August 25, 2010

Send Deb Dawson to Coney Island!

Deb Dawson's latest cartoon, "Ray Condo's Crazy Mixed Up World" is 'World Premiering' at the Coney Island Film Festival at the end of September. It has also been chosen for programming at the prestigious Ottawa International Animation Festival in October.

This is a labour of love that Deb has been working on since the untimely demise of the legendary Ray Condo.

To see her demo reel, go to

Unfortunately, the way arts are funded in our province, it is very hard for creative people to support themselves, especially in a way that allows them to go to New York, even for a World Premiere!

That is why I am appealing to you. Send your donations to help Deb get her cartoon ass to New York; better yet, acquaint yourself with the artist that is Deb Dawson.  Say Hey!  Does your company or project need a brilliant animator that could use a few paying gigs?

Check out Deb Dawson's website at
Or send your cheques payable to Deb Dawson to

Apt C 2404 Guelph Street
Vancouver, BC V5T 3P3

$5, 10, 20, 50, 100- whatever you can spare!  Make the world a better place and hire an artist today!

August 23, 2010

Fingers on keys

Fingers on keys, resting, waiting for inspiration to move them.  Spell it out, let the thoughts flow from mind to fine motor skills, gently pressing on the keys, but not moving, and then moving again as the thought takes flight.  I keep hearing what sounds like water running through pipes, a release of pressure, the computer itself is percolating like a pot of 60's folgers from the can, the eruption of caffeinated concentration and then the sigh, eruption, sigh; this is the sound that I would awaken to as a child, better than an alarm- alarms don't have aroma, alarms don't imply mother, and father, and two poached eggs on buttered toast, marmelade or strawberry freezer jam.  My mother stretching the food budget with postwar frugality.
And now, hands on keys, fingertips poised to remember, to translate transfer the roar of the rotary phone, the smell of Vitalis on the favorite chair, television that you had to get up out of the chair to change the channel, My Mother the Car, Dark Shadows, It's About Space, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, as tv tried to make sense of our increasingly fragmented world.  A time when news was news.  When war was bloody and on television, not sequestered and embedded, but raw screaming bloody children and monks on fire, and assassinations, and rye and ginger, and sliding down a mountain of Montana snow on a flying saucer.
All this and more brought to life again, by the mere placing of fingers on keys.

August 19, 2010

Shit happens....for a reason

Shit happens.....for a reason.  Shit meaning stuff, meaning bad karma, meaning bad events, meaning cancer?  Because "everything happens for a reason".  Or so I said to my wife in the car, who replied, I don't buy that.  Bad things happen and then people try to make sense of it, by reasoning, it was meant to be.  Or I deserve it, or God knows better than we do, you see, there is a plan!
Or is there?  Our lives are ruled by randomness.  The only guarantee of success is persistence, and luck.
Or birthright.  As we know from looking at all the great talented suicides of even recent history, talent is no measure of success.  Far from it.  It is often a curse in a world that is increasing becoming stupider and stupider by the minute. 
So does shit happen for a reason- well, if that candy makes your life sweeter, or that dream makes the next morning bearable, or that old time religion helps you to screw your neighbor's wife and cheat at business, only to be pious and proud on Sunday, well then shit happens for a reason. 

August 7, 2010

Decline of the Art of Cake-Baking

A terrific peal of laughter from the others was released by my "Decline of the Art of Cake-Baking." The matter was as follows: for a time giant, larger-than-lifesize cakes appeared to me. Like standing in front of a lofty mountain, the cakes were so gigantic that I could only see part of them. I launched into detailed descriptions of how such cakes were so consummate that it was not necessary to eat them, for they immediately stilled all appetite through the eyes. And this I called "vision bread" [Augenbrot, literally "eye bread"].

Last night went to an opening for Rosmond Norbury, and was instructed in a good way by artist Cornelia Wyngaarden on the origins of the word Flaneur, leading me to read up on Walter Benjamin.  And we know, it is all about the Benjamins! 
This great site has many of his writings available to read.  Drawn like the proverbial fly on the wall to ....I see that Benjamin and his fellow travellers in thought wrote a book On Hashish, about their experiences with the drug.  

