; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2010

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Robyn Knows How Much You Hurt

I have previously complained about the lack of energy and overall lameness/rudeness of audiences in Vancouver, but not last night. Last night at an intimate nightclub, packed with fans who were more than happy to be there, I attended the Robyn concert. And it was phenomenal. She came out and was super cute and super tiny and the entire room FREAKED OUT!!! And she proceeded to whip the crowd into a hot and heated FRENZY!

Three songs in, she brought out the big guns with Dancing On My Own. Someone managed to stand still and capture the moment, skip to the 2:20 mark for the magic to begin:

I wasn't the only one crying my eyes out when she closed off the main set with her hit With Every Heartbeat. She got the entire room, and I mean everybody, chanting at the end: "And it hurts with every heartbeat!" You tell 'em, Robyn!!

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She did all her best songs, including Hang With Me, Konichiwa Bitches, Be Mine (which I nearly lost my mind to!!!), her latest anthem Indestructible, Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do, We Dance To The Beat, Fembot, Cry When You Get Older, and even a mini ode to the supergroup of her home country - ABBA. She just did NOT STOP once! She kept things going like a machine, and there was no real downtime for anyone, least of all the enthusiastic crowd!

At one point, she took out a banana, peeled it and ate it. Then she threw the peel into the crowd, and guess who caught it?? ME!!!! I think she was having a really good time, because at the end of one song, she dove into the crowd for a bit of body surfing!!! As evidenced on her Twitter: "Vancouver!! You made me stage dive!"

She finished everything up with a stripped down version of her very first international hit when she was just a teeny bopper, Show Me Love. And that's exactly what we did.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Salmon Run in Chase, BC

This past weekend I went on a spur of the moment roadtrip up to Chase, BC, which is about 5 hours from Vancouver.

My coworker Tom and I stayed at a roadside motel that could have easily been called the Bates Motel a la Psycho. We snagged a snazzy room up on the 2nd floor.

Check out how remote it was.

The reason for all this? The Sockeye Salmon festival, of course.

Adams River is where the Sockeye Salmon come to spawn and then die, and every four years there's a big run, with this year being one of the biggest runs in history. So, we had to see it for ourselves!

The photos don't do it justice because it's so hard to capture an entire river that is teaming with salmon, trying to shove past each other in an effort to swim upstream. It was like a giant salmon traffic jam.

There were also plenty of dead fish everywhere too.

We found out that the reason they leave the dead fish laying about is that they get washed away back out into the Pacific Ocean and serve as food/nutrients/minerals. The smell was pretty bad, but completely bearable we thought.

This must have been the "couples only" section of the river because here, all the salmon were paired up.

A gorgeous weekend getaway and an experience of a lifetime!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Art Exhibit for Hoarders

The current exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, titled Waste Not, is by Chinese artist Song Dong, who has amassed a collection of artifacts from his mother over her lifetime. This collaborative effort between mother and son was a way for the two to grieve over the death of Song's father, but spoke to me on a number of levels.

Sure, there's the whole "hoarder" thing, which seems to be a common catchphrase these days that people apply to anyone who has a messy house. (Thanks a lot, A&E.) But maybe Song's mother was not a hoarder? She grew up in rural China, and from the stories my own mother tells me, everyone lived in poverty, so why wouldn't you want to hang on to every little item that you could? Maybe this exhibit is about the struggle of the poor in China? Or maybe it speaks to the notion of having more stuff = higher social status? It's all rather interesting.

The exhibit even incorporates parts of the house (walls, structure, beams) that the artifacts come from.

It was a pretty cool exhibit to see, but I was hoping it would be bigger than it already was. Perhaps when the Vancouver Art Gallery moves to its new location, they'll have more space to do bigger installations, etc. For now though, this is worth a visit!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Swarm 2010: Day One

Day One of Swarm took place yesterday in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Tonight, Swarm takes over the Downtown Eastside.

I wish I had more of an eye for art or at least could appreciate it more. I mean, I like art, but I don't think I could ever look at something like say, a group of television monitors displaying drops of blood, and get some sort of meaning from it.

