Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Commercial Drive Meets the Twilight Zone - Thee Goth blog

I found this YouTube video on a great site Metroblogging Vancouver
I think he is a Drive Denizen named Russell Hunt.

Click on the image to view the vid...

Visit his site and laugh more.

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Special Event: Birth Fest

Click on image for bigger view.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Profile: Meryn Cadell

This is part of a larger article by Marc Lostracco, published on the Torontoist website. Words and images used with permission.

It wasn't just any sweater, but "the worn, warm sweater belonging to A Boy" with that goat-like smell which all teenage boys possess. In 1991, "The Sweater" propelled singer-songwriter Meryn Cadell into the music history books, landing on the Top 40 charts and illuminating the request lines at Z-100 in New York.

The album angel food for thought soon became an indie smash for a woman who used to perform with an aluminum heating duct over her head for some guerilla reverb. Combining biting spoken word, observational torch songs and heavily poignant lyrics, Cadell's three albums and live performances struck a nerve with Toronto audiences through the nineties. Then, suddenly, Meryn seemed to have disappeared.

Where Cadell resurfaced was in Vancouver by way of New York City, taking a job teaching song lyrics and libretto and interdisciplinary projects at the University of British Columbia. This was not the only major life change: since 2003, Meryn has transitioned gender and is now living comfortably as a man.

Torontoist spoke to Meryn about being FTM transgendered, the former Toronto arts scene, "that song," and the exhilaration that comes with teaching classes in creative writing.

Why did you leave Toronto, first for New York [Cadell's birthplace] and then Vancouver?

At the time, I kinda felt that I had done all I could do there in a sense. It was so familiar that I felt like I needed a new everything. The hardest part was leaving my friends in Toronto. It's taken almost nine years for me to start missing it and realizing how much of a connection I had there.

angel food for thoughtHow did deciding to teach at a university come about?

I had done some teaching and had always loved it, but this position came up at UBC for teaching song lyrics and libretto, which involved all of my interests and was in an academic setting, which was appealing to me [Meryn's father was a professor]. When I saw the listing for it, I thought, how can I not apply for that? To actually see people's work change as a result of working with me and the influence they're getting from each other—the whole atmosphere of the creative writing program is completely amazing.

What is the vibe in your classroom like?

It's really important to me that it's a place where everyone can trust each other. Writing and performing songs in front of a class is a vulnerable thing to do. I really try and set it up so people feel feel they're on the same ground, and when they're taking risks, it's just so exciting to witness.

How do you evaluate something as abstract as songwriting?

It's actually fairly clear. They students do apply with a portfolio, so it starts at a certain level. It doesn't matter where they begin, but you can really tell someone who is applying what they're hearing from me, from other workshop participants and what they learn from assignments, which are not always fun for them. I can tell when people are trying new things and challenging themselves. In any of the performing and creative arts, you can't make someone talented who is not, but you can make talent flourish.

Do your students arrive with expectations based on your background as an established artist?

It's a mixed bag. I rarely talk about my work in class unless I'm asked about it specifically. It's not a class about my work, and it's sometimes easier not to bring-up transition issues, which happen when talking about my previous stuff. Some people are aware of and interested in my work, but most are just interested in songwriting.

Meryn CadellWould you perform on stage again?

I would now. There was a lot I was unaware of that eventually caused my discomfort with performing. I went from playing in clubs to having a piece I performed in that setting go relatively stratospheric. I then was in this whole different arena, being played on television and being recognized. It was really confusing—and great—but it was a huge shift in who I thought I was.

Somewhere in there, there was something going on about my gender—an idea I didn't put a name to for several years. I didn't know what exactly, but I knew that something wasn't quite right. The combination of those factors made me want to step back.

You've said that you are now at the happiest stage of your life.

I'm a coper, and I'm used to coping with things for a long time. I'm dealing with various things in my life, mostly to do with grief since I've lost quite a few people, and I realized that I needed to go back into therapy. What's interesting is that I go to this therapist and we never talk about my transition. My transition kind of solved something and made things align in a way where there were fewer issues about identity. I describe it like taking one step to the left and everything falls into place, allowing me to move forward. I haven't yet wrapped my head around the idea that, (a), this was there all the time and it was what I needed to do, and (b), that gender was a central issue.

I feel tremendously grateful that I figured it out. You know that saying when you bang your head against a wall and it only feels good when it stops? It's only when something uncomfortable had ended that I realized how uncomfortable I was. Every day now, I feel at home in my body and in myself in a way that I did not before.

Was there a certain demarcation moment or was it a gradual realization?

