Heart of the City Festival

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is lined up for its 16th annual Heart of the City Festival. It will begin on October 30th and go on through November 11th. Heart of the City Festival that will be host to many cultural events, art expression, story telling, and performances. There is over 100 events spread across over 40 venues. There will be viewings of documentaries and plenty of places to get comfortable and experience the Downtown Eastside like no other. There is a long history in the neighborhood, and they want to share that with the rest of the lower mainland. There has been a struggle with homelessness and drug addiction very prevalent in the area, and with the background and stigma also comes a series of presentations and art of breaking the cycle. Raw emotions and true stories will be presented for all going to the festival. The festival is in its 16th year and has grown significantly, involving many of its locals, students, and cultural backgrounds. It is truly an experience not to be missed.
For more information and a schedule of the events go to http://www.heartofthecityfestival.com/

What will become of the Movie Theater?

Some time ago I read an article (which I can’t seem to find again) about how it could be considered more environmentally friendly to go see a movie at a theater than staying home and watching one on your phone. I was intrigued with this article and spouted its statistics about the cost of electricity, internet, the precious metals used to build the phone and the overall cost to stream etc.
This is already turning into a rant, but my initial question was “What will become of the movie theater?” (roll the credits, the title has already made an appearance)

Do you attend theater releases for the experience? Or would you prefer to stay home for the convenience and the preference of your own comfort of snacks, seating, and prices? I completely understand the idea of comfort elevating the experience. Comfort may not be surrounded by strangers in a possibly strange box with no windows and giant speakers.
I am a subscriber to multiple movie streaming services, and a buyer of Blu-rays. I love the movie experience from home as well as from the theater. I will sadly admit, my love for cinema extends a bit far sometimes. I have gone to see a movie in the theater, then purchase the digital release to re-watch it as soon as possible, then buy the physical copy on Blu-ray to keep longer. This is excessive, and I’ve done it more than once, but I love movies. I want to support as best as I can.
Some time ago, I went to a very intense movie at a theater downtown, because it was the only spot that movie was showing. This movie contained a lot of silence, tension, and uncomfortable moments. In my two hours there, the most uncomfortable part of the entire movie was the couple that kept using their phone flashlight for social media videos, and the group of people yelling jokes they thought were hilarious to the entire theater. I could hear conversations every time this movie went a little quiet, it was tepid chaos. Now I’m probably coming off as the grumpy person who wants everything their own way, but multiple others shushed and informed employees, but the interruptions remained tenacious.
This just sounds like complaining so far, and I can’t let singular experiences be my blanket statement for all movie theaters. I have my go-to movie theater where I go for all my major releases. Some don’t release there because they are too niche. I’ve had 20 good theater encounters for every bad one, but for some reason I always circle back to what will happen to the movie theater? (again? I get it.)
This has always happened, and not just in the movie world. This industry has changed so much over time, from being the pinnacle of entertainment, to the convenience of background noise while you cook. There’s no carved-in-stone rules for how to watch a movie, but if someone isn’t somewhat invested and they go with a group of friends and have a conference or criticize aloud, it’s inconsiderate for those who want to be there. You don’t need to love every movie you see, maybe you got dragged there with a partner and you had other obligations or conversations going previously. If you don’t care, then is it too harsh to say don’t be there?
The giant gleam of the cell phone screen in the darkness of the theater has also been taking from the experiences. Yes, I know it isn’t my screen to look at, but when your attention is meant to be retained on one bright screen and you see others flash in your peripheral is enough to remove you from a moment. There was a theater company in the US that considered the idea of allowing cellphone usage to attract more of the younger population that wasn’t attending movies. At the very extreme minimal if you must use your phone, please turn your brightness down and put on the night mode, I hope every phone has that option for this frustrated statement I’m projecting. For the unaware, check your settings, look at the display options and turn it down, and reduce that white point or blue light. My phone has a night mode which I click and turn the brightness down, it seems annoying and bossy now, but it’s two seconds and someone like me will secretly thank you.
Here I go rambling and instructing people again, maybe my passion for theaters is a bit much. The bad experiences stand out so much, that I made the statement if movie companies had digital releases online or through cable at the same time as theaters, I’d gladly pay maximum of $30 for one viewing just to not deal with those minor frustrations.
BUT!
I would lose the ritual of going out and participating. I don’t mind the expensive snacks and the ticket prices, because it is the experience I pay for. The boom of the surround sound speakers shaking the room, the giant canvas of the screen displaying carefully filmed storytelling, and feeling the awe, laughter, or tragedy with others. It elevates the experience and creates a space for art to be expressed and received intimately.
There’s been many opinions such as “Is internet going to ruin the movie industry?” or “Is streaming going to kill the theater?”
Sometimes I walk by on a Friday or Saturday and am amazed at the huge amount of people standing in line to see a movie. I don’t think it’s dying, but it is my own opinion that convenience has hurt the theater experience. Previously, you had to organize a strategy of going to a movie, it was a whole event you got ready for. Now we have so many options of movies available to us and have so many ways to view them. You could watch them almost anywhere with internet and technology available. Is it the convenience which has removed our appreciation of the theater? The appeal of generations always changes no matter how you swing it. Now we have so much at our disposal, that others may not consider it a big deal anymore. I will keep going until my bullheadedness wins, or they close the theaters near me. We have witnessed the change of packing as many hundreds as you can into one screening, to some giant spread out reclining seats to multiple smaller screenings. The movie theater will always have a soft spot in my heart.
How do you feel about attending movies at theaters, has the theater industry set itself back? Where do you see it going in the future? Will it start to die off, or find ways to fix the problems of attendance and somehow balance the issues of crowd control.
Or is it just an activity that someone like me takes way too seriously and tries to ruin for others.
I hope you enjoy your movies no matter how you see them, but if you decide to go to a theater just remember to destroy your phone with a blunt object first(Just kidding, please keep it in your pocket)

