VIFF 2018 is underway!

The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is now on, lighting up screens around the city until October 12, 2018.

The 37th edition of VIFF brings hundreds of films from around the globe, and around the corner to Vancouver cinemas.  Award-winning Hollywood star-power rubs shoulders with independent local BC features, while foreign language films join the first feature told in the Haida language.

The Festival kicked off last night, September 27th with award-winning Canadian director Kim Nguyen’s The Hummingbird Project starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, and Selma Hayek.   On October 12th, VIFF closes with Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman, a biography chronicling the rise and fall of 1988 Presidential candidate Gary Hart.  In the weeks between opening and closing films; talkbacks, panels, special events, features, awards and much more fill out the Festival’s days and nights.

Some of the special presentations and features are:

The Old Man & the Gun – September 29 at The Centre
What may be Robert Redford’s final film, The Old Man & the Fun is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Redford), charting his escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Also stars Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck

Creator Talk: Michael Schur – September 30 at The Rio Theatre
A fascinating session with Michael Schur, one of comedy’s best TV writers (The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office).

Tribute Award: Jean Marc Vallée – October 2 at Vancouver Playhouse
Celebrate the accomplishments of Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies, C.R.A.Z.Y.) with a screening of the premiere episode of the Vallée directed, Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adam.  An ‘in conversation with’ the Emmy winning director follows the screening.

BC Spotlight: SG?aawaay ?’uuna (Eng: Edge of the Knife) – October 3, 6:15pm  at Vancouver Playhouse
Filmed on Haida Gwaii, the first feature film spoken only in Haida dialects, and set in the 19th Century, Edge of the Knife tells a classic Haida story of the traumatized and stranded man transformed to Gaagiixiid, the wildman.

Sustainable Production Forum Keynote Speaker: Adrian Grenier – October 5 at Vancity Theatre
Dedicated to greening the film industry the two day Sustainable Production Forum gets underway with a keynote on the conference’s theme “Transforming Culture” from actor Adrian Grenier.

Bethune: The Making of a Hero – October 5, 6:00 pm  at Vancity Theatre
A special screening of the first Canadian/Chinese co-production, Phillip Borsos’s Bethune: The Making of a Hero stars Donald Sutherland in the title role of the Canadian Doctor renowned in China for bringing modern medicine to rural communities.

Boy Erased – October 6, 9:15pm at Vancouver Playhouse
Based on the memoir by Garrard Conley, Boy Erased is written and directed by Joel Edgerton, who also stars alongside Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton, and follows the son of Baptist parents who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program.

Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 27 – October 12, 2018 at various screens in downtown Vancouver.
Single Tickets and Ticket Packs are on sale online or in-person at the Vancity Theatre Box Office from $13 to $22. VIFF membership (from $2) is required to view any screening.

Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House 2018

At the corner of Davie & Granville Street, behind the facade of the unassuming former bank building lies a thriving hub of Vancouver’s dance scene, the Scotiabank Dance Centre.

Kababayang Pilipino
photo: Leah Villalobos

Since 1986 The Dance Centre has been as a resource centre for professional dance companies and the public, providing a range of activities to the dance community. Presenting programs and events for artists and general public to build the profile of the dance scene in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia and beyond.

The annual Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House, taking place September 15, 2018 is an opportunity to sample a host of exciting dance styles, from ballet and contemporary to flamenco and swing, in a day of open classes, studio showings and events.

Vanessa Goodman
photo: David Cooper

“Our annual Open House is an opportunity to celebrate a wonderful building, which has become a home for dance of all kinds, and also to experience the excitement and diversity of Vancouver’s dance scene,” said Mirna Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre, the organization which spearheaded the development of the building.

Participating companies and artists include Raven Spirit Dance, Kababayang Pilipino, Karen Flamenco, Shot of Scotch, Polymer Dance, Vanessa Goodman/Action at a Distance, Anderson Performance Clinic, Project Soul and many more.

Linda Arkelian Balley
photo: Erik Zennstrom

The Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House from 11am – 5pm, for a full schedule of events taking place throughout the day visit   thedancecentre.ca/open_house .
Pre-registration is not required.
Classes are suitable for all levels, including beginner, except where specified

August 15th Dine Out for Les Dames d’Escoffier Summerdine

This August 15th, Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter present their unique annual dining event Summerdine.  A delicious province-wide dining celebration featuring fabulous food and glorious wines, Summerdine takes place on one evening only at different restaurants, wineries, and culinary venues across BC. It could be in a vineyard, aboard a yacht, at a picnic table or in an elegant dining room.

