SEEN IN VANCOUVER #519 | Destination BC’s Dreamy New Video, “The Wild Within”


We spend hours daydreaming and planning road trips to the wilds of other lands, so much so that it’s easy to forget about the paradise right on our doorstep. We were reminded of this today when we pressed play on The Wild Within, the new promotional video from Destination BC (see below). It was released this morning as part of a new corporate strategy and tourism marketing plan, one that comes complete with a cool new overhaul of the “Super, Natural British Columbia” brand (see above).

Watch it. If you didn’t live here, you’d want to.


VANCOUVERITES | 5 Minutes With Designer Jeff Martin Inside His Parker Street Studio

November 3, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | ”We care a great deal about doing stuff really well,” says furniture designer Jeff Martin in his studio at 1000 Parker Street. You can trace a long line from Jeff’s modern pieces back through the history of the woodworking. “The work I’m doing studies the migration of design trends and materials, from the east, the old-school Shaker-style communities, as the culture migrated west with pioneers,” he says. “What sort of objects would they bring with them, and why, and how?”

The question of origin is important to Jeff not only in terms of the history of his craft, but also in the materials he uses. None of his lumber is logged; he sources strictly recycled materials or trees that die naturally or are already slated for felling. “Ultimately, I need to kill trees and mine minerals to make the stuff I make,” he says. “But I’d like it to be recycled content or sick trees that need to come down. It’s our responsibility to go responsibly sourced.” With such diversity in our home region, he sees no need to import wood. Often Jeff can tell prospective customers the street the wood in their piece came from.

These recycled materials find a beautiful second life in his expertly crafted pieces. His work features strong sculptural lines and make a centre point of the elegant patterns found naturally in the wood’s surface. Over time he’s incorporated bronze into his work, partnering with a foundry in the Gulf Islands. First, it provided an inventive way to disguise and reinforce flaws in the wood by binding them with small, circular bronze inlays. It’s in these practical yet beautiful ideas that Jeff’s style shines through. Later he used the metal in legs for his tables, the warm tone pairing well with darker woods. Now he’s begun making stools entirely of bronze, with the plan to do the same with a table.

Whatever the materials he works with, his pieces are always elegant, streamlined, and sleek. The designs are clever, intuitive and devoid of needless flair. He honed much of his craft during an extensive apprenticeship with New York designer Palo Samko. “I spent many months sanding panels on polished white doors,” Jeff laughs. But he also learned dozens of new techniques and the artistry to apply them in creative ways. While he loved the energy and atmosphere of New York, he decided to make his stand here at home, precisely because of Vancouver’s younger design scene. “There’s not a lot of people here who can say they’ve been doing it for 25 years,” Jeff says. “You have more of a voice here.” He points to younger designers like Omer Arbel from Bocci, Lucas Peet of Andlight, and Christian Woo as three who are on the vanguard of Vancouver design.

While it’s important that his designs look good, they also need to work well. “I approach work with an artistic viewpoint, but I’m not making art,” he says. Engineering and execution are critical. He brings up an idea by Seattle’s Roy McMakin, someone he calls an “artist’s artist,” who coined the idea of “painting with wood.” Jeff thinks of each piece as a composition where one element should flow seamlessly into another.


VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #242 | YVR Airport Invited Skateboarders To Ride

November 3, 2014 


(via) Airports – both their interiors and exteriors – represent some of the most forbidding terrain for skateboarders. They offer an endless array of modular obstacles, rails, transitions and smooth open spaces, but they are as off-limits as military installations and zoos. Which is why it’s pretty damn dreamy that – as part of an open-minded branding exercise – a group of world class skateboarders were invited by Finn Air to fly into Helsinki Airport and rip it up for two days last month — hangars, runways, blast fences, ticket kiosks, baggage claim carousels, and all. Take a look…


GOODS | Seven Cool Pop-Ups Scheduled For November At @thisopenspace In Chinatown

November 3, 2014 

A full-service pop-up production agency in Chinatown | 434 Columbia St. | 778.839.2828 |

A full-service pop-up production agency in Chinatown | 434 Columbia St. | 778.839.2828 |


Vancouver, BC | There’s seven new pop-up concepts at our Chinatown store in November. The month starts with a few quick pop-up shops including the launch of two new fashion brands and a weekend café. On the 12th “Portraits of Brief Encounters” is an immersive gallery-game that combines story telling and original art and invites the audience to play along. The holiday season officially kicks off mid-month with Etsy opening a pop-up store and #Portage bringing a kick-ass line-up of local makers in a Pacific Coast Cabin themed store. Our blog has the full details of what’s ahead, including more pop-ups being held around town. Check us out on the new

