Join Brooke McCarthy (@thebrookemc) at the Watercooler as she talks to Daniel Bernhard, the Executive Director of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, about the #DefundTheCBC movement, the proposed changes to the Broadcasting Act, and more.
The Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society are bringing their token humour to a new platform this year with a radio play podcast.
The show must go on for FVGSS. In your ears.
For many, going to a pantomime is a holiday tradition. From Cinderella to Peter Pan, these funny musical remakes of fairytales and folklore are an entertaining spectacle for the whole family. With most stages closed due to COVID-19 and actors/technicians out of work, the folks at the Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society found a way to bring the magic of panto to the comfort of your own home.
The Fairytale Mysteries is a six-episode podcast series that features new twisting takes on classic fairy tales. A number of familiar faces from the company’s previous pantos are now behind the mic as characters such as the Big Bad Wolf, Fungus Fox, and Betsy Hardup (Rob Dunne, Mike Balser, and Frannie Warwick, respectively).
The first 29-minute episode was recorded at the start of October at the company’s Newton warehouse. With six writers, twelve actors, and five technicians working behind the scenes, FVGSS is trying to involve as many of their members as possible in this unique opportunity. The goal being to engage the community while supporting the society.
Many theatre companies have had to take similar measures over the past few months, converting to the digital world of the pandemic. Most have taken to live-stream readings over Zoom. An audio podcast presents a different experience.
Whether you remember listening to radio plays or the Vinyl Cafe, whether you like watching TV in the background or are already a fan of fiction podcasts, the audio medium is special. An audio play especially requires listeners to imagine the setting from mostly dialogue alone, all characterizations from the actor’s voices. It’s as much an experience for the actor performing as it is the listener listening. You picture the characters in your mind, know where they are, all through imagination and description. Pantomime’s usually involve audience participation, and in a way this almost feels like it is.
In a normal year, I would say the first week of November is too early to start thinking about Christmas. This year, I’ll take any extra joy I can get.
It’s been a week since Halloween and after the absolute roller coaster that was the past seven days both personally and worldwide, I don’t blame anyone who wants to put their tree up early to celebrate. Starbucks holiday drinks are already here, they’re playing Christmas music at the mall… but what will a COVID-19 Christmas look like?
For people who split their time between multiple households, for couples who don’t live together, for families across international borders, the past eight months have been particularly difficult. For many, the holiday season is about finally being able to see family again, going house to house seeing people you only see once every 365 days. For obvious reasons, that can’t happen this year. With the new restrictions in place, this has only become more clear.
But we find ways around it. For the first time in years, my family is sending Christmas cards to everyone we would usually see. We’re delivering baked goods in tins to neighbours. We’re saving a plate or two of dinner, dropping them off at my grandparent’s house so they can enjoy the feast. My friends and I are planning a Zoom holiday party, and doing a virtual secret Santa.
This Christmas isn’t going to be a normal one. For me, it’s hard to imagine a Vancouver Christmas without the Vancouver Christmas Market, which has unfortunately been cancelled this year. Many of the craft fairs, parades, and other traditions I love also can’t happen. But some things still can. The PNE is continuing their 2020 drive thru traditions with a Christmas edition. The Stanley Park Christmas train is on track to open again in a few weeks. The annual lights display Lumiere is already lighting up the West End.
As we approach December, at risk of sounding cliché, health and safety is the best gift you can give your loved ones this year.
But they probably have enough masks and hand sanitizer.
Before the facilities are outdated, why not do it again?
In a meeting on Wednesday, Vancouver city council voted 7-4 in favour of considering an Olympic bid for 2030. The vote was Coun. Melissa De Genova’s idea, and was intended to take place in April.
It has been over ten years since the Vancouver Olympics, and with the city looking at another bid there are people on all sides of the debate. While the safety of such a large scale event at that time is still unknown at the moment, other concerns include the environmental impact and the homelessness crisis in the city. Some feel the money could be better spent elsewhere, and the profits wouldn’t be worth it.