Some of the locations participating in Summerdine 2018 include:

Forage Private Courtyard

VANCOUVER

  • AnnaLena in Kitsilano
  • Boulevard in The Sutton Place Hotel.
  • Burdock & Co. on Main Street
  • Forage on Robson Street (weather permitting, in the private courtyard)
  • A long table set on Pacific Yacht Charters moored in Coal Harbour
  • A private dining room at Vij’s on Cambie Street

OKANAGAN

  • al fresco dinner hosted by Dame Wendy Rose at Bella Wines on the Naramata Bench
  • Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ
Sea Cider Ciderhouse

VICTORIA

  • al fresco long table at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse  in Saanichton catered by Dame Chef Ali Ryan of Victoria’s popular Spinnakers Gastro Pub.

See the complete Summerdine list and book tickets online at lesdames.ca/summerdine for locations, menus and photos.  Regardless of the location, all diners will be treated to a specially-designed multiple-course menu, wines selected to complement that menu, a special table or location and an opportunity to meet and chat with the chefs and restaurateurs. 

All Summerdine dinners are priced at $80 per person and include the multi-course meal with wine (gratuity not included). One exception is the Victoria event at Sea Cider which is priced at $100 per person. All funds raised from Summerdine go to support Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter’s Scholarship and Outreach programs.

Les Dames d’Escoffier is a world-wide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality, with a mandate to support the advancement of women in the hospitality and culinary domains as well as fostering industry excellence through educational and charitable activities.

Egypt comes to Royal BC Museum

Journey back to a time when civilization grew along the Nile, pyramids rose above the desert and the people believed gods walked among us, with Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs at the Royal British Columbia Museum.

Running until December 31, the impressive exhibition, now open with more than 300 original artifacts, some up to 4,500 years old, covering all aspects of ancient Egyptian life, from the emergence of ancient Egyptian civilization along the fertile Nile valley to the Ptolemaic and Roman eras millennia later. 

Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs includes a mix of interactive displays, video and dioramas, to support the ancient artifacts which include the coffin of Nakht, an 790 kilogram sandstone bust of Hatshepsut, thousands of year old stoneware and pots, ornate gold and stone jewellery and much more.

Step into the exhibit’s temple doors, and learn about everyday life on the fertile belt of the River Nile, to the worship of the ancient Gods. Look at the life of the Pharaohs – Gods among men, and test your heart to see of you’ll make the voyage to the afterlife.

The only Canadian stop for this one of a kind collection, guests will be the among the first in North America to see the collection of artifacts curated from the collections of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, the Roemer-und Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim, Germany, the Gustav Lübcke Museum in Hamm, Germany, and the University Museum of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs runs at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria until December 31, 2018.  In addition to the exhibit, visit the IMAX Victoria in the Royal BC Museum to watch Egypt: Mysteries of Egypt, a perfect companion to the exhibition.

Three BC Artists Join The Skookum Festival Line-up

As previously announced, SKOOKUM festival is bringing music to Vancouver’s Stanley Park September 7-9, 2018.  Headlined by The Killers, Florence + The Machine, Metric, Mother Mother and others on four stages with over 50 performances, live and multimedia art installations; with food, BC wine, craft beer and other events throughout the weekend. 

Last month, Music BC and SKOOKUM festival organizers invited submissions from British Columbia-based music artists to be chosen to join the line up of prestigious artists. 

Due to the overwhelming number and quality of submissions three musical acts have been chosen to perform at SKOOKUM Festival 2018.
“The response far surpassed expectations,” said Lindsay MacPherson, Program Manager of Music BC. “A total of 371 individual artists and bands submitted to perform at SKOOKUM. They demonstrated the immense level of talent that exists in this province and made the final decision, a very difficult one.” 

The three diverse local artists coming to the stage at SKOOKUM are:

Haley Blais: 

A prolific creative force, Haley Blais’ sometimes self-deprecating, yet always self-loving relatability earned her a massive online following, racking in million views on her Youtube channel.  Starting out as a solo folk artist in 2016, audience demand pulled her offline and into the real world, with the release of her debut EP Late Bloomer and a successful tour. Drawing comparisons to heavy-hitters like Feist, The Cranberries and Cat Power, Blais’ new EP “Let Yourself Go” shows the artist continuing to grow with a fully formed indie pop sound and backing band. The lead single “Small Foreign Faction” has already taken the internet by storm, collecting critical acclaim and bolstering over 300,000 streams within weeks of release. 

Andrew Phelan:

Australian born, Vancouver-based singer Andrew Phelan writes close to the chest, and this heartfelt approach to songwriting quickly ledhim cut a path in the Canadian music scene as the charming front man of Vancouver Folk band The River and The Road. The River and The Road were nominated for 2015 best breakthrough album of the year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for their sophomore release Headlights, released in May. Since then, Andrew has continued performing solo and with a trio in Australia and Canada. The 2018 EP titled “Everything Rattles When I Breathe” is scheduled for release this Summer. 

