• Sep30

    Joaquín Grilo; photo by Javier Auris
    [Joaquín Grilo; photo by Javier Auris]

    Flamenco Rosario’s Artistic Director Rosario Ancer and Musical Director Victor Kolstee take great pride in bringing Spain’s renowned award-winning flamenco legend Joaquín Grilo (along with national and local artists) to various Vancouver stages for the 2014 edition of the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, from October 28 to November 11.
     
    Started in 1990, this annual festival presents flamenco artists performing in a wide range of styles: traditional, contemporary, soloists, and ensemble works. A gathering place for the growing local and national flamenco community, the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival takes the audience from flamenco’s origins as a blend of cultures through to today’s continual evolution of music, song, and dance.

    Hailing from Jerez de La Frontera, Spain, it is with great pleasure that this year’s festival welcomes one of the leading influential artists in Spanish flamenco, Joaquín Grilo, performing at the Vancouver Playhouse for a one-night presentation of Grilo in Concert, accompanied on stage by internationally-acclaimed musicians, plus guitarist Juan Requena and singer Jose Valencia.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep30

    KEEN Durand-1

    KEEN’s recently introduced their Durand low- and mid-height hiking shoes for men and women.

    KEEN Durand-4

    The built-to-last shoes contain a directly-injected PU construction and are manufactured right at their Portland, Oregon factory.

    KEEN Durand-2 KEEN Durand-3

    Many hiking shoes and boots are made with Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsoles that are known to break down over time: Polyurethane (PU) won’t break down. This makes the comfort outlast the life of the shoe. No glues are used during the environmentally-friendly PU injection process; with no glues, there’s also no chance of the outsole breaking apart from the upper.

    KEEN Durand-5 KEEN Durand-6 KEEN Durand-7 KEEN Durand-8

    The heeled cushion adds all-day comfort for hitting the trails as well as on city walks. This cushion is also designed to lock directly into the Durand’s insole, supporting the foot, maximizing shock absorption. As well, a dual-grip outsole combines a rubber compound around the edges for grip and another to maximize durability in high-wear areas.

    KEEN Durand mens shoe
    [KEEN men's Durand Low WP in Cascade Brown/Glazed Ginger]

    Other features of the Built-in-America Durand include:
    – Lined with KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membrane — lets vapor out without letting water in
    – TPU stability shank
    – Waterproof nubuck leather and breathable mesh upper
    – Removable metatomical dual density EVA footbed, engineered to provide excellent arch support and to cradle the natural contours of the foot

    KEEN Durand-11

    We took both the men’s and women’s Low WP models out for several hikes on our local mountain trails. The shoe feels solid and provides good ankle support.

    Durand’s soles have excellent grip for heading up and down the trails, and the leather and mesh upper kept mud and wet leaves from penetrating the surface. We also noticed that for its solid build, it’s also not that heavy a hiking boot.

    KEEN Durand-10

    These shoes are designed around a “million step comfort” concept. Comfortable right out of the box, these waterproof hikers are great all around-outdoor shoes for all seasons.

    KEEN Durand-9

    The Durand is also available in a Mid height, and incorporates a compression-resistant midsole, integrated heel cushion, and technical rubber outsole. The KEEN Durand Mid comes in Chocolate Brown and Tawny Olive for women, and in Cascade Brown/Gargoyle and Magnet/Red Clay for men.

    KEEN Durand mid hiking shoe

    The KEEN Durand Mid WP hiking boots for women are similarly designed with the same key components.

    The KEEN Durand Low WP is available in Dark Earth/Red Dahlia and Cascade Brown/Glazed Ginger for men, and in Magnet/Red Dahlia for women. The Low WP retails for CDN $200; the Mid WP for CDN $220. Both KEEN’s Canada and US sites offer free shipping and returns.

    KEEN Durand women's shoe
    [KEEN women's Durand Low WP in Dark Earth/Red Dahlia]

    Where would YOU go in a million steps? KEEN’s offering a chance to win a hiking adventure for two Canadian residents to Portland, Oregon, including a visit to the KEEN headquarters and factory.

    Prize package includes:
    – Two coach class roundtrip air tickets to Portland International Airport
    – Four hotel nights in Portland (hiking and craft beer, say no more!)
    – A pair of KEEN Durand’s, plus choice of one lifestyle product from the KEEN Garage
    – A tour of KEEN’s Portland headquarters and factory
    – Guided hikes in the Columbia River Gorge with KEEN folks and a KEEN Ambassador
    – An awesome, memorable experience!

