Orange Day by the Union Gospel Mission

March 30th, 2009 @ 9:52am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

From March 27th until April 10th the Union Gospel Mission wants to encourage you to get outside, explore Vancouver, your neighbourhood, and your local parks.

Photo credit: UGM on Flickr

Take a walk (instead of filling up the car with gas) and head to the market (in place of going out for that big fancy dinner) – save some pennies wherever you can throughout the next few weeks and with what you’ll be able to stockpile, the UGM is hoping you’ll consider donating to Orange Day (April 10th) – [in the spirit of Stay in and Help Us]

3,500 people will come to the UGM for an Easter dinner this year, here’s how far some change will get you: $0.32 (the price of an orange), $32.90 (10 full meals from UGM).

…Why all this talk about oranges? Well oranges are fresh, bright, fun, and juicy (the list could go on). But most importantly every one of UGM’s Easter Dinner guests gets an orange at the end of their meal. It is usually received with a smile. It’s a tangible reminder that its never too late for a fresh start. No matter how much time has passed on the streets or in an addiction, UGM’s doors are always open. With your help, fresh starts can be made this Easter.So go outside. Enjoy all your city has to offer and try to not spend any money and see how much you can squeeze for UGM.

A big part of Orange Day is sharing stories about what you’ve been getting up to as you head out about town to have fun and save those pennies, so please feel free to take photos and add them to the Orange Day group on Flickr or follow #orangeday updates on Twitter to check out or create a tweetup or two. My friend Laura used to go on themed photowalks she’d call a “colour safari”, it may be fun to do one with your friends for Orange Day.

Photo credit: UGM on Flickr

Have fun, share, and consider giving what you can to the UGM so that they can continue to help those in need in the Downtown Eastside this season. For ideas, check out my Park Series or feel free to suggest your own favourite/inexpensive destinations around town.

LiveBlog at the 2009 Juno Awards

March 29th, 2009 @ 12:12pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The eTalk Red Carpet program is running from 3:30pm until 4:30pm (Pacific) and I’ll be heading down to GM Place to liveblog the 2009 Juno Awards this afternoon as well. I won’t be backstage in the media room like at last night’s gala dinner since I’ll be up above the set in the press box catching the whole show.

Performances during the CTV broadcast tonight include: Bryan Adams, Great Big Sea (with Hawksley Workman and Eccodek members Andrew McPherson, Les Hartai, and Jason Shute), Kathleen Edwards, City and Colour, Crystal Shawanda, Divine Brown, Nickelback, Sam Roberts, Sarah McLachlan, Serena Ryder, Simple Plan and The Stills.

John will be there as well, helping out in a CHUM radio capacity as The Beat‘s morning crew will be on the red carpet (and I hear that they might be live-tweeting). I’ll start my liveblog when I get settled in around 4:30pm and will have photos and updates galore throughout the night.


Update: There was a bit of confusion at the media gate(s) about certain passes however everyone was pleasant, helpful, and they knew who I was (and read my site) so things were sorted out. Shout out to all the ladies working the media tables – they’re holding up well amidst all the chaos. I’m just waiting to head up to the press box for tonight’s performance and can already see folks heading down the red carpet at GM Place. Note: Abbott between Expo and Pacific is closed and don’t even think about heading to Costco for that flat of mayonnaise tonight because SUV limos are out in droves.

The View the Bloggers Get at the Junos

Update: Arieanna and I are setup inside GM Place way up in press row on level 500 looking down on show, which will begin at 5:00pm Pacific.

Update: John‘s down on the red carpet and said as Russell Peters (host of tonight’s show) approached he was flanked by two RCMP officers and said, “don’t taze me, bro!” Also, BC Premier Gordon Campbell tweeted from the red carpet: “Red Carpet for Junos was both fun and a lot of noise. Glad SAM ROBERTS is in music not politics.”

Here’s a quick list of feeds I’ll be following tonight, Junos and Canucks, that is all. Arieanna is right beside me with her camera and she will also be liveblogging this evening, and Derek & Airdrie Miller are out there in the crowd somewhere and have apparently spotted us already with our glowing MacBooks.

Update: Things are almost underway and they’re just prepping the crowd. It’s a 2 hour show with no intermission but there are “commercial breaks” and winners will have 30 seconds for acceptance speeches before the exit music starts. “The fireworks can get pretty hot,” the crowd up front is warned. I think the crowd’s reaction to the announcement for Russell Peters was just louder than the one for Bryan Adams. Looking down on the audience I see so many LCD screens – either for cameras (hence all the flash bulbs bursting) or mobile phones and they’re all on Twitter.