Since the transition, I've been so comfortable because I was no longer having issues of where my centre was. In a sense it was a sudden realization. The apple kinda hit me on the head, and God bless the internet. I was always interested and supportive of gender issues, but one day I was reading websites and blogs of people who had transitioned and the light went on. All of a sudden I thought, this wasn't just interest; this was me.

I heard you call it a transition from being a "female kind of person to a male kind of person."

Something that I had to break through—and now that I'm on the other side, I have to struggle with other people's perceptions—is that I seemed to fall on some sort of continuum off the butch end of the spectrum as a lesbian identity. Some trans men really struggle with that perception, because it's really not the case. Interestingly, I feel far more comfortable around butch women than I used to because I was often perceived as something that, inside, I felt wasn't right. It was so confusing for me. Often I'd be perceived as a butch woman myself, or sometimes I would be approached by a butch woman and perceived as femme, and I was neither of those things.

One thing that is difficult to explain, which is something shared by many trans men, is why it feels more comfortable to be male because it's not about others' perceptions, and if it's not about appearances, then why do I have to make physical changes to appear male? It's not really something I can explain, but if you're trans, you just know it. I often think about it as an internal white noise that simply vanished.

I like the idea of gender as a continuum. Now, there are people who want to smash the gender binary and I'm not sure that's possible, but it's an interesting time. I like when people who are intersexed—and I'm not conflating the two, because they are entirely different—claiming their identities as exactly who they are. It's something that doesn't really go away. Sadly, people have lived their whole lives not being able to live as who they really are.

Meryn Cadell

For the rest of this story, click here...

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Picture of the Day: Tony's Deli

Tony's Deli & Catering Company was established in 1972 by Tony Bruci and is located at 1046 Commercial Drive. Nothing has changed, the store or the sandwiches and salads.

Photo and words by Jean Gibson at Vancouver Daily Photo. Used with permission

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Literary: Spoken Revelations

Local poet Kagan Goh has started a new mic-less night of poetry, storytelling and music at AROMA: COFFEE WITH LEGS, 1865 Commercial Drive (between 3rd and 4th avenue). It runs every Tuesday from 7 to 10pm.
Click on the poster for more info.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Kagan via e-mail or call (604) 254-8336.

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Music: Defiance, Ohio and Guests

Wednesday, February 28th
7pm sharp

with special guests
Blackie Leblanc & Kytami
Cap'n Kop$
Free Cigarettes For Minors
Tasha Class

1342 East Georgia


Are Vancouverites Turning Sour?

While scouring the internet, I came across this excerpt from a disturbing article published in the Halifax Chronicle Herald by Harry Bruce.

Another ex-Vancouverite, Brian Fawcett, reports on the Dooney’s Café website that he was guiding a blind friend along a crowded sidewalk in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood, and, "I heard an angry voice advising us to ‘get the (expletive deleted) out of my way,’ and found myself eyeball-to-eyeball with a man of about 30 who clearly understood that he’d directed his impatience toward a blind person — and didn’t care."

Read the full story here...

Literary: Vancouver Poetry House AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Vancouver Poetry House Society will be held Monday, March 12, 6:30-7:30pm at Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive. All current and past Vancouver Poetry House members, and people interested in becoming members are welcome. Memberships are up for renewal at $2 for one year.

For more info contact Randy Jacobs at

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Visual Art: Stanley Mishkin & David Robinson

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Music: Maffie and Crew

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Literary: Twisted Poets Literary Salon

Monday Feb 19, 2007

Katherine McNeil and Jeremy Waller featured @


"Bump N Grind" with poets and guest speakers. Bring your best, favourite, newest or oldest poems and share in an evening of literary surprises.

Time: 7pm Sign Up, 7:30pm Open Mic and Literary Salon

2007 Guests:

February 19th: Catherine McNeil and Jeremy Waller

March 19th: Louie Adell, Jacqueline A. Colquhoun, Kath Street, Adrian

April 16th (National Poetry Month): Evelyn Lau

May - Nov: Names/groups will be announced at a later date.

Location: The Bump N Grind Cafe, 916 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

Hosts: Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni (Pandora's Collective)


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FREE Workshop for Lesbian, Bisexual, & Two-Spirit Women

Saturday March 31, 2007, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm at Britannia Info Centre

Knowing Me, Knowing You: Negotiating Separateness and Togetherness in Intimate Relationships

Through discussions and small group exercises this workshop will explore issues related to separateness and togetherness in intimate relationships. How do we communicate our needs for privacy, time alone, intimacy, and togetherness? When does "together" start to feel unhealthy? To register: call Britannia at 604-718-5800 or register on-line at (you will need a Britannia membership which costs $5 and can be obtained on-line) OR call 604-633-2506 ext. 12

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Revealing Film Takes on the Olympics

Vancouver resident Conrad Schmidt describes his scathing anti–2010 Olympics documentary, Five Ring Circus, as a “going-away present”.