The possibility of hosting the Games again has been talked about for years. The 2010 Olympics provided thousands of jobs for metro-Vancouverites and contributed to infrastructure with the Canada Line SkyTrain. With the COVID-19 pandemic making a major financial impact on the city, many see hosting the Olympics again using the existing facilities as a path to economic recovery when we need it most.
The thing I remember most about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics is the feeling. The entire lower mainland had this energy and excitement about it. I remember my class going outside to watch the torch run by. I remember trying to collect all the pins and commemorative coins from around town. I remember all the events and festivities leading up to it, a ten-year-old’s paradise of so many things to do. I remember watching the concerts at the opening and closing ceremonies in awe from my couch. I remember my school playing the coverage over the loudspeakers. I remember being told I would want to remember this all one day. Since then I have always wanted Vancouver to host the Olympics again, if just to feel that feeling again. That wonder. To be able to remember it better.
This week’s vote was just an interest survey to see if the city would move forward into research for the bid. The final decision over whether or not Vancouver will apply won’t be made until next year, after consulting the Canadian Olympic committees, government, the public, and local First Nations.
The Olympics bring a sense of community and excitement and connection. Ten years ago, I never would have imagined the events of this year. Who knows where we’ll be in the next ten years? I just know community, excitement, and connection, are things we need all the time.
In person recreational classes may have been shut down this week in BC, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new skill.
Since September, the Vancouver Visual Art Foundation has started a new online art class series to encourage people to get creative at home. With the help of Art Vancouver alumni, each week students of all ages and skill levels can learn how to make art like the greats.
VAF was established in 2017 as a way to connect, inspire and educate local, and international visual arts communities. In these difficult times, connection and creativity are all the more important.
For many people, art is something they loved as children but gave up as adults. Sitting in front of a large blank canvas, the smell of paints in the air, brush in hand, can be nerve-wracking. There’s pressure to be perfect and the unknown of what to do. Art classes like this are a low-stakes way to try it out again and have fun in the process.
Studies have shown that participating in creative activities is great for personal well-being. Learning a new skill can also be a great and productive distraction. Visual arts like painting can be very freeing, offering a chance to calm your mind. The action of painting itself and watching others paint is also very relaxing (Bob Ross videos anyone?)
Through December, VAF is hosting seven classes, including artist-based classes like paint your own Monet or a watercolour The Great Wave off Kanagawa class, but also more skill-based classes such as painting with palette knives or alcohol inks.
If you have no art experience, haven’t picked up a paintbrush since elementary school, or are an everyday painter, the classes aim to be accessible and educational. Students have to bring their own supplies, either by using the provided list on the event websites or ordering a kit from VAF.
Tickets are just $25 for students or $29 for adults, and the classes are on various evenings throughout the next few months. Proceeds from the events go to the foundation and the artist-instructors themselves.
A pandemic won’t stop this chili cook-off.
Mystery, chaos, and comedy, ensue as a small town prepares for the annual Wayne Rose Chili Cook-off. After sixteen years, Ava Rose is determined to finally take home the top prize. As the day unfolds, blood will be shed, chili will be sabotaged, and secrets will be revealed, as this zany cast of competitors go for the gold.
“Whether it’s to connect/reconnect with someone special, or reconcile some sort of issue that’s been eating you from the inside, the show is about the importance of taking a risk and reaching out,” says actor Mark “Sparky” MacDonald, who plays Tucker in the show. “That, and how you shouldn’t mix personal drama with a chili cook-off, or any cook-off for that matter.”
Since the entertainment industry shut down in March, many people have been feeling the absence of live theatre. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a room of strangers, all watching a story play out together right in front of your eyes. Theatre is a direct exchange of energy between the audience and the performer, and that’s been hard to replicate in the age of COVID-19. With new safety measures in place, the folks at the Metro Theatre are glad to be back.
“The theatre has done a wonderful job of ensuring that the public health order is followed and that social distancing protocols are followed,” actor Shane Steward, who plays Caleb, says. “If people feel comfortable coming, I feel they will be in for a lovely evening of escapism.”
You can get your tickets to Five Alarm for just $30 online here or by calling their box office at 604-266-719. The show runs from October 29th-November 21st at the Metro Theatre, on Marine Drive in Vancouver.
There’s a new way to pay tribute to veterans this Remembrance Day.
