The Phillips Backyard Weekender announces 2018 line-up

Phillips_Backyard_WeekenderWhile we’re still in the grips of winter, The Phillips Backyard Weekender has come along to make us think of summer with the release of the 2018 festival line-up.

For three days in July, The Phillips Brewery backlot transforms into Victoria’s biggest backyard brewery party.  Great music, great beer, and a great audience make the Weekender one of the city’s most fun.  The compact festival, expanded beyond the Backyard last to include Discovery Street and ANIÁN Yard to add The Picnic’er Stage to the festival.

The music line-up was introduced this week

Appearing in The Phillips Brewery Backyard :

Friday: Keys N Krates, Too Many Zooz, DJ Shub, Moontricks, Grossbuster

Saturday: Reggie Watts, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Federale, Louise Burns, Slim Sandy & the Hillbilly Boppers, Miles Mosley and the West Coast Get Down

Sunday: The Revolution, Kelis, Hollie Cook, Miami Nights 1984

And spinning tunes between sets :The Champion Sound (Murge & Verse)

Appearing at The Picnic-er Stage at ANIÁN, curated by Do250

Diamond Cafe, Dylan Stone, Electric Sex Panther, Jason Verners, Small Town Artillery, Tan and Hide, Zee and The Empties plus more acts to be announced.

The Phillips Backyard Weekender is a 19+ event, Phillips Beer and Spirits, along with food trucks and more fill your weekend.  For more information and tickets visit

PNE Chinese Lantern Festival shines

Chinese Opera lantern

The Chinese Lantern Festival has been lighting up the night at the PNE since December 15. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, this weekend is your last chance to experience the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

Spread over 14 acres of the PNE Hastings Park site, 35 intricate, illuminate Chinese Lantern displays bring colour and character to the winter nights.



Dozens of Chinese artists, spent a month prior to opening setting up the elaborate lanterns, including the amazing pagoda made of thousands of pieces of Chinese porcelain china set, stacked and strung together to create the massive structure which stands without any glue or fasteners except for thin white twine.

250ft Dragon

Amongst the Chinese cultural displays unique Christmas themed lantern; Santa, reindeer, snowmen, to bring a festive touch to the site.  Some of the colourful, Chinese cultural lanterns tell the story of Confucius, and Chinese Opera while others like the reflect symbols of fortune and good will; pandas, fish, flowers, and the centrepiece 250 foot long Dragon.

With nearly 50,000 people coming through the gates, the Chinese Lantern Festival has proved to be a popular winter event, and will surely grow in popularity when it returns for a second year, next winter.

The Chinese Lantern Festival at the PNE must close January 21, 2018. The site opens at 5pm each day, tickets can be purchased online at or at the gates at Hastings & Refrew Streets at PNE Hastings Park.

Some Hope For The Bastards opens PuSh Festival 2018

This week, the 14th Push International Performing Arts Festival opened at Vancouver Playhouse with a performance of Some Hope For The Bastards.

Montreal choreographer, dancer, musician Frédérick Gravel returns to PuSh Festival with another unique dance spectacle.  A music-dance hybrid, Some Hope For The Bastards is the kind of unexpected show you expect from PuSh Festival.  In Frédérick’s witty introduction, we learn that the awkward, yet mesmerizing opening number we’d just watched before the lights dimmed was one of two. A second opening followed his dialogue, and the movement didn’t stop from there, sometimes accompanied by Frédérick along with fellow musicians Phillippe Brault and José Major and some pieces had no music  at all.  The heartbeating bass ran through much of the show, like a ribbon tying the erratic contemporary movements together. Even when the dance was synchronized the choreography felt natural and instinctive, flowing from the dancers as though improvised on the spot.  At 90 minutes (no intermission) the show is long, and a session of repetitive movements and sounds in the later half creating an almost hypnotic lull in the action before bouncing back with the music and tempo change.  Holding our attention through the nearly non-stop dance over the hour and half is a testament to the skill, stamina and talent of the 9 dancers on stage.

Some Hope The The Bastards was a one night only performance at PuSh Festival 2018 but watch for Frédérick Gravel to return again in the future and check the PuSh program for other great shows that bring the cutting edge, unique performances to the stage we have come to expect each winter during the Festival.


Dine Out 2018 serves up more great food events & menus

Now that you’ve had a couple weeks to get over your Holiday indulgences, Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2018 is here to serve you mouth watering events and set menus.

The 2018 line up of food events has been selling fast already and now the set menus have been released for participating restaurants to start taking reservations.   Three hundred + restaurants, wineries, breweries, and suppliers from Abbotsford to the North Shore, are featuring set lunch and dinner menus at $20, $30, and $40 for the 17 day Dine Out Vancouver Festival.

In addition to the set menus, check out over 40 unique food and drink events ranging from food tours, and food trucks to specialist tastings, to international chef collaborations, secret suppers and VQA wine tastings.

A sample of just some of the events include:

The Art of Tea Gastronomy at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique, Vancouver – various dates.
Pop Up Ocean Wise Cafe at Vancouver Aquarium with Chef Ned Bell – 2 seating per night, various dates.
The BC VQA Wine Brunch at Hart House, Burnaby – January 20th. 
Get Shucked Up at Fanny Bay Oysters – January 22nd & 29th.
The Perfect Vegan Pizza Cooking Class at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company – January 29th
Vancouver World Chef Exchange with Chefs from Bangkok, Tokyo, Beijing, Nashville – various dates & locations

Coming from out of town, or even if you’re local, why not make a night of it and book one a night or package with one of the participating Dine Out Hotel Partners. 

