; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: January 2013

Thursday, 31 January 2013

I, Malvolio at the Cultch

Tim Crouch isn't mad, but he will get his revenge on you. In this one hour rapid-fire one-man court jester show, Crouch takes on the character of Shakespeare's Malvolio from the insane play, Twelth Night. I studied (and performed in an adaptation) of this play for a Shakespeare class up at UBC, so I was somewhat familiar with the story. You don't really need to be well-versed but I would recommend a quick glance at the Wikipedia entry just to familiarize yourself.

Otherwise, you'll get the entire sordid story told to you by Malvolio, who is locked up for being insane. His description of the story comes out as completely ludicrous, but if you do know the story of Twelth Night, you'll know that everything he describes is accurate.

Now I wasn't expecting to be on stage again, as I had hung up my Twelth Night stockings back in my university days. However, last night I was dragged into the spotlight to help Mr Crouch put on his shoes. Yes, you heard me. It was rather unsettling too, as I had to crouch before Crouch, offer him his shoes and help him get into them while he yelled instructions at me - in front of the entire audience.

I wasn't the only "victim" of his act, as he pulled several other unsuspecting audience members out of their seats and onto the stage. Got a chocolate bar to unwrap? Best do it before the show begins otherwise you'll be mocked mercilessly. And don't even bother trying to show up late. He breaks down that fourth wall and invites the audience in to experience theatre at uncomfortable levels, all the while entertaining and making pointed observations about life, theatre, and society.

I, Malvolio is part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and is on at The Cultch now until February 10.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Photog by Boca Del Lupo

The PuSh Festival comes to a close this week, and I was fortunate enough to catch one of my favourite theatre companies in town, Boca Del Lupo, and their performance of Photog.

The show centers around a photojournalist and his time spent around the world capturing images of war, suffering, and heartache. I saw a similar play a few years back called Time Stood Still, and it told the story of  a photojournalist and how she chose her work over her own life, thus affecting the relationships she had back at home.

In Photog, we get a first person perspective on what it might be like to be in the midst of warfare and chaos. Can you even begin to imagine being in these scenarios and these parts of the world, your only weapon your camera? Life through a lens is what we soon discover this world to be like.

On a technical level, the show is astonishing - featuring mixed media and acrobatics, which Boca Del Lupo has come to be known for. Their physical theatre meets social consciousness makes this another world class production from Vancouver's very own Boca Del Lupo.

If you missed Photog at PuSh, you can catch it at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts from January 30 - February 2.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Leave of Absence - Pacific Theatre

I'm having mixed feelings about Leave of Absence, the latest production currently showing at Pacific Theatre. Perhaps that's a good thing? That this play is making me think and react?

The story features a young girl who is struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, while at the same time having to deal with being bullied (by classmates and their parents) for being gay. She confides in the school's priest, and has support from her single mother, who is having issues of her own - dealing with an old flame, who turns out to be the father of her child.

Definitely a lot going on here, and at times I felt like I was being hit over the head with a sledgehammer with the messages that the playwright was earnestly trying to get across. I find it brave for Pacific Theatre to be putting on shows like this, because it does question religion and the church and deals with relatively taboo subjects. Not to mention that they are taking on new and original work, adding to the city's variety of choices and canon of theatre.

Leave of Absence runs until February 16 at the Pacific Theatre. Buy your tickets online.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Acceptance Vancouver Giants Hockey anti-bullying flash mob

My niece was one of the choreographers behind this awesome anti-bullying flash mob that took place last weekend at a Vancouver Giants hockey game. Yay! Way to go everyone!! Even the Vancouver Giants got into it with pink ties and pink laces on their skates!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

To celebrate that and the coming Chinese New Year, the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner takes place this weekend at Floata restaurant in Chinatown!
(Sunday January 27, 5pm!)

Who's heading down for some dumplings and haggis?!? Buy your tickets online!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Top 5 Film Festivals in Vancouver

With all the TV shows and movies that film up here in Hollywood North, it’s no wonder that Vancouver is home to several film festivals. Sure the Toronto International Film Fest lures in all the big celebrities, but that’s not what Vancouver is about, is it? Here it’s more of an audience affair, celebrating the city’s diversity through international film and programming. With all the diverse communities in Vancouver, it’s no wonder there are so many fun film fests to attend but for the sake of being succinct, here’s a Top 5 for you to explore!

