; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Grey Cup Is Coming!

So I'm not a football fan or anything, but it is exciting for our city to have the Grey Cup event taking place this week. It's the Canadian equivalent to the US Superbowl. Playing in it will be our very own BC Lions! Let's hope they win, and should they not bring the cup home, then let's pray there won't be another riot this year! For some reason though, I think the hockey fans were more likely to foam at the mouth than these football fans. Hockey just seems to be more popular and attracts more of the wannabe fans who jump on the bandwagon and like to cause trouble when things don't go their way. But football fans seem to be a devoted group who have seen their team win and lose over the years, so are prepared for it.

Anyhow, there's lots of events taking place in the city, which is the best part of all. I will try to get out to some of them and definitely will be at one of the parties! I'm not a football fan, but I enjoy a good celebration! It's not everyday that the Grey Cup is hosted by your city, so why not enjoy it!?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Vancouver Sunset

Captured tonight at English Bay around 6:00pm. The days, they're getting shorter.

The New BC Place Roof

I finally got a chance to go check out the new BC Place roof, which they've been working on the past year or so. The other night, Iris and I headed out for a Whitecaps game (soccer) but really we just wanted to hang out and see each other. I also wanted to see the inside of the stadium and the new open-air roof. There's a fancy new HD jumbotron in the middle too, which had fantastic quality. Here are some photos!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Sondheim Show

I've never been a huge fan of Sondheim. Most times, I don't get it. I don't see the genius or brilliance. However, tonight Emily and I chose to go watch a local production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a musical comedy which we found out to our dismay was written by Sondheim.

Cut to us at the end of the evening, thoroughly going over the production and how much FUN we had at it! The songs were funny and the story was fun. It was silly over the top farce, for sure, but we had a fantastic time! Who knew!?

It's playing at the Jericho Arts Centre until Oct 23, so check it out! You can get tickets here.

Monday, 26 September 2011

YVR: Next To Normal, VIFF, and CBC LIVE Vancouver

So I did take a break from my Game of Thrones-a-thon and made it out to some live theatre on Sunday afternoon with Emily.

We hit up the Stanley to take in the local production of the modern musical Next To Normal.

This is the hard to swallow story about a woman having a nervous breakdown due to a family tragedy 18 years in the making. The music and story are all original, which is rare these days in the times of musicals based on movies. I saw the Broadway production of this with the one and only Aaron Tveit, as well as Tony award winner Alice Ripley. I have to say though, Vancouver does this proud. The production at the Stanley is probably the best show I've ever seen there. It only runs till Oct 9, so you best get your tickets fast!

I'm really busy with work these days, so it's amazing that I even got to go watch this musical on the weekend. I spent Saturday morning talking to a bunch of Future Shop employees about donations and how they can impact their community. Today I was at their head office for a big kick off party, tomorrow I'll be speaking to the folks at Canada Revenue, and then Wednesday I have to stand in front of a bunch of firefighters. GULP. But I am LOVING IT.

In addition, I'm also doing volunteer work for the Vancouver International Film Festival! It's always my favourite time of year, and with a volunteer pass in hand, it's even better! There are so many films I want to go see this year! I'll have to blog about them, if only for "outreach" and "publicity" purposes.

And this Friday, there will be a big event over at CBC Vancouver! It's the kick off to Cultural Days, and will feature tons of CBC celebrities and a live concert! Check out the schedule here!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Anything Goes!

Last night, Alexis, Emily, and I went to Stanley Park to watch Theatre Under the Stars' production of the musical Anything Goes (which is currently a revival on Broadway starring Sutton Foster!) If you've never been, it's a wonderful evening out, watching a live musical outside in the fresh air and beneath the night sky. How much more romantic can it get? There's food, you can bring a blanket, and the smell of flowers and freshly cut grass.

However, Theatre Under the Stars has a reputation for being...amateur? Sure, but still. It's a great opportunity for locals to get their feet wet in a musical (both watching and/or being in one). As for Anything Goes, I must admit, this is one of the better productions I've seen from Theatre Under The Stars! The singing was good, the dancing was fun, and it was just a light and enjoyable show.

Ok, I could've done without the racist Asian characters with the thick accents, but I guess considering this is an older musical, it just shows the time it comes from. I saw Thoroughly Modern Millie in New York and it had the same issue of Asians with bad accents.

Overall though, if you want to go to a musical and experience a good show at Theatre Under the Stars, then put on your sailor's outfit and set sail for Anything Goes!

It's no Sutton Foster, mind you!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Outgames are Here!

So the North American Outgames are in town this week!

I'm volunteering for them and it's been fun and chaotic and a great way to meet new people! I'll be volunteering all week, and it's Pride as well! So, definitely hoping to have a good week ahead!

Anyhow, happy Pride to everyone and enjoy the Outgames!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Teenage Dream

Oh to float around on a cotton candy cloud. That's what Katy Perry did last night at her last Canadian stop of her sold out California Dreams tour. I managed to snag tickets to the exclusive event after checking on Ticketmaster every single day until more tickets were released.

