After completing my sixty4media tasks last week, which have kept me locked away indoors for at least a month now, I was able to recoup, repair, and restore some of my love for this city from which I have felt isolated lately.
Rather than publishing half a dozen posts about upcoming events this morning I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my truly Vancouver experiences over the last few days. Activities and adventures lie around every corner from Maple Tree Square to the shores of Jericho Beach and sometimes it just feels good to explore these things for myself.
Last Wednesday I had a sneak peak at the newly remodeled and restored Vogue Theatre. I sat down in the front row with Matt Gibbons, President of the theatre, and chatted about the past, present and future of the venue.
The custom art deco carpet is mesmerizing and the lineup of not only music but comedy, speaking, and theatrical acts is impressive. I wrote in my Weekly604 column for TV Week, “I am particularly looking forward to, Miracle on 34th Street. Imagine an early dinner downtown on a frosty December evening. Catching a classic show from your velvet seat at the Vogue then exiting onto a bustling Granville as the twinkle of snowflakes is amplified by the flickering canopy of neon.”
From there I ventured through Chinatown to meet up with Bob from Vancouver Is Awesome. On the edge of a pond rippling with the slow and thought-out movements of turtles and giant koi we talked about music, technology, and state of the blogosphere.
Thursday morning was surreal. I was given a private tour of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art by none other than Dr Martine Reid. I have about 60 minutes of audio recorded as she guided me through the collections. It was such a special experience that I want to prepare my post about the gallery with care. I hope to have that up later this week but in the meantime, check out the Public Aboriginal Art Walk if you can.
That evening I attended Launch Party Vancouver 9 at the Roundhouse in Yaletown. Launch Party events showcase local startups so I made sure to make the rounds and learn about projects like Fundrazr and Contractually. Having attended Launch Party 1 in 2007 so many years ago, I wanted to congratulations to the hosts from Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, and the always lovely Sonia Ryan and Maura Rodgers.
We left Launch Party to attend the official re-launch of the Vogue, catching performances by Dan Mangan, Shane Koyczan, and Bif Naked. It was a quintessential and modern Vancouver line-up that left me spellbound and hopeful for a new generation of singers and songwriters coming up through the ranks in this city.
From the Vogue, we rode Catherine Barr‘s coat-tails next door for the 22nd anniversary of The Roxy. I haven’t been to the Roxy for well over five years however when Cat Barr tells you to follow her across a red carpet, you go.
We met the owner, admired the 80s-themed hairdos and spandex, and endured tributes to Whitesnake, Van Halen and Journey. We cruised down a slippery slope of nostalgia, often digging in our heels to say to ourselves “we must be some of the oldest people in here”. However, we couldn’t help cracking the widest smiles possible while throwing our hands in the air instinctively when we heard the word “Jump!”.
Friday morning was the media preview of Empire Field. The temporary scaffolding structure popped up in 111 days and is surrounded by an outdoor concourse featuring beer, pop, peanut vendors and concession tents.
With the rumble and roar of Playland‘s wooden roller coaster in the background I felt the turf’s rubber pellets between my flip-flopped toes and imagined what it would look like full of BC Lions fans on Sunday.
Lunch was with John Biehler on the North Shore after-which we stopped by the HMNZS Te Kaha as they were doing free public tours of the vessel from the Royal New Zealand Navy.
That evening we met up with Keira for dinner at Hapa Izakaya on Robson. It was a nice, mellow way to end our busy week with delicious tapas.
John and I had our first beach day on Saturday despite the overcast skies above. We’ve both decided to pick up books and read at the beach this summer, instead of plug into podcasts through a shared set of headphones attached to his iPod. I didn’t realize until we packed our beach bags that we both have baseball themed books. He’s reading Wrigleyworld while I’m finally getting through Shoeless Joe.
“Moonlight butters the whole Iowa night. Clover and corn smells are thick as syrup.”
We’re heading to Iowa for the fourth of July this year back in John’s hometown. He told me that perhaps this will be the year I fall in love with Iowa. I turned to him and said I’ve adored it for years however this might be the summer that I fall in love with baseball.
We spent the rest of the day in our mis-matched beach clothes brunching and shopping along Cambie and Broadway. Our sandied flip-flops slapping in unison as we strolled from Change to MEC and everywhere in between. The clouds parted like a drop of dish detergent into a grease-filled pot, regathering at the edge of the North Shore mountains.
I spent the morning in a kayak as a part of Empire Stadium.
Keira and I took the Ceilis Shuttle to the game and although the BC Lions lost with seconds to go, the crowd seemed to have embraced the new (yet legendary) venue.
Football outdoors with a backdrop of blue mountains that shine as green as emeralds on a clear day is something Lions fans will quickly get used to. They will swim through a sea of spectators past the portable toilets that line the concourse to chase down popcorn or peanut vendors. Bright orange horns will blare incessantly like vuvuzelas in soccer city and amusement park goers will be able to catch glimpses of the excitement from their pogo-like perch on the Hellevator.
Today is the first day of summer in Vancouver however despite the skies being covered in grey or ready to burst in a downpour, there’s so much to do in the city that it really doesn’t matter. Get out and enjoy Vancouver this summer and every day. Whether it’s a festival, cooking competition, car show, round of golf, or taking an unfamiliar path through a community garden. Explore Vancouver today and everyday as we’re all pretty lucky to be able to be here.