Gal Gracen, Blue Hearts in Exile

Gorgeous Music To Hold Your Soul In A Gentle Palm

Gal Gracen. A Vancouver-based “fantasy / romance” band, as described on their facebook page. Or my favourite description of their music: “dreamcatcher,” as listed on their bandcamp.
Check this out, you and your soul will be better for it: Blue Hearts in Exile

And if after those 7 gorgeous tracks, you’re as in love with them as I am, you won’t miss their show at 303 Columbia on Thurs May 14, in which other brilliant Vancouver bands such as Mesa Luna, Whitney K, and Plazas will perform at.
happy hour radio presents: gal gracen, mesa luna, whitney k & plazas at 303 Columbia, Vancouver BC, 2015


Big Mouth Leaves Me Hungry For More: A Case of Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen/Too Many Opinions on Art & Real Estate and Not Enough Concrete Action?

OK, tonight riled me up.

I attended a speakers series called Big Mouth.

Tonight’s subject was Art and Real Estate.
In a city such as Vancouver, which has had an absolute explosion of condo development and a constant destruction of anything old in favour of new, this is a very heated subject matter.

Artists can not afford to live in the city. They are being pushed further and further away from the centres where they and their craft should be thriving and enlivening the city.

But after listening to seven speakers, as well as a much-too-short Q&A, I felt like there wasn’t enough talk on action.
How do we take what is obviously a difficult situation for artists and make it better?
How do we integrate art & government, culture & development?

An article was published in the Globe & Mail yesterday that provides what I believe are some answers. I will post the link at the end of this blog post.

Before that,
here are some notes I compiled from the evening…



Michael Green

– Principal, Michael Green Architecture

  • Humourous, quick presentation.
  • Point of view that art & architecture used to be integrated w/ craft. Then we moved to the architect trying to be the artist, such as Gehry. Green says we are still here, which he sees as unfortunate.
  • Unfortunate case too often: by the time a building has been completed, no $ left over for the art that was intended in original design. Green experienced this with tall vertical slots in the lower section of the airport in Ottawa. Was meant to be area to put art.
  • Mentions a project called “One % for the hood.” US has 1% rule to incorporate art into new buildings. Canada needs something similar.


Donald Luxton

– Heritage Consultant + President, Heritage Vancouver

  • Gave a cursory history of the development of Vancouver. A tad us-and-them (Europeans vs First Nations). Left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Interesting fact about 33×122′ parcels of land
  • Talked about history, but what else? Didn’t get into much about current state or possible resolutions.


Heather Redfern

– Executive Director, The Cultch

  • Quite raw, off the cuff, I admired her gusto.
  • A little bit idealistic, but also some great ideas such as creating buildings that can house visiting artists closer to venues such as Cultch.
  • Make a real artistic district, East side culture crawl throughout year
  • She says “Yes” to density.
  • Redfern says that artists need to see change as inevitable, and to work w developers.


Steven Cox

– Principal, Cause+Affect & Producer, PechaKucha Vancouver, created FUSE for VAG
SIQICs (Sustainability, Individuality, Quality, Intelligence, Craft) = ideal audience, they create the future according to @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries

  • Very likeable, said he was going to talk all about himself and his company, which he did, but he made it relevant to the topic.
  • I admire his pursuit of making communities that count, how to actually make culture work in a era where money rules. “Good.”
  • “We want to de-commoditise Van Real Estate” in a city run by tourism
  • Some important points in his process:
    – Create more aesthetically pleasing buildings, and buildings that actually fit into the neighbourhood they’re built in. Gave example of “Chips” in Manchester: they responded because it meant something to them, they could relate to it.
    – Reinvent marketing by communicating process rather than product. Get people with u from Day 1!

