FREE OLYMPICS – DAY 6

Day 5 was a day of household chores for me, so I apparently missed out on some good street hockey fun on Granville St. yesterday. Tonight though, day 6, I was in the thick of the action. :D

I gave up trying to go to the Heineken House at Richmond’s O Zone after hearing that it was next to impossible to get in once again from a friend’s friend. Some colleagues and I decided instead to hang around Science World and the Downtown core for the evening.

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The Russia House at Science World was already closed by 5pm, but there was this interesting structure close by

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Inside the Saskatchewan “bubble” (?). At night they project a 360 degree video of all things Saskatchewan. Cool effect!

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I don’t know his name, but this artist put on a great show inside the Saskatchewan House — great guitar player!

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The roofless Quebec House. lol  It was too early (before 6:30pm) for the party to be under way there.

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Robson Square had some performances going on during the evening

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The Vancouver Party Patrol 2010 guys brought music around 10pm and it didn’t take long for people to join in the fun on Granville St. I don’t do the clubbing scene, but seeing people dancing and having a great time was a blast! The Irish House had a $20 cover charge, but this was probably more fun and all free! :D

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I got lucky with this cool “ghostly” shot (1/3 second exposure, with the subject jumping in the air for her pose)

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At 11pm, the nightly fireworks and laser show at Robson Square were on

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DANCING IN THE STREETS

Last Friday night I stumbled upon a trio of musicians playing at the entrance to the Future Shop store at the corner of Robson and Granville. There were two saxophone players — one alto and one baritone — and a drummer with a minimalistic setup. It was a lot of fun! The music was lively and the band members were obviously enjoying themselves very much as they didn’t mind acting a little silly while they were playing.

A crowd of about 25 people gathered around the band and some danced along to the music (you really don’t want to see my “talent” in this department). One guy seemingly just passing through decided to dance “on stage” for a minute or so, the girls shouting in approval. Another passerby left another sort of tip as he balanced the centerfold of an issue of Hustler magazine on the top of the bass drum with two naked lesbians kissing. lol  The band members and the audience had a good laugh; and no, the drummer didn’t loose the rhythm despite the distraction.  On another song the alto saxophone player asked the audience to repeat the “lyrics”after him (I believe they were made up on the spot — part of the welcome impromptu silliness of the night). The crowd was having such a good time that it wasn’t difficult to get us to participate in the singing.

10-15 minutes later, it was time for me to go (not before leaving my biggest tip ever for a street performance). I hope we get to see more “street bands” like this one in the future. I had seen a few in Victoria a couple of years ago, but in Vancouver it’s a rare sight.

2009 ST-PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

It was a lousy day for a parade. It was cold, wet, snowy at times and the usually packed crowd was showing breaks on its “front line” even as the parade started rolling. About an hour into the parade, the opposite side of the street was pretty much empty, the paraders themselves barely having an audience to parade to.

The ambiance got rained out, but luckily, my “assistant” — my wife ;) — was there to hold the umbrella as I took some pictures.

Cheerful Medieval Gal #2
The rain and cold weather couldn’t put a damper on this young lady’s cheerful spirit

Korean Dancer #1
A Korean traditional dance

Fire Dept.
“Where is everybody?!” Most probably where it warm and dry…

Boxer
“Irish” Boxer with a wet T-Shirt

The Police
As usual, the police started off the parade

DOWNTOWN BHANGRA

Bhangra Family
This 4 year old boy stole the show! Everybody was in awe at his prodigious talent.
The mother joined her two children on stage as the MC wondered where they learned to dance like that. 

I went to see Downtown Bhangra last Friday, a free Indian flavored show featuring lots of dancing and music. Bhangra is something new to me, but I found the experience interesting.  The energy and enthusiasm emanating from the performers was great!  The crowd (comprised of many dancing teams set to compete the next day) was alive, especially near the stage, as the night wore on.

