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You Know The Voice...Now Meet White Rock's STIRLING FAUX



The first day of my new job, back in 1978 when I started as music/promotions director at CFOX/FM99/CKLG-FM I was standing in the hallway and STIRLING who at that time was doing mid-days at our sister AM station CKLG walked up to me and introduced himself. He said "I hear you live in White Rock?" I replied yes I do. StirLING said "Cool I live down on Victoria avenue we should get together." Just then a salesman walked by and STIRling said "Hey Bill meet Dave Chesney the new music director in FM, he lives in White Rock just like us." BILL BOWNEss looked me up and down and said "White Rock? Where do you live. I told him I lived down on Marine Drive above the pier." BILL replied, "Oh no wonder you don;t look familiar I never go down there, it is nothing but drug dealers, strippers and bikers." Dave Chesney



Meet Alex Browne

We were lucky enough to pin ALEX BROWNE down for a preview of his stage production full-length ‘radio noir’ play, Blue Prelude, at Peninsula Productions’ studio theatre in Centennial Park.

The four performances are on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day.

First of all Alex what is a “Radio Noir” live drama?

Back in the heyday of Film Noir crime dramas in the 1940s and 1950s, similar dramas were being created for radio - often broadcast live. Shows like Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; Richard Diamond Private Detective and the assorted adventures of Michael Shayne, Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. The films and radio shows were all inspired by the same source, the crime pulp magazines that had been popular since the 1920s. Film Noir movies continue to be popular to this day, but it's easier, for budgetary reasons, to recreate a Radio Noir broadcast, authentically costumed and using 1940s-style microphones. I call Blue Prelude a "Film Noir for the ears and imagination"!

You are listed as the the writer and director of BLUE PRELUDE.  How long has the process been to bring BLUE PRELUDE to the stage?

I've been kicking around the idea for the story for a long time, but I got down to writing it, seriously, during the Covid lockdown, when nobody knew when we'd ever get back to presenting live theatre again. I guess it was my pandemic project, something that kept hope alive when we all felt so isolated. We started casting earlier this year, and we've been rehearsing since the beginning of August.

On top of the poster for BLUE PRELUDE we are invited to MEET MICKEY GIORDANO..A Vancouver Private eye circa 1949.  A fictional character or a real life gangster? 

Mickey Giordano is fictional, the main character in a novel I wrote several years ago, called 'Rough Shadow', which I hope to publish in the New Year. Blue Prelude is actually a prequel to that novel. I was trying to imagine who would have been the kind of person wealthy Vancouverites would have employed as 'hired muscle' to deal with the dirty laundry of their private lives in the bad old days. I came up with an Italian-Canadian ex-boxer with a Galahad complex, raised on the East Side (now Strathcona). There are a number of real life characters who inspired him, including Mickey Philliponi  of the famous Penthouse family. One interesting aspect, inspired by the story of a friend of mine, is that the character's mother has First Nations heritage, and was among the residents of Stanley Park who were forced out of their homes by the city. 

I am aware you are not old enough to have lived in Vancouver during that time period.  Was there any particular inspiration for you to set the story in the late 40’s in Vancouver.

I'm old enough to remember the rough-and-ready neon city that was photographed so memorably by Fred Herzog. There were still many vestiges of it around when I came to Vancouver as a boy. It reminded me of the urban landscapes of favourite Film Noirs set in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. For way too long, I accepted the fiction that crime and corruption wasn't a serious part of Vancouver's landscape. Latterly, now that a slew of books have exposed Vancouver's sordid past in the '40s and '50s, I've come to realize that it was just as gritty and corrupt as those American cities. 

I have to ask once and for all, and I am sure many readers here will be interested in your answer.  You have a wonderful throwback fashion style.  Was there a particular point in your life that you made a conscious decision to affect the fashion world of days gone by?

It started almost as soon as I no longer had to wear a school uniform (which was when I came to Canada). When I was a teenager, I was buying vintage suits at thrift stores, and wearing them to school. That became my uniform - it worked well for me as president of my high school drama club. I also never got bullied - too weird for that, I guess. I love vintage style, because I love vintage music and movies. Why not dress that way? Everyone is so obsessed with 'fitting in'. I can't live that way. People will sometimes ask me what the occasion is - my answer is always the same: "Life". 

I note the promotional material for BLUE PRELUDE Kat Siemens is listed as the associate producer.  Tell us a bit about Kat please.

Kat is my best friend, toughest critic and a frequent partner in crime. I'm very fortunate whenever she offers to assist in my various mad endeavours. She is a gifted artist and photographer, trained in fashion design, illustration and history, and well-known in White Rock for her art shows and fabulous sense of style. She has also been a professional make-up artist and has worked in the movie industry. She has a very exacting sense of detail, which is great, because we approach projects much the same way.

How big is the cast of BLUE PRELUDE.  Please give a brief overview of the actors.

