Examined Life at Pacific Cinematheque

March 25th, 2009 @ 6:50am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Thanks to the people at FilmsWeLike I was able to screen Examined Life, a documentary film by Astra Taylor that walks and talks with philosophers in various cities. Discussions range from meaning in life to Truth (with a capital “T”), romanticism, ecology, gender, capabilities, and ideology.

“Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academic journals and classrooms, and puts it back on the streets.” [NFB]

The wide cast of philosophers range from Michael Hardt talking about ‘revolution’ while rowing a boat in Central Park, to Cornel West quoting Donne and Yeats in the back of a moving car, while Peter Singer discusses ethics on 5th Avenue in New York.

Photo: NFB

Slavoj Zizek walks through a waste treatment plant in New York while explaining ecology as ideology, and Kwame Anthony Appiah discusses what it is to be truly cosmopolitan. We hear from Avital Ronell, Martha Nussbaum, and in San Francisco – Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor as well.

In the Director’s Q&A, Taylor notes: “Many would feel that the world is facing a multitude of unprecedented problems, from global arming to growing economic inequality. In a way, this is part of why I wanted to make Examined Life right now — I feel that the myriad of problems facing us demand more thinking than ever, not less.

That said, most people wouldn’t assume philosophy would have anything useful to say on these issues. Often when you mention “philosophy” people’s eyes kind of glaze over. The world conjures images of stodgy old white men pontificating on abstract matters completely irrelevant to those of us who in the “real world”. Or maybe folks assume that philosophy doesn’t relate to their lives, or that people who are interest in the subject or unforgivably ponderous or pretentious.”

Photo: NFB

The film is certainly thought-provoking and with so many faces and angles presented in each discussion, your eyes certainly won’t glaze over — especially when the passionate Cornel West talks about music, “I’m a blues man… …the blues is personal catastrophe lyrically expressed.”

Examined Life has been playing since Friday at Pacific Cinematheque downtown and tonight is the last showing before it heads to Victoria for screenings beginning April 1st at Cinecenta. Tickets are $9.50 (cash only) and the show starts at 7:30pm. You can also follow Pacific Cinematheque on Twitter for other show updates.

Big Rock Brewery Public Event to Kickoff Juno Weekend

March 24th, 2009 @ 4:38pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’m all for events that are a) for the public b) free so I thought I would quickly highlight this Big Rock Brewing meet and greet session that will take place at the BC Liquor Store at 39th & Cambie (5555 Cambie Street).

From 3:00pm to 7:00pm on Thursday March 26th Ryan McMahon will be there to sign autographs along with Exit this Side, Portal, and Souls in Rhythm. These artists are also featured on Big Rock Brewing’s “Untapped Vol. 2” album.

© / Photo by: Mark Maryanovich

Big Rock’s three signature brews, Grasshöpper, Traditional Ale and Rock Creek Cider, will be available for sampling along with food pairings throughout the event.

Ryan McMahon will also be playing two shows as a part of Juno Fest this weekend: Thursday March 26th at the Arts Club Backstage Lounge and Saturday March 28th at Doolins (with Matthew Barber & Lindsay Ell).

The 2009 Juno Awards: The Trews at Terry Fox Secondary

March 24th, 2009 @ 2:47pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This Thursday, March 26th, The Trews will make an appearance at Terry Fox Secondary as the school is awarded a 2009 Band Aid grant from MusiCounts.

Photo credit: Jim Wallace on Flickr

MusiCounts‘ mission is to ensure that children in Canada have access to a comprehensive music program through their school. MusiCounts includes Band Aid musical instrument grants, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, Scholarships and other music education initiatives.

MusiCounts began in 1989 in order to provide annual scholarships to exceptional graduates enrolled in post-secondary music industry arts programs across Canada. In 1997, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Science (CARAS) created the Band Aid program, which awards a grant to secondary schools each year.

For 2008-2009 honorees in our province include Carihi Secondary School in Campbell River, KB Woodward in Surrey, Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary in Vancouver, and Terry Fox Secondary in Port Coquitlam.

Shout out to KB Woodward — my best friend growing up went there and we used to rollerblade in its courtyard on sunny Saturday afternoons.

Chosen schools receive $10,000 in musical instrument grants so that they can grow and sustain their music programs.

The Trews, who are nominated for Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year, will speak at Terry Fox Secondary this Thursday morning about their personal experiences with music programs and will follow up with a private performance for the school’s 1,700 students. The school’s jazz and rock bands will also perform.

