Archive for the ‘Arts and Entertainment’ Category

Vancouver’s Monopoly on the iPhone

Monopoly - Vancouver

If you remember back during the summer much was made of Hasbro’s new Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition game opening up voting for cities to become properties on the board.  Though it sort of loses the original intent of Monopoly, since you clearly can’t own an entire city (someone needs to check the continuity of the Monopoly-verse), it got the game a lot of publicity for a few weeks as citizens of numerous cities tried to get their home town on the board.

Vancouver got on along with Montreal [mbm] and Toronto [mbt][cbc], with Montreal landing the coveted role as the Boardwalk property.  Don’t take too much away from that, Belgrade is a higher priced property than Vancouver and well they’re still getting over being the centre of NATO bombing during the Kosovo War.  Well, maybe they do deserve it more than we do.  The point is we did beat out Toronto.

The new iPhone version of Monopoly is based on the Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition and has our city included and once again we’re better than Toronto.

Vancouver’s new and old media face-off online

The Vancouver Sun [vs] has recently launched a new website, and in the world of city blogs Scout Magazine [sm] has arrived trying to bring the world yet another online magazine.  Is the Sun’s face lift just more rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg?  Is Scout Magazine just a blog with more obtrusive advertisements?  With the economy going the way it’s going, does it matter?


Music, Movies, and Madness!

Saturday December 6th, there’s a lot going on at The Rio Theatre (Broadway and Commercial), all of it part of Cthulhupalooza (kuh-too-loo-pah-loo-zah) – I’ll see if I can break it down for you.

For starters, there’s a Rock Band contest, sponsored by the game creators, Harmonix – if you’ve got some pals, and think you can rock it out, the contest is open to all attendees. Finalists get to rock it out on stage, and the winners, besides winning sweet prizes, can perform with The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. The Thickets have a track on Rock Band, so that’s the connection.

Then later there will be a screening of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s Call of Cthulhu (which is done as an old-school, silent movie) along with other visual fun.

And then the evening is capped by a performance by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets! Lead singer and chief instigator Toren was recently a guest-host on CITR’s We All Fall Down, helping to get the word out and drive some funds for CITR’s on-going funding donations (listen here.)

Besides being a barrel of monkeys, the event is helping to raise money for Child’s Play, which helps provide hospitals around the world (including BC’s Children’s Hospital) with video game systems, toys, and other fun things that make time spent in a hospital that much less sucky.

There’s a website for the event, which has information on where to pick up tickets (RX comics, Elfsar comics, Scratch, Red Cat, Zulu, and Neptoon records, etc. plus online sales via PayPal), how to enter the Rock Band contest, and more as the day of the event gets nearer!

Please spread the word, as the event benefits from having as many people as possible in attendance!

Full disclosure – I am helping to organize this event. It’s a charity event, so I’m not sure if you give full disclosure on that sort of thing. But let’s just say I a lot of my heart invested in this event, and I wish it to go well. Hope to see you there.

Walk with the illuminated dead tonight

It’s the Parade of the Lost Souls on Commercial Drive (Grandview Park) this evening. Assemble at 6:30 pm, parade at 7. Shut-ins and the antisocial can watch the live stream.

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.


Matthew Good Live At Massey Hall: Review

Matthew Good

“Hello Time Bomb” was at the top of MuchMusic’s charts when I tried to request it during a phone in request hour back in Kelowna.  I was working an extra long shift at the Uptown Cinema Centre, and wanted to hear the new Matthew Good Band track.  The DJ at The Lizard, which at that point was what passed for the alternative rock station, had never heard of the song.  He offered to play “Crash” by The Dave Matthews Band.

The Matthew Good Band was fast becoming one of my favorite bands, and since they toured British Columbia a lot more than U2 and charged a lot less for tickets I ended up going to a lot of shows.  At that point I’d already seen them at EdgeFest in Edmonton and since then I’ve seen the band and Matthew Good solo nearly twenty times.  My first time at the Commodore Ballroom was to see one of the band’s five shows that they played over the holidays between the release of Beautiful Midnight and The Audio of Being.  I’ve been to Kamloops and Penticton far more than I’d like simply to catch a show.

So Tuesday’s release of Matthew Good’s Live At Massey Hall album was an obvious buy for me.


PAX – show of hands

So, who all here in town is headed down to Seattle for the Penny Arcade Exp…

…sorry, what? Oh, right. Vancouver angle. There’s a good one – this year, local Lovecrafty rockers, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets are playing at the Penny Arcade Expo! It’s been a long trip since they played in an arcade parking lot in Burnaby for a proto-PAX Necrowombicon, but they’ve…

…what? Yes, I realize it largely gibberish. Hang on, I’ll see if I can help a bit.