This year’s poppy boxes might look a little different. Yesterday, the last Friday of October, marks the start of the annual Poppy Campaign here in Canada ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11th. In partnership with HSBC, the Royal Canadian Legion has introduced new tap-to-pay donation boxes to select locations across the country.
The new boxes have been designed to reflect the solemn occasion. Marked with a glowing poppy, Canadians can simply tap their card or mobile device to make a two dollar donation and take a poppy to wear.
In light of COVID-19, people around the world have adjusted to social distance and contactless payments. The new poppy boxes allow Canadians to support the veterans while maintaining pandemic protocols.
As always, donations for a poppy are optional but do support the important work of the Royal Canadian Legion. The annual Poppy Campaign donations are held in Trust to provide aid for Canadian veterans and their families.
To lower congestion, the municipal government is looking at mobility pricing for the Downtown core.
In their new Climate Emergency Action Plan released earlier this week, the City of Vancouver has proposed tolls for downtown roads. The fees are an effort to limit traffic and lower emissions, while also encouraging public transit usage and providing funding for environmental infrastructure.
The new toll plan would charge a user fee for roads in the Vancouver peninsula and Broadway corridor. London, England uses a similar structure and has been successful in lowering their emissions by 10-20%.
Affordability, impact on residents, and effectiveness are among the concerns of drivers. Though still in the suggestion phase, many feel the current economic crisis is not the right time.
If approved, the new system would likely start in 2025 along with the Millennium line SkyTrain expansion. The city of Vancouver is presenting the full Climate Emergency Action plan next Wednesday, November 3rd.
Not even a pandemic can stop people from finding that perfect pumpkin.
Yesterday was national pumpkin day here in Canada, and with Halloween coming up, local pumpkin patches have opened their gates in preparation for the big day. Although most festivities are outside, Stephanie from Port Kells Nurseries says things are looking a little different this year due to COVID-19.
“Usually we charge an admission and we’ve got the hay wagon rides and a café, and the haunted house and those are items we’re not doing this year so we’re not charging an admission. So it’s just the pumpkin patch, cedar maze, and the animals that we have.”
Health of course is still a priority this spooky season, and nursery staff are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.
“We have the plastic dividers that you see at most stores. We have hand sanitizer stations upon entering, exiting, and then in the pumpkin patch station as well. But most of our activities are outside which is nice like the pumpkin patch being outside, so everybody’s able to social distance that way.”
For many, going to the pumpkin patch is an annual tradition. This year may not have the hayrides and haunted houses, but it can still be a healthy and happy Halloween. As is normal in 2020, most farm stores are encouraging customers to wear a mask. Many locations around the lower mainland are also asking customers to book ahead, so check your local pumpkin patch’s website.
Like many industries around the world, independent music venues have taken a big hit since the start of COVID-19 restrictions in March.
At the end of last month, venues all over the country turned red in support of #LightUpLive – an initiative to bring awareness to an industry still in the dark.
They were the first to shut down and they will be the last place to reopen. Within a matter of days, an entire industry stopped. Music venues all around the world shut their doors this past spring, many of them for the last time. While major arenas like Rogers Arena and BC Place have corporate sponsors, small independent halls aren’t so lucky. Due to the sudden lack of revenue and no support from government, many were left with no other choice.
In an effort to combat that, earlier this summer, independent venues nationwide joined together to create the CIVC, or the Canadian Independent Venue Coalition. Hundreds of concert halls, promoters, production companies, and festivals, rallied together to raise awareness to the issue and collect financial support.
The threat of venues closing is not a new issue here in Vancouver, you may remember the #SaveTheRio campaign in 2018. But never has it been on such a large scale.
Live events wouldn’t be the same without independent venues. For the new artists to grow, for those special shows with a band you love. There’s nothing like seeing an artist that close and personal, and let’s be honest – the acoustics are always better.
While none of the major venues in the city have announced any major financial trouble yet, the COVID-19 pandemic was the last straw for Squamish’s The Knotty Burl and Langley’s Gabby’s Country Cabaret. And they likely won’t be the only ones, according to the CIVC, up to 90% of Canada’s independent music venues are at risk of closing due to the pandemic.