I particularly loved the idea of The Decline of the Art of Cake-Baking and "vision bread", as I have always said "we eat with our eyes", and "never eat anything bigger than your head". 
If the way to a good man's heart is through his stomach, and your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and the eyes are the window to the soul, then close your eyes, dream of diets, and hug yourself, because life is full of crap and cruelty, and every good boy deserves fudge. 
There.  I've finally said it.   It needed to be said, and I said it. 

August 3, 2010

America is Angry

America will work for food.
America enjoys a smoke.
America needs a drink.
America is angry.

America likes to take drugs.
America wants to sleep with you.
America would kill for a day off.
America is angry.

America likes the bright lights.
America likes the dark corners.
America wants its cake.
America is angry.

America bombs the poor.
America needs to see a doctor.
America is going postal at the workplace.
America is angry.

America likes heavy metal.
America fears God.
America will sacrifice her babies.
America is angry.

America likes having sex with strangers.
America likes blender drinks with bendy straws.
America doesn't want to play today.
America is angry.

July 31, 2010

In Support of Little Mountain Art Gallery:

Support of the arts is integral for all levels of government, starting with our civic leaders. Little Mountain Gallery is a unique performance and visual art centre that fills a void in Vancouver culture. It is nothing less than our civic duty to support organizations like Little Mountain Gallery.

It is always a challenge in our modern cities to balance the needs of residents and business.

When it is a case of residents and the arts, one has to understand that support for Little Mountain Gallery does not just come from the direct neighbourhood. The scope of programming draws people to Vancouver, supporting neighbouring businesses and helping to enrich our civic life.

I have been asked to be a part of a few events at Little Mountain Art Gallery, making the journey from my home in White Rock to Vancouver.

We have been a part of project to digitize and promote the archived video history and art of Vancouver's music scene of 1979-1982.

I have found the organizers to be honest, energetic and organized, working with very little money, and yet working hard at creating a vital art centre.

As a former (and future) resident of Vancouver, I would suggest to City Council that support for local organizations like Little Mountain Art Gallery has wider impact than you imagine. It is organizations like this that need your support at the grassroots level. Plant a few seeds here, and watch the creativity grow and enrich the Vancouver landscape.


Dennis Mills

May 23, 2010

Waiting Out The Wolves

At night they circle the campfire

Calling to one another

This one is mine

He's ripe for the plucking

Heads he's mine

Tails he's yours

You always get the head

Aaaah but the tail is where the meat is

Howl a song for me

You know the one about the headless camper

They laugh and howl and chase each others tall tales

With further tales of flesh and consumption

Suddenly the mood changes and the laughter dies

A far more serious tone envelops them

Like the fog it comes upon them silently

It pervades the prey almost sinister

Did you see him?

He's still moving

I don't need to see

I smell his fear

He won't get far......

May 21, 2010

People Like Me

My inbox keeps me awake at night. I am not comforted in the knowledge that tripling the size of my penis will save dolphins from being slaughtered in Japan;  gluten-free jelly donut recipes bring on paralysis, and offers of friendship and requests for money lull me into a stupor of inaction.  There is the starving child homeless in Haiti and I can’t believe there are so many people like me who cannot find just 5 minutes a day to respond to her cries for help, but my sleepless nights seesaw with skeletal images of this poor child, and then there is the poor man in Nigeria, a former prince actually, who was left this rather large sum of money by a distant relative. He needs my help - I know it sounds incredible, but he plans to share his enormous fortune with me, and I barely know the man, but since he cannot collect this princely sum without my help, I must step up and be a man because there is help with erections, and a man with erections can always help because there are insanely low interest rates that only online banks in Eastern Europe can offer to people like me, which is why I must invest in tomorrow today with the help of other people like me.   There are even points I can collect if I sign up now because people really do like me, I know this for a fact; everyday I receive requests for my friendship from high school chums I cant even remember, but however foggy my memory of these friends are,  I know that I am so blessed for a limited time, as I can now purchase gingko for wholesale prices, God knows I need to save my pennies, because for pennies a day I can change a life, and you can too, so reach out and touch the life of someone like Mali, who lives in a small village in Africa, ( did you know it takes a village to raise a child?), and Mali needs more than just my beer money for mosquito nets, which he must have or he will for sure catch malaria, SARS, bird flu, the clap;  maybe Mali will die from HIV like his poor mother, Madonna, who left Mali an orphan. It is no wonder I cannot sleep. How do I  get the image of my new friend Nikki69 and her triple DDD size breasts out of my head? She wants to follow me on Twitter, because.....well, people like me.

