Tag Archives: vancouver

Front Row, Surrounded by Pals, Lost in Music

++ Front Row, Surrounded by Pals, Lost in Music ++

Whalley-ite and publisher of the fanzine Terminally Stupid and Vancouver hardcore music historian of sorts Dan Walters shared this snap. Can ya spot me? I’m always front row and smiling – i like it loud and music was escape. Note middle part hair.

Anyhow, Dan writes, “York Theatre Feb 17 1985 TSOL headlined. In the photo with you, Brad, Kamel, Kai, Kelly, Tim is Judas Goat onstage- Dave and Brian from DOA with Andy Graffiti on drums.”

Kameljit Gill was a force of nature (it was early days for the Indian influx to Surrey), tall, fearless and creative and always stirring up trouble – also an asshole but it was Whalley, you sorta had to be – i havent seen him since these olden days. Kai (another big guy) and him would make me be the first stage diver at shows to get things going. They’d toss me up there and sometimes even catch me when i leapt – pain tolerance was higher than. Brad Rees and I were pretty inseparable and i snuck out and stayed at his house often cause his Mom was cool (still is) and we could play music in the basement (until a grumpy step-dad would get liquored and angry).

Lots of the punk bands (which to me were already legendary superheroes) had “Fuck Bands” where they’d switch up instruments and wear ridiculous costumes and adopt other personas (I recall Chainsaw Running with Dave Gregg on drums being another).

Our little squad of Whalley misfits were all very different but hung out cause we were punks in a land of metal hessians. We made fanzine and bands. Notably AOT (Abortions on Toast) which the aforementioned Mr. Walters digitized the cassette “Music to Eat Lightbulbs by” (which i’ll make a soundcloud for one of these days and share some snaps). Dan Barney has a tshirt. I don’t.

The York was such a great place as shows were all ages and, importantly for us suburban skid kids, *NOT* downtown. Busses were tough (this is pre-Skytrain when we rolled the 312 or 316 in) and sometimes we were stuck walking all the way to Hastings/Refrew PNE to catch a bus back to Surrey. This night, we got as far as Whalley Exchange which was a shit place to be at 1AM or so. Dayton boot clad Whalley Burnouts ruled Surrey then and you’d get stomped if not careful. I hated living there and music was my escape.

These few years (83-85) were halcyon times for me seeing dozens of bands. Saving my money from delivering Real Estate Weekly newspaper to see shows from Bowie at BC Place to Clash at Coliseum to Dead Kennedys at York and Ramones at Commodore (at 14) and dozens more including loads of California-based punk bands and DOA a few dozens times. Bill of Rights, Death Sentence, House of Commons, Shanghai Dog seemed to open up so many shows (hence the fuck bands to bring variety). Plus Bag O Dirt, Slits, I Braineater, Spores….

On a personal note: This night, my Mom picked me/us up at Whalley Exchange (called from a payphone at Mac’s), the 17th was her birthday and Dad was not thrilled i went to the show and out late and all that. A couple months later my parents were split and i moved to Utah. Life changed a lot. These were golden times for me and the only shows i regret are the ones i didn’t go to.

The York turned into the Raja cinema and then was evidently saved from demolition by East Van Cultch.

Did you see shows at the York? Were you a suburban kid escaping for music? Did music save you? Define you? Tell me about it.

“On the Road to Creativity” talk notes (Pecha Kucha NIght, Vancouver, 2010)

Dave Olson - Story Maker/Writer/ Producer (uncleweed.net) speaks at Pecha Kucha - photo by Melissa Gedney

What follows are my notes for a talk called “On the Road to Creativity” for Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver. The format includes 20 slides for 20 seconds each, auto-changed. As such, the pace is brisk and a bit of a high-wire act. No audio/video exists but there is a “roundup” of photos, tweets, and other artifacts including the hand-crafted “paper-point” collage slides. See “Consider Perusing” below.

