Hollyhock happening features tuba-playing politician

Post by Mike Klassen in


Tonight "Gregor" plays tuba at a Hollyhock fundraiser – click for full poster

This comes on short notice for anyone not already planted on Cortes Island, but if you happen to be anywhere near that cosmic wonderland on the evening of August 13th be sure to drop by Hollyhock to see The Oompah Opera, featuring performers Cosmo & Merlin and special guests Gregor & Andy.

Let's see...Gregor. Tuba. Hollyhock. Could it be our beloved Mayor...?

Well, we know that the dude is up on the hippie heaven known as Cortes, despite the fact his fist-pumping tweets have almost dried up since the Pride Parade. Interestingly, hizzonner is involved in yet another fundraiser for the island retreat, this one dedicated to the Hollyhock Scholarship Fund for Youth & the Hollyhock Piano Fund.

What exactly is the Hollyhock Piano Fund? Is it like the Campus Greening Fund, which allows you to give a fully tax deductible charitable gift to help Hollyhock install three composting toilets and a grey water system? Or is it perhaps like the Hollyhock Garden Fund, which allows you to give a tax deductible donation to help Hollyhock build a new greenhouse?

Or is it perhaps like the Hollyhock Program Development Fund? That's the money you could put toward their research to find "the highest quality programming and presenters in the world". Yes, for your tax deductible donation, you can help someone scan the globe to find more great presenters like Caroline Casey, whose recent course on Compassionate Trickster Training will fuel your pragmatic mysticism. After all, Trickster medicine is the essential ingredient in creating social change. If only we all knew about democratic animism, wouldn't the world be a much better place?

Or you might be looking for a course provided by the Hollyhock Farm Ltd. (they note that it is "a for profit corporation"). For $353 you can savour a visit to their garden, take a 3-hour kayak ride, get a free yoga session, and a complimentary bottle of BC wine. All meals and accommodation (on average 200 bucks per night with shared bathroom) is extra.

Maybe it's a dumb question – but do they just want to buy a piano for Hollyhock? If so, why does it need its own fund?

It's kind of impressive to think that through the magic of Canada's Charities Act that any of us can get a tax receipt while helping Hollyhock finish up that greenhouse, or finally install those composting toilets. They're able to do this with the help of the Next Wave Foundation, which a recent society search listed Tzeporah Berman, Joel Solomon and James Morissey as directors. Most know the famous eco-activist and former Cortesian Berman, Solomon of course is the go-to guy behind all of this, and Morissey is the ubiquitous board member and senior adviser to Renewal Partners. His bio says he's a leading expert in tax and finance regulations.

It appears that Next Wave will become redundant if plans go forward to create Hollyhock as a charity. As the Renewal Partners website states, the "45 partners have decided to donate 100% of their ownership of the land, buildings and name to the new Hollyhock Foundation. This initiative was developed to enhance the long-term stability and growth of this venerable educational retreat centre."

hollyhock brochure coverThis "venerable" retreat centre sits upon about 33 acres on the southern tip of Cortes Island. Most of the property (29 acres) is registered as a seasonal resort (Hollyhock Centre Ltd.) by the BC Property Assessment Authority, valued at just over $2.1 million with land and improvements (buildings, etc.). Part of the land (4 acres) is set aside as a farm – the aforementioned "Hollyhock Farm Ltd", which according to the BC Assessment office is used to grow flowers. The farm property has an assessed value of about $2000.

Charitable status for the resort property provides other charitable foundations with the opportunity to share their resources with Hollyhock (read: pour money into it). According to the post on RenewalPartners.com, the transaction to make Hollyhock into a charity is still underway. The Hollyhock Foundation has been registered with Berman and Solomon also as directors, as well as Eduardo Schwartz, a UCLA professor of real estate & land economics and board member of Hollyhock.

The change to become a charity is happening with strategic support from Solomon's Renewal Partners. Of course, Solomon's wife Dana Bass Solomon is the CEO of the retreat, and Joel is a director on the organization's board. The two are featured prominently in Hollyhock's 2010 program which CityCaucus.com has obtained a copy of.