For three years, the Work Less Party founder and South African immigrant has preached (and lived) a message of “work less, consume less, and live more” and support for the local arts community in an effort to maintain a just and equal society. He gave up his car and a well-paying job in the high-tech industry in 2004 and sold his apartment a year later.

Schmidt’s 87-minute documentary claims that 2010 brings a new threat to equality and justice in the form of increased poverty, curtailed civil liberties, and higher taxes as 2010 costs soar. Mayor Sam Sullivan asks: “When the world arrives in Vancouver in 2010, what kind of city will they find?”

Now a renter, Schmidt claims he already knows the answer.

“If you don’t already own property in Vancouver and you aren’t making serious dough, you are out of here,” Schmidt told the Straight in an interview. “Otherwise you’re on the street.”

It is his relentless pursuit of social justice that led Schmidt to University of Toronto sociologist Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, who is working on her third book on the effects of the Olympic Games on their host cities. Lenskyj appears throughout Five Ring Circus, dismissing claims there will be a net benefit to average British Columbians from hosting the 2010 Games.

“I planned this years and years in advance,” Schmidt said. “I thought, ‘Okay, by 2010 you either get a well-paying job or move somewhere else.’”

Schmidt sold an East Side apartment to continue following his passions, which he said involves the Work Less Party, the filming of countless protests and direct actions, and not working at a job he doesn’t like so he can produce “stuff that just winds up in landfills”.

“One of the reasons why I sold my place and own absolutely nothing is that I don’t ever want to be sued for anything,” he said. “If I don’t own anything, nobody—including the IOC—can sue me.”

Despite the “mirth”, Five Ring Circus ( promises to tell the “untold story of the Vancouver 2010 Games”. It will run at the Rio Theatre from March 2 to 8. (Schmidt is adding Indecent Exposure to Cars: The Story of the World Naked Bike Ride as a double-bill levity item.)

Schmidt and his girlfriend, Chantal Morin, filmed and edited 150 hours of footage for Five Ring Circus. Everything from former mayor Larry Campbell’s 2003 promise of a “sustainable Olympics” to Anti-Poverty Committee demonstrations is contrasted with police presence at “illegal” downtown squats to protest evictions leading up to 2010.

Deciding he had to “go after the local mayors”, Schmidt cornered Derek Corrigan (Burnaby), Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (West Vancouver), and Richard Walton (District of North Vancouver) for their less-than-flattering on-the-record views on the games coming to town.

Sullivan also features in the movie, dismissing Anti-Poverty Committee protests as an “illegal act” at a City Hall news conference on social housing that coincided with the APC squat at a now demolished city-owned apartment building on West 10th Avenue.

Five Ring Circus takes all levels of government to task. And if what Schmidt’s movie portrays is accurate, any perceived or real benefit of the Games will be lost.

Advance tickets for the March 2 premiere can be purchased from Pivot Legal Society (678 East Hastings), Veggie Resource Centre (2250 Commercial Drive), or Our Community Bikes (3283 Main Street).

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Funny of the Week: Chinese Year of the Pig

Thanks to Mark Perrault for letting us use this cartoon!

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Roads Are For Hockey returns for a 3rd period

Words and images posted with permission from Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Roads Are For Hockey banner“Come One, Come All and Bring Yer Stick,” reads Charlie Latimer’s invitation to the community who together on Feb. 18 shut down a block of Commercial Drive and played road hockey – periodically yelling “bus!” and moving aside to avoid disruption to public transit.

This third annual “Roads Are For Hockey” event drew in about 20 players and 200 spectators who lined the sides of Vancouver’s Commercial Drive between Charles and William Streets, which were blockaded by supportive police leaning on their shiny Harleys in the sun. Organizers held the event to raise awareness of the British Columbia government's $4-billion Gateway project – widening of Highway 1 between East Vancouver and Langley and twinning of the Port Mann Bridge. The first road hockey event was held in 2005 when the Gateway project was announced. It also helped to ease the pain of a public suffering from hockey deprivation during the 2005 NHL strike.

Despite claims by the government that the expansion will reduce fuel emissions by keeping cars moving instead of idling, critics such as the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) say the expansion will actually increase emissions by 31 percent.

Charlie Latimer shares his spiel on citizens uniting to fight climate changeCharlie says local dailies The Metro and 24 Hours covered the day’s event, along with Global TV, and CKNW radio. I asked him what he told them.

