24 Apr 2021

Puzzling Out Pen Names

Q. Happy Canadian Independent Bookstore Day! In honour of this shop local occasion: who are some well-known authors who have or continue to write under pseudonyms? . A. For a litany of reasons – some personal, some driven by brutal societal biases –  authors have long tossed their birth names

10 Apr 2021

Quiet

Q. Quiet. With all of the covid chatter – inside crowded apartments, chart-stuffed newscasts, teeming brains – many are looking for a little peace and quiet. How have artists captured this idea of ‘quiet’? . A. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘quiet’ as: • ‘Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.

10 Mar 2021

That Scream

Q. The Scream. It’s one of the world’s most recognizable paintings, much replicated from art textbooks to extreme memes. What led artist Edvard Munch to create such a tortured painting? . A. ‘I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity,’  Edvard Munch wrote in his

20 Feb 2021

Jazz Greats In Action

Q. Where can we see great photos of jazz legends in action? . A. One fantastic resource is The National Jazz Museum of Harlem, founded in 1997. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, NJMH now boasts two remarkably gifted musicians as Co-Artistic Directors: pianist, composer, and Late Night with Stephen Colbert

22 Jan 2021

Hope

Q. What are some paintings specifically focused on the idea of hope? . A. Over centuries, artists have used the word ‘hope’ in titling their artworks. As you’ll see below, some of the works are more unabashedly hopeful than others. . . Piero del Pollaioio. Hope. 1470 . George Frederic

04 Jan 2021

Most Borrowed Books

Q. What were the most borrowed library books in 2020? . A. Open or closed, the Vancouver Public Library was busy during Pandemic 2020. CBC News reports that digital book borrowing went up 50% over the year. Which were the most borrowed books? . Adult Fiction Print books The Testaments by

25 Dec 2020

Favourite Christmas Songs

Q. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! What are your go-to Christmas carols or songs?  Which holiday songs are most broadly favoured? . A. On the serious side of Christmas, a personal nod for In The Bleak Midwinter, with music by Harold Darke set to a poem by Christina Rossetti.

12 Dec 2020

Creating Hit Songs

Q. What are some of the common characteristics that define songs that hit the top of the charts? . A. Some would argue that dissecting art is a fool’s errand, that the magic is in the mix. If it was easy, surely more people would have followed ‘hit song’ research

18 Nov 2020

Art, Meet 2020

Q. Has 2020 plague life changed us deeply? We can revisit that question in 2022. But, in the thick of it, how does all this affect how we experience art? . A. We’ve certainly found ourselves looking anew at masterpieces through our 2020 eyes. Take Magritte’s 1928 painting of The Lovers

01 Nov 2020

Musical Calm

Q. Today might be a good day to ask: which songs do people find most calming? . A. A 2019 poll of 2,000 Brits – commissioned by Rescue Remedy – identified their Top 30 Most Relaxing Songs. In first place? Louis Armstrong with his Wonderful World. Written by Bob Thiele