Picks Of The Week – March 20, 2013

It’s the last week of winter, time to dust off the cobwebs and spring clean!

Photo 2013-03-07 22 50 19
Liberace Thursday at Celebrities

Spring Break: Play Dome, Canada’s largest indoor carnival continues bringing Spring Break fun for the whole family until Sunday March 24th at BC Place.

Sounds: This Friday, March 22nd Mika brings his effervescent pop sounds to the Venue stage in support of his latest “Origins Of Love”

Stage: It’s the last few days to catch The Arts Club Theatre Company’s “How My Love Has Affected You“, playing at the Revue Stage until Saturday.

Scene: Celebrate spring at the renewed Celebrities Nightclub on Liberace Thursday, March 21st. This week featuring a performance by Vancouver’s Next Drag Race Superstar 2013 winner, Anita Wigl’it

Syrup: Get stuck in to Edible Canada‘s first Maple Syrup Festival, Sunday March 24th at Edible Canada on Granville Island. All items on that day’s menu will be prepared with Duncan BC’s Mountain Valley Western Maple Syrup, plus sample Maple Syrups from across the country

Shop: Thursday March 21 – Sunday March 24 marks the Grand Opening Celebration of BC’s first Crate & Barrel in Oakridge Centre. Visit on opening weekend to get 15% off all purchases and the first 25 shoppers in line will receive a $50 Gift Card.

Style: Generic Surplus & Mollusk Surf Shop collaborate to bring the California style & function into

Generic Surplus Mollusk Shoe
Generic Surplus Mollusk Shoe

the Spring 2013 collection, available in Vancouver at The Board of TradeJ2Zebra Club and in Victoria at Sitka Surf

Picks of the Week – March 13, 2013

Leahy at the VSO
Leahy at the VSO

Scanning the city and web, here’s what my picks of the weeks in the following categories.

Sounds : At the Orpheum Theatre on March 15 & 16 at 8pm, the Vancouver Symphony’s A Celtic Celebration featuring guest performers Leahy will surely be a highlight for many people’s Saint Patrick’s Day.

Sport : The Canucks vs Detroit game gets underway at 7pm in Rogers Arena on March 16.

Stage : Across town at the River Rock Show Theatre, boxer Mike Tyson takes to the stage for his one-man show Mike Tyson:Undisputed Truth, Saturday March 16th at 8pm

Scene : CelticFest Vancouver wraps up this weekend with a St Patrick’s Day Parade winding its way throughout downtown Vancouver March 17th at 11am

Brew Masters Dinner
Brew Master’s Dinner at Herons West Coast Kitchen

Supper : The Fairmont Waterfront’s Chef Dana Hauser of Herons West Coast Kitchen partners with Whistler Brewing Company’s Head Brewer Matt Dean to create the Brew Master’s Dinner, a 4 course dinner menu perfectly paired with an selection of Whistler Brewing Company micro-brew beers.  One night only, March 16th at 6pm.

The Tenors kick off Canadian “Lead With Your Heart” Tour

The Tenors, formerly known as The Canadian Tenors, returned home to Canada last night to began their cross country tour in Vancouver. The sold-out Queen Elizabeth Theatre was like a hometown reunion, especially for Vancouver born member Fraser Walters who had many family and friends in the audience. As well, Clifton Murray, the other BC raised member had a number of familiar faces in the crowd. The quartet felt comfortable and relaxed as they told stories of their journey together and individually as they each broke off for solo songs that meant something to them. Mixing familiar standards from their past repertoire alongside the new and original material from their latest album “Lead With Your Heart“.
They were excited to share the new material, in particular the tracks they co-wrote on the album, as it showed the TheTenors 2013-02-05 20 39 29growth of the group. As they explained in the show, they wanted the album to reflect the diversity and range of the singers, so it included some pop-tinged original tunes – “World Stand Still”, interpretations of pop standards such as “Forever Young” and “Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word” and some classical pieces like “Nessun Dorma”. All of which they performed in the course of the 2+ hour set (including a brief intermission), their witty banter and gregarious camaraderie made the set move along quickly, never seeming to drag. After telling the tale of how the song spawned great success for them, they wrapped up the set with their beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah”. After the applause died down they returned for an two song encore that finished with the brilliant powerhouse version of “Nessun Dorma” backed by the local Vancouver Pacific Spirit Choir featuring Fraser Walters’ mother. It was a lovely way to wrap up a homecoming concert.

The Lead With Your Heart Tour continues, this week in Kamloops BC on Friday and Victoria on Saturday before heading into Alberta next week and continuing across the country until wrapping up in Ottawa on April 13th.

Follow their exploits across Canada on Facebook and Twitter @TenorsMusic


The Rio Theatre’s Corinne Lea recieves Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

Rio Theatre-Corinne LeaWith all the outcry over the closure of The Waldorf Hotel, it’s easy to miss a well-deserved accolade bestowed on another valued Eastside venue.

The Rio Theatre has announced that owner and operator Corinne Lea (pictured) has been selected to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a national award presented to persons of merit in recognition of “significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” The award ceremony takes place, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 23.

Corinne was nominated for the award by Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jennie Kwan, herself a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal a decade ago. In early 2012, Corinne and the Rio Theatre were involved in a highly publicized battle over changes in provincial liquor policy that directly threatened the Rio’s existence – a battle that Corinne, the Rio Theatre, and an extended community of dedicated supporters eventually won. In a letter addressed to Corinne, Ms. Kwan noted that she nominated Lea on the basis of her “hard work, dedication and ideas” that “helped to bring about changes to improve our community.”