One exhibit at the VIVO studios was pretty cool though - created by Paul Wong, it was an installation of black rubber gloves formed into the shape of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a commentary on the BP oil spill, and all the rubber gloves he had found.

Otherwise, there were a few exhibits I didn't quite get last night, including a projector screen that had a film reel of the beach playing on it. To each their own of course, and I'm not judging - I just didn't understand or get anything out of it for myself.

What I did enjoy however was our last stop, which seemed to be inside an old condemned house off of Main Street. Calling themselves the Gropp's Gallery, the house has been renovated and is now home to 7 artists (and counting), and we were allowed to wander from room to room to take in all the eclectic stylings of each of the individuals. (More Gropp's Gallery photos.) It was like being in a real life fun house! It was Wonderland gone mad. It was amazing.

I liked this unicorn painting that was on display in one room:

I discovered this setup inside a tiny beta fish aquarium tank:

Killer shoes:

My favourite of the night, this bunny skin rug:

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Swarm 2010!

It's that lovely time of year again! My favourite season, Autumn, is just ready to begin and what better way to kick it off than with the annual SWARM, a two-night art gallery hop around town!

It begins tonight, in the Mount Pleasant area, and tomorrow night moves into the Downtown Eastside. Ready to go see some art!?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Cyndi Lauper had a Change of Heart

Last Friday I went to the PNE fair to see the free Cyndi Lauper concert in the park. It was jam packed with people because it was the beginning of Labour Day weekend and also because it was a FREE CYNDI LAUPER CONCERT!

She focussed mainly on her new material from her latest album, Memphis Blues, which drove people away to get a corn dog or cotton candy, which was fine by me because I started out in the back of the crowd but was up mid-way to the stage by the time the non-fans left the area.

So there we were, enjoying the show, and she comes back for her encore to do her oldies. She begins with Change of Heart, but halfway through the song, she calls a stop to everything! She goes on a semi-tirade about "all you people with your cameras and your frickin' YouTube" and tells them that she's RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, and to look at her, and not through a camera and do you want to live your life looking through a camera or do you want to actually LIVE IT? Go CYNDI!! The crowd completely cheered her on!!

I know, it's a new time that we are living in. I remember the days when you went to a concert and cameras were taken away from you if you dared bring one in. These days, we've got our iPhones and digital cameras and Blackberries and all sorts of gadgets to capture the moment. But in capturing the moment, aren't we also missing out on the moment?

Here's a clip of Cyndi going off about this! (Thank God someone got this on film! lol)

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Life In the Theatre

Last week, I went to see the David Mamet play A Life in the Theatre currently showing at the Vancouver Playhouse's Recital Hall.

David Mamet has been hit and miss for me. The first play I ever saw of his was Oleanna and it was downright brilliant. If you ever get a chance to see Oleanna, DO SO.

Then I went to New York and saw the revival of Speed The Plow, and it was pretty painful to sit through. Recently, I saw Glengarry Glen Ross and it was pretty good. So when I heard another Mamet play was being produced in town, I thought, Should I?

And I'm glad I did. A Life in the Theatre captures snapshots of two actors as they go on and off the stage throughout their careers. The Vancouver Playhouse's decision to show this in their rarely used Recital Hall space was the best choice ever. For one, this space used to be used for plays and recitals back in the 70s. Check out the "lounge" area, it's like stepping back into the past, I loved it so much!

The thought that we were in the basement of the Playhouse gave me goosebumps. It was exciting to think that we have this new/old unused space in the city and finally it gets to see the light of day! Putting a play like this on is fitting, because it's all about being backstage and within the guts of the theatre, both physically and mentally. The Recital Hall is the perfect setting for this.

A Life in the Theatre is only $12, as well. The acting is professional and probably worth more than $12. Therefore, this show is a valuable steal. It runs till Sept 12. Go see it immediately!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Glengarry Glen Ross

David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross is currently playing at the Stanley Theatre starring Eric McCormack.

