by Ken Tsui | “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Sundance award-winning filmmaker Julia Kwan about her new documentary, Everything Will Be. Playing at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, the film focuses on the past 3 years of Vancouver’s evolving Chinatown and the diverse collage of people who now call it home.
Julia grew up in Chinatown. Her parents found work folding linens at the Keefer Laundry and waiting tables at restaurants like Foo Ho Ho. “My mother was always nervous outside of Chinatown,” Julia lamented, “but put her in Chinatown and she’s in her element.” She remembers the strong sense of community when her family hopped from grocer to grocer on the weekends, shopping for provisions and running into friends along the way.
For Julia, the transformation of her childhood Chinatown is a personal ache; where the film’s inspiration finds its ignition. The documentary is a time capsule; it’s a process piece that studies the pivot when tradition meets change.
Julia was drawn by the resilience of the people in her neighbourhood, but she also acknowledges that her film captures the end of an era for Chinatown’s traditional shop culture. Some of the businesses featured in the documentary have already closed, even before the film’s release. “I really wanted to document the shifts in these people’s lives”, she says. “I wanted it to be an immersive experience and give people a feeling like they’ve been sitting on a stoop in Chinatown.”
Everything Will Be moves beyond the streets and gives the audience a unique look within the guarded cultural enclaves of Chinatown. The access and requisite trust didn’t come easy. Local Chinese herbalist Mr. Lai, whose storefront sits on East Hastings, initially refused to be featured in the film. And there were others, too. They were afraid that “it would effect their livelihood”, Julia recalls. Even the decision to hire Mr. Lai’s own daughter to work on the documentary didn’t sway him. It took more tenacity, not to mention months, but Mr. Lai finally agreed to let Julia document him and his business. “That’s the difference between fiction and documentary,” Julia says. “I feel like I’m constantly begging and asking for more.” The process was ultimately rewarding, and not only for the sake of the film. Genuine friendships have bloomed as a result.
The film also challenged Julia to work outside her comfort zone. She learned to relinquish control as a director and to recognize that amazing things happen if you are open to them. Throughout the film-making process, Julia learned how to better recognize authentic moments that will speak volumes in what audiences will surely view as an elegiac snapshot of the collective memory and legacy of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Everything Will Be screens at the Vancouver International Film Festival September 29th, October 1st and October 3rd.
The GOODS from Bao Bei
Vancouver, BC | Bao Bei is looking for a part-time host for weekend evenings. With a no reservation policy, the host at Bao Bei must think with a strategic mind in order to manage the smooth turnover of our busy room. This is one of the most important positions at the restaurant; to be successful the candidate must enjoy working with the public and feel extremely confident while doing so. If working in a high energy, challenging, and fun atmosphere appeals to you, please drop your resumé in person at Bao Bei from Sept. 16th onwards between the hours of 3:30pm – 5:00pm. Learn more about the company after the jump… Read more
Those who follow us on Instagram might remember this shot from last weekend. Taken at Bestie’s first ever brunch service, it shows a “Bennywurst” (sliced pork thuringer sausage with poached egg, and a mess of first-rate hollandaise on golden hashbrowns) above a special plate of asparagus with fried egg and ham. And yes, they were both as delicious as they look. Bonus: hot Elysian coffee!
Brunch service: 11am-3pm on Sat & Sun | 105 East Pender St. | 604-620-1175 | bestie.ca
The GOODS from The Parker
Vancouver, BC | The Parker is excited to offer a unique way to celebrate the holidays this year. Through Mealshare, the restaurant will feed 100 individuals in need for each and every private party booked. We’ll be celebrating the season of giving by giving back.
Mealshare, the buy-one give-one non-profit that feeds people in our neighbourhood and abroad, has made an immediate impression on the dining scene in western Canada. The Parker is proud to be one of its first members in Vancouver.
The Parker’s intimate room paired with thoughtful service and beautifully crafted menus helps create the perfect private holiday celebration for the discerning diner. Our award-winning innovation and sustainable practices make it a unique choice for companies looking for something different this year. And helping to feed those less fortunate at the same time is what the spirit of the season is all about.
For bookings, the restaurant is ideal for groups of about twenty to thirty. Please e-mail us at info [at] theparkervancouver.com for details. We look forward to creating an unforgettable holiday event with you and your company this year. Read more
The GOODS from Bestie
Vancouver, BC | Starting this weekend Bestie will be open for brunch at 11am every Saturday and Sunday!
