Neighbourhood Small Grants: Projects That Connect Neighbours

1 Mar

The Neigbourhood Small Grant program is back for 2021. The foundation of this program is connecting people within their own communities. Hard to argue that this is needed now more than ever before. Although the program is envisioned a little differently this year in light of COVID, the fundamental principles still apply.

  1. Small is beautiful. Small ideas are beautiful and manageable.
  2. Everyone has something to offer. Whether you can teach a skill or give some tips, or provide a service. We all have something valuable to share.
  3. It’s your project. You create how you want it to look and feel.
  4. Create your chosen family.  A platform to help build networks within your community.

What are Neighbourhood Small Grants? As the name implies, you apply for grants for a project within your community. You can receive grants of up to $500 for projects that connect people socially, or involve sharing a skill or talent. If you are sharing a skill, you may pay out an honorarium of up to $350. Projects must stay within guidelines for physical distancing.  Anyone who lives in any of the communities listed below can apply for the grant:

Britannia, Carnegie, Ray-Cam, Strathcona
Cedar Cottage, Hastings-Sunrise, Renfrew

South Vancouver: Renfrew Collingwood, Renfrew Heights,
Sunset, Marpole, Killarney, Champlain Heights, Victoria-Fraserview, Oakridge

The premise of these grants are the belief that the best people effect change in a community that they live in. When money is less of an issue, it allows more ideas to shine.  What have other people done?   A few ideas include book exchanges, benches and community gardens.  Some other idea befitting our pandemic times could include creating small care packages for seniors with a few spring flowers and crossword puzzles and/or word search games.  For young children, what about a scavenger hunt in a park with prizes?   The ability to be with other children, but still physically distanced.   You could also create art cards for seniors in long term care.  Art in the park?  Whether it’s adults sketching or using pastels, or kids painting rocks to be displayed in the neighbourhood, connection is key and the ideas are limitless.  Need more ideas or wish to apply for a grant?  Visit Neighbourhood Small Grants.

Free Virtual Performance of White Rabbit Red Rabbit March 13th

26 Feb

Do you remember Friday, March 13, 2020? We certainly do, it was when our daily lives changed, some sooner, some later, but this was a defining date for many. On this date, one year later, The Cultch is participating in a worldwide initiative to mark a year of theatre closures due to covid-19. On March 13, 2021, The Cultch along with its theatre community will be celebrating the resiliency of artists. An international company, Aurora Nova initiated this global event in which theatre companies around the world will stream performances of White Rabbit Red Rabbit. This is an award winning play from Iranian playwright, Nassim Solemanipour and performed by Amanda Sum. There are no rehearsals or director. The script is waiting in a sealed envelope on stage. This will be something to see, no two performances are ever the same. To reserve your spot to watch this theatrical experiment, visit The Cultch.

Petition To Bring Non-Food Vendors Back to BC’s Farmer Markets

23 Feb

One of our favourite vendors at the Vancouver Farmers Market is East Van based The Front Yard Flower. Co. As the name depicts, it initially started with growing flowers in the front yard of Rose Dykstra’s childhood home. Her business has grown substantially over the years and has evolved to include growing flowers on a farm in Richmond.   There is a large financial investment in doing this, along with time.  Rose Dykstra along with other small businesses sell their items at the many farmer markets around Vancouver.   In March of 2020 when the COVID restrictions hit, many non-food vendors were shut out of the farmer markets which caused angst and hardship for many of the vendors.  The ban lasted from early April 2020 to June 2020. Rose’s flower business had to suddenly pivot to e-commerce and with a perishable item this was no easy feat.

The ban for non-vendors had been lifted over the summer and fall. In mid-December the ban on on-food vendors went up again. This was at a time when many of the non-food vendors rely on sales from the Christmas period to support their families. As of today’s writing, the current ban continues with no sign it of being lifted.

Vancouver Farmers Market has done a great job of adhering to COVID protocols in an outdoor environment.  Rose Dykstra doesn’t see why she and other non-food vendors have been shut out the markets.   On this point, we do agree.  We are big supporters of local business. As we think about this issue, we know people are still having birthdays, anniversaries and celebrating new babies. What does this mean? People are still buying or sending gifts, often in lieu of in person celebrations. We see it regularly on our walks. Gifts are being delivered in person with masks, dropped at the door, then a brief interchange before saying a few words and leaving the gift behind.