Emily and I went with trepidation. This is because we both saw another Mamet play in New York together - Speed The Plow. And we were not amused. It was a painful play to sit through and we wanted out!!

However, I had seen Mamet's Oleanna years ago and loved it, so I did have some hope. Plus, having a big name like Eric McCormack at the Stanley Theatre was a big deal too.

We were not disappointed. I mean, it started off a bit slow and confusing, but the second act, things got going and it was far better than Speed The Plow and so we chalked it up as a hit!

Vancouver definitely needs more theatre like this -> plays that are not put on all the time, and a celebrity to draw people out of their homes and away from their TVs.

Glengarry Glen Ross runs at the Stanley until August 22nd.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

West Coast Weekend

Living in Vancouver, everyone gushes over the natural beauty and all the outdoorsy stuff one can do. Sadly, I'm not an outdoorsy kind of person so nature's wonderland is somewhat wasted on me. But, I'm trying to get out there more. On Friday, I had the day off, and I joined Iris and her dog Odie on a mini-hike through the trails of the Pacific Spirit Park on the endowment lands at UBC.

It lead us to the sands of Spanish Banks, where Odie got to play along the dog beach.

The tide was in, so people waded out to what looked like the middle of the water. Can you see those people standing way out there in the water? It looks like they're walking along the surface!

A gorgeous afternoon, that I hope to replicate sooner than later.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Jane's Walk

Here's something that might interest you if you've got nothing else to do this weekend. Jane's Walk is a cross-country event, where you join up with a group of people to take a walk in specific neighbourhoods in your city and discover hidden secrets you might not otherwise have known.

It takes place this weekend all across Canada, so take a gander at the Jane's Walk website and sign up for a walk or two!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Olympics Have Left the Building

Here's a moving montage tribute done by a Globe and Mail columnist about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Olympics 2010: Memories

Today the streets are bare. The flame has been snuffed out, the line up at Japadog has dwindled to a few, the houses and pavilions are being broken down, and there are only a smattering of Canada hoodies and jackets to be seen now.

Just this past weekend, I was in attendance at the Figure Skating Exhibition Gala, ringing my cowbell and cheering on Joannie Rochette and Virtue and Moir. The Ex got last minute tickets courtesy of his boss and so we went. It was a fun and emotional show, especially when Joannie came onto the ice and skated for her mother and the entire stadium stood up to give her a standing ovation.

Then yesterday's hockey game. I started off at Jill's sister's drinking Pims and eating sandwiches and then left by the second period to get downtown, where I met up with Darren and his friend, and we made our way into LiveCity Yaletown to watch the rest of the game on the big screen. Of course we had it in the bag, right up until the 24 seconds that were left in the third period. Me watching and talking about hockey? Who knew? The Olympics really do bring the people together!

The cheering and the madness that went on after was incomparable. National anthems breaking out on every corner, cars honking, people cheering, it was a nuthouse, but in a good way.

I had to dash over to BC Place to make it to the Closing Ceremonies, and was thrilled when I got there to find on my seat my audience participation kit, which included a poncho, a Sochi snowglobe, and moose antlers with a flashing red light. Did you see the show? I thought it was more fun than the opening ceremonies, because it was more of a party atmosphere and less about trying to impress the world. Loved the "Made in Canada" part, and not just because my friend Alexis was one of the Mountiettes in it. It was kitschy Canadiana and I loved that!

Today of course, it's hard to believe that our city was swept up in all of that for the past two weeks. Hopefully, if you're here, you got a chance to go be part of it, however big or small.

There's still a line up at the Bay however, for those smart shoppers looking for a post-Olympics deal.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Another Olympic Day in Vancouver

It's amazing how much there is to do in the city right now. A day has not gone by where I haven't found something to do. And people are partying hard, which means everyone around me are getting sick and catching colds from weakened immune systems. I too had the sniffles earlier in the week, but I think I've managed to recover.