We’ve been testing out brunch items every weekend for the last few months and are excited to launch our little brunch menu that includes, but is is not limited to, “bennywurst” with hash, fresh coffee from Elysian Room, and Bestie all natural caesars served with pickled watermelon rind.
Brunching hours are 11am to 3pm. Regular lunch and dinner service continue on until 1am on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday, which means we’re now open 7 days a week. For all you currywurst diehards, our regular menu will still be available during brunch. You can even throw a free-range egg on anything for $1.50 to brunch it up.
Join us this weekend and cure your hangover or quench your thirst for eggs served on top of things. We hope to see you in Chinatown soon. Read more
The GOODS from THISOPENSPACE
Vancouver, BC | There are a few reasons to celebrate September and it starts with the impressive line up we have in-store. Each pop-up has fully embraced our ethos of #roomtoplay and are bringing a unique experiences. It’s starts with GVEAFUKPOPUP, a revolving four-day pop-up with a new theme each day. Things slow things down at popupMOMENT for meditation, yoga, and a mindful meal. For the first time, you can bring your dogs in for portraits and pet supply shopping at AnalogueDog. Continuing on the photography theme, there’s a photoshop bootcamp weekend with DigitalDarlings. Following that, local designer AlexSYu returns from London for a one day pop-up following his show at Vancouver Fashion Week. Finally, online high-end consignment store ClosetCrows brings the experience offline for you to touch, feel, and try before you buy. Phew…that’s it. Oh, and did we mention we’re celebrating our first month as thisopenspace, and that the pop-up ready space is turning two years old this month? Yay! For a full list of what’s ahead including more pop-ups being held around town, check us out. Read more
by Maya-Roisin Slater | Scout’s new Neighbourhooding series is part of our expanding HOODS project. It explores Vancouver’s myriad neighbourhoods through the eyes of the people who call them home. Jill Southern has lived in Chinatown for 5 years. She’s an art director by trade and the founder of Pender Keefer Georgia, a series of Chinatown guidebooks. We recently caught up with her on East Georgia Street, just a stone’s throw from her apartment…
What or who do you think is a defining fixture of your neighbourhood?
Chinatown streets, any given day from 9 to 6: produce bins are wheeled out to the sidewalk, trucks unload new pig carcasses and containers of fish, parking is near impossible, and the sidewalks are an obstacle course of tourists and old lady carts.
Where’s your favourite place to get breakfast?
Matchstick weekdays, Pazzo Chow Saturdays, Kam Gok Yuen on special occasions.
Tell us about your favourite hideaway…
New Mitzie’s Restaurant on Pender — a classic Chinese-Western diner with endless coffee refills, booth seating, and entertaining people-watching.
What’s the best mom and pop place in the area?
That’s the great thing about Chinatown, it’s full of mom and pop shops. Some of my favourites: Fresh Egg Mart, Golden Wheat Bakery, Chinatown Supermarket.
What sets your neighbourhood apart from other areas in Vancouver?
Chinatown looks and feels like no other neighbourhood in Vancouver. Its distinct culture and history are visible in its buildings, residents and community, while its changing identity makes it fun and fresh. This neighbourhood never bores me. I love how I can feel like a tourist in my own town.
If you could describe your neighbourhood in a haiku, how would it go?
If you were walking through your neighbourhood while courting a lady/gentleman where would you take them to set a romantic scene?
There are a couple of rooftop parkades where, if you know your way around, you can sneak a stellar view of the city.
What’s the scariest thing about your neighbourhood?
The constant fear of getting shat on by pigeons.
What’s your favourite piece of architecture in the neighbourhood?
It’s a tie: 1. Sun Yat Sen gardens (pay the admission fee to see the best of it). 2. [Bob] Rennie’s stunning re-do of the Wing Sang building.
How do you think your neighbourhood will change and develop in the next 5 years?
It will unfortunately become less unique. New businesses and condos will continue to flow into the neighbourhood while hip, modern spots replace unfashionable, old spots. There is a lot of new growth in Chinatown, which doesn’t strike me as entirely bad or good. Chinatown has a very resilient way of dealing with change.
Maya-Roisin Slater speaks English, and is doing her best to turn that into a career. Beyond Scout, her words and photos can be found in publications such as BeatRoute, Discorder, and Lotusland Mag. She also enjoys writing nauseating poetry, pretending that gluten-free-vegan slop is actually food, and bullying her customers at German sausage empire Bestie.