The future is unclear for everyone, but this is especially true for the arts/events industry. We don’t know when we will be able to gather again like that, or what it will even be like when we do. A year ago I was in the pit at a concert, surrounded by hundreds of people, not knowing how terrifying that concept would be in 2020. A lot can change in a year.
So what can you do to help? #SupportCanadianVenues. If there are theatres you care about, connect with them. Many are asking for donations. Some, like Vancouver’s Imperial, have taken it upon themselves to also sell merchandise and gift cards to help carry them through. Contact your representatives and ask for more funding for these independent business and that they continue rent subsidies for them. Sign the petition. This way, when the world reopens, the venues can too.
Despite having not released new music in two years, BC band Mother Mother is on the charts again, and it’s all thanks to TikTok.
If you have ever listened to an alternative station here in Vancouver, or really anywhere in North America, you know about Mother Mother. With seven LPs under their belt and countless sold out shows, they are Canadian icons. But if you were like me and asked your friends if they wanted to go to a Mother Mother show in high school, they would have no idea who you were talking about. Enter, TikTok.
Initially released in 2016 but really taking off in the mainstream at the start of lockdown in March 2020, TikTok is a video sharing app where users can make short clips using ‘sounds’ and share them with the world. Users can make their own sounds or lip-sync to someone else’s audio, but more often than not these sounds are songs. And these songs go viral fast. Often with a dance or a meme trend attached, users mimic each other and reinvent and edit and create and the algorithm decides what gets popular. Eventually you watch so many videos, the song gets stuck in your head, and the rest is history.
That is exactly what happened with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ last month, with a trend so popular Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks even participated.
But Mother Mother’s TikTok story is different. A number of songs from their 2008 album O My Heart just seemed to strike a chord with the TikTok teens and despite no single trend or dance that has caught on, #mothermother has garnered over 60 million views.
The band gained traction initially among gothic fashion and cosplay TikTok, but songs like Arms Tonite and Hayloft that reject genre and social norms have become particularly popular amongst the non-binary and gender-nonconforming people on the app. Many young LGBT+ people have found community in places like TikTok, and they are using the songs to share their stories and creations.
The band themselves have joined the fun, collecting nearly 400k followers since front man Ryan Guldemond signed up for the app in August. They have also recently started teasing their upcoming eighth studio album, right now only known as #MMLP8, much to both new and old fans delight.
Vancouver-based daysormay’s new song opens with ‘I been holding my tongue way too long…‘ and ends with important commentary on human rights in 2020 and beyond.
If you haven’t listened to daysormay yet, you should start. With music that defies genre and lyrics that are equal parts thoughtful and sing-along-able, it’s only a matter of time before Aidan, Nolan, and Carson, are household names.
After discovering them a few years back, daysormay has quickly become one of my favourite bands, and I even got a chance to interview them earlier this month for New Music Now. Their newest single, Holding My Tongue (lovingly referred to as HMT), is unlike anything they have written before.
Although some have been quick to label it another political song in 2020, it’s important to note that HMT isn’t about politics. Aidan Andrews, the front man and main songwriter of the band is quick to say “this isn’t a political statement, this is me saying that people need to stop being killed. It’s about human rights”.
Andrews started writing the song in 2014, when he was only fifteen years old, after he saw the video of Eric Garner being killed by the NYPD. The horrifying reality of police brutality in the US and around the world stuck with him, and after writing it for a few years and touring it a couple times, daysormay recorded the song in the summer of 2018. Little did they know how horribly relevant lyrics like “death on the sidewalks, I can’t breathe…” would still be when they released it on 23 October 2020.
The concept of Holding My Tongue is something many people can relate to; being horrified about what’s going on, wanting to speak up, not knowing how and fearing the effects of what you might say. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we must take action, educate ourselves, and speak up for what’s right. It’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. Black. Lives. Matter.
With their signature alt-rock sound complimented with synths and killer vocals, this is another hit from daysormay. A young band from the interior of BC releasing fresh and powerful music is just what we need right now. It’s time to stop holding your tongue.
