Category Archives: Events

LIV Your Life Dragonboat Fundraiser in Victoria

If you’re a woman, you can probably remember how scared you felt when your first period came. Despite having heard about it from your mother, an older sister or school, you never really know how it’ll feel until it happens.

Red Flower

Red Flower by Ahmed ElHusseiny

Fortunately, in the West, we have the advantage of education and access to the necessities that let us lead our life normally while we are menstruating. However, this is not the case for everyone in the world:

Without the resources to take care of themselves while menstruating, girls in Africa miss 5-7 days of school per month and stop going to school and get pregnant. This keeps the cycle of uneducated women, disempowered and with no voice.

It is a shame that something as simple as a normal, healthy biological function causes harm to girls and young women all over the world.

On July 28th at Go Rowing and Paddling (at the Selkirk Waterfront), there will be a dragonboat race fundraiser comprised of 18 teams of 20 girls who collected pledges to buy Lunapad menstruation kits for girls in Africa, which cost 5$ each.

Come watch the exciting race supporting this great cause on Saturday, July 28th at the rowing club at Selkirk Waterfront. You can find more information about Little Goddess Entreprises and the LIV Your Life Project here.

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Absinthe Tasting at the Victoria Steampunk Expo

By a stroke of luck (thanks Lisa!), I was able to get two tickets for the sold out absinthe tasting of the Victoria Steampunk Expo on Friday, April 20th. And my friend Julian Gunn (a published poet, by the way, so look him up!) was more than happy to accompany me.

I’d never had absinthe before. I’ve heard about it, yes, but I had never tried it. This was the perfect occasion to get a taste of this notoriously mysterious and ritualistic drink.
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The tasting was at the famous Union Club in Victoria, a members-only club that also used to be gentlemen only. It is everything you imagine a private club to be: lush rooms with wingback chairs, a full library, card and pool tables, music rooms with a dance floor, and many more absolutely luxurious things for retired millionaires. Heck, a picture of Winston Churchill welcomed us down the stairs to our tasting room.

If you don’t know what absinthe is, let’s make a quick summary: absinthe is a distilled alcoholic drink (usually between 60 and 80%) containing botanical extracts such as anise and, most famously, wormwood (read the full Wikipedia article).

So, basically, it tastes a lot like licorice. With alcohol. We tasted 3 absinthes: the Canadian Taboo (from the Okanagan), the American (I think) Hills, and the French La Fée.

Absinthe is only rarely drank pure; at 60%+ alcohol, you need a strong stomach. It is usually mixed with ice-cold water and sugar, to open up the flavours and compensate for the characteristic bitterness of the drink. It’s done by using a fountain of water dripping a tiny stream on a sugar cube, that’s on a spoon installed on top of your glass. The water transforms the clear green color into a milky, opalescent greenish drink.

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Chris Adams of the Victoria Ghostly Walks delighted us with stories of the ghosts of Victoria, and other tidbits related to absinthe and the history of the town. Not being from BC, I actually learned quite a lot!

And now, for what you probably want to see: some of the nice costumes I was able to snap during the evening.

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Sheila and her husband

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Our hostess

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Annette and Mela-Dawne

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Jenaya and Ivan

Hopefully I can get more great costumes at today’s expo!

Have you ever had absinthe? Do you like it?

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Victoria Steam Exposition III — April 20 to 22

Steampunk Power

Steampunk Power by molossus on Flickr

Oh my god.

How did I not know this was happening THIS WEEKEND?

Thanks to a friend on Twitter, I learned about the Victoria Steam Expo at the Empress and am now definitely planning to attend.

In its simplest definition, steampunk is a literary and cultural movement presenting a futuristic look on the Victorian period. Basically, it presents futuristic technology applied to the Victorian era. It’s an imaginative reinterpretation of Victorian technological advances seen from our 20th and 21st century point of view.

Steampunk celebrates the hand-made, DIY, “make your own mess”, idiosyncratic technological inventions. It features grease-covered mechanics who build their own dirigibles, and the ladies gracefully wear corsets as they do so. It stands against the mass-produced and the ordinary, against the repeated and indistinguishible gadget that promotes conformity rather than creativity.

Steampunk touches many cultural fields: from crafts and fashion to literature and art. Steampunkers believe in the power of imagination, invention and individuality with a Victorian twist.