“I said it was a community event. It’s to show how citizens can take part in the fight against climate change by raising awareness to their politicians – telling them, for example, the Gateway project is not something we want to see. Global was talking about the Port Mann Bridge and the Gateway expansion and they asked me what I thought of the government saying that by reducing congestion it would stop idling and would actually be environmentally-friendly – which was actually the green spin they presented – and I just told them that: ‘Well, with any highway expansion project, you’ll find that cars will fill those streets and congestion will come back in a year, so then you’ll just have double the idling. Create more roads and more cars will come basically.’”

Information against this project can be found at – and to be “fair,” here is some, a-hem, info for the project from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways.

For the full story, click here...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Event: Black History Month Celebration

Tuesday, February 27

7:00 p.m.

Britannia Library

1661 Napier Drive

Admission is free

All are welcome

In April, the quilts from tiny Gee’s Bend, Alabama will visit Canada for the first time, travelling to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Here, they will be linked together and celebrated along with work from quilt makers of North Preston, a small African Canadian community just outside Halifax.

In October, 2005 some of the quilt makers visited Vancouver along with filmmaker, Matt Arnett. This Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm., the Britannia Public Library will profile the quilters and their abstract art in the half hour film, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend”.

This film takes us right into the homes and backyards of the quilt makers. We’ll see: “Some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced. Imagine Matisse and Klee ..arising not from rarefied Europe, but from the caramel soil of the rural South in the form of women, descendants of slaves when Gee’s Bend was a plantation….” ( Michael Kimmelman, New York Times).

We’ll be invited to see the quilts and hear the voices of a group of women who have been singing gospel and quilting together for over 38 years – using just what their mothers’ gave them – needles, thimbles, and strong senses of design and survival. Mary Lee Bendolph says “ I had to do what I could to keep my family warm”. Her daughter Essie Lee Bendolph tells us I had a brother go to college off the quilts my mom made and sewed.”

Now, art galleries and museums across North America are giving us the opportunity to appreciate these abstract minimalist quilts with “colours that take your attention away from everything else.”

Like Gee’s Bend and North Preston, Commercial Drive is also a small artistic community, albeit an intensely” hip” urban one. So, we’ll be celebrating these quilts loudly, proudly and diversely in many multi media and ethnic styles; that is - in the style “the drive” is accustomed to. Last week, local poet and quilt artist , Diane Wood installed a selection of miniature quilts created by the Carnegie Center Chinese Seniors’ sewing circle in the library’s display case. They’ll be your first welcome as you enter the library’s foyer on Tuesday night. Next, you’ll be greeted by Ola Tawose (see the picture below) with a poem she composed for the quilters and the evening entitled “Hands”. Then you’ll be treated to the exquisite vocals of local chanteuse, Alita Delray accompanied by bassist, James Forrest. They’ll serenade you for half and hour as a prelude to the half hour “Quilts’” film.

Following the film , Dr. Henry Dent a local jazz guitarist , originally from New York will pay his dues to the ladies with some very smooth jazz guitar. Then, local poets, Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni of Pandora’s Collective will take the stage. Next up, will be Franci Louann with “Black is For”…a poem inspired by Mennonite quilters. Dr. Dent will return to center stage to finish off the evening while you mix and mingle with our special quest artists ..or write your own poem …or design your own quilt. .....

If the spirit moves you..and it probably will.

For more information about this event,

call the Britannia Branch at 604-665-2222.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Nick and the Art of Making Coffee at Continental

Words and images taken with permission from Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Nick AllanAt Continental Coffee on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, it hasn't hurt business to have a Starbucks right across the street for the past 12 years.

“If anything it’s helped us in that it’s got more people drinking specialty coffee,” says Continental Coffee manager Nick Allan, who was only three months old when his grandma Anita opened the family café in 1979. “You get people opening up to the idea of espresso and the idea of having a specialty coffee and then they try ours and it’s better than Starbucks and it’s cheaper – so why would you go to a place that’s more expensive and not as good?"

Read the full story here...

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

What’s It Like to Squeegee Cars? Just Ask Steve...

Words and images taken with permission from Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Today a guy tried to squeegee my car at 12th and Commercial, in East Vancouver, but I gave him the polite “no thanks” gesture. Then I parked, got out, introduced myself, and asked him if he would like to be my next Super Citizen Showcase subject.

Steve said he sometimes has access to the internet and would keep my business card so he could look at my blog. He instantly agreed to talk with me but he was reluctant to be photographed, after a bad experience on the front page of the Province in which his photo was printed directly below an unrelated headline that read: Homeless man spits on woman. I said: “How about if I don’t show your face clearly?” and he agreed, so I took two shots and showed them to him on my digital camera. One is pictured in this entry and I deleted the other because he thought it was too identifying.

