Interview with Antonia of Jets Overhead

October 6th, 2009 @ 3:38pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Jets Overhead will be playing the Live Sessions at the Chan Centre on Thursday before heading out on tour. I had the chance to speak with Antonia Freybe-Smith this week about the tour, the band and their album No Nations.


Antonia met her fellow bandmates while living in Victoria where they formed Jets Overhead in 2003. “”It’s a great comunity here,” said Antonia. “Sometimes we get asked ‘do you think you’re at a disadvantage not being in Toronto or Montreal?’ and I feel like it’s the complete opposite.” Antonia said that the music community in Victoria is at a great size — you know everyone else, there’s great venues to choose from, and there’s diversity in the music.

The truly local group consists of Antonia Freybe-Smith (vocals/keyboard), Adam Kittredge (vocals/guitar), Jocelyn Greenwood (bass), Piers Henwood (guitar/keyboard), and Luke Renshaw (drums). The group got together on Hornby Island with producer Neil Osborne (54-40) to record No Nations.

Hornby Island – Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

Antonia spent time there growing up as did drummer, Luke Renshaw, although it was Adam’s idea to take the production on the road. “We liked the idea but it was kind of overwhelming at first — and seemed like a logistical nightmare,” noted Antonia. “But Adam rallied us all and we did it. Thank God too because it was just so awesome.” The group, who co-produced the album with Osborne, held up in Joe King Hall on the Island where they were away from city noise and cell phone reception. “You can hear the vibe on the record — it’s just this neat laid back kind of West-Coasty kind of vibe and it really influenced the way the record ended up sounding, in a good way.”

No Nations was released this past summer and is available in Canada, and on iTunes in the USA. The title track is also available for download from the band’s website under a Creative Commons License. The license, similar to the one you can get for your blog or Flickr photos, permits you to download the song, share and remix it. This isn’t the group’s first foray into the world of online distribution. They actually beat Radiohead to the punch in terms of offering up an entire album online for a “pay what you want” price tag back in 2006 with Bridges.

“It’s a really interesting time in the music industry in terms of what music is worth to people and how they go about getting it,” said Antonia. “A lot of power is going back into the hands of the listener and the musician.” She said their album Bridges which was available for the “pay what you want” PayPal download was also purchased in iTunes. She said that people will find a way to get your music regardless of how you distribute is. “If they really want it they’re going to get it so we might as well put up something of good quality.”

Antonia suggested that any listener (no matter how they’re listening to the album) can become a fan. “If we can make a fan and eventually have them come to a show and buy a tshirt, that’s another way it pays off.” Using online distribution is ideal when you have the goal of getting your music out to the widest audience possible.

She commented on how her sentiments towards paying for music have changed, now that she knows how the recording process works and has experienced all the details and fine tuning that go into making an album as reality. “It feels good to buy music — it just makes it worth something.”

The band has also released all of their official music videos on Vimeo, a video-sharing service known for its high-quality content. Antonia commented on the fact that many band videos are pulled from services like YouTube although that defeats the purpose of reaching that wider audience. “People are paranoid and they try to pull closer, grip tighter, and you just have to kind of let it go and reevaluate.”

You can catch Jets Overhead this November at the Commodore in Vancouver as they head out on tour supporting Lights and across Canada the rest of the month. They’ll first make a stop in California for the 23rd annual Bridge School Benefit, with which they are involved through Neil Young who operates their American label.

Their latest album No Nations is available on iTunes in Canada, the USA, and internationally as well.

If you would like to see them this Thursday at for the Live Sessions recording (for the CBC) you can enter to win two tickets by leaving a comment over on this post.

Hell's Kitchen Finale Celebration at Araxi

October 6th, 2009 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Season six of FOX’s hit series Hell’s Kitchen, featuring Chef Gordon Ramsay, is coming to a close and the winner will claim the Head Chef position at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, working under Executive Chef James Walt. To celebrate the finale and to welcome the new Head Chef, they’re holding a red carpet episode viewing party at Araxi on Tuesday October 13th.

While feasting on finely-crafted canapés, seductive seafood, premium cocktails and fabulous wines, big screen televisions will place you in prime position to track the action, while three contestants become one. In attendance, will be the final four contestants, all vying for a position to work for Araxi’s Executive Chef James Walt as Whistler welcomes the world to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.


This is where John and I had probably the best meal of our lives just a few months ago, and I had the opportunity to interview Executive James Walt a while back as well.

Tickets for this exclusive event are $125 and I have been given the opportunity to invite one lucky reader (plus guest).

Pork server three ways - Araxi Petits Fours

Here’s how to get your chance to win admission to this fabulous event: Head to the Araxi website, find one menu item you would love to try, then list it in my comments section below. There are several menus to choose from including Raw Bar, Small Plate, Main Plates, Desserts, Cheese, Tasting Menus, and their Live Tank options.

I will draw the winner Friday October 9th so that they have time to plan their trip to Whistler on the 13th, good luck!

Update October 9th @ 3:00pm: The contest is now closed. Please stay tuned while I draw the winner which will be announced in a video.

