, I wrote a longer biographical post about her that you can read here. A version of that same article appeared in Scout Magazine  February 22, 2017.

Since that time I have discovered some new (old) photographs of Eleanor and found some great newspaper clippings and links. I’ve gathered them all together to share on the occasion of Eleanor’s 100th birthday. Let’s go!

Eleanor Collins, 1965. Photo: Franz Lindner

 

By 1963 Eleanor had earned the epithet “Vancouver’s first lady of Jazz”. The Flat Five jazz house was located at 3623 West Broadway.

 

This article from the Vancouver Sun (July 16, 1955 p50) appeared at the time she got her own nationally broadcast TV show. This made Eleanor the first Black artist in North America and the first Canadian woman to host a nationally broadcast television series.

 

Publicity print of Eleanor Collins ca. 1950s.

 

In the 1970s the kind of music that Eleanor sang went out of popular favour, so an article like this one appeared “whatever happened to singer of yesteryear, Eleanor Collins.” Fortunately, by the end of the 1980s and early 90s Eleanor’s type of music was re-discovered and became popular with a new generation of Canadians. Source: The Province, August 16, 1973, p36.

 

Eleanor Collins on the set of Quintet, April 1962. Photo: Alvin Armstrong, CBC Vancouver Still Photo Collection

I was in love with her then as now. It isn’t just her music; it’s the whole package. Collins has a magical personality and a wonderful philosophical view on life and living, and to her, family is everything. – Red Robinson, 2006

Red Robinson (a Vancouver icon in his own right) wrote this ‘love letter’ to Eleanor Collins in 2006. Source: Vancouver Sun, Feb 16, 2006 p.44.

 

CBC Television News Career Highlights and Investment into Order Of Canada November 21, 2014

 

More recently, at the Yucho Chow exhibition opening last May, an unidentified author at the Ollie Quinn blog did a Q&A with Collins and her daughter Judith Maxie.

One Hundred Years of Jazz: A conversation with Canada’s First Lady of Jazz, Eleanor Collins, C.M.
Eleanor Collins and her daughter Judith Maxie at the Yucho Chow exhibit, May 2019. Source: Photography: Garfield James, Lori Vance – Ollie Quinn blog

So then, what is the key to living a long life like Eleanor has? I think one aspect must be a lifelong love of singing and music that keeps one young. Just look at another Vancouver music icon Dal Richards he lived to the age of 97 and Ms. Eleanor Collins at 100 is still going strong. Eleanor practices healthy living and carries a positive spirit as part of her daily routine, filling her days with “lots of good music, good television, good food, and good family and friends”. And, of course, an overall joie de vivre is essential.

Ever since  I first saw Eleanor sing on an old CBC TV Kinescope over 13 years ago I have been a big fan of hers. Her elegance, her stage presence, her beauty (both inside & out), her voice! It was magic! Eleanor, you are an inspiration to me with your energy, positivity, and enjoyment of life.

Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

Art Show Confidential -Part 2

Christine Hagemoen – East 10th human scale, 2019, Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

Happy to announce that I have another exhibit of (mostly) new works up all this month at the Whip Restaurant & Gallery on East 6th at Main St. The works are a continuation of what I was working on earlier this year, which I described in an earlier post.

Many people have been asking if there was any online catalogue of my work, so that has inspired this post. Here you go!

Christine Hagemoen – Dominion Building dames, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

So, if you are unable to visit The Whip (209 E6th Ave. Vancouver) to see my show, or missed the last one, here is your chance to not only view my works, but an opportunity for you to purchase one (or, two, or three…)

The holidays are coming up, and these would make great gifts for the historyphile, fashionphile, Vancouverphile, or sewingphile on your list ,or even a great gift to yourself! Many of the collage “scenes” are situated in historic Mount Pleasant, East Vancouver, or Chinatown.

Christine Hagemoen – When You Marry, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

Here’s the offer: Order a print by no later than December 1, 2019 and I can have a framed print ready for you by December 16th, 2019 (local pickup/delivery only)*.

The images are 12″x16″ ink jet prints on archival fine art photo paper, matted and framed in Ikea Ribba 16″x20″ frames. You have a choice of a black (my preference) or white frame.

Christine Hagemoen – Cinderella never had it so good! Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150.  My ode to “Pop Art” – the imagery in this collage print was sourced from vintage magazines.

 

Other prints for sale. All are 12×16 inches matted in a 16×20 frame. Click image to enlarge.