Then I turned on my tape recorder – and taped this conversation:

Steve: I want to get out of here as soon as I can so I don’t get arrested.

Read more of this story here...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Selling Candy and Flowers on the Big Day

Words and images taken with permission from Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

“When you’ve got three or four of us working here behind the counter all at once and we’re all stepping all over each other, then you know it’s as busy as we were hoping it would be,” says Georgia Temple with a laugh, as she ties a bow on a box of delicious hand made treasures at Dutch Girl Chocolates at 1002 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, Canada. “It’s been really crazy. Yesterday in the evening was a lot worse actually – now today it’s all the last-minute people.”

Crazy, yes – in a good way, if you’re a retailer. According to a new study conducted for the Retail Council of Canada by POLLARA, 54 percent of a sample of Canadians intend to give candy and chocolates to their loved ones. Of the 1,885 people surveyed, the majority of 84 percent plan to give a Valentine's Day gift to their spouse/partner. Giving gifts to other family members, including children, is also very popular at 43 percent.

Interestingly, it is reported that B.C. residents are least likely to give gifts – with only 44 percent intending to buy. (I imagine the other 56 percent saying they express love throughout the year and don’t need a “special day” for doing so.)

Kim Webster manager of the flowerbox in Vancouver CanadaUp the street at the flowerbox (1704 Charles) a cluster of people are packed in amidst a rainbow of flowers poking their luscious heads out of their white plastic buckets.

Read more of this story...

Susan's professional page:

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Literary: Twisted Poets Literary Salon

Monday Feb 19, 2007
Katherine McNeil and Jeremy Waller featured @
"Bump N Grind" with poets and guest speakers. Bring your best, favourite, newest or oldest poems and share in an evening of literary surprises.
Time: 7pm Sign Up, 7:30pm Open Mic & Literary Salon
2007 Guests:
February 19th: Catherine McNeil and Jeremy Waller
March 19th: Louie Adell, Jacqueline A. Colquhoun, Kath Street, Adrian
April 16th (National Poetry Month): Evelyn Lau
May - Nov: Names/groups will be announced at a later date.
Location: The Bump N Grind Cafe, 916 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC
Hosts: Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni (Pandora's Collective)


Music - Monica Lee Recording @ the Libra Room

Here's a note I just received from Monica:

Hey folks,

The band and I are going to do a multi track recording of our show this Thursday....that’s tomorrow!!!
Please come down to the Libra Room and fill the house. It was jam packed last week and we would love to capture the great vibe of all of you goovin’ to our tunes. We will have a small camera crew there as well capturing the visuals. I am working towards having some videos up on the website, myspace and epk from the night, and perhaps ... a live at the Libra Room EP. I will keep you posted.
Hope you are keeping happy and healthy.

Marc, Jesse and I would Love to see your shining face in the crowd.
Thanks so much,


The Libra Room
1608 Commercial Dr.
Cover by donation

Electronic Press Kit:

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Terminal City Roller Girls Make Friends with Flica!

Rollergirl Survivor Pays a Visit to Her Local Sisters

Exclusive to Commercial Drive - Live!

Perhaps better known for her sunny disposition than her ferocity as a roller derby girl, Jessica “Flica” Smith was all smiles for the camera, as Commercial Drive – Live! caught up with her at a practice for the Terminal City Roller Girls last Friday night at UBC.

Hailing from Chico, CA, the 27 year old Flica was in town in connection with this month’s Individual World Poetry Slam and took some time to hook up with the all-girl, flat track roller derby league based in East Vancouver.

Currently, the league is in preparation for it’s first big-time bout at the Royal City Curling club in New Westminster in May.

Despite being voted off the island in last year's Survivor - Cooke Islands series, Smith said she enjoyed the Survivor experience and the notoriety it has brought.

“Getting to wrestle a cop was definitely a highlight,” she told us.

Photos by Peter Valentine

Michelle Lamoureux - TCRG president, with her son Devon and Jessica "Flica" Smith

Flica and TCRG skater "Toi Box"

Ready to rumble!

You can learn more about Jessica here:

or watch her latest podcast:

For more information about becoming a rollergirl or about volunteering with the league, check out their website at

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Event: Car-Free Day Planning Meeting

On Thursday Feb 15 at 8pm, we will have the kickoff all-organizers meeting for Car-Free Drive Days 2007. It'll take place in the Common Room at 1707 Charles St. (the Turks building on the Drive, around the side throiugh the gate). If you may be interested in taking an organizing role for this summer's Drive Days, we'd love it if you could attend.