    Contest closes October 15, 2014.

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  • Sep29

    Kate Aldrich, Morgan Smith
    [Kate Aldrich, Morgan Smith]

    In Joel Ivany’s directorial debut for Vancouver Opera, this ninth production of Carmen was initially produced at the premiere of Vancouver Opera in 1960. A joint endeavor of Toronto, Montreal, and San Diego companies, 2014’s Carmen is well paced and visually appealing.

    L’Opera de Montreal’s reworked costumes are authentic and fierce. Since 1874, the combination of the elements of music and a story of love, freedom, and obsession featuring seductive gypsies and smugglers, soldiers and toreadors, of lust and murder has delighted audiences. Vancouver loves Carmen: ours is saucy, sassy, and very sexy.

    Carmen Vancouver Opera

    This production, set in Latin America in the late 1930’s/1940’s, gets the mood set immediately with a graffiti backdrop evoking the oppression and poverty of the period. The Vancouver Opera orchestra is very much an extra character in this opera. The opening sequence at the beginning of each act perfectly sets the tempo and tone and builds an appetite. 

    The minimalistic, high-contrast sets provide the stage and players a visual balance, no easy feat in a production that has the chorus on stage most of the time. The use of space demarcation is especially effective. The mannerisms – and smoking on stage by most of the company – evoke a time when life was fast and death was to be cheated. 

    Kate Aldrich, Richard Troxell Ginger Costa-Jackson
    [L to R: Kate Aldrich, Richard Troxell; Ginger Costa-Jackson]

    The roles of Don José and Carmen are performed by two alternating actors: Richard Troxell and Kate Aldrich alternate with their vocal counterparts Christopher Magiera and Ginger Costa-Jackson respectively.

    The use of the Opéra-Comique score with spoken word works well in this fast-paced tale of a struggle to do the right thing versus follow a blazing passion. It is this examination of the flaws in our very human character that is so deliciously wicked. Innocent Michaëla (played by Marianne Fizet, outstanding in a role with a voice that skates on cut glass) arrives in town searching for Don José (Richard Troxell) with a letter from his mother.


    Don José’s platoon arrives, accompanied by a gang of street urchins (kudos to the Children’s Chorus for being scene- and heart stealers. I was smiling from ear to ear each time they appeared on stage). The women exit the tobacco factory on break, watched by the men of the platoon; the last to exit is wild Carmen (Aldrich on the night I attended). 

    Sultry, Aldrich’s voice pure and strong, with an intoxicating allure that places the audience under her spell. Spellbound to the rich unfolding of unachieved desires and longings for more than love and the devil of feminine capriciousness, the next three hours pass in a luxury of sound and vision.

    Morgan Smith Ginger Costa-Jackson, Morgan Smith
    [L to R: Morgan Smith; Ginger Costa-Jackson, Morgan Smith]

    
I fell in love with toreador Escamillo (Morgan Smith) for his gregarious machismo. The parallel to the cult of celebrity was not lost on me. The infectiousness of the chorus was one of the night’s true delights. Carmen’s capitulation to love for Escamillo is empowering and the final complete sacrifice of sanity ending in her murder truly shocking.

    This is a fun opera with so much going for it. The pacing of the production is quick and the final act a visual delight in stagecraft. Final props to the company for their induction into the BC Music Hall of Fame. The short run of only six performances is not to be missed.

    Carmen continues at the Queen E Theatre through October 5. Photos by Tim Matheson.

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  • Sep26

    Rain or Shine Ice Cream-8
    [Rain or Shine Ice Cream's Josie Fenton and Blair Casey]

    Tantalize your taste buds next month at over a dozen fabulous Kitsilano restaurants! Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates will showcase West 4th dining establishments on Tuesday, October 7.

    Each restaurant will be serving up sampler dishes for guests to enjoy. This is a fun and engaging way to meet fellow foodies, the chefs behind our local food scene, and learn about their passion for cooking. Vegetarian options will be available at many of the participating restaurants.

    Tickets for this all-ages event are now on sale. Save some dough by getting friends together and purchasing a four- or six-pack of tickets.