There are five of us in total, playing all the roles. I'm lucky to be working with all of them, because most are people I've wanted to work with for years, but the stars have never aligned - until now. Dovreshin MacRae, a new theatre friend, plays our private eye, Mickey Giordano. He's a very intelligent, very versatile player - he's starred in a number of shows for Theatre In The Country, for whom he is currently assistant directing The Shawshank Redemption, and has also done some excellent film work. Adrian Shaffer plays Lila Duprez, a singer at Vancouver's old Cave supper club, who needs Mickey's help locating her missing brother. Adrian is a splendidly talented actor who has acted numerous leads for White Rock Players Club, and has just made an impressive directorial debut there with Blithe Spirit. Jacqueline Rose, who plays mysterious former showgirl Georgia Morrison, is also a wonderfully multi-talented player, but has been seen far too little in recent years, although local audiences will likely recall her blonde bombshell role in White Rock Players Club's  A Comedy of Tenors. Hunter Golden, who grew up around here - he's an alumnus of Earl Marriott Secondary - divides his time between film television and theatre. He has a magnificent voice, and a gift for characterization, which he brings to multiple roles, including shady millionaire art collector Hamilton Collyer. And while not a member of the cast, Hunter Lisle, who brilliantly stage-managed the Agatha Christie play, The Stranger, that I directed last summer, is in charge of music and sound effects - also a key player in the production. 

Thank you Alex for taking time to preview BLUE PRELUDE.  One final question slightly off topic.  Are there any planned shows for your big band ALEX BROWNE’S BOULEVARDIERS  in the near future?

Well, the band has taken a bit of a back seat while I get this play off the ground. But we're very happy to have played the last Red Serge Gala at Hazelmere, a sold out gala for Peninsula Productions this spring, and the White Rock Jazz and Blues Festival this summer. People can expect a return to shows featuring our authentic Roaring '20s/Dirty '30s music this winter and into the spring. I can't divulge any details yet, but there are some new and exciting elements to our presentation waiting in the wings - so stay tuned!

Break a leg Alex, see you this weekend @ BLUE PRELUDE

Meet The Neighbours

Meet MIKI DAWSON, and now say goodbye to her.

Normally in our MEET THE NEIGHBOURS section we cast the spotlight on someone who has recently moved to the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Now for something completely different.

Caleb & Mom Miki

For years I used to see MIKI walking everywhere in White Rock with a young boy who Assumed was her son. I was right. What always struck me was what beautiful big smiles they both had every time I would pass them on the street or see them in one of the many businesses they frequented in White Rock.

After many years I got to know MIKI personally and began to understand her long and storied journey of life as a single Mom raising her son and conquering daily hurdles put in front of her. I gained a tremendous respect for single mothers by meeting and getting to know MIKI.

When I learned my dear friend MIKI was relocating back to Ontario, knowing how much she loved living in White Rock, I asked her to compose a "love letter" to White Rock.


White Rock - A Love Story

As I descended the Victoria steps, from the moment your waters spread out into my view, I knew you would be home for me and my son.  I had to leave my marriage so our relationship could begin.  I believed when I became ashes to spread, they would blow over your blue on a breeze and the wings of the birds.  

White Rock, you helped me raise a little boy.  With every tidal pool, shooting star, skipping stone, walk, starfish, fishing adventure off the pier, and ice cream cone, we gave my son his wonder years.  You will always be the sunshine of his childhood story.  

Being a single mom was hard.  I didn’t have enough money for a vehicle and some days I didn’t eat.  You gave me friends who would invite me out for dinner, who gave me work, food, a break, a ride, companionship and a reason.  

Those initial days, I felt broken at times.  I’d cry at your shoreline and you’d take those tears and let them dance like twinkling stars under the moonlight.

In the beginning, there was an empty tummy, bruises that wouldn’t heal, and a heart that had broken too many times.  If I was still, I saw my reflection in your waters and I saw she was strong and kind through all the beatings and losses.  You knew me before I discovered my courage and strength.  You knew love would win.  

You gave me dancing, friendships and fun within the friendly walls of the Sandpiper.  I’ll always go to The WAG where I love visiting with the staff as much as I enjoy a meal with a friend.  I lived along Cosmic Alley where the view from my front window was a horizon of possibilities and beauty.  I will always go back to places like WRBB and the Beer Shack where good people were as abundant as the beer running through the taps.   

When my boy was no longer little, you gave me a man to love.  We built a beautiful life together.  I got to know the community in a new way with someone who became my best friend.  

White Rock, thank you for everyone and everything you’ve given me over these past 18 years.  When I am ashes, I hope part of me is spread over Semiahmoo Bay where I feel your embrace to this day.   I’ve moved, but I haven’t left you.  For the people you gave me to love, the deepest gratitude; I carry them in my heart wherever I go.  

Thank you, White Rock!  


Miki Dawson


P.S. Editors Note

What is the latest chapter now of Miki and her son Caleb?

Caleb now lives on the Prairies and would make the journey to spend part of his summer every summer with Mom in White Rock.

Again I have to admit I have seen first hand the beautiful connection these two wonderful humans have. So much more than than the usual mother and son relationship.

We are so much richer as a community to have had MIKI DAWSON for the time we did.

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