We are looking at up to THREE Car-Free Drive Days this summer, in June, July and August. The City is behind us on this, and it's a very positive move. The ultimate aim is to turn the Fests over to the people, and spread out the "programming" so effort does not need to increase drastically. Still and all, it's going to require lots of hands and minds and hearts to bring this off, and if last year's effort is any indicator...we have those, and our work/play force is growing exponentially.

With climate change the buzz everywhere, Car-Free Drive Days are the perfect opportunity to get everyone locally involved in changing the climate for the better. And awareness around the Gateway Project has also suddenly skyrocketed, so no doubt we will be bringing that issue way into the forefront and showing the City what a car-free street can offer, as opposed to a traffic-ridden thoroughfare.
It's all very exciting, and we are stoked to re-create The Drive yet again as the paradise we know is possible.

RSVP if you can.

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Literary: Spoken Revelations is Reborn

Local poet Kagan Goh has started a new mic-less night of poetry, storytelling and music at AROMA: COFFEE WITH LEGS, 1865 Commercial Drive (between 3rd and 4th avenue). It runs every Tuesday from 7 to 10pm.
Click on the poster for more info.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Kagan via e-mail or call (604) 254-8336.


Literary - Billy Tuggle at the Slam










"I am a force-sensitive karmadelic, Rastafari, Auquarius, B-Boy, activist, mentor, conductor of the subway conection, do my own stunts and stay crispy in milk. I am a vocalist, spoken word artist and, occassionally an actor. I am a performance poet who has appeared in films, competed in the National Poetry Slam and performed in theatres, clubs, galleries, museums, and streetsides all over North America. Join me at for a complete HipHoppers guide to the galaxy. Check the Book of Voices on Since the Fall of 2004, I have been a member of the Chicago arts collective PolyRhythmic- and co-host/organizer of Mental Graffiti, the 'Go's second longest running poetry slam."











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Music - Hip Hop Night






STARTING FEBRUARY 23RD - 7pm to 10pm


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Call For Submissions - Britannia Art Gallery

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Music - Trinidad Carnival Friday Night Fete

Friday February 16 at the Canadian Legion

Commercial Drive & 6th Avenue

Steelband music, 3 DJs’, Limbo floorshow

Carnival costumes, Caribbean food, bar services, 50/50 draw

Doors: 8pm. Tickets advance $15.00, at the door $20.00

Ticketmaster 280-4444 – Zulu, Highlife, Abantu,

Caribbean Market, Piassa Hair Style, Small World, Simply Roti. - Calendar of events 24/7

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Apartment Hunter!

Can anyone help this person out? Tell her I sent you! - Steve Duncan - The Drive Guy

If anyone knows of decent sub-$1000 2-bedroom apartments in the
Commercial Drive, Mount Pleasant, or Kitsilano areas, feel free to drop
me a line.

Lifestyle - Eating Well on Practically Nothing

by Joni Miller

Exclusive to Commercial Drive – Live!

This column will be about eating fresh, eating simply, eating tasty, and eating SOON. If you are looking for recipes that require a lot of fussing and preparation, fancy tablecloths, the correct fork, expensive ingredients, 20-year-old wine, etc. - go elsewhere.

I will shamelessly promote local stores that provide great produce and good value for your money.

If in doubt, I'll consult outside experts - fellow cheapskates who live well and contribute to society through their eccentricity, cooking, and art.


The greatest influences on my style of cooking include my mother, James Barber (author of the Urban Peasant cookbooks) and a long-haired guy named Michael I knew when I was 19. My mother gets credit for teaching me you can keep your recipes in your head, and make something tasty with whatever you can find in your kitchen; James Barber for the phrase "peasant cooking" and the advice to follow your nose - (when something smells different, it's time to check the stove); Michael for introducing me to the art of the stir fry.

Hint One: If you want to eat well for cheap, live near Commercial Drive!

I've shopped for groceries all over BC, and I've gotta tell you - the freshest and cheapest produce in BC can be found on the Drive. I live part time in the Okanagan - where they GROW the stuff, by the way. Before I head out to the Interior, I regularly go shopping at Santa Barbara, and take a cooler full of vegetables back to where they came from. A bunch of fresh spinach that I can get for $.59 on Commercial Drive will cost me $1.79 in Salmon Arm. Go figure.

My Essential Ingredients

I cannot cook without:



vegetable oil (preferably extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil)

soya sauce

chili peppers

black pepper

Essential Tools

cast iron frying pan

cutting board


knife sharpener

wooden spoons

mixing bowl

various size pots

casserole dish

baking pan


Hint Two: Get the good, thick steel pots. If you're flush, buy them new, if you're not, haunt garage sales, second hand stores, or get them off your grandmother when she moves into the seniors residence. I got mine at a flea market in the West End Community Centre - a 6-piece set in an array of sizes. It cost me $ 40 (and that was the moment when I knew for sure I would never have to get married). The cheaper, thinner pots will burn your dinner the minute you turn away to put on some music or answer the phone. The good pots will be with you for a lifetime.

