by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!
FERMENTATION | Vancouver’s R&B Brewing and the crew at The Bottleneck on Granville Street (right below The Commodore Ballroom) are joining forces to host Beer Feast this Tuesday nigh, which will see Todd Graham of R&B pair a selection of beer with a four course dinner prepared by Bottleneck chef Hugh Carbery. The theme of the evening will be ‘fermented’, so think pickled, smoked and cured meats, cheeses and pickled veggies and – of course – beer. Not bad for a Tuesday night!
Tue, March 11 | Doors 7pm/Dinner 8pm | The Bottleneck (870 Granville) | $60 | DETAILS
WINNOW WEDNESDAY | Gastown’s East Van Roasters make their chocolate from scratch. And when they say “from scratch,” they really mean it. The tiny shop imports, roasts, winnows (removes the papery shell surrounding the bean), and grinds 22kgs of cacao beans for every batch of their house-made chocolates. It’s an involved process and downtown eastside social enterprise relies on the hands many employees and volunteers to get the job done (particularly when it comes to removing the shells from the freshly roasted cocao beans). This Wednesday night you can pull up a chair and learn about chocolate making while you help to winnow. Those willing to donate their time and energy to the noble cause of hand-processing chocolate will be given a cup of tea or house-roasted coffee as well as salty chocolate chip cookies and EVR brownies to snack on. Hang around until the end and you can take some cacao shells home to make tea with.
Wed, March 12 | 6:30-8:30pm | East Van Roasters (319 Carrall) | Free | DETAILS
EXPLORE | Standing proudly at the north end of Burrard Street, Vancouver’s Marine Building, which opened in 1930, is certainly one of the most iconic and stunningly beautiful heritage buildings in the city. If the doorway is any indication of the level of craftsmanship and style of the offices inside, just imagine how impressive it must be to set foot in the art deco-styled penthouse! Next week you will have an opportunity to do just that. On the night of Wednesday, March 12th, the Heritage Vancouver Society will lead an informative tour of the building’s jaw-dropping lobby and gorgeous penthouse. Tickets aren’t cheap, but this will be money well spent, particularly because your 100 beans counts as a donation to the Heritage Vancouver Society (tax receipts will be issued) and there will be a reception that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Wed, March 12 | 5:30-8pm | Marine Building (355 Burrard) | $100 | DETAILS
FILM | The Pacific Cinematheque is running a series of classics that have been meticulously restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archives. In the age of digital, well, everything – the opportunity to watch a film in it’s original 35mm format has become increasingly rare. Don’t miss out on experiencing this medium the way it was intended: 35mm film projected on to a big screen with a bag of popcorn in your lap. Restored films include everything from film noir and comedy to silent films, thrillers and documentaries). This Thursday you can catch Cary Grant in The Thirty Day Princess (6:30pm) and W.C. Fields in International House (8pm). The UCLA Festival of Preservation screenings continue with more shows (Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World on March 20 and Mantrap on March 26).
Thu, March 13 | Various times | Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St) | Free | DETAILS
EVIDENCE | There’s a show on at The Robert Lynds Gallery that I’m interested in checking out. Site[d] is a mixed media series by artist JG Mair that documents details of East Vancouver ‘sites’ by taking them out of their physical context and presenting them in stand alone vignettes, a process that lends the work a somewhat archival feel. The idea (as the artist explains) is that these details “provide a lingering glimpse of the transitory state of the urban fabric. Each work suspends time and space revealing a landscape trapped between decay and growth.” Beyond the larger issues of such as land-development and displacement the collection conveys the depth, history and personality of place. Site[d], the works of JG Mair, has been curated by Michael Bjornson and continues until mid-April.
Now through April 12 | 1639 West 3rd Ave | Free | DETAILS
SCRATCH | Scratchboard is the process of creating drawings and illustrations by using a sharp tool to remove layers of dark clay or ink to reveal a light lower level. Think of it this way: remember when you scribbled a mess of coloured crayon on paper and then covered all of the colour with back crayon so that you could use your fingernails to remove the top layer of wax to create stunning works of kindergarten art? Well, scratchboard works on the same principle but it’s much more refined with results that can look like highly detailed (think beautifully precise linocuts and etchings). This is really the kind of thing you need to see rather than read about, so head to the Hot Art Wet City gallery on Main Street this Friday night to catch the opening of Scratch, a show of new scratchboard artwork by local artist Andrea Hooge. Then you’ll understand. Bonus: Brassneck is only a few doors down and it’s almost always a guarantee that there will be a cool food truck parked outside. To recap, that’s art opening, craft beer and cheap good food. Sounds like a fine Friday night on Main Street.
