Underwear Affair 2011 – Bring Awareness To Down There-ness

Help kick below-the-belt cancers where it hurts!

On July 9, 2011 BC Cancer Foundation’s Underwear Affair® helps uncover the cure for below-the-waist cancers like prostate, ovarian, and colorectal.  Participants will run the competitive 10K or walk the fun 5K and show Vancouver that there’s absolutely no shame in bringing a little awareness to down there-ness. 
Even if you’re not a runner, everyone can participate by helping support your friends and family by sponsoring their run/walk as Teams and Individuals also participate in fundraising challenges.
I’ll be out supporting my friend Brian Webb, you can help us too by donating to the great cause! Maybe we’ll see you in your skivvies too?

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.

Sam Roberts Band – Kicks off summer

Sam Roberts Band – Malkin Bowl – May 29

Nothing feels like summer like a Sam Roberts concert, seems every year he brings fresh pop/rock sounds out on a summer tour.  Often he performs in outdoor venues in Vancouver and Malkin Bowl is one of the best in the city.  It’s large enough for a good size crowd and atmosphere but also has an intimacy, being surrounded by the tall trees, it’s easy to forget you’re on the edge of the city.
While officially on tour to promote his newest release Collider, during the 2 hour set, Sam and his band played a selection of tunes from all his albums.  Early hits like, “Don’t Walk Away Eileen”, “Where Have All The Good People Gone” and “Bridge To Nowhere” sounded great alongside new tracks “I Feel You” and “Last Crusade”.
After nearly a decade on the Canadian music scene, Sam has amassed a diehard fan base, guys dig him, girls adore him. His music appeals to a wide audience as witnessed by the collection of pre-teens who were dancing and playing around Malkin Bowl. An all ages show, it had a great friendly vibe and I’m sure that was helped along by the seemingly large quantities of BC’s best underground crop was being consumed. Even without the assistance, the mellow, happy-go-lucky personality Sam exudes takes over the crowd and everyone feels good.  He genuinely seems to like and appreciate his audience as witnessed by the amount of time he spent hanging onstage, after the set, applauding and signing items for the audience. Even though the evening was of the first nice ones of the year, his personality would have warmed up the night no matter what. The perfect start to summer in the city!

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

What’s on Weekend – June 2-4, 2011

There’s really only one event that people will be paying any attention to this week…but if you’re not a fan of the Canucks (shock! horror!) here is a few things happening outside the rink.

Thursday June 2
– if you have kids of any age, head over to Granville Island and check out some of the fun activities at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, on until June 5.  The fest is struggling financially so really could use the attendance this year!

– for the ‘big kids’, rock icons Supertramp are playing Rogers Arena

– under the tents in Vanier Park, it’s the opening night of another season of Bard On The Beach. Go get your Shakespeare on with “As You Like It”, “Merchant Of Venice”, “Henry VI” or “Richard III”

Friday June 3, 2011
– Bruno Mars with Janelle Monae bring their Hooligans in Wonderland tour to Rogers Arena

– meanwhile Canadian legends, Sloan are playing the equally legendary Commodore Ballroom

– Another month, another SPIT party at ANZA Club, this month think California Dreams as your inspiration (since we aren’t seeing summer here, we may as well be Cali dreamin’)

– across the pond in Victoria, you social media junkies might be interested in Social Media Camp Victoria as it gets under way. Friday and Saturday sees over 40 sessions of speakers and workshops on all things social media.

Saturday June 4

– it’s the first Saturday of the month so that means another edition of “First Saturday Open Studios” drop in to some of the city’s artists studios for some great art and inspiration. Click the link to see what studios are open this week.

– last edition was a hit so it’s on again, Big Primpin’ brings the hip hop back again to Pub 340

– The brilliant Friendly Fires play a sold out gig at Venue. If you haven’t seen them, try! They’re awesome!



Lykke Li – Swedish Style

Lykke Li – Vogue Theatre – May 27, 2011

In a storm of lights and smoke, Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li entered the darkly draped Vogue Theatre stage with a great flourish.  Wearing a high cut Japanese-esque overdress allowing glimpses of a bodysuit, she was the epitmany of sexy and stylish.

Sulty and quirky at the same time, Lykke Li draws you in with her bold personality and infectious pop sounds.
The sell out crowd was hanging on her every word (even though some lyrics are hard to decifer above the music and cheers) as she played her way through the 80 minute set.  The crowd could easily have danced along for hours longer. Let’s hope that next time Lykke Li returns to Vancouver she plays a much larger venue, judging by how early this show sold out, there are probably a lot of people who missed out on seeing her. She is definitely not to be missed!

Museum of Vancouver

Sometimes overshadowed by the more famous and visible cultural institutions, like the Vancouver Art Gallery and Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Vancouver is definitely worth a visit.

Colourful costumes of visiting exhibition Bhangra.me

Located in picturesque Kits Point, adjacent to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and nearby Maritime Museum, the MOV is a hidden gem.  The museum is divided into two spaces, the east wing catering to visiting exhibitions and the west wing, the permanent collection.

Currently the east wing is featuring “Bhangra.me : Vancouver’s Bhangra Story” in

Bhangra Instuments

collaboration with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society the exhibition runs until October 23, 2011.  A collection of oral recollections, personal artifacts, instruments, costumes, posters, pictures and music it tells the history of South Asians in Vancouver and how Bhangra is integral to their local and international cultural identity.

In the west wing you wind your way through the permanent collections as they tell the story of Vancouver, from it’s humble, logging village beginnings to the tumultuous 60’s through to the modern day. Great artifacts and memories abound as you peak into each vignette and display.

Sign from Vancouver's neon heyday

Although a smaller scale than some of it’s larger competitors the Museum of Vancouver isn’t any less packed with history and information. It should be on everyone’s list to check out and learn a bit more about Vancouver.

The Museum of Vancouver is located at 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver BC
Winter (Sept – June) : Tues-Sun 10am – 5pm, Thurs 10am – 8pm, Mon Closed
Summer (July – Aug) : Mon-Sun 10am – 5pm, Thurs 10am – 8pm