Nickelback Kicks off the Junos

Update: Wow, okay Nickelback’s fireworks explosion at the top of the show almost made me drop my camera. “You look so much cuter with something in your mouth” kicks off the awards show… stay classy, Nickelback.

Russell Peters enters with Bhangra dancers and takes the mic, “I know this is Vancouver but what’s the grow up on stage.” He walks over to chat with Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, followed by Bryan Adams, a fist bump from Michael Buble, then climbs through the crowd to sit next to Divine Brown.

Russell Peters hosts the Juno Awards

Russell Peters hosts the Juno Awards

Russell Peters hosts the Juno Awards

Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Green for Waiting from Sleeping Sickness

The Sam Roberts Band takes the stage – sounding great and not needing fireworks and explosions to add to their performance at all.

Group of the Year, Nickelback

Group of the Year: Nickelback. “Let’s smoke some of the stage to celebrate.”

Rap Recording of the Year: Kardinal Offishall for Not 4 Sale, who also took home a Juno for Single of the Year last night for Dangerous.

Sarah at the Junos

Sarah McLachlan, who was presented with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award last night just did a beautiful performance.

New Artist of the Year: Lights. A very pretty young lady but so, so tiny.

The Stills are on stage next (wonder if their pants are as tight as last night) playing their single Being Here. They are actually opening up for Kings of Leon on tour – that is one show I would love to see.

The Stills perform at the Junos

City and Colour just performed Sleeping Sickness with Gord Downie – unbelievable. Bob Rock is up next to introduce the tribute to Loverboy as they have been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Crystal Shawanda

Crystal Shawanda

Now performing is Crystal Shawanda, looking lovely and quickly followed by Divine Brown and the last of the bunch, Serena Ryder with tons of energy. Three genres, three women, all with lots of talent – this was a fun showcase to watch (though could have been a bit longer).

The Pepsi Juno Fan Choice Award: This one goes to Nickelback although the arena was going bonkers when Feist and Hedley were announced as nominees.

Simple Plan

Simple Plan performed and now the crowd is being kept warm during the commercial break ahead of a few more awards. Russell Peters then chats with some Olympic athletes that are in the crowd (representing North Vancouver and Fernie, BC) – they seriously look like rock stars – while Jeremy Witherspoon and Melissa Hollingsworth-Richards introduce Bryan Adams.

Artist of the Year: Sam Roberts – presented by Jim Cuddy and Feist, looking stunning. Sam Roberts got the hook as the “your speech is going on too long” music started to play, but congratulations to him, well-deserved. I’m hearing an air horn in the crowd here at GM Place… really?

Elvis Costello and his wife, Diana Krall are the next presenters for the Album of the Year.

Album of the Year: Dark Horse, Nickelback. I think if Hedley would have won it the crowd would have gone ballistic, and we would have heard that strange air horn again. “I’d like to thank my mom for giving birth to half the band.” They also get the “you’ve used up your 30 seconds for an acceptance speech” music.

Russell Peters, Great Big Sea, and more

The final performance of the night is a huge one from Great Big Sea with Hawksley Workman and and Eccodek members Andrew McPherson, Les Hartai, and Jason Shute. Very energetic way to end the show although I was still missing some Russell Peters comedy throughout the night, seems like we hardly saw him.

I’m off now to find food and hit the Vancouver Fashion Week closing gala party/Junos afterparty with Arieanna. By the way, check out this photo that Derek was able to capture of us blogging from the Junos… way, way up in the rafters.

Update: Went to the Fashion vs Rock party, supported David Suzuki Foundation, saw BNL, K-OS, and met Strombo – good times.


Weekend to End Breast Cancer Fundraisers Today

March 29th, 2009 @ 10:41am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I interviewed Helen last month about her campaign to raise funds and participate in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer. Today, she’s holding a garage sale and everyone is invited to come and check it out.

When: 9:00am – 4:00pm today, Sunday March 29, 2009

Where: 11427 Somerset Crescent, North Delta [Google Map]

Info: There are hundreds of items from sports equipment to kid’s toys. Helen writes: “Our local Starbucks has generously donated coffee, cups, merchandise and a great basket of goodies for a raffle. You’ll get to buy all my yummy homemade goodies: Homemade Marshmallow S’mores, Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies. Home-baked Chunky Peanut Butter Treats for your doggies too.”

Another fundraiser happening today is at the Clova Cinemas in Cloverdale [map]. I received an email from a reader, Karin, who will be doing a screening of the new hit movie Monsters vs Aliens at 4:00pm. Tickets are only $5 and will support her campaign for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

The 2009 Juno Awards: Gala Awards Dinner

March 28th, 2009 @ 6:34pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

After a lovely afternoon at Vancouver Fashion Week I’ve made my way over to the Juno Awards Gala Dinner were 32 awards will be handed out prior to the broadcast tomorrow, where the rest of the winners will be honored.

