Monthly Archives: November 2012

Beauty Night Society Fundraiser

Beauty Night Society “Luxury Travel, Art & Beauty Fundraiser” by LuvNGrace, Artistrun Collective & Golden Brush Art Events - November 26, 2012

Imagine the Ultimate Vancouver Fundraiser Variety show at the most fantastic venue and the perfect fusion of music, visual arts, fashion, and charity.  Well, stop imagining, because it already happened.  The event took place at the fabulous Fortune Sound Club and organized and hosted by Beauty Night SocietyVernard Goud: a curator of fantastic events in ever changing locations,  Kirsten Larsen of the Artistrun Collective, and Golden Brush Art Events.

They were daring enough to run the event competing with the concurrently performing Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen concerts.  Even with the tag-team of heavy hitter opponents such as those, the fundraiser still drew in quite a crowd, and anyone who didn’t make it definitely missed out.  The fundraiser was in association with Beauty Night Society, a Canadian charity that assists women in poverty via promoting self esteem and wellness by providing many essential services including makeovers and life skill development.

The show was presented by the Vancouver Television host Mandy Ross.  The lineup included a painting competition, fashion shows, live musical performances by Jody Quine and Diane Reyes, body art by Kristen Grant, Visual slide photography show by Disposable Landscapes, and DJ Boy Meets Girl.  It also included silent auctions (for the fundraiser) and booths giving product demonstrations for health and beauty products and services.

Live Battle of the Brush painting competition was held by Golden Brush Art Events.  Three teams of  two talented artists (with Bill Higginson + Jamil Keyani, Olga Rybalko + John Shaw, and Raymond Chow + Arlana Green) battle it out live and on location and under a time limit, and to be judged by the guests at the event for the ultimate win.  This prestigious award went to Olga Rybalko and John Shaw with the Swans, and in addition to the coveted victory, they also won a trip to Las Vegas for their awesome work.

The first fashion show featured the Numa Models displaying the crafty design skills of One Piece Vancouver with The Optical Boutique, and Rogue Designs.  The first show was featuring One Piece Vancouver with their awesome locally handmade indie boutique scarves, coupled with the unique eye ware from The Optical Boutique for a one-two accessory combo. This was later followed by a second show with the strong, bold and unique Rogue Designs.  Read more about Rogue Designs Fashion at our previous coverage!

All the while, Brent Ray Fraser was giving a performance in composite visual arts, combining painting with live-action abstract performance art that was a show in it self.  It involved candles, a banana and stripping (i.e. clothes).

Read about the products that were demonstrated (note: I’m not endorsed by any of them at all, and all of this is unsolicited), and scroll down to see more photos!

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Concord Pacific presents CandyTown – A Yaletown Holiday Festival

Concord Pacific presents CandyTown – A Yaletown Holiday Festival

This past weekend, Mainland Street was transformed into Concord Pacific’s CandyTown – a free, family-friendly event that celebrated all things Christmas. Dozens of local businesses came out to support the event, with individual tents and stands set up, where patrons could purchase anything from mini doughnuts to hot chocolate to holiday ornaments to clothing.

For the most part, the event was aimed at families with kids. There was a small skating rink set up just behind the Yaletown Roundhouse Skytrain station, an adorable one-antlered baby reindeer to get your photo taken with, and, of course, a meet-and-greet with Santa. But, as with anything that’s free and aimed at families, the line-ups were outta countrol. Not everything required a wait, though – there were some live performers on-hand, including Christmas carollers and ice sculptors (which always blows my mind).

Having said all of the above, Concord Pacific didn’t forget about the grown-ups. Several restaurants in Yaletown participated in the CandyTown Cocktail Tour, where each restaurant offered up a unique holiday-themed drink.

All in all, I’d say it was worth checking out if you had 30 minutes to kill. Judging by the large crowds, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes an annual tradition. It’s nice to have a holiday-themed alternative to the Vancouver Christmas Market (located at Georgia & Hamilton) which tends to be over-priced and over-crowded year after year.