The GOODS from Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | Mamie Taylor’s is searching for full-time and part-time front-of-house staff for both the dining room and lounge. About Us: Laid-back and casual regional American dining. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we’re very serious about what we do. About You: Fun and easy-going with a minimum of three-years serving experience. Some wine and cocktail knowledge a definite plus. Must love (or at least tolerate) taxidermy. Email us in confidence at info [at] mamietaylors.ca. More info after the jump… Read more
by Stevie Wilson | In 1931 the Shell Oil Company opened this auto garage at 231 East Pender St. – it’s 20th location in the province – as the Lion’s Gate Service Station. The tucked-away business was originally run by Thomas Chang, whose name will be recognized by Chinatown history buffs as the son of Chang Toy – more commonly known as Sam Kee. Chang passed away in 1953, and the business was transferred to H.H. Leong who renamed it Henry’s Service Station. In 1959, Max Goldberg Supply Ltd, a nearby business located at 424 Main St., bought the building and continued to operate it as Henry’s until it closed in the 1970s. The company continued to use it as a storage facility until 1989. The Goldberg family had significant ties to the Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourboods; in addition to their 50-year commercial tenure, Max’s son, Harry Goldberg, sat on the Chinatown Planning Committee for many years.
Today, the building is in extreme disrepair and is already slated for demolition to make way for a new condominium project, but under the filth and graffiti remains a long-forgotten piece of Downtown Eastside history. Look closely and you’ll notice the structure’s unique Chinese-inspired architectural elements, including a curved hip roof, carved brackets in the bay corners, and similarly rounded rafter details along the exterior. In 1933, an additional fifth bay was opened on the eastern side of the station; the slightly wider design and more intact construction is still discernible. The parking lot’s uneven plane indicates where a gas pump island once sat, which also explains why the structure is set so far back in the lot. Much of this area is quickly disappearing in the wake of the G-Word, so keep an eye out for this and other forgotten sites while you still can.
The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment
Vancouver, BC | There are major changes underway with The Chinatown Experiment and this month is a preview of what’s ahead. See the line-up below for all the upcoming new pop-ups, starting off with free coworking for all. Stay on top of it all and receive updates by liking The Chinatown Experiment on Facebook. Drop in on any (or all) of the pop ups to support local entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. If you snap the action and have it up on Instagram, get their attention by tagging @chinatownexp.
August 5 – 14 | FREE COWORKING @thisopenspace | #thisopenspace
We’ve opened our doors for ten days of free coworking. You can sit with us all day and practice your GyShiDo, or just drop in to say hello. Bring your laptops, sketchbooks, painting easels, and whatever else you need to get s**t done – we’ll take care of the essentials – tables, chairs, and super quick WiFi. There’s coffee next door at The Shop and down the street at Musette Caffé. You can bring your own outside food or grab a bite at our friends Bestie and Pazzo Chow. We’re also working on something exciting launching on September 1. Come hang out with us to find out more about what’s going on at #thisopenspace. Open weekdays 9am – 5pm.
August 15 – 21 | platFORM PRESENTS: THE 1 SALE | #platFORMclass
This summer, students from the SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Emily Carr’s Design program have teamed up to create sustainable market-viable products in a six-week long collaborative program. The trans-disciplinary teams will be launching and showcasing products that address issues such as sustainable travel, social isolation, textile waste, cosmetics packaging, and food packaging. It all takes place in a one-week pop-up storefront. The opening night pitches start August 15 from 6pm – 10pm and the platFORM 1 Sale is open Saturday to Sunday 11am – 9pm and Monday to Thursday from 12pm – 8pm.
August 23 – 24 | CAROL KELLEY’s WOOD+WINE | #carolkelley
Carol Kelley’s designs are a reflection of a rural upbringing crossed with a modern lifestyle. The furniture pieces are a family collaboration. Her father, a self-taught log home builder (very cool) and a trained fine woodworker, sources and salvages trees from the land where the family was raised. Each pieces is the cut and dried locally in an adjacent mill. Kelley then brings them to Vancouver for finishing in a shared East Van studio. Opening night is August 23 from 7pm to late. Come thirsty, there will be a cash bar. The store is also open Sunday from 11am – 5pm.
August 25 – 27 | ALFONSO ARNOLD PHOTOGRAPHY | #alfonsoarnold
Local photographer Alfonso Arnold returns from a recent trip to Myanmar for a three-day photography exhibition. Alfonso is inspired by artistic, and social diversity. He shoots for commercial, and fine art clients with a strong passion for people and landscapes. Along with a full time studio, he is an instructor at Lasalle College Int., and the photo coordinator for the bi-annual, Eco Fashion Week.