2009 Juno Awards - Media Centre

Update: Minister Wally Oppal is giving a speech, which follows an introduction from Melanie Berry from CARAS, and makes a few wise cracks about Bruce Allan – awesome. There are also performances peppered throughout tonight’s ceremonies including Beast (who kicked off the dinner), Nikki Yanofsky, Gryphon Trio, The Trews, and Elise Estrada. There are over 80 artists who are first-time nominees this year and there’s a big theme of supporting the arts and cultivating those who are dedicated to their craft.

Update: There’s a young boy on stage right now playing the trumpet. I totally heard him rehearsing in a suite at the hotel earlier this evening, it sounds pretty great. Ndidi is up talking about Factor and present the evening’s first award. Honestly, the more I hear from all of these nominees, the more I love Canadian music.

(I’ll update this part of the post for all winners when they make their way up here to the Q&A room)

New Group of the Year: The Stills, “When we started this band 6 months ago we never knew things would happen to quickly,” they joked when accepting their award.

Francophone Album of the Year: Tous les sens, Ariane Moffatt

Blues Album of the Year: Ramblin’ Son, Julian Fauth

Raggae Album of the Year: Everything, Humble. He actually also won a Global Marijuana Music Award and is, “very happy to be in BC,” right now.

Humble with his Juno for Best Raggae Recording

Recording Engineer of the Year: Kevin Churko for “Disappearing” and “The Big Bang” from Simon Collins. During his acceptance speech he got choked up while saying he was very proud to be Canadian.

Jayme Stone - World Album of the Year

World Music Album: Africa to Appalaccia, Jayme Stone & Mansa Sissoko. Upon coming through the door, “Wow, there’s like a whole other room up here.” Unfortunately Mansa Sissoko is not here but Jayme says he’s got an infectious smile and has much respect for his work.

Classical Album of the Year, Solo: Homage, James Ehnes

Classical Album of the Year, Large Ensemble: Beethoven, Ideals of the French Revolution, Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal/Kent Nagano

Classical Album of the Year, Vocal or Choral: Gloria! Vivaldi’s Angels, Ensemble Caprice. This was an all-female recording and vocal soloist Shannon Mercer came backstage, “we’re putting forth these amazing singers and I’m so proud to be Canadian.”

Classical Album of the Year: Vocal

Classical Album of the Year, Composition: Flanders Fields Reflections, John Burge

Aboriginal Album of the Year: Running for the Drum, Buffy Sainte-Marie. “Be smart, take care of yourself, and your gift,” said Buffy with words of advice for the younger generation in the industry. Also, “if you’re a singer learn how to dance, it keeps you skinny!” With regards to aboriginal arts, Buffy says that “stuff you would see only on the reservation,” is now making its way out to the rest of the world. “We create not only music that comes from our grandparents but we’re also living in the big world – so we’re not just creating this for ourselves.” A question from the audience asks Buffy about why she looks so happy about this award since she’s already so decorated (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Genie Award etc.) and she says it’s the Junos – it’s always nice to be recognized in Canada.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

There is now a special presentation for Fred Sherrat, broadcasting pioneer and former chief of CHUM who is given the 2009 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. “McClellan said the medium is the message but it’s the people that use the medium that are the message,” said Fred backstage with regards to starting out in media. “It’s people, people, people… … it’s not about you it’s about people.”

Fred Sherrat

Adult Alternative Album of the Year: is it o.k., Serena Ryder. “She inspired me to get into something I never thought I would do in my life… have a fanny pack,” said Ryder with regards to icon Buffy Sainte-Marie. But in all seriousness, Ryder said Buffy is an inspirational woman with amazing energy. She noted that she got a cheque from Galaxy and will be donating it right away to MusicCounts.

Adult Alternative Album of the Year - Serena Ryder

Vocal Jazz: Lucky Molly Johnson

Contemporary Jazz: Embracing Voices, Jane Bunnett. The Vancouver Sun just asked her if she was “drunk with success” this evening… Jane is having such a great time and is very happy… and making some pretty hilarious comments.

Traditional Jazz Album of the Year: Second Time Around, Oliver Jones

Rock Album of the Year: Love at the End of the World, Sam Roberts

Instrumental Album of the Year: Nostomania, DJ Brace presents The Electric Nosehair Orchestra. We just heard the explanation of what exactly is… “Nostomania”. “I have something to represent, what I’m doing right now is very new,” he says using Controller One he can play live notes on my turntable. He says he has a regular day job on top of his music career so what he does is all about hard work. “I’m not quitting anytime soon.. …I’m a pretty real person and I like to have a real life but music definitely gets me motivated.”