Trisko & Principals Talent HEROES & VILLAINS Party

Trisko & Principals Talent HEROES & VILLAINS Party

Fortune Sound Club was filled with an overflow of great energy and talent last night as actors, casting directors, agents, producers, performers and many others came to support each other and grace the venue with their characters (pun intended). It was great to see so many people commit to the theme, dressed up head-to-toe in costumes like Batman and Robin, Ace Ventura, Enrique Iglasias, Zorro, Dark Winged Duck and even a Probiotic Pill.

While Dylan from Trisko (dressed up as Ryan Gosling from ‘Drive’) was up on stage, in character of course, announcing the best costume results, I had tracked down Principals Talent owner, Jason Ainslie (dressed up as Zorro), and had a few moments to talk to him about this popular event.  It had never dawned on me to ask in the latter years why the two agencies came together to host one of the most talked about parties in the city, but with the intention to start a convo and get some answers Jason was more than happy to share his thoughts.  “ It’s good to show camaraderie in this industry, it’s not just all about competitive spirit”.  And let me just say that as an actor, last night was a perfect example of just that, another reason of why I am so proud to be from Vancouver.

It truly was “a good social event where all walks of life from the industry come together to celebrate the year we just had.” Jason couldn’t have put it better; some got up on stage with host DJ FlipOut and hip hop karaoked for us showing off their skills and others ( like myself and local artist Andrew McKeachie) walked around photobombing while staying in character.

I think it was one of most fun filled nights the Vancouver film community has had this year.  But when you have a room full of people (all vying for the spotlight), interesting situations are bound to happen. But what better way to network, share stories and get to know your competition a little better than over a few drinks, karaoke and standing in a wonderful costume representing that inner hero or villain we all have.

Jason Aislie summed up the event with three simple words: “…a great success!”

LuvnGrace, BUN & Chinois Present: BUN Sesso 2012 Collection with Jennyfleur Loves & Rogue Fashion Shows

LuvnGrace, BUN & Chinois Present: BUN Sesso 2012 Collection with Jennyfleur Loves & Rogue Fashion Shows

If there’s anything cooler than Vernard Goud’s hair, it’s the events he throws. Vernard is a veteran event planner & promoter in town, putting on events that incorporate anything and everything from fashion showsto charities to live performances and everything in between. He has his finger on the pulse of Vancouver’s arts and culture scene, with his company, LuvnGrace Affair, throwing events on a (near) weekly basis.

Hosted at the uber trendy Chinois (located in Yaletown), the restaurant was transformed into an intimate runway where Carola Bun, Jennyfleur Loves and Rogue all launched their latest collections. The event was emceed by Mandy Ross, who is no stranger to hosting – she can currently be seen on Vancouver Television, and the soon-to-be-launched Fashion Television.

Jewelry designer Carola Bun proudly launched the updated collection of her BUN line. “The new collection is like nothing we’ve ever done before,” she began. “It’s edgy, it’s sexy, it’s kind of racy, whereas our previous collections are perfectly symmetrical and elegant and classical.” Carola says the new collection came naturally to her, being inspired by her own go-with-the-flow, free-spirited mentality. I’m a big fan of Carola for a few reasons – first and foremost, she’s a true entrepreneur, having built Bun from the ground up. She makes high-quality, gorgeous necklaces that stand the test of time – I bought my sister a BUN necklace as a wedding gift, and she ended up wearing it as she walked down the aisle (and still wears it whenever she can).

Jennyfleur Loves is another local company that showcased their line at the event. The boutique is located in the heart of Yaletown (right across the street from Chinois) and carries a unique array of womenswear. Owned and operated by a mother/daughter combo, they only sell clothes that they personally love – and clearly, these ladies have goodtaste! Womenswear or not, I want the Vlieger & Vandam iPad case they carry… but I guess I should buy an iPad first, shouldn’t I?

