Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Olympocalypse! The Simpsons!

– I have no official head count, but a crowd, easily numbering a couple thousand (plus the couple of thousands watching) descended upon Robson Street and on cue, proceeded to demonstrate a non-Olympic sport; flashmob dancing. Imagine1Day, a group dedicated to educating the children of Ethiopia, organized the flashmob to raise awareness to their cause. They not only succeeded, but I’m sure they also caused an iTunes sales spike for Martha and the Vandellas (the crowd danced to – what else – the original Dancing In The Streets), and showed not all large gatherings in Vancouver result in police actions. Even surprise ones, which are normally a bad thing. Never pop a balloon around Grandpa while he’s sleeping and never surprise police on high alert. Am I right? Right? Right.

– Last night The Simpsons took to the Olympics, which depending on your personality as a Canadian, was hilariously awesome or pathetically offensive. For me, the most interesting part was when a preview commercial slammed Vancouver for “non-union filming”, which was changed in the actual show to a light ribbing over tax credits for filming. This, after governor Schwarzenegger, who has taken advantage of Vancouver’s film industry, both directly (Sixth Day) and indirectly (running for Governor on a platform against Canadian filming) was the last torchbearer prior to the opening ceremonies.

Photos by thedarkerside and nickfruhling.
To any American’s reading, 80% of all BC and Yukon film productions have union agreements – all of them local chapters as the same unions in the States.

Warner production takes over my street

It’s a little self-indulgent, but then, the filming of the CW show, Life Unexpected, is literally across the street from my place; I don’t know if a post about it is indulgent or unavoidable.

The people across the way basically got their house overhauled, on the outside at least, all on Warner’s dime – the only cost to them is having to go stay at a hotel every once and awhile.

Click to upsizen

Click to upsizen

The crew was still setting up in the morning before this photo, and as I left for work I passed by the location manager, who I’d spoken to before, during the early days of prepping the property – she gave a friendly smile and hello, but I’m pretty sure all she got back was a cold, blank, bleary-eyed, half-awake stare. Poor thing.

Anybody else getting a lot of production in their neighbourhood? I wonder what will happen when the Olympics butt heads with Hollywood.

When Canada gets on TV

Picture 8

I was talking with a few people the other day about how Vancouverites, and we included ourselves in that category, always get excited when we get a mention outside of Canada.  Especially when Americans even acknowledge our existence it sends us into twitters of excitement. 

Maybe it’s just our Canadian inferiority complex, or maybe it’s just we’re kind of vain and self-absorbed.  I can’t imagine New Yorkers being excited about having their city mentioned in a CBC show, but boy was I excited when the Vancouver Canucks and their ’95 playoff run got an extended mention on the show How I Met Your Mother last week [stc].

It’s certainly probably one of the best Canadian references, aside from The Simpsons‘ nearly constant jabs at our country or Jon Stewart calling the Conservative Party the equivalent of the American “Gay Nader Lovers For Peace Party”. 

What’s your favorite Canada, or Vancouver, reference on American or European media?  The Lumberjack sketch comes to mind.


You’ve got another rethink comin’!

Many years ago, shortly after I moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in video games, a pal of mine moved here to join a young ad company. Sick of working for one of the international advertising big dogs, he picked up roots and moved to Vancouver to start small. The company, Rethink Communications, has grown into a sort of marketing cultural force – you’ve probably seen dozens of their ads, and probably talked about at least one around the watering hole. A&W, Playland, Science World, you name it, they’ve come up with a plan to promote it, stopping only occasionally to make their own beer brand or unique floor lamps.

They get a great deal of attention for their unconventional outdoor campaigns, like sticking a million dollars or some plants in a bus stop shelter, or covering a billboard with road-side assistance gear from Canadian Tire and an offer for people to help themselves (then over a few weeks, gas cannisters and tire jacks go missing from the board.) But what I love are their print ads – the moving picture of a commercial or even the narrative of a radio spot leaves a lot of room to get a point across. But catching someone’s attention, holding it, and making a point with a single image… that’s tough.