In our view, by including non-food vendors you are including them in the BC economy by allowing them to work and to continue to sustain themselves, their families and any employees they may have.  If you can’t get it locally, where will people turn? For many items, our guess is Amazon. We’d much prefer people support local vs. Amazon. As it comes to flowers and Rose’s business, really could we not all use some flowers to brighten up the spaces we are all stuck in during this pandemic that just seems to go on and on?

If you are in support of bringing back non-food vendors to Vancouver Farmer Markets, feel free to add your support to the Petition at Change.org.

East Van Artist Shary Bartlett Invites You To Learn Encaustic Painting

21 Feb

If you are looking for something to do that is fun, creative and COVID safe, we’ve got something for you. Local East Van encaustic mixed media artist, author and educator, Shary Bartlett, invites you to join her and 25 of the best encaustic artists from around the world on a 52 week creative journey. This encaustic art program is delivered to you weekly in pre-recorded segments and will feature a variety of encaustic mixed media techniques.  This is a deep dive into a medium that has long fascinated us.   The online class is delivered to you in video format so you can watch it anytime. The course is open to all ability levels including beginners, intermediate and advanced artists.  The course is a very reasonable $199 US and begins April 30, 2021.  If you’d like more information or to register, we invite you to visit Essence of Mulranny. You can also visit Shary Bartlett on Instagram to get more information on this beautiful medium.

Sauvignon Blanc Cheese Tasting March 28, 2021 With les amis du FROMAGE

19 Feb


On the success of their recent Facebook Live tasting event, les amis du FROMAGE has lined up another event for cheese and wine lovers. Host Allison Spurrell will again be leading this 1 hour tasting which features the wine varietal Sauvignon Blanc. The tasting package is featured for 2 people and includes:

Cheese (8 types)
Crackers
Olives
Accompaniment
Tasting menu

Heads up, the wine is not included in the ticket price, but they have partnered with Marquis Wine Cellars who have helped choose the best pairings as well as a discount. After you purchase your ticket, you will be contacted by les amis du FROMAGE with a discount code for the suggested wines which we’ve set out below.

The Sauvignon Blanc Cheese Tasting event happens Sunday, March 28th at 6:30 pm. To purchase your ticket, visit les amis du FROMAGE. Note, cut off for ticket sales is March 21st.

The Cultch presents Mx February 18 – 24, 2021

14 Feb

The Cultch and Off The Corner Productions bring you a live streamed show to your living room February 18 – 24, 2021. You are invited to The Nancy Show where each night one lucky guest from the African Diaspora is granted a unique opportunity to reconnect to their ancestors. This is where you will find Max, a gender-questioning and mixed-race introvert, who has hopes of gaining insight into their African ancestry, and finding a better understanding of where they fit in the Black community. Max is seeking answers to some of life’s major questions – What of culture and ancestry lives within us, and how much is determined by our upbringing? Does blood equal belonging?—Max meets the famed Mz Nancy, our host for the night. Witty and glamorous, Nancy seems to have an answer for everything… but, as Max discovers, things are never black and white. 

Mx is written by an emerging playwright Lili Robinson which is inspired by personal experience. Robinson was “Raised in Vancouver by my white Canadian mother, I grew up with little connection to the city’s Black community, which was at that time particularly small in number. It was not until late into my teens, witnessing the onslaught of police murders of unarmed Black people in the States, that I was unavoidably confronted with the question, ‘Where do I fit?’ Robinson goes on to say that . “Doing this show means being able to engage frankly with dynamics around the consumption of Black culture, the politics of mixed-race identity, and white folks’ engagement, or lack thereof, with the topic of race.”   To pick up your tickets, visit The Cultch.

What people are saying about Mx:

“Mx addresses racism, Black erasure, and the complicity of false “color blindness” — but leaving no stone unturned, it also confronts what can be the false promises of performative Black culture.”
THE PEAK

“Check your privilege at the door. Mx will challenge and make you feel uncomfortable…At its most powerful, Mx also calls upon members of the audience to be more than purely witnesses.”
VANCOUVER PRESENTS

Local Love This Valentine’s Day

10 Feb

We know not every one gets behind Valentine’s Day. Some see it as a made up day. Even if that’s your view, considering what a struggle this past year, why not show someone special a little love just because. It can be your partner or a good friend who has been a great support for you this past year, your sister, mother, brother. Or what about that next door neighbour or isolated senior? Whomever it might be, there are so many ways to say “I Care”. As we love our local businesses, we wanted to highlight a few you can throw your support behind this Valentine’s Day.

