Self-Indulgent Comics #42
Another new mini-comic for the upcoming (May 25th/26th) 2nd annual Vancaf Small Press Convention coming up at the Roundhouse (it’s also free to attend). In this issue I enter the hallowed halls of ART! This one was painted in black, white and grey gouache, a nice flat medium but difficult in that it drys a different tone than when applied wet.
Please note that this mini-comic and many others are available from Colin Upton Comics - email@example.com - both individually and in sets at reasonable prices.
The Spiro Tower, seen above in a period flyer via Emporis.com. I don’t normally feature photographs, but in this case, given the relative obscurity of this item, I’m including anything I can gather! Facts about the tower, built 1968, demolished 1979, from Emporis:
- Diameter of tower: 8 feet 2 inches.
- Capacity of gondola: 60 persons.
- Traveling speed: 295 feet per minute.
- Rotations of gondola per trip: 3.
- The tower was Swiss design and manufactured and imported from West Germany.
- Built by Mercedes-Benz who placed their logo on the top at installation (removed later for advertising space).
- Tower was located just inside the main Playland entrance gate on Hastings Street.
- The structure’s purpose during its 11 year existence was as an observation tower/amusement ride.
- Traveling height of the 2-level cabin: 216 feet.
- Tower was opened the same year Spiro Agnew was elected US Vice President (Richard Nixon’s running mate), so many people mispronounced its name as SPEAR-RO Tower instead of SPY-RO.
Also seen above is page 165 of 100 Years of Fun, the retrospective book on the PNE. The PNE sent me some additional images, including their 1968 Annual Report which featured the tower on the front cover. From this annual report, the footnote text on the back cover stated:
A spectacular 300-foot high elevator ride into space was the exciting high point for visitors to Playland during the 1968 Pacific National Exhibition. Gently rotating three times on the way up and down, the picture windows allowed each passenger an uninterrupted panoramic view of not only the 184 “Acres of Fun”, but of the most beautiful city in Canada—from atop the new, exciting and unique Spiro-Tower.
There’s got to be more great photos of this tower/from this tower in your parents and grandparents photo albums! Here’s a great panoramic shot from Harold H Johnston for instance. Keep an eye out for them, and post them soon!
I attended the opening of Charles Keillor’s show Lotus Land in Deep Cove on Friday, and I have to add a followup post to implore you - you must go and see this show! The scale, detail, technique, and impact of these drawings all in one show is not to be missed! I wish I could feature the Buntzen Lake Power House drawing here, but it just falls outside the “Illustrated Vancouver” jurisdiction. Perhaps Charles will choose to draw the Dal Grauer substation, or the Electra next? Head to Deep Cove for some kayaking, and then some fine art! The show runs to June 2, 2013.
An etching of the Spencer’s building, from a letter to the Windsor Hotel, New Westminster dated September 8, 1942. Here you can see the actual building very much as it appears today. By contrast, you may recall the proposed structure I featured twice before which would have overtaken the entire block. Changing Vancouver delves into this aspect of the story here.
And one final bit of Spencer’s lore, here are two of my favourite bits of vintage Vancouver motion picture. Part 1 and part 2 of the Spencer’s Christmas parade believed to be from 1927, from the Colonel Victor Spencer family fonds at the Vancouver Archives.
Lotus Land, Architecture & Infrastructure, an upcoming show by Vancouver artist Charles Keillor. Also seen here are Auto Court, No Parking, and Children at Play, representing the famous 2400 Motel on Kingsway and two similar views along E 1st Avenue, near Clinton Park. Charles is having a show at the Artemis Gallery in Deep Cove, North Vancouver in May 10-June 2. The exhibition’s opening is slated for Friday evening, May 10 and the show will be comprised of a series of large scale graphite works depicting local residential, commercial, and industrial infrastructure. Charles writes:
Among other things, these drawings reflect my interest in the Lower Mainland “suburban” architecture of the recent past. In this instance, the classic post-war bungalow; which dominated certain neighbourhoods (and still does I suppose), prior to the arrival of the “Vancouver Special” (which will also be represented in the show, along with my personal residential favourite, the mid-century modern “Post and Beamer”).
In 1909, someone thought it might be a good idea to build grain elevators on Deadman’s Island. Park Board turned the idea down.
‘Stratus’ soon fellow cartoonists! Cloudscape’s biggest art show at the Ayden Gallery opens on May 3 at 7:00pm.