Whether you're lining up in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to get one of the Omega snowflake pins, lining up at the Royal Canadian Mint to trade in your quarters for the special Olympic coins, or lining up for 7+ hours for a 20 second ride on the free zipline above Robson Street, the common theme here is LINING UP!!

Oh but it's really not that bad. I mean, we've been getting great weather for the most part, Canada's women's hockey team won gold today, and Joannie Rochette skated a great performance for her mom and earned a bronze to boot! Did you watch her the other night and tonight? Did you break down and sob like I did?

Today I ran into a couple of old friends of mine. Ann, Al, Natalie, and Meredith, namely.

It was by my work, and I was out for a meeting when they walked past me near the Olympic cauldron. Since I was high from drinking a cup of coffee, I of course began screaming Hi to each of them, and they each looked when I called their name and waved back! Very fun! Sadly, Matt Lauer was NOT there. Oh well, it has been fun having them in our city and watching their little segments that they have been doing about Vancouver on the Today show.

In the afternoon, I took a photo with a few Canadian Olympians - Mellisa Hollingsworth from the Skeleton, Mercedes Nichol from the Snowboard Half-Pipe, and Janine Hanson who was in Rowing from the Beijing summer Olympics.

Tried to check out Ukranian House tonight, but because they suffered a kitchen fire, there was no food to be had.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Do I go to the Bay to try to hunt down one of those coveted Canada hoodies that people are desperate to get? Or maybe finally head into Yaletown to see what's going on down in the LiveCity venue down there? I had set out to see two free concerts - Sam Roberts Band and Our Lady Peace - and will be walking away without having gone to either. I just get so tired by the end of the day, after work, after lining up for hours, that the thought of more standing in a giant crowd of people in chilly weather just isn't that appealing.

But now that things are winding up, I may have to suck it up and just get out there and take it all in before our city goes back to normal in a few days....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Olympics 2010: I Got My Tourtiere!

Screw you, Maison de Quebec! Who needs you, when I could go down to Place de la Francophonie down at Granville Island and order a Tourtiere AND a poutine any time I want it!! In fact, I've already done it TWICE this week, so THERE! Take THAT!

And boy was it scrumptious. The meat was perfectly spiced. The poutine had these thick wedged fries that were a meal all their own. I had one lady come by and ask me just what the heck was on my fries, and I had to explain that the little white bits were cheese curds and the brown sauce was not vinegar but in fact, gravy. She was perplexed and I explained the wonders of poutine to her, and she immediately went and ordered herself one to try. Isn't it amazing that people outside of Canada have never had a poutine?

Anyhow, Granville Island's French Quarter / Place de la Francophonie is a wonderful spot to get some Quebecois food! As long as you're not there during a hockey game, the tables and seats are plentiful, and the waitresses are tres friendly!

Olympics 2010: Russia House

On Saturday, I braved the line-up at Russia House and ended up waiting 2 hours to get inside. Not bad. It was a bright sunny day and the line was moving along, since the capacity at Russia House is 700. For those not clued in, Russia House is down at Science World, taking over the sphere for the run of the Olympics. It's a big draw since the next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.

For anyone who has not visited Russia House yet, here's a little tip: People with strollers or senior citizens get to walk right in without having to line up!! (or maybe a shorter line, at the very least.) Luckily, we had some fine Russian entertainment out front while we waited in line and watched all the strollers pass us by.

Inside, we saw a model of the Russian Olympic site, photos of Sochi, Russian performances, Russian films, and another torch photo opp! This time, with the Vancouver torch AND the Beijing torch, woo hoo!!

Russia House is open daily from 12 - 5.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Last night I attended a live taping of CBC Radio's Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein. I love this show and it was such a thrill to be able to go to a live taping of it!

If you're not listening to Wiretap, what ARE you listening to?!

Next week I go to a taping of CBC's The Debaters which should be even more amazing!! Can't wait!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Yahoo!

It's all about the freebies. At Casa Italia (the Italian House) yesterday on my lunch break, I snagged a free cheese grater, a free tote bag, and a bar of Kinder chocolate!