    O5 Tea Tasting-8
    [O5 White Moonlight tea]

    Participating restaurants:
    Whole Foods Kitsilano, 2285 West 4th Avenue
    Rain or Shine Ice Cream, 102-1926 West 4th Avenue
    Jackson’s Deli and Meats, 2214 West 4th Avenue 
    Indian Oven, 2006 West 4th Avenue  
    O5 Rare Tea Bar, 2208 West 4th Avenue
    Browns Social House, 2296 West 4th Avenue
    The August Jack, 2042 West 4th Avenue

    Shop West 4th logo

    Tasting Plates West 4th Avenue
    Date: Tuesday, October 7, 6 to 9:30 pm
    Venue: TBD
    Advance Tickets: $40 per person (plus Eventbrite fee and GST) before October 4; $120, four-ticket pack, $162, six-ticket pack; After October 4, tickets are $50 per person.

    Note: No exchanges or refunds, however tickets are transferrable with printed proof of purchase. Tickets must be purchased online and in advance. All ticket sales are final.

    Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates is produced by CMI Chat Media Inc. This event’s Community Partner is Shop West 4th BIA.

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  • Sep25

    Rick Steves at a bullfight ring, sevilla
    [Rick Steves at a bullfight ring, Sevilla]

    Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America’s most respected authority on European travel. Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. At 18, Rick began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons.

    In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves’ Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 80 full-time, well-travelled employees at his headquarters in Edmonds, Washington. Rick self-published the first edition of his travel skills book, Europe Through the Back Door (updated annually), in 1980.

    To date, Rick and his team have published over 50 guidebooks on European travel. Additionally, Rick hosts America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly syndicated column, and posts free travel information available through his travel center and website.

    Rick Steves at  Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany
    [Rick Steves at Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany]

    Rick Steves spends roughly a third of every year in Europe, researching guidebooks, filming TV shows, and discovering off-the-beaten-path travel destinations. He also leads a successful European tour program.

    Rick’s weekly hour-long national public radio show, Travel with Rick Steves, airs across the USA and has spawned a popular podcast. Rick has also created a series of audio walking tours for museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, London, and Athens.

    Rick will travel to BC next month to present two talks (in Vancouver and Victoria), sharing lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of travel. His entertaining, information-packed lecture aims to help travelers stretch their travel dollar, avoid crowds, pack smart, and eat and sleep well. After spending a third of his adult life living out of a rucksack in Europe, Rick knows exactly how to enjoy maximum travel thrills!

    Rick Steves Europe logo

    Pacific Coast Public Television Presents Europe Through the Back Door with Rick Steves
    Date: Sunday, October 26, 2 to 4 pm
    Venue: Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
    Tickets: $25 (inc. service fee) available via Tickets Tonight or via phoning 1.877.840.0457

    Rick will also present his talk on Saturday, October 25, 2 pm at Victoria’s Conference Centre.

    Rick Steves’ Europe logo and photos reprinted with permission via ricksteves.com.

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  • Sep24

    Lole Stunning 2 Jacket-9

    As fall begins to greet us with colourful leaves, shorter days, and crisp evenings, our shorts and sandals start to find their way back into the closet, replaced by warmer, layered clothes. While perusing several outwear companies online, I came across Lolë Women’s new fall collection jackets.

    A sneak peak of our @Lolewomen photo shoot this morning! #kitsilano

    In case you’re not familiar with the Montreal-based women’s active wear brand, they started in 2002 with a philosophy of producing clothes with functionality, versatility, and comfort. They’re all about designing flattering, feminine cuts using environmentally-friendly materials. Organic and natural fibers comprise many pieces in their collections.

    Lole Stunning 2 Jacket-5

    The Stunning 2 Jacket caught my eye. It’s a practical, smartly-designed and detailed jacket in a breathable softshell, containing a three-layer waterproof, windproof, durable water-repellant (DWR) polyester/blend with a soft, brushed inner face. Lolë sent me the jacket in Dark Chocolate Texture, with brass pulls and eyelets, and leather-accented zippers. The jacket has a nice stretch to it for some give. I like having the double-zipper option on some of my outwear, and the Stunning 2 has it.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep23

    Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour Showcase-1

    Last week, a group of Vancouver media and writers were invited to dine with the very farmers and wine makers that grew the food and produced the wine for our sumptuous, six-course long table dinner at Abbotsford’s Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro.

    Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour Showcase-2

    The dinner’s focus was on the Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour operators—a dozen or so farmers and dairy producers who live and work in the region. Abbotsford is in the heart of Fraser Valley’s farming region, its topsoil amongst the richest and deepest in the world. While an abundance of Fraser Valley produce is brought to Vancouver’s top restaurants, it’s often more rewarding to visit the farms and taste the sun-kissed fruits of the farmers’ labour.

    The evening was designed to be casual, with writers seated directly beside farm tour partners, giving us all ample opportunity to learn about each one’s products.

    Chris from One Love Farm
    [Chris from One Love Farm]

    With each course and wine pairing, the farmers and winemakers stood up, introduced themselves, and offered a brief background, bringing the concept of farm-to-table dining even closer to home. The farmers take great pride in producing the best, freshest, and healthiest crops and meats possible, many of the producers family-owned businesses spanning several generations.

    Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour Showcase-4

    Coming as no surprise, several of the farmers originated from The Netherlands: the Fraser Valley is filled with Dutch families who arrived decades ago to start a new life (and farming business) in the area’s emerald fields and gorgeous surroundings.

    Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour Showcase-3

    Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro is a fifth-generation farm; Arnold and Brenda Falk’s two daughters are kept busy as one is a grower, the other a chef (recently departed for Alberta with her husband). Chef Sarah was in the Brambles Bistro kitchen preparing our dishes, using products from the local farms. Open throughout the year, Tanglebank also operates a heritage Christmas store in November and December.

    Mini bacon-confited duck cabbage roll, ginger-bramble berry wine reduction

    Our starter: a mini bacon-confited duck cabbage roll with ginger-bramble berry wine reduction, using One Love Farm’s cabbage, Maan Farms’ Blackberry Wine, and Campbell’s ginger honey.

    “I enjoy having a connection with the food on my plate and with the people I grow it for.” – Farmer Chris, One Love Farm

    Chicken veloute, early harvest vegetables

    Chicken veloute with early harvest vegetables came courtesy of Rockweld Farms, Lepps Corn, and Brambles’ carrots and turnips. Rockweld’s Tim and Flo Rempel raise certified, organic-fed, BC SPCA-certified chicken and eggs and attend 16 area farmers’ markets. The BC SPCA classification means chickens never go cold, hungry, or thirsty, and are comfortably, ethically treated.

    Tomme goat cheese, duo of beets

    Tomme goat cheese and duo of beets contained Mt. Lehman goat cheese, Brambles’ beets, honey and micro-greens, and Apple Barn’s Elstar apples. Mt. Lehman’s Jason Dykstra grew up on a goat farm. At 20, he started working in cheese processing, and at the start of this year, founded Mt. Lehman, using pasteurized whole goat milk (which he also began shipping last year), specializing in high-quality, local cheeses.

    Cider-braised pork, caramelized Russian garlic jus, Blue Capri and hazelnut twice-baked soufflé, honey-roasted pumpkin and harvest vegetable purée

    I counted five farms that collaborated on our main course of cider-braised pork: Lepps (pork shoulder), One Love (Russian garlic and winter luxury pumpkin), Mt. Lehman Cheese Company (goat cheese), Apple Barn (cider, cinderella pumpkin), and Campbell’s Honey (squash, honey, and honeycomb). This was by far my favourite dish and beautifully presented!

    Taves Family Farms Applebarn offers numerous seasonal produce, alongside a healthy variety of apples (including U-Pick), a country store, and seasonal attractions including hayrides, a pumpkin patch, zipline, petting barn, and more. I was happy to see that they grow German Elstar apples, something we’ve missed from living in The Netherlands. Check out their website for current offerings and events.

    Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery owners Mike and Judy Campbell produce a variety of honey wines, naturally-sourced honey, beeswax, beeswax candles, and honeycomb, using honey produced by their own bees. Their meadery and beekeeping hobbies have blossomed into full-time passions as they continue to be active in the company’s production, also offering tours (by appointment) and off-farm honeybee pollination services to local growers.

    Mead poached pear and brown butter shortbread tart, Concord coulis, pecan praline ice cream

    A couple of dessert offerings followed: Mead-poached pear and brown butter shortbread tart, with Concord coulis and Birchwood Dairy’s yummy pecan praline ice cream, and a sampling of Onnink’s handmade Belgian chocolate bonbons containing antioxidant-rich blueberries from their farm.

    Founder Henk Onnink was born in Barendrecht, The Netherlands (close to Rotterdam); one of his two daughters, Arina, was at the dinner to talk about the six varieties of blueberries grown down the road from Tanglebank, as well as their award-winning blueberry iced tea, and soon-to-come blueberry-infused coffee!

