Our Contributors' Choices
(Continued from Page 1)
Best ethnic Canadian breakfast
2904 Main Street
The problem with putting this place in a best-of list is that you might go there with inflated expectations. We're worried you'll sneer at the wood panelling, or snort at the single small television, or scoff at the unironic quaintness of the menu. It's just an old-timey diner, all right? There are no lattes here, no croissants, not even crazy crap on the walls. But oh my, the breakfast. Light, tender pancakes of satisfying size, appetizing colour, and pillowy texture. Perfectly poached eggs. Maple syrup. Crispy bacon. Mounds of hash browns. Ohhh, yes, you know you want it. It's comfort food and a direct connection to your grandparents (who might actually be eating there right now).
Hottest view table in town
1037 Alberni Street
Reserve an upstairs streetside table at Italian Kitchen and you'll have a bird's-eye view of the constant stream of platinum-card-carrying women, sugar daddies, and generous beaux heading into Agent Provocateur across the street. The draw? The sexiest lingerie on the planet (www.agentprovocateur.com/). Of course, you've come for the food and drink, so order up the spicy Italian meatballs and a full-bodied Italian red and stay the afternoon.
Best what were they thinking escort service
1037 Alberni Street
Need to go to the bathroom? Put your hand up and let your server or a staff member know. (The one/two-finger thing is optional, but remember the whole hand means you're choking.) The Italian Kitchen prides itself on exceptional service–and it is pretty darn good–but we think they're going a wee-wee bit far when service extends to escorting diners to the unmarked unisex washrooms.
Best place to risk a cavity
Absolute Sugar Bakery
555 West Hastings Street
Sweet-toothers throughout the city have been barking up the wrong gumdrop tree for years. Sure, the overpriced pastries at the big coffeehouse chains get the job done, but for those who really want to spoil their taste buds, there is no place better than Absolute Sugar Bakery. Buried in the dungeon that is the lower level of Harbour Centre, Absolute Sugar supplies some of the city's finest restaurants and hotels with their unique, flavourful, and decadent cakes, pies, and pastries. So resist that stale cinnamon stick and join the pastry underground. When you get there, tell them the tooth fairy sent you.
Best sandwich in the city
1 West Cordova Street
We could eat this until we burst. It doesn't sound like much on paper–melted Gruyí¨re and bison dip with a healthy side of greens–but it's sandwich nirvana. Dipping is the secret. Do. Often.
Best butcher with wood
So.Cial Butcher Shop
332 Water Street
A massive floor-to-ceiling real tree trunk, bark and all, is cozied up to the showcase in the So.Cial Deli. It currently functions as a massive pole light and helps to illuminate the store. It was there when the owners moved in, and although it doesn't support the ceiling, it adds a dash of B.C. lumberjack.
Best double-dare name
The burgers are no fattier at Fatburger than anywhere else, so don't let the name throw you off the scent of a big, juicy slab of hamburger with all the fixin's. Fatburger is an export from Los Angeles, where the burger chain opened in 1952 and quickly became a celebrity institution. One of its charms is that stepping into the restaurant is like stepping into the '50s (if you ignore the staff's hairstyles). The menu has kept up with the times, though, by adding a veggie burger. There are now four locations in Canada: one in Calgary, one in Langley, and two in downtown Vancouver. When you've spent an afternoon in the environs of smoky English Bay, there is nothing better than a basket of chili-cheese fries and a real-ice-cream shake to fight off those munchies.
