Author Archive

#EastVanLove Tweetup Version 2.0

March 24, 2011

Last night at the Our Town Cafe at Broadway and Kingsway was the second East Van Tweetup. The event was packed with tweeps of many different stripes. Good times were had. Beer was consumed. Photos were taken. Relationships were formed.

Welcome to Eastvan and others donated to the cause, with the cause being having fun and celebrating life in East Vancouver.

There were some speeches and some live music, but it was hard to see and hear due to the crowd. People kept arriving even after the festivities officially ended. You can search for the hashtag #EastVanLove to get a little taste of the evenings. If I have a complaint, and I do. It is the speakers didn’t seem connected or even really necessary. Perhaps one less speaker and some sort of theme for the next event. I took photos with my iPhone but I decided to steal, err borrow photos from John Biehler’s Flickr account, hopefully John is cool with that.

#EastVanLove Tweetup

#EastVanLove Tweetup

#EastVanLove Tweetup


True Tales from Da Eastside

November 24, 2010

So today in the hallway, while I had my laundry basket in hand, one of my strange neighbours speaks to me. He says “Today is a good day.” I didn’t know what he was on about, it was cold, I had to go up the street to do the laundry, but he persists “Today is a good day, the charges against me got dropped.”

What do you say to that?

I didn’t say much just shrugged my shoulders and walked down the stairs.

In other news the old Chinese guy who owns the laundromat remembered my name and added me to his list of regular customers.

Kaleidescope 03/27 254 East Hastings

March 10, 2010

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

It appears I’m helping to promote a show, at the Rickshaw of all places. Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) and the Canadian Mental Health Association are receiving the proceeds from the show and advanced tickets are just ten bucks. For your ten spot you get to see four bands, a chance to win swag, and the self satisfaction of knowing the money is going towards social programs in the Downtown Eastside.

Here are the details:
Where Rickshaw Theatre 254 East Hastings
When March 27th doors at 7pm
Why Live music, door prizes, social good

But wait there’s more!

Kaleidoscope is a celebration of the art, culture, and entrepreneurial spirit of Vancouver’s historic Downtown Eastside. Taking place at the newly reopened Rickshaw Theatre on March 27th, 2010. It will feature live music, art, prize draws featuring local business sponsors and speakers from two non-profit organizations that have worked diligently in the DTES (Downtown Eastside). The efforts of both the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) have been focused on the health and continued rejuvenation of our historic inner-city.

Confirmed to be performing:

Tickets available in advance at Red Cat Records, Scratch Records and Zulu Records.

Prizes donated by John Fluevog and Sacred Heart Tattoo plus more!?!?

If you want to know even more about the event, email, check out the Facebook event page, and while you’re there become a fan of BOB and be eligible to win a limited edition Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret neon sign pin.

Rodney DeCroo playing live
Rodney DeCroo And His Convictions

Vancouver-based troubadour DeCroo made converts with his last album, the live disc War Torn Man. His following deserves to increase radically with this new tour-de-force, one already notching rave reviews. DeCroo is an original and Mockingbird Bible represents uneasy listening at it’s best.

Exclaim! Magazine

Boombox Saints playing live
Boombox Saints

Boombox Saints entered the scene in 2000, garnering considerable media attention for their hyped performances alongside some of todayʼs most successful and respected acts — Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Kid Cudi and Sean Paul. Consisting of two devilishly charismatic MCs, and a seductive smooth Vocalist, these multi-talented artists provide a searing new sound for the Urban Music community.

Boombox Saints started out as a live band, testing the waters with a variety of sounds while going through their musical evolution. Honing in on their collaborative passions, in 2008, the group fi nd their groove – a contemporary R&B, Golden Era Hip Hop mix with a Pop Culture zest.

Spanning from across Canada, Boombox Saints, of Filipino descent, came together to form in Vancouver, BC. A beacon in the Filipino community, they take pride in representing their people with dignity, heart and a strong work ethic. This group emanates diversity. They can rock any house; from all ages events, fashion shows to concerts. Their unique sound and high-energy performances provide quality entertainment, which is second to none.

Read an interview with Adi, Huggy and Freeky P.

Spoon River playing live
Spoon River

Following the dissolution of the infamous Royal Mountain Band into so many beautiful yellow flowers, Jeff Louch and Tavis Triance have joined up with the indomitable Jason Kent and the jug-band virtuosity of the Cowan brothers rhythm factory to continue crafting the finest in woodsy soul. An ongoing visit to Vancouver has recently come to bring Horkenheimer, Wood and Young into the fold

Three and four part harmonies, thick slabs of Hammond organ, and an insistent licking at the guitar, all belted together by the far off tinkle of piano and wail of harmonica.

Nods to The Band, doom trilogy era Neil Young and all that is dirt road and tall pines. Come watch it all explode like fisticuffs under a drunken orange moon.

The Left playing live
The Left

THE LEFT aren’t just a team – they’re a workforce. The band members meet every weekday for six hours to write new material, record in their home studio, and promote their work. Even the odd jobs that they pick up to support themselves can be applied to the greater good of the band: when they purchased an old RV named Eleanor for a 52-date cross-country tour of Canada, they were able to customize, paint and carpet it for all the comforts of home.

