Top 10 memories of Vancouver Outgames/Pride Week

So many great and fun activities and events happened over the last week of July with the North American Outgames and Vancouver Pride week combined it’s hard to choose a favourite so here’s my Top 10!

10. Seeing the Outgames Flag relay take off for Whistler on Helijet, bonus having my good friend as one of the flag runners.
9. Seeing friends at the many fun and community-minded networking events
8. Spending the day in the sun with friends watching the festivities of the Pride parade & festival
7. Commiserating, mocking and making the most of the little organizational delays and glitches (that happen at every large event) with friends, both old and new.
6. Seeing great performances and meeting some of the artists over the week like Sugarbeach, Wynter Gordon, Dragonette and Ace of Base.
5. Watching my friend Tyrell Witherspoon perform absolutely everywhere throughout the week, often multiple shows in the same day.
4. Meeting up and hanging out with friends from out of town an showing them Vancouver is a fun city…and hearing that they agree!
3. Going to parties and events from afternoon to morning, like Davie Street Party, Celebrities, Five-Sixty, IronRod, Outgames Opening, Showcase and Closing parties, Anthem Party…
2. Having had a blast at an Anthem Party, bumping into old friends on the street after, then not getting into one party to meet up with friends, only to have an unexpectedly fantastic night with different friends at another party.
1. Winning The Feud at Numbers with a dream team and beating the more seasoned (and trash talking) teams!

Wynter Gordon storms Vancouver!

Wynter Gordon – Anthem Party/Plaza Of Nations – July 31, 2011

Under a bright and sunny evening, the sensational Wynter Gordon turned up the heat further when she took the stage at the 2011 North American Outgames,  Anthem Party.
The New York native performed alone onstage but filled it with her presence. The party was already in full swing when she came on to perform “Til Death,” “Dirty Talk,” and “Toy Friend“.  Unfortunately, that was the extent of her set, just a quick three songs.  The audience was clearly disappointed and wanted more. She inquired about doing one more song but hadn’t brought the track for “Believer” or anything else with her so we were left craving more that hopefully Wynter will return to satisfy soon!

Celebration of Light / Shorefest 2011

Hard to believe that our little fireworks festival is all grown up and turning 21 years old!

The flashes and booms over English Bay followed by ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahs”will fill the air of Vancouver as the Celebration of Light takes off for another year. This year’s “Battle Of Champions” edition kicks off Saturday July 30th with China followed by Spain on Wednesday August 3rd and finally Canada on Saturday August 6th. Listen to the simulcast music on Shore 104.3 FM.

In addition to the excitement of the spectacular fireworks, Shorefest, returns for a third year. This music festival features three stages; English Bay, Kits Beach and Vanier Park.  Kits and Vanier Park stages are free for all to enjoy with the English Bay stage by-invitation-only performances for listeners of Shore 104.3.

This year’s performers include: former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page, Wide Mouth Mason, Jim Byrnes, Jeremy Fisher, Leeroy Stagger, Grapes of Wrath’s Kevin Kane and The Sojourners.
Performances begin at 7pm each night of the Celebration of Light. So head down to the water’s edge early and get your seat, listen to some good tunes and enjoy an unique specactle each evening.

 

What’s on this Weekend! July 28 – August 1, 2011

What’s on this weekend? What’s NOT on this weekend!?
There’s so much happening, I can’t keep up!

Happening all week long is the Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames ; sports, culture and human rights conference all rolled into one event. Visit the Outgames website for all the activities happening around Vancouver, Whistler, Burnaby and beyond.

In case you haven’t noticed a few rainbow flags around town, it’s also Pride Week in Vancouver.  Parties and Parades and Persperation (if we’re lucky to see some sun) will be the order of the day, check out the Vancouver Pride website for details on the multitude of events.

There are a few events that I’m hoping to be able to check out, so maybe I’ll see you at one of the following:

Thursday July 28
Outgames Live Showcase at Five-Sixty featuring DJ G-Luve, Carole Pope, Armstrong Jr. and Peter Breeze
– strut your stuff at The Pride Ball on the east side at The Cobalt

Friday July 29
– The big event to start off the evening is the Caya Davie Street Dance Party powered by Telus ; stroll, strut and shake your thang as Davie Street is closed and transformed into one big party from Burrard to Bute Street.
DJ Dave Aude is mixing it up at Celebrities Nightclub
– Get out your IronRod and dance to the beats at Open Studios.
– I have a feeling the Four floors of Five-Sixty won’t be the only things stuffed as Bearracuda takes over.
– DJ Adam Dreaddy &  Lisa De Lux take The Helm for a Pride Edition of Bounce – Cool beats to bounce to!

Saturday July 30
– At Rogers Arena – grunge icons Soundgarden play with Queens of the Stone Age and Meat Puppets. (funnily the support acts seem quite appropriately names for Pride Weekend!)
– Taking the Bell Pitch at Empire Stadium, LA Galaxy (minus David Beckham) take on Whitecaps FC
– The Closing Party and Ceremony takes over the Plaza Of Nation Outgames Celebration Site for the day, performances by DJ Adam Dreaddy, Diversity Project, Carol Pope, Sugarbeach, Tracey Bell, Kim Kuzma, Dragonette, Ace of Base and more.
Celebration of Light Fireworks festival begins in English Bay at 1030 as China takes to the sky, followed by Spain on Wednesday Aug 3rd then Canada Saturday Aug 6th
– Make your own fireworks at Five-Sixty’s ultimate Pride Celebration – Rainbow Night aka Slut Puppy with Legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles and drag diva Lady Bunny.
– If hip hop is more your thing get to Pub 340 and the Pride edition of Big Primpin’

