Vancouver, et al.: Day 3: Stanley Park, Museums, and Food

I took a smattering of pictures this day. They accompany the narrative, but there's a lot that happened that I didn't photograph. Di Yin took more pictures. The latter link goes to her first picture from this day (pictures #54). When you see a picture of Di Yin at the Museum of Anthropology (picture #73), you're done with the pictures she took while I was with her. (She and I split up for part of the day.)

In the morning, we brought to Stanley Park some food we'd bought at Granville Island, had breakfast, and explored the park. Because we'd both been there before, we decided to go off the beaten perimeter path and ended up walking by Beaver Lake, in the process spotting many types of flora and fauna:

  • birds: crows, ducks (both adults and babies), mandarin ducks, a black bird with a large stripe on its wings that was only visible when it was flying, herons, robins, and seagulls.
  • rodents: black squirrels, and regular baby squirrels.
  • plants: daisies (including one with a violet fringe), roses, and berries (orange/tan--we couldn't figure out what these were).
After a brief lunchtime dessert snack, we left the park and I grabbed a quick, poor lunch at Connie's Cook House on 4th Avenue in Vancouver's neighborhood called Kitsilano. Then, I dropped Di Yin off at UBC's Museum of Anthropology (which I'd already seen) while I headed downtown to the Police Museum.

The Police Museum is by the main police station in an appropriately seedy part of town near Gastown and Chinatown. On the way there, I passed a few shelters, a detox facility, the salvation army, and a courthouse.

The museum is small, taking me only fourty minutes (yes, I intentionally spell it that way) to explore at a slow pace. Although the science/forensics exhibits didn't have anything I didn't already know, there were a few exhibits I kind of liked (see the pictures). I also liked one t-shirt they sold in the gift shop: "Cops: The World's Largest Street Gang."

Next, I drove over to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It's like a museum with no permanent exhibit. I skipped it on my last trip because I didn't like the descriptions of any of its then-current exhibits. This year one exhibit sounded interesting enough, KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art, that it enticed me to pay the high entrance fee to explore the gallery. The gallery, housed in a former courthouse, has a nice interior and central dome.

I liked the exhibit I came for. It was a comprehensive look at comics, anime, manga, cartoons, and video games, and how these media evolved over time. As I explored, I built a list of comics, cartoons, and anime that I should read/watch.

In the comics section, I found interesting the display about how comics can be used as a revealing personal essay. Examples included Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary by Justin Green and One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry. This section also had some great New Yorker covers.

The anime section had some great discussions on themes in groundbreaking anime (e.g., Patlabor 2, Paprika -- these immediately went on my list of movies to watch).

In the cartoon section, I liked the layout showing the process of making a computer-animated film: focus control, camera placement, color selection, etc. They used Over The Hedge as the example. They also had some Wallace & Gromit sketches, using that film and television episodes as examples as well.

The video game section was especially extravagant, with many screens, projectors, televisions, and video game systems that were actually available to play. I thought it was particularly interesting to read about what games the curators thought were groundbreaking and why. They chose Pac-Man, Civilization, Super Mario World, The Sims, The Legend of Zelda (Wind Walker), Grand Theft Auto, Quake, and Spore (not yet released). Most of these I've played, and agree with their arguments regarding their importance.

The special exhibit also had minor displays that entertained me: cosplayers (people who dress up as anime/manga/etc. characters), and onomatopoeia (e.g., how comics use words like BLAM, SHTOOM, VISHH that sounds like what they're supposed to mean).

Finally, somewhere in this exhibit, I saw a quote which amused me greatly. It reflects, at an intellectual level, the frustration I feel with museums (including this gallery) which prohibit photography:
The museum can only confirm the primacy of its images when it denies the legitimacy of all other images.

I also visited the gallery's other exhibits.
  • Zhang Huan has coordinated some strange events. For instance, he brought some (naked) people to the top of a mountain, had them lay in a mound, and claimed he raised the height of the mountain, at least temporarily. He also paid many immigrants to stand in a pool, enough to significantly raise of level of water. (I forget what he claimed it signified.) Furthermore, he's photographed himself wearing a bloody pig's ribcage, and he's built things out of ash.
  • Rebecca Belmore makes experimental work that's just not for me (even more not for me in general than Huan's).
  • Canadian Women Modernists: The Dialogue with Emily Carr reminded me that "modernists" does not mean modern art. This exhibit basically showed Emily Carr and other female Canadian artists who painted in a wide variety of modern styles including pointillism and impressionism. (In this context, modernism seems to be anything that's not strictly representational.)
After independently browsing museums, Di Yin and I met up and headed to Guu in Gastown. Though it took us awhile to find it (during which time Di Yin took two pictures: 1, 2), once we did, we had a good meal.

No comments: