Christine Pilgrim as Emily Carr puts the final touches on her painting

Christine Pilgrim as Emily Carr puts the final touches on her painting

Vertigo’s Almost Famous hard to duplicate

Annual fundraiser features visit by the Queen along with the Mona Lisa.

The Queen is returning to Vertigo, and there will be few canvasses by Matisse, Modligliani and Monet to greet her.

Yep, it’s time for Gallery Vertigo’s fifth annual Almost Famous exhibition and auction, which features copies of famous artists’ masterpieces created by regional artists.

The work can now be seen in Vertigo’s main exhibition space, however, the pieces will moved to a new space, the Vernon Community Arts Centre (VCAC), for this year’s auction to be presided over by the Queen (actress Christine Pilgrim) Aug. 20.

“Almost Famous continues to grow in popularity which has led us to search out a new location for the festivities,” said Vertigo’s creative director and administrator Judith Jurica. “Mutually supportive relationships with other arts organizations in the North Okanagan region continues to be a very important aspect of Gallery Vertigo’s mandate and this is yet another example of the cooperative attitude that exists in our community.

“Many thanks to (VCAC) director Lynne Hossay and everyone at the Arts Centre for welcoming us into their space. This year’s auction should be bigger and better than ever.”

More than 40 pieces of art have been received by the gallery to date, and they continue to arrive. Those who can’t make it to see the pieces in advance of the auction can check them out online at

“Artists from all over the region have generously supported our artist-run centre with their skilled interpretations of many famous works by well-known artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Meret Oppenheim, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and many, many more,” said Jurica. “The mediums employed include oil and acrylic paintings, drawings, mixed media, collage, photos and three-dimensional works. The works exhibit a high degree of skill, no surprise considering the talented artists in our midst. We can’t thank the artists enough.”

Hailing over the auction is Pilgrim who has appeared at Gallery Vertigo as the artist Emily Carr and, of course, as Her Majesty The Queen.

Pilgrim studied method acting with Joan Littlewood’s theatre workshop in the east end of London, England. After three years training, she went straight into London’s West End with an awful play (her words) called The Overdog.

Always having an eye and an ear for comedy, Pilgrim specialized in British music hall and eventually became a stand-up comic, both on the international and British stage and was featured on British TV.

Her TV claim to fame is appearances on The Benny Hill Show, and she has made several films, including The Fool which is available on DVD here in Canada.

Pilgrim immigrated to Canada in 1992, when her stepfather died, to look after her mother.

Bitten by the B.C. history bug, Pilgrim has specialized in bringing stories from the past to life at historic sites from Barkerville to Fort Langley and all stops in between, including Vernon’s very own Caetani Cultural Centre and Coldstream’s Mackie Lake House.

She also visits schools and museums with her one-woman history-based shows as her indomitable school ma’am character, Mrs. McPherson.

The gala reception at the VCAC (located beside the Okanagan Science Centre at the east entrance to Polson Park) starts at 7 p.m. Appetizers and desserts will be served from 7 to 8 p.m. (included in ticket price) and wine will be served at a nominal cost. Musical entertainment will be provided by Windmills (Cory Myraas). The auction starts at 8 p.m. sharp.

“Please wear your most fantastic frippery for this over-the-top elegant affair. What better time to sport your boas and silk, that old bridesmaid dress or tux, your jewels and tiaras and outlandish hats, your cowboy boots and tattoos?” said Almost Famous chairperson Allison Griswold.

Tickets are available for $20 in advance at Gallery Vertigo and at the VCAC.