Best drive-in source for pinups 'n' suds
Brewery Creek Cold Beer & Wine
3045 Main Street
Brewery Creek is housed in an old garage complete with garage doors, high ceilings, and plenty of parking. But the best part is the killer selection of brews, a changing selection of upward of 200 labels on any given day, and, according to beer aficionados, the city's best selection. You'll agree when you spot some (Barley Wine, Imperial Stout, Kí¶lsch) from Argentine craft brewer Antares. Other treats: Oregon's Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Morimoto Soba Ale, and Chocolate Stout; a major selection of Belgians, including a brilliant, first-of-its-kind Deus Brut des Flandres, truly the champagne of beers. The beer is brewed in Belgium and then shipped to France to be finished via the traditional méthode Champenoise, bottled in a Champagne bottle complete with cork, and sells for $24.95 for a 750-millilitre bottle. The vintage pinup girls, once called "lager lovelies", grace Old Milwaukee six-packs commemorating that brewery's 71st anniversary and are available only in Canada.
Best club for buds and better suds
Part of a North American/European organization of beer lovers, the local arm of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) unites like-minded drinkers "campaigning for real ale, pubs, and drinkers' rights". Drinkers' rights? Besides having fun and drinking lots and widely, it's "an independent, voluntary consumer organization dedicated to supporting the brewing of traditional styles of beer in the traditional manner, using traditional ingredients", which means a lot of tasting. Become an official member and you'll get perks like a regular (and most informative) newsletter, first dibs on volunteering for the Great Canadian Beer Festival, and probably a hangover or two.
Best expression of an ego trip
That'd be Therapy Vineyard's SuperEgo red Meritage wine, with flocks of devils and angels duking it out on the label. This Okanagan winery (www.therapyvineyards.com/) has fun with all its wines, including Rorschach-blot-labelled whites with names like Freudian Sip and Freud's Ego. Pink Freud is a rosé. The labels are the work of Vancouver wine-branding whiz Bernie Hadley-Beauregard, who kicked off his award-winning wine-labelling biz with B.C.'s Blasted Church. Wineries beyond B.C.'s borders have come knocking too. Ontario's Megalomaniac Wines and New Zealand's Earth's End are also clients.
Best place to buy popcorn without worrying about change
3rd floor, 88 West Pender Street
Most cinema snack bars saddle you with crazy totals like $10.87 or $11.13, but a large popcorn and drink in this theatre will cost you exactly $10. Better yet, the straws and napkins are within arm's reach–efficiencies much appreciated by those fighting the opening-credits clock.
Best movie concessions
4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
For years, the lead in this category has switched between Fifth Avenue Cinemas (fresh popcorn, quality junk food) and the Ridge Theatre (Nanaimo bars). But even though we'd like to pull for the little guy, corporate behemoth Cineplex puts on a good show in Burnaby. Though lacking the New York Fries outlet of Riverport, Silvercity Metropolis has bubble tea, a vastly more practical and (arguably) nutritious snack. Scotiabank Theatre Vancouver (formerly the Paramount) also has bubble tea but lacks pizza, the ideal movie dinner–filling, easy to eat with one hand, and no noisy wrapping. Without bubble tea, you might as well be in Grimsby, Ontario.
Best place to talk film
1181 Seymour Street
The new Vancouver International Film Centre provides not only swanky digs for the film fest (kicking off next Thursday, September 27) but a new downtown theatre at which to catch classics. The Vancity ran a remastered print of Raiders of the Lost Ark last fall, new art pics (David Lynch's Inland Empire had two runs this summer), and themed selections such as Hong Kong Stories, scheduled on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of China taking control of the territory (films included Johnnie To's Election and Election 2, John Woo's The Killer, and Wong Kar-Wai's As Tears Go By). But the real treat is the Cinema Salon. On the first Tuesday of every month, a local arts figure presents a favourite film. After the movie, the presenter and audience adjourn to the lobby for informal discussion over drinks. Next up: photographer Roy Arden presents The Man Who Fell to Earth on October 29.
Best local art-house cinema news
The Pacific Cinémathí¨que has had its devout followers for years, but its premises and technology were always a little behind the times. So members were undoubtedly pleased to hear the news of improvements to their beloved theatre. In April, a $50,000 Canada Council grant enabled the venue to purchase the high-definition 6800 lumens video projector it had been leasing for six months. (The previous projector was only 2800 lumens.) Then on July 18, the Cinémathí¨que announced that actor/director/screenwriter Jacqueline Samuda had accepted the position of head of its board. When Samuda spoke to the Straight, she described plans for an expansion, and possibly a renovation, with an emphasis on enhancing the social experience of moviegoing.
