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Vines Art Festival At Trout Lake Park August 17-19, 2018

8 Aug

VineArtsFestival2018-Lily-Cryan-Sirens-Promo5Vines Art Festival happens August 8 – 19, 2018 in various locations in Vancouver with a  number of the events happening at Trout Lake/John Hendry Park this weekend. This festival was created by Heather Lamoureux in 2015. Heather works with a young, vibrant and talented group of people to create this festival now in its 4th year. The inaugural festival was a one day event at Trout Lake Park run solely on a fundraised budget built with a strong vision, determination and volunteers. The second year they tripled their budget with support from the Vancouver City Cultural Service and their primary sponsor Mountain Equipment Co-Op. The third festival grew from a one day to a ten-day event in 7 of Vancouver’s public parks in partnership with Vancouver’s Artists in Residence program.

Vines was two missions in its creation, one to broaden the reach of artivism. Bringing the art, with its ability to inspire creativity and social change, out of the theatre or gallery and into community parks, paths, and trails making it accessible to all. Two, to direct local artists to create in relation to the earth – creating works at the intersection of environmental and social justice. The festival is a free public event that creates platforms for local artists and performers to create with and on the land, steering their creative impulses toward work that focuses on the environment – whether a deep love of nature, sustainability, or climate justice.  During the festival, they present a wide range of disciplines and cultures while acknowledging the festival takes place on unceded territories of the Musqueam and Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Vines Art Festival has a long line up of events happening this weekend which concludes with an Unsettling Ceremony with Sara Cadeau Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.  To see the full line up of events, visit Vine Arts Festival.

Photo Credit: Vines Art Festival

The 42nd Annual Powell Street Festival August 4 & 5, 2018

24 Jul

PowellStreetFestival42Canada’s largest celebration of Japanese Canadian arts & culture will be held on August 4th and 5th in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood. The 42nd Annual Powell Street Festival takes place in Oppenheimer Park as well as the surrounding areas including the Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver Buddhist Temple and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. There is a long line up of events including Sumo Wrestling, Japanese Food, Martial Arts, Dance, Taiko Drumming, Walking Tours, Anime, Film, Literary Events, Live Music and much more.  Festival highlights include a performance by virtuoso percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and the Nakatani Gong Orchestra as well as Sadgrrrl rocker Emma Lee Toyoda. Also on hand for this festival is an exhibit by international artists Chiharu Mizukawa & Nao Uda.  This barely scratches the surface. There’s much more happening. For a full rundown on all the events, visit 42nd Annual Powell Street Festival. They have a great map prepared that sets out all the events and their locations. The fun happens from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 pm on August 4th and 5th.

East Van History Walks With James Johnstone Back This Summer

9 Jul

EastEndWalkingTourJames

James Johnstone is back with his popular historical walking tours this August and September. On Saturday, August 18th, James will take you on a tour of one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Strathcona. The tour kicks off at 10:00 am starting from 696 East Hastings Street at Heatley. This historical walking tour is a culmination of years of researching over 250 homes in the East End. Although you will find architecture is a theme on this tour, James will also focus on social history and how waves of immigrants established themselves in this area before moving on to other parts of the city. The tour will also touch on the impact of portside industries like BC Sugar, the prohibition and the proliferation of bootlegging as well as the City of Vancouver’s attempts to wipe out “urban blight”. If you can’t make this date, he will be doing this tour again on Saturday, September 1st and 15th.  James is also offering another tour on September 8th, which focuses on the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End. This tour has some interesting local history points including the birthplace of Venice Bakery, home of actor John Qualin (Grapes of Wrath), home of maternal grandparents of Michael Buble, home of boxing legend Jimmy McLarnin, birthplace of former Premier Dave Barrett as well as some interesting history on Union Market which was once a Chinese laundry and bottlegging operation. James has much more history for you.  Each tour runs for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours the cost is $20 for each tour. If you would like more information or to reserve your spot, email James directly at historywalks@gmail.com.