1. Vancouver International Film Festival

Hands down the biggest film fest that Vancouver has to offer is the annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). It’s gotten so big, it’s had to build its own theatre to show fun/obscure/international films all year round. Getting tickets or passes to this is a walk in the park compared to my friends in Toronto, who have to fight through a lottery system and pick out movies sight unseen for their glitzy gala. VIFF is here for the people, and in true Canadian fashion, will do what it takes to make sure the audience gets to see the films that they want. Each year brings a wonderful mix of films from all over the world, as well as showcasing homegrown movies from Canada. Themes that have been consistent over the years include the environment, queer cinema, the arts, and most notably, a fine selection of Asian films in the renowned Dragons and Tigers series.  What better way to kick off autumn every year in Vancouver than with VIFF?

2. Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Just when all the Pride festivities have faded away and you’ve finally gotten that last bit of glitter out of your hair, Vancouver’s summer continues its glbtq celebrations with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, held every August and bringing to town some of the most innovative and sometimes shocking in the world of Queer Cinema. Yes, it’s true that VIFF also features a selection of queer films, but the VQFF hones in on local filmmakers and helps introduce their work to the masses alongside other queer films from around the world. As the second largest film fest in Vancouver, VQFF brings together folks from all colors of the rainbow, with great movies, awesome parties, guest speakers, and volunteer opportunities where you just might meet that special someone!

3. DOXA Documentary Film Festival

I know whenever I go to a film festival, some of the most intriguing and compelling films I am lucky enough to witness are documentaries that tell true stories of real life people and events. So why not have an entire film fest dedicated to just that? The DOXA Documentary Film Festival was incorporated in 1998 and has been satisfying the thirst of documentary buffs in Vancouver ever since! The festival is “comprised of public screenings, panel discussions, public forums and educational programs.”

4. Vancouver Asian Film Festival

Because Vancouver has a large Asian population, it would be remiss to not include the Vancouver Asian Film Festival here on the Top 5. With so many Asian Canadians caught between two cultures, this festival provides the perfect platform for them to express themselves through film. Perhaps what’s most inspiring about VAFF is their commitment to community, as seen through their annual contest, the Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon, which encourages filmmakers to create an 8-minute short film in a matter of 12 days! MAMM fosters friendly competition, while at the same time bridging communities and providing yet another platform for filmmakers to shine.

5. Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

Since 1988, Vancouver has been home to the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, which is now the longest running Jewish film fest in all of Canada.  The festival aims to showcase “the diversity of Jewish culture, heritage and identity through film.” They’ve got comedies to make you laugh, dramas that’ll make you exclaim, “Oy Vey!” and documentaries to make you verklempt. And before you kvetch about this festival being such a narrow focus, please note that many of the films are from all around the world, some of which may never get shown in a North American theatre otherwise, so mazel tov to that!

Honourable mentions: 

With the ever-increasing population in Vancouver, there’s no shortage of different cultures carving out its niche. New film festivals continue to sprout up all over the city, some still in their infancy while others just finding their footing. The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is one good example of a film fest on the verge of becoming a fan favorite– having been up and running since 2003. It definitely deserves an honorable mention here on this list. There is also the South Asian Film Festival, formed most recently in 2012.  Other fresh faces to the scene include the Green Screen Film Fest and the Projecting Change Film Fest, both of which specialize in films about nature, as well as social and environmental issues. The Vancouver Short Film Festival focuses on local short films while the Vancouver International Mountain 
Film Festival features films about the outdoors and mountaineering. And don't forget the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival, which provides an arena for women film makers to show off their work. Head a few hours out of the city and you’ll be able to catch the Whistler Film Festival, or take a ferry over to Vancouver Island to see films at the Victoria Film Festival or Tofino Film Festival. We are surrounded by a multitude of creativity and choices – we just have to open our eyes and take a look!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Win a Children's Book!

Schema Magazine is currently giving away a copy of this children's book written by ME!

Check out the review on their website and for more information on how to enter their giveaway contest!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain

It was a glorious weekend, but some may not have noticed since much of the city was covered in fog! I went up to Cypress Mountain above it all and captured this shot of the city on my camera. Vancouver is under there somewhere, snuggled under that blanket of mist!

So we weren't the only ones who thought it a good idea to head up to Cypress and do some snow shoeing! The place was packed, the parking was overflowing, but the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement at the prospect of trekking through the snowy trails! 

If you haven't gone, there still might be some good opportunities left to head up to Cypress Mountain and take in some wintery fun!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Guest Post: Sexy Vancouver Cafes

Our stellar and diverse cafes are one of the reasons I love Vancouver. I absolutely love chatting with clients and friends in cafes while enjoying a full bodied coffee (no offense to the big chains). I picked-up my love for coffee and cafe culture while in Croatia in my mid 20's and have been seeking out the best Vancouver cafes ever since.