My current favorite are the new BC Lions ads, featuring traumatized players from other teams hiding behind various sideline personalities (camera crews, furry mascots, etc.) If you like funny and/or smart ads, and you want to kill a couple of hours, their online archives of their various campaigns are worth checking out!

Anthony Crosfield – Hair Superstar

I’m going to meander a bit on my way to a point – I’ll probably do that a lot in the coming weeks, but hopefully you’ll come to regard that as a certain sort of value.

Many years ago I got fed up with $12 haircuts. While I didn’t exactly require a lot of hair care, what with keeping it short all the time, I found the magic-cuts only lasted for a couple of days and then I looked like my head was a prank gone wrong. So, I asked around and a co-worker suggested a friend who worked at the now gone gone gone Stratosphere salon. They had great music, Shelley was wizard enough to know how to cut my hair so that it could grow in for weeks and not make me look like a fuzzy mushroom (perfect for a lazy procrastinator like myself who didn’t want to do the every-two-weeks thing) and best of all, it was behind the offices, just across Hamilton. Nice!

Anyhow, Shelley eventually moved out of downtown to go work at Mine Stylesource on Broadway (or Mine Hair, as I like to call it – say it with a bad German accent, you’ll get it), which is owned by one Anthony Crosfield (here comes the point!) Very nice guy, very entrenched in Mount Pleasant, judging by the way I keep running into him and Mine staffers all over the place. And he’s a winner! Not in the general, everyone’s a winner sense. He’s this year’s hair superstar on the Superstar Hair Challenge! If you’ve never seen the show, you can probably guess the format – a selection of people in a certain profession (in this case, hair stylists) compete every week in some profession themed contest, and losers are invited to take a teary hike, one at a time. And after 7 weeks (or, more likely 7 days carefully of shooting that’s parceled out over 7 weeks), it came down to Anthony and two other stylists, and Anthony won the day.

Only, I just found out about it today – and he won last week. See, I’m not a reality TV guy, so the only way I found out about this was walking part his salon and seeing a poster for the show in the window. Hey, I know him! And it’s on tonight! I will watch as a show of support. And just my luck, it was all over.

So, no TV for me, but a big congrats to Anthony – and hey, all is not lost. Slice (which was airing the show) has all 7 episodes up online. I’ll watch it online, just because it’s one of the few sites that isn’t Bogarting their video just because I’m not on their side of the border! Plus, one episode has twins, so… rawr.

How the Hippies shaped Vancouver

Via David Drucker [lm]:


I knew Vancouver had it’s own fling with ’60s hippiness, and clearly we’re one of the most left-coast of the lefty cities on the continent even today, but I was completely ignorant of how much the ’60s and in fact a great influx of hippies had on the development of the city. From the fact that we don’t have a big freeway slashing its way through the heart of the city, to the formation of Greenpeace and even Vancouver’s current political believes all can be traced back to the Summer(s) of Love.

David Drucker found the video above on YouTube from Evening Magazine, a Seattle magazine style show, that demonstrates just how much the hippies shaped Vancouver.

It does seem quite jolly in the clip, but my uncle moved to Vancouver from Edmonton during this period of time and after getting further into a developing drug habit vanished forever. So while it turned out alright in for the city, it wasn’t without a few casualties. I also wonder how much of Vancouver current issue with IV drug abuse began to first develop during this period. Having grown up in the interior I know that the solution to most problems with the homeless, or drug users, is to just ship them to Vancouver.

Also I love how the narrator in the video says Kitsilano.

Euro 2008 Final, where will you be?

Euro 2008 Final Arsenal Kits

We’re about one hour away from the final of the European Championships. It’s Spain against Germany. It’s the beautiful sport of football (soccer) and the question of the day is, where are you watching it?