As someone who studied Victorian literature, steampunk is a fascinating contemporary subculture. It’s a reinterpretation of our Victorian past from a technological angle that takes the best of the early days of science-fiction and infuses a sense of dissonance and asynchronicity typical of our own time.

This weekend’s event will feature authors such as Anne and Jeff Vandermeer and Kaja Foglio, artists such as Ian Finch-Field and the steampunk band Abney Park. The Saturday night burlesque cabaret event will feature burlesque performer Cherry Poppins. There will be a variety of vendors, artists and performers as well.

I will be reporting and hopefully take a bunch of pictures to share with you!

And now, enjoy this video about what steampunk is NOT:

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Artsy Farsty Friday: East Side Culture Crawl

Yes, this is a new theme day: as I don’t find much frivolous stuff to talk about, I want to switch to talking about art on Fridays. Hopefully regularly. Anyway.

Earlier this month, I spent one late afternoon with my friend Lois Patterson walking through Strathcona and visiting some artists’ studios scattered around the neighbourhood during the yearly East Side Culture Crawl.

I know a bit about art but certainly not enough about contemporary art to start analyzing the stuff I saw. Here are just some pictures (taken with the permission of the artist or representative in place) of stuff that attracted my attention.

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No prize goes to the first one who identifies a common thread to these pictures, but I’ll publicly announce that you’re smart.

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November 29th is Pay A Blogger Day

First, let’s watch this nifty little video:

Yep, today is Pay A Blogger day. A lot of us (including myself) could be spending our time finding work or new clients, reading books or hanging out with friends (or watching TV… sigh). But we choose to spend this precious, non-renewable resource to inform, touch and entertain you, our reader. Some of us even spend money on wine and food so we can review it for you!

So, if you are an avid blog reader, think about rewarding your hard-working blogger with enough money for a coffee, or something. The Pay a Blogger Day website describes many ways to do so. I personally take cheques, cash, paypal (ask for my email!) or you can click the awesome Flattr button at the bottom of this post, which will lead you to a platform where it’s easy to give any amount you want (anonymously too!) to your favourite bloggers.

I know which bloggers I will be paying today… How about you?

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Chilean Wine Seminar Livestream

On November 15th, I attended a wine tasting that focused on Chile. I tasted wonderful wines and had a great time with old(ish) friends and new friends alike.

But if you couldn’t attend, you’re in luck: on Monday November 21st, at 2h00 PM (Pacific Time), Wines of Chile is holding a live-streamed Chilean wine seminar.

During the seminar, sommelier DJ Kearney will give you a sneak preview of the wines that will be featured at the 2012 Playhouse International Wine Festival.

If you’re curious about Chilean wines and want to learn a little more from the comfort of your computer, this is your chance!

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Dunn’s Famous in Vancouver

On November 15th, there were two events happening more or less at the same time: Wines of Chile and the opening of Dunn’s Famous new Vancouver restaurant.

Even though I wasn’t actually invited to the opening, I have wonderful social media friends (thanks Marc, Cathy, Gus, and of course Raul!) who were able to get me in.

Man, did I need this. I can’t go back home (job search obliges) but I’ve been missing it a lot. But there’s nothing like some food from your hometown to perk you up a little!

The restaurant featured their famous smoked meat, as well as poutine and carrot cake. I didn’t have carrot cake because I’ve recently decided to give up wheat (oh my!), but I had some smoked meat and, of course, the poutine!

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Some people said the smoked meat was a little dry, but it just means it’s leaner, which I appreciate. There’s nothing worse than too much grease to ruin a good smoked meat sandwich.

I actually really liked the poutine, especially the gravy. It had just a touch of spice to differentiate it from others I’ve had here, and wasn’t too heavy. And I can’t put the blame on the slightly too old cheese (too old as in past the squeaky stage, not too old as in past its date) on the restaurant; this province obviously doesn’t produce much cheese curds, and finding good providers (and rotating the stock on a daily basis) must be difficult.

I’ll be heading to Dunn’s some time soon to have a full size poutine and write a full-fledged review. For now, though, you can always go and try it yourself, and let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: Marc of Amuse Events invited me and others to join him at the opening of Dunn’s Famous BC. The food was free, but I wasn’t expected to write anything about it. I just love to share my impressions and suggestions with you!

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