Cheapest first-run movie prices in Vancouver
Over the past few years, many theatres have quietly brought back cheap Tuesdays, but a few have dropped their prices even further. With most venues at about $12, one of the cheapest in the downtown core is Empire Granville 7, with tickets all the time at $6.99. For cheap Tuesdays, the Rio on Broadway and the Van East Cinema on Commercial Drive boast the cheapest first-run prices in the city, at a mere $5.
Cheapest trip from downtown to bombay
Last time we looked, airfare was $1,500. You can get the Bollywood experience at places like the Grande and Silvercity theatres in Surrey, and the Raja on Kingsway plays them regularly, but even that's a bit far to go for those trapped in the downtown core. Hurray to the Empire Granville 7 for making Bollywood films ranging from biopic dramas such as Gandhi, My Father to comedies like Heyy Babyy more accessible this past summer. And for under $7!
Best evidence that Bolly wood has entered the mainstream
Caucasian reporters attended a Vancouver news conference hosted by Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan.
Best sign that Vancouver filmgoers love Francophones
Quebec may be on the other side of the country, and opportunities to use our high-school French may be slim, but that doesn't mean Vancouverites are uninterested in hearing the language of love. Not only did Paris Je T'aime have an extended run at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas (after debuting at the Ridge as part of this summer's Festival Cinemas French Film Festival), but the francophone film Avenue Montaigne grossed $13,353 on its May 18 opening in Vancouver, beating box offices in Toronto and Quebec. C'est intéressant, non?
Best sign the queer show must go on
Three cheers to the Department of Canadian Heritage for continuing to fund Out on Screen's Vancouver Queer Film Festival with an annual $23,000 grant in spite of the attempt by Christian-conservative lobby group REAL Women to stop the department from doing so. The protest failed, and the show went on for its 19th year, with a record 14 sold-out shows and a 13-percent audience increase, with almost 12,000 attendees.
Best attempt to reach Spielberg
Although he didn't win the reality-TV series On the Lot, 23-year-old special-effects editor Vancouverite Zach Lipovsky made an impressive effort by making it to the top-five finalists. Lipovsky was one of only three Canadians chosen from 12,000 submissions to become 50 semifinalists for the series. He may not have won the show, but when it comes to his résumé, he's already won.
Best regulatory surprise
Yes, folks, this year the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission stunned all of its skeptics, who had assumed for years that it was just a servant of the major broadcasters and telecommunications companies. The shock came in the form of an order. CTVglobemedia had applied to swallow up CHUM, owner of MuchMusic, five Citytv stations, and a bunch of radio stations across the country. But the CRTC, under its new chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein, said no to one aspect of the deal: CTVglobemedia couldn't own the Citytv stations, including Channel 13 in Vancouver. Pass the smelling salts–the regulator ruled that it wouldn't be appropriate for one company, CTVglobemedia, to own two television stations in Vancouver. So now Rogers ends up with the local Citytv station, which could result in slightly more competition in the local television industry. There still won't be anything worth watching, though.
Best Vancouverisms on-screen
Although Vancouver is readily recognizable in any number of Hollywood blockbusters (particularly ones involving Marvel superheroes such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, who are often mistaken for local residents now), the city had the rare chance to play itself in the Douglas Coupland–written Everything's Gone Green. From Expo 86 shirts to oversize black sunglasses for sun-sensitive Asians, it delivered an endless parade of Lotusland in-jokes. But will anyone who isn't from Vancouver get those references too? Who cares–we looked fabulous.
Best indication that we, as a society, are probably downloading too many pirated movies
The Movie Gallery video-rental chain has closed in Vancouver.