    Selection of Onnink's Blueberry Farm bonbons

    Maan Farms and Estate Winery kicked off our supper with a glass of blackberry wine from their estate’s fruit wine collection.

    Our dinner was paired with pours from award-winning Mt. Lehman Winery, including a light and crisp 2013 Gewurtztraminer; 2012 Symmetry (blending Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Ehrenfelser, Riesling and Oraniensteiner); 2010 Pinot Noir Platinum Reserve, aged 16 months in French oak; and a 2011 Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc, a nice balance to the brown butter shortbread tart and accompanying pecan praline ice cream. This is the winery’s take on a late-harvest style dessert wine, with a great texture, and notes of apple, pear, and melon, providing a smooth finish to a great meal.

    Tanglebank will offer Long Table dinners in Spring 2015, continuing to work with Abbotsford CFT members. Contact Tanglebank via tanglebank [at] telus [dot] net with Long Table Dinner in the subject line.

    Many thanks to Tourism Abbotsford, SLAP Communications, Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro, and to all the delightful, friendly farmers who made the occasion sociable—and so tasty!

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  • Sep22

    The 39 Steps - Metro full cast 1
    [Trevor Roberts, David Wallace, Tom Parkinson, Jenny McLaren in The 39 Steps]

    Two balconies, a street lamp, a circular staircase: Vancouver’s Metro Theatre contains a minimalist set for Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps, opening Metro Theatre’s 2014/2015 season. Things don’t remain empty for long though. The show opens with handsome Canadian expat Richard Hannay (Tom Parkinson) seated in his West End apartment, recalling his non-eventful life.

    Moments later, he’s in London’s theater district, attending a vaudeville-style show featuring Mr. Memory, a man who retains and retells numerous facts with amazing accuracy. During that performance, a stylishly-dressed woman with a German accent joins Hannay in his theater box. A quick shot is fired, and the thickly-accented woman pleads to go home with Hannay.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep22

    Unboxing Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones Reg, XL

    I recently got my hands on a couple of JOBY GripTight mounts—compact, yet expandable little gadgets that can transform your smart phone into a tripod mount. Next to the regular-sized mount (suitable for iPhones, Androids, and Windows smartphones) is a newer, bigger cousin, the XL.

    Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones: Reg, XL

    Large-screen phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy NOTE 3, the Nokia Lumia 1520 AND recently-launched iPhone 6 Plus can take advantage of this handy, easily-attachable mount that works with or without a phone case.

    Working with JOBY GorillaPod and GorillaCam iPhone app Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones-2

    The polycarbonate-ABS plastic mount has rubber grip pads to secure the phone in place either in portrait or landscape orientation. The grips snap flat for easy tucking into a pocket or bag, with a small hole at one end to accommodate a lanyard or keychain ring. The GripTight’s internal steel springs expand to snuggly fit your phone.

    Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones-3

    My iPhone 5s with an iSkin Claro case fit the mount, which I then attached to one of Joby’s standard GorillaPods. The GripTight has a stainless-steel universal 1/4-20” screw that will fit standard tripods.

    Working with JOBY GorillaPod and GorillaCam iPhone app Working with JOBY GorillaPod and GorillaCam iPhone app

    A free GorillaCam iPhone app (for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) can be downloaded for basic stop-motion captures, plus self-timed, time-lapse, and burst-mode photos. For more advanced features and controls with these options, there’s a $1.99 Pro version available (as of this writing, I’ve only tested the basic, free version).

    GorillaCam Camera Settings GorillaCam Timelapse settings

    The app allows you to get a live bubble level right inside your frame, as well as a grid, capture resolutions from Small to Best, and a ‘tap anywhere to shoot’ option.

    Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones-8

    Dimensions
    GripTight Regular: 0.63 oz (18g); GripTight XL: 0.7 oz (20g)
    GripTight Regular will grip to fit phones 2.1” to 2.8” (54 to 72 mm) thickness
    GripTight XL will grip to fit phones 2.7” to 3.9” (66 to 99 mm) thickness

    I like the compactness of this mount. I’ve owned a JOBY GorillaPod for years, as it was the first tripod I bought for my Canon PowerShot DigitalElph point and shoot. Portable accessories such as these, coupled with mighty cool capabilities means having an iPhone (or smart phone of your choice) in your bag won’t limit your photo-taking to hand-held shots and video. I can easily see taking this setup on the road for self-timed landscape photos and time-lapse videos.

