LIGHTING THE WAY: DR. TOM HUNTER...

BY TATIANA ZAMORANO-HENRIQUEZ *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Over the years the integral humanizing qualities of humanity have become almost non-existent, as our economic model is responsible for prioritizing monetary endeavours rather than the arts. Theses values have fragmented our way of being and devalued the arts as art has now become commercialized for profit and disconnected from our culture.  This almost irreversible divide has hindered our relationships with others and ourselves as it has detached us from our histories, cultures and knowledge.  The formation of this divide has left us stranded and we have become like a wave of sailors trying to navigate the seas without a compass where we have not only lost our sense of direction but also our purpose. However, art has the power to steer us back in the right direction as it illuminates our path by reconnecting us with our origins, which allows us to embrace diversity, and knowledge that then has the potential to lead to community. The world carries with it a kaleidoscope of art forms and rooted within them are diverse cultures that are entrenched with an array of histories and knowledge that shape our values. This is paramount as it is our values that construct the stories that we relay to others and ourselves about what is important. Therefore, it is these values that shape not only who we are as human beings but who we will become and the responsibility we hold to the future generations. Values create empathy and it is this compassion that allows individuals to embrace new cultures and form profound and intricate relationships that have the power to produce viable communities where culture becomes a way of life.  This is why art is integral...

Food for Thought – Interview with Bhavna Solecki, Founder and Director of Inner Evolution Healing Centre...

By Katherine Dornian Photo Courtesy of Bhavna Solecki Therapist, businesswoman, activist, healer, philosopher – it’s difficult to pin down an exact title for what Bhavna Solecki does, since her work is all-encompassing enough to defy simple description. As the founder of Inner Evolution Healing Centre and now as a member of the planning committee for the Kerrisdale Permaculture Garden, Bhavna seeks to foster mental, spiritual and community balance in everything she does. For the past 15 years, Bhavna has run her holistic practice with the goal of building communities around the pursuit of “mindfulness” – the harmony of the mind, body and soul achieved through healing foods, meditation, exercise, and other curative pursuits. Though she holds a BA in psychology, her practice is primarily based upon Shiatsu and ancient Indian and Chinese medicine. It also features a significant amount of spiritual counselling, which she believes is directly linked to mental and physical health. “Doctors may try to take away pain,” she tells me. “But you cannot do that unless you first identify its source.” Because of this, Bhavna finds that therapy becomes a very immersive experience; she cites the paramount importance of fostering relationships with her clients, putting empathy at the forefront of her approach to healing. “If you don’t feel it, you can’t help,” she says, and makes a point of telling me that she uses the word “help”, not “treat”. Her process must be team effort with the individual, who must be willing to fully participate. Since she gives full autonomy to her patients, she trusts that they will take that step towards healing when they are ready, at which point she is truly able to help them. It is this act of trust that Bhavna states is one of the most...

Art that Explores the Quintessential Beauty of Nature: An Interview with Artist Colleen McLaughlin Barlow...

  By Sean Yoon Photo Courtesy of Colleen McLaughlin Barlow   Despite exhibiting artistic talent early in her childhood, artist Colleen Barlow had been channeled towards becoming an English teacher or journalist by her family based upon her aptitude in reading and writing with the idea that an education should lead to a job. Colleen would follow this thought process throughout the early stages of her education, going on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Carleton University in 1976. What she encountered in studying journalism was that the field of journalism quickly proved to be an extremely rigorous and competitive environment as Colleen recalls, “Fifty percent of your mark in 3rd year reporting was running the C.B.C. News Room for one afternoon in Ottawa and you were being watched by professional journalists who at the end of the day, would say whether you passed or not. You might’ve been working for three years on a degree and you could have just been cut right then.” Ultimately surviving the competition, Colleen began her career as a journalist at the age of 21 after graduating in a class of only 42 students from a starting pool of near 400 first year students.   The stress that came from a rigorous, competitive environment would persist throughout Colleen’s career as a journalist, which culminated in instances where her moral values were skewed negatively. Colleen recalls a particular instance of this phenomenon stating, “It’s very stressful and you start to get some very odd values like I actually remember being in a war zone in the Bekaa Valley. Nothing had been happening for about three or four weeks and then suddenly there was some skirmishing going on and I thought to myself: ‘Great we’ve got something for...

