photos via Katie Piasta | It looks like firefighters are currently battling a nasty fire above the Liberty Market convenience store on East Hastings just off of Carrall Street. That’s right next to the Hotel Pennsylvania, which provides 44 studio apartments and support services for low-income residents of the DTES (Hastings is closed from Abbott to Columbia, right in the middle of rush hour – ouch). Here’s hoping the rain helps, that everyone is OK, and that an evacuation isn’t necessary. Here’s a quick Vine from David Cowling…
Nearly a year ago, we published some photographs of a coffee table that had been cut to the shape of the state of California (see above). We closed the piece out with these words: “The outline of BC is similar to California’s, only ours is significantly fatter, which is to say it would make for a far more stable table. What’s more, two people could dine upon it comfortably with room for share plates and bottles of wine (Haida Gwaii would make a great hook for a dangling ice bucket). To our dearest woodworking readers, we hope one among you will give it a try. Please show us when you’re done!” Earlier this month, and unbeknownst to us (until this afternoon), local photographer Dave Delnea left a comment on the post: “We thought the same, so we made our own for the office”. Take a look below. Follow up challenge: someone do the same using cedar!
by Robyn Yager | For me, the big takeaways from this year’s Vancouver Fashion Week (just passed) at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Chinatown were the Spring/Summer 2014 womenswear collection from Mexican designer Angela Reyna, the line from Peruvian fashion designers El Closet De Mi Hermania, and the gorgeous shodding from footwear designers Warmi. The catwalk was a revolver of international talent that saw Reyna playing with volume, vibrant colours, and unconventional materials, El Closet De Mi Hermana’s pieces focusing on loungewear, daywear, evening wear and outerwear (in lace, sheer fabrics, whites and pastels), and the shoes! Oh my god, the shoes!
by Andrew Morrison | Josh Blodans and Jules Vagelatos of Vancouver’s wee shoemaking firm, Love Jules Leather, make excellent shoes by hand (I love their boat shoes!), but they have always been in a bit of a pickle with their soles. Since their supply chain is a cruel game of manufacturer’s “minimum orders”, the little guy – in this case a company making just a single pair of shoes a day – is pretty well screwed unless they’re supplying their own soles.
So that’s just what Josh and Jules have just decided to do. Making their own soles not only will afford them a great deal of independence, but it will also allow them to finally make a woman’s fit and men’s sizes above 13 (prior to this, they could only get men’s sizes 6 – 13). They’re doing it with a little help from their friends…and Kickstarter. They launched a fundraising campaign on September 9th (watch the video above) for $10,000 to get the ball rolling and – amazingly – they reached that goal in less than a day . They have now accrued three times that amount – at the time of writing, a whopping $33,162. They were even named Project Of The Day on Kickstarter! How’s that for awesome?
I paid them a congratulatory visit at their tiny Chinatown workshop the other day and they were over the moon. They’re really awesome people who craft beautiful, fully-customizable shoes, one pair at a time, and totally loving what they do. That’s a rare ass thing and wonderful to boot. You can learn all about the project and what they plan to do with the extra money here. And yes, you can still contribute and get yourself loaded up with some of the goodies seen above.
Chinatown’s Bestie has been open for a few months now, and our friends over at Warren Lane Pictures have just put out an awesome little video that details its construction process in typically charming fashion. Press play above and enjoy.
And in other Bestie news, they’re doing a little beer collaboration with 33 Acres this Sunday, September 22nd. The festivities will take place from 1pm to 5pm at Mt. Pleasant’s new (and very gorgeous) 33 Acres Brewery.
Bestie will be on site serving pretzel, pickle and cured sausage tasting plates to complement a very special brew. Expect music and merriment and a modern Oktoberfest vibe. See you there!
We poked our heads into the new Still Life shop that just opened up next to Antisocial at 2315 Main Street (in the old Lark location). For a very long time (we’re talking decades) it has been one of our very favourite stores in Victoria, so we’re naturally stoked to see it closer to home. Owners Matt and Kim Jensen have done a great job with the 2,100 sqft space, stocking it as you’d expect with awesome items from Deus Ex Machina Motorcycles, Penfield, Brixton, Lifetime Collective, Ken Diamond, Blundstone, and more. They’re open 7 days a week from 11am to 8pm Monday through Friday, from 11am to 7pm on Saturdays, and from 11am to 6pm on Sunday. Welcome to Mt. Pleasant, guys! Long may you run!
The white Welcome To East Van moving truck has been vandalised with a punny suffix. Spotted today in Strathcona. The question isn’t “who did it?” but rather “how did this not happen sooner?”
by Michelle Sproule | On a recent evening, scared that summer was on its last legs, I went to Playland at the PNE to bank the fleeting feeling that it lasts forever. The crush of bodies, the screams of happy children peeing themselves, the mechanical sounds of the myriad rides, and the intoxicating smells of foods that have zero nutritional value…they all blend together in deafening defiance of Labour Day’s damned imminence.