Mark Shieh

– Director, River Market at The Quay
Mark Shieh describes his Food 360 project @BigMouthSeries

  • Believes in integrating culture & community & commerce.
  • Smart, personable, some interesting projects but do they actually integrate with the community or are they just tacked on?
    – Food 360: Break down the process of food
    – PS New West: poetry on building exterior across sky train.
    – ONE: put 1% towards community projects such as @popluckNW
    – Bringing Street Game Fest to New West – if you’d like to help, contact him


Bruce Wright

– Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Managing Partner of Goodmans Vancouver

  • Talked entire time about VAG & the new land awarded, didn’t know what his point was in relation to the topic.
  • Wants to get non-art supporters on board to help finance new VAG


Ernesto Gomez

– Co-Owner, Nuba Restaurant + Founding Partner, Arrival Agency (formerly Waldorf Productions)

  • Shy presenation, scattered thoughts, but his heart is coming from the right place.
  • Waldorf as a platform for a variety of people from different sections of city & community, a rare place they could come together.

Q & A

  • Inhabitants disconnected from owners.
  • Steven brings good point about buying home being an investment more than being a home.
  • Prediction that the most interesting stuff in future Vancouver will be rental and commerical
  • Who is Ernesto’s friend (Shelley?) is a firecracker, brings some spark to Q&A
  • Ernesto ends w great point about how we need to stop seeing a separation between arts & everyday monetary life. They should be integrated, seamless.

Thank you Polina!
Nice to see you Graeme, Erika, Avalon, Pax

Here is the article on the Globe & Mail “The economic imperative for investing in arts and culture.” Have a read, it’s worth your time.

And I’ll close with this inspiring slide by Steven Cox
Wise words via Steven Cox of @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries


Remembering A Fantastic Evening Of Music Through Photography

While culling through my photos for an upcoming exhibit, I came across my capture of one of the ladies from Tasseomancy, a unique vocal-based indie group that performed at The Electric Owl in Vancouver BC November 2011.
The show also included Young Galaxy
and Austra – whatta lineup!!
On assignment for The Snipe News, original post here


Arts Job Postings For Vancouver BC!

Education Coordinator for VIVO Media Arts

VIVO Media Arts is one of Vancouver’s longest running artist run centres. It focuses largely on video production, although other types of art (largely digital) come into it’s programming.

VIVO provides equipment rental, editing booth rental, launches art shows and live music shows, as well as tons of great affordable education! This is where you’d come in.

Check out VIVO’s site

Full job application info here

Deadline Nov 3rd 2012

Fine Art Preparator for Rennie Collection

The Rennie Collection is enormous, and has a huge impact on art collecting in Western Canada.

If you have proven experience as a fine art preparator, are fit, strong, good with tools, and have a driver’s license, this is the job for you!

Application info avail here

Application deadline Oct 29 2012

Student Services Assistant for Arts Umbrella

If you love the arts and love working with youth (ages 2-19), this job would be great. Assist staff with various administrative tasks, as well as helping parents with registration and related issues. Some evening and weekend work is expected.

Full details here

Deadline Oct 28 2012

Box Office Assistant for The Cultch

Provide customer service, sell tickets, etc. Super key to a successful, enjoyable theatre experience!

Job details here

Deadline Oct 19 2012

Venue Management Instructor for Capilano University

Have minimum five years experience in venue management in the arts and cultural sector? Share the knowledge – Teach it!

Full job details here

Deadline Oct 19 2012


Vancouver Nights: Rare Urban Brick, New Kiwi Performance

From their Olio 2012 performance at Fortune Sound Club, New Zealand band Ladyhawke:

… and earlier that same night, Hastings St, downtown Vancouver, dividing West and East:


Obscured Faces & Rearranged Spam: 2 Excellent Art Exhibitions in Vancouver BC

There are two excellent exhibitions currently showing in Vancouver: Michelle Gay’s Poemitron at Charles H. Scott Gallery and Hannah Hughes and Ahbyah Baker in Shapely at CSA Space.

Michelle Gay: Poemitron and other works @ Charles H. Scott Gallery


Spampoet by Michelle Gay


Spampoet (description) by Michelle Gay

Michelle Gay is a visual artist who uses computer programming (her brother is the programmer) to create pieces that have an unpredictable nature to them. Many are interactive. Text features heavily in her work.
I attended the artist talk at Charles H. Scott Gallery at Emily Carr University to hear Michelle Gay speak about her work.


Charles H. Scott's director introducing Michelle Gay


Wordforge by Michelle Gay


Compiler by Michelle Gay

This piece, Retrieval Pictures, was my favourite of the show.