On 26 October 2019 I went to a concert. Little did I know it would be my last one for a very long time.
It was my first ever concert at the Commodore Ballroom. I was finally legal, the bouncer checked my ID for what felt like forever (the issue of looking like I am twelve years old and having a birth year that older generations don’t think could possibly be nineteen), and we were in.
The Commodore Ballroom. The place I had been hearing and dreaming about for years. I don’t know exactly what I expected it to look like, but it wasn’t this. This was so much better. I get the hype now. From the sound to just the general vibe, it’s a great venue. And I was happy to know that yes, the dance floor is actually a little bouncy.
I had initially bought the tickets for the opening act (JP Saxe), but in the months leading up to the concert I had become obsessed with Noah Kahan‘s debut album Busyhead. It was the first time I had gone to a show and literally knew every. single. word.
Saxe, who is now almost a household name, had only just released his song If The World Was Ending (if only we knew) with his now girlfriend Julia Michaels. JP Saxe is a great keyboard player, with a unique voice and amazing sound. His act was just a joy to watch. I even got to meet him after the show and he is really that nice and funny in person.
Noah Kahan’s set was phenomenal. A great musician, a great storyteller, all around awesome guy. Perfect mix of tear jerkers and dance offs, and my friend and I just had an absolute blast.
As we took the train back and drove home, we listened to Noah Kahan and JP Saxe and talked about the show and about the ones we were looking forward to in the new year. I was set to see AJR, Harry Styles, and I was taking a trip down to Tacoma to see My Chemical Romance on their reunion tour. Quite the eclectic mix. I was so excited.
One show was cancelled and two have been postponed to 2021.
I don’t know if I would have done anything different, had I known. Would I have lived in the moment more? Would I have tried to capture it on video to watch later? (If that’s one thing the past seven months has made me do, finally watch the concert video clips I have been taking for years). I don’t think so. I had a great time, I don’t know how it could have been any better.
I do miss it though. A lot. Being in room with all those people, singing and dancing together, caring about something together. I don’t know when that will be able to happen again, nobody does. I don’t know if those two shows in 2021 will actually happen or not.
I know that some of my best memories are at concerts, and the photos and videos will keep me company until I can make some more. And hey, it was a pretty good last month of concerts if I do say so myself.
I went to my first concert when I was just eleven years old. I remember we weren’t sure if eleven-year-olds could even legally go to concerts (they can, of course).
It was at Roger’s Arena, for a band that has since disappointed me. I went with my mum, because who else do you go with to a concert at eleven years old, and I have distinct memories of walking home from school when she phoned me and told me about the tickets.
After that first show I was hooked, and since then I have taken every opportunity I could to experience music live. As of September last year, I had been to countless free shows and sixteen paid gigs in the past eight years. This all lead up to October 2019 where, partially for my birthday and partially because it just worked out that way, I had tickets to four concerts. At the time it seemed excessive, but I wasn’t gonna pass up a chance to see so many artists I loved. It was my nineteenth birthday, month two of college, and damn it if I wasn’t going to have some fun.
The first was dodie at the Vogue Theatre, which honestly is my favourite venue in the city (if you want to read about someone else’s favourite venues in the city, you can read that here). I had seen dodie once before in Seattle in 2018 with my best friend, but now we got to see her again in our home city. It was an amazing show, a local children’s choir even joined her on stage bringing everyone to tears. The opening act, Adam Melchor, has since become one of my favourite artists.
The second was the Jonas Brothers. A concert I had literally been waiting for since I was eight years old. It was everything I dreamed it would be.
Next was Hozier, the night before my birthday. One of my favourite artists of all time, fantastic musician and lyricist, puts on a damn good show. I have my qualms about the Doug Mitchell, but that was a fun night. I quietly turned nineteen alone in a crowd of people on the bus ride home. I was literally pressed up against the rear door of the bus. How strange to think about now.
All this lead up to the day. October 26, 2019. Almost exactly a year ago. My last concert before everything changed.
Looking for something to do tonight? Why not check out Canada’s own pop punk queen live in (virtual) concert for a great cause.