Hollyhock introduction by the Solomons The brochure's introduction by the retreat's bosses uses a New Age-y text to set the tone. Lots of sentence fragments and odd syntax used for effect. Here is how Joel and Dana describe this happy place:

Dear Friends,

We are blessed as ancestors to live now. Our intentions and potential are the DNA of the future.
Hollyhock advances our effectiveness and well being. We gain ease and flow. Adaptation and change follow. They are the true resilience.

Like repositories and mystery schools of times past, Hollyhock is an eclectic recipe for education of the heart, mind, body, and spirit. What follows is empowered citizenship and the success of meaningful enterprise and social profit.
Real capacity for generative solutions is an imperative. Times require joyous optimism for the grand cosmic dance.

Explore the exceptional teachers and the legendary conferences. Immerse in comfort and care, real food, scents, sounds. Sweet sleep. Be the spectacular natural wonders. Slow time and deep renewal. Massage, Ocean, Art. Music. Wisdom. Introspection. Rejuvination. Family. Purpose. Peace. As we invest in compassion, generosity, and good work, we assume stewardship. We are more adept.
We love better and get smarter.

These are the alchemical golden treasures of the ages.

Find Hollyhock in your Will. Make automatic monthly donations.
Share stories. Return.

Signed Joel & Dana Bass Solomon

Sounds. Like quite a. Place. And it's convincing enough apparently for many to dig for their wallets, or put Hollyhock in their will. Having the Mayor make special appearances to play his tuba – well, you know that new piano is a virtual certainty.

- post by Mike

UPDATE: We should have realized this earlier that the "Andy" on the bill was Andrew Weil, and the show indeed featured Gregor Robertson, our farmboy Mayor. This tweet verified it:

@ReelYouth: Cosmos and Merlin Sheldrake (hobbit gypsies), Andrew Weil on the whistle and @mayorgregor on tuba! #hollyhock


You really nailed them on this one. It sounds pretty nefarious, this agenda of theirs. Stay vigilant!

Well - not everybody on Cortes is enamoured with the Hollyhock Experience.


The Thought of The Day

"Hollyhockism. The new wave of pseudo-capitalists with money. Lots of money. Nothing to do with skating at high speeds after a puck, on ice. Socialism for the Rich."


Communists came to power 100 years ago because the things were bad. These Hollyhock copy-fat-cats, are trying hard to influence the public opinion, manipulate the outcome and take control because the things are good. There is a huge potential for money making schemes. And they know it. That's all. They hang on by a thread in Vancouver though. History repeating itself? I think so.


What would you do if you were my friend, a TV personality that helped this Vancouver Registered Charity to fund raise over $ 100,000 only to find out a few months later that the three top executives gave themselves (with the full accord of their handpicked Board of Directors!) salary raises of 30-50 % totalling the exact amount that you helped them fund raise? My point exactly. If this can take place in Vancouver, extrapolate this whole experince to a registered charity on a far far away island that nobody cares or knows about. Wicked, eh?


Vancouver. The Greenest city by 2020. My toilet, the greenest hole in the ground. The greenest way of transportation? You walk! Hens for eggs in the backyard, everyone eats greens and uses my toilet. A lot. And you should know this: 'VEGETARIAN ' is an old Indian word for 'sloppy hunter'. 'GREEN' is another Indian word for 'What I'm wiping my ass with'. Apparently "CARBON OFFSET' entered the Indian lexicon just recently as ' White man robbing us blind...again.'

So,there. That's why, these shmucks will not be invited to dinner with me or buy their piano on my dime. That's why I will not turn vegetarian, carbon off-setter and will not tattoo 'green' on my forehead.

I know Gregor would immediately disagree with my point of view,on principle, and would start playing on his tuba one of David Suzuki's favourites 'Deny the Deniers their Voice!'

It seems like yesterday, when Tzeporah was shouting, 'Save the environment. Wood doesn't grow on trees!' Now she has become a Venture Capitalist, same way Aaron has become a Realtor.