Retrieval Pictures by Michelle Gay

It is an interactive piece; the screen is black until the viewer moves their fingers across a trackpad that is on a small podium facing the screen. By swiping across the screen, you begin to reveal an image underneath. But as you continue to “unmask” the hidden image, the areas you unmasked earlier begin to darken again, which means you will never reveal the entire image. Gay said this piece is about memory, and it truly is the most accurate representation of memory that I’ve ever encountered.


Retrieval Pictures (description) by Michelle Gay

Ahbyah Baker & Hannah Hughes: Shapely @ CSA Space

In the small but perfectly intimate CSA Space, the show called Shapely features two Vancouver artists, Hannah Hughes and Ahbyah Baker.


Entrance to CSA Space

On a windy, raining day, it was the perfect time to head upstairs (after requesting the key from the awesome staff at Pulpfiction Books) and soak up the art.


Checking out the exhibit

Baker’s paintings are abstract circular shapes with thin vertical lines of colour within them.


Drip Shape 10 by Ahbyah Baker

Hughes’ paintings are modifications of portraits. One seems to be a fashion photo that has angrily, yet specifically, blotched out the face of the model with thick swatches of paint.


Dig by Hannah Hughes

The other (& my favourite piece in the exhibit) is a large classical portrait that has pastel-coloured mushroom/pillow shapes obscuring the face.


Molded by Hannah Hughes

The expert execution of the underlying painting is incredible. Look at the lushness of her lips!


Molded (detail) by Hannah Hughes


Shapely bios

Shapely is only on for another few days. It closes November 16, so be sure to get in as soon as you can. See Pulpfiction Books (2422 Main St.) for admission during regular business hours: Mon-Wed 10am-8pm and Thurs-Sat 10am-9pm.

Poemitron and Other Works is at Charles H. Scott until December 18. Don’t forget – You absolutely must go to experience the memory piece. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 12pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Entrance to both exhibits is free.


Events In Vancouver: What’s Happening in Music, Art, and Your Community

I believe it’s crazy important to be aware of what is happening in your city & your community.
For some time now, I have wanted to launch an events site for Vancouver.
Until that happens, I am going to maintain this list of my recommended events to check out in Vancouver BC.

Have a look, I bet there’s a bunch of stuff here you’d enjoy!
And if you know of anything interesting that I’m missing here, give me a shout!


Thurs Oct 27: Goran Bregovic and his Wedding & Funeral Orchestra (Gypsy brass band) @ Vogue

Fri Oct 28: Witches and Warlocks (3rd annual Veloween) @ Commercial Dr Legion

Fri Oct 28: Pre-halloween costume swap (w/ music by Shockone/Longwalkshortdock/Dark Arps)

Fri Oct 28: HALLOW2EEN: Emika (up & coming electronica vocalist), Amanda Rude, Michael Red, Max Ulis @ W2

Sat Oct 29: Nurses & Dominant Legs (indie rock) @ Biltmore

Mon Oct 31: Still Corners (dreamy mellow indie rock) @ Media Club

Wed Nov 2: Trentemoller (electronica/techno w full band – awesome live!) @ Commodore

Wed Nov 9: Dan Mangan (indie rock/folk) @ Orpheum

Thurs Nov 10: The Tiger Lillies (mix of “opera, gypsy song and left bank Paris”) @ Waldorf

Wed Nov 16: Austra (w/ Tasseomancy) (indie pop – not to be missed!) @ Electric Owl

Thurs Nov 17: Peak Performance Project FINALE (last night of local indie band competition) @ Commodore

Thurs Nov 17: Grimes (electro vocal girl – very danceable) @ Electric Owl

Sat Nov 19: AraabMUZIK (hiphop/dance party DJ) @ Electric Owl

Sat Dec 10: Baths (quirky experimental electronica) @ Electric Owl


Oct 18-29: Parade Of Lost Souls Festival

Nov 18-20: Eastside Culture Crawl (Eastside artists open their studios to the public. An awesome fun way to experience local artisans & their art)


(nothing to list at the moment)


Oct 21-Nov 11: Hatha Flow Yoga Course @ Eastside Yoga

Oct 21-Dec 9: Chakra Dance Series @ Tantra Fitness

Nov 2-23: Theremin workshop @ VIVO


Oct 19-30: Taste Of Yaletown (affordable 3 course meals)


