Local dreamers Stewart Burgess and Julien Thomas have launched a campaign to have a public “parklet” inserted into the two parking spaces in front of the lovely Prado Cafe at 1938 Commercial Drive. The plan sees artist Jordan Bent creating an art piece for the parklet’s planter boxes (to be laser etched by Derek Gaw of the Laser Cutter Cafe) with the steel fabrication done by BCIT Ironwork students. The project has received $5000 in funding from Prado’s owner (yay, Sammy Piccolo!), $1000 from the Awesome Foundation, and a Parks Board Grant. They’re currently looking to raise the difference, some $3,500, via Kickstarter. If everything comes together like gravy, we can expect to see it open to the public this March.
by Robyn Yager | This week marks the opening of the long awaited Archive, the new retail adjunct to Revolver Coffee in Gastown. The Giannakos family hosted a party over the weekend, complete with copious amounts of meat, cheese, and Brassneck beer.
Archive will provide additional space for Revolver customers to sit and enjoy their coffees and give them the opportunity to learn and talk about coffee and coffee merchandise. With graphic identity by Post Projects and design by Craig Stanghetta and artist Ricky Alvarez, the expansion doubles the cafe’s capacity. Unlike Revolver, there are no four person booths in Archive. A long communal table runs the centre of the space instead, with a standing bar on the south side and individual seating in the window. Coffee merchandise and accessories are displayed on the cabinets opposite the standing bar, where one can browse various coffee brew methods, equipment, accessories, and resource books.
With the room painted almost entirely in black with the exception of the light wood cabinets, table, and bar, Archive is a completely different environment from Revolver; albeit still comfortable in its own right. The art installation that hangs above the standing bar sees the Dewey Decimal system broken up into ten framed art pieces; a testament to organization, systems, and an overall charming way to display the library classification system used in libraries around the world. Interestingly, it seems to run parallel to the way in which Revolver and its counterpart functions – in efficiency, organization, and elegance. A second art piece hangs on the north wall stating “Every one of us has all we need” in white acrylic letters with brown paper scored to give the piece texture.
Archive is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm.
by Robyn Yager | The popular Main Street consignment store Front & Company is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year by featuring four of their favourite displays in one collaborative window exhibit. Ranging from 1997 – 2008, the exhibit features a collection of white dresses made from paper, a glass waterfall, a lead submarine, paper cakes and delicacies of every size, all elaborate and stunning in thir detail. Well known for their beautiful and creative displays, Front & Company’s work rivals that of big timers like Holt Renfrew and The Bay.
Diana Li opened the store in 1993, starting out as a small vintage shop with accoutrements traditionally found in thrift shops. The next 20 years has see it grow into much more than Li could have ever dreamed, expanding into a consignment shop selling gently used clothes in addition to samples, new clothing, accessories, shoes, and all manner of eclectic gifts. A smaller novelty shop can be found next door that specializes in home wares, gifts, cards, baby items, and jewelry. So raise a glass with congratulations to Front & Company! Here’s to many more years as one of Vancouver’s best shops!
Our friends over at Warren Lane Pictures just sent us the finale episode of their Return To The Restaurant Rumble documentary series for Aprons For Gloves, the boxing tourney that pit Vancouver restaurant staffers against one another for a fantastic cause this past summer. They’ve done a wonderful job. The scene with Chris Dzaka and his parents made us choke the hell up, and Chopper had us blubbering like crazy. And with the recent fire at the East Side Boxing Club, the tears didn’t stop there. Sigh. It’s quite the emotional ride. You can donate to the fire fund here and watch the previous three episodes there.
If you’ve ever walked through the atrium from Water Street to Blood Alley in Gastown you’ve probably been a little seduced by Neighbour, the sweet-looking men’s clothing shop next to Boneta. The good folks at the brand new website Make Directory just directed us to a video they made that profiles the beautiful store and the tastes of its charming owner, Saager Dilawri. Give it a twirl.
There was a gnarly fire at Woodland Smokehouse at 485 Commercial Drive early this morning. Crews arrived at 5:00am to find “the fire had spread through the building and flames were rising out of the windows.” The business, which provides commissary kitchens to food trucks, workshops, and culinary start-ups, was launched by restaurateur Tyson Reimer and builder Ryan Murfitt in 2011. Many small food operations were germinated within, among them the now flourishing Cartem’s Donuterie and Earnest Ice Cream. The place played host to many events, including the Hillbilly BBQ during Craft Beer Week, and was the place of origin of the hot dogs served at the No. 5 Orange strip club. Woodland Smokehouse was fronted by a retail food shop and deli, and was home to the Eastside Boxing Club, which was resurrected with the help of Vancouver restaurant workers who raised money for it via Aprons For Gloves. We’re unsure of the extent of the damage, but by the looks of the photo above (supplied by reader N.A) and the ones we’ve seen through various news reports, it’s pretty bad. Here’s hoping that at least some of the equipment (see images below) can be salvaged. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Bummer all around.