So, there’s a web comic called Penny Arcade, which some, as I do, find hilarious. It’s creators have grown it into a yearly convention, attended by 40K+ people, called, The Penny Arcade Expo. There’s lots of video games, board games, games games, panels about gaming, panels about web comics, and a concert, with performances by people like Jonathan Coulton, Freezepop, and The Thickets.

Little known fact is that PAX (the expo, short form) started as a fan gathering called Necrowombicon (for reasons I do not remember, nor will you care) here in Vancouver. Or, more accurately, Burnaby, thanks to things like hotels hooked up to malls with big arcades. The Thickets, as mentioned, played one of those gatherings. In a parking lot. It rocked.

More Vancouver ties, Vancouver companies, such as Hothead Games (who worked with Penny Arcade to produce their recently released video game) will be there, or are at least sponsors.

Which brings me full circle – I’m going. I would like to see The Thickets rock thousands of people. I want to meet Wil Wheaton. I want to meet Felica Day. I want to meet the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters (whom/which I will marry and run away with – if I’m turned down, Felicia Day is my second choice. I don’t know if Wheaton is my alternate third – we’ll see how it goes day-of.)

So, surely others from Vancouver are going? Anyone? I’m not there Friday, but I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday, most likely helping man the Thickets merch table… because I promised.

Or is everyone going to Bumbershoot instead?

[UPDATE] Triangle Productions (as you may have spotted in the comments – you do read the comments don’t you?) will be at PAX and posting some video here. So if you can’t be there, keep an eye out there for vids. Then start saving for next year.

Radiohead soaks up the atmosphere at Thunderbird Stadium

Black and white, originally uploaded by rvnix.

Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height… height…

– Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”

Those lyrics from Radiohead’s final song followed us up the hill as we left the field at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium. It had indeed rained down on us, and while facing the elements to watch a great rock and roll show can be a beautifully uniting experience every inch of my body was soaked and I was pretty much tired of beautiful communal experiences at that point.

Any other show I would have before the first encore, but this was a great show despite the weather. A good rock and roll show can remind me why I love music, and there’s none better than Radiohead right now. Their music is big, soaring and operatic the music of motion picture soundtracks meant for laying on your bed in the dark with good headphones. I’d go to watch someone like Matthew Good play a stripped down acoustic show any day of the week, but when you’re watching the best band in the world at the top of their game it’s something else.

It’s incredible.

So incredible that Thunderbird Stadium stayed packed right up until the end, whereas another audiance would have abandoned the show early on we stayed clamouring for a chance to actually see the stage and catch sight of Thom Yorke and company as they performed the non-radio friendly hits that make up the band’s back catalogue. It’s challenging music at its best, and while the band have yet to vere from the road laid down by their Kid A reinvention they’re still one of the most interesting bands out there.

And did I mention they’re awesome live?

All in all even with a few misteps by concert organizers, the exit plan seemed to be having concert goers scramble up a muddy hill and over wet metal pipes that had been laid down in our path for no apparent reason other than to cause injury, the show was a great success. I even picked up the best bit of tour merch ever [jks].

Businesses show their pride

A funny sign, originally uploaded by jelee_unleashed.

I have to admit I don’t pay as much attention to the annual Pride Parade and other festivities as I should, but it’s hard to avoid the build up if you live downtown. Walking to work today past a number of the floats as they prepared, I noticed that everyone seems to have funding. By funding I mean advertising.

I realize that it’s not my place to tell the homosexual community how to run their events, but the amount of advertising versus actual content seems surprisingly uneven. I suppose every business in Vancouver wants to be seen as supporting gay rights, and that’s great, but at what point does the parade go from being a parade to being an advert on wheels?

Do you still want to believe?

A coyote loose in Vancouver

With X-Files creator Chris Carter honoured in Vancouver last night [cbc], and the impending launch of a new film that was filmed in Vancouver, the world is just about ready for the return of agents Scully and Mulder.

Or is it?  We’ve moved on since The X-Files, people now watch shows like CSI and Boneswhich focus more on scientific forensics than the supernatural.  In Vancouver the show is mostly remembered for being one of the first really good American television shows filmed here.  Nearly every long time Vancouverite can drive past a location of the X-Files and point it out even if they’ve never watched a show, it’s just in the DNA.

But does the rest of the world remember the show, apart from a few fans who’ve survived through Mulder and Scully slash fiction, or is even here in the city that acted as the moody backdrop to the show’s best seasons beyond caring?


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