Update October 9th @ 4:00pm: I had trouble uploading the video but this is the best result, and it event cuts off at the end where I say “So, stay tuned for more contests since I have one coming up for Halloween.” Thanks everyone!

Update October 9th @ 5:25pm: Oh no! The winner, Mark Lise, cannot attend so I drew another name and it’s “ApollineR”. I have contacted the second winner and hopefully someone will be able to join us at Araxi on Tuesday. Jullie is also hosting a contest where she is giving away the Araxi cookbook, you can enter over on her site.

Update October 10th @ 6:00pm: ApollineR cannot make it on Tuesday so I have now drawn FilmGoerJuan’s name as the winner. Hopefully someone is free to attend on Tuesday.

Update October 12th: Fifth time’s a charm! Congratulations, Robyn!

The winner will receive admission + guest for the event. This prize does not include transportation to Whistler or accommodation.

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

October 5th, 2009 @ 12:17pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Inspired by John Biehler and Scott Prince’s talk at BarCamp on Saturday, we decided to join them for a photowalk yesterday afternoon at the Lions Gate Bridge. I was the only one there without an SLR and my lens didn’t detach, however I still had a great time wandering around for hours on the bridge.

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

I also wanted to capture a modern-day version of a photo I saw on the Vancouver Archives website, that featured the lions at the south entrance.

1940 – Photographer: Coltman, Don/Steffens Colmer ITEM #: CVA 586-331
Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk
2009 – My shot from yesterday

I underestimated the time we were going to spend capturing photos although I should have had a clue since it was a sunset photowalk and we met up at 3:30pm.

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

It was great to see John enjoy his new camera and learn tricks from pros like John and Peter.

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

I had fun seeing what my little Fuji could do and also walking across the Lions Gate for the first time, ever. I love my little camera but I’m sure not even the pros on our walk could capture the true amazing beauty that is a Vancouver sunset.

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge Photowalk

Lions Gate Bridge PhotowalkLions Gate Bridge Photowalk

You can view the rest of my photos from the walk on Flickr, tagged: “Lions Gate Bridge“. To find out when the next photowalk will take place, you can follow out the “No Compacts Allowed” Facebook group.

Related: You can read Tyler’s post from the photowalk here, John Biehler’s here, and Gus has his images up on Flickr here.

1st Annual RIPE Vancouver A Success

October 5th, 2009 @ 9:20am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Local farm-fresh food, regional beer, and BC wine, were served to those who came out to support RIPE last Thursday. This fundraiser to promote, support, and expand local farmers markets was held at Performance Works on Granville Island with a goal of inspiring others to take up the local food movement.

“We couldn’t have been more thrilled to see the people who attended RIPE 2009; these people wanted to support local food, local farmers and enjoy everything we organized for a night of fun – and that’s exactly what RIPE is all about,” said organizer Jackie Connelly. “A big thank you to our emcee Jamie Maw, Chef Robert Clark and his team at C Restaurant for the amazing food, and our generous sponsors who helped us make the event possible.”

Karen Hamilton of TinyBites was in attendance as well for this inaugural event. “Ben Garfinkel from Foodists and I had a great time socializing with the people that support the Vancouver Farmers Markets, including behind-the-scenes folk like operations manager Roberta Laquaglia and RIPE event organizer Jackie Connelly.”

Photo credit: penguinrobot on Flickr

“Over the years the Vancouver Farmers Market has seen expanded locations and dates, a decent ad campaign and enjoyed a growing number of attendance. It’s only natural that they seek out a more permanent venue,” said Ben Garfinkel. “RIPE was their first effort at an annual fundraiser meant to take them closer to this goal. With food prepared with local ingredients and a few vendors sampling their products, the evening was a little light on entertainment, but my taste buds got to play!”

Net proceeds from RIPE benefited the the Farmers Nest Egg Fund which supports vendor-farmers and expands the network of local farmers who make Vancouver Farmers Markets possible. RIPE also supports the New City Market, a state-of the-art, sustainable, LEED-certified, multi-function venue to house a winter/year-round farmers market and resource facility.

“It was heartening to learn more about the proposed New City Market,” noted Karen. “[It’s] a permanent lodging that they’re hoping to secure in the Main and Terminal area. Think Granville Island Public Market for locals, with an exclusive focus on BC grown or produced goods.”

From the RIPE blog

Now that the RIPE event is over, a more permanent market and education about local ingredients is the focus. “The RIPE blog will take a bit of a breather, but continue to bring some recapping of this years event, and developments for RIPE 2010,” said Connelly. “Our goal will continue to be raising money for the New City Market and to support farmers in need with the establishment of a Farmers Nest Egg Fund.”

If you would like to get involved, check out the RIPE blog for information and contact info.

VIFF 2009 Canadian Images Gala

October 3rd, 2009 @ 12:56pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver International Film Festival is known for showcasing homegrown talent and this year the festival is presenting the largest collection of Canadian films in the country. Last night John and I attended the Canadian Images Gala and literally rubbed elbows with some great local film talents.