    Bot GripTight Regular and XL mounts retail for CDN $19.99. The Regular is available in Canada at both Lens and Shutter and London Drugs. Purchase the XL at Dunne and Rundle in downtown Vancouver.

    Joby GripTight Mount for Smart Phones-9

    To celebrate Apple’s recent “Next Big Thing”, I’ve got a GripTight XL mount to give away to one lucky Vancouverscape reader. Two ways to enter:

    1) Follow @DaymenCanada and @Vancouverscape on Twitter and RT the following:
    I’ve entered for a chance to win a @jobyinc GripTight XL smart phone mount from Daymen Canada and Vancouverscape [http://ow.ly/BCFV9]

    2) Repin this post on Pinterest

    Do BOTH for an extra entry! I’ll draw a winner at random on Wednesday, October 1 at 4 pm. Good luck to all entrants! NOTE: Winner must reside in Canada.

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  • Sep19

    Farmhand Ale
    [Driftwood Brewery's Farmhand Ale]

    This past summer was loaded with craft beer events, festivals, tours—even a beer-themed cruise around Vancouver! I was lucky to have experienced the fun, from Halifax to Vancouver. Here’s a roundup of some of my adventures. Cheers!

    Vancouver Craft Beer Week: Rare Brews and BBQ

    VCBW Rare Brews/Steamworks Brewery's Raspberry Frambozen
    [VCBW Rare Brews/Steamworks Brewery's Raspberry Frambozen]

    Darby’s hosted a capacity crowd above their Kitsilano pub and restaurant in early June, as part of the annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week. 10 craft beers were paired with hot and cold appetizers prepared by Darby’s Executive Chef AJ Jackson and team.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep19

    Nathan Barrett, Nicola Cavendish
    [Nathan Barrett, Nicola Cavendish]

    The Arts Club Theatre opened its 51st season this week with Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles. A finalist in last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this one-act, 95-minute play binds a 91-year old grandma with her 21-year old aloof, hippy grandson as he takes a breather at her Manhattan apartment following a cross-country bike trip.

    Billed as a dramatic comedy, 4000 Miles is the perfect vehicle for Nicola Cavendish, returning to the stage after a three-year hiatus. She plays Vera, a feisty, opinionated widow who lives in the comfort of a well-lived-in, 70’s era-furnished apartment with a view, her daily communication consisting of a phone call from a neighbour in the apartment across the hall.

    Nicola Cavendish

    Next to Nicola’s outstanding portrayal of a posture-challenged old lady, the generation gap is the play’s bold theme. While Nathan Barrett’s Leo hardly resembles a modern dude living in the 21st-century, he does know how to fire up a laptop and jack the neighbour’s wifi. Our Leo is more interested in the outdoors, spending money he doesn’t have on a climbing wall in the city, and daily visits to an urban garden.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep18

    Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens in Flashdance - The Musical
    [Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens in Flashdance - The Musical]

    Flashdance – The Musical, the stage adaptation of the 1983 hit film that defined a generation, will perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from November 11 to 16.

    With electrifying dance at its core, Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love—and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream.

    The original Paramount Pictures film was a worldwide smash hit that became a pop culture phenomenon, grossing over $150 million with a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack.
    Continue reading »

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  • Sep18

    VIFF Industry Conference banner

    The VIFF Industry Conference, the West coast’s premier screen-based media conference, takes place during the heart of the Vancouver International Film Festival. From October 1 to 4, experience four days of professional development, with a wide range of session topics—and over 50 panelists.

    This conference aims to include everyone, not just those in the film industry. TV, cinema, video game, social media, advertising, and animation fans will also enjoy and gain a lot of valuable insight from the conference.

    Martin Wood, Michelle MacLaren
    [L to R: Martin Wood, Michelle MacLaren]

    2014’s VIFF Industry Conference highlights include:
    Power to the Indie Day
    Back by popular demand, the Power to the Indie Program and Lab empowers filmmakers to explore and leverage new partners in direct distribution, marketing, and audience engagement in order to help them succeed in the competitive marketplace. The Digital Lab provides collaborative opportunities for selected filmmaking teams to explore and create individual, actionable strategies to assist in the crowd funding, marketing, release and distribution of their films.