People keep asking you about goals?

Do you have your life goals figured out? I know I do Not. I am still by most standards considered young at my age of 31. I have noticed a pressure among a lot of younger students and workers to know where they will be going in life, and I commend anyone who has it somewhat figured out. I just want to help alleviate those who may not know what their “thing” is. I sometimes feel just as lost as my younger self, even in mid-pursuit of this singular goal of mine.

If you talked to a younger me at the age of 15, you would have never heard the end of how I will become a tattoo artist, and how I drew a couple tattoos for friends. I once showed a tattoo artist my art and he said he’d consider taking me as an apprentice. Those all felt like huge moments for a younger version of myself, and I really leaned on the idea of even being considered, which didn’t mean I was accepted. I look back on it, and it was just me forcing someone to look at my art, and they probably had to be friendly (but also remember that the current me is a bit more cynical.) I started getting tattoos at the age of 16. I don’t think the modern version of myself time-travelling could warn my younger self about how much things will change over the years. I now get to stare at my tattoo choices, not all of them because some I need a mirror to see.

I’m not sure if it’s self-criticism, or just a bit of an aged outlook, but I don’t think I would be able to have done the job of a tattoo artist, not only on a creative level, I look at some of my art and am glad nobody else asked me to draw a tattoo for them. That dream was a huge one that only lasted a few years, and I am alright with knowing I am not meant for that world.

I almost forgot to mention my secondary school years. Oh, those glorious years of school, where the pressure to figure out life is thrown into your lap like a hot potato. Now, I was not the most attentive in my school years, I was a somewhat difficult student. When I did attend, it wasn’t to anyone’s benefit, mainly to be a distraction and go see friends. Since I did not have the greatest academic grades, my high school decided they would prepare me for a practical world.

In most of my high school years, I was put into classes that could be summed up in one category known as Forestry. I don’t remember much of these classes, I know we had to learn how to approach a plot of trees, seen how strategically they are cut, and what (as well as how) to preserve certain areas of forests. That’s about all I can tell you after a few years of these classes, partially my own fault because of the attendance issue.

Those were the two big plans before I even hit 20 years old, I was either going to work in the woods somewhere or put ink into other people who might end up with a tattoo they could possibly maybe regret, or love.

My 20’s were just a mess of mainly being a cleaner to random jobs I could pick up living across the United States and Canada. These were the years of enjoying the freedom of not having goals. I was able to do this one simple thing which is to find a mess and get rid of it. Everybody would compliment me on this straightforward ability. I did make a living off it, and I met many others who made quite a decent living wage from doing so. I just found myself at the point where I discovered that I enjoyed the people I was meeting in these workplaces, over the work itself. I will admit, in those years did I ever gain a crazy amount of travel and life experience, which allowed me to accrue many stories and new outlooks. There’s too much to list about my 20s, that the shortest way I can sum all my experiences up in my work and normal life would be cleaning up messes.

I’m good at making messes, and I wanted to close my 20s with some form of anything I could achieve on my own. I read about small goals leading up to bigger goals and tried taking that approach. I went around the Lower Mainland, looking at post-secondary schools and trying to figure out a new dream. I took evening school just to be able to apply to post-secondary. I went to career centers and took every form of self-help, career choice, or personality test you could take. I read that I was best suited to work in the medical field, or be a manager/supervisor of anything, I guess. I got certified in operating many types of machinery and tractors when I still never had my drivers license. (There was also a brief period where I was going to take over the vaping industry with my ground-breaking flavour ideas.)