Canadian Images Programmer, Terry McEvoy,
Marv Newland, Eva Markvoort (65_redroses) – Photo: John Bollwitt

The gala was at Joey’s on Burrard where they served up delicious cocktails, canapes, and featured an oyster bar. The party was packed although we were still able to spot local celebs, film fest notables, and our pal Heather Watson.

VIFF has programmed 89 Canadian films for 2009: 33 features (20 dramatic features, 13 nonfiction features), five mid-lengths, 50 shorts; selected from 641 submissions. Included in the line-up is the Opening Gala film A Shine of Rainbows, directed by BC’s Vic Sarin, and the Special Presentation film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a Vancouver-based production directed by Terry Gilliam. The Canadian Images programming strand is home to 83 of the domestic films. The remaining six are shown in other programming strands including Galas, Special Presentations, Follow the Money and The Way of Nature.

I already profiled some picks in another post but here are a few more films to check out at VIFF this year.

  • Coopers Camera
    Directed By: Warren P. Sonoda
    Playing: October 3rd & October 4th
  • Puck Hogs
    Directed By: Warren P. Sonoda
    Playing: October 4th & 5th
  • At Home By Myself… With You
    Directed By: Kris Booth
    Playing: October 6th & October 8th
  • Cole
    Directed By: Carl Bessai
    Playing: October 8th & October 9th
  • Finding Farley
    Directed By: Leanne Allison
    Playing: October 13th & October 15th
  • Also, try to check out the shorts program. Ever since Centigrade I have a fondness for short films. The shorts program is called Slippery Road and will play October 13th and 14th at Pacific Cinémathèque. It includes 9 short films including Short on Love directed by Josh Close.

    You can read the rest online and be sure to scoop up your VIFF tickets before these screenings surely sell out.

    Day Blog from BarCamp Vancouver 2009

    October 3rd, 2009 @ 10:28am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    BarCamp is an unconference that focuses on social media, technology, and community-building in the online or mobile realm. I know that’s kind of a mouth full but it’s the first style of social media conference I ever attended and I credit BarCamp 2006 for being the launching point of my blogging “career”.

    Today’s BarCamp is over at Discovery Parks on Great Northern Way and we’ve just done the session pitching scrum. This means that attendees all pitch their ideas for sessions and the schedule is then made on the fly. There are very techy people, open source advocates, fans of yarn, families, students, and professionals all mixed into this participatory audience.

    BarCamp Vancouver 2009 - The Schedule

    The schedule has now been re-created on the wiki. I’ll have updates throughout the day in a single combined “Day Blog” and Twitter updates tagged “bcv09” will be put at the bottom of this post.

    Gratitude Week Vancouver 2009

    October 2nd, 2009 @ 1:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Gratitude Week is happening the week of Thanksgiving in Vancouver and if you’ve been looking for a way to give back to your community, this campaign is for you.

    At this point in my life I have so much for which I am thankful. I think the most important element that has kept me going is the kindness of others; from friends and family, and even strangers both online and off. In just over a week you can express your gratitude for even the simplest comforts in life that many of our neighbours downtown cannot enjoy. Here’s how you can get involved:

    Gratitude Week October 12 – 16, 2009

  • The Gratitude Gathering
    Daily (11am – 2pm ) Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
  • Mental Health Awareness Forums
    October 13 – October 16 (12:30pm – 1pm & 1:30 – 2pm)
    Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
  • The Gratitude University Street Collection
    October 14, (6am – 10am)
  • The Mala Collaboration: A Social Collaboration to End Homelessness
  • Donate
    “Gratitude Week will ensure that every possible dollar donated goes directly to the renovation of two buildings in the Downtown East Side that will make a measurable contribution to End Homelessness Now. The expectation is that these projects will in the very near future transition people into a better quality of life by providing safe, clean and affordable living conditions.” The two building are Gratitude House @ 31 W Pender Street and Hotel Gastown @ 110 Water Street.

    You can read more about the Gratitude Week to End Homelessness Foundation on The Mala Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

    A Year in 5 Minutes

    October 2nd, 2009 @ 11:03am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Author Chuck Davis, who runs the ultimate Vancouver history website, has been publishing an online series called “A Year in 5 Minutes“.

    The “New” Orpheum on Granville Street – Photographer: Jack Lindsay – ITEM #: CVA 1184-2290

    Hosted over at re:place Magazine, Chuck has been highlighting one year every week starting with the incorporation of our fair town in 1886. He’s just past the 50-year mark and I thought it was worth taking a look at some of his posts to learn a bit more about how our city has taken shape.

    In the series:

  • The First Decade: Public transit, Stanley Park and water.
  • The Second Decade: Public library, Interurban and gold!
  • The Third Decade: The PNE, a building boom and war.
  • The Fourth Decade: Fire, floods and Spanish Flu.
  • The Fifth Decade: Burrard Bridge, Vancouver Airport and the Great Depression.
  • Each “Year in 5 Minutes” post packs 365 days of history in one single blog page and features photos from the City of Vancouver Archives. The series is now up to 1937 and will keep going every week (posted every Monday) until we reach present-day Vancouver. It’s definitely worth checking out especially if you love local history like I do.