; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: March 2012

Friday, 30 March 2012

Weekend Tips

CTV Open House

Have you always wondered what it'd be like to work at a news station? On Saturday, March 31, you can tour the CTV studios downtown and meet on-air personalities! The CTV Open House takes place 10am to 3pm at 750 Burrard Street, downtown Vancouver. There will also be kids' face-painting, balloon creations, and a chance to take a picture with you sitting behind the CTV News anchor desk. Fun for the whole family!

Earth Hour

Here's a fun thing you can do on Saturday without even having to leave home! Celebrate Earth Hour! Why not light some candles? Have a moonlit dinner? Switch off unnecessary lights and electricity from 830pm - 9:30pm on Saturday, March 31. If you want some ideas, here are 10 Fun Things you can do during Earth Hour!

The Voyage

Go check out Boca Del Lupo's production, The Voyage, which I blogged about yesterday. See the blog entry below this!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fantastic Voyage

Boca Del Lupo continues their Micro Performance Series with a stunning show called The Voyage. Set in the darkness of a shipping container, this "20-minute sonic journey" into human trafficking is poignant, sad, scary, creative, and harrowing.

I don't want to ruin anything by telling you more about this piece, since it is short, and since part of the experience is not knowing what to expect. Enveloped in pitch black, I couldn't even see my own hand in front of my face. Imagine being in that for - how long does it take to cross the Pacific Ocean? Yeah. Exactly.

It made me think about how families and children were crammed into those things, hoping for a better life on the other side. It made me wonder, where the hell did they go to the washroom? Yeah. Exactly. And food? Water? How could anyone survive in that? The mysterious sounds going on outside. The constant silence because you don't want to be discovered and deported. How long would you have to wait for the people who brought you here to come and fetch you? And is the promise of a better life kept? Who are these people who risk their lives only to get tricked into such a long and arduous plight and then wind up in orange jumpsuits in prison? Who and what did they leave behind in order to become human cargo?

This is probably one of the most important pieces of theatre you will witness this year. Brilliant, amazing, and thought-provoking, the masterminds behind Boca have done it again and invite you along on this voyage of your own imagination, fed by a cacophony of sounds that form a warped human trafficking symphony of horror and sadness.

The Voyage plays at The Anderson Street Space (1405 Anderson St) on Granville Island now until Saturday (3 shows nightly, and 1 Saturday matinee). Tickets are $10.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Etch Your Sketchoff

It's the 13th annual Etch Your Sketchoff competition presented by the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre group. Held this Thursday and Friday, at the Roundhouse Community Centre, this yearly event brings together groups of hilarious individuals competing against one another with Saturday Night Live-esque sketches. Vote for the funniest in the People's Choys Award! I've been to several of these and like most sketch comedy shows, there are hits and there are misses, but overall it's a wonderful night of humour!

Tickets: $18 in advance online, $23 at door (cash only at door)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Canstruction 2012!

The annual design competition that raises food for the Food Bank is back! Canstruction Vancouver 2012 began this week and is on until April 4! The sculptures that have been built can be seen downtown at 4 different locations. I visited the HSBC Pendulum Gallery (Georgia St and Hornby) today at lunch and snapped a few shots. You can also stop by the Four Seasons Hotel, the FortisBC Building (1075 W. Georgia) and the Fluor building (1111 W. Georgia to see the rest!

All venues are free and you can even vote in the People's Choice Award and win a prize for yourself!

Help feed the hungry and donate to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Chinese Canadian Military Museum

This past weekend I took a trip down to 555 Columbia Street for some Chinatown realness!

The plan was to visit the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, which is housed on the second floor of the Chinese Cultural Centre.

Also there right now is a photo journalism exhibit from Ming Pao newspaper, which ends on March 31st, so hurry down if you don't want to miss it!

Next to it is the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, which is open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 5pm. Admission is only $5 and what you get to see is a "wide range of photographs, documents, and artifacts which help tell the story of Chinese-Canadian soldiers in both world wars, and in conflicts since then."

Imagine a world without Internet or instant access to information, and receiving a telegraph or letter telling you that your child has gone missing from a world war.