Below I’ve shared my current top picks. I believe all are locally owned and none are large chains. I welcome your thoughts about these cafes and your suggestions about others to try (feel free to note them in the comment box at the bottom of the post so other people can try them as well).

Milano Espresso Lounge Gastown – 36 Powell Street, Gastown
They have several locations, but I prefer their Powell Street cafe. It sports a Gastown-chik interior featuring exposed wood beams and concrete with my favourite detail being the metal lettering in the floor. Check out their espresso tasting bar. You may recognize the owners as they started Turks on Commercial Drive before Milano.

Agro Café – 1207 Hamilton Street, Yaletown
Top marks go to their Yaletown location across from the Opus Hotel and Cactus Club. It’s a great place to work in the morning when the sun is coming in through the window and Josh is working… he plays the best music. Summer is a great time to go so you can enjoy a coffee while relaxing on their totally Yaletown outdoor brick patio. If you go shopping after your coffee and brunching, you’ll nail the Yaletown trifecta.
I’m a fan of their breve lattes (lattes made with some cream) as they remind me of the rich coffees I had while living in Argentina. They offer the typical array of coffees as well as Clover made coffees.

A stellarly designed Caramel Macchiato from Agro Cafe.

This hidden gem is perfect when you're coffeed out and seeking a tea. It has an amazing selection and the owner is a young pleasant fellow. It’s tucked away in the alley behind Coffee Bar (if you’re coming from Water Street) or down the alley beside L’Abattoir (if you’re on Carrall Street). It's quiet and has a cool interior with high ceilings, exposed brick and arches. To use my nephew's lingo, it’s a great place to ‘chill.’ 

Tea and pastries at Apres Midi.

Matchstick Coffee Roasters – 639 E 15 Ave, East Vancouver (Fraser & Kingsway)   

Pleasant East Van hipsters will hand prepare your coffee. They specialize in single origin beans that they roast in the back of the café. You'll be hungry as soon as they open the oven door to take out a fresh batch of pastries or muffins. Every time I'm there, I get their orange and cranberry muffins as the flavours beautifully contrast coffee favour. A beautiful solid wood communal table as well as individual tables.

*My thanks to my friends & clients Paris & Liz for discovering this cafe!

Enjoying a coffee and orange & cranberry muffin at the communal table at Matchstick.

One of my closest friends and I chanced upon this cafe while wandering around Steveston. I had a latte and Justin enjoyed an espresso, both rocked. They also offer pour over coffee, siphon coffee and cold brewed coffee. I believe their roastery at 127 West 5th Avenue offers coffee but no food.

It has good coffee and a solid Gastown décor. It’s a little tight on seating so it’s not on my head-out-and-work-at-a-cafe list.

I enjoy the décor and they do have good coffee. Admittedly, I prefer Milano (friendlier owners) over this café but Coffee Bar is worth checking out.

I hope this gives you some ideas for new cafes to check out while supporting local businesses. Enjoy!



I met Jason a few years ago at a birthday party and was captivated by his charming smile! I'm so excited to have him on here as a guest blogger and to introduce you readers to him and his blog - My604Home.com - about Vancouver real estate and then some! He's got some great advice and insider tips into the Vancouver real estate market, so please do check out his website. And I'm loving these cafe suggestions and can't wait to go try some of them out! Anyone want to come with? 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Vancouver Motorcycle Show

The Vancouver Motorcycle Show begins today out in the Abbotsford Tradex Trade and Exhibition Centre. I went last year and it was fun to check out the motorcycles and accessories. Who is planning to head out there this week?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

PuSh Festival

Are you ready Vancouver? The PuSh International Performing Arts festival begins today and goes all the way to Feb 3!

There are a lot of great shows and performances to check out, so go get your tickets now before they're all gone!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Theory of Everything - VACT

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT) is synonymous with comedy nights, plays, and community. Their latest production is a Master Class showing of Prince Gomolvilas' The Theory of Everything.

Set in Las Vegas, we are transported to a chapel of love where an evening revolves around a UFO sighting. However,  this is more than an X-Files type story. Woven into the mix is the message of family and community. The actors all portray different types of Asians, from Chinese to Thai to Japanese to Filipino. The mishmash of cultures perhaps showcases the differences between communities, while at the same time playing off the notion that all Asians appear to be the same. Within this diaspora of cultures, we are treated to monologues from each of the characters as they all struggle with identity in their own way, whether it's a Japanese American longing to become a Hong Kong action star or a young man dealing with his sexuality or a woman who longs to be "taken" by aliens.

