I’m a big fan of television and every fall there’s a new show out there that captivates my attention, makes me laugh, and inspires my writing. We may not watch shows when their air live but being at home on the couch with my husband is downtime that I truly value. If Olivia Dunham, Sheldon Cooper, and Tommy Gavin happen join us, all the better.
I can’t believe how many events are going on around town this month, let alone the handful or so happening tonight. This week’s action-packed Link Fest features everything from music events to fundraisers, enjoy!
A few weeks ago I got a tour of the newly-renovated Morrissey on Granville and last night Keira and stopped in for a bit to check it out at night. The renovation of this watering hole with a loyal customer base represents far more than a design overhaul; it’s a non-pretentious, laid back, yet really cool place to grab a drink which over the last 20 years or so, was next to impossible to find on Granville.
Anyone who has been to Vancouver knows that Granville street is a pretty interesting place. At night it’s club district is filled with short skirts, egos and testosterone-fueled spats. In the light of day, especially now that the street is undergoing a revitalization, it’s like a blast from the past. The architecture is from a different time, actually more so from various different times.
Art Deco theatres now house night clubs or stores, while hotels from the 1920s have been turned into hostels or parking lots. Piercing shops and tattoo parlours speckle the landscape in between adult novelty stores with neon “25 cent peep show” signs. Just down the block there’s a Burger King, a Payless Shoes, and private parties for things like BC Fashion Week. This eclectic mix of old and new, posh and rough, trendy and edgy makes it an area of the city where you either go to have fun, or avoid like the plague.
I met with the designer of the new Morrissey, Reisa Pollard, who said that the renovation was to be the antithesis of EarlStonesClub. However, it was still supposed to be friendly and welcoming to the hotel guests, as it is a part of the Ramada. A classic live venue that has hosted rock and roll acts for a pint or five, she also didn’t want to lose that part of its history. Taking an Irish-themed hotel pub and turning it into a relaxed tribute with antique highlights was definitely a challenge but I’d say Reisa and her team pulled it off.
The Morrissey is located on Granville between Davie & Drake, and its building – the Austin Motor Hotel, dates back to 1906. Some of the elements you’ll see out in the open, as a part of the design, are either original or throwbacks to that time period. During the renovation Reisa removed the wood paneling from the back wall and uncovered the original wallpaper and you’ll also notice band stickers on the bar stools, funky pillows, and old radios stacked up on the walls.
Music has always been an important part of the Morrissey and they still have live performances and every Saturday night at 10:00pm they will feature current buzz bands, indie, punk, rock, electro, old school hits and rotating DJs.
Keira and I really enjoyed hanging out there last night. The staff was friendly, helpful, and courteous, and the music was simply fun. Once a Beastie Boys song turned into Tears for Fears Keira exclaimed, “I wish they would play some Duran Duran.” I assured her that given what we had already heard that night, it was probably on tap. Sure enough the very next song was Planet Earth. I would recommend checking it out and if you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.
Tomorrow afternoon the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Canadian team retail apparel will be revealed.
Hbc is once again the apparel designer of the official clothing (for both the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams) and they’re hosting a free public event that will feature the following:
12:00 – 12:15 DJ Hedspin
12:00 â€“ 1:00 Canadian athlete autograph session
12:15 – 1:15 Cowboy Junkies
1:15 – 1:45 Fashion Show of 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Retail Apparel
1:45 – 3:45 DJ Hedspin
2:00 â€“ 3:00 Athlete autograph session
3:45 – 4:30 Dan Mangan
4:30 – 5:00 Fashion Show of 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Retail Apparel
5:00 – 6:00 Sam Roberts Band
5:30 â€“ 6:30 Canadian athlete autograph session
6:00 – 7:30 DJ Hedspin
This will all take place at the Olympic Superstore on the main/street level if The Bay downtown. I must admit, I love a free concert and although it could get pretty packed in there, it’ll be fun to see Dan Mangan and Sam Roberts perform. No tickets are necessary but you will want to arrive early to catch any of these presentations or performers.
Update: John was down at The Bay yesterday and snapped some photos of the concerts and the new apparel.
You can view all of his photos in this Flickr set.
Read more about the “Red Mittens” campaign here.
I’ve stayed in over a dozen hotels this year and I must admit that I’ve only ever stayed in a Vancouver hotel once. This week’s installment of my “Then and Now series features the cornerstone of our tourism community, hotels.
The first Hotel Vancouver from the 1880s was on Georgia at Granville. The second was built at Howe and Georgia, where the TD Tower sits today. My Flickr contact SqueakyMarmot has a nice side-by-side comparison of this iteration. These images are of the third Hotel Vancouver, which is in operation today.
The Yale was founded in the mid 1880s and was one of the very few buildings to survive downtown’s Great Fire of 1886.
The Sylvia has been a landmark in English Bay for almost a century. It’s great for photographing especially in spring and summer when the ivy crawls its way all over the brick exterior.
The famous Hotel Georgia closed its doors and began renovation/re-construction a few years ago. It hosted high profile celebrities during its 80-year run including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Bob Hope.
Should you have any suggestions for next week’s installment, or any photos you think would be a good fit, please feel free to contact me.
*All photos have their item number listed so you can look them up online or in person at the City of Vancouver Archives.