It's a small museum, so you'll be done in an hour's time at the most. So why not make it a Chinatown day, and grab an apple tart over at New Town Bakery? Or go for lunch at the historic Foo's Ho Ho (the oldest Chinese restaurant in Chinatown). Then maybe take a stroll through the world renowned Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Or perhaps just stroll the streets and browse the shops for all that Chinatown has to offer!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Weekend Tips

Game of Thrones Marathon

Okay, who is calling in sick to work and heading over to the Vancity VIFF theatre to catch the marathon of Season 1 of HBO's Game of Thrones? Starts at 8am on Friday morning!! FREE!

Wide Angle Media Festival

This week marks the first "disability media festival in Vancouver featuring commissioned shorts, feature length films and workshops." Presented by Kickstart, the Wide Angle Media Festival is BC's first disability film festival, scheduled for March 22-25, 2012. For more information, visit the Wide Angle Media site!

L'Orchestre d'Hommes-Orchestres Performs Tom Waits

Armed with the colourful repertoire of uncategorizable American music icon Tom Waits, Quebec City’s L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres offer an event that is more of a carnival show or musical circus than just a concert. This bustling orchestra performs the music of Tom Waits using nearly 100 objects and invented instruments on stage.

Presented with Capilano University, L'Orchestre performs at The Cultch (click for tickets!) until Saturday, March 24.

Spinning You Home

Opening tonight at the Havana Theatre is Spinning You Home, a Tightrope Production written and directed by Canada Peace Play Prize winner Sally Stubbs.

I love going to the Havana Theatre. The space always makes me feel like I'm being transported to somewhere off-off Broadway. With the sad news that our city will be losing the Vancouver Playhouse, it's so important now more than ever to go out there and support local theatre. With shows like Spinning You Home, that should not be hard to do.

Susan Coodin stars as Sarah young and old, an exuberant little girl trying to get her grandfather's attention and later, a spitfire teenager who drinks his rum and is desperate to maintain the friendship the two share over miles and waterways.

Glen Pinchin balances out the other half of this dynamic duo as the gentle and occasionally drunk grandfather whose stories of family history become the bond for these two in the present. He's bellowing and booming in one instant, then shaking and fragile in the next. Sarah cowers when he is stern, and aches to care for him when he shows his vulnerability.

With poetic pose, Stubbs' play is pure Canadiana. Based on her own family's history and involvement in the days of Canada's Gold Rush, we are whisked away to an era that should be remembered and celebrated as part of our country's identity and past. Spinning You Home is the perfect love letter to a time gone by, and moreso, emphasizes the importance of history and keeping it alive. Stubbs has done just that with this excellent addition to Canada's literary canon of memory.

Ambitious and noteworthy, Spinning You Home plays at the Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) March 22-24 & 27-31. Tickets available through Tickets Tonight. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

If You Can Play, You Can Play

It's nice to see the Canucks are helping out with the If You Can Play, You Can Play campaign, which shows support for gay players in the NHL.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition

The Vancouver Motorcycle Show is long over now but if you've still got a hankering, why not check out some classic bikes over at the Deeley Motrocycle Exhibition, located at 1875 Boundary Road.

If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, then this is a MUST SEE for you, especially if you are a visitor and needing something other than an art gallery or a snowboarding lesson.

This is "the largest privately-owned motorcycle collection in Canada" featuring over 250 motorcycles from more than 50 manufacturers. The current exhibit is called "Made in America."

Here is just a taste of what you might see there. These photos were taken during a visit last summer when my friend Iain and I went to check out the show!

The Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition is open Monday to Friday 10:00 am – 5:00pm, Saturdays 9:30am – 4:30pm, and Sundays 11:00am – 4:30pm.

Admission is by Donation

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Postcards: Burrard Street Bridge

More from YVR-51 and his "Bridge" series...

Here are some wonderful shots of the Burrard Street Bridge!

(Click to enlarge photo)

photos taken with a Canon G11

Have some photos of Vancouver to share? Feel free to send them in!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Victoria Drive

I wanted to blog about this neighbourhood in Vancouver because I grew up around here and it's neat to see how much it's changed over the years. I also wanted to spotlight it for locals who don't get over to this side of town much and to say, hey it's worth a visit! For tourists, you probably have other sights to go and see, but if you like to travel and visit little pockets of the city, here's one in Vancouver you may want to seek out.