Single of the Year: Dangerous, Kardinal Offishall

Barenaked Ladies - Children's Album of the Year

Children’s Record of the Year: Snacktime!, Barenaked Ladies. When asked how they were inspired to make an album for kids Ed Robertson said they were inspired by artists like They Might Be Giants and their work for children. A question from the audience asked if it’s hard to be taken seriously as a rock band, doing a children’s album the replied that they’ve been trying to be taken seriously for the last 20 years. “The four of us are really proud of what we’ve done.” “We have no regrets other than… shorts,” notes Tyler after a question about the trials of the last year (and losing a band member) from the audience.

Dance Recording of the Year: Random Album Title, Dead

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year, Solo: Proof of Love, Old Man Luedecke

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year, Group: Chic Gamine, Chic Gamine

Contemporary Christian: Ending is Beginning, Down Here

R&B/Soul Recording: The Love Chronicles Divine Brown

R&B/Soul Recording of the Year - Divine Brown

Sarah McLachlan is now accepting the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.

Photo credit: Arieanna on Flickr /

Update: It is now Earth Hour - please shut off all unnecessary electronics and the lights if you can. The city of Vancouver will be going dark however here at the Juno Awards Gala Dinner things are operating on a normal level. I have unplugged my laptop, but it would be nice to hop out and take a look at our city’s contribution to this event. Hopefully John is at home in the dark, waiting for me when I get home within the hour.

Anthony Seck and Feist - Video of the Year

Video of the Year (sponsored by VideoFACT) Honey Honey (Feist), Anthony Seck. “Artists are artists, there’s no patriotic agenda,” said Seck with regards to working with Judd Palmer and puppets in the video. “Kermit was my first love,” said Feist with regards to her work on Sesame Street and now this puppet video.

International Album of the Year: Viva La Vida, Coldplay

The Stills - Album of the Year/ New Group of the Year

Alternative Album of the Year: Oceans Will Rise, The Stills. “This is an enormous unbelievable gift to us.” For those who were wondering why they won New Group even when they’ve been around for a while, “we’re really not a new group but we’re new to a lot of people.” When asked about the Awards being so commercial The Stills said that they really root for people like Kardinal Offishall who don’t have the big backing like say, Nickelback or Celine Dion – it actually helps artists.

CD/DVD Album Artwork: Anouk Pennel (Director/Designer); Stéphane Poirier (Illustrator)

Pop Album of the Year: Flavors of Entanglement, Alanis Morisette

Music DVD: Blue Road (Blue Rodeo), Christopher Mills

Doc Walker - Country

Country Recording of the Year: Beautiful Life, Doc Walker. “I think it was pretty cool that Canadian artists can build a career from scratch [in Canada].” The guys of Doc Walker say there’s a very healthy country music scene, industry and support system in Canada. “We’ve practiced our happy for the other guys clap before,” and Doc Walker was really excited to win tonight.

Me and some of The Stills

Just a quick note, Lainey was our host this evening (same as for the press conference) and after when I got my photo taken with her she instantly recognized me as “Miss604″ since we did in fact meet at the CBC Test the Nation TV show last year. I’m back home now (I’ll hit the afterparties tomorrow) so check back here tomorrow by 5:00pm PT for my coverage of the television broadcast.

Quick Look at Vancouver Fashion Week 2009

March 27th, 2009 @ 8:52pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Wednesday night kicked off Vancouver Fashion Week at Leone’s downtown (you can read BR’s review here) and today Canadian and local designers were showcased at Storyeum in Gastown.

Photo credit: Phillip Jeffrey on Flickr

Today it was all about the latest environmentally-conscious garb with an eco-friendly design spotlight and on Saturday VFW goes global with international, contemporary, and ready-to-wear design [see full schedule].

I interviewed photographer Kris Krug for an E!Online post last fall to get his thoughts about the local scene. “Events like these are a great way to stay connected to friends in the industry and meet the new up-and-coming photographers, models, stylists, makeup-artists etc. They’re all a part of what makes this industry thrive and function.”

The photo pit - spot Phillip

To wrap it up, streetwear is the focus on Sunday including a show by local label To the Nines, then fashion meets music as VFW and Storyeum host a fabulous Juno Awards afterparty combined with the closing gala.

Vancouver Fashion Week

Vancouver Fashion Week

Tickets for VFW are available online and you may also want to check out the Fashion vs Rock afterparty on Sunday as it will be hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos and benefit the David Suzuki Foundation.

