Tag Archives: Commercial Drive

Off The Beaten Track – Casa Verde & Spartacus Books

19 Jul

ACasaVerdeccording to Robert Stone – I recommend the Netflix doc “ Get Me Robert Stone “- the past is prologue. Now if you donʼt subscribe to that theory then you most likely werenʼt inspired by my suggestions to stop in at what was once Commercial Village. But if you do, you may want to check out another curiosity. Right in the middle of Commercial Street, at 3532, is a restaurant. Itʼs called Casa Verde and unless you were looking for it, you wouldnʼt even give it a side glance. With itʼs fading green awning and neutral storefront, the place looks like one of those “ social clubs “Tony Sopranoʼs pals would hang at. But actually itʼs a real restaurant. A Portuguese restaurant thatʼs been run by the same family for twenty years. Iʼm not going to review Casa Verdeʼs fare. Which is a good thing. I may not be the best food critic given that I did not like the much praised and acclaimed Savio Volpe on Kingsway and Fraser. I can tell you that the proprietors of Casa Verde recommend the salted Cod or their weekend chicken barbecue special. But thatʼs not whatʼs interesting. Whatʼs interesting is that behind Casa Verdeʼs almost invisible storefront, thereʼs also a banquet hall that holds up to one hundred. The hall feels like it should be accessible through a bookcase operated secret passage. Itʼs discreet and it might be the perfect venue to roll out your start-up launch, or throw that party when your new single drops.

On the other hand, maybe you donʼt have time for something as frivolous as checking out a restaurant you may never dine in. How could you have time when thereʼs injustice and inequality in the world? After all, you are a social justice warrior. Thatʼs why you live in East Van the birthplace of Vancouverʼs progressive thought. East Van was home to the first Lefties on city council Bruces Yorke and Erickson and the Godfather of Progressive Vancouver Trout Laker Harry Rankin. Itʼs also home to long serving former NDP MP Libby Davies and future long serving NDP MP Jenny Kwan. So itʼs ironic that in your rush to those committee meetings youʼve never stopped, right at where Commercial Street meets Commercial Drive, and checked out Spartacus Books at 3378 Findlay.

Spartacus Books is Vancouverʼs original Lefty book store. Itʼs been around since 1973 and for years was a beacon of socialist thought on the Downtown East Side. But eventually evil forces – think developers not CSIS- conspired to run Spartacus Books out of itʼs long time location and over to this innocuous spot under the Sky Train behind the Croatian Cultural Centre. Banished to this location, Spartacus Books soldiers on encouraging truth justice and the East Van way. Theyʼre friendly folk, mostly volunteers, and they wonʼt try and force feed you Das Kapital or insist you watch a North Korean video. If youʼre trying to establish an ideological position, validate your East Van political street cred, or just worry about the fires of capitalism being highly infectious, Spartacus Books can help.SpartacusBooks

By Contributing Writer: Al Tee

 

 

The Vancouver International Jazz Festival June 22 – July 2, 2017

14 Jun

JazzDoubleBassThe Vancouver International Jazz Festival kicks off on June 22nd and runs to July 2nd in and around Vancouver. The festival now in its 32nd year features a great line of talent from across Canada and beyond. There will be over 300 performances during the jazz festival which takes place at various venues around the City. We’ve set out a few spots in East Van that will be showcasing some of the local talent as well as those in town for the festival. East Van’s Tangent Café located at 2095 Commercial Drive regularly features live jazz  and has a steady line up of talent.  Note, events at Tangent start at 8:30 pm and there is a $10 cover charge

 

 Tangent Café  8:30 pm

June 23  – Victor Noriega Group
June 24  – Two Much Guitar
June 25  – Brad Turner Trio
June 27 – Thad Bailey-Mai Quartet
June 28  – Thomas Houlden Quartet
June 29  – Boon Coon Quartet plays Bill Evans
June 30    Dubly Sound System
July 2 – Steve Kaldestad

Pat’s Pub located at 403 East Hastings Street will also be featuring live jazz during the festival.  There is also a $10 cover charge for the performances, but there are a few free shows. We’ve noted which are free.

 Pat’s Pub

 June 23  – Sax Summit – The Devil’s Horn 8 pm
June 24 – Nick Aplvor & Craig Scott 3 pm Free
Jun 24 –  The Devil’s Horn 8 pm
June 26  – Sessions at The Patricia with Sharon Minemoto  8pm Free
June 28    Blues & Brews with Steve Kozak and Guests  7pm  Free
July 1 – Birney-Stewart Trio 3 pm Free

All events are subject to change. For more information, we invite you to check out the website for the International Jazz Festival or check with the venue hosting directly. 

Car Free Day – Main Street & Commercial Drive

12 Jun

CarFreeDay

Main Street Car Free Day – Sunday June 18, 2017

Car Free Day is one of Vancouver’s biggest festivals. The Main Street Car Free Day happens Sunday, June 18th from Noon to 7:00 pm.  The festival spans some 21 blocks from Broadway to 30th Street and includes 15 stages and mini festivals along this stretch of Main Street.  This is an all ages event which boasts many family-friendly activities including kid-zones, cool artisan shops, food vendors, artisans and much more. Note, transit will be rerouting buses during this event. 

