2011 NA Outgames Adds To Closing Ceremony Line-up

The GLISA North America Outgames Vancouver 2011 Closing Party is a daylong festival of LGBTQ culture with non-stop entertainment throughout the day including concerts, DJ’s, drag shows, dance performances, medal presentations, a beer garden, the Breakfast of Champions and the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2011 Outgames. Today is the final day to purchase special early bird priced tickets to the party

The Vancouver 2011 Outgames has added more artists to the previously announced Closing Party line-up of Ace Of Base, Dragonette and Carole Pope.
Joining the party is a wide range of local talent including;
Kim Kuzma, Alice Ai, Matthew Presidente, Outgames theme song artists Sugarbeach will all perform alongside local drag divas Connie Smudge and Iona Whip.

Come OUT and Play -The Closing Party is sure to be a vibrant spectacle at Plaza of Nations. Gates open at 11 am. Special Early Bird ticket pricing sale ends today Thursday June 30 at www.ticketcard.ca

Vibrant Colours at Kensington Market, Toronto

Brightly Coloured Vintage Clothing

Tucked away between Toronto’s Chinatown and Little Italy lies one of the oldest and most visited neighbourhoods.  Designated a National Historic Site in 2006,  Kensington Market is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood.  As immigrants have come and gone from the ‘hood, they’ve each left a mark by the variety of goods and services available.
Fruit and vegetable stands line

Fruits and Herbs line the street stalls

 up alongside European cheese shops tucked in between butchers and bakers.  A long time tailor and haberdashery shop is near a Middle Eastern take-away, a tattoo parlour and an Army Surplus store. The partially outdoor market is a rainbow of colours and scents as

Colours are everywhere

vintage garments hang out beside new pieces from local designers which are nearby to a lively Caribbean Cafe. 

New designs from The Fairies Pyjamas

Each trip to Kensington Market brings out a new tapestry of this vibrant neighbourhood, stop by and paint your own picture.

Top 5 Ways To Fill Your Day At NXNE Festival

Since I’m in Toronto for North by Northeast Interactive, Film & Music Festival I thought I’d share the experience, with a few fun ways to fill your day at the Fest.

1. Learning; some great topics are covered in the hundreds of Interactive sessions.
2. Relaxing; the rooftop pool at host hotel Hyatt Regency on King is a great way to recover from the night before’s late night.
3. Parties; music organizations, labels, production companies and major brands hold non-NXNE events and parties at great spaces & venues all over town
4. Music; the largest component of the Fest is the music – hundreds of shows across the city including free shows every night at Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s a great chance to discover that new buzz band or unsigned gem
5. Eating; wrap up a late night with some amazing (and cheap) pizza in Little Italy. The next morning start the day with some tasty crepes and fresh fruit at Cora’s near the Hyatt and you’re ready to start all over again!

Come out & Play! NA 2011 Outgames Closing Party

NA Outgames Closing Party

After days of running shoes, it’ll be time to switch to dancing shoes for the closing party of the 2011 North American Outgames!

Wrapping up a week of competitions, conferences and celebrations the closing party will bring everyone together to applaud their achievements. Organizers have just announced that headlining the event will be 90’s Swedish pop icons Ace Of Base (All That She Wants, The Sign) and Canadian electro-pop group Dragonette (Hello).  The evening will also feature a performance by legendary Canadian provocateur Carol Pope.
Doors open to the celebration site at 11am to start a full day of events at the Plaza of Nations. After the closing ceremony and performances, DJ’s Rafael Calvente (Rio de Janeiro) and Adam Dreaddy (Vancouver) will keep the party going until late.

Early Bird Tickets for the Closing party are on sale Saturday July 11 at www.ticketcard.ca

The GLISA North America 2011 Vancouver Outgames are a celebration of sport, culture and human rights. The Closing party for the Outgames are a full day festival of LGBTQ culture with non-stop entertainment featuring concerts, DJ’s, drag shows, dance performances, medal presentations, beer garden, Breakfast of Champions and the Closing Ceremonies finale.

What’s On Weekend – June 9 – 12, 2011

Better weather brings more choices of activities as the outdoors open up.

Thursday Jun 9:
– The Georgia Straight presents comedian Joe Rogan at the Vogue Theatre
– continuing at Arts Club Review Stage : “ Mom’s The Word:Remixed” at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage “Hairspray” and at the Granville Island Stage : “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline

Friday June 10:
– Join DJSkla and crew as Canvas Lounge kicks off the new VICE Friday’s.
– Join international array of chefs as they ‘learn, play, teach’ at the 48th Annual Canadian Culinary Federation Convention is at the Renaissance Hotel Vancouver from June 10 to 15
– also for foodies is Eat Vancouver on until Jun 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre

Saturday June 11:
– The two-day Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival kicks off in False Creek
– Get your dose of East Side Hip Hop at HUSTLA at the The Cobalt on Main
– Calling Mr Roboto! It’s Mandroid at Five-Sixty…watch for Fembots and dancing Five-Sexi GoGoBots

Sunday June 12:
– Cap off the weekend with some charity and cowboys at the Big Gay Rodeo at The Bourbon Country Bar Partial proceeds, donations, and 50/50 draw benefit:
Friends For Life, HIM (Health Initiative for Men), Qmunity & Co-op Radio 102.7

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts to get ready for the BBQ season

The good weather is nearly upon us so we’re going to start thinking about getting at the barbeque, here’s a few tips to remember when you’re starting off the season.

