Sunday, December 26, 2010

I have been a busy girl

2010 was a prolific year for yours truly as far as concert-going activities go. I'd like to say I don't keep track. The problem is, I do.

Robyn's 2010 concerts in a nutshell

Louder Than Love, Waiting for Sunday, By Starlight @ the Railway Club - February 11

Nelly Furtado @ BC Place (for the Olympics Victory Ceremony) - February 14

Dal Richards @ Richmond Ozone (Olympics venue) - February 17

Burton Cummings @ BC Place (for the Olympics Victory Ceremony) - February 25

The Unknown Soldiers & Mightnight Lightning @ the Railway Club - February 27

Serena Maneesh w/the Ludvico Treatment & the Depreciation Guild @ the Media Club - March 27

Chris Velan & the Parlour Steps @ the Railway Club - April 1

Philip Glass @ the Chan Centre - April 5

Spirits @ the Shark Club - April 9

The Ruby Suns @ the Biltmore - April 9

Sia @ the Commodore - April 10

The XX w/ jj & DJ Nosaj Thing @ the Commodore - April 13

La Roux w/Piper Davis @ the Commodore - April 18

The Wedding Present w/Girl in a Coma @ the Biltmore - April 20

Shearwater w/Wye Oak @ the Biltmore - April 28

Kill Matilda & Ready Set Die @ the Media Club - April 30

Two Apple Tobacco @ the Penthouse - May 2

Nobunny @ Pat's Pub - May 6

Mono @ the Biltmore - May 12

Hannah Georgas w/Colleen Brown @ Venue - May 22

Girls @ Venue - May 26

Louder Than Love @ the Shark Club - May 28

Massive Attack @ the Malkin Bowl - May 29

LCD Soundsystem @ the Malkin Bowl - May 31

The Mountain Goats w/the Beets @ the Rickshaw Theatre - June 2

The Living Deadbeats & Dizzy Eyes @ Chapel Arts June 5

First Aid Kit w/Samantha Crain @ the Media Club - June 6

Nightwood @ Neptoon Records - June 13

The Besnard Lakes w/Young Galaxy @ Mod Club, Toronto - June 17

X @ Yonge-Dundas Square NxNE Stage, Toronto - June 17

Warpaint @ the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto - June 17

CoCoComa @ the Great Hall, Toronto - June 17

White Cowbell Oklahoma @ El Mocambo, Toronto - June 18

The Two Koreas w/CATL @ The Comfort Zone, Toronto - June 18

Rival Boys @ the Painted Lady, Toronto - June 18

Spirits @ Sneaky Dee's, Toronto - June 18

Paint @ the Velvet Underground, Toronto - June 19

Surfer Blood w/The Grates & Mannequin Men @ Wrongbar, Toronto - June 19

Sarah Jaffe @ the Media Club - June 22

Paul Anthony's Talen Time @ the Biltmore - July 10

Fol Chen @ the Media Club - July 11

Bahamas, Elisapie Isaac, Shayne Koyczan, Tao Seeger Band, El Puchero Del Hortelano, Crooked Still, Watcha Clan, Valdi, Ladies of the Canyon, Vancouver Folk Festival - July 17

Villagers @ the Media Club - July 21

Sweethead @ the Biltmore - July 21

Ryan Dahle w/the Manvils @ the Biltmore - July 22

Bear in Heaven w/Twin Sister @ the Biltmore - July 24

We Are Scientists @ the Biltmore - July 27

The Joy Formidable @ the Media Club - Aug 15

Mia Moth, Annie Stela & Lucas Field @ the Biltmore - Aug 28

The Submarines, Plants & Animals, Visqueen, Jamie Liddell, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Bob Dylan, the Raveonettes @ Bumbershoot, Seattle - Sept 4

Courtney Love, Ra Ra Riot, Justin Towns Earle, Hole, The Dandy Warhols @ Bumbershoot, Seattle - Sept 5

Meat Puppets, Tony Millionaire, Laura Veirs @ Bumbershoot, Seattle - Sept 6

Japandroids w/The Thermals @ the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham - Sept 25

Sonic Youth & Pavement - Matador 21 @ the Pearl Theater, Las Vegas - Oct 1

Girls, Cat Power, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion & Superchunk - Matador 21 @ the Pearl Theater, Las Vegas - Oct 2

Kurt Vile - Matador 21 @ the Palms Ballroom, Las Vegas - Oct 3

The New Pornographers, Liz Phair (w/ Ted Leo & the Pharmacists), Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices - Matador 21 @ The Pearl Theater, Las Vegas - Oct 3