The Friendship Tree

By Melody Pan   On the grounds of the Vancouver City Hall stands a Friendship Tree: a small cherry tree with a tremendous story to tell.   “It was August of 2003, as the BC forests were raging,” recalled Joy Kogawa as the time she first discovered the childhood home she had to leave behind at Marpole, the Kogawa House, was for sale. It was then she discovered an ailing and battered cherry tree and fell in love with it.   One strong branch of the tree had been held up with a trestle. Other branches were bound and wrapped with twine and cloth. Joy felt greatly drawn to the tree for all that it symbolized in all of its brokenness. While she could not recall if this was the same tree that had been there in her childhood―there was one that bore dark red cherries―she remembered feeling a sense of awe at such an old tree standing right before her eyes. It was at that moment she felt a powerful connection with the tree. This tree represented her family and community. It became known as the Friendship Tree, and served as a source of inspiration for Joy, both in life and in her works. In particular, there is her children’s book, Naomi’s Tree, which tells a story of loss and return.   Joy recalled that the tree itself was a landmark on her spiritual journey. There was one particular occasion that she recalled having a profound impact on her. One day, as she was there writing poems for the tree, she happened to place her right arm on its trunk. Just as she did so, she felt a ‘heat’ running down her arm, from the hand all the way down. She described feeling...

A Filmmaker Karney Hatch, Pioneering Movement for Urban Agriculture Worldwide...

Interviewed by Keiko Honda (Editor-in-Chief) Photos by Karney Hatch   An exciting time for urban farming and Vancouver! Prior to the upcoming Canadian Premiere of his documentary film, Plant This Movie, at Kerrisdale Community Centre in the evening of Friday, March 20th (Mark Your Calendar!), I interviewed filmmaker Karney Hatch about his incredible journey with Plan This Movie.    1. Where did the idea for the film come from? Something you knew a lot about? What attracted you to the world of urban farming as a setting for your new film? Why was it important for you to do a film about urban farming?   I grew up on a farm in Idaho, and when I was living in Los Angeles, I became aware of that city’s water issues, how they essentially steal most of their water from Northern California and neighboring states.  So then when you’re driving around the city and see all those green lawns, it doesn’t really add up.  They’re stealing all that water and not even using it to grow food.  I mean, the statistic that still freaks me out to this day is that lawn grass is the #1 irrigated crop in the U.S.  Talk about a terrible waste of resources!  So I started spending time and filming with the Food Not Lawns chapter in Claremont, a suburb of L.A., and it took off from there.  I also read Heather Flores’ book, “Food Not Lawns”, which was very inspiring as well.   2. What sort of research did you do with regards to urban agriculture movement (e.g., its history and economics, multiple stakeholders, city regulations, technology development, local economy development and marketing, community building, land use etc.) and how is this research represented in the storyline of the film?     I did quite...

Citizen Planet: Cybernetic Governance in the Anthropocene...

    By Oliver Hockenhull  Photo Courtesy of Oliver Hockenhull         Beginning with some key definitions: 1.  The technological singularity is the hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect wherein artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing civilization in an event called the singularity.   2.  Norbert Wiener, mathematician and philosopher, defined cybernetics in 1948 as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.”  The word cybernetics comes Greek κυβερνητική (kybernetike), meaning “governance”, i.e., all that are pertinent to κυβερνάω (kybernao), the latter meaning “to steer, navigate or govern”, hence κυβέρνησις (kybernesis), meaning “government”, is the government while κυβερνήτης (kybernetes) is the governor or the captain.   3.  The Anthropocene for the current geologic chronological epoch that began when human activities had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.   We’re navigating rough waters, living in highly accelerated times and we haven’t caught up socially, culturally, intellectually, institutionally, economically nor ethically to the incredible capabilities of our computational technologies. It bares repeating —each of us is wandering around with the power of devices that are more powerful than the computers used to help land Apollo 11 on the moon — and what do we use them for? Typing to one another and downloading cute videos of our feline overlords. Our society and our politics are becoming increasing polarized, contentious, violent — though most of us would agree that our government system is falling to successfully manage our today let alone to envision a livable future  — and that our politicians and pundits are grotesquely over paid windbags of one sort or another — whose decisions are rarely wise. We will soon have the capabilities to realize the utopian dreams of generations — a united world living sustainability in creativity, peace &...

