An artist friend of mine, who worked for me occassionally in the late 80s in Vancouver, showed up at the darkroom door one night, forlorn and angry, and even more vitriolic than usual. I was surprised at his condition, as he had been in good spirits the previous week, his studio space having finally been built, and the Canada Council money promised for early delivery to a bank near him.

Before I could ask what had brought him so low, he spoke in those lovely acidic tones he reserves for the wholly ignorant, he being of the opinion there are many of those.

His story was a simple, compelling one, a story of bureaucratic tramplings, double dealings at city hall, leases made to be broken, unanswered questions, a lonely vigil for the promised funds.

As he spoke, I was moved. The darkroom lights dimmed more, and I saw him in the safelight, at centre stage, an ethereal chorus of artists behind, and the loathsome Mr. Dyck, City Building Inspector, entering from stage right, to close his studio space forever with a legal notice forbidding occupancy....

Obviously, an opera was needed, and it is You Gotta Have Art