1. Christine Hagemoen East 10th human scale, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

2. Christine Hagemoen East side auto service, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

3. Christine Hagemoen Off to School, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

4. Christine Hagemoen B.C. Sugar Refinery, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

5. Christine Hagemoen I love you, booth, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

6. Christine Hagemoen Chinatown alley, 2018. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

7. Christine Hagemoen Mount Pleasant Demolition, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

8. Christine Hagemoen East Georgia Street, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

9. Christine Hagemoen Window Shopping, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

10. Christine Hagemoen Mount Pleasant Pulp Fiction, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

11. Christine Hagemoen Breeze block backdrop, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

12. Christine Hagemoen Helen’s Cafe, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

AutoServiceframe
Christine Hagemoen – East side auto service, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

 

*I am able to mail the artworks framed (or unframed) for additional postage costs. Last summer I mailed a framed print to Toronto via regular parcel mail (cheapest) it was about $30 for the postage. Contact me and we can discuss options. Please Note: In 2020, the prices for my artworks will be going up (inflation baby!)

 

The curious case of the 1956 roll of Kodak Super XX

When I took my roll of previously exposed film from 1956 in for processing at The Lab early last year, I wasn’t expecting much.  First, it had been 62 years since the film was exposed – I was convinced the “statute of latent image limitations” had passed for this roll. Second, it was stored at room temperature the whole time. And third, the roll was wound so loosely, I was convinced it was most likely completely fogged.

When I went in to collect the film  (plus some other film I dropped off) at the appointed time, it was not ready. In fact, they couldn’t quite determine its exact location. Not only was I worried that something had gone wrong, but I was also a little peeved that I would have to make a second trip to pick it up.  So, imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from the folks at The Lab later that day telling me that there was not one roll of film, but 5 rolls of exposed film wound onto the single spool!  Even though they never said it directly, the tone used on the phone indicated that there may have been something on the film ( x 5).

And there was…

Negatives on light table at The Lab. The film is a little brittle and sadly the last image on the last roll lost a corner during processing.  Photo: C. Hagemoen

For film that was older than me… these negs looked really, really good! How was this even possible?  I saw the paper backing on the film when I delivered it to the photo lab, so I know it hadn’t been processed yet. But, I still don’t understand how (or why) multiple rolls of exposed film were wound around a single spool, and none of it was fogged?  A mystery for sure.

The film was Kodak Super XX. This film was Kodak’s standard high-speed film from 1940 until it was discontinued (in roll format) in 1960.  It was replaced by Kodak Tri-X. It could be partially due to its age, but the contrast on this film is really good. Just the way I like it.

When I first came across the film over 10 years ago it was headed for the bin. I suppose to the uninformed eye this roll of old, unexposed film did not look viable. The roll was wrapped in a paper cover with “Chinatown April 1956” written on it. I was intrigued. Since the  film was being discarded,  I decided to rescue it. I thought it might be interesting to see if there was anything on the roll after all those years.  In my mind it was worth a try.  A photo experiment of sorts.  I stored the roll in a drawer for several years, even moved house with it, before I decided to finally take a chance and process the film.  I’m glad I did.

CHinatown56-16 1
Group of children on street in Chinatown. I love this image, not only are the children (now senior citizens) adorable, but it shows the once prevalent sidewalk prisms and old wood street paving blocks exposed through the asphalt. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.

What a find! These photos depict Chinatown and False Creek ca. 1956,  an area of Vancouver that looks very different today. They are also clearly shot by someone who knew what they were doing. There was a name included on the wrapper. This may be the name of the shooter, but it is hard to tell at the moment. More investigation will be required to determine who shot these wonderful images, and to figure out why the films weren’t processed back in 1956.

Chinatown-52a
This image captures the yet unknown photographer. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.

In the meantime, I scanned a few of the negatives…

Chinatown56_1
Man shopping in Chinatown. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.
Chinatown56_3
400 Block Carrall Street. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.
CHinatown56-1
Man walking by poultry shop. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.
CHinatown56-31a
Rooftops. Photo: Photographer currently unknown, C. Hagemoen personal collection.

 

*I first published this post on my (now stagnant) Expired Film Project blog in early 2018. I thought it was worth another kick at the can. I’m still working on figuring out the  identity of the photographer, but I have a lead that I am following.

It would be great to have these images printed up and displayed in a photographic exhibit.

 

Art show confidential

I just realized that it has been quite a while since I last posted on Vanalogue. I have been quite busy these first 4 months of 2019, so I hope you will forgive me. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to.

All framed up, and ready to hang. “I love you, booth” – 2019 Christine Hagemoen. Photo: C. Hagemoen

I’ve been working on getting things ready for not one, but two photography exhibits this year. This is the very first time I have had a solo exhibit of my photographs, which has been a personal goal of mine for a long time. The first one was during the month of February and was held in the bright tasting room at Off The Rail Brewing. The second one is currently on view at The Whip Restaurant and Gallery until April 30th, 2019. The Whip is a Mount Pleasant neighbourhood hangout in a funky loft space that features a rotating exhibition of local artists. This space along E. 6th Avenue in the historic Ashnola building (1913) was the original home of the Grunt Gallery from 1984 to 1995.

Pan of my exhibit in The Whip Restaurant & Gallery. Photo: C. Hagemoen

My exhibit of digital photo collages is called Simplicity.