1 – On the road

I’ve spent much of my life wandering around the globe working odd jobs including mushroom farmer in Japan, grape picking in Germany, beach club host in Guam and even following the Grateful Dead – all these experiences provided lots of time for thinking mostly about the meaning of art and importance of documentation – here’s what i cam up with

2 Art makes the future

while the history we learn is laden with the stories of kings, conquerers, popes and rulers, the only reason we know anything about how people lived, loved and thought is because artists took the time to chronicle the the stories through paint, words, carvings, and song. From the earliest cave painters to bloggers, there is vast evidence for the importance of storytelling.

3 Art Craft Schwag

No doubt today like olden times, there is a tremendous amount of disposable pop culture created to satiate common interest but the best stuff created by diligent artisans rises above the layer of schlock into the territory of craft and then transcends into a rarified area of art which will last centuries rather than 15 minutes. But who decides what is art? And don’t give me that “i know what i like” answer.

4 Craft + Intent

Instead I’ve made a formula to sort out these largely subjective criteria – first off, take Craft – skill honed from thousands of hours of consideration, then add Intent – which, while subjective, can be gauged by heart of the creator, and then multiplied by the artist’s Integrity as seen by an audience. The audience who truly breathes life into a story, no matter the medium. This formula doesn’t work for you? Cool, make another, but be sure to share. Art does not live in a vacuum, art yearns to be shared.

5 Audience / Awesome

But this can be tricky for artists who must balance their internal desire and, dareisay mission, to create authentic art with the often debilitating practical need to make a living. I’ve found that my projects which garner the biggest audience, are not necessarily the ones which i maximize my artistic potential – find where you audience and awesomeness intersect and try to find a way to hang out there.

Here’s how:

6 Upgrade your Heroes

First upgrade your heroes – history is scattered with underknown world-changers, and the present is too. Dig beyond pop culture, politicians and sports personalities to find remarkable predecessors to your work – for me, my heroes range from writer of “Confessions” and “The Social Contract”, Jean Jacques Rousseau, to current day punk rock photographer bev davies. Who are your historical dopplegangers?

7 Personal Archaeology

Next, embark on personal archaeology – dig into your closet to find forgotten dreams from those black white photos you took in yellowstone to graduate thesis to 4th grade book reports to your journals from hitchhiking down the coast. Take the risk to share these artifacts with your small slice of the world and let them breathe life into your work.

8 Embrace Translucency

Transparency isn’t interesting – instead share the parts of you which are compelling and you are capable of backing up – accept risks but protect the parts of you which are too delicate to expose. Create interest through scarcity and self-editing and be prepared to deal with any reaction which comes along.

9 Express with vigour

You are an expert on something, don’t rely on others to create the historical record – everyone has access to remarkable publishing and promotion tools so step it up and dig deep to tell your unfiltered opinions and don’t let cynics bring you down – if you can’t surprise and impress yourself, no way you can evoke emotion from an audience.

10 HST

I think of “Express with Vigour” as the “Hunter S Thompson rule” – while his reputation has been somewhat maligned through hollywood movies, the fake Doctor was the finest social commentator since Samuel Clemens and offered significant discourse about Jimmy Carter, Hell Angels, 9/11 – and did it with a significant buzz – but always had a job because he expressed himself wisely and vigorously.

11 Cross Training

Now sometimes the pressure to create awesomeness can be debilitating – staring at a white sheet of paper and all that – rather than stressing, experiment with other mediums and get interdisciplinary with cross training skillz and your stories will manifest through the other tools – i contend V. Van Gogh c/would’ve made it as a writer if the painting hadn’t worked out.

12 Don’t Get Precious

With all this goodness you are creating, it’s easy to get protective of your thoughts and work. Rather than waiting for someone to make you an offer you can’t refuse, share your work openly and willingly – learn about creative commons, find collaborators, encourage remixing and your work will create a culture of its own. It’s not always fair but it is usually fun.

