Heather Conn - Vancouver Writer Editor - arts culture

By: Heather Conn  09-12-2011

I’ve interviewed and written about writers like Ursula LeGuin and Canada’s oral historian Barry Broadfoot for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight. I’ve also published profiles and arts features of photographers, artists, sculptors, actors, filmmakers, and musicians. Creative souls are my kindred spirits; I love hearing their passionate tales, anguish and triumphs, learning what drives their work and them.

Here are a few artists I’ve interviewed and covered in a variety of media:

  • Judy Chicago, artist and creator of The Dinner Party and The Birth Project
  • Deena Metzger, California poet and author of many books including Writing for Your Life
  • Joy Coghill, Canadian actor and playwright
  • Ferron, Canadian songwriter and musician
  • Lorraine Segato, lead singer of the group Parachute Club
  • P.E.T.A., members of this theatre group from the Phillipines
  • Stas Namin, a Soviet rock musician
  • Charles Lillard, the late author of B.C. history books
  • Paul Wong, a video artist

Some of the publications that have published my arts-related articles include the following:

The Vancouver Sun
The Edmonton Journal
The Georgia Straight
BC BookWorld
BC Parent
Common Ground (Vancouver)
Quill & Quire
Reel West
PhotoMedia
Vancouver Parent
The Sun (North Carolina)

Here are some artist profiles I’ve done:

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This month’s featured Cultural Creative book

Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness (Rodale, 2005) byMarc Barasch, an award-winning writer, editor and television producer

How well do we value artists?

Here’s a story to ponder, which someone forwarded to me from the Internet:

A Violinist in the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, at rush hour, thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle-aged man noticed the musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, then hurried to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw him the money. Without stopping, she continued to walk. A few minutes later, a man leaned against the wall to listen to the music, looked at his watch, and started to walk again. Clearly, he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a three-year-old boy. His mother, hurrying, tugged him along, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. The mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head repeatedly to see the man playing music. Several other children repeated these actions. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes that the musician played, only six people stopped and stayed for awhile. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed. No one applauded.

No one knew but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before performing in the subway, Bell had sold out at a theater in Boston where the seat price averaged $100.

This is a true story. The Washington Post arranged to have Joshua Bell play incognito in the subway station as part of a social experiment about people’s perceptions, tastes, and priorities. Do we perceive beauty in an everyday environment at an inconvenient time? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

Consider this: If we do not take a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

“You are only as free as you are in your heart”

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011


Other products and services from Heather Conn

09-12-2011

Heather Conn - Vancouver Writer Editor - environment

The one-day event was part of Focus the Nation, an environmental education initiative held at 1,000 campuses and businesses nationwide; the SSC participated at more than 200 schools. After joining a small group of eco-tourists on British Columbia’s Princess Royal Island, I was lucky enough to see and photograph the white Kermode bear in remote wilderness.


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Heather Conn - Vancouver Writer Editor - spirituality

It has proven challenging to articulate my spiritual voyage, attempting to transform words and experience from the abstract realm into something personalized, fresh, and universal. As we move towards more holistic work environments, employers will strive to honor and provide space and time for employees’ spiritual expression. The magazine has given my clients a deeper understanding of the topic and the reasoning behind the coaching that I do.


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Heather Conn - Vancouver Writer Editor - history

It was fascinating to interview old trappers, loggers, and prospectors and to document stories about horse logging and life in the bush in the 1930s and’40s. After graduating in History at the University of British Columbia, I worked as an oral historian in northern Ontario for the Ministry of Natural Resources.