Town Talk: Plenty to see on Blackcomb Way

 

Audain Art Museum: Ribbon-cutting party in Whistler March 12 will display couple’s extensive collection

 
 
 
 
Already extensive in 2002, Yoshiko and Michael Audain’s art collection grew to fill the Whistler museum they will open March 5.
 
 

Already extensive in 2002, Yoshiko and Michael Audain’s art collection grew to fill the Whistler museum they will open March 5.

Photograph by: Malcolm Parry

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BLACK TIE ON BLACKCOMB WAY: Some 700 culturati and corporati will join Michael and Yoshiko Audain in Whistler next weekend for the Audain Art Museum’s ribbon-cutting, dress-up dinner and private and public showings. There’ll be plenty to see: 23 Emily Carr paintings, 19 by E.J. Hughes, five Jeff Walls and many aboriginal works.

As for Polygon Homes board chair Audain himself, here are snapshots from past columns: as a prison guard, probation officer, social worker and housing-policy consultant before catching the building bug in 1980. Jailed as an anti-racism Freedom Rider in 1961 Mississippi. Father James named him for jockey Michael O’Leary whose long-odds win at Goodwood earned papa a bundle. Like Mick Jagger, attended the London School of Economics. Will wear black ties only until a global nuclear-arms-ban treaty is signed. Left a Lovers Ball white-faced in mid-dessert on learning of fire ravaging an unfinished Polygon project. During a photo-op with then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was told: “Young man, take off your spectacles. They’ll reflect the flash. And if you did your eye exercises properly, you wouldn’t need them.” Heard painter Gordon Smith publicly thank him and Yoshiko “for doing more for the arts than anyone else in Canada really.” After bidding $47,000 for a Smith work, said his physician advised him to wear a blood-pressure monitor at art auctions. Of taking three large glasses of red wine before transpacific flights: “I get a better sleep in Cathay Pacific business class than I do in my bed at home.”

Said his and others arts-organization board members’ role is “to give, get or get off.” Has donated some 40 works to the Vancouver Art Gallery and, as a VAG trustee, endowed a $25,000 annual prize for lifetime achievement in the visual arts. After seed-financing VAG senior curator Ron Thom’s book Art BC: Masterworks from British Columbia, said: “We have outstanding artists (who) take second place to no one in the world.” At an at-home showing of his Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun paintings to fellow influential folk, heard the artist rebuke guests with: “You’re all squatters on our land.” Once noted the art-event-sponsoring Vancouver Sun “is getting better every day; it used to be a bit of a rag.” Of the decades leading to his museum’s opening: “In a sense, I am an artist groupie. I can’t do it, so my role is to (help) artists make a living and others to enjoy it.”

YOU’RE WELCOME: Five years have passed since Saeedeh Salem sparked the Neekoo Soirée to help the Neekoo Philanthropic Society make education grants to students of Persian background. She’s a natural to stay involved as she and husband Sean provide wines from their La Stella and Le Vieux Pin Okanagan operations. Staged again by Countdown Events proprietor Soha Lavin, this year’s soirée took place in The Permanent, Pender Street’s former BC Permanent & Loan Co. headquarters known for its multi-hued glass dome and bank vault beside the present-day bar. Attendees relished Persian and western dishes, although some likely shared Lavin’s recollection of a simpler meal. That was the tomato-and-cucumber sandwich the then-13-year-old tasted on arriving in Canada with a family fleeing revolutionary Iran. “It was so good,” she said, “because it tasted of freedom.” Newly landed Syrian refugees likely voice that sentiment, too.

NEW SHOES, OLD FACES: Women can puzzle over getting their shoes and purse to match. It was a breeze, though, for visiting artist Nessa Abdollahi (@fashionartsbynessa), who impressed Neekoo Soirée attendees with her colourful inventions. Reaching for her brushes, she had decorated the side of her bag and her Too Kamikaze pumps’ many plain panels with feminine images from Iran’s history.

CAMELOT A LOT: King Arthritis and The Round Tables might be a more fitting title for the fourth-annual ARThritis Soirée May 26. That’s because Hristo Etropolski and fellow Bulgarian Theodora Runtova will demonstrate the Excalibur-like swordplay that sent him to two Olympics and her to several championships. Chair Naz Panahi doubtless hopes their flashing sabres will slice open attendees’ billfolds and produce another $270,000 or so to fund research into an ailment that reportedly kills more than melanoma, asthma and HIV/AIDS combined.

KEEPING SCORE: It’s easy to spend $50 in a bar. Less so for a bar. But attendees did that at a first fundraiser for the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra conductor Ken Hsieh founded in 2003. They paid for individual bars of music that were then recorded on an enlarged page from Mozart’s last-but-two Symphony #39 K. 543 mounted in the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Great Hall. What a nifty notion.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Hong Kong singer Rita Carpio will help chairs Jason Lam, Grant Lin and Walter Soo raise another $500,000 or so for social-service programs when the United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society (SUCCESS) Foundation’s annual gala goes at the Bayshore Hotel March 12.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca 604-929-8456

 
 
 
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Already extensive in 2002, Yoshiko and Michael Audain’s art collection grew to fill the Whistler museum they will open March 5.
 

Already extensive in 2002, Yoshiko and Michael Audain’s art collection grew to fill the Whistler museum they will open March 5.

Photograph by: Malcolm Parry

 
Already extensive in 2002, Yoshiko and Michael Audain’s art collection grew to fill the Whistler museum they will open March 5.
Two paintings by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun are in the new Audain Art Museum, Whistler’s permanent collection of 200 works.
There’ll be Olympics-level swordplay in the Vancouver Club May 26 when Naz Panahi chairs the fourth-annual ARThritis Soiree there.
Hong Kong singer Rita Carpio will entertain at a benefit for the 43-year-old SUCCESS social-service agency at the Bayshore March 12.
Saeedeh Salem sparkplugged the Neekoo Soiree in 2012 to help fund student grants, and event planner Soha Lavin has staged it ever since.
Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra chair Kevin Chen and conductor Ken Hsieh greeted supporters at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Marylou Vallejo, Ivan Tucakov and Oriana White performed at the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra’s first fundraiser.
Nessa Abdollahi solved the dilemma of matching accessories by painting classical Persian images on her purse and pumps for the Neeko Soiree to raise funds for grants to students from Iranian backgrounds.
Nessa Abdollahi solved many women's dilemma of matching accessories by painting classical Persian images on her purse and pumps Photo for the Mac Parry Town Talk column of March 5, 2016. Malcolm Parry/Vancouver Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
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