Somewhere in the creative depths of Strathcona, several pieces of clothing are waiting in a tidy pile on the floor while these homemade beauties get their airy due in the autumn sun. Top marks, whoever you are!
We visited the first ever retail location of Lifetime Collective at 4386 Main St. yesterday with company founders Reid Stewart and Trevor Fleming. The new 800 sqft. shop – formerly Abe’s Furniture – will showcase ‘Lifetime Collective Men’s’ and ‘Uniform Standard by Lifetime’ Holiday 2013 collections, a selection from their ‘Lifetime Collective Women’s’ Fall/Winter 2013 line, along with a curated selection of magazines, books and housewares (including a ceramic mug collaboration by local Lindsey Hampton). The address will also house the company’s head office.
On opening night (tonight), the space – aka “Little Mountain Workshop” – will see cedar planters given life by our good friends at Victory Gardens, flanking window displays showcasing new wares, a modular feature wall (engineered by Trevor), mural works by Mark Warren Jacques, a photography installation by Jennilee Marigomen, a live musical performance by Reuben Bullock, and good times galore.
The brand, which has been in existence since 2002, started off – in a basement suite – as a collaborative group of artists and friends designing t-shirts for Vancouver’s skateboarding and snowboarding scenes. Today, they design clothes from head to toe for men and women around the world, all while maintaining the same collaborative ethos that drove them to where they are today. “We always wanted to have a shop but the circumstances never permitted,” says Stewart, who was also happy to show us (and share) lovely bottles of Lifetime’s collaboration with Tofino Brewing Company (label by Mark Warren Jacques).
Considering Lifetime’s success, they could have opened just about anywhere, so it’s great to see them right in their own wheelhouse, in a neighbourhood that several of their collaborators call home.
Opening hours will be 11am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, and Sunday 12-5pm. We wish them well.
by Michelle Sproule | My fog alarm went off early this morning so I had a fun (if chilly) photo adventure around the city trying to find some pretty in the grey from Strathcona and the DTES to Stanley Park and English Bay. One of my favourite things about this weather phenomenon is how – with a dash of suspended disbelief – it tends to temporarily remove once familiar points of reference. You can ask yourself questions like: Is this calm water without horizon the start of a vast ocean or a mere duck pond? Does this beach ever stop? Will this road have an end, and if not, where does it lead? Is that building 50 storeys high or just 3? Such fleeting mysteries are only ever revealed to the patient, so not to me. I much prefer to take the riddles home, every time.
by Douglas Haddow | A couple years ago I spent a month holed up inside a tiny apartment in a sleepy part of Tokyo with a sprained ankle and a vacant bank account. This experience taught me many things, like how to say, “Hey guy, can I bum a smoke?” in Japanese, and that Internet access is a greater necessity than clean tap water. But most importantly, it taught me the value of convenience. Specifically, how to survive exclusively off the products available at the Family Mart a half block away from the building I was staying in.
Convenience, from the Latin convenientia, meaning harmony, is a virtue of the modern world that is all too often dismissed or overlooked. This is not the case in Japan, which has a culture that values harmony above all else and has elevated the convenience store to be a temple of consumerism – an indispensable hub of activity that provides all of one’s daily necessities in an expedient manner at affordable cost, with plenty of single-serving sake bombs on the extra cheap.
In Canada, our convenience stores trend towards the superfluous. They prey on our weaknesses, their mainstay being discount cigarettes, repurposed meat and lottery tickets. As such, they are often seen as symbols of cultural decline, and for good reason.
There is no art or pride to them, and certainly no harmony in their business model. They aim for the gutter and wallow in the fact that the average Canadian is content to support their crude, third-rate offerings.
This, however, is not the case with Hasty Market, Vancouver’s unrivalled all-hours munchie mecca.
Located on the corner of 16th and Main, Hasty looks a typical independent East Van shop from the outside, but on the inside offers a wealth of selection that verges on the bizarre. Items of interest include: locally brewed root beer, British “crisps”, homemade samosas, organic teas, rare Dutch candies, gluten-free pasta, and every potato chip that Old Dutch has ever produced (even the evasive Au Gratin Rip-L), to name a few.
All of which come together to create a vibe that is somewhere between a neighbourhood delicatessen and the stargate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This monolithic selection of foodstuffs is superbly complimented by the shaman-like disposition of the store’s personnel, who are always standing by, calmly waiting to help you find something or answer questions like “Where are you eco-friendly quinoa chocolate bars?”
Alas, when it comes to convenience, Canada is still in the dark ages, but at least the lights are always on at Hasty Market.