Rogue made their big Vancouver debut, launching their line of hard edge couture. I’m no fashion connoisseur, but the line was pretty badass. Rogue incorporated lots of leather, metal and period pieces, giving off a very steampunk vibe. Some of the looks reminded me of the amazing wardrobe in Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’.
Here’s the thing I love about Vernard’s events –they bring out such a wide range of people with varying passions, professions and backgrounds that you’ll get the opportunity to meet and mingle with anyone and everyone. I met a woman named Helen Siwak, who runs online dating sites strictly for smokers and people with tattoos (awesome), all the while running Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet – a vintage shop specializing in designer clothing. Check them out – they’re local and they support  great causes (10% of all sales go toward local animal charities). The Sociables will be at Helen’s upcoming Animalicious Art & Animal Extravaganza event on Saturday, December 8th! Stay tuned for more on that.

In the meantime, check out the full photo gallery (below)!

The Grouse Grind Experience

The Grouse Grind Experience

Having lived in Vancouver for a little over three years now, I’m ashamed to admit I had never done the Grouse Grind… that is, until, I finally grew a pair and gave it a shot this past weekend. That’s right – I lost my Grouse Grind V-Card. Everyone has their own story about “the Grind” (as the locals call it) – whether it’s a horror story (asthma attacks, physical injuries, loss of cell phone reception) or a personal best (y’know… those jackasses who claim they’re “only competing with themselves” and complain about finishing in 35 minutes). I did the Grind with five friends – and only three of us made it to the top…

The beginning of the Grind is deceiving – you see tourists, seniors and visibly-out-of-shape people begin their trek, and you think to yourself, “If those misfits can conquer this mountain, than so can I.” The beginning is a cake walk – how could anyone NOT finish this in 30 minutes? There’s a mild incline, beautiful scenery, and everyone seems to be smiling and laughing as they hop and skip their way up the mountain (for the first 1/4 of it, anyway).

Before you do the Grind, make sure you dress appropriately. I, myself, opted for runners, shorts, an old t-shirt and a ball cap (typical workout gear). If only everyone got this memo beforehand… Morons who thought it would be a good idea to wear jeans and a designer shirt now look like they got thrown into a swimming pool. Poor girls who spent an hour doing their hair and make-up beforehand now look like Dee Snyder. And the old people who were expecting a peaceful uphill trek? Well, let’s just say I emotionally prepared myself to have to bury them on that mountain. It’s almost like there was a point between the 1/4 mark and the halfway mark that separated the men from the boys.

A few minutes later, we lost two of our friends… To be fair, one of them has had respiratory issues from an early age, but attempted the Grind with good intentions. He decided to turn around, and hike back down the mountain, and our other friend decided to escort him down (Side note: Grouse Mountain prohibits anyone from hiking down the mountain. They say it’s to prevent congestion on the path, but skeptics believe it’s just a cash grab so people have to pay $10 to take the gondola to get back to the parking lot)

As the remaining three of us continued up the hill, it was amusing to observe the people on the sidelines. Sure, the three of us took breaks every couple of minutes to stop and catch our breath, wipe away the sweat and chug some water, but there were literally people eating out of Chinese take-out boxes and watching videos on their iPhones. I’m not even kidding. Apparently we’ve all forgotten how to go ONE hour without YouTube or Panda Express.

The hardest part of the climb (in my opinion) lies between the halfway mark and the 3/4 mark. You’ll literally approach the halfway sign, feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation, and then BOOM! Mother nature kicks you in the groin as you struggle to make it to the 3/4 mark. By this point, I wasn’t so much racing the clock as I was just trying not to keel over and die.