NOV 04-06 | #Glamsesh Fashion & Accessories Boutique | Bringing L.A. chic to Vancouver through their online store, #Glamsesh is opening a brick & mortar pop-up for the first time ever. Expect the latest trends in fashion, jewelry, and accessories. Style that won’t break the bank is key here. We were hard pressed to find anything over $100 on their site, with most items well under $50. Check out their online shop for a preview of what to expect.
Hours: 11AM-9PM daily

NOV 08-09 | #BajaBeans Weekend Café & Fundraiser | This is a feel good story. North Vancouver born and raised Tidey family moved to Pescadero, Mexico 5 years ago with a love for coffee and sense of adventure. They build a premium roasting company and a community hub in town. That’s until a hurricane devastated Pescadero. They’re opening a weekend café serving Baja Beans coffee and a Saturday night fundraiser supported by friends Postmark Brewing amongst others. Tickets to the fundraiser are available now on Eventbrite with proceeds going to aid the community in Pescadero affected by the hurricane.
Café Hours: 10AM-3PM
Saturday’s Fundraiser: 7PM-11PM

NOV 10-11 | #COQOandRICH Fashion Show & Collection Launch | New Streewear label comes to Chinatown to launch their AW14 Collection with a fashion show and pop-up shop. The hip-hop inspired streetwise label produces their garments locally and has a muted colour palette; the brand stands out without being loud. The quick two-day affair is early in the week but thankfully Tuesday is a stat so you can enjoy yourself with a drink some guilt free fashion.
Hours: Monday 5PM-11PM, Tuesday 12PM-4PM

NOV 12 | Portraits of Brief Encounters: Immersive Gallery-Game | Let’s play a game. Local writer Cole Nowicki and event producer Yashar Nijati have teamed up with 15 artists curated by Elliat Albrecht to bring a unique immersive gallery-game experience. You get a storybook and match tales of run-ins, pass-by’s, overhears, and introspections to 15 original pieces of art. The prize? Correct answers get you discount on the displayed artwork, and entries into a grand prize draw – a book of stories and prints signed by all artists. It’s $5 to play and this will be the art show of the season. There’s also rumour of a few surprises.
Hours: 6PM-11PM

NOV 13-19 | #UnwrapEtsy | The online marketplace is starting a global holiday pop-up tour and we couldn’t be more excited to have them kick things off in Vancouver. If you hadn’t heard, Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. They’ve invited a curated selection of outstanding Vancouver vendors for #UnwrapEtsy, a concept for the holiday season that encourages us to find the unexpected on from local artisans and makers. Come meet those in your backyard and impress everyone on your list this season.
Hours: Thursday 6PM-9PM (Media Preview), Daily 11AM-7PM (6PM on Wednesday)

NOV 20-23 | #SustainableTextiles | Students from SFU’s Product Design & Development have worked closely with sustainability leaders in Vancouver’s textile industry to understand what it means to participate in the circular economy. Drawing on the rich experiences of these leaders and working to close the identified gaps, the students propose new products and services and bring them into a pop-up store to share with the public.

NOV 24-30 | #Portage | Portage is a week-long independent pop-up shop. Showcasing the work of a selection of Vancouver’s best local makers, in a Pacific Coast Cabin atmosphere. The concept is from two well-known local makers AW by Andrea Wong, and MH by Melanie Hull. They’re hosting an opening party on Nov.25 with pre-holiday festive drinks. Bonus: There’s two long-table dinner series on Friday and Saturday night. Tickets go on sale soon. Check our site for details and full list of participating Vendors.
Hours: Daily 11AM-7PM (Opening party on Tuesday to 10PM), Sunday to 6PM Read more

INSTAVAN | The Manner & Measure Of The Many Things We Instagrammed Last Month

November 3, 2014 


SEEN IN VANCOUVER #518 | Aaron Koehn & Gabriel Dubois’ Exhibitions At BAF Studio

October 31, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | The Burrard Arts Foundation (BAF) wants to get artwork in front of as many people as possible as often as they can. To do that they run a gallery space at 108 East Broadway and also organize art programs and public projects, most recently a massive, maze-like outdoor mural at 259 Powell Street by Vancouver artist Gabriel Dubois. “As Vancouver continues to grow as a city of international prominence,” says director Christian Chan, “it’s vital that the arts and culture keeps pace.”

More of Gabriel’s precise, geometric and vividly coloured work is on display at the BAF Studio in a show entitled Deft Senf. The artist just recently returned from a year-long trek through Germany, Japan, India and the UK, so the show is a great opportunity to see how his experiences abroad have influenced his style.