Remember that story about the “distraught man” outside the Vancouver Art Gallery last week who was taken down by the Vancouver policeman armed with a beanbag gun? It was hailed far and wide as a textbook example of non-lethal use of force in tense standoffs when officers feel threatened, and contrasted just as far and wide against what happened in Toronto in late July when a cop shot a young man on a streetcar NINE times (he’s been charged with 2nd degree murder). Now a video has just made its way on to YouTube that shows what happened in front of the Art Gallery from a birds-eye perspective. An eagle-eyed local Redditor (Slashmonkey) paused the video at the moment of impact and noticed that the guy took the beanbag in the balls. Was that sort of marksmanship with a beanbag even possible? Curious, we took a schadenfreude look ourselves and, sure enough, he gets it square in the nuts. The screenshot above says it all, but play the video just the same. Though it looks painful, the guy is lucky to be alive. I mean, better a beanbag in the balls than a bullet in the head, you know? That cop, who is now presumably nicknamed “Sniper” by his colleagues, just became a legend, just like Constable Flashbang from the Canucks riot.
by Andrew Morrison with photos by Michelle Sproule | Friday night saw the first annual Dumpling Cook Off go down at the Chinatown Night Market. The nine participating local restaurants knocked the crowds’ socks off with their takes on the classic Chinese staple. The competition had one simple instruction for the chefs: create “something wrapped in something”. The results from Chambar, La Mezcalaria, Wild Rice, Wildebeest, Pidgin, Cibo, Sea Monster Sushi, Harvest, and The Parker were seriously impressive.
Those who forked over $12 got a “dumpling passport”, which is to say nine diversely delicious treats. That’s everything from scallop and prosciutto agnoli from Cibo and veggie “fen guo” from The Parker to Asian lamb dumplings with Tibetan hot sauce from Sea Monstr and caramelized pork confit carnitas pockets from La Mezcaleria. Naturally, it was a very popular event that sold out quickly. There were lots of disappointed, dumpling-less faces drooping through the throng – some of them good friends – and who could blame them for their long faces? The parking lot behind The Keefer was like a hot cauldron of awesome!
I was thrilled to judge the event with dumpling masters Joel and Helen of Bao Bei. Our faves of the night were the gluten-free chanterelle, burdock and turnip dumpling with nasturtium vinegar from Harvest (top marks for innovation); the Turkish lamb dumpling with tahini yogurt, spicy red pepper, cucumber, radish and lemon butter from Chambar (perhaps the most exotic departure from the traditional); the wild boar and fig tortelloni from Wildebeest (amazing flavour combination); and the winning duck confit dumpling from Pidgin. Yup, true to form, Pidgin gentrified the living shit out of their dumplings with truffle, black garlic, and soy. They were flawless little presents of deliciousness, resembling tiny skate egg cases; flecked with promising black, firm on the tooth, plump with smoothly textured duck, and bursting with superb, intense flavour. Their golden dumpling trophy – designed by local artist Diane Espiritu – was well and justly earned.
The ancillary highlights (for me, at least) were the men and women’s dumpling eating competitions. They were so staggeringly savage! I tend to never watch those sorts of things because I always feel like I’ll puke if one of the contestants does (just like the “Lardass” scene in the movie Stand By Me), but this time I couldn’t help but take it in. I have no idea how people can put away food so fast! They must have what the Japanese call a betsubara, an extra stomach for special occasions. It was at once beautiful and disgusting, a mesmerizing Roman spectacle worthy of a serious eyes-wide gawk. Hat’s off to the superhumans who won.
It was great to see such a huge turnout and once again take in the Chinatown Night Market. We’re already looking forward to next year. Long live dumplings!
One of our film-making friends, Lewis Bennett (the creator of The Sandwich Nazi), has created yet another engrossing short called The Fat Diet. It details a Vancouverite’s concerns about his Polish parents’ strange diet: “Luke Brocki’s Polish immigrant parents have spent the last decade deliberately ignoring Western food wisdom by eating huge amounts of animal fat at every meal. They say this extreme diet is a path to health and wellness but Brocki worries they’re putting their lives at risk.” They look pretty happy and healthy to us!
by Chuck Hallett | The much anticipated 33 Acres is now open for business at 15 West Eighth Ave (just off Main). Their new tasting room is an unusual touch of elegant Swedish cafe in the otherwise burly man-cave-esque brewery scene. This pristine aesthetic isn’t just skin deep –it penetrates all the way to the brewery floor, which sports an immaculate white production floor showcasing a sparkling brewing line that would not look out of place in a utopian science fiction fantasy…uh…about beer (see my preview here).
Back in the tasting room, visitors can sample the elegant sessional beers on tap while contemplating the vast array of succulent plants, or perhaps just watching the world stroll by via a seat at the large picture windows. More often than not, those strollers-by end up inside as well.
Stylish, high quality merchandise is also up for grabs, but quality comes at a price. Those slick, desire-inspiring porcelain growlers? $75 a pop. Okay, I’ll admit it, I bought one, and it was worth it! On tap you’ll find Life, a smooth, flavourful California Common style beer somewhere between lagers and ales; Ocean, a Cascadian Pale Ale in every sense (think floral hops over a rich malt body with a hint of caramel); and a brand new witbier aptly named 33 Acres of Sunshine.
by Michelle Sproule | The always awesome and super fun Powell Street Festival went down over the weekend in and around Oppenheimer Park. The area was once the beating heart of Japantown; a bustling neighbourhood complete with Japanese shops, groceries, restaurants, rooming houses and more. That was before January 1942, when the community was uprooted and forcibly interned by the Canadian government (with its property confiscated) for the remainder of the Second World War. The festival – now celebrating its 37th year – is an entertaining and inspired combination of traditional and contemporary expressions of Japanese Canadian identity. That means great food (mmm, love me some Mogu karaage), performances, arts, crafts, sumo wrestling, kids’ activities, and much more. It was a ton of good times and an eyeful to boot. Take a closer look above and below.