If I wasn’t trapped inside working I’d probably be heading over either to the Dover Arms on Denman or the Library Square Pub to catch the action. Had Italy made the final the obvious place to go would have been Commercial Drive, which would have been overcome with celebration had the Azzuri [wp] won.

Also on Denman near Georgia there’s a new snitzle resturant, the name of which escapes me, which looked like a good German place to be watching the final. Any other suggestions for those who might be wandering around trying to get a cold beer and a view of the match?

Euro 2008: a Vancouver TV guide


Originally uploaded by miguel valle de figueiredo

There’s nothing like a great football (soccer) tournament to really get me up at weird hours of the day to shout and jump about my living room. Thankfully for the most part they only happen every two years, with the World Cup and the European Championships both on a four year schedules. This summer it’s the Euro 2008 that’s going to get me going.

Since I also run a blog dedicated to being a football fan in Vancouver over at Vancouver Gunner [vg] I’m going to be trying to follow the Euros as much as I can this year. I won’t be blogging about it here unless it affects Vancouver life in general, but I’ll be over there trying to get into a daily blogging habit.

What I do have for you is a bit of a gift for anyone hoping to follow the tournament from the comfort of their television or your favorite ethnic restaurant or pub, and that’s the complete guide to the matches that will be televised in Vancouver, both for TSN and Rogers Sportsnet. Both broadcasters have their listings in Eastern Time so I sat down, did the math and stuck it all into Google Calendar and the result is in links below. Enjoy, and if you repost it anywhere else please link back to this.

Euro 2008 Television Schedule for Vancouver

  • iCal [gc]
  • XML [gc]
  • HTML [gc]

Hockey Night In Canada changes theme songs and we all flip out

Martin Brodeur save

If you’ve been online in Canada today you might be excused for thinking that everyone on the internet has just had some sort of brain aneurysm as every blog you’ve checked, every news story at the top of your Gmail account and every email in your mailbox seems to be stuck on the fact that next year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation might not use the same theme for Hockey Night In Canada that it’s used since the 1960s’ [rc].

From Reuters:

“The tune, which has opened the Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Saturday night National Hockey League broadcasts since the late 1960s, will not be renewed as the broadcaster has chosen to move in a new direction…”

The best blog post out there that I’ve seen on it is from Miss604 [m604].

Let’s face it though, this is one of those things that people are going to get upset about for a few months and then forget about totally once a new song is used. After a few years with we’ll forget about it altogether because we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. Speaking of which wouldn’t it be nice if people got this fiery about poverty, Canadian troops in Afghanistan or the national debt?

I like the song as much as the average hockey fan, but please if I’ve not heard from you since we graduated high school I’m not interested in joining your damn Facebook group to save it.

Update: Buzz Bishop has a blog post on the subject that points out that nothing is official yet, and maybe we as a nation should just take a pill [bb].

Anthony Bourdain’s Vancouver visit


Former chef Anthony Bourdain is famous around foodie circles both for his books, the most notable being Kitchen Confidential, and the niche he’s carved for himself as a travel food journalist with his show No Reservations which is shown on the Travel Channel down in the States. The most talked about shtick on the show is when Bourdain will eat something stomach turning, presenting audiences with a reality television version of the monkey brains scene from Temple of Doom.

Vancouver seems an odd destination for the show, since it’s neither one of the major food capitals of the world nor a place where one is likely to find something quite so unusual as a cobra heart like he ate in Vietnam. Still our city was one of the destinations for the show on this season, and while you won’t find it on Canadian television thanks to YouTube we can watch the episode online (for now).

I’ve said before that having outsiders come to Vancouver is a great way to get a new perspective on the city, and see just how much other people appreciate what we have there. Granted some of the eating that he does in the episode is way beyond a lot of people’s pocket books (mine included) but it’s still a great indication of what we have in our city.

The first three parts of the episode after the jump.


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