DOCUMENTARY LOVE, A PERSONAL PRIMER...

  By Pia Massie  Movies tell stories in the most profound way possible.  The images flicker like a fire – throwing light on the human condition.  The sound and music surround us, enveloping us in feelings ranging from pleasure to terror, depending on the genre we are in the theatre to watch.  Every frame, every picture tells a story that we read and file according to our own experience, our own individual set of associations, questions and desires.   We live in a global community of storytellers; all trying to make sense out of the ongoing chaos of our daily lives. Movies since their earliest moments have provided us a roadmap, a template of how to be.  Or not to be.  Opening a window on another point of view, whether it is from across the tracks or on the other side of the globe, movies help us understand how to live. They help us make meaning.   People have learned how to love, how to forgive, how to steal the show or start a revolution – all from watching movies. As audiences have become more adept at understanding film language, stories have naturally become more complex – speeding up, breaking apart into fragments, reversing themselves, even playing backward.   In this vast ocean of moving images, documentary films have become ever more important, ever more resonant in this quest of making sense and meaning of our lives.  Our hunger for real life stories has increased in direct proportion to the declining sense of community that all our high tech cities with their sleepless, rushing populations have fallen prey to.   This hunger for truth and shared storytelling, have given rise to a frenzy of documentation. Does an accumulation of tiny proofs : I was...

The Ebb and Flow of Pia Massie’s Creative Career...

By Haley Cameron Photo Courtesy of Pia Massie   Pia Massie was working on independent film No Words Will Ever Do in Geneva when she decided that Vancouver would be her next home. “I had moved almost every year for thirty years,” Massie says. For the fearless artist/activist, who calls herself a fish in need of water, Vancouver seemed an obvious choice. “I flew here for five days twenty-eight years ago and immediately knew I wanted to stay.”   Proximity to the Pacific wasn’t all that made Vancouver appealing. Massie wanted to live in an English-speaking city with a thriving film community. In the end it was the community as much as the ocean that solidified the deal. “It makes it easier to do your work as an artist knowing that there are others working on the same thing; there’s a place for dialogue about effort,” she shares. Thanks largely to a supportive local film industry, Massie was able to focus on the documentary stories she felt passionate about. Apart from a six year hiatus that took her back to her hometown of New York City, Massie’s love of the west coast has supplanted her nomadic ways, making Vancouver her true home.   Massie has always been one for recognizing great opportunities as they arise. Perhaps most notable in her captivating story are the two years she spent training under National Living Treasure calligrapher, Shiryu Morita. Massie was working at an art gallery in Kyoto, Japan when the honorable Sensei happened to see her work and requested to teach her. That she had no formal training in shodo, a form of Japanese calligraphy, and had no intention in seriously pursuing the art form, didn’t stop him. “My boss explained that to refuse Morita Sensei...

A New Way of Learning...