Most Influential British Columbians in History

March 24th, 2009 @ 9:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last night on the Vancouver Sun’s site I came across a list of “British Columbia’s Best: A quest to determine the most influential person in BC’s history.” In November 2008 a poll including hundreds of names was setup and the results were then revealed in early January 2009 (while we were away in Iowa).

Photo credit: stephen_dyrgas on Flickr

According to voters, the most influential British Columbian is musician, Joey Keithley, lead singer of the punk rock band DOA. And while that is interesting, does it truly represent the province’s most influential citizen, greater than, say, Terry Fox or Emily Carr or W.A.C. Bennett, to name just a few?

The results aroused our curiosity, and we found that Sudden Death Record’s web site included a link to our voting form and urged Keithley fans to “vote once, vote often.” How often? Well, out of 2,912 votes cast for Keithley, some 1,268 votes were from IP addresses that registered multiple votes. In fact, one single IP address alone recorded 843 votes for Keithley. [Vancouver Sun]

Turns out, the Vancouver Sun realized there’s no fool-proof way to run a poll online unless you restrict votes for a single IP address, which helps a bit (like I did for the Best of 604 Awards). It also seems like they’re a bit annoyed that Joey “Sh*thead” Keithley of the legendary DOA tops their list, but I think it’s great. Online polls are going to end up being a popularity contest and although we all love some of the nominees, they aren’t around to post messages on their websites to encourage supporters to vote.

All the more power to Keithley, who is not only in DOA but he owns Sudden Death Records, ran for the BC Green Party, and plays events for peace or environmental causes around the globe. December 21st, 2003 was also declared “DOA Day” in Vancouver in honor of the band’s anniversary.

So just who exactly did he beat out for the top spot in our province’s history? Terry Fox came in second, followed by David Suzuki then Michael J. Fox and Ross Rebagliati who round out the top five. Emily Carr was sixth, then Rick Hansen, Peter ‘Dr. Peter’ Jepson-Young, Joni Mitchell, and founder of the BC Marijuana Party, Marc Emery, rounded out the top ten.

Further down the list I found Trevor Linden (who lives in Vancouver but is originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta), Jimmy Pattison (who owns… well everything), Captain George Vancouver (explorer and namesake of our City), Libby Davies (long-running MP for Vancouver East), Chief Dan George, Douglas Copeland (author, coined the term ‘Generation X‘), Atom Egoyan (award-winning film maker), and Red Robinson all in the top fifty.

Photo credit: joshbousel on Flickr

Some of my picks would also include WP Kinsella (68 on the list) “Gassy Jack” Deighton (70), William ‘Billy’ Barker cause I like Barkerville (89), and Canucks alum Tony Tanti (212)… just cause he’s Tony Tanti. There are also several news personalities on the list and I’m glad my top pick in that category, Mike McCardell (164) is included. His human interest stories at the end of the news hour each evening have warmed my heart since I was a wee tot.

The Sun’s poll does show that we don’t have too much love for former politicians (even though Harcourt is in the top fifty and Vander Zalm sits at number 106). But we love musicians – such as Nelly Furtado (11) Michael Buble (12) and Bryan Adams (16) and we love artists, Emily Carr (6) and Bill Reid (15). Unfortunately I can’t even Google some of the names I don’t recognize and they don’t even have wikipedia entries or websites with bios so a little extra research isn’t possible.

You can view the full list online and while you read it listen to some Dead Men Tell No Tales in the background.

Athlete of the Year Awards Ticket Giveaway

March 23rd, 2009 @ 1:11pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I have two tickets up for grabs for a special event tomorrow evening that honors the best and most inspirational athletes from around our province.

What: 43rd Annual Athlete of the Year Awards presented by TELUS
When: Tuesday, March 24th (6:30pm Cocktail Reception, 8:00pm Awards Ceremony)
Where: River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond, BC


The Athlete of the Year Awards is the longest-standing sport recognition event in the country. Awards in 16 different categories are given each year to athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers based on their performance and contribution to sport in the province.

The awards play a valuable role in nurturing athletic success and recognizing some of BC’s growing talents, such as past recipients Nancy Greene-Raine (Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award 1967 and 1968, Alpine Skiing), Rick Hansen (Athlete with a Disability Award 1979 and 1980, Wheelchair Athletics) Scott Niedermeyer (Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award 1991, Ice Hockey) and James Lepp (Junior Male Athlete of the Year 2001/Senior Male Athlete of the Year 2003 and 2005, Golf). [SportBC]

Guests, speakers, and presenters include: Paul Kelly, Executive Director, NHLPA, Gino Odjick, Vancouver Canucks Alumni, Lui Passaglia, BC Lions Alumni, Karen Magnussen, Olympic Gold Medalist and many more.