Missy D:

Missy D is a Vancouver-based bilingual female emcee, hailing from the thousands of hills of Rwanda, the Drogba city of Cote d’lvoire and the Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe. She represents a blend of African cultures in her life-force and in her music. She loves to blend old school and new school Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B. Missy D is a blend of your mother’s favorite groovy tunes and your family rap jams, some call it “Rap & Soul”. She recently released her debut album “When Music Hits You Feel No Pain”. Missy D embraces diversity in instrumentals, music, and most of all people! 

For those who don’t want to wait until September, Mother Mother are playing an intimate show at The Imperial on Main Street, this Thursday May 31st. Part of SKOOKUM After Dark series, the show celebrates the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed album O My Heart.

For details about SKOOKUM passes and more information visit skookumfestival.com

Who will be the Best Sommelier of BC 2018?

On January 29, 2018,  the fourth annual Best Sommelier of BC Competition returns to Rogers Arena, Hosted by The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers British Columbia Chapter (CAPS BC).  Canadian Assoc Professional Sommeliers

This annual competition brings some of the best and brightest sommeliers from across the province together to compete for the title of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018 . The challenging competition includes both a written and practical examination. The practical exam will be held live as the top three sommeliers from the written portion compete for the 2018 title.

Eligible competitors must be accredited members of CAPS BC, and Canadian citizens or permanent residents earning at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment as a sommelier. 

For the first time, this year CAPS BC is also hosting the 2018 BC Aspiring Somm Competition.

This additional event is open to any member of CAPS BC who earns at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment in any role and also has an interest in participating in future Best Sommelier of BC competitions. Shadowing the Best Sommelier of BC format the competition gives aspiring sommeliers the opportunity to understand what the competition is really all about.  The 2018 BC Aspiring Sommelier Winner will be announced prior to the Best Sommelier of BC announcement on Monday evening.

Esteemed judges for this year: Barbara Philip, Michaela Morris and Sebastien Le Goff. Emcee is DJ Kearney and Shane Taylor, winner of 2017 Best Sommelier BC Competition.

On competition day, the hard work for the contestants starts at  9:00am behind closed doors as the preliminary competition, including written exam and blind tasting, with all candidates gets underway.  

Then at noon, the Top 3 Competitors will be announced, and then immediately compete live, before the public and industry, for Best Somm BC 2018. Tickets for the live competition only are just $10 at the door.

In the evening celebrate the day’s competition at the Champions Dinner, starting with cocktails at 4:30pm followed by dinner and the announcement of the winners of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018.

For registration and more details on the events visit bc.sommelierscanada.ca

Getaway for Christmas at The Empress

Many of the Christmas traditions we know and love were established in Victorian England, and that Christmas charm lives on in the city of Victoria.  Central to Victoria’s Yuletide spirit is the famed Fairmont Empress.  The grand Castle on the Coast is making spirits bright with Christmas at the Empress, the first festive season following its grand $60 Million restoration; events and festivities throughout the hotel.

Friends and relations send salutations over Festive Tea at the Empress, pouring until January 2, 2018. Traditional afternoon tea with famous seasonal offerings and classic desserts is made extra special for Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea including a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne. On December 16, 17, 23 and 24, live carolers singing Christmas favourites in the Lobby Lounge add even more Christmas spirit to the festivities.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, until December 23rd, take the chill off and enjoy the Inner Harbour views from the Fairmont Empress’ Winter Veranda. Find a selection of hot beverages and holiday bites while making s’mores around a fire.  If adult libations are more your speed, step into Q Bar for the Season of Joy Drinks, the Empress mixologists are pouring warm and cold modern interpretations of classic festive cocktails throughout the Holidays.

On New Year’s Eve, Q at the Empress and the Crystal Ballroom have a celebration fit for a Queen. In Q, find a five-course set menu, followed by a grand dessert buffet in Lobby Lounge. In the iconic Crystal Ballroom, a modern, Chef-attended festive buffet with live music and cash bar starts the celebrations. After dinner, ring in the New Year with live music at the most elegant New Year’s Eve party in Canada’s most romantic city with a live performance by local jazz and pop singer, Amanda Woods.

 In the morning, start the New Year off right, at Fairmont Empress Resolution Brunch on January 1, 2018 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm in the Lower Lobby. The best brunch in town, filled with everything sweet and savoury to kick off the New Year and wrap up Christmas at the Empress for another season.

 For complete list of Christmas at the Empress and New Year’s Eve events, visit the Fairmont Empress holiday brochure online.