Best place to ogle porn extras
Those of us who surf porn only to see if we can recognize the skyline out the window of the swanky apartment where the wanky acts are taking place have noticed in recent years that not only is a lot of that porn being shot in Vancouver but, more specifically, in the overpriced ghetto-in-waiting that is Yaletown. This would explain the abundance of buff, bronzed, buxom, and bleached individuals walking around midday throughout Vancouver's most self-involved neighbourhood. They're actually making those trophy wives with their little dogs and Lululemon gear look regal.
Best locally produced TV show
There's plenty of room to argue about which Vancouver-lensed television program is the greatest. Partisans could make strong cases for The X Files, Wiseguy, DaVinci's Inquest, even 21 Jump Street. Personally, we have fond memories of Once a Thief and are always hoping the kids go to bed so we can watch The L Word. If we were Marge's sisters from The Simpsons, of course we would say MacGyver. But we're not. We're saying that Battlestar Galactica, the dark, epic, witty, gutsy, shocking "reimagining" by Ronald D. Moore of much-mocked disco-era kitsch, is easily the best series being made here now, and well in the running for the best of all time. What makes it so fascinating is that the Cylon villains are generally smarter, better-looking, and more religious than the sentient species they almost succeed in wiping out. Besides, the show gave the world a new euphemism (the infinitely adaptable mock obscenity frack). Sadly, the upcoming fourth season is its final.
Best theatre in need of an encore
The York Theatre
639 Commercial Drive
This is one of the few venues in town that can accommodate audiences of 500 to 600 people. Built in 1913 by architect John Y. McCarter (who later designed the Marine Building), the York was home to the Vancouver Little Theatre Association for more than 50 years. It contains a proscenium stage, a fly tower, and a balcony with loges. The acoustics are excellent. For the past year, this heritage property, which played an important role in the city's cultural history, has been empty and for sale. The danger is that the York may be bought by a developer intent on removing its designation as a theatre or demolishing it. Cue the heroes stage left!
roadside butter chicken
Just off the corner of East 5th and Scotia can be found the best butter chicken outside a restaurant. Locals in the know clamour at the front doors of the Artiste building (2050 Scotia Street), where between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. they can purchase homemade South Asian food packaged and ready to go. It’s hit-and-miss, but if you’re lucky enough to swing by and see the Indian woman peddling her home cooking, throw on the emergency brake and dash to join the queue. It’s the perfect (and possibly only) drive-through where you can pick up some great Indian food on days when you just don’t feel like cooking. Tracey Kusiewicz photo.
Best re-fuse-al to sleep
The Fuse parties at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which started in July 2005, have been packing quite a punch, but none quite so much as the June 22 event that ran from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Whoever came up with the Fuse idea filled a huge niche in Vancouver nightlife, but whoever decided to extend the hours to run all night struck gold. Lineups not only to get in but to get into the bar at the Lounge and into the Gallery Café ran late into the night. Rather than just the regular mindless socializing, partygoers could get some mental stimulation by browsing the successful From Monet to Dali exhibit as well as watch dance performances and interactive improvisations.
Best way to create buzz
The Vancouver Art Gallery's Huang Yong Ping exhibit, which ended on September 16, got major coverage thanks to the inclusion of an installation featuring live spiders, toads, scorpions, cockroaches, and other creepy-crawlies. The artwork had animal-rights groups up in arms, while the VAG vigorously defended Huang's right to artistic expression. In the end, the BC SPCA won out; rather than make major changes to the piece, the gallery pulled it altogether. Meanwhile, the headlines practically wrote themselves and the VAG carefully collected each item of press coverage, posting articles on a billboard for visitors to ponder in the space once occupied by the menagerie.
Best parking-lot graffiti
Bo Kong Vegetarian Restaurant
3068 Main Street
The poignant "I die a little every day waiting for you" is written on the wall of the Bo Kong customer parking lot. We're not certain if it's the work of graffiti artist -weakhand. ("you'll never know me"), who tagged the opposite wall.