May 19, 2010

The Two Morons of Heligoland

Identical twin boys of little intelligence were born to Heisenberg, the physicist from the archipelago of Heligoland in the Northern Sea, and actress Jane Fonda, the most famous descendant of the predominant tall, big-boned and blonde haired ethnic group of Heligoland, the Frisians; Fonda was formerly called Hanoi Jane, due to her youthful activism, but became better known later in her life for looking good in spandex; she arrived in Heligoland after hearing about the mild climate, its beautiful cliffs, and the relative lack of pollens in the air ( this feature being beneficial for her allergies), and so, she fell in love with Heligoland and the much older physicist Heisenberg, who was the author of the Principle of Uncertainty, which postulates “the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known”, a principle that encapsulated the many personal doubts that Heisenberg struggled with when the famous actress “fell” for him. It was commonly understood by all Heligolanders, both Upperland and Lowerlanders (most Middlelanders being undecided in this matter) that Heisenberg’s inner doubts and demons may have physically manifested themselves in the birth of their identical twin sons, who were unfortunate to be possessed of little intelligence; in fact, the two boys were morons, a more accurate term describing their relative intelligence in comparison to the average Heligolander. As the identical twins grew older, their  moronic adventures brought much embarrassment to the highly intelligent Heisenberg.  Too many times, their daily walks upon the edges of Heligoland’s strange triangulated cliffs, in particular, the southwestern cliff that drops over 50 metres to the ocean, and then another 56 metres to the ocean floor would be the talk of Heligoland; the moronic twins loved to get as close to the edge as they could without falling to their deaths, and would peer across the cliffs to the most famous free standing rock column of Heligoland, the "Tall Anna". Many Upperlanders believe that while the beauty of Tall Anna may have drawn the brothers to the edge of the cliffs, surely, it was pure dumb luck that saved one of the boys that fateful day, the day that one twin got too close to the edge and fell to his death; the Lowerlanders, being Frankish descendents of Charlemagne, had openly cheered for both boys to plunge to their watery grave, for the Lowerlanders disdained Heisenberg and his famous Frisian wife, and had made them the butt of a rather racy but convoluted Quantum Mechanics joke, one that compared Heisenberg’s wife with Einstein’s Slit; however, it was the Middlelanders, who having survived the repeated bombing of the Big Bang in WWII, reasoned the survival of the one moron brother was most likely due to the simple fact that one of the moron brothers was a little “more on” the cliff than the unfortunate moron brother who fell off.

May 3, 2010

The White Page

The white page begs for words like the drug addict who, asking for spare change for food, really want drugs to satisfy their craving, but the white page, while literally starving for verbs to fill the barren expanse bereft of subject or predicate, will not be satisfied with mere words as the real craving is for something better, something like the complete thought that turns into a perfect sentence, a sentence to end all sentences, a sentence that shouts to the world, I Will Work for Words, until word after word the white page fills with words and is no longer blank or void of meaning, but still this is not enough, no the half page mocks the writer, whispers in his ear, taunting him with the thought that anybody can draw up a list- this is not talent; what a page desires are full blown stories, romances, mystery, nods to the masters, not just words lifted from the latest book you have read, but instead a humorous tale with a payoff line that screams brilliance, please don’t even consider stopping here when you have more to give, just acknowledge that a page has needs too, and so the writer proclaims to the page that the words he has written will grow like seeds upon the ground, and gathering hubris, says that one day he will be called the Johnny Appleseed of words, and his words will propagate, spreading far and wide, single words begetting more words, until fruitful sequences of words dream of becoming paragraphs, paragraphs that force pages into turning over, and soon both sides of the page are completely full and satisfied, and the writer, who is now on a roll, reaches for a new white page.

