2010 contributors' picks: Activities & events
Best place to pick up a porn star
Vancouver may have a reputation for being a no-fun city, but it can’t be deemed a prudish one. This year, the inaugural Naked Truth Adult Entertainment Awards were held on June 9 at the Rio Theatre. The affair saw a who’s who of the local porn scene come out to play during a night that celebrated the sex industry and everyone involved with it. Local sex-worker activists, dancers, porn stars, and enthusiasts were out in full force, doing their industry proud. Despite the subject matter, the night stayed relatively tame, although the “off-camera” after-party was a different story altogether—but that part we’re keeping to ourselves.
Best proof that the dead walk among us
With last year’s cancellation of the Parade of the Lost Souls, the only time of year you can truly walk among the dead is at the annual Zombie Walk. Starting at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a slow shuffle of costumed ghouls brings Dawn of the Dead to life in the downtown core. For a small donation, on-site special-effects artists will transform participants into gruesome spectacles guaranteed to make small children cry. This year’s walk took place on August 21.
Best sources for free classes
Best educational pretext for being creepy
After initially offering CSI–themed workshops only to kids, the Vancouver Police Museum (240 East Cordova Street, 604-665-3346) finally got wise to the potential gold mine of morbid curiosity. Now the facility—the site of almost 15,000 autopsies between 1932 and 1980—also hosts hourlong classes for adults, who can marvel at the macabre in sessions on forensic pathology, blood spatter, ballistics, and more. Call for info on upcoming programs.
Money’s too tight to mention? You can still get educated and exercise without dropping a dime. Check out the seasonal schedules of Continuing Studies programs at UBC and SFU for free lectures on topics ranging from health and science to cultural and urban issues. (The UBC Life and Career Centre even offers free résumé clinics.) All that’s required for most events is preregistration. Community centres are also a great resource. The Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, for example, has offered free dance courses (taught by dancers in residence), free arts performances and events, and more. Some centres, like the Coal Harbour Community Centre, have offered free sampler classes prior to the start of paid courses. Need one more source of free events in the city? Check out the Straight’s very own Time Out listings each week.
Best place to find a girl you can bring home to mom
Canadian Blood Services donor clinic
4750 Oak Street
Though no one should need a reason for giving blood other than a desire to help fellow humans, there is another incentive that’s rarely mentioned in those blood-donor ads: the nurses. On any given shift, the city’s main donor clinic on Oak Street is home to some of the most talented Nightingales this side of a Maxim shoot. Go give some blood and check it out for yourself. Maybe for your opening line you can make some joke about vampires. Vampires are still cool, right?
Best 20 years of art and social activism
Under the Volcano
Lucky Cates Park. It’s where Malcolm Lowry wrote Under the Volcano in his squatter’s shack, and then, about 50 years later, it became home to the revolution-spirited festival of the same name. Blending art and activism, Under the Volcano was as much about community-info tables and workshops on international justice, peace, and workers’ rights as it was about the main stage, which boasted the likes of Gossip, Tegan and Sara, Naomi Klein, and Avi Lewis over the course of its 20 years. Organized by volunteers, UTV lifted its last fist of solidarity this drizzly August 8 but promises to rise up again with special UTV–branded events at some point. So thankfully, instead of goodbye it’s more like “until we meet again”.
Best bilingual boost before breakfast
Looking for a caffeine-free way of increasing your energy before you start your day? Most weekdays at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, 604-713-1800), volunteer instructors lead a morning fitness class for adults of every age. Billed in the downtown community centre’s recreation guide as the best “cultural experience doubling as exercise”, the drop-in programming features instruction in both English and Cantonese on tai chi and yuen gi, a practice combining elements of martial arts, qigong, and Chinese dance. Classes are free with a Roundhouse membership.