13 Ignore Gatekeepers

The established business models for artists are relatively modern and designed to create value for the shareholders of corporations. The goal of landing a major label record deal or a big publishing advance are no longer needed or valued – be your own imprint, chart your own course, the gatekeepers may look intimidating but they are made of stone so walk on by.

14 Cross Pollinate

When your work is released to the world to an audience – no matter the size – you’ll see a culture begin to grow around it – In the hills of Japan, I learned that once inoculated, Shiitake mushrooms propagate their culture from one log to the next – as the older logs rot away and stop producing, new logs down the line are fruiting fungus. Ditto with your audience.

15 Get more drummers

One dude drumming alone can make some noise but is not a party – recruit more drummers to amplify your story in their own way and spread your message across continents and oceans while building relationships and playing well with others. More fun, more effective plus you need others to have your back from time to time. Your momma told you are 1 in a million – that means there are at least 30 people just like you in Canada alone – go find em.

16 Formula for creativity

The old Edison maxim suggest success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – this isn’t my formula – my formula for creative expression is 80% meditation, 10% execution and 10% inebriation – what i mean by that is the real work comes in the white space of life where you contemplate your story – the inebriation part is about pushing yourself to where you get a little scared.

17 Collect notes along the way

Travelling light means not accumulating much – for me gathering ephemeral objects along the way can be a short cut to remembering where you were mentally, emotionally, artistically decades later – a train ticket or dried flower can leap you back to a place in time which can benchmark how much you’ve remained the same while constantly evolving and spark new creative pursuits.

18 make it for yourself

Everyone else is just eavesdropping – this ain’t your job – its for love not money so make it exactly how you want it. Push out the nagging naysayers in your noggin and create something with integrity and for the love of all things decent, don’t cheese out for the quick win. Be sell out proof and make things you’ll want to read when you are old and grey.

19 Reap Rewards

Making stories for the future isn’t a way to gain the material trapping of perceived success. You may never see your reward beyond the admiration of a small tribe of others – but that’s enough. Success will be a surprise you likely don’t expect. Don’t wait for your ship to come in, instead realize it might get lonely out waiting for your bus to roll in so get comfy and settle in.

20 Hang loose

I’m dave, i’m all over the internet – i have a killer job so you can’t hire me but you can buy me a beer – thank you and hang loose vancouver

Changing Transit Routes – Postcard #68

Changing Transit Routes – Postcard #68

Changing routes to think about the neighbourhoods – this Postcard is about rolling transit, everyplace and anywhere. Evidence comes in a transit route inspired spoken-word song and a smattering of poems including: odes to drivers, forgotten literary neighbourhoods, angry passengers, observed newspapers around Vancouver… plus a bit of Clayton the busker in the Seabus tunnel playing The Replacements’ “Skyway.”

Get onboard for: Changing Transit Routes  – Postcard #68
(13:50, 23MB, .mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Changing Transit Routes – Postcard #68

First Morning Back

Like the first morning of
the first day of school
the bus driver doesn’t even
acknowledge my absence

i cough good morning anyhow

Leaping Beyond Cynicism – Postcard #64

leaping beyong cynicism

In tumultuous and confusing times, optimism and activism are the powerful antidotes for cynicism and fear. Two Bills share songs to assist in making this point.

First B/William Lenker plays a spontaneous Squatters in Zion from his Steamboat Island woodshop, then Dave spiels about courageous – and sadly deceased Olympian – Rachel Corrie, followed by Billy Bragg vehemently spieling on stage before a rollicking snippet of his Great Leap Forward from Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.

Activate + edify thyself with: Leaping Beyond Cynicism – Postcard #64 (14:24, 26MB, .mp3, stereo)

Cover art: Smashed plaque which marked where Benito Mussolini was shot, as seen at The Coliseum, Rome.

Continue reading Leaping Beyond Cynicism – Postcard #64

Urban Vancouver – Festival and Culture Sounds podcasts

Urban Vancouver podcast cover

Over the years, i’ve assembled various recording of Vancouver-centric cultural events, parades, festival, street-strolls, sound-seeing and other miscellany. I bundle and publish under the vaguely euphemistic moniker of “Urban Vancouver”.