Then last night The Ex and I visited Yahoo! House, which is the headquarters for figure skater Elvis Stojko, who is writing Olympics coverage for Yahoo. It's a pretty fun pavilion, because you get a free pin, free hot chocolate, and free heat packs (not that we need it in this glorious glorious weather we're getting!)

There were also TVs and big screens all over where you can watch the live events. We were there to witness Sidney Crosby's winning shot in the Canada vs Switzerland hockey game last night. It's the eye of the storm though, because the stadium is mere blocks away which meant we needed to hightail it out of there before the mass exodus took place out onto the streets.

But not before taking some silly photos for Yahoo! who have stations set up for folks to come in and do their poses. They then give you two free hard copies of your photos, as well as upload them up onto Flickr. Check out the Yahoo Fancouver photos here!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Canada House

There was a big stink over the building of Canada House because the architect was American and the design of it was uninspired and borderline fugly.

However, you can't judge a book by its cover. Canada House was pretty fun, I must say! I mean, I got take another photo with the RCMP fellas!! So how can I complain?

There's a lot of interactive things to do like this snowboarding game that I was totally HORRIBLE at! You can also take a pic with the Olympic torch, which of course I had to do again. The ParaOlympic Torch is also there. Yesterday, the Stanley Cup was in attendance for fans to revel at.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Olympics 2010: The Bell Ice Cube

Not only are provinces and countries putting up pavilions and houses, but so are some corporate sponsors! I ducked into the Bell Ice Cube the other evening during the Victory Ceremonies, and inside we were greeted with a set of free earphones and our very own cow bell!! Everyone inside was of course glued to the big screen watching as Alex Bilodeau received his gold medal on home soil!

The New Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel

Built just in time for the Olympics is the new Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, located right on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver. It's a beautiful hotel, inside and outside. They have a restaurant called Oru that I can't wait to try, and they also have a more casual cafe/eatery for the lunching crowds, called Giovane, which will be the perfect place for me to go hang out on my break after I tire of going to my tea shop Muzi.

Here are some photos of the new hotel!

Olympics 2010: The Cauldron

On Monday I went to visit the Olympic cauldron, which is less than a block away from my work. Here it is!! Of course it was all barricaded behind a gate, which has caused a huge ruckus amongst locals and tourists alike, criticizing VANOC for not thinking that people would flock to this attraction to take a nice picture with it. After the outcry, they have dismantled the barricade and put up a smaller one instead, apparently.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Canada Code and CBC

There is an overwhelming amount of things to do in the city right now, which is awesome!

One of those things is the Canada Code program, which includes three venues for art to be on display: The Great Northern Way Campus, Emily Carr on Granville Island, and the Vancouver Central Library.

There are also tons of free live broadcasts taking place over at the CBC Vancouver headquarters. In fact, I'm heading to a taping of The Debaters next Tuesday and can barely wait!!!

I've heard they have CBC trader pins available at some of their meet and greet events - I totally want to go and meet Wiretap's Jonathan Goldstein this weekend, and maybe catch a performance by Canadian band Stars on Thursday night!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Heineken House

Today I heard someone say, "Might as well see everything while you can!"

Good attitude!

Which is why I'm proud of myself for saying YES to going out late last night to the Holland Heineken House located at the Richmond O-Zone. I went with my Ex and his boss and his boss' girlfriend. The boss paid for everything - from the cab ride from downtown Vancouver to Richmond (and back) to the entrance fee and to the beer inside.

Inside was a MASSIVE party going on, and they were all especially happy because earlier that evening the Netherlands won a Gold medal in the men's speed skating! Needless to say, it was very very celebratory! They had a cover band doing songs by request from the audience (who had to go up to a telephone and call it in to the singer on the stage). Some songs and requests were in Dutch, but it didn't matter because everyone was having an amazingly great time!

I tried out some of the food they had there, including some deep fried mashed potato and meat mix that they sandwiched into a hot dog bun. The people working there were partying it up too. I took a photo of these workers who posed for me and then got caught dancing behind the counter!