I loved that the entire show centered around her "kitty" and following her into a magical world full of candy and cupcakes. Her cover of Whitney's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was a high point, as were all of her hits. I wished she had saved Teenage Dream for later on in the show instead of opening with it, but it was still awesome to jump up and down screaming like a schoolgirl when it started.

"Have you guys ever been depressed? Some of you don't even know what that word even means. Oh to be nine again." She was very interactive with the audience, talking and making jokes. It was nice to see that she comes across as funny and quirky live as she does in her videos. Her sense of humour really shines through! She talked about going bowling in Vancouver, how she loves Canada because we spell "coloured" the right way, because there is colour in U!

From the moment we stepped into the stadium, we were greeted with folks selling cotton candy. How fun is that! She had several moments where she allowed audience members up on the stage, including one lucky guy who was only allowed up if he took his shirt off. He complied, got up there, and got a kiss from Katy and she even allowed him to return one. Very sweet!

And not to mention the entourage of fans she brought up to dance during I Wanna Dance With Somebody. She took one girl aside and asked if she wanted to take a photo together for her Facebook. Too cute!

And then there's her singing ability. I've seen her sing live on tv and it has SUCKED. So, I did not expect much. But she delivered! She sounded great last night!

It was a fun show, light and fluffy and perfect for the summer!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Martin Creed exhibit

This past weekend I visited the Rennie Collection, currently hosting an exhibit on British/Scottish artist Martin Creed. I was really excited about this show because it was one of his pieces that reached out to me one cold lonely night. Specifically, it was the piece "Work No. 560 - Everything is Going To Be Alright" which is on permanent display here in Vancouver on the outside of the Wing Sang building.

The first piece that you experience is a room full of pink balloons. It's titled "Half The Amount of Air in Any Given Space" and you literally have to walk through this room. I was basically screaming the entire way because I was TERRIFIED that one of the giant balloons was going to explode in my face. I have a major fear of balloons popping!!

I quite liked the second piece, named The Broccoli Prints, of which there were 1000.

broccoli prints by spinning_around

One of the most hilarious and unique things I've ever seen in an art gallery has to be this installment, titled The Runners. It features stone-faced sprinters running through the art gallery at 20 second intervals. When the tour guide was trying to tell us about a piece, it was hard to not break into laughter when suddenly a sprinter would round the perimeter of the room. We were told that The Runners represent life (if death = stillness, then life = fast motion). The artist also wanted to create art in motion, as the runners become a blur of colour.

sprinter1 by spinning_around

sprinter2 by spinning_around

There was also a film of people inducing vomiting, and a room full of metronomes going. I highly enjoyed and recommend this exhibit! It runs until October.

Friday, 6 May 2011

YVR: Got Craft - Sunday, May 8 !

If you're in Vancouver, check out the city's biggest indie craft fair, featuring local artists and designers, as well as some delicious treats from our friends at Bake Sale!

Got Craft takes place this Sunday, May 8 at the Royal Canadian Legion on Commercial Drive. The first 45 people in the door get a free swag bag filled to the brim with goodies from all of the vendors!! Doors open at 10am, so get there bright and early!! Plus, it's Mother's Day, so it's a great place to grab some gifts!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Strombo's Ode to Vancouver

This was the opening that George Stroumboulopoulos used for his Vancouver stint last week:

Monday, 11 April 2011

No Trespassing

I went to see the latest Morris Panych play The Trespassers at the Vancouver Playhouse last week.

It's the story about a teenage boy and his relationship with his grandfather and eventually his mysterious death. It was on the slow side, in my opinion, and I didn't find the story gripping. The play jumped back and forth in time, which sometimes works for me, but in this instance it just seemed messy and all over the place. There were no surprises, so nothing was keeping me on the edge of my seat. All in all, meah, a bit of a disappointment.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Bob Rennie Art Collection

This past weekend, I finally got to visit the Rennie Collection at the Wing Sang building in Chinatown! To get in, you have to book a time through the website but they only have certain timeslots available, most of which are during the workday. Finally they had a weekend opening, and I made the reservation.

The building is the oldest one in Chinatown, dating back to 1889 built for Chinese Canadian entrepreneur Yip Sang and his four wives. You can read more about it here. Once inside the building, we were greeted by a student from the Emily Carr art school, who proceeded to give us an hour long guided tour of the building and each piece of art on display.

The current exhibition features Amy Bessone and Thomas Houseago, individual artists in their own right, but also a married couple. Below are some pieces from Houseago, whose sculptures I found more interesting than Bessone's paintings. And of course there's the Martin Creed piece featured on the exterior of the building. Of note is an upcoming Martin Creed exhibit that will take place after this one closes down.

If you get a chance to visit the gallery, do so!

IMG_1022 by spinning_around

IMG_1023 by spinning_around

IMG_1024 by spinning_around

IMG_1026 by spinning_around

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

On Saturday night I was sitting at home, thinking, What am I going to do this evening? I didn't want to waste a Saturday just sitting at home doing nothing (which is fine if that's what you want to do, but I wasn't in the mood for that).

