For some reason a lotta old-school rock-guitar heroes don't play in Vancouver. They head on up for gigs in Washington State, but then turn around and cruise back down to keep on feeding those riff-starved Americans.

Are the border guards at Canada Customs really that daunting?

Take Pat Travers, for instance. He's half Canadian, but I can't remember the last time he played here. Oh yeah, maybe I can. Was it back around 1983? It's definitely been a while.

The band and strings programs are continuing to fight the closure of the Elementary band and strings program.

The VSB announced on April 8 that it had a budget shortfall of $12.34 million and submitted a number of proposals to balance the budget. These proposals included cutting the continuing education program and decreasing the number of school days each year, among others.

One of the recommendations made was to eliminate the band and strings program for a savings of $630,651. An alternative suggested was to increase the annual student fee for the band from $25 to $250. This option, however, would still leave a deficit.

In other news of how Canada beats America, a survey of 40 countries by Pew Research revealed which nations are the most accepting of homosexuality.

Attitudes towards homosexuality did not necessarily reflect or correspond with national legalization of same-sex marriage.

European countries were the most likely to be accepting.

They came, they bought, they toked. So goes another 420 in Vancouver.

420 began as a couple hundred people in 1995. The 20th year of the annual marijuana market/smoke-in attracted what appeared to be a record number of vendors and participants on Sunday (April 20), despite somewhat dreary weather. 

While I'm not a professional guesser of crowd sizes, I have been attending Vancouver's annual 420 rally for at least a few years now and can safely say this year's gathering was the largest in memory. Robson Street between Howe and Hornby was closed due to the overwhelming crowds by 2:30 p.m., and by 3:15 p.m., the same stretch of West Georgia Street was cordoned off, the earliest I've ever seen that happen.

This weekend, CNN broadcaster Fareed Zakaria drew attention to America's dismal performance in comparison with other countries.

Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter was on his program to discuss the 2014 Social Progress Index, which was prepared by a U.S. nonprofit organization, the Social Progress Imperative.

It demonstrated that Canada ranks far ahead of the United States overall and in the three areas studied: opportunity, basic human needs, and foundations of well-being.

Couldn't make it out last Friday night? You missed New Zealand heavy-soul band Shapeshifter at the Imperial. Michaela Smeaton was there and caught a moment of the show on Instagram. Here’s your concert pick of the morning. Shapeshifter at the Imperial on April 18, 2014. Thanks Michaela.

Vancouver residents will cast their ballots for mayor, council, park board, and school board on November 15. But, for bird lovers, the real election is going on right now.

Until May 10, you can vote for Vancouver's city bird of 2015. There are six worthy contenders, including the Anna’s hummingbird, black-capped chickadee, Pacific wren, pileated woodpecker, and varied thrush.

Thirty years ago tomorrow–on April 21, 1984–Dutch rockers Golden Earring played a concert at UBC. The band was touring behind its N.E.W.S. album, and singer Barry Hay called me from L.A., where the band was touring with Florida rockers .38 Special.

There’s conflicting info about where at UBC the show actually took place. The March 27, ’84 issue of The Ubyssey had an ad for the show under the AMS Concerts banner saying it was at the War Memorial Gym, but in my story that ran in the April 20 issue of the Straight it mentions the UBC Sub Ballroom. I wonder if the show wasn’t selling that great and they moved it to the smaller venue.

The north side of the 1400 block of West Broadway is having a problem with graffiti.

The problem began in 2013 when a planned mural on one two-storey building just never materialized.

Most taggers seem to respect finished murals. Murals that are never finished—apparently not so much.

The result has been a cycle of taggers tagging and building management overpainting.

The pictures represent just a recent snapshot, beginning with building management painting over graffiti tags the height of and half the length of the wall. That was on April 11.

Three days later, on April 14, the sun rose over the new tag someone had thrown up overnight.

It doesn’t even look like an elephant taking a whiz. It looks exactly like what it is—a drain pipe.

Actually it looks like a photograph of a drain pipe and one that I’m disinclined to waste.

I took the photo while deep in the thrall of my last post about Tachowa Covington, the guy living in the water tank—the water tank British street artist Banksy thought looked a bit like an elephant.