Fri, March 14| 7pm | Hot Art Wet City (2206 Main St) | DETAILS
LAUNCH | Sad Mag is a cool local magazine that celebrates independent art and culture in Vancouver. It’s issued on a quarterly basis and contains some seriously compelling pages packed with images (film or Polaroid, nothing digitally manipulated). This Saturday night they’re hosting the launch party for their latest issue (no. 15) Grit & Gristle. This issue will “explore eating and drinking in Vancouver, Sad Mag style. We’re interested in the Dive bar, the hole in the wall eatery and new and innovation foodie things happening in the city: GRIT + GRISTLE. It’s kinda dirty, gritty, but won’t give you food poisoning, we promise. We want to get between your teeth. Chew the fat about Vancouver’s new, strange or fascinating culinary caveats.” Sounds pretty bang on to us! The opening party will include original artwork and photography from the artists who contributed to the magazine.
Sat, March 15 | 7-10pm | Make Studios (257 E. 7th Ave) | Free | DETAILS
EXPLORE | At the Dr. Sun Yat Sen gardens this month, anthropologist and photographer Evelyn Nodwell is showing a selection of photographs taken during her travels to the villages and small towns of Guizhou Province in China. This Saturday presents a fantastic opportunity to check out Nodwell’s photos because not only will the artist be in attendance, but she will also be joined by National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. The two will have a walking conversation of her works as they are displayed in the Garden’s gallery. Sam Abell has a forty-year photographic career under his belt, including having one of his images (have a look) named one of the 50 greatest pictures ever made at National Geographic. He’s also a bit of an expert on gardens so this is likely to be an interesting event.
Sat, March 15 | 2pm – 4pm | Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens | Chinatown | DETAILS
WINTER FARMERS MARKET | Stay strong, take your vitamins, and eat well by loading the fridge with fresh, local food. Shoot over to 30th and Ontario to get your fill of fruits and veggies. Look for kale, crispy apples, leeks, beets, potatoes and squash, as well as goodies like baked goods, preserves and local honey. Yay farmers!
Sat, March 15 | 10am – 2pm | East Parking Lot Nat Bailey Stadium | DETAILS
CULTURE | Opera Pro Cantanti is performing Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi Sunday night. From Opera Pro Cantanti: “While families at war swear eternal hatred, two young hearts are inextricably bound in love. The result is tragedy at its most poignant. With soaring melodies, glorious harmonies and a timeless theme, I Capuleti e i Montecchi is one of Bellini’s true masterpieces.” The setting of the Cambrian Hall makes this community scale performance intimate and thoroughly enjoyable. Plus Don’t Argue Pizza is just down the block for post performance pizza and beer.
Sun, March 16 | 7pm | Cambrian Hall (215 E 17@ Main) | $18 (not including pizza) | DETAILS
Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List
Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s shops and streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy, and uncooperative camera.
by Andrew Morrison | The long awaited second location of the Fraserhood’s excellent Matchstick Coffee Roasters is on the verge of opening at 213 East Georgia St. in Chinatown (the same block as Phnom Penh and Mamie Taylor’s). If all goes according to plan, they could open as soon as this Wednesday.
So what can we expect? First and foremost, it should be noted that this Matchstick will be licensed. They’ll be serving five beers and one cider (all on tap) in addition to their own coffee line up. On opening day, we’ll see Four Winds’ pale ale and porter, Hoyne’s pale ale and pilsener, Moon Under Water’s IPA, and Merridale Cider.
They’re also upping their food game with – get this – a toast bar. They’ll be using their in-house, naturally leavened organic bread and spreading slices with plain butter, walnut butter, seasonal preserves, tapenades, and chutney. Oh, and cinnamon toast, because when you have a toast bar, there has to be cinnamon toast (it’s in the rules). They’ll also be baking their own croissants and making their own granola, plus they’re working on perfecting a hash as we speak. The lunch menu will see all of the above (if there’s any of it left), plus sandwiches of both vegetarian and meaty persuasion, the latter employing cured meats from Drew Driesson of D’Original Sausage Co. on Main Street.
And dinner! They’ll be doing dinner, too, with Mac & Cheese (with or without bacon), meat and cheese boards, and a variety of savoury flatbreads. The food program is being run by the Ballymaloe-trained Annabelle Choi, who is back home after toiling at Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco. According to Choi, the food at Matchstick is meant to “underscore and reinforce the connection between coffee and community.”
Their communal philosophy clearly comes across in the design on the cavernous space, which can seat upwards of 80 people in cozy window nooks and on little red stools that front a series of shared wooden tables. The massive beech plank table in front of the giant map of South America is particular awesome, but my favourite detail is the black wood cladding of the bakery and one of the walls at the front by the door. It looks painted black from afar, but if you get up close (or spy the shots above), you can see that they were toasted.