I grew up playing organized sports which started when I joined the school’s volleyball team when in grade six, and I went on to play five sports each year throughout high school. The skills and lessons learned throughout those years have always been with me (even though the muscle mass gained is probably long-gone).

Talented folks around the province grew up pouring their heart and soul into their passions for curling, hockey, rowing, wrestling, track, basketball, and those winter sports in which we hope to take home a gold medal on home soil next year.

Tickets for tomorrow’s reception and awards are currently on sale for $95 a piece however, if you would like to attend, I have two tickets to give away. Please leave a comment stating your favourite BC Athlete (of any year) and I’ll do a draw first thing tomorrow for the tickets.

Update: Vanessa (comment 1) was the winner of the giveaway.

Vancouver Giants Playoffs 2009

March 23rd, 2009 @ 8:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt
tractor beam on the banner
2007 banner raising

Our WHL hockey club didn’t climb its way to the top of the BC Division this year — the Vancouver Giants pretty much dominated the 2008-2009 season with 57 wins and only 12 losses (2 in overtime). In fact, they clinched their playoff spot faster than any other WHL team in history.

Last Friday (during Towel Power night) the Giants entered round one of the playoffs versus the Prince George Cougars, stomping them down 8-2 and then again 9-1 on Saturday night (where there was also a tribute to Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe). It’s exciting to see a local club with such heart, passion, grit, and skill — and its even more exciting to watch it pay off.

John and I went to about a dozen games during the 07-08 season and it’s a shame we haven’t been to any this year but perhaps we’ll try to nab some playoff tickets.

A Giants game is always a fantastic way to spend a night out with friends or family and with round one playoff tickets starting at $14.50 it’s definitely affordable as well. Playoff packages start at $256/seat and if the Giants don’t last 16 games you can either get a refund or use the remainder towards tickets in the 2009-2010 season.

memorial cup champs

I’m also a fan of the White Spot Family Night pack with which you get 4 tickets to any Friday, Saturday or Sunday game, 2 Legendary Burger Platters, 2 Pirate Paks, 1 game-night parking pass and a $10 gas coupon from Chevron all for $89. During the playoffs these Family Night packs are good for any game, any night of the week and the pricing is the same for round one action.

The Giants head up to Prince George March 24th and 25th and should there be a need for a 5th game in the series, they’ll be back at the Pacific Coliseum March 27th. This year’s Memorial Cup, which includes the winners of the QMJHL, OHL and WHL leagues along with the host city, will take place in Rimouski this May.

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding Ends its Run in Vancouver

March 22nd, 2009 @ 9:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The interactive comedy production Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding has been running downtown for 14 years and at the end of May the Vitale and Nunzio family will be joined in holy and hilarious matrimony for the last time.

Photo by: Mischa Bartkow

Tony and Tina’s Wedding is a Vancouver institution,” said publicist and theatre blogger Rebecca Coleman for my E!Online article last fall. “If you are an actor in Vancouver, you have been through TnT at some point. It’s a great training ground – every night is a different show, because every night is a different audience. It hones your improv skills like nothing else.”

It is the longest running production in Vancouver history and since it all comes to an end in in just a few short weeks I gladly sent off my RSVP when I received my invitation. On Friday I grabbed a date (the lovely Keira-Anne), got all gussied up for an evening wedding, and headed straight to St Andrew’s Wesley Church for the nuptials. After the church service, the entire wedding procession walked over to the reception while the bride got several honks and congratulatory cheers while parading down Burrard and Georgia streets.

Dinner at The Other Space (adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre) is where the real fun began. As this is a fully interactive and participatory show, you will eat, drink, and be very merry while mingling and chuckling with the eclectic cast. Jokes were cracked, bottles were chugged, and my oh my was there a lot of Madonna on the dance floor. It’s a great big Italian celebration and like most other family gatherings, it’s not a stranger drama and plot twists on many levels.

Photo by: Mischa Bartkow

We’re already planning our return to the guest list as it truly makes me sad to realize the production has been around for so long and I’ve never experienced it until now. The Champagne stops flowing at the end of May so I would encourage everyone to get their ticket (or get a group together) for an upcoming performance. Quote promo code TNT loves World Theatre Day when booking up until March 31st and receive 15% off.

