Five Chinatown Gates in eleven days

Here are photographs taken of Chinatown Friendship Gates in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Victoria, Canada; as well as Seattle Washington during our recent train trip across Canada and the Pacific Northwest. In Winnipeg, there is an especially lovely Chinese Garden situated next to the gate (see photo below)

I hope you enjoy these beautiful works of art and architecture as much as we did.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto, Ontario

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Chinese Garden in Winnipeg

Chinese Garden in Winnipeg

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Temples rock the Tonight Show

Source: xfm.co.uk

Source: xfm.co.uk

Temples absolutely kicked arse last night (July 30th) on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon performing “Shelter Song” from their awesome debut album entitled Sun Structures. Here’s a weblink to the video of their performance. Enjoy!

 

 

 

If the movie “Wild” is half as good as the book…

Here’s the trailer for Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. The movie is the screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s marvelous book of the same name. Easily the best book of 2013, Wild should be amazing on film, particularly under the direction of Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyer’s Club). Cannot wait!

Temples enshrine the psychedelic era…and more

Temples_-_Sun_Structures - wiki

“Sun Structures” – Source: en.wikipedia.org

I discovered Temples listening to Impact 89fm – Michigan State University’s student radio station when they played the richly 1960’esque “Shelter Song.” As the first track on their debut full-length album, Sun Structures, the song aptly introduces Temples and a whole new generation to the amazing guitar riffs and rhythms of great bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, early Led Zeppelin, the Moody Blues, and even in one song reminiscent of Heart. While this may sound like sincere flattery and a case of imitation, Sun Structures is also refreshing in its own right – for one it’s a hell of a lot better than most music being released today. It also exudes mesmerizing guitars.  Some may claim guitar rock is dying and/or dead – it sure isn’t when you listen to this album!

The great classic psychedelic rock sounds emanating from Sun Structures evoke memories of songs we Baby Boomers cut our teeth on and is far more enjoyable to listen to than the bass-thumping headaches of rap, the bubble gum schlock of modern pop, or the overtly corporatize and partisan blather of most modern country music.

For a band that formed just two years ago, Temples are a polished, poised, and immensely talented foursome from Kettering, England. So much so, that in 2014 they have already played SXSW, Coachella, and Glastonbury, with Lollapalooza next on their plate.

Sun Structures is my favorite new album to date in 2014 (Beck a close second). It contains 12 songs spread over 53 minutes – a welcome length compared to so many recorded sprint sessions. Of the dozen formidable tracks, my favorites include:

  • “Shelter Song”
  • “Keep in the Dark”
  • “Sun Structures”
  • “Mesmerise”
  • “A Question Isn’t Answered”
  • “Move with the Season” – a guitar riff eerily similar to “Love Alive” by Heart
  • “The Golden Throne”
  • “Sand Dance” – reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Who's Next - Source: en.wkipedia.org

“Who’s next” – Source: en.wkipedia.org

Lastly, I have got to say something about the album cover. Not only is it an uncanny reminder of Who’s next, but it is one of the coolest covers I have ever seen from an architectural and historical standpoint. According to the band’s interview on KEXP radio, Rushton’s Triangular Lodge, shown on the cover, is an historic structure built in 1593. Wow! – the building alone is worth a visit for architectural and historical junkies. Given its placement on this debut album, its place in British history has been secured for many centuries to come.

The searing imagery of “Rush”

Source: politiken.dk

Source: politiken.dk

Kathy and I watched Ron Howard’s latest film, Rush last night. It’s a terrific film (and true story) that deserved many more awards and kudos than it received. Far better than stupidly decadent Wolf of Wall Street or the mind-numbing American Hustle, Rush was a full body rush of energy, faced-paced images, and searing imagery.

The steadfast courage and inner strength portrayed by Daniel Bruhl as Formula One champion Niki Lauda to overcome a horrifying fiery crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix will inspire viewers and makes this film far more memorable than most of the schlock that dominated Hollywood last year. Go see/rent this film, for it deserves multitudes of accolades. You will also develop a great appreciation for Niki Lauda.

“The Gentleman From Finland” gets derailed

Source: goodreads.com

Source: goodreads.com

I really wanted to enjoy this book. The image of riding the Trans-Siberian Express across the width of the Soviet Union is a fascinating concept. Given how much I enjoyed Robert Goldstein’s more recent book, Riding with Reindeer, I figured this one would be loads of literary fun. It starts out that way, but in the last quarter of the book, it loses steam quickly and he gets caught up in too many dream sequences. It was almost like the author was not sure how to conclude the book, so he derailed the project instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are some quite enjoyable parts to The Gentleman From Finland, but in the end it falls flat leaving the reader wanting a more complete and descriptive travelogue and less tangential side tracks into the abstract.