The Weekend of Awesome: Matisse, The Wall and Beaver Tails

This post has been sitting in my drafts for exactly a month so I figured I should get it posted. Better late than never!

May 25 – 27, 2012
This weekend was awesome! It really was.

Friday night started with a glass of Zinfandel before heading out to the Vancouver Art Gallery‘s opening reception. And what an opening. Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore was the big attraction but Vancouver’s own Rodney Graham,¬†Chinese artist Yang Fudong – who I hear flew in for the weekend – and¬† a group show of works from the gallery’s collection, Again and Again and Again, also opened. I’d love to tell you how fabulous all the shows are but to be quite honest I was so overwhelmed by the Cone sister’s collection that I didn’t take in much else. But don’t you worry, I will be back many times over the summer and fill you in on the other shows.

Lets face it, the three block line up wasn’t for Rodney Graham, it was for Matisse. With thousands of people crowding the galleries it could be hard to get close, but a little perseverance, and maybe just a little nudge, had me standing in front of a heart stopping Gauguin, to it’s left hung a Van Gogh then a Courbet. Wandering through a room filled with lace (yes, lace! I’m looking forward to going back and reading all about the lace and other textiles in the show) lead through to a gallery filled with Picasso works – a few stunningly beautiful drawings, a couple sculptures and a canvas from his blue period. The the Matisse works. Bronze sculptures, drawings, paintings, more paintings, prints … such a collection. And to think they all came from a private collection. What a home they must have had!

The evening was beautiful, warm but not hot. Perfectly comfortable for sipping wine and wandering around downtown and enjoying the city. If anything, I was hesitant to go home and have the night be done. Winding down on my patio, watching a crescent moon dip behind the trees, reflecting on the night with a glass of wine was just the ending I needed. Especially since I didn’t know that Saturday would be just as great.

Saturday morning started off with brunch at La Salade Du Fruits with some friends. This is a hidden gem of a restaurant, tucked away on 7th Avenue just off Granville Street, it is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. The eggs Benedict are sinfully good and they have the best fries I’ve ever eaten. They are cash only so leave your plastic at home, it won’t help you here. Brunch at this little french cafe always sets the way for a good Saturday.

I can’t claim to be the biggest Pink Floyd fan but it is music I grew up with and I live with a fan of their’s. Earlier in the week we had seen a segment on 60 Minutes about Roger Waters‘ live tour of The Wall and both decided it looked awesome. Wouldn’t you know, Roger Waters just happened to be playing in Vancouver this weekend.

With an iphone on hand I kept a look out for good tickets as I wondered around Cambie Street. Pick up new sunglasses, check for tickets, three half price books on the last day of The Book Warehouse, check for tickets. Sit in the sun with a fancy Starbucks iced tea, check for tickets. No deals found. We took our chances and headed off to BC Place. There are always tickets to be had.

They might not have been the best seats in the house – they definitely weren’t – but we were close enough to see Roger Waters with out binoculars and so close to the beer kiosk that we didn’t have to wait in line. More importantly, the show was fan-freaking-tanstic!

We didn’t have the good iphone with us and the battery was running low but I did manage to get off a few shots. Perhaps that was for the best. The show was so spectacular that I would have hated to miss something while messing with photographing or posting.

Vancouver had given us another lovely day and a lack of cabs so we strolled along the seawall before heading up the hill for home. The hike up Main Street helped burn off some of the excitement of the night.

Sunday was a quiet recovery day. Easing down from the highs of friday and Saturday. But fortunately an uneventful trip to Costco wasn’t going to be the highlight of the day. Vancouver still had some treats in her pocket for me.

I’m not a golfer and likely never will be. I have, some how, been appointed documentary photographer for the golfer in my life. This mostly entails tagging along to the driving range and taking a couple videos of his swing. It isn’t the most glamorous documentary gig out there but the scenery is nice and I get a fair bit of knitting done. What I’m getting at is that I’m at the golf course fairly often, but it usually isn’t all that interesting.

Sunday we found the parking lot at McCleery eerily empty. The range was open but the course itself closed for, well I’m not sure why it was closed on a Sunday but I’m sure the city had its reasons. With no fear of getting hit in the head by little flying balls, I headed out for a stroll. Some ponds off to the edge looked like as good a place as any to explore. A Redwing Black Bird sang to me for a while, some frogs providing back up when needed. Off in a larger pond I spotted what looked like a beaver hut. It was.

This would be where my weekend got very Canadian. I was happy to spot one little beaver head swimming around – I’d only seen beavers once of twice before – and was thrilled to see three of her friends within just a few minutes. The best part, a tail slap. A moment of pure genius led me to turn the camera to record and follow my new friend. Yup, if you annoy a beaver you can catch a slap on film – it was the only way I would get undisputable evidence I’d seen a beaver. All my other footage may have well been ogopogo.

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