Andrew Allen : New Artist On Tour

I have the good fortune to see a lot of artists and bands perform live many of them are new me and along the way there are some hits and misses.
One of the recent hits is Andrew Allen; a relatively new independant artist who is presently on the road touring in support of a forthcoming spring major-label album release.  While he is a unique artist in his own right, Andrew’s witty and energetic performance style is like a perfect hybrid of Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and John Mayer.
Like many the first introduction to an Andrew Allen song was his stunning soulful single “Amazing” played during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength as his independently released EPs have lead to signing with EPIC Records, meaning a full length album is now in production. If the lead single “Loving You Tonight” is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to a feel good album.
Now on tour with Joshua Radin and Justin Nozuka throughout the U.S. and Canada if the show makes a stop in your town, please get out and catch it…you’ll be in for a treat!

Upcoming Tour Dates:
2/7 – Plaza Theater – Orlando, FL
2/8 – State Theatre – Tampa, FL
2/9 – Workplay – Birmingham, AL
2/11 – Jefferson Theatre – Charlottesville, VA
2/12 – HOB – Boston, MA
2/14 – Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA
2/15 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

Thousands of specators braved the rain to line the streets of Chinatown to watch the Chinese New Year Parade and help usher in the Year of the Rabbit.
Featuring the largest assembly of traditional Lion Dance teams in Canada, the Parade winds its way through Pender, Main and Keefer Streets in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown.  Organized by various Chinatown community organizations the whole parade has a very community vs commercial feel to it. Full of cultural spectacles and tradition; Lion Dancers, Flag Troupes, Family Benevolent Societies and Martial Arts teams.
Corporate entries are few and do not have the flashy, big budget entries as in other Vancouver parades. It’s great to see all ages participate in the parade, young cadets and junior lion dancers are marching and dancing along side troupes of seniors waving flags or performing traditional dances. 
While it may not build the same anticipation as having a man in a Red Suit wrapping it up like the Santa Claus parade this event has plenty of sights and sounds to entertain the family.  Firecrackers, colourful banners, flags and costumes compete with the vibrant Lion and Dragon costumes. The estimated crowd of 50,000 keeps the whole of Chinatown a buzz, even after the parade finishes, as the shops and attractions like Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens and Park feature special events and activities.

Avenue Q – On Tour

Avenue Q : The Musical – The Centre in Vancouver – February 1, 2011

The touring production of the long running Broadway and Off-Broadway hit has made its way to Vancouver for 6 shows only.  Opening tonight and running until Saturday February 5th (playing nightly plus matinee on Saturday) I highly recommend checking it out.

Set in a New York City where puppets and people live together in perfect harmony…ok, so at times not so harmoniously…in an apartment building on Avenue Q.  The tenants cover all walks of life; humans Brian and his Japanese fiancée Christmas Eve, Kate Monster (a puppet), Roommate puppets Rod & Nicky, Trekkie Monster (a bit of a reclusive porn addict) and newcomer Princeton (a fresh-faced college graduate puppet).  Watching over the tenants is Superintendent Gary Coleman, of Different Strokes child actor fame.  This character was presumably intended to mock the plight of the child star but since his passing has become more of homage.

Hilarious music and lyrics along with some ‘full puppet nudity’ lift this musical about real-life situations into an extraordinary fun filled two hours. You’ll never look at puppets the same way again!

Although this opening night production had a couple of small technical glitches it’s still very worth seeing…try to catch this unique musical before it’s gone.  Look for tickets from The Centre In Vancouver online.

Where are you going to “Dine Out”?

Dine Out Vancouver is one of the city’s tastiest events!

Dine Out is your chance to try that place everyone’s talking about but you keep putting off! Now’s the time, choose from a multitude of restaurants offering $18, $28 and $38 fixed price menues.

It’s already begun and only runs until Feb 6th, so if you haven’t booked a table you’d better take a look through the amazing list and make your choice(s) now! 