Guided by Voices @ the Showbox Sodo, Seattle - Oct 9

Superchunk @ the Biltmore - Oct 13

Liz Phair w/Bradley @ Venue - Oct 15

Teenage Fanclub w/the Shilohs @ the Bilmore - Oct 16

Foals w/Esben and the Witch @ Venue - Oct 22

The Vaselines w/the Dum Dum Girls - Oct 23

Rich Hope and his Blue Rich Rangers @ the Main on Main - Oct 23

Deerhunter @ the Rickshaw - Oct 26

Kate Nash @ The Commodore - Nov 3

Louder Than Love w/the Mighty One @ the Shark Club - Nov 5

The Soft Pack w/Kurt Vile @ the Biltmore - Nov 5

Small Black w/Class Actress & Young Prism @ the Media Club - Nov 10

SK Robot - Guided by Robots @ the ANZA Club - Nov 13

Dean Wareham Plays Galaxie 500 (w/Britta Phillips) w/the Shilohs @ the Biltmore - Nov 15

We Found A Lovebird @ the Dark Room Gallery - Nov 27

Paul Anthony's Talent Time @ the Biltmore - Dec 1

Die Mannequin - Whistler Film Festival @ Whistler Conference Centre - Dec 4

Wizerds, Crystal Swells, the Oh Wells - Shindig! @ the Railway Club - Dec 7

The Posies w/Brendan Benson @ Venue - Dec 10

Killing Joke @ Venue - Dec 14

Olenka and the Autumn Lovers & Like Animals Again @ the Biltmore - Dec 27

I'm probably missing a few. And, I also missed a few. For example, driving down to Bellingham to see Pinback, only to get suckered into Trivia Tuesday at a whiskey bar instead. That kind of thing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 2010

If you're like me and you're kicking yourself for missing out on last night's lunar eclipse, well at least you can take solace in tonight's Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. If you've ever been to Commercial Drive for the Parade of Lost Souls or Illuminaries at Trout Lake, I'd imagine it's along the same vein - lanterns, fire, drummers - Vancouver bohemian flair. Myself? I've never been to the event, but I'm hoping to check out the festivities at Britannia Community Centre because, heck, when else are you going to walk through a labyrinth of light?

Five Vancouver neighbourhoods will be hosting simultaneous events from 6pm onward. I've provided links to their individual schedules:

East Van
Granville Island
South-east False Creek
For more information, check out the site at

ROCK n' SHOTS at the Dark Room Gallery

I like to pretend I'm a concert photographer.

On November 27th, I played flaneuse to the real deal.

I was invited by friend and local photographer, Jason Statler, to the Dark Room Gallery on Kingsway for ROCK 'n SHOTS - a show of concert photography. It featured the works of famed Vancouver concert photographers such as Rebecca Blissett, Bev Davies, Tamara Lee, Adam PW Smith, Spout, and Femke Van Delft. Those in attendance were your expected mix of current-and-former Georgia Straight journalists and music geeks. Icing on the cake was the performance by local band We Found A Lovebird. Oh, and the wine.

I naturally took photos:

Upon leaving the event, we stumbled upon a bricklayer oblivious that it was 9pm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Experiencing a Canucks game from the Metropolis Hot Seats

Canucks and cheese...

... isn't such a strange combo, as I discovered Wednesday night.

One person on Twitter suggested that it was "too fancy for hockey",  but everyone else agreed: there's nothing better than watching hockey from a 500-level executive suite while snacking on an assortment of fine cheeses: applewood smoked cheddar, manchego, stilton, brie, creamy chevre with fresh chives...

I certainly wasn't expecting this!

But cheese wasn't why I was there.

I had been invited as a guest blogger to cover the Canucks vs. Blue Jackets game from the Metropolis Hot Seats - an opportunity I welcomed with open arms. After all, it's not every day you get a chance to experience a hockey game from an executive suite at Rogers Arena.

The view from the Metropolis Hot Seats

What are Metropolis Hot Seats?

Metropolis Hot Seats are exclusive executive suite tickets that you can win from Metropolis at Metrotown.

Every week a handful of lucky winners get the opportunity to experience an event at Rogers Arena in luxury. Even if you're not into hockey, Metropolis at Metrotown has contests for NBA-pre-season games and big name concerts like Lady Gaga, Ozzy Osbourne, and Michael Buble. You can be pretty sure that if there's an event at Rogers Arena, Metropolis at Metrotown will run a contest for you to see it from their executive suite. All you have to do is enter the weekly contest. It's a pretty sweet deal!