By Dave Wheaton Photos Noriko Nasu-Tidball Peter Lambert arrived at Keiko’s house dressed in his outdoor gear, sporting long blonde hair and big yellow backpack. After making introductions and settling into the living room Peter reached into his yellow backpack and pulled out a strange green vegetable, covered in dull spikes, looking like the kind of thing that might electrocute you if you got too close.  “I have no idea what it is, so if you guys know anything that’d be good”, he says. Peter had gotten the fruit one day while picking apples around the Point Grey area. The lady who had given it to him spoke no English. It might seem like an odd thing to hold on to, this unidentifiable vegetable, but for Peter this strange food is a chance to learn. Why bother with Wikipedia when you have the chance to actually hold a foreign object, and find out for yourself how it works? It’s this attitude of “learning by doing” that makes Peter such an inspiring person. “It’s a fun thing” he says, “You get to meet some good people and make some connections. You see them on the street and get to say hi”. Peter shows how incredibly powerful it is that two people who can’t communicate through language can gather around a piece of fruit and share an instant connection.                   Other odd mysteries from Peter’s yellow backpack included the bark of a cedar tree, two varieties of amaranth seeds, a piece of shaped and smoothed wood, and some children’s toys. For everything in the bag Peter had a similar story of learning and connection.                   Peter pulled out a couple of the children’s toys, a small puzzle and a plastic alien attached to a parachute. “We...

Etsu Inoue Continues Exploring...

    By Haley Cameron Photos: Noriko Nasu-Tidball   When Etsu Inoue first came to Vancouver from Fukuoka, Japan back in 1989 it was to explore. The twenty-four year old had caught the travel bug while working for a Japanese airline, prompting her to apply for a Canadian working holiday Visa. Fast forward twenty-five years and Inoue is still exploring — but these days it’s with water colours and calligraphy.   “There is so much more nature here than in Japan,” Inoue shares, explaining how she came to stay in British Columbia and what inspires her creative work. “And there is quite a strong community of artists,” continues Inoue, a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists who is graciously appreciative of her local support systems.   When Inoue first landed in Vancouver she remained in the tourism industry, working with a local tourism company until 9/11 and SARS fears began to hurt the travel sector. “That’s when I started pursuing my art and calligraphy more seriously,” she shares.   Inoue first began studying calligraphy at the age of eight, when it was introduced to Japanese children as a part of their regular academic curriculum. Since leaving Japan, Inoue has continued to train under the guidance of her master, whom she calls Kisui, using his artist name. “I’m still learning,” laughs the humble student, explaining that she sends her work back to Japan for feedback once per month.   Her water colour work is an entirely different story. “It is all self-taught,” she says. She began pursuing painting professionally fifteen years ago. “Before that it was always a hobby; I love painting very much,” says the artist. Inoue has customized her watercolor painting by incorporating materials traditionally used for calligraphy. “I use the washi...

An Issue on “Arranging and The Royalty”...

  By Dr. Richard Niles Photo courtesy Dr. Richard Niles   I have been a professional arranger in popular music since 1975. Most people, even some musicians, have little idea what that means. Many think that studio musicians make up their parts in a joyous act of spontaneous inspiration. So what do arrangers do, anyway? Consider the explosive, instantly recognizable brass melody in the opening bars of “Dancing In The Street” by Martha and the Vandellas. Who wrote it? If you assumed it was written by the songwriters, Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson and Ivy Hunter, you would be wrong. Paul Riser, one of Motown’s staff arrangers, composed that melody and decided on the instrumentation of trumpets, trombones and saxophones to play it. Riser, usually un-credited, composed instrumental lines such as this to enhance many hits and act as a “hook” to the listener, encouraging them to buy the records.        My book presents the work of some of the most influential arrangers in pop, artists who have been uncredited, undervalued and misunderstood. Yet, despite being “invisible” to the public,  during a critical period of popular music history arrangers have played a significant part in the evolution of musical genre and content. In the U.S. arrangers have the opportunity to be recognized by the Grammy  Awards in two categories—Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. At least winners and nominees can use this to promote themselves and bring in more offers of work. In Britain and the rest of the world there is no such award. The financial rewards of an arranging career are limited. Arrangers are paid a fee for each job. It’s not huge. Keep working, get jobs in every week and you can pay the mortgage. Arrangers receive no royalties unless they...

The Mark of a Maverick: Kagan Goh’s artistic confrontation of stigmas and stereotypes...