Hmmm, I've always wondered, 'What would Solomon do?' But that's a fairytale of biblical proportions for another time. Till then...

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Has the Federal Govt audited their books recently?

Does CRA allow charitable status for a location that is a better place than a hotel conference room, in which to exchange ideas, hold classes?

I assume the home grown veges are consumed by guests who pay for their courses(profitable)? By serving them to paying guests aren't they increasing the profit on the fees charged? I don't see anything charitable about this.

Not sure of the rules but can US citizens be Directors of a Canadian Charitable organization?

Just checking..........

So how much did this rich Americans have to spend to buy our city hall's governing right?

Progressives . . . so much smarter that the rest us. We should just lie back and enjoy while being screwed by them.

Good advice for young women in the 60's is still good advice for Vancouver's ordinary citizens now.

"Hollyhockism...Socialism for the Rich."
The best definition I've read so far. Ever.
By the way, on the registered charities thing,I did a simple calculation. If those three people that gave themselves raises from 30 to 50% totaling $ 100,000 is it fare to say they got salaries from $80,000 and up? Is that for real? You know what they say "Nice work if you can get it!" Makes you puke a bit... Great comment GR.

Any chance of an actual criticism? What exactly is wrong with getting together at a pretentious, overpriced ex-hippy commune and talking about how to govern Vancouver?

There are plenty things to mock about Hollyhock, believe you me. I've seen it firsthand, which I assume is more than the rest of the commenters. But as a place to sit around and talk about public policy and shaping the future of our city, it's gotta be pretty hard to beat.

This Hollyhock blurb reads like the product of a chatterbot designed to meet the Turing test - and failing. Those who wish to contribute, however, may also be interested in a Nigerian prince who has been having problems getting a large cheque cashed....

Sounds kind of Jonestown-ish, to be perfectly honest with you.

Wow-pretty quirky site, but this is the way Hollyhockers behave at City Hall, too.

"Merlin Sheldrake"? rotflmao
OK, let's say, for the sake of argument that Hollyhack is not an attempt to brainwash the political class in Vancouver. Mind you, with a marketing department like they've got, it could work.
That being said, as a place to sit around and talk about public policy and shaping the future of our city it's beat by City Hall. At the Hall people are well paid to sit around and talk. Why waste a trip to the Gulf islands on shoptalk or New Age con artists?
In the interest of full disclosure, I myself also play the tuba. It's fun and not too hard. The best part? No solos.

What if Hollyhock was founded by a right wing group from the US which had some connection to the Nixon administration and announced that they had selected Vancouver to convert to their view of what a city should be. And then they went out and recruited a candidate for Mayor and helped get him elected. What do you think the response would be?

Is Hollyhock the environmentalist Bilderberg? Wasn't Gordon Campbell at Bilderberg this year?

Merlin Sheldrake, whose father Rupert claims our memories are not stored in our brains, but in a magical, undetectable "morphic field", plays the accordion.
Q. What's the difference between an accordion and an onion?
A. Nobody cries when you chop up an accordion.

What better way to insulate themselves from all negative consequences of the socialist programs they support. Hide out on an island in the gulf!

Tuba, or not tuba? That is the question.

Scary thing - a friend of ours went on a 'corporate retreat' to Hollyhock not too long ago.

He is a teacher.

(But they body snatchers didn't get him!)

Klassen, you really have sunk pretty low here. Are you seriously thinking this is an issue at all? The mayor plays a fundraiser for youth? You're acting like a stalker not a blogger. Grow up!

The involvement of our Mayor and his party with an organization that many see as having some of the characteristics of a cult is obviously an issue. So is its use of charitable status and involvement with youth.

If these suspicions are misdirected then they can be allayed by an honest and factual response, not by denial and insult.

I would hope, Bill, that it would be properly resistant. I think we can all agree that Richard Nixon was a despicable man.

what a joke! desperate times for desperate people.

Check out BCWineLover.com!

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