Vancouver Confidential, the final version of the book cover; painting by Tom Carter. It’s official! I’m having a book launch, along with over a dozen of my close associates! I had initially posted the book here but a brand new painting has been completed just for the cover! The cover image shows Hastings and Main from an imagined elevated perspective, giving you a unique vantage point of downtown through a dense stretch of brilliant neon and bustling city streets. This book is not an art history textbook, but instead explores a host of untapped local history from the mid-20th century.

You are hereby invited to attend said book launch on September 21 in Chinatown. If you are a friend of one of us, you may be able to see this Facebook event. If you can’t see it, try this link instead! (No matter what the Facebook RSVP says, I am quite confident it will be a full house! Maybe standing room only!) To all attendees; please wear a hat! (hat optional, strictly for ambiance!)

Many of the contributors to this fourteen-author publication are likely to be in attendance! Drinks will be available from the Emerald Supper Club bar (no host bar).

  • 21 September, 2014 at 18:00–21:00
    the Emerald Supper Club
    555 Gore Avenue, Vancouver, BC

If you can’t make this book launch, I personally expect we will do more book promotional events in the near future, such as readings in libraries, public and private spaces, etc. For example, I am personally planning to give a reading at Long Table Distillery on the edge of Yaletown & False Creek (1451 Hornby St) in mid-October, just steps from the former Joseph Kennedy warehouse (it was at 1208 Homer St)! Details as they become available!

So what is this book all about?

From the back cover:

Most civic histories celebrate progress, industry, order, and visions. This isn’t one of those.

Vancouver Confidential takes a fresh look at the rare urban culture of a port city in the mid-twentieth century. These were years when Hastings and Main was still a dynamic commercial and entertainment hub, when streetcars thrummed through the city, and when ‘theatre’ meant vaudeville and burlesque. Street gambling and illegal booze cans peppered the map, brothels and bootleggers served loggers and shore-workers, and politicians were almost always larger than life.

This new compilation honours the hustlers and the hobos, the mobster and the muscle, the bent and the straight, the mug in the mug shot, the ingénue and the spy, the anonymous woman at the till, the victim at the murder scene, and the crusading reporter in disguise. It illuminates aspects of a city in disguise. It illuminates aspects of a city that was too busy getting into trouble to worry about whether or not it was ‘world class.’

Vancouver Confidential includes essays from Tom Carter, Aaron Chapman, Jesse Donaldson, James Johnstone, Lani Russwurm, Eve Lazarus, Diane Purvey, Cathrine Rose, Rosanne Sia, Jason Vanderhill, Stevie Wilson, Will Woods, Terry Watada and John Belshaw.

And what is my particular chapter about, you ask? It’s an exploration of prohibition in Canada and the US, cocktails in Yaletown, and an ambitious American entrepreneur named Daniel Joseph Kennedy. I’ve included some of my favourite photos on the subject in this post, and there will be much, much more revealed within the pages of this book! This is all very exciting, as these stories have not yet been told to this degree, and now you can read them all in one book! Very special thanks to Anvil Press for publishing, John Belshaw for editing, and Derek von Essen for designing the book! Such a diverse collection of stories by a very dynamic group. Thank you all for your interest!

Vancouver Confidential, the draft version of the book cover, painted by artist Tom Carter. I predict this forthcoming book edited by John Belshaw will be one of the most anticipated titles of the year in Vancouver! Full disclosure, I also happen to be contributing a chapter to this book, along with a long list of exceptional local writers and historians.
Tonight at the VPL there is a special event with three of the contributors to the book. See the Facebook event for more details.
https://www.facebook.com/events/726899950674410/

Vancouver Confidential, the draft version of the book cover, painted by artist Tom Carter. I predict this forthcoming book edited by John Belshaw will be one of the most anticipated titles of the year in Vancouver! Full disclosure, I also happen to be contributing a chapter to this book, along with a long list of exceptional local writers and historians.

Tonight at the VPL there is a special event with three of the contributors to the book. See the Facebook event for more details.

https://www.facebook.com/events/726899950674410/

Merry Christmas from the Beacon on Hastings Street, a painting & Christmas card by Tom Carter. Tom writes on his Christmas card:

My friend Arthur Irving suggested the subject of this year’s card, the Beacon Theatre (built as the second Pantages in 1917, subsequently the Hastings Odeon and finally the Majestic before it was demolished in 1967). Arthur fought valiantly to save this theatre in the 1960’s but at that time, unbelievably as it is for us now, not enough people cared and it was lost. Thanks to Arthur’s dedication and hard work at that time, a wealth of information has been kept about this theatre - without a doubt the finest theatre ever built in Vancouver.

The letters spelling Merry Christmas are to a certain extent, artistic license, not based on an actual photograph, but instead inspired by the giant marquee letters that were changed regularly depending on the title of the show. The signs shown above include The Birth of a Nation in Sound, March 31, 1932 (VPL 11021); 5 year old boy psychic Jackie Merkle, December 20, 1932 (CVA 99-4282); and Texas Guinan in her 1929 film Queen of the Night Clubs, October 28, 1933 (CVA 99-4563).

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Granville Bridges, a 48”x60” acrylic painting on canvas by Tom Carter. This fine perspective illustrates nearly the exact same moment in time as last week’s post, showing the Granville Street bridge nearing completion. The advert makes the bridge look as though it is already finished, but I believe some fancy photo retouching is merely giving that illusion.

Granville Bridges, a 48”x60” acrylic painting on canvas by Tom Carter. This fine perspective illustrates nearly the exact same moment in time as last week’s post, showing the Granville Street bridge nearing completion. The advert makes the bridge look as though it is already finished, but I believe some fancy photo retouching is merely giving that illusion.

The Edge of Wilderness, acrylic on canvas (48 x 60 inches) by Tom Carter, Celebrating the City of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary at the Baron Gallery in Gastown with a show of paintings of 1950’s Vancouver, May 11-Aug 27, 2011.

The Edge of Wilderness, acrylic on canvas (48 x 60 inches) by Tom Carter, Celebrating the City of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary at the Baron Gallery in Gastown with a show of paintings of 1950’s Vancouver, May 11-Aug 27, 2011.

Dine With Risty, diptych acrylic on canvas (48 x 60 inches x 2), by Tom Carter, Celebrating the City of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary at the Baron Gallery with a show of paintings of 1950’s Vancouver, May 11-Aug 27, 2011.

Dine With Risty, diptych acrylic on canvas (48 x 60 inches x 2), by Tom Carter, Celebrating the City of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary at the Baron Gallery with a show of paintings of 1950’s Vancouver, May 11-Aug 27, 2011.

Intersection, comprised of 18”x24” acrylic panels by Tom Carter, on exhibit at the Baron Gallery May 11-Aug 27, 2011. The entire piece is over 16’ long, and is sure to have much more impact in person. Also mentioned here yesterday; Intersection is not actually a precise representation of Vancouver so much as it is an amalgam of many places; expect to see more from Tom Carter in the future.