(nothing to list at the moment)


Sat Oct 29: Parade Of Lost Souls (walk through East Van/Commercial Dr in music, performance, installation art)


The Importance Of The Rarely Seen Design Process Is Exposed & Celebrated At Burnkit In Prototypes

I was lucky to take in one of the last opportunities to view Prototypes, a show at Burnkit.
Prototypes examined the importance of production models, how although they are rarely seen by anyone other than the creator, they serve an integral part in the creative process that leads to the most effective final product.
The Vancouver design house is based in an enormous warehouse with more than enough room to hold an exhibit such as this. The set up was simple yet very engaging. There were five separate sections. Each had an accompanying iPad screen that you swiped through for more information. The work on display ranged from chairs to knives to duffle bags and more.
I have always admired Burnkit’s work, and am impressed that they organized this exhibit.
For more information, check out


Amon Tobin Sends Audience On A Psychedelic Visual Trip With New ISAM Tour

Amon Tobin’s Isam set = breath-taking brilliance.
I was only given the opportunity to photograph the first two songs, so my photos don’t really do the whole performance any justice. The range of visuals was truly mindblowing – the entire set deserves to be recording in HD & posted to repeatedly blow our minds.
Truly, though, it must be experienced live to be understood. There is no way to describe it in words or pictures. Mind morphing Tetris on acid, but a gentle, forgiving, coaxing video game, not a violent or scary one.
It is so impossible to describe, constantly changing, you’d think you’d run out of ideas of what to project onto the cubes, but it was always something different, at once ice, at once fire, then just when you think you’ve seen in all, the cubes start spinning!!
AmonTobin_Vogue_Vancouver_DSC_1812Seriously, any description of Amon Tobin’s ISAM show just sounds like some far-gone hippy who has done WAY too many mushrooms.
Do yourself a favour and whip down to Seattle tonight (Sept 29) to catch him there – he’s playing Decibel Fest. Or else one of his future shows, like San Fran, LA, etc etc – shows everywhere are selling out, and for good reason!
I was on assignment for The Snipe News. See the original post here.

Please, if you haven’t seen it, watch the preview

and the “making of” the set & graphics


All Day Concert In A Parking Lot: Good Times In The Summer/September


Sun Araw @ New Forms Fest 2011

A brilliant way to cap off a fantastic all weekend event, New Forms Festival held an all day outdoor concert at The Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver BC. The sun was absolutely beating down all day, not a cloud in the sky.

In the lineup: 5 acts with a variety of musical styles:
First, the sprawling moodiness of V.Vecker Ensemble, 8 musicians moving through epic instrumental stories. It was a shame they only played one song.


V. Vecker Ensemble @ New Forms Fest 2011

Next, totally trippy psychedelic rock by Sun Araw. The singer barely said more than a word or three at once, but it suited the journey they were taking us all on.
I want to know what instrument the long haired player was on (if you know, please contact me!)…


Sun Araw @ New Forms Fest 2011

I was stoked to see No Gold, who had opened for Mount Kimbie at the Biltmore in March this year. They have a world beat sound that is very suited to hot summer days.


No Gold @ New Forms Fest 2011

Building on No Gold’s good vibes, the duo of Danuel Tate and Tyger Dhula
brought loungey house beats to the crowd during our last hour of sun. The live keys was a nice touch.


Danuel Tate & Tyger Dhula @ New Forms Fest 2011

After a substantial break, due to relocating the PA from the parking lot to just outside the Waldorf cabaret, Deadbeat finally plugged in. He turned up the energy of the crowd a ton of notches, starting with tunes that could have been featured on his Journeymans disc – very dubby and laid back. But he quickly amped up the beats, moving through a range of dance genres that had the crowd shaking their bodies with big smiles all around.


Deadbeat @ New Forms Fest 2011

Oh yeah, and there was this guy. With the BEST T-SHIRT EVER. Thanks dude!


The Best TShirt Ever @ New Forms Fest 2011

And thanks New Forms, for another excellent year of art & music!
For more info, check out the New Forms site and follow them on Facebook & Twitter