Portrait of O’Doul’s:
O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar may be trendy but in many ways it truly represents Vancouver’s West End. The joint features jazz music seven nights a week but O’Doul’s is absolutely rooted as a restaurant that caters to trend, health and commerce.
O'Doul's rose to notoriety as the namesake of Frank “Lefty” O’Doul. Frank spent most of his playing career in Pacific Coast League (PCL) baseball, beginning as a pitcher in 1918. At one point, O’Doul managed the triple-A Vancouver Mounties. “Lefty” became a journeyman major league player in San Francisco (where he remains a legend), Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Philadelphia. O’Doul played in one World Series game (with two RBI) before retiring to help young players in their careers.
In the mid-90s, O’Doul’s in Vancouver was renovated to a New York-styled bistro whose glass housing provides an air of openness. Although many people enjoy ogling Robson Street’s social activity, one is forgiven for staring at the restaurant ceiling.
Early in the Seventeenth century, the exuberant imagery of twin hemispheres injected a fresh dimension to the world map. Although this map appeared under William Blaeu's name, the claim of authorship is somewhat clouded by suspicion. Blaeu died in 1638 but this map bears a dedication dated 1665 (to Jacopo Altovito, papal legate in Venice).
O’Doul’s caters to an affluent West End culture. Its windows look out on a surfeit of quaint storefronts that serve in the trade of novelties. Although the buildings are relatively new, these businesses operate in less than 1000 square feet. One cannot help but feel minimal in such surroundings and O’Doul’s functions as a prosperous example of that power. People often attend O’Doul’s as a public statement. The jazz music surely enriches an overall experience that is defined by setting and social class.
O’Doul’s is housed in the Listel Vancouver Hotel. That is where many guest musicians stay when they play the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Wendy Solloway: Where There’s A Will:
Wendy Solloway, bassist for the Vancouver jazz ensemble Mother of Pearl , is a living example of musical purpose. She speaks passionately about what she loves and one senses that Solloway took some difficult roads to that understanding.
The 53-year-old mother works as a music therapist for Vancouver’s St. James’ Cottage Hospice. Wendy was hired on a very short-term ten years ago for a job that she bluntly told her boss that she did not intend to keep for very long. The circumstance was mutually beneficial. Wendy began working in long-term care but soon moved to palliative care where, to this day, she works with people who have no more than a few months to live. Wendy Solloway often plays for audiences of one and they haven’t got long to hear her musical messages. Tough gig.
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Solloway confirms that Western Culture badly undervalues its elders. Although many families of her clients participate in helping her treat impending death with song, Wendy says most of her patients suffer from messages unspoken. Either no one is there to hear them, or we are just too busy to listen for long. Although terminal illness often does motivate families to reconcile, there is little time for little else.
Music therapy carries an unexpected human cost. “There are always these people that wheedle their way past these little barriers that you set up – right smack dab into your heart,” says Wendy. “And for those people, it’s always a lot harder to let them go...so it still can be difficult.”
Catharsis defines Wendy’s work at many levels. One listens intently while she tells one story upon another of people who have lived hard and are suffering in ways that make them philosophical about change. Wendy once worked with a young woman who contracted Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from a life on the street. Her sentence was premature death. The woman penned a lyric that Wendy put to song in which the dying woman remembers how she left her family home in rebellion and longed for a different decision. The lyric was a statement of regret for the past, but hope for a peaceful end to a turbulent life. There is the catharsis, short-lived as it is for terminally ill patients.
Wendy Solloway creates CDs whose stories survive long after their authors. ”I find it really satisfying,” says Wendy, “because it’s creative for me. I get to work on the music. I feel it’s really satisfying to hand this over to another person...it’s a great project.”
Prioritizing keeps Wendy sane. She does not claim to have an answer for the stresses but she does some things that should cause us pause to consider their value: going for long walks, crying if necessary or snapping (as Wendy laughably discusses) at a person who is being unreasonable. “A lot of the things that we think are really important, and that really make us angry or upset...they don’t mean anything, you know?
“If you could look at your life, look at yourself in the position of these people, and look back and say, ‘That guy who cut me off or that lady – is that going to matter to me when I die? Am I even going to remember this?’”
Although she is planning to change careers, one cannot speak with Wendy Solloway without sensing that music therapy has been a reciprocal inspiration. Wendy says music therapy found her, not the other way around. People with so little time have helped Solloway clarify the most resilient values that survive us: people, friends, family, love, adventures (things risked) and accomplishments — immaterial moments of human ascension.