The open and unique layout of the stage (good feng shui!) allows for each audience member to have a different perspective, and perhaps ultimately that's what the show aims for - to provide an alternative point of view in the world of theatre and the world at large. For some, these stories will reaffirm experiences we may have gone through, while for others, it may be an evening of education you didn't expect.

The Theory of Everything runs at the Roundhouse Community Centre now until January 12. Buy your tickets online!

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Gay Mafia - Jericho Arts Centre

If you're in the mood for some good ol' fashioned improv and want something different than the usual staples i.e. Vancouver Theatresports, then why not venture over to the Jericho Arts Centre sometime between now and January 12 and check out the Queer Arts Society's mounting of The Gay Mafia!

There you will find a "mob" of characters vying to be the head of the "gay mafia" and in order to do so, must act their way through a series of improv scenarios that are determined by suggestions from the audience. There's a rotating group of players involved, so you'll be sure to get something different on any given night. At last night's show, we were treated to a Davie Street KFC inspired musical, a backwards BBQ pool party, voice-over lip dubbing skits, and an audience member sword fight to name a few highlights.

The stand-outs of the evening for me had to be Alan Matthew Pavlakovic, whose constant energy morphed and shaped with every obstacle being thrown at him, while consistently bringing something new and witty to the table and moving the story along like any good improv should. Also shining bright was Briana Rayner, who kept bringing jokes and scenes back around full circle at the most opportune moments. I've been to Chicago's Second City and these two would likely do quite well over there if they chose to. 

For gay ol' time, check out The Gay Mafia at the Jericho Arts Centre on now till January 12! 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Dine Out Vancouver 2013!

Just because the holidays are over and the cold is settling in, doesn't mean we have to hunker down and stay indoors for the next few weeks! Nope, not at all! In fact, it's that time of year again: Dine Out Vancouver!


 It's a great way to go check out some restaurants in town that you may not have before! Here's a list of restaurants participating this year, and it's a long one! For more information and to make reservations, check out the Dine Out Vancouver site!