Check in for views of 3,088 photos (and rising) of kick-ass work posted by local graffiti artists, an immensely talented pool that currently has 401 members posting. Find -weakhand.'s "you'll never know me" through www.flickr.com/one-weakhand/
Best imaginary Vancouver skyline
One of the best murals of Vancouver is easily missed. Artist Kris Friesen has created a superb nighttime view of the city on the west side of the 900 block of Woodland Drive. His surface is the corrugated-steel exterior of Broadway Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (1490 Venables Street). Friesen's imaginary-realist painting depicts many of the most notable buildings of the downtown area–such as BC Place, GM Place, the Hotel Vancouver, and Canada Place–as if they were all located on the same stretch of waterfront, their lights and shining walls and roofs reflected in a still sea. Nearby, off Commercial Drive, Friesen has painted a composite and detailed portrait of Venice on the south side of the Gelateria Dolce Amore (1590 Commercial Drive). It draws its inspiration from the canvases of 18th-century Italian painter Canaletto.
Best neon artist
This local photographer is extraordinarily versatile (he shot the photos for an untranslated Chinese book on Arthur Erickson, and his stills have appeared in everything from avant-garde journals in Antwerp to the New Zealand equivalent of Western Living), but his greatest accomplishments are unquestionably those hauntingly moody blue-misted shots of isolated parking lots and other fringe Lower Mainland locations that are kept permanently bright with the aid of plugged-in light boxes.
Best behind-the-scenes cultural resource
You've probably never heard of Emmanuel St. Juste, but if you're a Vancouverite it's almost certain you've seen something he designed–from the banners on Robsonstrasse to the menus at Il Nido. Since moving to Vancouver in 1974, this would-be law student has been involved in many artistic pursuits. His third and final UBC short, "Recit d'un long voyage vers la lumií¨re", played at film festivals, aroused controversy, and shared catalogue space with works by Michael Snow and Atom Egoyan. In the early 1980s he founded Promenade magazine, Vancouver's closest answer to Andy Warhol's Interview, and analyzed the local film scene for radio (on Radio Canada's Morning Show) and TV (on Channel 4 as well as French-language CBC). His first love, however, has long been fashion, not least because, like cinema, "It also deals with image and beauty, but after completing a shoot, you get to see the result in a month or less."
Designing the ads for Promenade led to a whole slew of industry jobs. As both a stylist and a creative director, St. Juste has used his film background to help photographers with lighting and setting, and he hired supermodels, including future X-Woman Famke Janssen. Throw in some charity shoots for Chanel, a permanent position ordering magazines for Sophia Books and dressing its windows, the occasional TV or movie gig (researching the Afghan scenes for the miniseries Traffic, designing the models' apartment in Head Over Heels), and his share of the day-to-day operations of Lumen Gallery, which he cofounded with Kristopher Grunert, and you have a very busy person. And that's without taking into account his research studio. In St. Juste's own words: "If The Guinness Book of World Records had a category for this, I'd probably be recognized as the person who had owned or read more magazines than anyone else in the world." Law's loss is our gain.
Biggest com mune for home-schooling (outside the fraser valley bible belt)
Not that you have to be a stay-at-homer to use these, but given that most kids are locked up–sorry, in class–on weekdays, you get more than your fair share of home learners at these imaginative places. And speaking of fair share, how come they're all within four blocks? The Reading Foundation (3730 West Broadway) designs intense remedial-reading programs, while BrainBoost Tutoring (270–3355 West Broadway) engages with subjects both inside the curriculum (math, English), outside (dog-training), and way outside (stress, rock music). Off-Broadway, 4Cats Arts Academy (3730 West 10th Avenue) takes a novel approach to art school, focusing on one artist for in-depth study over a number of weeks. And speaking of novel, Christianne Hayward, who ran Vancouver Kidsbooks' parent-kid book clubs for a decade, has just hung out her own shingle at Christianne's Lyceum of Literature and Art (3696 West 8th Avenue). With baby and toddler events, kids' book clubs, and adult evening events, the homey space is sure to be a regular hangout for the mini literati. (Actor Meg Tilly launches her teen book Porcupine there on Saturday [September 22]; all welcome.)