1. DO open up the hood and make sure nothing has crawled into the bbq over the winter and is still there!
2. DON’T light up the flame without checking all your gas lines are tightly secured and not clogged
3. DO remember to see if you have gas in the tank before you try to start it up.
4. DON’T leave the gas on if it doesn’t light up the first time, shut it off and let it dissipate…trust me, it’ll save the hair on your arms and elsewhere.
5. DO scrub down the grills before cooking. Heat them up and use a wire brush to get all the gunk off.
6. DON’T forget to clean the area around the ‘que, you don’t want junk blowing into the flame or getting into your food.
7. DO give yourself plenty of space to cook and prepare so you’re not cramped and crowded.
8. DON’T cross contaminate your foods, keep raw and cooked meats on separate plates and handle with separate utensils.
9. DO cook things to their proper temperature, you don’t want to start the season off with food poisoning or worse.
10. DON’T forget, you are playing with fire…respect the flames and don’t let kids or animals play around the barbeque.

Centre Stage with Tyrell Witherspoon

How did a boy from a small town in Manitoba become a triple threat on the verge of stardom?

For twenty-four year old, Tyrell Witherspoon the answer is hard work, a good support system and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and are doing the same things as you.

Tyrell has been performing all his life, in fact he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t performing. Growing up, Tyrell performed in church choir and a touring violin group “The Fantasy Fiddlers”, giving him early tastes of public performing.   He comes from a family of performers, his father was a musician and performer while mother was a renowned piano teacher.  Obviously performing parents were supportive of his foray into the entertainment business but Tyrell credits his construction contractor brother as being one of his biggest cheerleaders, helping keep him focused on pursuing his dream.

Out of high school, he set about studying, developing and sharing his craft, first in Brandon then Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Inspired by local dance studio owners and mentors who set their minds to following and building their dream, Tyrell developed a driven work ethic in pursuit of his own dreams.   The drive paid off with work in theatre and choreography around Winnipeg and onboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships and appearances on CBC’s Triple Sensation and CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

After a few years, Tyrell was ready for the next chapter in his career, with the encouragement of a strong support system in Winnipeg, he made a move west to Vancouver.  In Vancouver, he has worked hard to make a name for himself, attending auditions while continuing to study and grow his skills and reputation. This paid off when he landed a recurring dance roll on the CW show, Hellcats.  From there he’s been able to make more contacts and expand his dance resume, appearing onstage and in music videos for artists like Elise Estrada and These Kids Wear Crowns.

These contacts lead to yet another page in the story, he’s been writing music for years and got to present it to some industry heavyweights who gave him the advice and encouragement to move from “Tyrell the Dancer” to “Tyrell the Artist”.  The first step was the March release of his debut single “Letting Go” on iTunes with a video and second single following in May.  A five track EP is nearly complete and will drop in late June with four self-penned songs and one cover.  With varying styles and genres the EP tell the story of his life over the last five years, personal experiences and feelings that have made him the man he is today

In this age of YouTube and viral internet sensations, when asked what will set him apart from the ‘Rebecca Blacks’ of the day, Witherspoon says his music is “real songs about real things” and adds “I want to make sure that my music is about me and my story”.  In conversation with him, one gets the feeling that this is not just a mantra about his career but how he lives his life.  A well-rounded, observant individual with a depth of knowledge and skills is what will set him apart from the field of one hit web wonders.  A good example of his work ethic and determination to make the music as good as possible shows in his answer to “Who would be your dream collaboration?” instead of answering Lady Gaga or some other mega-artist of the moment, who would definitely sell records, Tyrell looks to furthering ‘his’ sound and would like to work with Grammy-winning production team Stargate.  Attention to all aspects of his product, whether his singing, acting or dancing, will serve him well to ensure career longevity.

Up next for Tyrell, in his quest to move from backup dancer to centre stage, will be performances around Vancouver throughout the summer and coming soon in front of his largest audience as a singer at Winnipeg Pride, opening for the legendary Martha Wash.  If you don’t want to wait to listen to the Tyrell sound live, download the single Letting Go now from iTunes and watch for the EP to drop soon.  To find more on when he’ll be performing near you, follow him on Twitter or tyrellwitherspoon.com

Originally published in Kenton Magazine reprinted with permission
Photo Credits: Patty Boge (Off The Page Photography) and Matthew Kristjan