The Left are straight out of Langley!

Band photos blatantly stolen from their MySpace pages.

DIY Art Walk

February 23, 2010

As mentioned in my previous posting, there is a lot happening in the DTES besides protests. The official ArtWalk is over, but many of the installations are still viewable and most are free to the public. There are also several Cultural Olympiad Art Installations in the DTES and now Bright Lights is on lasting until March 21st. So if your looking for something out of the ordinary and off the beaten track here is your own Do-It-Yourself Art Walk that you can try this evening or any evening for the next couple nights I imagine.

First the Trimpin: Sheng High installation is open daily till 6pm at 163 East Pender. It an unique multi-media sculpture by a world leading artist and certified MacArthur Genius.

Trimpin: Sheng High

Just up Pender heading West is one of the left over ArtWalk installations, look for the red door and the red light. I haven’t seen that one myself, but it was open last night while I was a few doors down at one of Bright Lights signature installations.

ArtWalk Installation

Again look for the red door and go into the last inner courtyard in Vancouver’s Chinatown and look up. They are also having walking tours, leaving at 6pm Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, at the cost of ten bucks.

Bright Lights doorway

Cool image of Bright Light's installation taken by gmacmullen

Next I went North down Carrall Street, where at the Hastings intersection there are art galleries on three of four corners.

In the Light photo exhibition

The Pennsylvania Hotel has both a photo exhibit and the ION Magazine pop up store.

ION Magazine Pop Shop

The Inter-Urban gallery has it’s own thing going on, including projecting images on to the outside of their building, it’s subtle and best seen in the evening or at least late afternoon.

Inter Urban Gallery

Centre A has a big installation which is part of Bright Lights.

Centre A

World Tea Part - Bright Lights

Then if you continue North down Carrall you will see a big building called Carrall Station, one of the commercial units is the Jeffrey Boone Gallery, which is featuring two artists and is part of the Bright Lights program.

Jeffrey Boone Gallery

From there you can head further East down Carrall to 88 East and the Gallery Gachet. They have an installation featuring many local artists.

Gallery Gachet doorway

If you really want to copy my route, I next went and got coffee, but if you’re thirsty for something else, such as more art, Heading West on Hastings towards W2 and Woodward’s will yield another Cultural Olympiad installation, whereas heading West down Water Street will yield many official ArtWalk installations and commercial galleries.


Photos taken by me, BOB Staff (Lani Johnson), and gmacmullen.

Even the Lonely Planet is recommending visiting the DTES now!

Things to do in the DTES

February 19, 2010

Besides protest and indulge your vices…

Only Sea Foods

Our fair city has been the butt of jokes and the subject of harsh criticism over the Olympics, traffic, the weather, national pride, but perhaps most of all about the Downtown Eastside.  There have been numerous efforts to improve the situation, combat negative stereotypes, and just plain let people know that not everyone in the DTES is a mentally ill, drug using, prostitute.

Wes and I have been doing a lot of blogging lately, Megaphone, and Frances Bula are among the others to speak out.  This has kept me from doing much here but contributing photos, so today I’m doing a rundown on all the things going on in the DTES to encourage locals and tourists to visit and see for themselves.

Pidgeon Park Graffitti

Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside is home to Canada’s greatest concentration of galleries and artist studios.  This past weekend, the first ever Artwalk took place.  Many of the popup galleries and installations are still available and generally are free to the public.  Building Opportunities with Business is hosting a Cultural Olympiad installation by the world famous artist Trimpin which is open seven days a week and is completely free.  Less than two blocks away at 39 East Pender is another free Cultural Olympiad installation.

The W2 Community Arts Centre’s Perel Gallery is open daily showing non-mainstream local and international artists.  Their entire building is a Cultural Olympiad installation called “Fire with Fire” which you have to take in from across the street at night.  That’s right to see the art you have to come to Hastings and Abbot at night, danger Will Robinson, danger. :-/

Not really, the Blue Dragon, yet another Cultural Olympiad show is playing at SFU across the street from W2, it is definitely not free but it is a pretty amazing show, by another world famous artist, in the brand new Milton and Fei Wong Experimental Theatre.

The DTES is location of many walking tours, Sins of the City is being run twice daily by the Vancouver Police Museum.  If you want to know where Vancouver’s most infamous opium dens and brothels used to be located, this is the walking tour for you.  There are a variety of others around architecture or culinary tourism.  The city even has maps if you want to create your own.

If all the walking and art is making you hungry or thirst, the Downtown Eastside has no shortage of cafes, eateries, and drinking holes.  You can find everything from big and glossy to tiny and gritty, from the just opened, to the establishment that has been open for decades.  Chinatown of course has some world class Chinese food and Water and Carrall Street are home to many a reveler during the Olympics.  And before heading home, you could hit up the Fortune Sound Club which is providing fresh beats on their world class sound system right from the heart of Chinatown.

Foo's Ho Ho Neon Sign