Best initiative launched by a Vancouver Poet Laureate
When Belfast-born George McWhirter became our city's first poet laureate on March 8 this year, he marched into council chambers with a clear vision–one that will, hopefully, mutate into Streets: Vancouver Front and Back, an anthology of poems devoted to particular Lower Mainland roads and alleys. Things are on hold during the strike. Those interested in contributing are encouraged to contact Streets, attn. Marnie Rice, Office of Cultural Affairs, City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue V5Y 1V4. It's time to sing our city electric.
Best moment when reading was bigger than god
Imagine the scene. It's dark. It's late. There are about 5,000 kids up way past their bedtime, grownups in wizard costumes, plus the usual stilt walkers and other outdoor-fest freak staples, all packed into VanDusen Botanical Garden's Great Lawn as the countdown begins for the release of the last Harry Potter book. That's when Celtic band Blackthorn's flutist kicks out the opening notes of "Hedwig's Theme", the spooky musical theme from the HP movies. The shivers that ran through the crowd that night had nothing to do with the temperature. But the real magic was that 20 minutes later, the masses had Disapparated–presumably home, to find out whether or not "the boy who lived" really did.
Best place to find the next Frank Miller
3972 Main Street
Lucky's Comics specializes more in graphic novels and art books than standard superhero fare, but it's where to pick up the work of local rising stars such as Owen Plummer, Ben Jacques, and Amy Lockhart, as well as classics like Tintin. Recently renovated, the 12-year-old shop also stocks a wide range of trading-card games, including Naruto, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Great for kids–and grownups too. Plus, the backroom gallery alone is worth a visit. On until October 3 is a show of ink and felt-marker drawings by Lee Hutzulak.
Best book crawl
Heading north, begin at the ABC Book and Comic Emporium (1234 Granville Street), a place crammed with hundreds of thousands of volumes, including dozens of drawers stuffed with mysteries and thrillers, not to mention old magazines most of us have forgotten ever existed. It's all lorded over by a number of supremely self-assured cats that act as if they own the place–and, for all intents and purposes, they probably do. (Don't delay; rumours have the store moving to the Granville and Broadway area in December.)
Comic books play an even larger role at Golden Age Collectibles (852 Granville Street), still one of the best places in the city for graphic novels. More secondhand delights may be perused by heading east on Pender until reaching MacLeod's Books (455 Pender Street). Prices vary, and even though the store will almost certainly have whatever you want, you're not likely to find it on your own.
Additional pre-owned texts are available a few doors down at Albion Books (523 Richards Street), a smaller enterprise but an easier-to-navigate one. A side trip to Book Warehouse (552 Seymour Street) is strongly advised if a) your tastes are esoteric enough to favour discount titles or b) you're looking for presents for people you don't know very well. If Grandma's with you, visit the SFU Bookstore in the basement of Harbour Centre (555 West Hastings Street), with its knickknacks and stationery, as well as half a wall devoted to local authors.
Foreign-language readers (French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and Korean) know that the best place to satisfy their tastes is Sophia Books (450 West Hastings Street), while those in search of the stars should set their sights on Biz Books (302 West Cordova), with its collection of film-, TV-, and theatre-industry books.
Reason to Miss the Bus
You could say “The poutine made me do it,” except it was probably the cocktails. You’ll find these and more at the swank new TransContinental Restaurant in the SeaBus station (601 West Cordova Street, 604-678-8000). Reminiscent of restos and bars in train stations around the world, this spot’s got an ease and charm that will take the edge off any crazy work (or shopping) and ensure you’ll never board overstuffed public transportation again. Settle in with a beer and some lobster poutine and the rat race melts away. Ditto the last train, bus, or SeaBus if you’re not careful. Tracey Kusiewicz photo.
