Westward Music Festival Bring Music To The Street

This weekend, September 12 – 15, the 3rd Annual Westward Music Festival brings a stellar line-up of music to downtown Vancouver. Dozens artists from around the world, perform on 11 indoor and outdoor stages, all within close proximity to downtown Vancouver.  Westward Music Festival gets underway Thursday, September 12th with shows at Vogue Theatre, Imperial, Biltmore Cabaret, and Fox Cabaret. 

Some of the world-class acts performing over the weekend include; Toronto’s Owen Pallett, Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, The Wonder Years from Philadelphia, Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47, Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit, Japanese performer Joji, and many more. 

On Friday September 13th, the festivities move outside for the Yaletown Street Party Kickoff, the Music BC Beer Garden Stage at Yaletown Park finds performances starting at 4pm.  Saturday September 14th finds all of Mainland Street closed for Festival entertainment from noon until 10pm.  Two more stages join the Beer Garden Stage to add to the entertainment; Street Party Live Stage at Davie & Mainland, and the Street Party Electronic Stage at Nelson & Mainland.  In between the stages, find artisans and other vendors to keep you interested throughout the day. 

The Yaletown Street Party is free for all but theatre, cabaret and club stages require a Westward Festival Wristband which allows entry to all venues for the entire Festival weekend.  Many venues are all-ages but some are 19+, check venues prior to attendance.  Visit westwardfest.com for line-up, schedule and wristband information. 

Free Film Screening of Miscellaneous Productions “Monsters”

Vancouver’s MISCELLANEOUS Productions is a non-profit, charitable society using art as a path for social change and personal transformation in culturally and socially at-risk youth – empowering them to be fully participating citizens.

pic Chris Randle

Last year, the company debuted, Monsters – an anti-racism, anti-bullying play with hip hop and World music and dance. Funding from Heritage Canada allowed for MISCELLANEOUS Productions to document the production on film, which is making its Vancouver debut November 8th. Screening in Canadian communities this fall, the film forms the basis of dialogues and performing arts workshops with/for culturally and socially inclusive multi-barriered youth.

Monsters is a transdisciplinary musical theatre work loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It explores how and why a community creates and supports a ‘monster’, how collusion functions, and how people are often attracted to individuals with loud, brash, forceful or aggressive personalities but are unaware of how incredibly damaging they can be.

Monsters premiered in October of 2017 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre. Following the Vancouver opening of Monsters, components of the production toured to Catalonia in November 2017.

Ghosts of Productions Past
pic: Chris Randle

On Thursday November 8th, MISCELLANEOUS Productions is holding a FREE screening for the Vancouver film premiere of Monsters, at The Annex, 823 Seymour Street.  The Monsters film screening will be preceded by MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ 5-minute short film, Ghosts of Productions Past. Making its World Premiere, the short is a new and nasty feminist satire of the whiteness of the Canadian theatre scene, #MeToo, #TimesUp and the recent disturbing events at various North American theatre companies.  

MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ Free Screening of Monster, with Ghosts of Productions Past, takes place November 8, 2018 at 7pm. Doors open at 6pm, admission is free but seating is limited.  Due to scenes of violence, the screening is not recommended for children 12 or under. 

Ce Soir Noir Free Public Picnic Returns for a 4th Year

With all the smoke darkening the skies, it’s a perfect time for Ce Soir Noir 2018 (This Black Night) to return to Vancouver.  The free public picnic descends on a new location, Creekside Park for its fourth year, this Thursday, August 23th.  Created by artists  George Vergette and Graeme Berglund invites people to don all-black and become part of the mass public art installation.

In contrast to the other brighter and whiter, strictly structured al fresco dining event happening on the same night, Ce Soir Noir is relatively unstructured. Organizers ask guests to just show up, in black, sometime between 5pm – 10pm, whenever suits your schedule.  Bring friends, a picnic, a positive attitude and do nothing much but spend an evening chilling out on the shores of False Creek. Enjoy the company of old friends and meet some new ones.

Creekside Park is a public space, to keep Ce Soir Noir a free community event be good neighbours.  Treat the space with respect and leave the park as clean or cleaner for the following day.  As long as you can take it home with you, bring what you want.  Guests are asked not to bring square folding tables, chairs, dogs and, of course, no open flames are allowed in these tinder dry conditions.

Ce Soir Noir takes place August 23rd between 5pm and 10pm at Creekside Park, 1455 Quebec Street (near Science World).

Harmony Arts Festival kicks off Friday

As other festivals come and go, Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver is still going strong after more than a quarter century.   Centred on the Ambleside Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, the festival packs August 4th to 13th with music, arts, film and food, much of it free!

Highlights of the free festival events include;

Four Stages to choose from to suit your musical tastes.
ONNI Group Sunset Concerts at John Lawson Park feature the likes of Valdy, Dawn Pemberton, The Paperboys and more
Parc Retirement Living Garden Concerts feature Bobby Bruce’s Nearly Neil and The Solitary Band, Coco Jafra, Lion Bear Fox, Melanie Dekker, Jim Byrnes, The Boom Booms to name just a few.
Hollyburn House Seniors’ Series finds Dal Richards Orchestra and others playing afternoon sets
Live Music at The Silk Purse has live jazz and classic sounds

Fresh St. Market Art Market lines Argyle Street with an open air art market keeping the attention on visual arts that have been the core of Harmony Arts Festival since the beginning.
Fresh St. Market Art Market Daylight and Twilight is a multi-media installation featuring photography, film and interactive mediums.
Art Beat invites visitors to walk the beat in Ambleside Beach and Dundarave Village exploring the multitude of artists displaying their works in shops and galleries around areas.
Plenty of other visual arts exhibitions, shows and even competitions take place throughout the Festival to keep your senses amazed.