  By Haley Cameron Photos: Noriko Nasu-Tidball   When Kagan Goh describes a particularly taxing trek through Mexico he doesn’t just say that it was warm. Demonstrating an incomparable gift for self-expression he relays the heat of the Aztec sun with such clarity that I can feel the back of my own neck start to itch with the onset of an imaginary sunburn. Raised in an exceptionally artistic family – he still lists his physician father as his favourite novelist – this writer/poet/documentary film maker always knew he would pursue a creative career. “I’ve been surrounded by artists all my life,” he says, explaining how his entrepreneurial father, Goh Poh Seng, was largely responsible for exposing Singapore to international culture. His primary role model brought famous musical acts into his restaurant, chaired a national theatre association, and helped start Singapore’s first ballet company. And the family’s list of artistic accomplishments only continues as Kagan describes his mother’s editorial work and the various creative pursuits of his three talented brothers. While natural artistry may be hereditary for Kagan, other factors have greatly influenced his creative production and inspiration over the years. For many years, Kagan’s life was completely dictated by manic depression. These days he dedicates most of his efforts – both artistic and otherwise – to advocacy and awareness of the illness. The Vancouverite speaks as candidly of his struggle with mental illness as he does his romantic pursuits or headstrong fight for film school admittance; all stories he shares so openly that you can’t help but give him your trust. One word that comes up repeatedly when speaking with Kagan is ‘maverick’. He has a huge amount of respect for those brave enough to go against the grain in the pursuit of their...

She’s got a face for radio – Sara Troy on PVL Radio Network...

 By Katja De Bock Photos: Noriko Nasu-Tidball   When you hear her warm, soft voice speak in a confident tone, you wouldn’t guess the woman behind the mike describes herself as shy and suffering from anxiety and depression.   Sara Troy, who grew up in England, lived in South-Africa and travelled intensely before settling down in B.C. some 34 years ago, had to overcome asthma, chronic pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia, as well as a divorce before discovering what she truly loves – helping others gain self-esteem through radio.   “I am an abundant woman,” says Troy, and what she means is how her life was enriched by her predicament, but also by her talent to listen to the need of others – sharpened through years of work as a spiritual counselor.   “I feel the pain in life, the pain from others and how to take it on,” she says. “I can empower others to find their own solutions.” And if anyone asks how to do that, Troy has a witty reply: “Instead of saying ‘There’s an app for that, I say, there’s a show for that.’ ”   The show, that’s Ask Sara, a half-hour online radio show about issues such as hope, fear, regrets, or what makes a woman. The content is largely improvised in the studio. “Sometimes I don’t know what to do until I turn the mike on,” Troy says. “It’s whatever comes at that time.”   The show airs live Mondays, with repeats on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Positive Living Vibration (PVL) Radio, the internet radio station she started in April 2013 with her producing partner Bill Mackie. They produce and broadcast from their Pitt Meadows home.   All shows, including those by...

On Kindness

“On Kindness” An Interview with Brock Tully By Katja De Bock Photos: Noriko Nasu-Tidball After cycling 50,000 kilometres through North America and organizing 12 major concerts, Brock Tully’s journey to his spiritual self is ongoing. The Vancouver peace activist and public speaker with the landmark moustache sat down with Kerrisdale Playbook editor-in-chief Keiko Honda and reporter Katja De Bock to speak about the world’s need for affection and his new book The Great Gift, a collection of reflections from the heart. The book launch was celebrated on October 28 with a Kindness Sings concert at Unity Theatre. The concert featured remarkable Canadian artists like Métis singer Andrea Menard and 14-year old Cole Armour, who both evoked standing ovations. “It’s unselfish to be selfish” Though he is keen on getting the word out about his books, Tully seems to be free from striving for material success. “My only goal, really, is to be connected to my heart,” Tully says. “That’s a full time job, because I lose connection all the time . . . What it means is to be selfish about doing what makes me happy.” His upbringing in a well-off, but emotionally cold West Vancouver family almost brought him down, before it enlightened him. As a young man, Tully struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. However, he managed to fight his demons by cycling through North America three times, the first time in 1970, spreading the message of kindness. “Depression is really positive to me, because it is a signal to me that something is going on in my life that I need to look at,” Tully says, adding this applies to anger, too. “We avoid it, and become time bombs. Whereas I think anger is the connection to my deeper spiritual self.” “I don’t...