Best place to escape the rat race on the North Shore
175 3rd Street East, North Vancouver
We admit that the place is a mess. It's not for those who like their stores to have an antiseptic feel. In this place, the books are strewn everywhere. But there's an amazing selection, particularly in nonfiction. It might not be as well laid-out as Lawrence Books in Dunbar. (You gotta love those ladders to get the old tomes on the top shelves.) And Booklovers will never compete with Kestrel Books on West 4th in terms of tidiness. But it's still a treat for anyone looking for that impossible-to-find biography that went out of print 20 years ago.
Best happy ending to an opera
When the civic workers strike threatened to disrupt the Vancouver stop in legendary soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's farewell tour, Vancouver Recital Society artistic director Leila Getz managed to pull off a coup. Instead of one concert in the shut-down Orpheum, Te Kanawa will perform two shows, on Thursday and Sunday (September 20 and 23), at UBC's decidedly more intimate Chan Centre, with its flawless acoustics. Whatever finagling happened behind the scenes to make it happen was worth it, as ticket holders for the sold-out concert heaved a collective sigh of relief.
Most sophisticated way to quaff beer
Music on Main's A Month of Tuesdays
Faced with a perpetual lack of small venues in which to stage concerts, David Pay decided to bring music to where people already are. At his A Month of Tuesdays series at the Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club (3611 West Broadway), the food and booze flow freely as patrons savour works by established and modern classical composers. If the music gets a little too out there for your taste, a couple of stiff drinks will have you feeling quite comfortable.
Best sign Vancouver is a reunion hot spot
Band reunions have been all the rage this past year, with Vancouver lucky enough to be chosen as the launch pad for not one but two mega-act reunion tours: the Police and the Spice Girls. What could possibly be the reason for the choice of Vancouver? Geography? The cheaper Canadian dollar? The answer is probably somewhere between ah di di di ah da da da and ah zig ah zig ah.
Best example of "dance like no one is watching"
Don't freak if you see an assortment of individuals doing just that. There's even an official name for it: mobile clubbing. It's sort of how to be alone in a group, which sounds somewhat antisocial. However, these clubbers, each plugged in to his or her own mp3 player, get off on bopping in a crowd to private tunes. A collective of Vancouver artists under the name Foolish Operations is at the root of this odd practice and has been holding monthly mobile clubbing sessions since last spring. Entering the realm of believe-it-or-not, the Canada Council supported Foolish Operation's late-August "interdisciplinary research lab" on mobile clubbing. Now there's a grant writer who gets a lot done in a day.
Leanest Meat (Market) In Town
Grouse Grind Social Night (Wednesdays)
Grouse Mountain Resort
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
"Come here often? Haven't seen you here before. Yeah, I come every Wednesday, after my Grind. You must Grind too–look at those legs! My PB? Not great, it's 42:26, something like that. I'm taking it easy this year, I don't want to pull my hammy again. Oh, you know a massage for it? You wanna show me?"
Markus Frind, Plentyoffish.com
In his small downtown Vancouver apartment, Web master Markus Frind runs what the Wall Street Journal has called "what may be, on a per-capita basis, the busiest, most profitable site on the entire World Wide Web". Frind's site, Plentyoffish.com, is a free dating site he created in his spare time. According to the HitWise tracking service, Plentyoffish is among the top 100 most-visited Web sites in the U.S, and the top five dating sites in the world. The site looks like a high-schooler's MySpace page, but Plentyoffish still manages to reel in between $5 million and $10 million a year in ad revenue.
Seriously. Jen "from the island of misfit toys" (also known as Princeton, New Jersey) writes at postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=161629 that "I'm actually looking for someone from Van to marry so I have a good excuse (read: legal standing) to live there. If anyone reading this would like a cute, self-serving, vegan wife, PM me." We like the Post Punked Kitchen Web site (out of Brooklyn, New York) for its cool musical cooking shows, vegan recipes, and Vancouver vegan resto listings.