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2018 runs January 19 – February 4, 2018. For menu information, restaurant and hotel reservations and event tickets visit



PuSh International Performing Arts Festival kicks off 2018

The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is fast approaching. Opening January 16, 2018, the festival brings three weeks of cutting edge, creative performing arts to stages around Vancouver.

The PuSh program is packed with artistic experiences from around the world. Take a look through the listings to find what you’re interested in, here’s a sampling of what you’ll find;

Some Hope for the Bastards – Frédérick Gravel (Canada), the renowned Quebecois dance artist is creator & director of a musical-dance spectacle for the musically adventurous and visually attuned.
Opening Night January 17 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.

The Events – Pi Theatre (Canada) present the English Canadian premiere of David Greig’s daring play inspired by the 2011 killing of 69 people at a summer camp in Utøya, Norway.  Featuring a different Metro Vancouver choir each night sharing the stage with the two actors.
January 17 – 18 at Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Ave.

King Arthur’s Night – Neworld Theatre (Canada) presented with UBC Theatre & Film brings us the tale of King Arthur with the added entertainment of a live band and 20 member chorus
January 31 – February 4 at Frederic Wood Theatre 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC

Dickie Beau: Unplugged – Dickie Beau (England), innovative, drag performer discusses his love of drag and how his lip-sync performances have updated the art of drag.
January 19 at The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main St
January 20 at Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., New Westminster

Reassembled, Slightly Askew – Shannon Yee (Northern Ireland), a survivor of a medically induced coma and brain injury, brings an audio experience like no other. Melding art and science, this multidisciplinary adventure is a head-trip in the literal sense.
January 17 – February 4 at The Cultch, Culture Lab, 1895 Venables Ave.

Blind Cinema – Britt Hatzius (England/Germany) gives the audience a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes.  The blindfolded audience are blindfolded and seated in front of children who describe the audio-less film in hushed whispers.
January 24 – 25 / January 31 – February 1 at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St.

Birdman : Live – Antonio Sanchez (USA/Mexico), one of the world’s greatest drummers, provides a live accompaniment to the Academy Award-winning film Birdman onstage at the Vogue Theatre.
February 1 at The Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St.

The Eternal Tides – Legend Lin Dance Theatre (Taiwan) and choreographer Lin Lee-Chen intertwines intricate age-old rituals, customs and ceremonies with song and dance to create a tribute to the waters that surround the island of Taiwan.
February 3 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St.

Amongst all these amazing artistic performance a collection of workshops, talkbacks and panels add to the PuSh Festival experience.
Passes and individual performance tickets are available online now, some shows are already selling fast and will sell out so make your selections soon.


Picks of the Week – January 3, 2018

2018 is here and we’re back in full swing looking for great entertainment picks of the week to get you through the first week of the new year.

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: It’s your last chance to help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre before is closes January 6th.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival  bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site until January 21st

Lights: Lights at Lafarge Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival, the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland keeps the lights on until January 21st

Canyon: Take to the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  until January 28th, 2018. 

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage welcomes Disney’s Beauty & The Beast until January 13th.

Train: This is the last week for Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train until January 6th

Heritage: Celebrate the way the Holidays were a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum  until January 5th

Garden: Wander through millions of lights and colours at Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden until January 7th

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports Throwdown International Theatresports Festival is on now. First up, until Jan 13th, local teams of VTSL players improv their way to the best of Vancouver, before taking on International Improv teams the following week.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival illuminates PNE

This Friday, December 15, 2017, the PNE debuts the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival, the largest of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals will light up the skies of Vancouver with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length.

Bin Zhu, Director of Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd says, “We believe our lantern festivals can improve cultural communication between China and the world.”

“It is a tremendous honour to have been selected by this leading cultural organization as the inaugural host in Canada for this important festival,” says Mike McDaniel, President and CEO of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). “We anticipate people from all ethnicities and cultures from across our region will be excited about the opportunity to see this important and impressive display.”

Lantern festivals started during the Han Dynasty, about 2,000 years ago. For centuries, lanterns festivals have been lit on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese calendar to pray for a good harvest, and to gain favor of Taiyi, god of heaven. Today, the lantern festivals are still held each year around the country, with each major Chinese city having its own light festival.  In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones that will be on display at the PNE.

The Festival will be featuring Dragon, White Pagoda, Kylin, and Huabiao Column lanterns, each lantern symbolizing a Chinese sage or legend. The columns are said to be protectors of the residents and a reminder for the emperor to pay attention to his duties.

In addition to the lantern displays, the festival will also include two nightly performances in the PNE Amphitheatre: Sunday to Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, and Friday and Saturdays at 7pm and 9pm. Featuring Face Changing, Acrobatics, Plate Spinners, Folk Dance, Jar Balancing and Erhu. These exciting performances are family friendly, and are sure to wow. The lantern festival will also feature a food and beverage program and additional children’s activities.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival opens December 15th, featuring 35 illuminated displays transforming over 14 acres of Hastings Park running daily from December 15th, 2017 (closed Christmas Day) until January 21, 2018.

For further information and tickets visit