There was a time when I had my tea shop in Vancouver, BC. I was in Chinatown. It was an interesting time in my life. The shop, somewhat off the beaten track drew in all kinds of characters. Most days I would be sitting in my shop writing on my collection of typewriters. I would be writing the stories of my experiences. I will write more in time, but for now I will post these pictures.
I dedicate this post to Tom and East Vin in East Vancouver. Because I can’t make wine in his shop…which I’d love (to death) I end up choosing affordable red wines at the SAQ and yes I am aware how much provincial tax I pay per bottle…In the future…very near future this must change…even if Tom does not move back east… Why don’t they (the government) just club us and rob us out right…very soon we Canadians will be making Afghanistan wine Soviet style…Tank break line fluid filtered though burnt toast into container of fermenting fruit…shaken and not stirred! Don’t forget old East Bulgarian Tooth paste from the old Soviet Block days…if you still have a secret stash do share…because we can’t live in the civilized west anymore…not at the prices they charge! Make your own wine and if you’re in Vancouver Go see Tom At East Vin!
These are pictures from the Chinatown years in Vancouver BC. Taken during the time I had no Camera.Well my Nikon Fm was out of commission and I couldn’t afford to have it fixed.These shots were taken by Al Roy, Arthur and myself using their cameras. As long as I had my typerwriters and paper I was fine. I, in those days I wrote instead of photographing. Only towards the end of my stay I did some shooting and self portraits using Tri X.But you’ll see those pictures in due time; I’m a tea turtle after all! The Last two pictures are from when I went dark and atmospheric! I’ve never returned to the light since… well and update I can share the Live Like Water web site … steep on by www.livelikewater.com
After spending time with Do Sung Si Nim, a Korean Zen Master, I returned to British Columbia and landed on the shores of the Sun Shine Coast. I soon found a little cabin in Hopkins Landing, and set up the Live Like Water Tea Room. Steep by steep I met the locals, and many wonderful relationships blossomed.
• Life Drawing: The naked Truth about Your TeaMan! Yes this is me turning the other cheek so to speak. When I moved to Vancouver and opened my tea shop in Chinatown, these bohemian artists would drop by, and one named Lane…he was a dodgy type you know…
Anyways he calls me and say’s…”hey man if you drop your drawers for art you can make groovy money man, and you get to strike poses for lots of art girls man….I know this man with a van…he teaches the gaming kids…lots of gigs…good money….hmmmm I hummed. “You know there’s that whole arty thing going on there at Basic Enquiry…might be more your cup of tea… just down the street from your shop. Just past that old titty bar … Why don’t you come by and I’ll introduce you.” Well the next thing you know I was enrolled in Mr. Lanes course entitled “So You What To Be A Life Model Eh?”, given by the great one himself, David J. Lane; super star of those long hard poses. His resume included Emily Carr School of Art and Design, Vancouver Film School, Capilano College, and so many other meat on the podium art places. And so after extensive “pose training” on his very public purple porch facing the Adanac bike route at Semlin, I graduated and made my debut at Basic Inquiry: slipping into my skin and onto the podium to the soothing voice of Daniel Charbonneau, playing a little music for awhile.
Ahhh, the poses, the memories; when the CBC allowed to Pied Piper to capture our imaginations, instead of forcing us to drink tonic. From that moment on I was hooked to exposing for art, and I followed in the foot steps of my mentor. Soon I too hit the posing circuit. So if I look somewhat familiar, and you think you’ve seen me somewhere before, but can’t just place it, perhaps you’ve seen me doing a tea demonstration, or on the podium, or just hanging in a gallery: and that’s the naked truth about your TeaMan!
Stay tuned, perhaps I’ll reveal more tales from the podium. And if you need a model for your group/school here in Montreal, feel free to contact me; the pay per view starts from the podium!
• Life Drawing
If you’re an artist looking to sharpen you’re life drawing skills or just curious to explore the medium, then Basic Inquiry is the place to go. This is a great little studio in our neighborhood that brings the artistically minded together. Be sure not to miss the annual find raiser entitled “In The Nude For Love”. A fun evening where many Life Models volunteer their time, giving artists lots of figures and combinations to draw in the three main posing corners; offering a variation of 2 minute, 10 minute and 30 minute poses. And when the bell rings everybody rotates. Last year all this was done to the glorious sounds of the cello playing Bach. A real treat!
Basic Inquiry. The Vancouver life drawing society encourages the appreciation and production of figurative art. We provide a friendly and positive place to practice figure drawing and painting at reasonable rates.
It is with great sadness that I write that Angelo Tosi’s grocery story in Vancouver’s Chinatown is now closed and up for sale. Apparently, the property taxes have soared from $23 000 to $40 000. In honor of Angelo’s legacy I repost this post. I am happy to have had my Live Like Water tea shop across the street, and to have been part of his world. Cheers Angelo I still miss you. And thank you for all your advice and letting me photography your world.
Cozy: that’s the warm kind of relationship you’ll develop with Angelo once you’ve tried his cheeses, olives and pasta. His reputation is well established in the community, but it is only though word of mouth that new people discover all he has to offer in his Historic store located at 624 Main Street. I know many have walked passed his darkened shop wondering what goes on in there. And so I want to introduce him to all of you: now it’s up to you to summon your courage and ring the bell to the darkened shop. You must be patient because Angelo is a very hard working man and he is usually busy either in his office or out back preparing wholesale orders for many of the Italian restaurants and cafes in the city. I have had the pleasure of helping him with the local deliveries. It was quiet an amazing feeling driving around in the 1967 green 1 ton truck with a canvas trap. As we drove through the Commercial Drive neighborhood, and along Hastings, many would see the truck and wave. The delivery truck symbolizes the community that the Tosi family has serviced since 1913.
Seeing Angelo in the morning sweeping the front of his store, his eyes sparkling when he sees you coming down the street is a special feeling and this reminds me of my childhood: the days of shopkeepers and buying from the independent merchants along The Main in Montreal. Each shop had its specialty products: bread here, meats there, bagels over there. It wasn’t the one stop shopping like it is now in some wear house that sells everything. For me Angelo is a role model, I fully understand and embrace his work ethic. This man is genuine through and through. Since I have gotten to know Angelo I have realized some of the similarities between us: both of us have created our own personal worlds, the environment in which we work, cool, low lit and we serve with warm hearts because there is a deep love in what we do, and how we do it in this very modern world.
Now that I have joined the ranks of specialty shops, I realize that I am exposing all those who come though the door to a very authentic experience. I am planting memories and smells that will leave an imprint for the next generation. I can only imagine how the young Chinese children will remember the day when their parents brought them to buy tea from the Polish man who dressed in Korean traditional clothing.
Here in our shops, in the environment we have created, we reflect our commitment to a more tradition way of doing business: I can only hope that more people follow their passion and continue to create and share with the community.