Fast forward ten minutes later, when we see a clearing in the trees. Could we finally be at the top of the mountain?! In the distance we can see the corner of the Grouse Mountain lodge, which immediately reminds us that beer is a thing. That was enough motivation for the three of us to haul ass up the home stretch, and b-line it for the lounge. We followed up our strenuous workout the only way we knew how… with pulled pork poutine, burgers and $9 bottles of domestic beer. So how long did it take us? 70 minutes. According to Grouse Mountain staff, it takes most people 90 minutes to complete (I swear they just say that to make everyone feel better about themselves). Regardless, the Grouse Grind was a very rewarding experience… And not just because of the beer. The view at the top is breathtaking, and it certainly feels good to accomplish a feat like the Grind. Not only that, but there’s tons more to do up top like zip lining, paragliding and lumberjack shows!

The Keefer Bar

The Keefer Bar

135 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1X3

Anytime someone asks me my favourite place to grab a cocktail in town, my answer is always the same: The Keefer. In a city littered with lounges and bars, there are very few that stand out as spectacular. The Keefer is THE stand-out (in my humble opinion). It hits the nail on the head when it comes to selection, service, price and (most importantly) ambience.

One of the first things you’ll notice about The Keefer Bar is that it’s located under the super exclusive set of residences. The top floor is their infamous penthouse suite, where countless celebrities have stayed, and a variety of movies and TV shows have shot at (most recently, the Real Housewives of Vancouver filmed an episode in the suite, which ended with a booze-fuelled cat fight in the elevator). The penthouse suite truly is spectacular – and most notable is the private rooftop terrace (which includes a full-size pool, hot tub and out door kitchen) with a 360 degree view of Vancouver. Needless to say, I never wanted to leave the suite during my brief time in there.

The Keefer Bar has a beautiful glass-walled patio that is very warm and welcoming – ideal for a date, catching up with an old pal, or just for some good old fashion people watching (seriously, Chinatown plays host to some very interesting people). When you walk inside the bar, the first thing you notice is that it’s very dark, long and narrow. The interior is designed after an apothecary, so the walls are lined with jars of ancient herbs, skulls, bones, and X-rays of the human anatomy. The walls are painted black, and they rely on little to no lighting (aside from candles, and the backlight from the X-rays on the walls) – when you couple the lighting with the decor, it creates an almost haunting yet intimate atmosphere that I can spend hours in (and trust me, I have). There’s one TV in the joint, which plays distorted surveillance footage of the bar – which I love. Going for a cocktail should be a social experience, not two people awkwardly gazing up at Sportsnet or CNN anytime they run out of stuff to talk about.

The Keefer has a very extensive drink menu (which they refer to as “remedies”) but during my last visit, my friends and I decided to put our fate in the hands of our amazing bartender, Keenan. We kept it simple: we told him what kind of alcohol we’d like in our drink, and if we wanted something sweet, sour, or strong. Needless to say, five minutes later he plopped down four custom drinks that we were each over-the-moon about. The bartenders at The Keefer clearly love their jobs, and are genuine and passionate about the drinks they make (and the people who order them). Although some of the cocktails might seem a bit pricey on paper, keep in mind that most of their drinks have 3 ounces in them (and they often have great drink specials, depending what day of the week you stop by). They also have a pretty decent tapas menu, with skewers, spring rolls, edamame dip, Chinese churros (yum), and duck sliders (“snack-sized” portions, all of which are priced very reasonably between $6-12).

The bar also plays host to musical acts and DJs from time to time, which just adds to the cool factor. They also have themed nights – including Wednesday (when they unleash a “tickle trunk” full of random costumes for patrons to throw on, with music by Top Less Gay Love Techno Party), and their very popular burlesque nights on Thursday.

Overall, The Keefer provides top-notch cocktails, tasty tapas, and a truly unmatched ambience – yet it does so without feeling exclusive or pretentious. It draws quite the diverse crowd too – from the trendy twenty-somethings to the business crowd. So grab your friends, significant other, or your coworkers and grab a cocktail at The Keefer Bar – you won’t regret it.