Lavigne, along with One Republic, Rob Thomas, and Alessia Cara, will be putting on a virtual benefit concert tonight on her website in support of the Avril Lavigne Foundation and the Global Lyme Alliance. All proceeds from the event and associated merch will go directly to the charities, in their efforts to research and fight lyme disease.
Lyme disease is an infenctious disease spread by tic bites. Its symptoms (fatigue, fever, joint pain, heart palpitations, etc.) often mimic other issues, making it difficult to diagnose. Lavigne herself saw multiple doctors before she was finally able to get her diagnosis after her 30th birthday in 2014. She revealed her struggles with the disease in an interview the following year, saying that she was bedridden for months and felt like she was dying.
Since then, Avril Lavigne has been recovering from Lyme and is using her platform to help bring awareness to Lyme disease and supporting those who have suffered from it; including fellow Canadian Justin Bieber who spoke for the first time about his battle earlier this year. Shania Twain has also been open about her diagnosis.
Known for her pop-punk alt roots and tomboy style of the early 2000’s, Lavigne has recently made a major comeback to Canadian airwaves with her album Head Above Water in 2019. The eponymous single, along with many of the other songs on the album, is about her health struggles.
Her most recent single, We Are Warriors, is a rerecording of her album closer Warrior, and was released this past spring in support of the worldwide COVID-19 relief effort by Project HOPE.
Noted the ‘only chance to see Avril Lavigne perform in 2020’, tonight’s concert supports a very personal cause for the singer. Hosted by actor Wilmer Valderrama and featuring performances from Lavigne and a number of special guests, tonight’s show is not to be missed. You can get tickets here, the show starts at 5pm PST.
If you have been craving that new-music-live feeling, look no further.
Music BC and Okanagan’s own Hubbub Live are proud to present Let’s Hear It! Live a music showcase of three emerging BC artists, this Thursday, 22 October 2020.
The three artists, Post-Modern Connection, Mother Sun, and Jodie B, will be performing live at The Kelowna Actor’s Studio at 7pm—bringing viewers an eclectic mix of indie-alternative-electric-pop right to their living rooms.
Livestream concerts and events have become an omnipresent part of 2020, with everyone from Billie Eilish to Coldplay taking part. Artists and venues alike have been taking a hit from the lack of performances, and concert-goers around the world are trying to fill the void anyway they can.
New artists have been especially affected, losing opportunities to grow their fan base and showcase their work to new crowds every night. That’s where Let’s Hear It! Live comes in, the goal being to provide a platform for these new Okanagan artists and to introduce them to a new audience.
Post-Modern Connection is a five piece group made up of members from all over the world. High energy, soulful, and different, the band brings bends genre and reinvents themselves with each hit. Their catchy choruses and unique sound has led them to open for iconic alt-bands like Wintersleep and Hollerado.
Forming in 2017 from four members of the Kamloops indie scene, Mother Sun has been making waves in alternative music. They have a fun, laidback, rock tone that’s sort of Catfish and the Bottlemen meets Cage the Elephant with just a hint of surf pop. You just need to keep listening.
Jodie B is a master of the loop pedal. Having just released her self-produced album Equanimous on October 2nd, her powerful voice and electronic sound are not unlike art/alt rock queens like St. Vincent, K.Flay, and Meg Myers. Jodie B wants to keep live instruments in electronic music and she is doing exactly that, with flying colours.
You can catch all three of these amazing bands live on YouTube and Facebook, at 7pm this Thursday. RSVP to the event here.
Beyond The Sidelines explores what’s new and interesting in sports, here in Vancouver and around the world. In this week’s two part series Brooke McCarthy talks to Truong Cao, the executive director of the Vancouver Dodgeball league.
New Music Now explores what’s happening in the indie-alt/modern-rock scene here in Vancouver. On this episode, alt-rock-pop trio daysormay.
Hosted by Brooke McCarthy.
New Music Now explores what’s happening in the indie-alt/modern-rock scene here in Vancouver. On this episode, ‘dark-folk’ duo Hollow Twin.
Hosted by Brooke McCarthy.
It’s another Q&A Podcast! Hosted by Brooke McCarthy. What’s it like graduating into the theatre industry in 2020? How is live theatre changing in this digital world?