Side Glance With Al Tee – White Pins: What They Mean For Housing In Vancouver

29 May

WhitePinAlTeeThey first appeared on the Westside. Then slowly migrated to EastVan and now they are everywhere. You’ve seen them in your neighborhood and on your street. They are the symbol of everything that is the housing debate. They are, those white surveyor pins. Harbingers of destroy and replace. That old rancher? Coming down. Faded Vancouver Special? Bulldozer bait. Hundred year old Craftsman? Just keeping the lot warm until that 3500 square foot stack of shipping containers-looking box is approved.

It is to the point that the pins go in, the house comes down, and you can’t even remember what was there. Walk through any East Van neighborhood and you can predict which house is next to sprout the white pins. The pins are like an invasive species. Nobody was paying attention, nobody took them seriously, now they can’t be stopped. There’s no natural predator or pesticide and they’re pretty much impervious to social activism. In fact they’ll be around long after all of us because of what they consume and excrete. Money.

This city, as I’ve said before, has always been about money. George Vancouver didn’t drop anchor in Burrard Inlet to further His Majesty’s geographical knowledge. The heroes of Vision ran this city for 10 years and they weren’t financed by citizens riding Mobi bikes to council meeting eithers.

But, there’s an election coming in November, and the people seeking your vote aren’t beholden to money and have a solution for the white pin proliferation. Whether it’s Burnaby MP Kennedy ‘How about I drop in and solve your problems?’ Stewart, hereditary Squamish Nation Chief Ian ‘cash in on all that white guilt’ Campbell, neophyte politician Shauna ‘what happened to being the  frontrunner?’  Sylvester, tech entrepreneur Taleeb ‘lost twice federally’  Noormohamed, or popular favorite Adrianne ‘don’t want to be the tallest weed’ Carr, they have a plan. Maybe.

What is certain, is that no matter who is in power enacting their “plan”, your rent is going to continue to go up. Moving to a larger more affordable space will continue to only be an option if that space is in Harrison Mills. The price of the faded Vancouver Special you pass by every day is not suddenly going to be reasonable, and the white pins will continue to dot the East Van landscape.

However it’s not all gloom and doom especially if you like a little schadenfreude. Watching Hector Bremner cry over the NPA rejecting his mayoralty candidacy has been pretty entertaining.  Bremner is the same guy who won his city council seat because the progressive vote was split into five but still thinks he earned it. The same guy that said after he won his council seat that Vision was done. The same guy who said he’d donate his councilor’s pay to charity. Now he alleges that he’s a victim of racism. Shocking! The poor man. Course if you believe that, I’ve got a Vancouver Special you can have for its original price. Plus it’s on a street free of those white pins.

By Contributing Writer Al Tee

Side Glance With Al Tee – Honest Nat’s Department Store – History On Fraser Street

26 Mar

HonestNat'sDept.StoreSometimes travelling around East Van, it feels like being part of something on National Geographic or History Channel. One of those programs about lost civilizations. Worlds that no longer exist and what fragments remain.

There’s an old radio jingle that’s an example of the lost world of East Van. The ad was for Honest Nat’s Department Store and if you’ve lived here long enough you know what three words follow the store’s name.

But beyond the jingle there’s no history of a department store that once was an anchor on the principal commercial ribbon of East Vancouver. Located at 6394 Fraser, Honest Nat’s was the brainchild of Nathan Lacterman. A prairie orphan who escaped Winnipeg and came West, Lacterman made several unsuccessful stabs at the retail business in Vancouver.  Then a chance visit to Toronto lead him to stumble across the famed discount store Honest Ed’s at Bloor and Bathhurst. Inspired, Honest Nat’s was born.

