Bright Nights in Stanley Park 2011

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 — 2:21pm PST
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Bright Nights in Stanley Park light up the park starting tonight and running until January 2, 2012. It’s the 14th annual event that sees millions of lights decorate the park and the miniature railway.

Reindeer Crossing
Photo credit: jelee_unleashed on Flickr

View animated displays, listing to holiday music, enjoy hot chocolate, and try the fresh popcorn and roasted chestnuts from the Stanley Park Ecology Society. Santa will also be on-hand for visits.

Stop by daily from 3:00pm until 10:00pm and stay until 11:00pm on Fridays and Saturday. Bright Nights will just be closed on Christmas Day. You can park at the miniature railway lot, take the #19 bus into the park, or walk in from downtown.

Admission is by donation to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund and train tickets are $9 (adults) and $6 (children and youth). You can purchase train tickets ahead of time online or by calling 1-855-985-5000.

Visit Bright Nights in Stanley Park on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Whistler Film Festival 2011: Preview

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 — 9:50am PST
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I’m at the Whistler Film Festival again this year and though I’m linked to two films in the festival (my dog Momo is in the Rob Leickner’s Lost Lagoon and a short I’m producing, Mermaid in a Jar, has been shortl-isted for MMPIA short film award), I will be covering the festival for

This year there will be over 70 films from around the world being screened and a lot of tributes and awards (way more than in previous) honouring various people in the industry including Michael Shannon, Patton Oswalt, and Jay Baruchel.

There are also a lot of money being handed out – up to $50,000 in cash prizes! There is $15,000 for the Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature; $10,000 for the New Voices; and various others including the MPPIA short film award ($15,000 cash prize plus $100,000 in services).

And of course the films. I’m going to try to see Foreverland, Monsieur Laxhar, Café de Flore, Doppleganger Paul, and of course Lost Lagoon (Go Momo!).

But because there are so many films, so many parties, and so many outdoor-related activities to distract you, you always have to go with the flow at WFF and see what happens. Stay tuned as I report back after this weekend.

The Whistler Film Festival is on now until December 4, 2011. If you’re heading to Whistler yourself, download the free mobile app for events and schedules. Follow @WhisFilmFest on Twitter for news and updates from WIFF.

A guest post by Michelle Kim

Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Providing write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.

Holiday Tea at Fairmont Olympic Seattle

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 — 3:13pm PST
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Afternoon tea at the Fairmont is a tradition in many cities along the coast. You can sit in a regal tea room at the Empress in Victoria, enjoy scones before your flight at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport, and I’ve recent experienced a special holiday treat at the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle.

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

Holiday Tea is hosted under the under sparkling chandeliers the Georgian dining room, just through the hotel’s festively decorated lobby. Tea selections include their signature Olympic Holiday Tea, 1907 Blend, English Breakfast, Empress Blend 1908, Darjeeling, Japan Sancha, Jasmine Green, Kae Lani Orange Pineapple, Cherry Rose, Chamomile, Peppermint, Ceylon, and a decaffeinated black tea option.

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

I picked up a box of the Empress Blend in Victoria and often substitute my morning cup of coffee for this rich brew. For this sitting however, I went with the peppermint, which is sourced locally from the Cascade Mountain region. Should you have any questions, Tea Sommalier Jessica Mullhollen is on-hand to provide insights.

Orange-cranberry with orange marmalade and Devonshire cream.

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

Roasted tom turkey with cranberry spread, sticky rooftop honey bacon
Smoked wild king salmon crepe with young salmon pearls
Butternut squash tart with aged swiss, toasted pumpkin seeds
Lemon infused English cucumber with candied red onion

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

The sweet bacon (with honey from the bees on the roof of the hotel) added some texture that I think turkey sandwiches usually lack. The desserts that followed on the bottom tier of the tower were just as diverse as the sandwiches above. There was the freshness of the peppermint pavlova, the tender gingerbread, and the crunch of the stollen, which provided varying textures with these sweets.

Raspberry almond cake, a chocolate gingerbread man, peppermint pavlova, stollen

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

Holiday Tea at the Olympic is served Monday through Saturday from 12:00pm until 2:30pm, and until 5:00pm on Sundays. While at $55 it may be outside an everyday budget for tea, the Fairmont’s afternoon tea experiences are special occasions. You can celebrate the holidays with friends and family in this dazzling setting and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy downtown shops. The Fairmont Olympic is just an 8 minute walk from the shops at Westlake, Nordstrom, and Macy’s [Google Map].

Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea Fairmont Olympic Seattle - Holiday Tea

While you’re at the Fairmont Olympic during the holidays, check out the Teddy Bear Suite on the third floor. It’s open to the public for visits and story-telling daily from 10:00am until 7:00pm. Admission is by donation to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Disclosure: Review
I was not paid to write this post. My Holiday Tea was compliments of the Fairmont Olympic.

Roméo et Juliette at Vancouver Opera

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 — 11:40am PST
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Though Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, there is something refreshing about hearing it sung in operatic French. Luckily for Vancouverites, the Vancouver Opera is currently presenting Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette until December 3.

Vancouver Opera Romeo et Juliette
Photo credit: Tim Matheson for Vancouver Opera

I’ve seen at least 20 versions this on stage or on film since I was a pre-teen. In fact, I was once obsessed – there is nothing more romantic and tragic to a young girl than the classic story of star-crossed lovers.

I have to say that this production is now the best one I’ve seen on stage (my favourite film adaptation is Baz Luhrmann’s starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes). The voices are rich, the set is gorgeous, and it’s all in French, which is way better, it seems, to hear it in, than in English.

Soprano Simone Obsborne (making her first appearance at VO) was wonderful as Juliette and tenor Gordon Gietz was so exceptional. The only complaint I have is his costume, which is a pair of tights and a cod piece. It was very distracting as my eyes would only wander to one place (my mother complained about this same thing – we couldn’t help it!). I just didn’t get it – he was the only one out of the men with a costume like that and I think it took away from his performance because he’s an exceptional singer and performer.

Other than that, it was glorious and I adored Julie Boulianne in the male role of Roméo’s page Stéphano and Antoine Bélanger as Tybalt.

The Vancouver Opera presents Roméo et Juliette tonight and Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are still available online (and at the box office) for both shows.

Disclosure: Review was not paid to write this review or any other. Michelle Kim did receive complimentary media tickets to the show in order to write her review.

A guest post by Michelle Kim

Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Providing write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.

Classic Holiday Movies at VIFF

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 — 11:13am PST
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Theatres around town are getting in the holiday spirit with special screenings of holiday classics. The Vancouver International Film Festival’s Vancity Theatre on Seymour at Davie will be presenting features throughout December.

Photo credit: Keira-Anne on Flickr

Miracle on 34th Street
Date: Sunday, December 4, 2011
Time: 3:00pm and 5:00pm

Some Like It Hot
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2011
Time: 8:30pm
Date: Sunday, December 18, 2011
Time: 3:00pm

The Misfits
Date: Sunday, December 18, 2011
Time: 5:15pm

It’s A Wonderful Life
Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Date: Thursday, December 22, 2011
Time: 6:30pm daily

A Christmas Carol
Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2011
Time: 6:30pm
Date: Thursday, December 23, 2011
Time: 6:00pm

Date: Friday, December 23 & Saturday, December 24, 2011
Date: Monday, December 26 & Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Time: 3:00pm daily

The Vancity Theatre is very comfortable with wide chairs, velveted arm rests, cup holders, and a full concession. Admission is $11 for adults $9 for VIFF members and $7 for VIFF Premium members. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office. Children get in free when you bring a non-perishable item for donation to the Food Bank.

Related Post: You can also catch midnight screenings this month at the Rio Theatre in East Vancouver.

Warner Bros. & Miss604 Present the Advance Screening of New Year’s Eve

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 — 10:15am PST
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This holiday season’s most anticipated film New Year’s Eve – is scheduled for release across Canada December 9th and I am giving my readers the chance to win passes to the advance screening.

New Year's Eve Movie

The film’s all-star cast includes Academy Award® winner Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, two-time Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Academy Award® nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, two-time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank and Sofia Vergara. To learn more, please visit the official website.

“New Year’s Eve” celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts, with intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year. has 15 double passes to the Vancouver Advance Screening of New Year’s Eve, taking place December 7th at Scotiabank Theatre. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post with a New Year’s resolution you’ve made before (that was a success or a failure) (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
I entered to win passes to the #NewYearsEve movie premiere in #Vancouver from @WBPicturesCan & @Miss604

I will draw all 15 winners (who can each bring a guest) at 7:00pm on Sunday, December 4, 2011. Winners will be given instructions for the premiere including an early arrival time to line up as passes do not guarantee access.’

Update The winners are: Laura, Erica, Vincent Chen, Lara, Lelainia, @RealDonElliott, @ArtBuf56, @IsabelFerreras, @stoneysmith, @missaliciao, Angela R, Jen, Amy, and another Alicia.