If you haven’t signed up yet, do so here! https://www.facebook.com/events/148990701925781/
BK Munn writes about the upcoming show:
Billing it as a “giant show” launching with a signing by all the involved creators, Cloudscape founder Jeff Ellis, reminds us of the origin of the retrospective: “I had a dream that I wanted to boost local comics in Vancouver, The next idea that came… [was] ‘we have all of these artists making comics – rather than spending money to do our own individual works, why don’t we work together and pool our resources to publish something?’”
In the Village T shirt design contest! Shown here are some of the contestants, including Leah Gregg & Kim Ridgewell, Melanie Kimmett, and Jane Koo. Vote here before the end of the month! From the VIAwesome:
We’ve commissioned ten local illustrators and graphic designers to produce designs inspired by the Village on False Creek. The top three voted designs will then be put in front of a jury which includes VANCOUVERISAWESOME’s Bob Kronbauer, Bob Rennie, and one yet-to-be-named judge. We’ll choose one design from those that’ll be printed onto t-shirts which we’ll be giving away.
Waterlogged Fundraising Video by CloudscapeComics. Cloudscape is currently having a fundraiser to crowdsource the production of their latest publication. Arrrgh, it’s going to be great! Join the campaign here!
Way to go Safeamp!
Also, this is happening on Saturday! Amazing lineup. All Ages! Get your shit together and come down! https://www.facebook.com/events/138192376353423/
Menus from days gone by, via the MoV. The Chilco Grill, the Lux Café, the Senator Grill, the Press Club, all circa 1948-1952, donated to the Museum of Vancouver by Mr. Sonny Farrington. About Sonny, from the items’ description:
Sonny Farrington b. 1923 in Flin Flon, Manitoba, moved to Vancouver in 1942 with his parents. The family lived at 11th Avenue and Yukon, and Sonny attended Edith Cavell Elementary School (where Pal’s Café was his favourite hang-out) and then King Edward High School. In 1945, Sonny’s mother got a job as a cook at Cunningham’s Grill in Union Market, and Sonny often stopped by there for a meal. Between ages 15 and 20, Sonny went to weekend Teen Town dances, and went out afterwards for something to eat. Many of these menus were obtained on such occasions. Many menus have thumbtack holes in them, where the donor displayed them on a wall or bulletin board…
As far as the Chilco Grill is concerned, Neil Whaley informs me that 710 Chilco Street (now a completely different residential tower built in the late 1950s) actually overlooked Lost Lagoon. The Lux Café, aka the House of Luxury at 616 Robson Street boasted “We Never Close”, proving Vancouver once knew how to party! The Senator Grill Soda Fountain was located at Cambie Street and 25th (King Edward Avenue). And the Press Club was situated at 548 Cambie Street Vancouver, not guaranteed to be politically correct! Thanks to Sonny for donating this remarkable collection to the Museum of Vancouver!
Old Capilano Beach, Vancouver, BC a signed and monogrammed etching by James Blomfield. From the booklet Rainbows in our Walls, Stained Glass in Vancouver 1890-1940 by Robert D. Watt. More on Robert Watt from wikipedia:
In 1973, he was appointed Curator of History at the Vancouver Centennial Museum (now the Vancouver Museum). He became Chief Curator in 1977 and was Director from 1980 to 1988. In 1988, he was appointed Chief Herald of Canada.
A reminder, I’ll be speaking at EastVanLove8 tonight at SFU Woodwards! Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Powell Street Facade
The 1919 Vancouver Millionaires [simulated] hockey cards, caricatures by Hal, via the VanArchives. Although I’d like to pretend that I found these pressed between the pages of an old encyclopedia, I admit they are pure Photoshop fabrications, mocked up with a free paper background courtesy of psdGraphics. The original artwork was photographed by Stuart Thomson, and I imagine they were intended to be published in some form, perhaps even as trading cards. Here’s Stuart’s bio, from the VanArchives:
Stuart Thomson was born in Hampstead, England, in 1881. Trained as a railway worker, he emigrated to Vancouver in 1910. He took up amateur photography but soon embarked upon a career as a commercial and press photographer. During the 1920s, he contributed to three daily Vancouver newspapers but relied more on commercial work by the 1930s. He died in 1960.Stuart Thomson sold his negatives to the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1954. The Vancouver Sun newspaper donated them to the archives in 1963.