Neurons to Nirvana: A Great Filmmaker, Oliver Hockenhull...

By Katja De Bock Photos: Noriko Nasu-Tidball Travelling between international film festivals in Vancouver, Montreal and New York, Oliver Hockenhull’s independently funded documentary From Neurons to Nirvana: The Great Medicines made a pit stop in Kerrisdale and sparked a debate about the pros and cons of psychedelic drugs. From Neurons to Nirvana: The Great Medicines is an eye-popping feature documentary about the resurgence of psychedelics as medicine. The film explores powerful psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and ayahuasca by speaking with scientists, (scientific) users and shamans. The executive producers of the director’s cut are Mark Achbar (The Corporation), Betsy Carson and Jon Schultz. Interestingly, there are two versions of the film. A 68-minute version, Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines is an advocacy film making the plea for more research into substances that have been used for thousands of years. The film is available online atmangu.tv for a fee of US $15. A DVD for US $25 includes additional interviews. However, festivalgoers and conference delegates are treated to the 108-minute director’s cut The Great Medicines, which has a more experimental format. Hockenhull travelled to conferences to speak with the leading experts in the field. His main motivation to make the film was as a means to educate about the power of these medicines to relieve suffering. “Both films are not so much about drugs but about the possibilities inherent in consciousness itself. Banned worldwide from research labs for nearly 35 years, psychedelics are again becoming the focus of serious scientific study. Researchers in several centers, including John Hopkins and the University of California, are conducting clinical trial to treat a range of afflictions: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addictions, and the psychological stresses suffered by late-stage terminal cancer patients. The initial results of all these studies...

Spoken Word Poetry Feb01

Spoken Word Poetry

In the spirit of the Chinese New Year Celebrations by Synn Kune Loh* a poet and visual artist CELEBRATION Predisposed response to beauty Spring rain calls me to life random thoughts deeply transparent a sigh of forgiveness unfolds the beauty EARTH CALLING What fulfills an inner longing   Mountain storm had let up Winter retreated earth preserved A double rainbow framed the road From behind temple doors, golden faced buddhas take a peek at the world. *Born in China, Synn Kune grew up in Hong Kong. He completed a BA in Psychology from the University of Bridgeport in the USA before his graduate study in Cultural Psychology at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontaria. An accomplished painter, he studied experimental art at the Ontario College of Art in Tronto. In addition, Synn Kune holds a Master degree in Therapeutic Counseling from the International College of Spiritual and Psychic Science in Montreal, Quebec. Synn Kune found his inspiration through the abstraction of forms and ideas. What makes his paintings unique is the metaphysical content, which explores the relaity of the ideal. The artist steps outside of representation to create a visual language using dots, lines, circles, triangles, squares, color and form. The result is a vision of ecstatic wonder and astonishment. “These paintings are about nothing. Therefore they are about everything.” ~ Synn Kune...

Synn Kune Loh Dec03

Synn Kune Loh

Synn Kune Loh a poet and visual artist Born in China, Synn Kune grew up in Hong Kong. He completed a BA in Psychology from the University of Bridgeport in the USA before his graduate study in Cultural Psychology at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontaria. An accomplished painter, he studied experimental art at the Ontario College of Art in Tronto. In addition, Synn Kune holds a Master degree in Therapeutic Counseling from the International College of Spiritual and Psychic Science in Montreal, Quebec. Synn Kune found his inspiration through the abstraction of forms and ideas. What makes his paintings unique is the metaphysical content, which explores the relaity of the ideal. The artist steps outside of representation to create a visual language using dots, lines, circles, triangles, squares, color and form. The result is a vision of ecstatic wonder and astonishment. “These paintings are about nothing. Therefore they are about everything.”  Synn Kune The Reality of The Ideal  Paintings are all acrylic on canvas.   The sky is never empty, 2012   The Tipping point, 2012   Fascination, 2012   Assumption, 2012   Entering the Memory Field, 2012   In the not too distant future, 2012   How to watch the sky, 2012   Pushing the boundary, 2012   One Day You May Find This Useful, 2012   Day of Departure, 2012   The earth is always full, 2012   These paintings are accompanied by his own ‘haiku’ poems.  Collections of his verse continue in popularity, with a book available today; ” A Journey to Camatkara”, Alpha Glyph Publication,...

