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 21 – Miles for Millions

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 21: Eartha Kitt walks Miles for Millions in Vancouver…

Miles for Millions participants vying for space with traffic on the Burrard Bridge, 1972. Vancouver Sun April 28, 1973.

Somewhere in the crowd in the photo above is my older sister and Dad starting their Miles for Millions walk for charity. My Dad was an avid recreational hiker, but I don’t think he was quite prepared for a trek quite like this:  25 miles on city pavement wearing incredibly inappropriate footwear (by today’s standards) armed only with Glossette raisins and baby powder. As I was deemed too young to participate, my contribution was limited to accompanying my stepmother to meet up with them at a checkpoint along Spanish Banks with sandwiches and snacks in hand (how this was accomplished without the aid of cellphones is a miracle). My sister remembers that Dad was absolutely “broken” by the end of it.

Starting in 1967, Miles for Millions was an annual walk-for-charity event in Vancouver and other cities & towns across Canada. Participants, many of them children and teens, would gather pledges sponsoring them by the mile with the intent of raising money for about 20 international charities, most of which helped “needy children”. By 1977, the metric system had taken hold, apathy had set in, and interest in the walk waned.

For the second annual Miles for Millions walk on May 6, 1968 singer Eartha Kitt, who was in town appearing at the Cave nightclub, was one of 6,000 walkers who completed the 25-mile trek. She was given a round of applause as she entered the Seaforth Armoury at the end of the walk. Ms. Kitt told reporters that she was sponsored at over $100 per mile by “a conglomeration of people in Vancouver“. The average participant’s sponsorship was anywhere from $1 – $20 per mile. Sporting a white tennis outfit for the trek, Ms. Kitt apparently walked the final 6 miles without her shoes “because my feet were hurting so much“. She was not complaining though, commenting that “If I had to do the walk again, I would. I was held to help children in need all over the world, and that is good enough for me“.

Eartha Kitt rests after her 1968 Vancouver Miles for Millions walk. Vancouver Sun May 6, 1968.

 

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 19 – Loggers invasion

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 19: Loggers once “invaded” the city at Christmas…

There was a time in this city’s history when the newspapers would not only announce the seasonal arrival of the first Mandarin Oranges, but also announce the seasonal arrival of the annual influx of loggers. All during the week before Christmas the city’s population would swell by the several thousands as the woodsmen arrived by steamship from logging camps on Vancouver Island and the Mainland.

“When you’ve been in the woods for a month the bright lights of the city are attractive. After six months they become an obsession”

That’s the way 32-year-old logger Harry Greene described, in a 1954 newspaper article, how loggers feel about the months of isolation and toil before they “burst out of the woods” for Christmas and head for the “big city”.

Photo of loggers in the forest ca. 1940s (Santa hats added by me and not part of original photo). Photo: Jack Lindsay, CoV Archives, CVA 1184-2182.

During the loggers’ annual Christmas trek to Vancouver they would arrive in their “store clothes” with their pockets full of “wooden dollars”, ready to spend and celebrate the “way of men who play as hard as they work”. For some of the single men, this may have meant going to the beer parlours and “chasing women” (especially in the early days), but for most it meant spending the seasonal “lay-off” with family and friends.

 

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 17 – Starboard Pant Factory

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 17: The Starboard Pant Factory introduced Vancouver to acid-washed denim…

222-226 East Georgia Street ca. 1985. Photo: CoV Archives, CVA 790-2399

Starboard Pant Factory was the first store to sell acid-washed denim in BC in the 1980s. Located at 222 East Georgia, Starboard Pant Factory outlet  produced jeans through its factory and sold direct to the public starting in 1972 until 1994. Over the years the company added outlets in Victoria, Surrey and Calgary. During its heyday in the 1980s, the discount factory outlet made 5,000 sales per week and sold $2 million a year in casual pants – that’s a lot of acid-wash!

But, the real reason I included the Starboard Pant Factory in the Local History Advent Calendar was an excuse to feature this awesome video. Check out the fun, fashion, and factory low prices in this wonderfully cheesy 1987 television commercial for Starboard Pant Factory.