Sunday July 31
– the big event of the day is the Pride Parade, 140 parade entries and three quarters of a million people will take over the west end to take in the parade then the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach.
– after the parade head over to Plaza Of Nations for The Anthem Party with performances by DJ Abel (Miami), DJ Eddie Martinez (NYC), Wynter Gordon and Tyrell Witherspoon it’s sure to be a great day
– still looking for more? head east to The Waldorf and SPIT vs BLOW PONY vs YES YES Y’ALL pit the party people of Vancouver against Portland and Toronto to create and epic fest!
– if you still haven’t had enough hit the late night party at Gorg-o-mish for United: Pride with DJ Paulo and DJ Adam Dreaddy

Monday August 1
– find a patio, rest, chill, catch-up and compare notes with friends and sleep

Canada Place Sails Under The Rainbow

Look across Coal Harbour this evening and the rest of the week to see Canada Place awash in a rainbow of colour.

Vancouver 2011 Outgames Corporate Sponsor, Canada Place Corporation will light up the night sky during the Vancouver 2011 Outgames taking place July 25-31st 2011. Each night the Canada Place sails will be lit in the rainbow colours, in celebration of the upcoming Vancouver 2011 Outgames.

“Canada Place is pleased to support the GLISA North America Outgames as we light up our iconic sails in a rainbow of colour from July 25-30th,” said Robyn McVicker, Director Communications & Public Affairs, Canada Place Corporation. “Each night the sails will shine in celebration of this fantastic event and as a welcome to all the Outgames athletes and participants from around the world.

Watch for Canada Place to be awash in rainbow colours

Visible from most places around Coal Harbour, Canada Place generates over $1 billion per year in economic activity and is an inspiring national landmark welcoming local residents, visitors and ships to the West Coast. 
Look to the sails as you

 

Neverest – new Canadian music.

Neverest – Rogers Arena – July 9/10, 2011

Scoring an opening slot on the iconic NKOTBSB concert might be a near impossibility for a new up and coming Canadian band with just a seven song EP to their credentials but Neverest did it! It might have helped that the Toronto group is managed by 3 Street Management, Backstreet Boy Howie Durough’s artist management company.

Introduced to the stage by Howie, himself, perhaps to ensure the NKOTBSB audience paid attention to ‘his’ act, they didn’t need him. Neverest rocked a quick set but showed the great stage presence and skill of some seasoned pros. For a band that’s hasn’t even been around a year yet they boys show great confidence and poise.  The short set culmulated with Neverest’s debut single ‘About Us’, which got the attention of the mostly female crowed.

With the multi-talented Matthew Morrison from Glee and mega group NKOTBSB still to perform it takes a certain kind of band to prove memorable on a night of pop icons. Neverest met the challenge and I look forward to seeing the quartet to headline their own gig sometime in the future.

NKOTBSB Are Still Hanging Tough

NKOTBSB – Rogers Arena – July 9/10, 2010

NKOTBSB

Two boyband eras collided in spectacular fashion over the weekend to bring to stage one of the biggest shows in Vancouver for a long while.  The combined catalogue of New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys could have been cranking out hots well beyond the very precise 2hours and 45 minute long set.  With the addition of two opening acts, Neverest and Matthew Morrison (Glee), the audience certainly got their money’s worth, from the crowd reaction, no one left disappointed with the show they’d just been part of.  I say ‘part of’ as the two groups were very interactive with the audience and the stage was set with a long catwalk out into a centre stage so they performed equally amongst the crowd as on the main stage.  For one set, the Backstreet Boys entered through the audience and even brought a few

Joey McIntyre interacts with an audience member

lucky ladies up on stage to be serenaded with “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”.  New Kids went out into the audience to interact and roam around the arena.  Starting the show with all nine members of the two acts all together onstage really gave the feeling that this was a BIG show.  From then on the two groups traded stage time, alternating songs or mini-sets, each song, all memorable hits, had the audience on their feet, singing along.
Having both groups back to back, side by side highlighted the similarities as well as the differences.  Although nearly a decade separates the peaks of each of these acts the members are

Brian & Joey Introduce Each Other

just a few years apart in age, each band having a bad-boy (Donnie / AJ), the cute one (Joey / Brian), the pin-up (Jordan / Nick).  Musically, they both have firm roots in ‘boy-band pop’ but NKOTB have a definite soul edge, with their “Stylistics” reminiscent melodies whereas BSB have a more R&B slant to their brand of pop, reflecting their era.
NKOTB’s more synchronized dance moves and polished (and quite glittery) costumes hearken back to their start and their founders Motown influences.  BSB has a more ‘street’ style with each member having their distinct style, (better to allow the fans to choose their favourite).  Although

Huge Scream For A Shirtless Donnie Wahlberg

speaking of costumes the biggest cheers of the night came when Donnie Wahlberg tore his off, singing shirtless as he strutted and danced up and down the catwalk.  At nearly 42, with a successful acting career as well, he certainly hasn’t rested since their past heydays.
Since most of these ‘boys’ are now family men in their late thirties and early forties they seem to be at ease in their careers, enjoying themselves and the adoration of their similarly aged audience of mostly ladies, some of whom brought their children along to share the experience.  I heard of a number of fans, who went to both show nights in Vancouver, thoroughly enjoying themselves both times. From the reaction of some of them, I’m sure

The 'Kids' From Boston vs...

they’d have gone to as many shows as they could. I have to say, even with the huge number of concerts I attend, this was one of the most enjoyable, fun-filled spectacles I’ve seen in a long time.  Even if you were just a casual fan, when the NKOTBSB juggernaut passes through your city it is definitely worth checking out!

...The 'Boys' From Orlando