They’ll be playing their hours by ear to start, but I’m told the ballpark is around 7am to 9pm. Cross your fingers for Wednesday and take a closer look at the interior below.
by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our weekly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, we provide The Track – the song that is on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – which is pretty self-explanatory; The Gig – the ‘must see’ show of the week; and The Glance – which details the best live acts that are on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…
WOMEN’S HOUR Her Ghost
London’s modern quiet storm r’n'b four-piece, Woman’s Hour, just inked a deal for North America with Secretly Canadian Records. Their sound is built around classic mid-80′s period Sade infused with electronic elegance a la Art of Noise‘s classic late night jam ‘Moments in Love‘. The video is clever – one long, locked-off black and white shot of a sign language interpreter signing the lyrics to Her Ghost. Hypnotic! This is their debut 7″ track – let’s hope the impending full length is just as smooth.
KEVIN DREW Good Sex
Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene fame is preparing his sophomore solo album ‘Darlings’ and has decided the upbeat track ‘Good Sex’ will be the lead-off single. Time away from the band’s intense spotlight has made Drew a lot more relaxed and open. This video sort of captures that vibe from one of Toronto’s most misunderstood players.
THURSTON MOORE Heavenmetal
Here’s another chilled-out guy who has made the most of taking time away from the spotlight of his bigger band. Thurston Moore had a rough year in 2013. He and long-time life partner and music collaborator Kim Gordon split, and subsequently Sonic Youth took a bit of a break. Moore retreated to his upstate New York digs and took some time to just jam with friends. Here’s the result – a laid back song that features Thurston in a more introspective mode.
DEATH GRIPS No Love
To give a fuck or to not give a fuck? That is Death Grips’ current obsession. This 3D-esque video features a montage of live clips demonstrating the chaotic confrontational nature of the band. Everything about Death Grips is an attempt to agitate the environment they’re in. In 2013, they fucked with the industry, screwed their label and leaked their own record. So 2014 should be good.
REAL ESTATE Crime
Real Estate (who are in town next week) have taken the time to tab out one of the more breezy numbers from their forthcoming new album. If you want to play along at home, go for it!
LONDON GRAMMAR | Hey Now
From the opening notes on their Fender Rhodes electric piano you know London Grammar are all about the hush hours. Chilled ambience and delicately programmed beats are the main focus of this new track that really focuses in on vocalist Hannah Reid’s late night coos. Voted a British Breakthrough Act of 2014!
DUM DUM GIRLS Too Good to Be True
Flowers, Lava, Dum Dum Dee Dee and a shitload of special effects all play a prominent role in the second video out to support this Sub Pop Records signing. We played this in the store and someone mentioned a band called The Primitives from a long time ago…does anyone remember them? Is this what they would sound like today?
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS Ambulance City
Having recently supported Band of Horses here in town at the Vogue, Stephen McBean (Black Mountain) is shaking off the rust and getting things tuned up for his solo project Pink Mountaintops to hit the road and channel his madness. April’s new record Get Back is great! Who’s going to Austin Psyche Fest in May?
ANGEL OLSEN Thursday March 6th at The Media Club
Historically, March and April are great months for gigs. Pretty much every young North American band is on the road and planning their routing around either SXSW dates or Coachella. As a result you have to plan your rock calendar wisely and choose a few key shows to take in. Catching a band at the Media Club is pretty much akin to getting in on something at the ground level. This is one of the smaller rooms in town (until the Fox is officially a booker’s paradise) that showcases bands on their first swing through town. With this in mind, a lot of people are pegging Jagjagwaur Recording Artist Angel Olsen as one of the early stars of this year’s fresh faces. A couple weeks back Angel released her second album Burn Your Fire For No Witness and the critics quickly gravitated to her ability to evoke the greats like Cohen and Orbison without pushing too hard and losing some of her immediacy. There’s a natural confidence to Olsen’s recordings – let’s hope it translates well live!
Take a deeper look at Vancouver’s gigscape for the rest of January after the jump… Read more
by Stevie Wilson | Looking over a city recognized for its abundance of greenery and glass, the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park is a unique, historic example of Vancouver’s propensity for design. Full of exotic flowers and more than a few awesome-looking tropical birds, it’s a family-friendly city escape with a brilliant view to match.