As such, i wrapped a proper podcast feed around the lil collection of – currently 7 – audio dispatches.

Stick this in your pod-o-rator if inclined to tempt your tolerance for ambiguity.

Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/UrbanVancouver

Web: http://daveostory.com/category/audio-pods-songs/vancouver-sounds/

Album art from a remixed (w/o permission) Fred Herzog photo.

Pacific Blue Drum and Bugle Corps Parade in Bridgeview, Surrey, BC

pac blue parade

recently shot clips of 23 marching bands at Victoria Day parade in Victoria (natch) and was flashing back to hauling bass drum or marimba through Bridgeview for parades with no audience. they were marching bands and now drum bugle corps per se but made me think of the hijinks with all the Pacific Blue weirdos, circa 1983-4.

anyhow, curiously wondered how our drum line would stack up (better than all i am sure!) and enjoyed some flashbacks to the many parades (enjoyed memories more than hauling mallets or bass drum) and sure enough, found a photo… of the lamest parade ever… an early morning in Bridgeview with almost no one on the streets. We were yelled at by woken up residents, and joined in the parade mostly by kids with wagons and dogs.

Behold, evidence including rare snaps of legendary Rob Loewen and the witty Bill Odribege + more renegades.

savings account, just for the bankbank

 I wasn’t a lad who obsessed over money by any means but, kept a savings account from when I was a wee little dude primarily to receive a cute little notebook. Then I discovered punk rock and removed all the money to buy records…

Revolutions, Punks & Poets: Vancouver’s Forgotten Stories

Storymaker Dave uncleweed Olson shares an eclectic variety of stories from Vancouver’s counter-culture history on a stage adorned with a record player, campfire & cub scout blanket, art easel, flowers and an Expo 86 mug – plus pulls artifacts from an old-timey suitcase to illustrate forgotten past of a city which is/was much cooler than most realize.

Presented at Northern Voice, June 2013 in Vancouver, Canada, his 11th presentation to this noted personal expression conference (and his last talk before a medical “retirement”).

Filmed by Bruce Sharpe and Andrew Lavigne
Edited, Directed, Produced by Andrew Lavigne (also: With Glowing Hearts and Generation Social).

Music: Derek K Miller (RIP) “(You’re the) Big Sky”

Dave uncleweed Olson shares Forgotten Vancouver Stories
Dave uncleweed Olson shares Forgotten Vancouver Stories

 Topics:

  • Frederick Varley – Group of 7 painter who lived in Vancouver for 10 years
  • Grateful Dead – (tried to) play free shows at Second Beach and Kits Beach in 1966
  • Bob Masse psychedelic poster artist
  • Gastown Riots, March on Blaine, Rock Against Racism
  • bev. davies – rock n roll photographer, community chronicler, punk rock mom
  • Blues in Vancouver – Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee at the Bunkhouse
  • Vancouver punk rock glory days DIY spirit and fanzines (+ final days of The Clash and importance of ephemera)
  • Clayoquot Sound logging blockades
  • Jake Milford and the Canucks recruiting Swedish players in the 1970s
  • United Empire Loyalists + Burner Boys bringing jam band culture
  • Venues of note: Afterthought, Retinal Circus, York Theatre, the Cave, the Bunkhouse
  • Cubscout campfire blankets
  • Howard Hughes, Errol Flynn
  • ++ bits of Kris Krug, Bob Kronbauer, Rebecca Bollwitt, Dan Mangan, Jason Vanderhill and campfire helpers: Mark Blevis, Kemp Edmonds, John Biehler, James Lester, Ariane Colenbrander, Nicholas Demers

Continue reading Revolutions, Punks & Poets: Vancouver’s Forgotten Stories

Street Band in Vancouver’s West End

Just a fine trio playing tunes on the street in Vancouver’s West End. Don’t know the name of the band, nor the tune but sure do enjoy it.