The 2009 Juno Awards: Broadcast Preview

March 27th, 2009 @ 2:35pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This afternoon media were invited to GM Place to check out the stage and set for Sunday’s television broadcast of the Juno Awards. Executive Producer John Brunton and Set Designer Peter Faragher explained a bit about the botanic (yet pretty psychedelic) set.

John Brunton and Peter Faragher of CTV

Set of the 2009 Juno Awards

Set of the 2009 Juno Awards

Set of the 2009 Juno Awards

Meanwhile Dallas Green, of City and Colour, did some Q&A and fielded a question about how he was [mis]quoted in the paper calling the Junos “hokey”. I think he handled that well, but he was really put on the spot there for a minute. Regardless, I hear the City and Colour show at the Orpheum last night as amazing and I look forward to Sunday’s performance as well.

Dallas Green (City and Colour)

With regards to recent criticism claiming that the Junos award only the highest-selling artists, CTV said that only 7 categories include that data in their breakdown and full info about the nomination process can be found on their site.

Juno veterans Alan Doyle, Séan McCann, Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea mentioned that one of the best things about the Junos lately is that the awards show travels from coast to coast each year so it was nice to come to Vancouver. The 2010 Junos will be taking place in St John’s New Foundland.

Alan Doyle, Séan McCann, Bob Hallett (Great Big Sea)

There were a few more questions for comedian Russell Peters, who was enthusiastic about returning as host. Peters has been selling out venues across the country and certainly adds a fantastic and lively element of comedy to the show.

Russell Peters

Russell Peters

Television coverage for this Sunday’s broadcast on CTV starts with the eTalk Red Carpet at 4:00pm PT and the Awards follow at 5:00pm. During the awards show there will be performances by Bryan Adams, City and Colour (up for Artist of the Year), Crystal Shawana, Divine Brown, Great Big Sea (up for Group of the Year), Kathleen Edwards, Nickelback, Sam Roberts, Sarah McLachlan, Serena Ryder, Simple Plan and The Stills. A full list of nominated artists can be found on the Juno website.

At 8:00pm PT you can catch The Amazing Race before they do an encore of the entire show at 9:00pm. Tickets to attend the Awards broadcast are still available.

I will also be liveblogging from the Junos during the broadcast, which is great because not only do I actually get to see the show, but I’ll have time to write and update on the fly as they happen. My liveblog will go up Sunday afternoon (March 29th) around 4:00pm PT and will be published right here.

The 2009 Juno Awards: The Juno Cup Practice

March 26th, 2009 @ 5:04pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Friday March 27th at 7:30pm the UBC Thunderbird Arena will play host to a fundraising hockey game like no other at the Juno Cup. Musicians such as Kathleen Edwards, Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), Mark Sasso (Elliott Brood), Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), and Barney Bentall will face off against NHL alumni. The hockey all-star roster includes Brad Delgano, Garth Butcher, Dave Babych, Greg Adams, Lanny McDonald, Mark Napier, Russ Courtnall and many more. These are a few snaps from the practice this afternoon:

Aaron Pritchett

Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo)

Mr Coffey (Paul, that is)

Juno Cup Practice

Luke Ducet

Barney Bentall, Dustin Bentall, and Ben Mulroney

Michael Landsberg from TSN’s Off the Record will do the play-by-play for the game, which will only span two periods and run until about 10:00pm. Tickets are $14.99 and available through Ticketmaster with proceeds going towards MusiCounts.

SMEI Social Media Roadshow Panel

March 26th, 2009 @ 6:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This morning I’m at the Terminal City Club downtown for the SMEI Social Media Roadshow. Last year I attended an SMEI (Sales & Marketing & Executives International, Inc.) function and met Mhairi Petrovic of Out-Smarts Social Media Marketing and since then I’ve bumped into her at several community events. She was also a speaker at Third Tuesday where she addressed “Marketing New Media to Traditional Decision Makers: Overcoming the Challenges.”

I’ll be speaking on a panel today, that Mhairi will be moderating, alongside Rob Duncan (BCIT), Chris Breikss (6s Marketing), Jordan Willms (Sumolabs).

Hopefully I’ll have some time to update this morning after the keynotes from Loren McDonald and Adam Froman.

A quick Terminal City Club history tidbit: On December 5th 1892, the Terminal City Club was formed. “It was known then as the Metropolitan Club and met in a building at the southwest corner of Hastings and Richards.” [VancouverHistory]. In 1906 B.T. Rogers (or sugar riches and fame) donated a pair of marble statues to the Terminal City Club, which are still there today.