BTW - don't skimp on the cast iron frying pan. I advise buying a big one - unless you have no friends, of course. Teflon flakes off and ends up in your system, where it will do more damage than trans fats. Aluminum burns your dinner and has been suspected of contributing to Alzheimer's disease. You want to protect your brain at all costs. So - get the cast iron.

Okay, this is lesson one. Go shopping for equipment and I'll be back soon with some mouth watering recipes. While you're out scouring for pots, stop by the Dollar Grocer's at 6th and Commercial, and pick up some of their bulk garlic. At 33 cents per 100 grams, it's the freshest and best deal on garlic the Drive has to offer. Unless someone knows of a better place....

Joni Miller is a writer, musician, graphic designer, fund raiser, mother of two. She is the author of a forthcoming book entitled "The Starving Student’s Guide to Eating Well on Practically Nothing". As a lifetime freelancer, mother and travelling musician, she is well versed in the art of living on nothing.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Special Event - Roads Are for Hockey is Back for a 3rd period!

Sunday February 18th @ 1pm
Commercial Drive (btw Charles & William)
It's time to take back our community streets!
Join your neighbours for a road hockey game on Commercial drive on Sunday February 18th - 1pm

Reclaim urban Space!
Protest Car culture!
Promote a car-free city!

If you wish to volunteer for this games contact:
We are looking for general volunteers as well as:

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

News - Gateway Rebellion Grows

This is part of an article published in the Georgia Straight
By Matthew Burrows

According to community organizer Carmen Mills, the popular support needed to stop the province’s planned highway expansion and twinning of the Port Mann Bridge is building to a crescendo.

And Mills told the Georgia Straight she thinks awareness of the human impact on the environment is causing this rethink. On February 1, the summary remarks for the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

To Mills, also known through her organization of the annual Commercial Drive Car-Free Day, this is a rallying cry. She has launched, and on February 10 at the Waldorf Hotel, a party will take place in celebration of opposition hopes that the $4-billion Gateway Program can still be stopped.

For the full story, click here...


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lifestyle: Yoga Classes on the Drive

Zoe Eakle and Open Sky Yoga

Offer two new courses at Indigo Studio at 1707 Grant St. near Commercial Drive.

ELEMENTS OF YOGA Wed. Feb 28th-Apr 18th (8 weeks)



We will work with asana, pranayama and meditation. Every week we will explore a particular aspect of yoga practice and philosophy. The structure of the course is designed to encourage you to explore your own practice more deeply as the course progresses. Some previous yoga experience is required.

FOUNDATION COURSE Wed. Feb 28th-Apr 18th (8 weeks)



We will cover the basics of yoga. We will practice breath awareness to calm the nerves and the mind. We will gently open the joints of the body and build a strong foundation from the feet up to the crown of the head. You will be given tools, guidance and encouragement to foster a deeper sense of awareness and support in your body and mind. Chanting, relaxation and meditation practices will be incorporated. Come if you are new to yoga and want a solid foundation to build from or if you want to deepen your subtle awareness after years of practice. Return to beginners mind, the gifts are rich and many!

Spaces are reserved upon full payment for the course.

For further information and enrollment phone (604) 879-0669 or email

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Driver's Abroad: Mike McGee - Poet

In this new column, Driver's Abroad, we'll hook you up with the activities of friends and neighbors traversing this big globe.
In this issue:
We catch up to US Ex-pat poet Mike McGee, currently on tour in Arkansas.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

IWPS Finals Night Review

Saturday night was an important night for poetry and the Vancouver poetry slam community as we played host to Canada’s first Individual World Poetry Slam. No Canadians made it to the final round at the sold-out Rio Theatre - the perfect spot for an auspicious event like this - but we were still well-represented with brief, yet powerful performances by local slammer Patrick Swan and the IWPS artistic director, Angus “The Svelte Ms. Spelt” Adair (pictured wearing the wedding dress). What followed was a 1 ½ hour rush of passion and emotion to the cerebellum. The cream of the crop of 72 poets from all over Canada and the states – belted out impassioned, stirring 3 minute (the maximum length a slam poem can be – according to the official rules) monologues and diatribes and are judged by random members of the audience on a scale of 1 to 10 using score cards - just like in figure skating. Amazing artists like Seattle's Buddy Wakefield and Jamie DeWolf from Oakland, Ca., rocked the crowd’s sensibilities. The ultimate winner was the booming and charismatic Ed Mabrey, from Columbus, Ohio.

