Friday, November 22, 2019

SMILIN' BUDDHA CABARET  - Vancouver | 24" x 48" | Oil on canvas | 2019

🔴 SOLD by the Kurbatoff Gallery, Vancouver ‘
Oil on canvas
24” X 48”

Private Collection - Vancouver

Rockers give famed club sign to museum
Smilin' Buddha prime example of neon heyday

John Mackie , Vancouver Sun

October 19, 2007
Vancouver rockers 54-40 drew their name from a historical slogan, "54-40 or fight." Now they're making a bit of history themselves by donating one of Vancouver's landmark neon signs to the Vancouver Museum.
The sign is for the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, a legendary dive on East Hastings where Jimi Hendrix played in the 1960s and 54-40 played their first gig on Dec. 31, 1980.
The sign was a civic icon for several decades, featuring a big, fat neon Buddha with a rippling belly reclining atop Smilin' Buddha (in script) and Cabaret (in oriental lettering). In a city that was once full of playful, imaginative commercial neon signs, it was one of the best.
The Buddha closed in 1987, and 54-40 purchased the sign a few years later from a guy who had bought it and stored it in a warehouse. They then used it as the title for an album, and took it on tour.
The band lent it to the Vancouver Museum for a neon show a couple of years ago, but the sign has mostly been in storage. So the band decided to donate it.
"We essentially consider ourselves stewards of the sign, never really owners," says bassist Brad Merritt, who will appear with 54-40 tonight and Saturday at the Commodore Ballroom.
"We happened to buy it and fix it up and get a case for it and all that stuff, but we were struck by the fact that it's a historical landmark. It meant a lot to me, personally. I heard my parents talk about the place, taking their little brown bags of booze [when it was a speakeasy bottle club] and sticking them in a little spot in the table as the cops go by . . . it was just an amazing place, part of Vancouver's lore."
The sign is now at the Vancouver Museum..

CARDERO GROCERY  - Vancouver | 24" x 24" | Oil on canvas | 2019
Oil on canvas
24” X 24”
Available at the Kurbatoff Gallery - Vancouver 

At Your Convenience is a weekly ode to our indie convenience stores. The ones we frequent everyday and the hidden gems nestled in the heart of each neighbourhood. An old-school throwback in our modern world.
One of the best parts of taking on this series has been the personal stories about peoples favorites independent convenience stores. Often it’s the owner that makes the experience unique. Here’s a great story about growing up in the West End.
“Here’s a heads up on a particularly odd “corner store” here in the West End that you might want to use:
Besides being a visually pretty store to shoot, CARDERO GROCERY on Cadreo street between Comox st. and Pendrell st. has one other attribute.  Above the store sign you will notice two quotation marks- between these quotations is something that has been painted over.
As a kid in the late 70s and 80s, my friends and I equally bought and stole candy from this grocery store.  The owner,  one Len Lui (real name? no one knows for sure) never EVER smiled.  His lack of enthusiasm may have had something to do with the fact that West End kids in this particular part of the neighbourhood (we were almost all poor immigrants) had little or no money, but an equal appetite for candy as our more moneyed counterparts.
Although I never saw Mr.Lui do this, it has always been understood that Mr.Lui meticulously painted over the words “SERVICE WITH  A SMILE” keeping in line with the Trades Description Act and never deviating away from what can only be described as a promise made to himself and to all the sticky fingered unwashed children that robbed his shop daily.
So get down here and shoot this joint.  Mr.Lui doesn’t work there any more BUT if you look up into the back windows of the building, you can see Mr.Lui sitting eating his dinner or petting his cat.  Sometimes i like to believe that I can actually see him smile.” Article Courtesy of “Vancouver is Awesome”, by Jason Statler - July 10, 2013