Best of Vancouver 2016: Entertainment

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      Best place to embrace your inner piano man

      It’s the fact that the Lower Mainland’s largest outdoor public piano project, launched by the Piano Teachers Federation seven years ago, puts so much time and effort into keeping the outdoor instruments tuned. We also appreciate the way the hand-painted pianos are rolled not just into high-profile locations like Kits Beach and the park outside Science World but right onto busy street corners like Main and Kingsway (shown here) and not-so-busy ones like East Hastings and Penticton. Admit it: it’s pretty hard to resist trying your hand and letting loose your inner Lang Lang the rare time you pass an unused one.


      Best place for vinyl retail therapy on the East Side

      Soon you will be able to forget your problems by searching through a second location of Red Cat Records, on East Hastings Street. No more driving all the way to Mount Pleasant. Easy parking, great food nearby, and no one will know where to find you.


      Best out-of-Vancouver nightlife experience

      You lot give the city’s late-night scene so much grief (“Bro, it’s way better in Brampton!”) that Twelve West nightclub said “Fuck it” and modelled its shtick after the granddaddy of degenerate after-dark outings: Las Vegas. From four-litre bottles of sparkler-topped Goose to bartenders trained in the art of the AMF, the high-rolling club has everything you’d expect from the strip down south. But you’ll have to stumble the eight blocks to Brandi’s if you’re looking for dancers—this ain’t that kind of establishment.


      The floating pool at Yaletown’s One Pacific condo complex looks like something out of a James Bond film.
      Janet McDonald


      Best place to shoot a 007-movie scene

      Forget the infinity pool in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands hotel; Vancouver has its own 007-worthy set. Yaletown’s One Pacific condo complex (68 Smithe Street) has its third-floor Riviera Deck with a stunning overhanging glass swimming pool. Attention, all location scouts: this pool looks good from every angle, even the street. Lock that baby down before anyone else does.


      Best news for your bum at the Cinematheque

      Anyone who’s sat through the full lineup of Film Noir screenings each year at the Cinematheque was pleased to know that in April, the theatre (one of the last one-screen theatres in the city) installed brand-new seats and a sound system. The new high-backed seats (replacing seats installed in 2008 that were inherited from Fifth Avenue Cinemas) feature faux leather and reclining abilities, plus more legroom. Just as exciting, the 1980s sound system was updated from Dolby Stereo Surround 4.0 to 7.1.


      NY Ink alumnus Billy DeCola opened a tattoo studio in Burnaby last spring, where he specializes in Japanese-style body art.
      Amanda Siebert


      Best place to get tattooed by a TV star

      Before TLC became the channel where reality TV goes to die, its popular Miami Ink show spawned offshoots in L.A. and New York. A former apprentice to Ami James, Billy DeCola, was featured in the Big Apple rendition, where he showcased his skills for two seasons before moving to Vancouver. This past spring, he opened a studio in Burnaby, where he specializes in Japanese styles. DeCola’s Kiku Tattoo Parlour (3299 Smith Avenue) functions much like a Japanese studio, in that it’s very private. So not only will you be tattooed by a TV star and renowned artist, you’ll have a one-on-one experience that is true to the roots of the Japanese art. (Plus, DeCola does tebori. What are you waiting for?)


      Best reason for Deadpool trashing Vancouver again

      The Merc With the Mouth overtook The Matrix Reloaded to become the biggest-grossing R-rated film ever at the global box office ($745 million compared to $742.1 million). Deadpool also spent a whopping $40 million–plus in the province during its production. With Deadpool 2 slated to be shot and hometown boy Ryan Reynolds reprising the lead role, will Vancouver have another starring role? One can only hope.


      Best #ThrowbackThursday that takes place outside of a Thursday

      Your arsenal of three-year-old semester-abroad pics and nostalgic #SummerSixteen uploads (yes, it’s too soon) ain’t got nothing on Slow Jam Sundays, the city’s movable ode to the sweet baby-making tunes of the ’80s and ’90s. Come for the Blackstreet, Aaliyah, and Stevie Wonder and stay for the surprise aughties beats (“Country Grammar”, anyone?) that will have you working it on the dance floor into the wee hours of the morn.