How can I win Metropolis Hot Seats?

The next time you're in Burnaby, go to Metropolis at Metrotown and simply ask for a ballot at Customer Service - either the one on the upper level next to Claire's and West 49, or the one on ground level by Forever XXI. 

You can follow them on Twitter ( or "like" them on Facebook ( to receive contest announcements. Each Canucks game or concert is treated as a separate contest, so you can pick and choose what events you'd like to win.

As for what to expect?

How about a bird's eye view of a Canucks game...

From either the bar above...

Or in the seats with unobstructed views below...

You also have your own deluxe private lounge (with private bathroom!) and a fully-catered spread including gourmet cheese, sliders, chicken wings, veggie and fruit platters...

You can reminisce about your previous experiences at Rogers Arena with fellow Canucks fans...

Or simply soak up the excitement of a live hockey game in comfort and luxury...

Better yet, witness the brotherly love of Canucks fans as Kesler scores the winning goal...

Umm... did I mention the sliders?

How about big chewy cookies delivered at the beginning of third period?

But let's go back to that Canucks game, shall we?

I must admit, I'm what you'd call a casual fan of the Canucks, but I can (and do) love the experience of watching live hockey!

I remember fondly 1994, the year the Canucks were in the playoffs against the New York Rangers, waiting at the airport at some ungodly hour in the morning with my dad and little sister, our faces painted orange in anticipation of our heros - Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, and the Courtnalls.

I also remember being on Robson Street in 2002 when Canada's men's hockey team won gold during the Olympics:

What happens when the Canadian men's ice hockey team wins gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics

And, well, I think everyone remembers what happened 10 months ago when Vancouver hosted the 2010 winter Olympics. If you forget, this was the atmosphere inside "Canada Hockey Place" when Canada played Russia (I was there!)

2010-02-24 Canada vs Russia 010

2010-02-24 Canada vs Russia 021

2010-02-24 Canada vs Russia 077

While the Wednesday night game wasn't the Olympics, it was no less exciting. The Canucks were in the lead, but the Blue Jackets tied the game... twice! In fact, the game went into sudden death overtime, something I've never experienced before in person.

The game also happened to be a special tribute to Sweden and the great history the Canucks have had with Swedish players, such as Thomas Gradin, Markus Naslund, Matthias Ohlund, and of course, the Sedin twins.

The night, however, clearly belonged to Kesler, who scored the winning goal in overtime, sending fans (and yours truly), into a frenzy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10th Annual Whistler Film Festival

"It was small, intimate, and Atom Egoyan was wandering around."

I was at a party with a mouth full of eggnog, describing how the Whistler Film Fest compared to Vancouver's. Having only participated in the latter, and casually at that, I had zero expectations before arriving in Whistler on the 3rd of December.

Whistler Film Festival Awards Brunch - December 5, 2010
Being a Vancouverite of the non-skiing variety, half the novelty of the film fest was simply being in Whistler in the snow and -10 Celsius temperatures, drinking rum & eggnog lattes, cozying up next to fireplaces, and enjoying the Christmasy atmosphere of it all. Not that seeing Die Mannequin for the Hard Core Logo II afterparty was anybody's idea of Christmas, but hey, I'm not complaining.

We only managed to see three films: the hard-to-swallow-but-you-have-to-see-it The Whistleblower; the light-hearted geek-fest of The People vs. George Lucas; and the heart-breaking beauty that is Marwencol. They were all excellent for completely different reasons.

Marwencol, for me, was the most memorable and perhaps even left the bigger emotional impact:

Following Marwencol and before driving home, we bit the bullet and splurged on an incredible meal at Araxi Restaurant. It seemed such a fitting end to the weekend. For those who were following Hell's Kitchen last year, Araxi Restaurant was where the winning chef would work. I don't think he's there anymore, but it didn't matter. The food, service, and atmosphere confirmed to me why they're consistently rated amongst the top restaurants in BC.

Seared Albacore Tuna

A variety of BC oysters

Sunday evening is apparently a quiet time for Araxi!

Baby gem and romaine lettuce salad

Local onion veloute with tapenade and a crispy oyster

Fraser Valley free range chicken

Buffalo ricotta and truffle gnocchi... I even got an extra gram of fresh black truffle!

This was amazing... let's leave it at that!