The BAF Studio is also holding a show by New York artist Aaron Koehn (pictured above). It’s called Good, Better, and Aaron gave me a quick walkthrough of his pieces. Early in our tour he told me that “choice is a hard thing to define; that’s part of the title of the show.” In other words, there can be no ‘best’ because that’s a purely subjective assessment. It seems particularly apt in reference to the appreciation of art, which is a wholly subjective experience.

Rather than only two-dimensional pieces hung on a wall, much of Aaron’s show occupies real space in the room – not in a sculptural sense, but more as the collision of standard objects with art. A centrepiece of Good, Better is a series of Ikea LACK tables – one of their most ubiquitous models; some laid on their sides on the floor, others disassembled and mounted on the wall. For each one Aaron printed a macro photo of the extreme reflective surface of a buffed car, then wrapped it around the table. Viewers can piece together details of the car’s surroundings through the warped shapes reflected in its polished surface.

Reflective surfaces are a large theme of the show; Aaron took his first Mac laptop and polished it into chrome. Even his childhood baseball bat shines, despite dings and nicks from years of use. As you lean in to study them you’ll see your own hazy silhouette staring back. Aaron is interested in the question of when a copy is no longer a copy. Where exactly is the point when it becomes its own separate entity?

“Good art is that which poses questions rather than answers them,” says curator Elliat Albrecht. “Aaron’s work gestures towards ideas rather than making declarative statements. That’s so valuable for an art viewer; not telling them exactly what an object is gives them space to breathe and think.”

Aaron’s show features many forms – there’s a number of substrate prints using UV ink that explores logo manipulation, among other concepts, as well as an interactive light component and even a pair of shoes – but all are exploring the same idea. “Things can look very different but be very connected,” he says.

Good, Better is up now and runs until December 20th.


DIG IT | On The Indefatigable “Helen’s Grill” – A Greasy Spoon Main St. Fixture Since ’61


by Stevie Wilson | For the past several decades the southeast corner of Main Street and King Edward has been home to Helen’s Grill, the familiar diner best known for its all-day, greasy spoon breakfasts and table-side jukeboxes.

But it’s much more than that. Today, Helen’s Grill stands out in the community for having remained largely unchanged since its humble beginnings in 1961. It’s sphinx-like indifference to the world of change beyond its doorstep only adds to its appeal.

The jukeboxes aren’t the only vintage item that Helen’s has to offer, either. The bones of the building itself are relatively ancient. 4102 Main Street has been home to a number of other coffee-slingin’ businesses over the years. The current brick structure appears to feature elements of the Mission Revival style, including rounded clay tile roofing, which suggests it was built sometime between 1910 and 1930. However, the corner originally featured a smaller shop (likely built circa 1910 after the Walden Block next door) and according to city records, previous occupants include a millinery, a jeweller, an oil driller, Gary’s Dairy, and a Royal Bank in 1920.

At some point over the years, the original structure was either demolished or massively remodeled to accommodate a string of new businesses (share your insights if you have any idea about the date). It was a confectionery by the late 1920s, and in 1945 the address is listed twice, as Tom Gray’s Cafe and later as Morray’s Coffee Shop. The following year it became Salsbury House, which was noted for “Fine Food” and hamburgers. And in 1948, the address was renovated to become the 7th location of the locally famous Aristocratic Restaurant chain.

Though Helen’s might not be very fancy these days, that doesn’t make her any less charming.


SEEN IN VANCOUVER #517 | Heady Show Opens At New Serpens Gallery In Chinatown

October 28, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | The new Serpens Gallery (replacing the Positive Negative Gallery at 436 Columbia St.) opened its first – and very Halloween-appropriate – show this past Friday night. It’s called Sahelanthropus; the name being a reference to the ancient humanoid skull that marks the point when chimps and humans began to diverge some 7 million years ago. It’s curated by artist Colin Moore, who say he’s ”always wanted to do a skull-bawd art show, and what better time than right before Halloween?”

Along with Colin’s work, the show features painter Jose Rivas, black and white illustrations by Peter Ricq, and two ceramic artists, Michael Holler and David M Robinson, whose works jive with the tactile, three-dimensional nature of the show’s theme. “Every artist learns to draw a skull at some point in their lives,” says Colin. “It’s good for learning anatomy.” Sahelanthropus will allow viewers the chance to see these studies first-hand, as well as some interactive aspects that you’ll need to check out for yourselves over the next two weeks.