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 15 – Vancouver: neon city

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 15: Vancouver: bright lights, neon city

The Granville strip in 1958. Photo: CoV Archives, CVA 672-1

Many of us know about Vancouver’s neon past, but here are a few “neon stats & facts” for you to casually drop into your next conversation about neon in Vancouver:

  • Famed Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh once called Vancouver’s Granville strip the “brightest street in Canada”;
  • By 1953, Vancouver had over 18,000 neon signs – one neon sign for every 19 Vancouverites (pop. 345,000);
  • and 7 neon companies to service them;
  • At the peak of Vancouver’s neon period, businesses were spending $2 million dollars per year on neon signs;
  • Most of the neon signs were not owned, but rented.

 

Neon sign in the MOV. Photo: C. Hagemoen

 

Source: Vancouver Sun – August 1, 1953.

 

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 13 – Newsy Jack Says

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 13: “Newsy” Jack Kanchikoff once had a column in the Vancouver Sun…

I’ve been a little obsessed with “Newsy” (or “Newsie”) Jack Kanchikoff ever since I first wrote about him on this blog in 2013. I also recently wrote an updated story on Newsie Jack for Scout Magazine. So imagine my excitement when I saw this drawing of him from an old issue of the Vancouver Sun just a few days ago.

It turns out that from 1949 to 1955 Jack Kanichikoff had a regular column in the Vancouver Sun promoting his annual fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes charity.  Since the start of the March of Dimes in 1949, Jack Kanchikoff worked tirelessly, year after year, fundraising for the charity for sick children.

“Newsy” Jack Says columns like these (below) appeared in the Vancouver Sun:

Three of “Newsy” Jack’s columns in the Vancouver Sun – Dec 24, 1949; Dec 27, 1950; and 1953.

It is interesting that the column from 1949 mentions a gift from an ex-news vendor (and Penthouse Nightclub owner) Joe Philliponi. In fact, several of the columns mentioned the generous support of Philliponi over the year’s for Jack’s one-man campaign for the March of Dimes. The columns also reveal that there were many individuals and organizations in the community who also supported Kanchikoff in his efforts. In fact, Jack Kanchikoff was such a feature of Vancouver society at this time that he garners several mentions in Jack Wasserman’s column.

Vancouver Sun, February 12, 1949.

Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 11 – Maple Leaf comics

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 11: Vancouver was home to the first true Canadian comic book (and comic super hero)…

The Maple Leaf Publishing Company, headquartered at 849 Homer Street in Vancouver, was the third largest of Canada’s wartime comic companies and the only one located outside of Eastern Canada. During World War II, U.S. comics were deemed “non-essential” imports under Canada’s War Exchange Conservation Act in 1940, so four Canadian companies decided to get into the game and a home-grown comic book industry was born.

A Better Comics cover featuring Brok Windsor from July 1946.

In fact, Maple Leaf is generally viewed as the publisher of the first true Canadian comic book. Their Better Comics Vol.1, No. 1 came out in March ’41 and was initially full-colour and priced at 15 cents. Later, to save production costs, Maple Leaf produced comics with black and white interiors, known as Canadian Whites, this move allowed them to drop the price to ten cents an issue.

Better Comics also introduced the first Canadian superhero –  artist Vernon Miller’s Iron Manwho appeared in the first issue of Better Comics.  Iron Man was the “lone survivor of an advanced, subterranean civilization”, and was “summoned to the surface world to aid humanity”.  His powers – “great strength, speed and the ability to leap vast distances” were similar to those of the early Superman. Iron Man’s costume was minimal, consisting of “blue swim-trunks, while boots (red or blue) were optional”. [ Not to be confused with Marvel Comics’ Iron Man, who was first introduced in 1963.  Therefore, it could be said that Vancouver is the birthplace of the first “Iron Man”!]

Other super heroes like Brock Windsor, Deuce Granville, Senorita Marquita, Bill Speed, Stuff Buggs, and the Black Wing were introduced to Canadians on the pages of the comics published by Maple Leaf.

In addition to Better Comics, Maple Leaf published Bing Bang Comics, Lucky Comics and Name-it Comics (later renamed Rocket Comics).

After the war ended, American comics were once again available for sale in Canada. Unable to compete, sadly, by late 1946 Vancouver’s Maple Leaf Publishing was out of the Canadian comic business.