Abigail's Party
Al Porto Ristorante
American Grille (The) - Vancouver Airport Marriott
Atithi Indian Cuisine
Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge- Wedgewood Hotel
Banana Leaf Malayasian Cuisine on Davie
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine in Kitsilano
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Broadway
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Denman
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Robson
Baru Latino Restaurante
Beyond Restaurant and Lounge - Century Plaza Hotel & Spa
Bistro Pastis
BISTRO SAKANA Neo Japonesque Sushi & Tapas
Bitter Tasting Room
Black + Blue
Blarney Stone
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - English Bay
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - Horseshoe Bay
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - Kitsilano
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - New Westminster
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - Port Moody
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - Richmond
Boathouse Restaurant (The) - White Rock
Boneta Restaurant
Brasserie Bistro (The) - Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites
Bridges Restaurant, Bistro & Bar
Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar
Burnaby Riverway Clubhouse
C Restaurant
Cafe Il Nido
Cafe One - Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel
Cafe Pacifica - Pan Pacific Vancouver
Campagnolo Restaurant
Canyon Restaurant
Cardero's Restaurant
Carmichael's Restaurant - Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel
Carthage Cafe
Carver's Steakhouse
Catch 122 Cafe & Bistro
Cavino Coffee & Wine Bar
Ceilis Irish Pub and Restaurant
Ceilis Irish Pub and Restaurant - Kitsilano
Ceili's Irish Pub and Restaurant - Richmond
Central Bistro
Chambar Belgian Restaurant
Charles Bar (The)
Cheshire Cheese Restaurant & Bar (The)
Chop Steakhouse & Bar
Ciao Bella Restaurant & Piano Bar
Cibo Trattoria - Moda Hotel
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Cinema Public House
Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant - Empire Landmark Hotel
Clough Club
COAST Restaurant
Copper Chimney - Hotel Le Soleil
Copper Club
Cork & Fin Restaurant
DIVA at the Met - Metropolitan Hotel, Vancouver
Dockside Restaurant - Granville Island Hotel
Don Francesco Ristorante
Doolin's Irish Pub - Comfort Inn Downtown
Dunn's Famous Restaurant BC
EBO Restaurant in the Delta Burnaby
Edge Social Grille & Lounge (The) - Best Western Chateau Granville Hotel
El Azteca
Electric Owl
Federico's Supper Club
Fish House in Stanley Park (The)
Five Sails Restaurant
Fleuri Restaurant - Sutton Place Hotel (The)
Fraiche Restaurant
Frankie's Italian Kitchen & Bar
Fresh Restaurant & Lounge - Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel
George Lounge
Giovane Cafe & Wine Bar
glowbal grill Steaks & Satay
Gramercy Grill
Granville Room
Griffins - The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Gusto di Quattro
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Hamilton Street Grill
Hapa Izakaya - Coal Harbour
Hapa Izakaya - Kitsilano
Hapa Izakaya - West End
Hapa Izakaya - Yaletown
Harold's Bistro & Bar - Sheraton Vancouver Airport
Hart House Restaurant
Hell's Kitchen
Herons West Coast Kitchen + Bar - The Fairmont Waterfront
hidden tasting bar and social lounge - Westin Grand Vancouver
Highlander - Best Western Abercorn Inn
Hooker's Green
Horizons Restaurant
Hurricane Grill - Yaletown
Il Giardino
Irish Heather Gastropub (The)
Italian Kitchen (The)
Jimmy's Tap House
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House
Judas Goat Taberna
Kamei Royale Japanese Restaurant
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Burnaby
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Coquitlam
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Granville Island
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Guildford
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Langley
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Maple Ridge
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Morgan Creek
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - New Westminster
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Park Royal
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Richmond South
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Scott Road
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Thurlow
Keg Steakhouse & Bar (The) - Yaletown
Kerkis Greek Taverna
Kingston Taphouse & Grille
Kirin Mandarin Restaurant (Downtown)
Kirin Seafood Restaurant (Richmond)
Kirin Seafood Restaurant (Vancouver)
Kitsilano Daily Kitchen
La Piazza Dario Ristorante
La Terrazza
La Vallée Restaurant - Executive Hotel Vintage Park
L'Abattoir Restaurant
Las Margaritas Restaurante Y Cantina
Le Gavroche Restaurant
Le Parisien
Left Coast Bar and Bistro
Libra Room
Library Square Public House
Lickerish Restaurant & Lounge
LIFT Bar Grill View
Lions Pub (The) - The Hotel at Terminal City Club
Lobby (The) - The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier
Luke's Corner Bar + Kitchen
Mad Greek Restuarant
Mahony & Sons Public House - Coal Harbour
Mahony & Sons Public House - UBC
Maria's Taverna on West 4th
MARKET By Jean-Georges
Merchants Oyster Bar
Miku Restaurant
Mill Marine Bistro (The)
Minami Restaurant
Mosaic Bar & Grille - Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Nando's on Davie
Oakwood Canadian Bistro, The
Observatory (The) - Grouse Mountain Resorts
Old Spaghetti Factory (The)
Olive & Anchor
ORU Restaurant - The Fairmont Pacific Rim
Osteria Napoli
Ouisi Bistro
p2b bistro & bar - Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel
Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts - Bistro 101
Pier 7 Restaurant
PIER 73 Restaurant - Delta Vancouver Airport (The)
Pink Elephant Thai Restaurant Ltd.
Poor Italian Ristorante
Pourhouse Restaurant
Prestons - Coast Coal Harbour Hotel
Provence Marinaside
Provence Mediterranean Grill
Q4 al Centro
Q4 Restaurant
Raincity Grill (The)
Raw Canvas
Reef Restaurant on Main (The)
Reef Restaurant on The Drive (The)
Refinery (The)
Reflect Social Dining + Lounge
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. - Kitsilano
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. - Main
Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
Salmon House on the Hill
Salmon n' Bannock Bistro
Salt Tasting Room
Sandbar Seafood Restaurant (The)
Saucisse Restaurant
Seasons in the Park
Shady Island Seafood Bar & Grill
Shaughnessy Restaurant
Show Case Restaurant - Marriott Pinnacle Downtown
Siena Restaurant
SIP Resto-Lounge
Smileys Public House
Smoking Dog Bistro (The)
Society Dining Lounge
Sol Sun Belt Eatery Inc.
Stages Bistro & Lounge - Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre
Steamworks Brewing Company
Stone Grill @ the Met
Suika Snackbar
Sylvia Restaurant & Lounge - Sylvia Hotel
Take Five Cafe
Tap & Barrel
Teahouse Restaurant (The)
Terracotta Modern Chinese
Thai House Restaurant
The Bimini Public House
The Calling Public House
The Fish Shack
The Lamplighter Public House
The New Oxford
The Park at English Bay - Best Western Plus Sands Hotel
The Point Grill
Tivoli's Restaurant
Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
Trattoria Italian Kitchen
Trolls Restaurant
Urban Thai Bistro
Vancouver FanClub
Water St. Cafe
West Restaurant + Bar
Whet Bar and Grill Inc.
Wild Rice
Wild Rice Restaurant (New West) Inc.
Yaletown Brewing Co.
Yaletown L'Antipasto
YEW restaurant + bar - Four Seasons Hotel
Yokohama Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant
Zen Japanese Restaurant

Bon appetit Vancouver!!