    Totally Indie Day
    A VIFF Industry highlight for the past nine years, this day-long series of sessions is designed for (but not limited to) emerging writers, directors, and producers of film, television, and digital media. Join speakers such as Jay Duplass and Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter Nicole Perlman for panels and workshops on everything from TV directing to crowd funding to utilizing new technologies. The day will close with an Indie Day Mixer, the perfect chance to mingle with other delegates and guests following the sessions. Visit the Totally Indie Day site for details and speakers.

    Speed Dating session
    [Speed Dating]

    Telefilm Canada Tête-à-Tête and Speed Dating Meetings
    More meetings = more access. Established and emerging industry professionals are welcome to sign up for a limited number of one-on-one meetings with VIFF Industry’s acclaimed guest speakers and BC-based local production companies.

    All Kinds of Funny
    A comedy session featuring self-proclaimed motorcycle and cat enthusiast Adam Reed, co-creator of Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo, and creator of ARCHER

    Networking and Parties
    Industry delegates and Day Pass holders get access to a variety of networking events, including Industry Cocktail Hours, Women in Film and Television’s Moulin Madness, and Emerging Talent Day Reception.

    VIFF Industry also includes writers from some of the best-known episodic TV shows and blockbuster films in this year’s Genre Smash. Learn how writers successfully straddle genres, understand their audience, and how to create in-demand celebrated fiction!

    VIFF Breaking Bad event
    [Full house for 2013's special celebration of Breaking Bad]

    A few of many featured writers and panelists include:
    Adam Reed: Creator of ARCHER
    Craig Borten: Screenwriter, Dallas Buyers Club

    Nicole Perlman: Screenwriter, Guardians of the Galaxy

    Chris Collins: Executive Producer/Head Writer, Sons of Anarchy

    Simon Davis Barry: Creator of Continuum
    Corey May: Lead Writer, Assassin’s Creed
    Alex Marvar: Director of Marketing, VHX
    Matt Di Paola: Managing Director, Digital Innovations, Sid Lee
    Nicole Clemens: Senior VP Series Development, FX Networks

    Peter Gould
    [Peter Gould]

    All sessions will take place at the Rogers Industry Centre located in Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street. A full list of speakers can be found here.

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  • Sep17

    Dining at Araxi, Whistler

    Since opening its doors in 1981, Araxi Restaurant continues to be a well-loved destination on the Whistler fine dining scene, from Executive Chef James Walt’s farm-to-table seasonal offerings to a multiple award-winning wine list boasting over 1,000 labels.

    Dining at Araxi, Whistler

    The indoor/outdoor bar features prominently as we enter the restaurant on a late summer evening. Walk inside Araxi and you’ll notice the busy bar on one side and a marble-topped oyster bar on the other, with beautiful tiered seafood towers and platters being prepared amongst the oyster-shucking action.

    Dining at Araxi, Whistler

    Soft lighting, a modern interior, leather seating, and gorgeous floral displays lead to the windowed kitchen in the back. My eyes caught a peek at the pastry chef creating something sinful. On my way back to the patio, I noticed several signed magnums, predominantly BC’s Foxtrot Vineyards’ Pinot Noir, with a gorgeous label featuring a finely-detailed illustration of a bear and a young woman in front of the vineyard.

    Dining at Araxi, Whistler

    Chef Walt’s innovative menus have earned Araxi a reputation as one of Whistler’s top restaurants for 13 consecutive years. Wine Spectator has crowned the restaurant with its Best of Award on numerous occasions, and the Vancouver International Wine Festival awarded Wine Director Samantha Rahn Sommelier of the Year at last year’s annual Vancouver wine event.

    Additionally, Araxi was included in Maclean’s Top 50 Canadian Restaurants in 2012 and regularly attracts an international clientele.
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  • Sep16

    Whistler Village Beer Festival-Main Event-23

    Take four days in the mountains, craft beer, and lots of merriment, and you’ve just taken a peek into the past weekend at Whistler Blackcomb. The Second Annual Whistler Village Beer Festival got underway from September 11 to 14, with a gorgeous backdrop and lots of refreshment for all.

    Whistler Village Beer Festival-Main Event-24 Whistler Village Beer Festival-Main Event-7 Whistler Village Beer Festival-Main Event-16

    Over 60 Canadian, US, and European breweries were on hand for the Main Event, with a special Gatecrasher Entry at noon for 500 folks who wanted a head start and literally no queues.
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