Mermaids, Cats, and Pokemon Go

Kristine Opolais as Rusalka

I guess whinging about not having done anything fun in a month worked, because in the three weeks after that, I attended an opera, painted for an art installation, and got a Twitter-length story published.

The opera:

I had gotten tickets for Dvořák’s Rusalka when I went to the Czech Republic last spring, but the opera was cancelled without notice. B-cat, being wonderful, took me to hear Met Opera’s brand new production for St. Valentine’s Day.

[Instant summary]
Rusalka is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, with the mermaid being a water nymph, her dad being the biggest downer of a water sprite, and her wood nymph friends being nicer than her crappy sisters. No one’s happy in the end.


The costumes are gorgeous — Kristine Opolais’s water nymph dress is an entire pond floating with water lilies!! The Foreign Princess resembles Monica Bellucci’s Mirror Queen in The Brothers Grimm. The wood nymphs are good dancers, and one of the main trio is East Asian and a beautiful singer. And the Prince, Brandon Jovanovich, looks just like Michael Fassbender.

I’m usually not the biggest fan of German operas, but I love every single second of this one — the music, libretto, and acting combined. Rusalka is my new favourite opera.

Having trouble smiling because I ran out of moisturiser and lip balm

The painting:

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival put together a giant koinobori (those tube-shaped carp flags/kites) art installation for display in VanDusen Garden. “Giant” is no exaggeration when the diameter of each fish scale exceeds half my height.

B-cat and I painted our scales at Joy Kogawa House. Two strokes in, I remembered I don’t actually like painting, so I sped through the rest. Still, it’s neat to see how the painting changes with sunlight shining through the thin nylon (see above) vs. under indoor lighting, with a table underneath (see below).

The festival begins March 30, 2017.

My cat (tentative title: “Kibble Sky”) and B-cat’s geometric shapes

The story:

Gotham Writers has posted results for its 16-word “memoir” — story summing up the year, technically — contest for 2016, and mine is one of the finalists. It’s not much of a story, but I’d say I managed to cram in a lot of information about the entire year (how 2016 is Pokemon Go?).

gotham 2016 memoir contest

To be clear, I only had Pokemon Go open at the crematorium because my entire extended family minus two members was playing it. It was a day-long funeral and I laughed and cried the entire time; don’t judge. And I only downloaded the game because, after the car accident, i.e. after being stuck on the couch in pain for two months, I really, really wanted to walk and run again. So the logical thing* to do was to install a bunch of apps that required real-life walking and running.

*It’s totally logical! I have a degree in philosophy!

Picasso in the VAG

My favourite painting there

Earlier tonight, B-cat and I took three buses downtown to catch Picasso: The Artist and His Muses at the Vancouver Art Gallery. B-cat was in pain and on crutches, some idiots stepped on my ankle and bumped my head, the #19 reeked of vinegar, and still I would say the correct response to hearing about a “medical emergency” (Vancouverites know what that means) at the skytrain stations is not “I feel so sorry for you and anyone who couldn’t take the skytrain”, but rather “I feel so sorry for anyone related to the person who’s now a ‘medical emergency’ on the tracks”.


Well then.

My favourite piece there

Pablo Picasso apparently had a lot of [(increasingly) younger] women over his 92 years, and the 60+ pieces at the VAG cover the six women who most inspired him. One of the first things you see in the exhibit is a life-sized photo of Picasso’s first, a ballerina with the Ballet Russes:

Fernande Olivier

And the last thing you see is a room of works by women, alongside a scholarly yet clear explanation that Picasso’s “muses” were subjected to the male gaze and that, while it’s important to understand a master artist’s work, it’s also important to understand he worked in a time when (among other issues) no one would’ve considered any woman an artistic genius. Feminism isn’t that difficult.

Tomorrow (Oct. 2) is the last day of the Picasso exhibit. The gallery will be open ’til 9 pm.

Yes, the title is a pun.

Summer’s Out for the Year

Moon Bus art installation by Taiwanese artist Jimmy Liao

How has your summer been?

In July someone hit me and B-cat with a car (and rightly accepted all fault) while we were on the way to a Tanabata Festival tea ceremony. Later that month, my story appeared in the 2016 issue of Green Hills Literary Lantern.

In August my grandmother passed away, a few years from 100. I flew to Taiwan for the funeral and three weeks of family bonding.

Other than “riding” the moon bus near Taipei 101 Tower and making a moon-shaped clay cookie pendant at a crafting tea party, I haven’t had an artsy summer, but I’m digging the lovely coincidence which I’ve just noticed.

I made the moon cookie; my cousin Annie made the star cookie

I still think it sounds cool to get ahead in lines and use diplomat-only counters at airports, but it’s definitely better to not be horribly injured. Looking forward to autumn!