This year Dine Out is also holding a number of exciting and unique cullinary events…Brasserie Mystere, Dine In The Dark, Secret Supper Soiree, Dine Academy are just some of the fun…visit the Dine Out website for details.
From out of town? No problem, Tourism Vancouver has coordinated some amazing Dine Out Accommodation specials with Vancouver Hotels…so you can have a night out after you Dine Out!

Let me know what restaurants you’ve tried or are planning on trying…hopefully I’ll bump into you at a table!

Andrew Allen – is ‘Loving You Tonight’

Andrew Allen – Commodore Ballroom – January 15, 2011

Andrew Allen

Great to see BC’s own up and coming singer songwriter Andrew Allen again in this opening slot before local icon’s Loverboy. Although the audience wasn’t necessarily there for his set the crowd got into Andrew’s blend of light airy pop/rock.  His 35 minute set was infused with witty banter and stories about the background of his songs.  Even his cover of Sublime’s “What I Got” got the ‘Andrew Allen’ treatment to become a fun, audience participation exercise…snapping, clapping and singing along was the order of the night.  The biggest applause of the night came for his radio/iTunes single “Loving You Tonight” but with a full album coming in the spring I’m sure it won’t be long before every song is greeted with huge applause and Andrew Allen is headlining The Commodore Ballroom.

Movie Review- TRON:Legacy

Spoiler Alert: depending on your level of anticipation you may not want to read anything about Tron: Legacy before it opens so stop reading.

TRON: Legacy

The buzz and anticipation surrounding this release is huge! Mobile phones & cameras turned into security before the movie, bags searched and magnetic wands before entering the theatre are just some of the measures taken at the Vancouver Cast and Crew screening to prevent movie piracy of this upcoming Disney blockbuster. The movie was principally filmed in and around Vancouver last year, luckily a crew member invited me to come along to the preview.

A follow up to the 1982 Disney live action/animated sci-fi classic TRON, which you don’t have to have seen in order to enjoy TRON:Legacy. This sequal advances the story of Jeff Bridges character Kevin Flynn as we and his adult son, Sam (played by Garrett Hedlund with a perfect combination of boyish enthusiasm and manly bravado) find out what’s happened over the last 20 years. Through amazing animation effects Jeff Bridges also reprises his role as Clu, his cyberworld equivalent who hasn’t aged at all over the last two decades. On the other hand Bruce Boxleitner, also reprises his original role of Alan Bradley; who, having been on the outside of the game, is now a senior member of the Encomm board of directors. Another excellent addition to the cast is Micheal Sheen, in a small but scenery chewing role as a nightclub owner.

Without giving any storyline away, I will say that the visuals on this film were stunning, every artistic detail from set, to costume and hair to the amazing technology used in their Light Bikes and Light Jets. By blending 2D and 3D in the filmmaking akes the film seem somehow more ‘real’ while not being over the top and distracting with the every little shot in the movie ‘coming out of the screen’ in 3D.

The original soundtrack by electronic mega stars, Daft Punk fit perfectly into the movies score. The dynamic duo even had a cameo during a club scene.

Speaking of cameos, see if you can figure out the future villain of the ‘in the works’ TRON: Three.

Overall the sights, sounds, solid acting by the leads; Bridges, Hedlund and female lead Olivia Wilde were a great combination to make us laugh, cry, cheer and leave  wanting more!

Go see it!

Roger’s Santa Claus Parade

Here comes Santa Claus! Here Comes Santa Claus! Right down Georgia Street…

Sunday December 5th is the Seventh Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver.
Family fun pre-parade activities can be found at the Christmas Square in the Vancouver Art Gallery grounds from 1100 until parade time at 1300. Face Painting, Gingerbread Tent, Write a Letter Santa stations and performance are all part of the festivities.

After having fun at the Christmas Square get ready for the man in the big red suit as the parade begins at 1300. The Parade route begins at Georgia and Broughton Streets, running along Georgia to Howe and finally ending at Howe and Davie Streets.

Make sure to dress warmly as you’ll be standing for quite a while, bringing something warm to drink it always a good thing too. Stake out your prime viewing spot early as it will be crowded!

Have Fun!