Soprasotto

Pizza Love

A few East Van pizza joints (and likely more) are doing heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. Check out Lombardo’s Ristorante and Soprasotto on Commercial Drive and Pizza Farina on Main Street.

Flowers

Who does not love to get flowers? There are so many great options in East Van whether it’s local florist shops like the Flower Factory at 4285 Main or Full Bloom on Commercial Drive. If you are lucky enough to have a neighbourhood corner store, be sure to check them out. They often have a nice selection on hand. If you are in River District this Sunday, you can also stop by the Brock Floral Cart which will be on site at the foot of Kerr Street near Romer’s Burger Bar. This is a mobile floral cart that will have a selection of flowers available from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm or until sold out. It won’t be quite as pictured, but you get the idea.

Sweet Treats

Oh Sweet Day

So many great local businesses are offering sweet treats for Valentine’s Day whether it’s chocolates at Beta 5 or the Purdy’s outlet store on Kingsway. If it’s cookies you are after, Oh Sweet Day, Bench Bakehouse and many others have a great selection. To see a full list of our Favourite East Van Bakeries, click the link. If you are looking for sweet treats for the kids (big and small), don’t forget the Licorice Parlour. They’ve added some new items so not just licorice.

Jewellery

White Sapphire Anna

If this is the year, you are going big on the jewellery front, we invite you to check out Era Design Jewellery at 1795 Venables Street near Commercial. They design some beautiful jewellery whether custom or ready made.

Love Songs

Jill Barber

If you are looking to set the mood with beautiful love songs, you will want to catch Jill Barber’s live streamed performance from The Cultch on February 14th.

Whether you celebrate the ‘day’ or not, be sure to show your local businesses some local love this weekend.

Virtual Cooking Class With Just Giulia February 12th

9 Feb

Giulia Lombardo invites you to join her for a virtual cooking class this Friday, February 12th. Giulia is going to teach you how easy it is to make fresh pasta. You can follow along step by step as she cooks, or watch her cook and then try it on your own after the cooking class. The menu for this upcoming class is:

Squash and Mascarpone Filled Heart Shaped Ravioli with
Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
Suggested Wine Pairing: Poplar Grove Pinot Gris

The cost of the cooking class is $20 with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The fun kicks off at 6:00 pm. To register, email her directly at justgiulialombardo@gmail.com. Note, space is limited. You can also find Giulia on Instagram @justguiliaa or check her out You Tube. We’ve included one of her delish You Tube videos below. Mangia bene (translation: eat well).

A Valentine’s Day With MAD Jazz Live

5 Feb

If you are looking to kick it up a notch and romance someone this Valentine’s Day, you have lots of options this year. If you enjoy live jazz, then you may wish to check out the virtual presentation by MAD Jazz Live happening on February 14th. This is a great opportunity to set the mood, chill some bubbly, maybe pick up a great meal from a local restaurant and relax to the music of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and many more. Music will be performed by Mandy Rushton, Aaron Pang and Dane Warren. The evening also includes a special guest host Jay Joseph joining them all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada. The performance runs for 2 hours and kicks off at 8:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. Tickets start at $20. To grab your tickets, visit Dane Warren Entertainment.

Love Songs With Jill Barber February 14th

3 Feb

The Cultch along with The National Arts Centre invite you for an evening of live music by Jill Barber this Valentine’s Day. Jill will be performing some heartbreak ballads, steamy love songs and classic French chansons. The event will be live streamed from The Cultch to your living room. You can get dressed up for the occasion, or well not. Entirely your call. As with most celebrations this past year, Valentine’s Day will be a little different. This is a great way to support local arts and take in some beautiful music. This performance will be live streamed at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time and 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on February 14, 2021. Tickets start at $17.93. To purchase yours, visit The Cultch. If you aren’t familiar with Jill Barber, we invite you to give this You Tube clip a listen.

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