This year I will be covering the Vancouver International Film Festival rather extensively. From films to parties, I’ll have tweets, photos, and write ups about the best of the fest.
While the city is warming up for the hundreds of films that will grace our screens starting this week, I had been flipping through my program trying to formulate a viewing game plan. I then realized that there’s someone in town that could give me the ultimate VIFF overview, and that’s Marina from Row Three.
Marina and Row Three have been an excellent online film resource for years and in 2008 I profiled her for my weekly E!Online article. Marina also introduced me to many things including the works of Carl Bessai — an amazing local filmmaker and consistent audience-favourite. Row Three‘s coverage this year will focus heavily on Canadian film and with almost 100 movies in the Canadian Images series at the festival, it’s a hefty task that I know they’re up to.
I sat down with Marina the other night to see what she’s looking forward to this year and to see if she’ll make it to all 40+ films she has on her own “must see” list. I asked her to name a few of her picks (and I’ve added in one of my own as well):
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Canada/UK – Director: Terry Gilliam
This was Heath Ledger’s last film and as Marina explained to me, Gilliam thought, “It was either scrap the movie or come up with some other way to finish it.” So some of Ledger’s friends were called upon to finish this in his honor. The film sees big names such as Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and even Tom Waits make appearances although Marina says it’s truly Plummer’s film.
Canada – Director: Nimisha Mukerji, Philip Lyall
I was told this film won the audience choice award at Hot Docs earlier this year and is by two Vancouver directors about their friend who has Cystic Fibrosis and uses the internet to emotionally cope with it. Marina and I both have this one on our radar.
I Killed My Mother
Canada – Director: Xavier Dolan
“For must-watch Canadian films I’ve got to say it’s I Killed My Mother,” noted Marina “It’s Xavier Dolan’s directorial debut. It got a lot of attention at Cannes and it’s also Canada’s entry into the Oscar race next year.”
Prom Night in Mississippi
Canada – Paul Saltzman
“A really interesting and bizarre story about a high school in small town Mississippi that still has segregated proms.” Marina says, “The film is much more poignant because you get the view of segregation from the kids’ point of view and they’re really blunt. They don’t hide anything and what’s on their mind is what they say. It just really makes you wonder — like we’re in 2009 and people still think like that.” Marina said that it would be great if you have teenage kids and the film is “really well shot”.
I just have to also quickly mention Facing Ali by Pete McCormmack as one I’m really looking forward to seeing as well. Marina also recommended Bessai’s Cole …but I have to keep this as close to a Top 5 as possible.
Now that you know at least
five six of the films that will be playing, I’d like to give you the chance to get out and see some movies. I have two double passes to give away to any* VIFF 2009 film so if you would like to enter to win, please leave a comment and I’ll draw the winners tomorrow afternoon. Your comment can include which of the Top 5 you’re looking forward to, your own picks, or even your favourite Canadian film of all time.
You can pick up your own copy of the festival program or browse titles online to view other titles of interest. You can also check out the Row Three podcast for reviews and info about the film scene in Vancouver.
*Winners will be able to select form any of the films on the schedule (except galas) and this will not include films that are already sold out or that only have rush/door tickets.
Update: I just drew Hedwig and Rich as the winners of the tickets – thanks for entering the contest, everyone!
This morning I am at GM Place for Free the Children’s We Day… and so are 16,000 enthusiastic young people.
I haven’t had much time to live blog but I have been tweeting from the floor of the arena (which you can view in the pane below):
It has been an amazing morning with thousands of excited and motivated kids and youth who have been hanging on every word from every speaker her at We Day. Each Nobel Laureate, TV star, politician and host is treated like a rockstar by the crowd. The kids were instructed how to do a “cell phone wave”, hug their neighbour, and chant about change. The thing that struck a chord with me is that the speakers were informing everyone about issues around the globe, and the help that is desperately needed, yet they also let the children know they can help close to home. They brought home the fact that they can do any act, no matter how small, and make a difference in their family, their schools, and their communities.
The children sat and listened while the Dalai Lama spoke of compassion, and they applauded the Governor General Michaelle Jean when she told them they were the leaders of today — not just tomorrow. Motivational speaker Spencer West ended his talk by quoting Dr Seuss: “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.”
The event, which is also being webcast by CTV, will take place in Toronto in the near future as well.
Update: I am now back in the press room and there is a very distinguished line up of speakers coming to visit us for Q&A. The first of such is Dr Jane Goodall. “Every individual makes an impact every day,” she notes. The room is filled with traditional media, cameras, and student journalists who have been given the chance to take part today. Dr Goodall has a new book out and is active with the Roots & Shoots program across Canada. She talks about the bridge between environmental & humanitarian issues. “It became very obvious that without helping the people improve their lives and live in an environmentally sustainable way, there was no help for the chimpanzees.”
Last week I met up with Sean Horlor of the new OUTtv series, Don’t Quit Your Gay Job. Sean wears many hats (and sometimes a boa or two) in the new show which pits him against Rob Easton as they try their hand at various jobs in the Vancouver area.
Think of it as Dirty Jobs meets Kenny and Spenny but in Vancouver and featuring careers carried out by those in the GLBT community or just jobs that look super fun to try out – if even for an afternoon.