It was 6:45pm and I thought, I really want to go see this play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but it starts at 7:30, and I have no one to go with, and would I even make it in time? I'd heard about this play for many years, and just never knew anything about it. So, without even thinking twice, I dashed out the door and headed to Granville Island and made it in the nick of time to purchase a TICKET FOR ONE.

Yep, I went by myself! For some, it's no big deal. For others, it's the end of the universe. I have friends who can't fathom doing something like this. I've gone to movies and shows alone in the past. Heck, in New York, I went to a number of musicals on my own and thoroughly enjoyed myself. In fact, when my shrink tells me to "think of a happy place" (seriously, he does), the place that I pick in my mind is during my first trip to NYC when I was sitting in a theatre on Broadway, waiting for the show to begin, just by myself, surrounded by strangers, chatting with my neighbour every so often, and being absolutely HAPPY.

So, on Saturday night, I recreated that feeling just a tiny bit. It was no New York, but surprisingly, the acting was REALLY GOOD. As well, the play was interesting and well written and has absolutely NOTHING to do with Virginia Woolf!

I ran into my Grade 7 teacher yesterday at my favourite tea place during my lunch break. I always run into him actually, and we often converse. He too is gay and I remember when I was in Grade 7, Madonna's "Vogue" was a big hit on the radio. He knew I was a huge fan and came up to me and asked if I knew who all the hollywood stars were that she mentions in the song. The next day, he brought in a hardcover book full of old hollywood stars and he had bookmarked each one that's mentioned in the song for me to read up on. Anyhow, this play is his favourite of all time, he told me. Then he suggested I watch the Elizabeth Taylor movie version. Judging from these screenshots, I'm going to have to! How fabulous does this look?

Local theatre here can be hit or miss. I'd say this is a definite hit! If you've got time, I'd recommend checking out Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf! On now till March 12 at the Granville Island Stage.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

What I Learned at The Vancouver Art Gallery

Yesterday I headed down to the Vancouver Art Gallery on the first day of its new exhibit. It was also open free to the public to celebrate the one year anniversary of the 2010 Olympics, held here last year. There were other festivities going on around town too, like free ice skating at the Olympic Oval out in Richmond, a lantern festival downtown, and the pedestrian-only Granville Street where vendors set up and makeshift street hockey tournaments took place. Too bad it was pouring rain yesterday which probably kept people from coming out.

The art gallery interested me the most, so I lined up for about 20 minutes before getting inside. The first exhibit is titled WE: Vancouver 12 Manifestos for the City. On till May 1st, this exhibit highlights the talent and creativity that our city has to offer.

I learned about Laneway Housing, which are dwellings built in the space where a garage normally inhabits on a family lot, and faces onto the alleyway.

Then I was surprised to see on display photos of Vancouver's only cemetery, Mountain View, which I had walked through a few months ago when I went on a big walk for some exercise. I remember cutting through the cemetery because it was more peaceful and quiet than walking along the street with all the traffic and noise. Plus there were other people jogging through it and also taking in the serenity. I remember seeing the building in the middle of the cemetery that I could only assume was used for services and administration. It was a beautiful design and looked new, and I was shocked I had never seen it before.

Turns out that "Celebration Hall" as its called, is a product of a recent renovation and has won design awards from the city, hence its inclusion in the gallery's exhibit.

And I kinda liked this "Mycologic Chandelier" which is based on mushrooms and the way they grow.

I rounded a corner and read about Univercity Childcare, an initiative of Simon Fraser University that includes one of the most sustainable and environmentally conscious buildings in Canada. Here's a photo I snapped of one of their outdoor shelters that will be part of the centre's landscape:

There was also a model of what the new Visitors' Centre will look like at the Van Dusen Gardens:

And speaking of renovated buildings, our city is definitely going through lots of change as of late, and one of the biggest projects around is the redesign of BC Place, turning it into an open air stadium with a retractable roof. It will be ready for November of next year, when we host the Grey Cup. It's gone from being a puffy looking marshmallow:

to something akin to a crab/crown, spiking up the Vancouver downtown skyline:

Upstairs at the Vancouver Art Gallery is their other new exhibit that has just opened, a collection from Vancouver Asian-Canadian artist Ken Lum. I didn't know his work before, either. At least, I thought I didn't. If you're a Vancouverite and you've seen the famous East Van cross that lights up at night, then you've seen a Ken Lum piece.

I loved these couches that he created:

And I used to see this piece all over the place, but I never knew what it was. I didn't get it. But when you put it into the context of "art" and you see Lum's other accompanying pieces, it actually made me laugh and I quite enjoy it! It's Melly Shum!

And the last part of the exhibit that was really cool was Lum's "Mirorr Maze With 12 Signs of Depression." As you walk through this mirror maze, there are phrases imprinted on the mirror that are "signs of depression" and according to a psychology test, if you have 6 or more of these symptoms at a given time, then you're depressed!

After I was done at the Art Gallery, I headed off to meet up with Calvin where we both watched as the Olympic cauldron was lit to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games.

All in all, a perfect Saturday!!

Hope everyone else had a terrific weekend as well!