Florence, Dante and Me

In the early 1960s, when all things European were hip, a UBC student went to Italy for a year to study Dante. His letters home are the subject of a new book. Review by Beverly Cramp. FULL STORY

Jim Millar, then & now

January 29th, 2015

Watson Mylar was the pen name for Jim Millar when he self-published his illustrated short novel Hunting Elk in Kitsilano (A Canadian Romance) in 1978 under the imprint of Vanity Press. A past president of the Vancouver Bar Association, Jim Millar had a long and distguished career as a Vancouver lawyer.

Hunting Elk in Kitsilano echoed Richard Brautigan’s title: Trout Fishing in America. According to the author, Hunting Elk was written in three days in the San Francisco Library where Brautigan’s novel, Abortion, was set. It is a whimsically absurd, somewhat silly tale of the love of Lou Hummer (half bear/half man) and Dot Transom, set in 1970’s Kitsilano, Vancouver. Mylar has acknowledged the influence of “B. Kliban and other dead authors and cartoonists.”

He has recalled in an email to Alan Twigg, “I had just completed a graduate fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute but chose to go into law, so Hunting Elk was only intended to be an adventure; an unedited rough sketch. I pursued a career as trial and appellate counsel on freedom of expression cases, as well as contempt, environmental, and many murder cases; basically everything from white collar to black leather. But I hit a tipping point, quit, and now live above a Teddy Bear Museum in Thailand where I have no wife, TV or dog, so I’m writing.”

According to Millar, Hunting Elk in Kitsilano sold 1500 copies in a month “because booksellers like Duthie Books, Blackberry, and the UBC Bookstore actually promoted it. Wouldn’t happen now.”

BIOGRAPHICAL INFO:

Mylar, Watson (James Watson Millar; b. 1952, divorced, two children))
– short listed for Rhodes Scholarship (1974);
– recipient of annual Rotary International Graduate Fellowship for Washington State and British Columbia;
– pioneer whitewater guide – guided first commercial trips through Fraser River’s Hell’s Gate and elsewhere;
– Chairman: B.C. Government Advisory Committee on Commercial River Rafting;
– principal plaintiff’s expert witness in the U.S. Federal Court Case: Goldstein Estate v. Omnicom; rafting death of Vice President of Proctor & Gamble. By far, the largest wrongful death award from Canada, and the basis for White Mile, a motion picture starring Alan Alda and Peter Gallagher;
– Co-founder of Canadian Wilderness Experiences Ltd.- subject of an unpublished feature Sports Illustrated story by Robert F. Jones, and photography by Ted Streshinsky (photographer for Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, (New York Magazine) and the only nude cover of Time Magazine).
– B.A., English Literature, UBC.
– Studied three years under B.C. artist, Toni Onley.
– Graduate Fellowship at The San Francisco Art Institute.
– President, Vancouver Bar Association.
– Lead counsel in many high profile court cases including MacMillan Bloedel v. Simpson (Clayoquot protest, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history);
– Inquest: Unknown Death – Province Newspaper Editor and journalist wrongfully cited for contempt by Coroner Larry Campbell for refusing to divulge source of assisted suicide;
– Pardy v. Earle, (B.C. Human Rights case against stand up comedian);
– Hemp B.C., criminal and municipal cases;
– Counsel for B.C. naturopaths;
– Defence counsel on many, many trials and appeals, including over 50 criminal death cases throughout British Columbia;
– Perhaps the only defence counsel in the British common law to legally interview jurors concerning their deliberations having been retained to do so by the defence in Regina v. Gillian Guess.

“Life is good at 10,000 feet;
The sky is near my head.
I like to seek my meat to eat
and then pretend I’m dead”.
– Lou Hummer

A copy of Hunting Elk in Kitsilano is in the Special Collections library at UBC and it was made into an audio book by the Crane Library. Three copies were available worldwide via Abebooks in January of 2015; a signed copy was priced at $12.50 U.S.

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