After all the tests, suggestions, and training I have done through my years. I decided to go straight into school for Radio. If there’s anything that this article projects, it’s that I certainly know how to talk too much. The one thing I gathered from all my experiences of school and work is that I genuinely loved meeting people and hearing their stories (almost just as much as I enjoy dishing mine out there.) With that in mind, I hit the ground running 16 years after finding my first dream job of a tattoo artist at 15.

I still don’t have the full confidence in my choices yet, and I respect anyone for trying to pursue their dreams/goals. It isn’t easy, because I still sit here in the evenings wondering where I’m going to go after all this is said and done. Right now, I’m just enjoying the experiences, and appreciating the great people I met along the way. From one undecided person to everyone else out there, I hope that even if you don’t know what you’re doing just yet, you find some good moments while trying.

MAY 4TH IS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

Super heros to the rescue!

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book day, and for those who love comic books or free things is a great time to check out your participating local shops to snag some free comic books. The event started back in 2002, and has significantly grown each year since. The event happens on the first Saturday of May every year.

At participating shops, you can walk in and grab yourself some comic books with no strings attached. If you’ve ever been a little curious about comics, tomorrow is a great day to start.

I had a talk with the owner of Vancouver comic book shop Golden Age Collectables, Patrick Shaughnessy.
If you believe there’s a catch, he explains how it works:

“People have always still to this day are a little bit confused about Free Comic Day. Free Comic Day has no strings attached. It’s just like come in and get free comics. Of course people are used to “Free” usually meaning buy-one-get-one free or you know, sign up for something or give us some information. But it’s not like that at all, it’s as simple as it gets. Come in and get free comics.”

You can attain your free comic books at any participating store only on May the 4th.

For more information on Free Comic Book Day check out:
https://www.freecomicbookday.com/

Or to check out Golden Age Collectables go to:

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Plain Packaging Regulations for Tobacco in Canada

dancing smoke

There will be new regulations for plain packaging of all tobacco products in Canada. The new rules will go into effect in November of 2019. This means all packages will be in a singular brown colour with a standard font on every item.
They are set to be some of the strictest laws for tobacco sales around the world. There are already a few other countries participating in these plain packaging laws in order to reduce the use of tobacco.

I had the chance to interview the Media Relations officer of Health Canada Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge.
I asked about the new plain packaging laws and the long-term goal of Health Canada for tobacco use, and he says:

“The regulations are an important initiative under Canada’s tobacco strategy. Which aims to reduce tobacco use to less than 5 per cent of the Canadian population by 2035.”

You can view Health Canada’s tobacco strategy at
https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/canada-tobacco-strategy.html

Farmland Values on the Rise

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Farm Credit Canada has released their Farmland Values Report of 2018. The report highlights averages of farmland values across Canada for the year. 2018’s report has shown a steady increase of farmland values across most of Canada. Some parts on the East Coast have seen a decrease, but BC’s value has seen a 6.7 percent average increase.

Canada has seen farm property values increasing steadily since 1993, but has seen significant changes over the years in specific regions. It was mentioned that farm operators need to exercise caution, especially in regions of significant growth rates that exceed the income of the farm.

Here at Evolution, I talked to Senior Appraiser of Farm Credit Canada about what is contributing to the increase in farmland properties, and he said:

“I think overall we got good economic conditions in some respect. We got low interest rates. Farmers have been good over the number of years and some people are still moving forward with the positive plans, and there’s an optimistic attitude with the producers in general.”

You can view the FCC Farmland Values Report on www.fcc-fac.ca

-Jordan Robinson

Are things looking up for BC’s Gas Prices?

A Dollar?

Gas prices in BC are at record highs. We are all feeling the effect of the major price spike on our wallets. Many of us in the Metro Vancouver area are unsure of how the huge spike came about? Is it the taxes? Is it the oil companies?

Well, I had a conversation with Senior Economist Marc Lee at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Here is what he had to say on the near future of the gas prices:

“I think people are very frustrated with the high prices of gas right now. My sense is that unless one or both levels of government lean into this in a big way and investigate what is going on and bring in some new regulations. That pricing is just going to keep going up and up and up.”

Are you going to bite the bullet on the rising prices, or ditch the ride? It doesn’t seem to be cooling down anytime soon.

Jordan Robinson