World Theatre Day
I briefly noted World Theatre Day in my last link fest and there’s a special Tony n’ Tina tie-in. On March 25th they will have an open rehearsal from 6:00pm – 8:00pm followed by a special World Theatre Day event at The Other Space until midnight. Some cast members will also be participating in the annual pay what you can event March 29th at Performance Works on Granville Island.

Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad Winding Down

March 20th, 2009 @ 9:32am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Over the last month or so hundreds of events across the region have been presented as a part of the Cultural Olympiad — from Rigoletto at the Vancouver Opera, to art installations, films, Munsch Alley, and countless concerts.

Photo credit: joannaforever on Flickr
From Beyond Robson’s post about ContainR

During the final days of the Olympiad many are looking ahead to next year when the focus of the world will be on sport in Vancouver, even though we’ll also have the same massive performing arts schedules to entertain all ages throughout the Lower Mainland.

I had the chance to ask a few questions to Robert Kerr, Program Director of the Cultural Olympiad. I shared pieces of a few weeks ago on E!Online but here are the answers at length:

Rebecca: As there’s much more to the Olympics than the actual Games, especially for a host-City, how is the Cultural Olympiad and its surrounding events becoming a vital part of our local community (whether it’s a year or two in advance or during those two weeks in 2010)?

Robert Kerr: Culture is the second pillar of the Olympic Movement and has been an integral part of the Games since ancient times. The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad is bringing the “Second Pillar” alive through three annual festivals of arts and popular culture (Feb/Mar of 2008, 2009 & 2010), creating a diverse and dynamic showcase of some of the finest local, national and international artists of our time.

Through our contemporary focus and our partnership approach we are giving voice to a huge cross-section of artists that speak to the culture today in Canada and around the world. Cultural Olympiad 2009 is presenting this year’s edition in partnership with 75 different arts and cultural organizations – large and small, emerging and established. In doing so we have connected with the creative pulse of our community and are reaching out to a large and diverse audience. This year’s 400+ performances and 12 exhibitions will attract over 200,000 people.

Over the course of Cultural Olympiad 2008, 2009 & 2010 we’ll present over 1400 performances and exhibitions. Alongside the live experience we are about to launch an on-line program that will provide an interactive creative space in the digital universe.

Photo credit: on Flickr

Rebecca: How important do you feel it is to celebrate and showcase Canadian talent, in a Canadian city that is so greatly affected by the international entertainment industry, especially that of our neighbours to the South?

Robert Kerr: Celebrating our creative community is an essential part of celebrating ourselves – who we are, what makes us tick, what connects us to our neighbours and what distinguishes us from them. As a port city Vancouver has always been a location for exchange and interaction between peoples and by extension their cultures. At the same time we have always been greater than the sum of our parts, fusing and translating the many influences that wash up on our shore into a unique vision that speaks to this place. Vancouver 2010 presents a precious opportunity where we can bring our talent to the forefront and showcase it to a global audience.

Rebecca: Do you think this will change/effect the City of Vancouver when it comes to multi-day festivals and events like this in the future?

Robert Kerr: The Cultural Olympiad is occurring during a critical period for Vancouver’s cultural community. While the scene here is still developing, still shaping its identity, it has reached a stage of sophistication that gives artists, producers, presenters and audiences the confidence to reach out beyond their safety zones. We are moving well beyond borders of artistic discipline, style and genre to embrace the multi-faceted and often unpredictable nature of creativity. As this happens festivals and events are becoming more fluid and open-minded in their programming, their venues and their format. I hope the Cultural Olympiad can contribute to this process.

We can also look back at Expo 86 and see the impact that major event had on the development of our festival scene and on the Vancouver audience’s appetite for arts and culture – I think the Cultural Olympiad has the same potential, if not more so, to grow events and their audience base. This is the first Winter Olympic Games that have seen a multi-year festival and we did that on purpose, so that we could not only build on the festival year after year, but also build public awareness of the vibrant arts and culture scene here in Vancouver and across Canada.

This weekend you can catch the following shows as the series draws to a close…

Tonight at the Biltmore: Alex Cuba and Zapato Negro

Tonight at the Vancity Theatre: Hockey Nights in Film

Tonight at the Roundhouse: Kokoro Dance and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre: Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents Peter Pan

Opening tonight: Vancouver Anthology (free event)

You can find more on the Cultural Olympiad site, searching by municipality, date or discipline. Also, you won’t be hearing the words “no fun city” from me with regards to a lack of events any time soon.