Saturday, July 25, 2015

A World's Fair and a Little Girl

"The Asiatic face, eight feet high towers over you as you enter the Man, his Planet and Space Section"

I've been anxiously checking the weather on my Samsung Note, hoping it isn't going to snow. (A real waste of my time.)

It is going to be warmish for the next week, getting up to 11 C.  With rain. Boo Hoo.

My weather app reveals that the average is around this time of year is around 6. It can get into the 20's and it's been as low as 12 below, a record set in 1967...

That explains why I have this memory of my grandmother (who visited us from Malaya for the first and only time) going out in her shoes and socks in a snow storm to get some booze at the Liquor Commission as it was called then.

The pound sterling collapsed about that time. I guess that might have had something to do with the urgency of the mission.

(I wrote about it in Looking for Mrs. Peel)

Anyway, 1967 was the year of Expo and I just dug out this magazine from under a table. A Star Weekly from February of that year showing us the wonderful things to come at Expo, opening in April. That would be the insert for the Montreal Star that is defunct.

(It was produced by Ron Butler.)

 Man the Creator. The art of Expo. That's a part I missed, being 12 no one thought to bring me to the exhibit. (And I didn't think to go myself, but I did go to Expo with my brothers, friends or sometimes alone.)

 A foetus in his mother's womb, from Sweden. Rare picture.

 Above, the Monster in the Gyrotron at the Fun Park, La Ronde. I only went there once because it cost money. And I bought no food either, below.. But otherwise 17.50 for a passport was all I needed to pay. I visited 50 times.
 Exotic foods at Expo. Sushi, samosas and tacos. (The Woman's Editor wrote this piece.)

 Man in Control Man out of Control. "Maze of signs shows man besieged by the information explosion"
Citerama. Op Art Pop Art. by Jacques Languirand who later taught me at McGill.

L'Ouragane (Hurricane?)  by Germaine Richier and a spaceman.

This magazine is a bit of a work of art itself.   At the time this magazine went to print Expo wasn't quite finished, so they couldn't show the site...

But the cover reveals a weird reality: despite the 'global celebration' that was Expo Montreal was a white bread world.

Here's my description of Expo in my play Looking for Mrs. Peel

Dorothy vo: So, I decide to ignore my grandmother, which is easy as
            it is Canada’s Centennial year and those magical Expo islands are
            only a short bus and metro ride away. (sx Mexican mariachi band.
            Israeli fiddle; Trinidad steel drums). Expo, with its exotic
            eye-candy architecture,is better than real life, anyway, a mind
            bending multi-national experience, McLuhan’s Global Village in giant
            size diorama. I lope miles over the macadam on my giant giraffe legs
            and queue for hours in line in the wilting humidity,(or biting wind
            or freezing drizzle, whatever the 6 month season serves up)to gawk
            at cultural signifiers like wallabies and totem poles and scorched
            space capsules and visit "the future" with its talking robots and
            video phones,and uncluttered modular dwelling places. At the
            International Broadcasting Center, around the corner from where my
            father works, I see how radio programs are produced (in tiny little
            rooms) and learn that it takes a mile of tape to make an hour of TV.

            When pooped out I visit the Australian Pavilion to sink my burning
            toes into the decadent deep wool carpet there, or I escape to the
            near people-free garden behind the American Pavilion to lie down in
            the prickly grass, by some mini waterfall, often the lone fleshly
            figure amid the park's many bizarre Cezanne-inspired sculptures.