April 25, 2010


The dogs lay on the bed beside me, as I turn off the lights, and put down the slim book I am reading, a small compact book filled with 104 short stories by the great Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard; each story begins with a memory and ends with misfortune or death, so these are the thoughts that fill my head as I close my eyes.
Imagine my surprise to awake to the sounds of whimpering, so I leap out of my bed, and shake off the remnants of last night’s dream where I was wandering through a high school, and my teacher gives me an assignment to write a short paragraph about one of the objects on a table, and I panic as I have already read all the books assembled, and besides, they are stacked so precariously that if I make the wrong decision, I will cause the rest to cascade to the floor, and so that is why in the end I pick up a stale raspberry poppy seed muffin, thinking what is there to say about a muffin and knowing full well that a muffin is not a book.

I follow the sounds of whimpering and scurrying feet upon the floor, then pause at the door for dramatic effect, opening the door with a flourish, and the dogs bound down the stairs just like this is the first time we have done this routine - every time like this is the first time. The whimpering signals the start of the dance, this natural pattern of hunting and circling the prey before the final kill. They split up at the base of the stairs, and one goes east and one goes west, and in the middle of the yard they meet, and attack each other, or sometimes, distracted by a scent in the air, they race to the base of the tree and look up in the hope of catching the ever elusive squirrel. I watch them for a short time, then turn back toward the kitchen, and upon the counter I see a stale raspberry poppy seed muffin.

I return to bed, picking up the Thomas Bernhard book where I had left off reading the night before. I regret to say that nobody dies in this story.

March 7, 2010

VDOC- Rock Against Prisons March 9 2010- Back to the Future

We're going to go way back, back, back, back in the way back machine, Sherman.  The time was 1979.
The place was the Ukrainian Hall in Vancouver BC.  The event was called Rock Against Prisons.  The bands were Female Hands, the Zellots, the Devices, AKA, Tunnel Canary, Rabid, and the Subhumans.
Recorded for time by video artist Doreen Grey. 
I see this is an early version of AKA with the beautiful Tommy Wong on keyboards, the two Warrens (Ash and Hunter), Alex Varty and myself, dense milt. 
The songs still not quite fleshed out.  But still they danced.  On stage even.  I wore a pink vintage shirt which still hangs in my closet.  Doesn't fit me anymore, but it hangs there as a reminder.  Of thinner days of idealism, anger, and adventure.   My kangaroo Tony Lamas cowboy boots.  Long gone with all the other cowboy boots. 
Seven bands representing the full spectrum of Vancouver Punk Art Music.  On the punk side, the Rabid, the Subhumans, Devices and Zellots.  On the wild art side, AKA and Tunnel Canary.  Bridging the two realities, the inventive power pop punk Female Hands. 
This was the night I first went home with my wife of 31 years.  We have celebrated this night for many years, and not out of any kind of political activism. 
Vancouver scene was a strange brew of activist politics, rage, melodicism, art and influences.  There were the bands influenced by England, and those influenced by New York, and those influenced by LA, and that special Vancouver magic that held it all together.

Dutch Savage

Is he not the coolest wrestler of all time?

Dutch Savage

Points for the beard and sideburn combo

The scar studded forehead

The West Virginia Coal Miners Grudge Match

Metal folding chairs, always something sharp and hidden

To scar and bloodify

He was a good guy

A tough guy but a good guy

dare I say devilish?

The Dutchman