The highlight of the night for me was definitely the 4 year old boy blowing the crowd away with his dancing skills in an impromptu dance-off for a variety of prizes.  Him and his 6 year old sister were immediately singled out from the rest as the obvious winners.  The MC asked the boy to dance some more for us, solo, which he happily obliged.  He was totally “in the zone” and having a great time showing his moves to us.  The MC then asked the mother to come dance with her two kids. The “show” over, as they made their way off the stage, you could see the boy taking a few steps, then dancing some more, walking a few steps, dancing some more… 

UBC Girlz #2

UBC Girlz — I think she likes me. :p (too bad the photo is a little fuzzy, but I definitely like the expression)

Bhangra Republik #2
Bhangra Republik, from Calgary

Being a sucker for live music, I also found the Finnish band Shava, with its Scandinavian blend of Bhangra very good.  I missed out on “Dheli 2 Dublin” though, as I left a little early (apparently they’re very good too).

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Shava (from Finland) put on a great Bhangra-inspired set

CARIBBEAN DAYS FESTIVAL – MULTICULTURAL STREET PARADE

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The Queen of Samba is thoroughly enjoying this parade, and so are we

The “Caribbean Days Festival” was happening this weekend, in North Van, and although there were many activities to choose from, I only attended the Multicultural Street Parade, before the light rain “scared” me and my camera away (my girlfriend says she’s lower maintenance than my camera, lol; but in my defense, she wasn’t too keen on being under the rain with no umbrella either ;) ).

It was a short, but lively parade full of colors, rythm and sexy costumes.

Sexy Black
Sexy!

Colorful Dancers
Colorful dancers

Jamaica, Man
Jamaica!

Red Angel
Red angel

Black Manta
What is this “costume” called? All I know is it looks impressive!

Sexy
Another sexy pose

Silver
Silver all over, except the hands (why?)

Shake Those Hips
Shake that booty

Attitude
Attitude

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2008 JAZZ FEST – RUMBA CALZADA

Rumba Calzada
Left to right: unknown guest; Rolando Preza; Raphael Geronimo

The party was already on as I joined a crowd of ecstatic concert-goers, halfway through Rumba Calzada’s set.  The Latino beats and grooves had many people dancing and cheering at the Maple Tree Square in Gastown.  I was amazed to see how band leader Raphael Geronimo was able to send the groove into hyperspace with his small percussion set.  The solid rythm section was quite enjoyable to watch and hear too.

It’s too bad I didn’t have time to write this article earlier for you guys, as the band was set to play another free show at the CBC Studio One Jazz stage on Tuesday (yesterday).  I’m sure many people took note of it when the band announced this other gig of theirs. :)  Let’s hope they come to your neighbourhood soon! ;)

 

Rumba Calzada
Raphael Geronimo  (multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Apivor in the background)

Rumba Calzada
Miguel Valdez and Rod Murray

Rumba Calzada
Let’s dance!

Rumba Calzada’s Official Website

2008 JAZZ FEST – DAL RICHARDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Festival Banner in Gastown
Free Jazz in Gastown! :)

I had an excellent first show as I went to Gastown Saturday to enjoy some of the free concerts happening there this weekend.  At 90 years young, Dal Richards is one cool cat on stage and his orchestra is very talented indeed.  There was not one weak number in their set, consisting mostly (if not all) of jazz standards, usually leaning on the uptempo swing style.

If you live in Vancouver or are passing by this Summer, why not check the orchestra out at the Fair at the PNE this year?  Mr. Richards was telling us that they will be playing for us every day at noon and 2PM there, throughout the fair.  Don’t miss out on this entertaining performance!

Dal Richards and his Orchestra
Dal Richards and his Orchestra

Duet
Duet

With All His Heart
Dal had to wave a white towel at him so he wouldn’t overheat from his smokin’ rendition
(I forgot the name of the song — “it’s not on the CD”, Dal said :) )

Sax Player
Saxin’ it up

Battle Of The Drums Raging On
Battle Of The Drums raging on — lol!

Dal Richards
Dal Richards