FREE OLYMPICS – DAY 4

20100215_Garou2

It was back to my roots tonight as I went to the “Place de la francophonie” to see a very famous Québec artist — Garou (remember him from the opening ceremony?). The portion where Garou sang old classics that had French origins was brilliant. He would sing mostly in French, with occasional verses in English or Spanish, and back again to French for the chorus. I never knew that Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” was actually a cover of a French song. :s  Great show.

20100215_Garou6

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With Québec singer Élizabeth Blouin-Brathwaite

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ILLUMINATE YALETOWN

Martinis On Ice
Martinis on the rocks on Cactus Club Cafe‘s patio

The first Illuminate Yaletown event launched at sunset (5:29PM) last night, for an evening “featuring contemporary light installations designed to inspire and impress.”  Maybe dusk would have been a better bet, as there was still plenty of “leftover” sunlight at that time.

Color Grid #2
“Louver Towers”, by Vivid Lighting Solutions

Glowing Balls
“Light Flow”, by Render Light and Planning (people spun the spheres around from time to time, like here)

Although there definitely were a few funky, creative displays around, I was somewhat disappointed because it wasn’t quite what I expected: after looking at the photos on the official website (see above link), I thought I’d experience some big street-wide light show, but in the end it was just a bunch of mostly small, individual stations that varied greatly in “fun” factor.  Maybe I should have read the description more carefully…

Other than the stations shown in the pictures you see here, some other interesting moments were: the music coming from the doorsteps of Section 3 and all the ice sculptures, especially the CIBC warming station, which I found very creative: you could see hot chocolate and coffee trickle down the inside of the ice sculpture, its run ending in your cup.

Photographers were out in full force at this event.  It was funny to see the non-photographers look at me as if I was an alien with my tripod, though.  One woman in particular had seen one too many of them when she noticed me, I guess, and couldn’t help exclaim: “My God!  They’re everywhere!”  It’s all about avoiding camera shake on those long exposure shots, lady. ;)

It’s too bad I missed out on the fire dancers routine, even though I walked around the block almost twice in the end (once for the event, and once to find a cheap place to eat).  Apparently, this was the best part of the evening.

Laser Beams

“Immersion”, by Aspect Media (3 second exposure)

Light Graffiti #2
Shaw TV also liked the spot I picked to take this picture of “Light-Graffiti”, by EOS Lightmedia

All in all, although many stations fell flat, the evening was enjoyable enough to warrant a second try next year.

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).

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

2008 FAIR AT THE PNE

Wheels Of Steel #21

Another year, another fun-filled day at the Fair at the PNE for only $12 (at Safeway or 7-Eleven; 15$ on site).

The “Wheels of Steel” show was awesome as usual.  It was apparently a little bit too windy to get the full serving with the flying dirt bikes — safety first! –, but nevertheless, they put on a fine “jam session” for us (and let’s not forget about the ground-level acts too; the freestyle sport bikes and the racing quads).  And the MC, an essential part of the show, made the whole thing even better with some great acting and mid-action comments.

Peking Acrobats #1
The Peking Acrobats.

The Peking Acrobats were a little disappointing for me, after their flawless 45-minute routine from last year.  First off, they shortened their set to 30 minutes this year and they also had a few mishaps too.  But, coincidentally, an acquaintance was telling me the next day that she also saw them on the same day as me and this time they were perfect.  Mishaps or not, the stuff they did was quite impressive.

The Superdogs show was much better than last year’s; the misses — or were they scripted? — were just as funny as the rest of the show: in the high jump contest, I really liked the dog who insisted on running first past the high jump apparel, into the tunnel, before coming back for the jump.  The MC gave him a second chance and he did the same thing again.  Or the big dog from Quebec who rammed the 7 bars lined up instead of jumping above them; he then took a bar as he would a bone and left with it, the handlers unable to snatch it out of his mouth — lol!  They also had a fun relay race through an obstacle course where “my” side — the “Bow-Wow” team — won, thanks to Usain Bolt’s canine equivalent, “Havoc.”  He just blasted the competition away, especially through the slalom section.  The show also had an amazing frisbee routine featuring a lone dog/master combo; it’s the kind of dog trick/show that sometimes ends up in your e-mail and makes you go “Wow!”  

Chilliwack
Chilliwack, singing their classic hit “Whatcha Gonna Do”

I don’t remember noticing this kind of content last year, but the PNE had a great line-up of live acts this year.  Famous bands/singers such as Air Supply, Sheena Easton, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Canadians 54-40, Glass Tiger, and Chilliwack were among the lot.

Ferris Wheel #1
The Fair happens right next to Playland, where you can freely walk about and try your hand at some games

Merry-Go-Round
Getting dizzy on the merry-go-round at Playland

As for the food, it was way overpriced in my opinion, but the admission was not very expensive so…  But exceptionally, the “classicest” of the food items to be found on site — those mouth-watering hot, sugar/cinnamon coated mini-donuts (or “doughnuts”) — were cheap, at $3 for a bag of 13.  Yummy!

Add to the already cool list of things you can do at the Fair a pig race, horse show jumping, a “Market Place” full of original items to buy, Dal Richards and his (awesome) Orchestra playing daily, the Flying Canucks doing some aerial stunts, etc. and your 12$ goes a long way if you ask me!

But too bad, I went to the Fair in the closing days and now it’s over…  Don’t miss it next year! ;)

16TH ANNUAL CONCERTS IN THE COVE

Every Friday night, from mid-July to mid-August, people can enjoy live music for free in the great setting that is Deep Cove’s Panorama Park.  This concert series is simply called “Annual Concerts in the Cove” (click here for details on this and more), and it features a different style of music every week.  I went to see a very entertaining performance by Jake & Elwood’s Blues Brothers Revue a couple of weeks ago:

Blues Brothers #1
Jake & Elwood on fire on stage

Robot Steps
Robot steps

Kickin' it
Kickin’ it

Panorama Park
Panorama Park

"Do the Chicken!"
“Do the chicken!” — look at the smiles on those kids’ faces! :)  Great fun for all

Blues Brothers #2
These guys did an excellent job covering the Blues Brothers :)

There are three more concerts to come:

– VOC Soul Gospel Choir (Gospel, August 1st)
– Mariachi del Sol (Mexican, August 8th)
– Gary Comeau & the Voodoo All-Stars (Cajun, August 15th)

If these musical styles fit your interests, go check them out — it’s free! :)

Deep Cove Marina
The Deep Cove Marina

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