After the ONNI Group Sunset Concerts stick around John Lawson Park for free nightly screenings of award-winning films starting at 9pm including classics like In The Heat Of The Night, or From Russia With Love, action hits Jurassic Park or E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, to the contemporary musical Moulin Rouge, or animated Zootopia.

What’s a festival without great food, Harmony Arts doesn’t disappoint with Artisan Eats, a collection of food trucks at John Lawson Park.  The Park Royal Beachside Patio brings The Fish Shack by Glowbal Group to West Van. The RE/MAX Waterfront Lounge welcomes Caffé Al Mercato to provide al fresco dining alongside the Parc Retirement Living Garden Stage.
Along with these dining options two special ticketed events:
Best of the West is a sold out evening featuring 13 local restaurants paired with 13 wineries celebrating the best BC has to offer.
Mixology Night on the Pier, now in its 2nd year, celebrates the rebirth of cocktail culture with eight of Metro Vancouver’s competing to create the best cocktail as voted by the attendees. Tickets are just $75

With plenty of events to amuse young and old, from day time to evening, there’s sure to be something for your whole family to enjoy at Harmony Arts Festival. Visit harmonyarts.ca for a full list of events and times.

Free Discovery Pass opens Parks Canada sites for 2017

With the long winter behind us and a long weekend ahead, it’s time to get outside and explore again.  In celebration of Canada 150, Parks Canada has opened the gates and doors to their parks and sites for free with the 2017 Discover Pass.

The Discovery Pass allows all Canadians to get out and explore the country’s spectacular national parks, marine conservation areas and national historic sites.  Parks Canada sites cover the country Coast to Coast to Coast; from L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland & Labrador to Pacific Rim in BC to Quttinirpaaq in Nunavut.

If a cross Canada trip isn’t in your plans, we have a diverse selection of Parks Canada sites to visit right here in BC.  National Parks, National Historic Sites and a National Marine Conservation Area are all on the list of BC sites including;

  • Yoho National Park
  • Rogers Pass National Park
  • Glacier National Par
  • Mount Revelstoke National Park
  • Kootenay National Park
  • Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
  • Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
  • Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area, National Park Reserve & Haida Heritage Site
  • Fort St James National Historic Site
  • Chinook Trail National Historic Site
  • Fort Langley National Historic Site
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
  • Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites

Order your own free Parks Canada Discovery Pass online now. One pass is valid for everyone in your party when you visit one the included Parks Canada properties.

In addition to offering free admission to the parks and sites, your Discover Pass also extends a 15% discount to purchases at parkscanadashop.ca

Grab your Discovery Card and explore Canada all year!

Who will be BC’s Best Sommelier?

BC Best SommelierToday, the 3rd Annual Best Sommelier of BC Competition takes place at Rogers Arena’s Captains Lounge and the public is welcomed to watch the 16 sommeliers compete to become the best of 2017.

Presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers British Columbia Chapter (CAPS BC) the Best Sommelier of BC Competition begins with a written exam in the morning.  Then, at 1230, the public can attend, free of charge, to watch the competition.  The participants will compete in; sparkling wine service, red wine decanting, food and wine pairing exercise, menu correction exercise and blind tasting of cocktails, red and white wines.

The 16 competing sommeliers represent some of the city’s finest;

  • Adam Mayhew, Yew Seafood + Bar
  • Chris McFadden, Terminal City Club
  • Christopher Rielly, Nightingale
  • Dawn Schultz, West
  • Jayton Paul, Nightingale
  • Jesse Walters, Burdock & Co
  • Joanne DiGesio, Hawksworth Restaurant
  • Kristi Linneboe, L’Abattoir
  • Kyle Gartlan-Close, Le Crocodile
  • Mathew Landry, Stable House
  • Peter Van de Reep, Upstairs at Campagnolo
  • Sarah McCauley, Glowbal
  • Sean Nelson, Vij’s
  • Shane Taylor, CinCin Ristorante + Bar
  • Todd Prucyk, Hawksworth Restaurant
  • Wes Hunter, Raudz

The winner of Best Sommelier of BC will go on to compete against the best of Canada later this year, also hosted by the BC Chapter at Rogers Arena.

Shoot hoops with Pistol Shrimps & DoXa Festival

This week, DOXA Documentary Film Festival presented their 2nd Annual Free Outdoor Screening at Robson Square.  “Pistol Shrimps” was a fan favourite during the 2016 DOXA Festival and the screening on Wednesday brought the film to even more fans. To get the audience in the bball mood, early arriving spectators were treated to a display of basketball skills by the UBC Thunderbirds Women’s Basketball Team before the film started

Pistol 1Canadian filmmaker Brent Hodge’s documentary follows the Pistol Shrimps, a women’s intramural basketball team in Los Angeles.  A ragtag group of women have come together to revive the women’s recreational league in LA and come away with new skills, new friends and new confidence.  The Pistol Shrimps include musicians, comediennes, writers, and actresses, like Audrey Plaza, with little or no basketball skills but with a great love of the game and competition.  For some it’s a return to team sports they played in high school, for others it’s a chance to have a team experience they missed out on through their childhood.  For most it’s an opportunity to gain genuine female camaraderie that is lacking in Los Angeles especially in the entertainment industry.

Humour plays throughout the film but the players take their sport and the Pistol Shrimps with complete seriousness.  While it’s a funny film, the director never plays the subjects for laughs, instead telling a true tale of a group of naturally funny women playing on a serious team.

If you get the chance to catch the film at a festival near you, jump at the chance! Watch for more DOXA Screenings throughout the year leading up to the 2017 Festival May 4 – 14, 2017.