Poets, believe it or not, can actually be a gregarious lot, and the elated crowd that spilled out onto Broadway kept the energy going at the all-night after party that followed. Highlights there included DJ Timothy Wisdom and $3 beer, not to mention the portable sauna truck parked in the back yard.

The success of this 3 day long festival (and other recent larger scale literary events) bear witness to the obvious growing interest in spoken word locally and on a national scale. It is attracting an varied and interesting following. Notably present throughout the entire fest was last season’s "Survivor" heroine Jessica "Flicka Smith

(Why didn’t I get her picture!). The charming rollergirl was here working as a camera person for one of the IWPS’s major sponsors,

The competitive art form of Slam Poetry, which is now a mainstay on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at Café Deux Soleils, has seeds sewn 11 years ago back in 1996 when Vancouver sent it’s first team of poetic Olympians down to Portland, Oregon.

I was part of the first entourage to follow the team (which included Justin McGrail, Cass King, Andrea Thompson and Alexandra Oliver) down to that year’s finals. Riding shotgun were Vancouver Slam founders James P. McAuliffe and Graham Olds.

The bug caught on from there and we have been consistently sending teams down to various US cities to battle it out for cash, fame and coveted recording contracts ever since.

Many of the Drive’s most notable performers, like CR Avery, RC Weslowski, and Shane Koyzan have cut their teeth our slam stage. With rumours already spreading of Vancouver playing host to a future National Team Poetry Slam, we can only expect to see more and more talented writers rising to meet the challenge.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

IWPS - The First Day - An Organizer's Perspective

Wednesday was a whirlwind day, with unexpected twists and a good ending.

I started out at the gym. Working out always sets me up with more energy and better focus for the rest of the day. I hope I'll have the energy to go again on Friday morning, but maybe I'll need the sleep more than the rev-up. We'll see.

During the day I mostly ran errands. I ordered tournament trophies at the trophy store, did a bit more copying and laminating, went to Costco and got water for the tournament officials, then met our production coordinator at the music store to pay for the rental of sound equipment. While I was at Costco, my cell phone rang. It was a Canada Immigration official who had stopped one of our festival volunteers at the border. I had to fax a work schedule and job descriptions, plus a letter we have citing a section of the immigration policy manual in order to help the official determine that the...

Click here for the full story...

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Not Just a Hill of Beans

Fair Trade Coffee
Story by Ethan Ribalkin, 24 Hours

Think globally, act locally.

Fair trade's mantra - "Think globally, act locally" - is being pursued by many Canadians, including a quest to make Vancouver the world's first city with a fair trade drive: Commercial Drive.

Click here for the full story...

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Trinidad Carnival Friday Night Fete

Friday, February 16

Doors open at 7 pm


2205 Commercial

Jump with the Tropical Heat Steelband, DJ Soca T & Kenyon, DJ Nasty Jag Soundcrew, DJ Castillo the Salsa King, DJ Fox the Master Mixer, King Fish Limbo Classic.

Plus Carnival costume Displays, Tasty Caribbean food, refreshments and bar services.

Also, see the Trinidad Soca Warriors Soccer game on big screen.

Tickets available at all Caribbean outlets including Highlife, Zulu, Abantu Hair Stylist, Mackie’s Foods, Simply Roti, Elsa’s Piassa Hairstylist & 604-280-4444

For info call Orvis at 604-209-5081


From this week's Georgia Straight...
Hope seems to be fading for a proposed multidisciplinary arts centre at 639 Commercial Drive, a building that was most recently the home of the Raja Theatre. For months, local arts organizer Jhayne Holmes has been using her formidable on-line networking skills in an attempt to rustle up the roughly $500,000 needed to buy the historic theatre in order to turn it into Heart of the World, a venue for everything from dance performances and live music to film screenings and visual-art exhibitions.

Holmes told the Straight she has managed to raise that daunting figure through pledges from donors and investors, but not in time to meet the January 15 deadline stipulated in the contract she signed with the building’s owners. As a result, the Heart of the World proposal has dipped into a legal morass in which Holmes faces the possibility of forfeiting the $48,000 deposit she put down on the Raja in mid December.

“We tried to get an extension,” she said, noting that the price demanded for that extra time was well beyond her means. “So the first contract is over with, and I’m hoping to find a proxy—someone else to try and deal with it, because they [the owners] won’t deal with me again.…We’re hoping to still get it, but we have to find someone who’s willing to step in for us and do it.”

> Brian Lynch