Julian Legere is unlike most 17-yearolds.
He admits to reading the dictionary for fun, and he's currently toting around the book By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, by Canadian novelist and poet Elizabeth Smart. The book details her romance with poet George Barker. He's also just finished reading Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, and he has a laundry list of Canadian literature he wants to get to.
When the Lord Tweedsmuir grad isn't going to class, he might be off to the Vancouver Playhouse, where he has season tickets with his mother, Marie Barnes.
Julian is an artist, writer and arts aficionado who isn't afraid to walk his own path, which he hopes will take him to Capilano University's theatre program this autumn.
Having appeared in the high school production of Bye Bye Birdie a couple of years ago, he was tempted to audition for this summer's Theatre Under the Stars production, but he walked away, literally minutes before his audition.
"The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'd be doing this for the next three months if I got a role," he said. "What I wanted instead was for my last summer after high school to be evocative of what the last summer should be. I wanted to let the summer wash over me. I wanted to experience whatever I would experience. I want to try new things and find something that really moves me. . This is going to be the 'Summer of Julian.'"
You certainly won't find many 17-yearolds with such an introspective look into their life, but Julian has had to overcome some obstacles in his life.
Seven years ago, Julian and his older brothers, Tyson and Tyler, were in the news because their father was in the news.
Hal Legere dressed up as Robin, the Boy Wonder - and sidekick of Batman - and perched on the Pattullo Bridge for nearly five hours.
Hal Legere was arrested after climbing onto the girders about 15 metres above the bridge deck and unfurling a large banner supporting Fathers4Justice, a national organization for which he served as B.C. coordinator.
He was protesting against perceived court bias in child-custody cases.
Fathers4Justice had been staging similar protests in the U.K. for some time before moving into Canada and the U.S.
Legere said at the time he spent about $150,000 in court battles with his ex-wife over custody of their sons since the couple separated in 1998.
He received a suspended sentence, two years' probation and 50 hours of community service, and he was ordered to stay off all bridges in B.C. unless he's crossing one in a car.
Julian admits the family strife took its toll on him.
"I'm really close to my mom, and my brothers are really close to my dad," he said. "But I do really respect what my dad was trying to do. . I'm 100 per cent proud of him. My dad wanted to help others, and the way I think of it, he was fighting for us."
Julian positively beams when he talks about his mother, saying she's the one who encouraged him to explore his artistic side.
"She's very creative, and I definitely get that from my mom," said Julian. "She's supported me in everything I've done."
That includes Julian performing in the school's Rock Solid anti-bullying productions for the past two years.
"I'd like to think we helped some people," said Julian. "Absolutely, bullying is a problem and to be able to help people has been very satisfying."
Julian also credits his high school writing teacher, M.J. Hunt, and his English teacher, Barb Kobabe, for encouraging him to write and explore.
"I just love to write, get all my ideas on paper," he said. "It would be a dream for me to write for a living. . I love language, I love words and how you use them. Writing is a passion for me."
That would seem ironic, considering Julian's post-secondary decision to go into acting, but he thinks he can do everything.
"I want to act, I want to write, I want to be involved in the arts," he said. "I don't really think there are any limits if I continue working at everything.
"I wanted to go study theatre because to me, in the theatre, you need more formal training," said Julian. "Writing is something you learn by doing, by writing like crazy and refining as you write."
Julian said it doesn't take much for him to get inspired.
"I'm drawn to interesting things," he said. "It might be a little random speck and I can find that interesting and want to write about it."
The "Summer of Julian" will see the teen try to work more than the four hours a week he works at M&M Meats.
"Maybe I'll find something new to try," he said. "I'm open to everything."