Honest Nat’s department store would last at 48th and Fraser for 40 plus years. Supporting the community, sponsoring teams, doling out balloons to customer’s kids, Honest Nat Lacterman acted as the unofficial mayor of Fraser Street. Eventually Honest Nat fell ill and his daughter took over. But Fraser Street started to change. A Superstore came in at the bottom of Fraser along Marine Drive. When Nat’s daughter started hearing patrons tell her that they’d looked all over town for an item they couldn’t find, but knew Honest Nat’s would have it, she saw the writing on the wall. Why weren’t they coming straight to Honest Nat’s in the first place?  Honest Nat’s Department Store closed in 1989 and the building was sold. Shortly afterwards, it was destroyed by fire.

All that remains now of Honest Nat’s Department store is this artifact, the jingle.

By Contributing Writer: Al Tee

East Vancouver History Walk With James Johnstone

26 Feb

EastEndWalkingTourJamesJames Johnstone is back with his popular historical walking tours this February and March. On Saturday, March 10th, James will take you on a tour of one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Strathcona. The tour kicks off at 10:00 a.m. starting from 696 East Hastings at Heatley. This historical walking tour is a culmination of years of researching over 250 homes in the East End. Although you will find architecture is a theme on this tour, James will also focus on social history and how waves of immigrants established themselves in this area before moving on to other parts of the city. The tour will also touch on the impact of portside industries like BC Sugar, the prohibition and the proliferation of bootlegging as well as the City of Vancouver’s attempts to wipe out “urban blight”.   If you can’t make March 10th, he will be doing this tour again on March 24th.  On March 17th, James will host a history walk  of the Working/Wild Side of Vancouver’s East End. Each tour runs for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours and last we heard the cost was $20 for each tour. If you would like more information or to reserve your spot, email James directly at historywalks@gmail.com.

A Side Glance By Al Tee ‘Voting’ Was It Worth The Cost?

23 Oct

VancouverVotesOn Tuesday October 10th while heading to see the new Blade Runner – half hour too long not noir-sh enough but one really good scene – I tried to do my civic duty and vote early at City Hall. But there was a line-up and I was not going to wait. After the movie, I tried again and there was still a line-up. Really? Donʼt by-elections usually have low voter turnout? How could this interference with my plans be happening? Turns out there ended up being only 11% participation by eligible voters.

This leads me to the question of why exactly was this expensive democratic exercise necessary? Okay, I know Councillor Geoff Meggs went off to Victoria to take an easy cash gig. But rather than spend the million plus the City dropped to elect a replacement, why didnʼt they just go down the list? Think about it. Meggs came in 10th in 2014, making him the last one on board council. Why not just give the job to the person who came in next. In 2014, Ian Robertson of the NPA was the 11th. Given that the winner of this election was Hector Bremner of the NPA, would it have made a difference? Tell me there is a difference between Bremner and Robertson? If Robertson werenʼt available, the next four closest were also NPA candidates. So in essence Meggs should have just saved us the money and trouble and picked somebody from the NPA to replace himself. The same goes with the School Board. They were fired, so just rehire them. Their term was only one more year. We are doing all this again in 2018. The money spent on the by-election could have been used for something more purposeful rather than reminding us that nobody gets elected without money. The kind of money that only comes from hitching a ride from a name brand political party. So, sorry Judy Graves and Jean Swanson. The last independent to win a council seat was Carole Taylor 30 years ago, and she was heavily connected and financed. Same thing goes to you Mary Jean Watermelon and thanks for the Robo-call. Are those really effective for getting the votes?

This by-election also has me pondering how come, with all our enlightenment and gender neutral washrooms, we have still yet to elect a transperson? Specifically how come the money parties wonʼt offer a ride to Jamie Lee Hamilton? This gal has been running forever. She deserves to be elected just for her persistence. Sadly this by-election is also a reminder that COPE the once mighty vanguards of Vancouverʼs progressive politics are on the verge of extinction. Twas self-destructive infighting that caused their decline.

But there are some positives in all this. One City, a neophyte progressive party, managed to best the money parties and steal a seat from them. Plus more Green Party seats. Keep the City green. Seriously, can we put something green in the school curriculum?  Because the school annex a block over from my place, those kids need to learn to recycle. They are our future.

By Contributing Writer Al Tee

Photo: City of Vancouver

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