(Regarding the gallery’s name change: former curator Adam Lupton has left for New York and grad school and handed the gallery off to his friend Steffen Quong. Steffen has given the gallery a rebrand and opened up much of the back area into a lounge-like zone complete with art and a long, communal table. He’s looking to keep a healthy variety of weekly events up in the space, including things beyond art exhibitions.)


LEXICON | Defining Guilt Pylon, Drizzlepiss, Gasclown, Tip Boner, Citidiot & Many More

October 25, 2014 


The Vancouver Lexicon – our A-Z dictionary of local slang, myths, legends, and such – might appear to be complete, but we mean to keep adding to it every week. Today we aim to highlight five more localisms that everyone in British Columbia should know about, that is if they don’t already. They are Gasclown, Tip Boner, Drizzlepiss, Guilt Pylon, and Citidiot.


VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #242 | It Had The Greatest Bookstore In The World


(via) Can Vancouver honestly claim to be a “world class” city without a great bookstore? By great we mean one that stops people in its tracks, ensnaring and enchanting all who enter it with the way in which it is artfully arranged. We don’t think so. It might have a handful of bookstores worthy of mention, but none are gobsmackingly massive or iconic (the stunning main branch of the public library notwithstanding). Chain behemoths like Chapters don’t count, and tangled labyrinths Powell’s in Portland or the Strand in New York are old hat. We believe that Vancouver should have something different and more modern — something like the voluminous, open-concept Livraria Culture in São Paulo, Brazil. Designed by Studio MK27 “to encourage shoppers to stay and read the books they’ve purchased or to simply hang out with friends”, it’s sexy as hell. Accordingly, we imagine it occupying the ridiculously over-sized Victoria’s Secret location on the corner of Robson and Burrard, which is no stranger to books in the first place.


GOODS | New Pieces From Hilary Druxman, Wolf Circus, Others At Gastown’s “Cavalier”

October 23, 2014 

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

The GOODS from Cavalier

Vancouver, BC | It might be the time of year to layer up, but you mustn’t forget about your accessories. We wanted to keep it simple this Fall and go with understated and refined sterling silver pieces that can be paired with nearly any outfit. It’s also getting close to that time of year when you need to start thinking about holiday gifts so the shots above are a little inspiration from our latest Fall shoot featuring designs by Army of Rokosz, Catherine Hartley, Foe and Dear, Hilary Druxman, and Wolf Circus. Learn more about the shop after the jump… Read more

COOL THING WE WANT #447 | A Bright Red Ninja Suit That Will Repel The Sasquatches


(via) As serial campers, we treasure a reliably warm and functional “base layer”. Accordingly, we’re digging the hell out of this Poler x Airblaster Ninja Suit. The four-way stretch Merino Wool and lycra onesie suit comes complete with hood, chest zip, thumb hook cuffs, and a crotch fly for #1 access. It’s bright and weird and the badge makes it clear that you’re not to be fucked with. There’s no way a Sasquatch would dare approach the unpredictable wearer of such an imposing garment. It’s just too dangerous! A little pricy at $189.99, but as soon as we started thinking of it as lingerie it made sound financial sense.


GOODS | Trio Of Art House Horror Films To Play At The Cinematheque Over Halloween

October 22, 2014 

The Cinematheque is located at 1131 Howe Street | 604-688-8202 |

The Cinematheque is located at 1131 Howe Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-688-8202 |

The GOODS from The Cinematheque

Vancouver, BC | Halloween gets the Cinematheque treatment with a trio of art house horror classics screening from brand-new restorations: Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre with superbly creepy Klaus Kinski as the Count; 1973 cult folk-horror favourite The Wicker Man; and David Lynch’s enduring midnight movie Eraserhead.

On October 31 and November 1, all three films will screen in special Halloween triple bills at a special price: $20 Adults / $18 Seniors/Students. To celebrate the just-announced return of Lynch’s uber-bizarre, uber-loved Twin Peaks, we encourage you to dress up as your favourite character. There’ll be refreshments, decorations, and damn good coffee. Read more

SMOKE BREAK #1129 | Photo Series Sees Transit Passengers Through A Foggy Haze

October 22, 2014 


This mesmerizing photo series depicts the isolated stillness of transit passengers from the outside looking in. The work by London-based street photographer Nick Turpin is aptly titled Through a Glass Darkly.

Turpin peered in from a distance to capture individuals as they stared out foggy windows during the winter months. Some have wiped the fog away to get a better view of the exterior while others have rested their heads against the glass for a nap. The fuzzy profiles of men and women, young and old, is indistinct. As a result, viewers are invited to invent stories and interpret the scenes based on only what we can distinguish through the haze.

Needless to say, Vancouverites should find the works strikingly familiar. More here.


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