August 28 – 31 | ROSE & LEA POP-UP SHOP | #roseandlea
Laura & Natasha are a mother-daughter blogging duo from Vancouver. They’re behind the lifestyle blog Rose & Lea – writing about art, baking, and beauty amongst their other passions. For four days only, they are taking their online blog and bringing it to life in a pop-up storefront. Expect them to share their passions by having gourmet-baked goods for sale, as well as their unique style of painting inspired by the beauty found in everyday surroundings. They paint whatever happens to inspire them at that moment in time – their designs are always feminine, and uniquely Rose & Lea.
Opening night party is on Thursday, August 28 from 7pm – 9pm. Weekend store hours are 11am – 7pm Friday to Saturday and to 6pm on Sunday.
by Andrew Morrison | As a summer project, my eldest son James and I have been walking around the city with a copy of Fred Herzog Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011) and trying to shoot the exact locations where the master framed up his most iconic shots. It’s a book that we both love because a lot of the pictures were taken really close to our house in Strathcona and all around the Downtown Eastside. Because of our familiarity with the territory, most of the locations have been easy to pick out. Others are proving far more difficult because much of what was once there is no more. Truly, working on this has really brought home how dramatic the changes to this city have been over the last 50-60 years. And yet, in some places, it’s uncanny how it has remained largely the same. There’s plenty of summer left and a lot more Herzog haunts to explore, so expect the gallery below – complete with higher resolution side-by-sides and descriptive captions – to expand.
Full-service pop-up production agency.
434 Columbia St., Chinatown | 778.839.2828 |
Yashar Nijati, Creative Director
thisopenspace is a full-service pop-up production agency. Their flagship storefront in Chinatown is an idea playground and a pop-up ready space. It’s where they have hosted over 70 pop-up concepts since 2012. But there is so much more…
POP-UP READY SPACES
Empty space sucks and space for short-term use is rare. We help clients find flexible space and open underutilized space for temporary use. We’ve done this around Vancouver neighbourhoods including Mount Pleasant, Gastown, South Granville, and Fraserhood. Do you have or need space for temporary use? Contact us.
PROMOTION AND PRESS RELATIONS
It ain’t a party if no one shows up. We provide promotion and press relations exclusively to short term pop-up shops, exhibitions, and events. Whether it’s happening at one of our spaces or not, we help clients connect with their audience. Here’s the proof.
AN ENGAGED AUDIENCE
A pop-up is a limited time offer and we make sure that clients get noticed by an engaged audience that we’ve built over the last two years. This includes over 1000+ subscribers to our monthlycoolkids newsletter, 3000+ Instagram, 1900+Facebook, and 1500+ Twitter followers. We leverage our audience and get clients noticed.
Over the past two years, we’ve seen the best and the less than stellar. We know the elements that make a pop-up event successful and those to avoid. Our team has a track record of producing successful retail, food, and entertainment events. We design unique and memorable experiences.
“The incredibly successful rotating pop-up shop that offers people the chance to try out a storefront” – Vancouver Sun, August 2014
Cheater Floor | Legend | Back in 2011, we told you about Chinatown’s many Cheater Floors: ”The story goes that during the construction boom in Chinatown at the beginning of the 20th century, property taxes were levied against building owners using a formula that multiplied the footprint of the building by the number of its floors. The stunted 2nd storeys didn’t count toward this total, and thus provided tax-free storage and ancillary space. The term emerged from the xenophobia of the 1950s and not-so-subtly suggested that Chinese property owners were deliberately hiding a secret floor. The appropriate nomenclature is ’2nd floor mezzanine’, and there is little to suggest that builders at the time could hide an entire floor from a building inspector, nor were there any discernible property tax incentives to do so.”
Usage: “I told my kids that the Cheater Floor was where they put kids who cheated on their homework…”
The GOODS from Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | It’s been a year since Mamie Taylor’s opened its doors in Chinatown. As a thank you to the friends and neighbours who have helped to put the regional American restaurant on the city’s dining map, owners Ron Oliver and Simon Kaulback will be hosting a Southern-themed BBQ Birthday Bash on Sunday, August 10 from 5 pm until late.
Guests are invited to the Mamie Taylor’s lounge to tuck into Chef Tobias Grignon’s complimentary, buffet-style Southern pig roast with all the not-so-traditional fixins’, while it lasts. In addition, Mamie’s will be pouring drink specials all evening with $3 draft, wine and well specials and $5 Mamie Taylor cocktails.
The dining room will remain open for regular evening service from 5pm to 12am. Take a gander at the Southern BBQ Birthday Bash Buffet Menu after the jump… Read more