“The fight to save the Rio Theatre and get BC’s outdated liquor laws changed was not only a personal desire to save my business, but a fight to save our community’s theatre and arts and culture in BC,” says Lea. “To my surprise it also became something bigger.”

She adds, “The Rio Theatre’s success in changing the province’s outdated liquor laws could not have happened without the tremendous community support it received. My being recognized with the prestigious Diamond Jubilee medal proves to me that the time-honoured Canadian virtues of democracy and free speech are still very much intact, and it is our duty to exercise them!

There are more improvements that need to be made, and I am excited to be part of a growing public that not only values, but is willing to fight for arts and culture in our communities.

I am honored and grateful for this award. I thank Jenny Kwan for nominating me and everyone who gave their voice, time, and energy in support of me and the entire staff of the Rio Theatre in 2012.”

I’m sure everyone on the Eastside and all across Vancouver applaud the continuing efforts of Corrine and The Rio Theatre to ensure the city has a home for arts and culture.

The Rio Theatre is located at 1660 East Broadway (at Commercial)
Phone: 604.689.3456 Online at riotheatre.ca

PuSh Festival 2013 Kicks Off

push_imgsLast night a kick off party at Five-Sixty Nightclub launched the 2013 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.  Hosted by CTV’s Mi-Jung Lee and Dan Mangan, the event featured a  performances and works throughout the club as a taste of what’s to come during the festival. Today, the 9th annual PuSh Festival gets underway, presenting groundbreaking live theater works across Vancouver from January 15 until February 3, 2013.
The Festival states its vision is ‘to be a festival of national importance—artistically respected, greatly anticipated and highly valued as a catalyst for cultural and community development.’ PuSh showcases local, Canadian and international works to promote, stimulate and encourage artists and the arts industry on whole to create a connection with audiences.

Venues all across the city from the Arts Club Theatre to SFU Woodwards Campus will be home to one-time only events and run of festival plays, performance pieces and dance works. Festival wide “PuSh Passes” are sold out but individual performance tickets are still available. Pick up a Festival Guide at retailers across the city or download a copy, then get out and support the Vancouver Arts scene.

It’s a BECKstravaganza!

In December 2012, Beck released his latest album, Song Reader, at 20 songs it’s a long player. The unique thing with this release is that in order to hear the songs you must play them yourself, not just on a CD or mp3 player but real instruments. Song Reader is in sheet music form only.  All twenty songs are boxed and catalogued in the ‘album’ for you to read and play yourself or listen to someone else play.
That is just what will happen January 17th at the Rio Theatre.  Vancouver’s The Broken Mirrors will play the album in its entirety before a live audience. To help the night along, the band will be joined by some of their friends, local musicians and bands for this one-night-only event.
I asked The Broken Mirror’s Noah Walker what drew him to plan this performance, he said “That was an easy decision, it’s intriguing, an entire Beck album unrecorded. What does it sound like? There’s only one way to find out, play it”. He adds “Beck is a unifying figure in music, he is a shining example  that you don’t have to get stuck in any one genre and that it is quite alright to to mix it up and play blues, punk rock, hip hop, folk and even country!”
The night promises to be full of genre busting sounds, judging by the line up of other musicians including Headwater, Buckman Coe, Leah Abramson, and Van Driver.
Walker says of the night’s line up, “All of them can come together under one roof and make music together. These are a collection of songs where there is no definitive version.  By not recording them Beck has put such a high value on the live performance of these songs.”
This is a great night for everyone, Beck fans get to hear his latest work plus live music fans can show their support of their fave local bands and a great local venue.

Beckstravaganza takes place Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 8:00pm
at The RIO Theatre, 1660 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Tickets are $15 advance at The RIO Theatre box office, Red Cat, Highlife and Zulu Records, or online at www.riotheatretickets.ca

Fave events of 2012

As the old year closes and a new year begins, it’s a time for all of us to reflect on the events that past before we reboot for the year ahead.

Here’s a few of my favourite activities of 2012 (in no particular order):

London 2012 – my visit to London to visit good friends and take in the 2012 Olympics was a definite highlight of the year.
Bloomsbury Bowls – part of the London experience was a fun night out with a bunch of friends at this super cool venue
Scissor Sisters – the ‘Magic Hour’ came to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom with poptastic results.
Emerson Drive – kicking off the PNE Summer Concert Series, the Canadian country group got the summer off to a great start
David Foster & Friends 25th Anniversary Concert – Victoria’s David Foster brought a host of friends home to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for an entertaining fundraising evening for The David Foster Foundation.
An Evening With Idina Menzel – the Broadway superstar performed an evening of her hits and (sometimes dirty) anecdotes
Jason Mraz – one of my favourite live performers stopped at Rogers Arena for his LOVE Is A Four Letter Word tour.
2 Days In Seattle – Thanks to Klout and the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau I got to spend 2 Days in Seattle seeing the sights and tasting the Emerald City.
Whitecaps FC – kicking off a second season in the MLS, the Vancouver team performed much better in their sophomore season managing to make at least one post-season match.
Topshop/Topman Opening Party – the iconic British High Street retailer launched their flagship Vancouver store with an amazing opening night party at 560.
Via Brazil Steakhouse – topping off my friends Lori & Craig’s wedding day with a family style reception was a great highlight of a fun filled wedding week.

I’m sure there’s more great moments of 2012 but these were a good selection of highlights. While these are great, one of my favourites is always being able to spend time with my family and friends whatever we’re doing, especially at the Holidays.
I look forward to starting 2013 off with a long time tradition of New Year’s Day breakfast. My friend Tara and I have been meeting, with whomever else can make it, for an annual catch-up and New Year kick-off for over a decade and hope to continue for many more.

What were your favourite moments of 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013?