‘Riding the Wave’ with Joël Tibbits...

 by Trina Moran   Author of the soon to be published A Mythology of Sound, Joël Tibbits professional life is grounded in the areas of music composition, film making, sound design, and yoga. Originally from New Westminster and Surrey, Joël has been involved with music since his teens and holds a degree in music composition from Simon Fraser University. Overall, Joël is most fascinated with exploring facets of consciousness through music and sound.   Joël started becoming involved with music in high school where he learned to play guitar, piano, and even began composing his own music for guitar, cello, and piano. He later pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Simon Fraser University where he majored in music composition, specializing in esoteric and contemporary music. During his studies at Simon Fraser, Joël participated in a summer music composition program abroad in Darmstadt, Germany where he had the opportunity to meet and study with internationally renowned composers. After his university education, Joël spent a year in Japan studying Samurai philosophy. He exclaimed that hundreds of years ago in Japan when the Samurai class was still prevalent, their class also became obsolete and re-emerged as artists. Joël claims that studying Samurai philosophy in Japan revitalized a sense of artistic self within himself. Also after SFU, Joël focused on martial arts (Kung Fu, Hung Gar) and mystic practices such as tarot, Kabalah, spirituality, theology, metaphysics, and cosmology. Currently, Joël enjoys working on short films. He currently worked on a web series that parodied the hit television show, Mad Men. It went on to compete in the 2012 LA Webfest and took home 3 awards. Joël also worked on ‘filament’ a short film he directed in 2011 which follows a character through a variety of environments while exploring...

Joy Silver

  Joy Silver a retired elementary school teacher and a trainer of the Spirit Play How do we choose to live our lives? Joy Silver explores what being spiritual means to you. She explains us how the Spirit Play Methodology of telling stories can be used to model universal values and respect our interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. The stories can inform and inspire all children of all faiths to act in the world with compassion, to recognize what we have in common; and to understand our differences. An Interview with Joy Silver Video:...

A Road to Becoming a Shakuhachi Artist...

The road is life and is a dilligent and long one….I was in awe of him; he is truly an inspiration. ~ Editor-in-Chief Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos Shakuhachi Artist (Japanese Bamboo Flute Musician and Teacher) Interviewed by Editor-in-Chief Photographed by Noriko Nasu-Tidball Q:   Could you please tell us your cross-cultural backgrounds? What was your upbringing like in Japan (as non-Japanese ethnically speaking)? How did you feel being “gaijin” in Japan? What is your identity now? A: My parents are from the Philippines but I was born in Japan. We lived on a US military base but made frequent visits outside to be with Japanese friends. I was very young so I don’t really remember too much about Japan so I had no conceptual understanding of what a gaijin was. I moved to the US when I was about 6 and went to school there completing university. I returned to Japan after university to study shakuhachi for the first time, which is when I understood more deeply what a gaijin was. Although I have a western mindset, my spirit has always been Asian with a particular affinity to Japan. I moved to Canada in 1997 and have since attained my Canadian citizenship. But I feel that I am more a citizen of the world that is open and loves learning about other cultures and traditions. But there is something in the centre of my spirit that is Japanese. Q:  When made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in Shakuhachi master? Who were the early influences? A: My major in University was Eastern Comparative Religious Studies and I was originally attracted to the monastic life and/or academic life and was headed that way. But when I first heard the shakuhachi flute, I wanted to go to Japan to study...