Douglas Haddow is a Main Street-based writer and the Associate Editor at Scout. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Adbusters, Vice, Colors, Slate, Hobo, and various online ice hockey forums. He has a BA in film studies from UBC, is a reluctant Calgary Flames supporter and likes to drink and argue.
by Robyn Yager | Tuesday night’s Young Oak + Park show at Eco Fashion Week opened with a stunning model whose hair was set in a high pseudo-French twist with long bangs pinned to the side. Her lips were painted bright red – head to toe old Hollywood mixed with femme fatale – and her sleeveless light grey double-breasted jacket was something Lauren Bacall would wear while strolling alongside Bogey after a day of shooting the next film noir. The outfit was paired with a black mid-thigh skirt and a pair of black opaque knee high stockings by Park. Oh, and black pumps. Wow! This outfit was the perfect way to start off another show at Vancouver’s 7th annual Eco-Fashion Week.
Next was a gorgeous over-sized wool houndstooth jacket with leather detailing on the lapel. Its three-quarter length sleeves allowed gave it elegance while the enormous pockets looked perfect for warming cold hands. Worn with a pair of white tights, the look was young (consistent throughout the collection), evoking something of a childish quality that was offset by the maturity (even masculinity) of the heavy jacket. Hitting just around mid-thigh, the jacket would be ideal on a cold winter’s night (no bulky layers).
I also loved the luxurious black velvet outfits that ranged from jumpsuits to cocktail dresses. Their billowing sleeves – some lace, others sequin – made me long for those dark days of December when holiday/cocktail parties dot the calendar. The pieces were demure but with just the right amount of sexy, the styling allowing for slivers skin by way of crop tops or a deep scoop neck in the back. Each was fitted to flatter.
As the last of the velvet outfits made their way down the runway, a battery of shine and glitter took their place, starting with a metallic gold sleeveless a-line minidress with an empire waist. A shimmering gold shift dress followed with an Art Deco-inspired pattern and tassel falling beneath the bust. It was a dress that the Daisy Buchanans of the world would desire, revealing Tammy’s inclination towards the classics – all simplicity with touches of glamour. Sequins travelled down the next three dresses where one black shift with sheer overlay on the skirt was embellished with a burst of gold and black sparkle at the neck that extended down in vertical lines like the tail ends of falling fireworks.
I’m not sure if the outfits were inspired by the Jazz Age (a style shockingly not yet tired by this year’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby) or if it was just a case of Tammy’s immense assortment of collected vintage coming from that era, but one thing was very clear: her ability to reinvent old clothes by incorporating traditionally glamorous materials was enough to make one want to cover up, slather on the best red lipstick, adorn cold shoulders with fur (or faux) and fantasize about being in the company of Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
The show ended with a white sequinned dress that could only be described as exquisite. The top of the dress was vertically beaded, the effect gradually dissipating down the length of the skirt in lines that dropped off the long skirt in clusters. Paired with flats (a charming complement to the dress’ ankle length), it conjured visions of Marlene Dietrich or Lilian Gish. That dress – moving wispily down the runway – was the perfect last look.
by Andrew Morrison | I checked out Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar today at 2331 East Hastings (that’s right next door to Tacofino). The brand new space is modelled after a British train station circa 1900, complete with bench seating, antique light fixtures, big clocks, period signage, and a “roof” installation that jolly well protects against imaginary rains. They offer a limited selection of pastries, sandwiches, and such, and make/serve coffee in myriad ways (shots, pour over, et cetera). The beans are all from Stumptown, and there was much rejoicing.
by Douglas Haddow | Yesterday, the VAG revealed three possible plans for its redesign of the North Plaza and called for public input on the options it presented. One of the plans is called “WET”. And as the all-caps indicates, it’s totally wet, even wetter than normal Vancouver-grade wet.
The concept drawing (above) shows a group of children cheerfully playing in the pouring, freezing rain – a delightful, life-affirming vignette overflowing with a joie de vivre that has not once and never will transpire in this giant clammy cistern we call home.
As described in the document provided by the city: “Materially, [WET] is a large rectangle of special paving stones which would rest on hidden pedestals within a shallow void under the plaza. The paving stones would be carefully designed to have very slight variations in level – enough to create different patterns of water accumulation, while still maintaining a comfortable surface to walk on.”
Or in layman’s terms: there’s gonna be a bunch of puddles.
The design team also “imagines the inclusion of scattered misting spouts and small water jets within the paving field,” so that even when it’s not raining, it’s raining, just in case 161 days of rain isn’t enough for those citizens who prefer to be moist at all times.
This is either a brilliant, counterintuitive approach to an urban landscape famous for its glut of precipitation, or a rather crude joke slipped into the design process by some clever intern.
On the other hand, the sprinklers would provide the police with a convenient and non-violent method of dispersing protests, which should keep VPD overtime pay down; in turn providing much-needed funding for other unsheltered public space projects that are completely useless half the year.