Commercial Drive Car Free Day  – Sunday, July 9, 2017

Car Free Day on Commercial Drive is where it all began some 13 years ago and there is something new for 2017, being a date change.  Instead of Car Free Day following one week after Italian Day, another big street festival, they  have elected to change the date to Sunday, July 9th this year. This Car Free Day on the Drive will also run from Noon to 7:00 pm and feature 15 blocks of great food, entertainment, live music, local artisans and much more.  There is a strong message of advocacy and activism in this community for providing car free spaces and a green culture. Note, transit will also be rerouting buses during this event.

Italian Day Sunday June 11, 2017

29 May

ItalianDay2017One of our favourite community events is back, Italian Day which will be held on Sunday, June 11th. This year’s theme is Amore, which means love in Italian. Organizers chose the theme because “love lies at the heart of Italian culture and its lifestyle. It is  a universal language and an exchange evoking many things: affection, romance, passion, respect, creativity, and commitment.  It is life, unity and the pursuit for an emotional connection and is shared in relationships, arts and culture, at the dinner table, in our daily work, in pursued dreams, and in community.” For Italian Day 2017, organizers wish to celebrate Amore in all aspects of life and the magical power it holds to inspire, connect and create infinite possibilities and experiences, both individually and collectively.

For Italian Day, Commercial Drive from Broadway to Grandview will be turned into one long piazza. Many of the restaurants will have outdoor seating areas, food trucks will be dotted along the stretch, live music will take place on several stages and much more. This year, we hear there will be some talent flown in from Italy to celebrate.  Danilo Ciaccia and his band ItalyAMO will be performing. As well 2 DJs from an Italian Radio Station, DJ Osso and Pippo Lorusso will be on hand at the 5th Avenue Stage mixing things up. You can also expect Federico Fuoco to entertain the crowds as will be singers from Vancouver Opera. If you stop by the Napier Greenway at the Britannia Community Centre, East Van artist Paula Luther will be hosting a free workshop ‘Little Hearts Project’. Materials are supplied and everyone is welcome to stop by and participate. This event runs from 12:00 – 3:00 pm. Italian Day kicks off at Noon and the party runs till 8:00 pm. Just a reminder that vehicle traffic on Commercial Drive is blocked off, so it is best to take transit, walk or cycle in. For those cycling to Italian Day, there will be a Bike Valet set up at the Royal Bank of Canada at 1st Avenue & Commercial. We invite you come out and celebrate all things Italian.

Photo Credit: Italian Day

 

 

The East Van Bazaar At The Hall Saturday May 27, 2017

19 May

EastVanBazaarMay2017The East Van Bazaar is back on Saturday, May 27th at The Hall which is located at 1739 Venables Street (at the corner of Commercial Drive). The organizers have put together another great mix of local makers, artisans and collectors of vintage. Some of the vendors you can expect to see include artisanal wine by Waterside Winery, delish pie and sweet treats from Rose & June’s Bakeshop, beautiful teas by Tea Lani, jewellery by Meraki Escential Love, The One & Only and Rish Jewellery.  If you happen to be looking for vintage items, you may wish to stop by and check out She Wolf Paper & Vintage which will be on hand with retro clothing, books and more. For a full rundown of vendors, visit East Van Bazaar. They are updating their site as new vendors are added. The event kicks off at 11:00 am and runs till 5:00 pm. Admission is a suggested $2 donation. We invite you to pop down and check out all the local talent which of course is a hop skip and jump from some great spots on The Drive. Although, we do recommend stopping in at Uprising Breads just one block down the street.  We are rather addicted to their Ginger Cookies.

East Van Extravaganza Saturday May 20, 2017 At The Rio Theatre

17 May

AffordableConcertSeriesIf you are looking for a fun night out, maybe listen to some live music and dance, you may wish to check out this East Van Extravaganza happening Saturday at the Rio Theatre. They are hosting the Affordable Concert Series which consists of a line up of 4 bands, being Disco Funeral with an energetic and electric vibe, then there’s Hard Rock Miners with Hillbilly Party Punk, next up is Rio Samaya with their South American Latin fusion and The Walkins which we hear will get you grinding and grooving.  As this is East Van, this event is come as you are whether it’s your Daytons, Blundstones, Berkinstocks or anything in between, you are invited to come down and get into the groove.  Tickets are a very reasonable $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  If you are organized and plan to go with a group of friends, you can purchase a group pack of 10 tickets for $150.  Note, this event has bar service thus not suitable for minors. Must be 19+. Come get your groove on. To get your tickets in advance, visit Rio Theatre.

Children Of God At The York Theatre May 17 – June 3, 2017

12 May

ChildrenOfGodThe Cultch, in collaboration with Urban Ink Productions, National Arts Centre English Theatre and Raven Theatre is presenting the world premiere of a powerful new musical Children of God. The show features the children of an Oji-Cree family that are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities. They will be pulling musical inspiration from Indigenous traditions as well as Broadway hits. This musical is a timely piece that tells the heartbreaking story of the residential schools through the eyes of one Oji-Cree family. Children of God celebrates resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Note this performance does contain swearing and sexual content. Due to the content of the performance, Emotional Support Workers will be available to provide support to audience members who may require it.  The performance takes place at The York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive with previews taking place May 17th and 18th. Opening night is May 19th with the show running until June 3rd. Tickets are available online from The Cultch.

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