Construction began in 1967 with funds donated from Prentice Bloedel, a wealthy timber industrialist known for his devotion to the protection of natural resources, reforestation, and recycling. His patronage of 1.4 million dollars (the largest gift to the city thus far) exemplified the post-war trend of large industries wishing to associate themselves with civic development, and complemented smaller financial contributions from the Provincial and Federal governments. Architect McKinley Underwood designed the triodetic dome, surrounding plaza, and fountain to coincide with the Vancouver Park Board’s vision for celebrating Canada’s centennial that same year. Henry Moore’s imposing Knife Edge – Two Piece sculpture also offers guests of the plaza a look into mid-century artistic flair.
The main structure’s design borrows from Buckminster Fuller’s larger Biosphere built for Expo ’67 in Montreal, and features materials manufactured in Ottawa that were then shipped to Vancouver. While the aluminum framework was constructed in 10 days, it took over a year for the entire design, complete with walkways and fountain, to be completed. The design purpose of the Modernist, geodesic styling is two-fold: to capture the optimistic and future-facing mid-century sensibilities of locals and tourists, and offer a new take on the pioneering 18th and 19th-century glass and metal solarium design.
The site also boasts the honour of being the first large triodetic dome conservatory in the country and was intended, as it remains today, to be an educational and scenic display of exotic plants. In its first year, the conservatory hosted over 500,000 guests. Attendance at the conservatory waned over the following decades, and in November of 2009 the Park Board voted in favour of closing the attraction due to growing repair and maintenance costs and the need for a complete replacement of the roof. The conservatory was set to close just after the 2010 Winter Olympics in March, though in January it was noted that attendance had increased dramatically now that pre-Olympic construction in other areas of Little Mountain and Cambie Street has been completed (go figure!). In February, public interest groups and financing, including $50,000 from the Friends of the Bloedel Association, inspired the Board to revise their decision.
The Parks Board ultimately accepted a proposal for the conservatory to be run under the jurisdiction of the VanDusen Botanical Garden, and it remains a gorgeous city escape, especially during the chilly months. The roof is currently undergoing a massive renovation, but inside the spot remains as peaceful as ever. We’re lucky to still have this lush piece of history, so pay a visit next time you need a little escape from winter. It makes a great date spot, too.
Stevie Wilson is a historian masquerading as a writer. After serving as an editor for the UBC History Journal, she’s decided to branch out with a cryptic agenda: encouraging the people of Vancouver to take notice of their local history and heritage with You Should Know, a Scout column that aims to reveal to readers the many historical things that they walk past every day without noticing.
by Andrew Morrison | Danny Fazio and Thomas Anselmi of Arrival Agency invited me to take a look at how things were going at The Fox Cabaret yesterday. The space has come a long way since the mess left behind by the building’s previous long-term tenant, The Fox Cinema. The Fox, of course, was an old school porn theatre, and well documented as a grossed-out, fap-fest house of carnal horrors. Though it was an institution of sorts and very much part of the Main streetscape, screening 35mm adult films throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s, and well beyond 2003 when it switched over to DVD format. You can click here to learn more about the theatre and its 2010 end while empathetically lamenting the loss for commuting masturbators from across the Lower Mainland, but I don’t think it has been missed by that many people in the neighbourhood.
So what is The Fox Cabaret? I think we’re supposed to think of it as another “cultural compound”, the second coming of The Waldorf, which was sacrificed to false real estate idols last year. It’ll be operated by the same crew as before – led by Arrival founders Thomas Anselmi and Ernesto Gomez with partners Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey (see also The Emerald, Rickshaw, The Narrow) – so I trust that we can expect similar programming as before. If you require a refresher, these guys arranged for The Cheaper Show, the East Side Culture Crawl, the New Forms Festival, the Polaris Music Prize, the Presentation House Gallery, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver International Film Festival to hold events at The Waldorf, and for Black Mountain, Japandroids, Douglas Coupland, Rodney Graham, Grimes, Michael Turner, and Paul Wong to headline evenings as well. In addition to the great gigs and events that I feel confident in anticipating, I know that Music On Main will be doing some of the programming, and that comedy group The Sunday Service is set to become an entertaining fixture. Diversity for the win.
Clearly, Mount Pleasant’s cultural landscape is about to get a big shot in the arm. When The Fox opens, it will offer a cavernous space (with all the theatre seats gone) for 190 people. An upper balcony will have room for another 25 or so, and then an upstairs bar will seat another 50 when it opens later – possibly as soon as April – in what used to be the theatre’s old projector room (check out the disco ball, plucked from the destruction of Richards On Richards). The bar operations are going to be the province of Kevin Brownlee, who also works the wood at South Granville’s storied West Restaurant. The hours will be in the evenings until midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends, with those being extended to 1am and 2am respectively after six months. There will be a food component, but it will basic – snacks only.
The Fox Cabaret is on track to open for its first events next weekend. Get your sneak peek below…