Simplicity noun

  1. Absence of complication;
  2. Brand of sewing patterns.

 

Two of the vintage sewing patterns that were my source of inspiration. Photo: C. Hagemoen

I was inspired by a collection of vintage sewing patterns that belonged to my friend’s grandmother along with my own collection of vintage magazines and recipe pamphlets. Attracted to the mid-century illustration style depicting the uncomplicated, “Barbie-like” ideal forms of femininity (and masculinity), I wanted to incorporate the mid-century figures into my own contemporary photographic scenes of Vancouver – juxtaposing these idealized ‘catalogue fashion’ figures of the past against realistic backdrops of the present.

“Third Beach Blanket Bingo” photo collage by C. Hagemoen

The process of creating these digital collage is, in many ways, very similar to using sewing patterns to create your own clothes. After scanning the pattern covers, I needed to carefully “cut out” the figures and then seamlessly “stitch” them into photographs of Vancouver that I had shot. I had to resize the patterns, adjust them, and often I had to use my best Photoshop skills to make them fit within a particular scene.

In a few of the images the backgrounds are not as they appear in reality. In those cases, I have collaged buildings or features from other photographs to create a new tableau.

“Chinatown Alley” photo collage by Christine Hagemoen.

Since I am a “digital immigrant” I decided to try my hand at analogue collages. So, using my collection of late 1940s and 1950s magazines as source material, I channeled my inner “Richard Hamilton” and created this collage (below) I call “Just another Saturday night in suburbia”.

“Just another Saturday night in suburbia” collage by Christine Hagemoen

This collage was made manually by cutting out the individual componets and arranging them into a compostion. Unlike digital cutting, where you can fix your missteps by “stepping backward”, manually cutting requires a good pair of scissors (or Exacto knife) and a very steady hand.  Before I permanently affixed the cutouts to the support surface, I scanned them individually so that I could recreate the scene for the print version (see above). The original is hanging on the wall in my hall and everytime I pass it, I smile. The exuberance of mid-century product advertising is infectious.

The world these days can often seem dark and complicated, these works are meant as a respite from all that.

If you are in Mount Pleasant over the next few days I invite you to drop by The Whip and check out my exhibit which will be up until Tuesday, April 30th.

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 24 – Mandarin oranges

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 24: Mandarin oranges have been a seasonal tradition in BC for 130 years…

Easy to peel, no seeds, and super sweet… who can resist? Photo: C.Hagemoen

For the most part of the 20th Century, the arrival of the first shipment of Japanese Oranges in Vancouver unofficially marked the start of the holiday season. It was a much-heralded occasion. Sometime in the third week of November news would appear in the local media announcing the arrival of the first shipment of Japanese Oranges to the port of Vancouver, signalling that Christmas would soon be here.

The earliest account I could find of Japanese oranges arriving in BC for the Christmas season was from the December 5, 1888 issue of the Nanaimo Daily News, announcing that they had arrived for sale at George Calvasky’s Fruit Store on Victoria Crescent in Nanaimo.

It is believed that the Oppenheimer Bros. and Company (founded 1858) were the first importers of Japanese Oranges to British Columbia for the general market. According to their website, it was was in 1891 that the company sold their first Japanese mandarin oranges.  This date does not match up with the one from the Nanaimo Daily News, so perhaps the Oppenheimer Brothers weren’t the first importers, but they were certainly the largest. Nonetheless, we have been enjoying mandarin oranges in this part of the world for over 125 years.

I recently wrote an in-depth post about Christmas oranges which you can read here.

Seasons Greetings to you all! I hope you have enjoyed my Local History Advent Calendar, I have enjoyed the challenge of bringing it to you.

 

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 23 – BC Tel ads

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 23: Telephonic fashion fantasy: When BC Tel was king….

This is the penultimate post of the Local History Advent Calendar and if you are still following along, then thank you! Hopefully you will understand if I’m a bit lazy with this one, but it is a fun film clip! You will enjoy it if you are a fan of vintage TV ads, old fashioned technology, and advertising  – and who isn’t?

Two BC Tel TV ads from the early 1960s promoting their fashion and beauty phones.

I wrote an ode to the rotary dial telephone 5 years ago you can find it here.

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 22 – Junior TV Club

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 22: Harvey Lowe and Avril (Kim) Campbell on Junior TV Club…

1950 Harvey Lowe, yo-yo expert, VPL 81284; Artray Studio.

Junior Television Club was a magazine format program for children produced out of Vancouver and broadcast on CBUT (CBC Vancouver) in the late 1950s.  The show had five child hosts each with their own specialty. One of the hosts was Avril Campbell (Kim Campbell) future Prime Minister of Canada (Canada’s 19th PM)! Hosts of the Jr TV Club would often interview famous people in the community – like local hero and yo-yo champion Harvey Lowe!