Someone once told me that he liked neighbourhoods that organically and naturally became a unique area, as opposed to places that are forced upon the public through gentrification and city laws.

I think Victoria Drive is slowly and organically finding its own. Back in the day, I remember growing up with my Portuguese neighbours, who would brew moonshine in their backyard and bring home carcasses of venison that they'd gotten from hunting trips. The area had Portuguese, Italian and Chinese stores throughout. Some are still there, but the Asian influence is definitely a lot more these days.

On a cloudy Sunday morning, I took a walk, took some photos, and thought I'd share some fun places for you to check out in the hood. There's a lot of restaurants, even though I didn't want to turn this into a food blog, but it just goes to show that there's an eclectic selection of cuisine over here that may or may not surprise you!

For instance, there's a lot of Vietnamese places you can pop into for a quick Vietnamese sub, or perhaps a steaming bowl of pho.

Recently relocated to V-Drive, is the Vietnamese vegetarian spot, Chau Veggie Express (transplanted and reworked here from Robson Street's Chau Kitchen & Bar, if you can believe it!)

Victoria Drive also has its usual amenities that you'd be looking for: laundry mats, drug stores (including the big London Drugs on 41st), Starbucks, medical clinics, etc.

One of the many staples of this corridor has to be all the delicious Chinese bakeries that spring up every other step!

If "dan tats" and BBQ buns aren't your thing, maybe you want to check out the Italian bakery Calabria? Or the institution that is Bon Bon's? (Apparently, they do male/female anatomy b-day cakes if you so please!)

Getting to Victoria Drive can be KIND OF a pain. Only because the traffic is a bit of a bottleneck. I guess that's what happens when you put a crosswalk or a stoplight on every other block! However, if you do drive there, parking is pretty plentiful and free. If you're bussing it, your best bet is to take the #20, which is NOT for the faint of heart. Alternately, you can take the 41st or 49th busses as well. Skytrain stations that you can bus from include Joyce, Broadway, Cambie, and 29th Avenue (if you take the 33rd Street bus).

If you decide to take the Kingsway route, that could be a good starting point for a visit to Victoria Drive. Anything below Kingsway is pretty much Commercial Drive territory. The intersection of Kingsway and Victoria have a few gems of its own. Technically located on Kingsway proper, there's The Tipper Restaurant & Review Room, a few Indian places, some hot Shanghainese spots, and Green Lettuce which serves up Indian style Chinese food for the indecisive.

If you rather something more European, there's always schnitzel and beer over at the Vancouver Alpen Club.

There are diners, butcher shops, Halal Meat shops, and fruit stands aplenty.

You can't talk about Victoria Drive without talking about all the little hole-in-the-wall dim sum places, which fill up on weekend mornings with lineups spilling out onto the sidewalk. Here a few that I snapped photos of:

There's Golden Swan restaurant, which has been around since I can remember.

Kalvin's Restaurant serves Taiwanese, Szechuan and Hakka, while Angkor specializes in Cambodian. Meanwhile, Sweet Chili zeroes in on Thai and Indonesian cuisine. Fatty Cow has hot pot for those who like to work for their food!

In recent years, the street has seen an increase in Mexican eateries, including the wildly popular relocated Dona Cata.

Even though I've blogged mainly about restaurants, there is more to do here than just eat!

I remember growing up here and going past the building that everyone called the "abortion clinic" because people knew abortions were performed there. I still recall the protestors standing on the corner on the weekends, with their signs trying to get drivers to honk for support. The clinic is now gone, and replaced by an art studio.

You could go get a tattoo at one of the parlours that have opened up, like LD Tattoo or 40 Days 40 Nights. Or maybe you want to join in a game of soccer at the local park?

Feel like treasure hunting? I often like to check out the SPCA thrift store or Value Village for amazing finds. If you visit the SPCA thrift store, you may want to bring some treats for their resident kitty cats! Here's one who came to say hello when I popped in.

And every Thursday night there's BINGO to be played!

Victoria Drive is waiting for you!!