Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Drive Through 10 Year Old Eyes

I came across this neat review of the Drive on a website called It was written by a girl named Jeneavieve, who was 10 years old at the time. Pretty cool. Used with permission.

Activity: I’m going to tell you a story, which you might find funny. Last week Mom and Dad had an urge to visit Commercial Drive. In their day it was known as the Italian district of Vancouver, and they wanted to see what it was like now. Apparently Dad used to take Mom out to an Italian Restaurant called “Il Corsaro”, and the owner always gave each lady a red rose. Mom brought that up because Dad hasn’t given her long-stem roses since they first dated over 20 years ago.

Anyway, we got there around 1:30 in the afternoon, thinking we’d have lunch. It looked like the perfect place. I’ve never seen so many food places. There must’ve been two dozen coffee houses alone. Mom was set. Dad however had a craving for a Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut. We found out, after the umpteenth deli, that Italians don’t eat Reuben sandwiches with sauerkraut. It was only after Dad settled for a Donair that we stumbled across “La Grotta,” a deli selling custom-made sandwiches! In the meantime Coleman and I discovered ice-cream heaven at “Dolce D’Amore.” Talk about yummy or what. Too bad I couldn’t talk Mom into more than one scoop.

Anyway, at least we got lunch out of the way, and could turn our attention to more serious business—shopping. The only problem is once you weed out the restaurants, delis, coffee shops, pastry shops, and produce markets there isn’t much left. We did find one whole toy store, but it didn’t last long. Then there was an expensive shoe store called “Kaleena’s,” but Mom said, “window shopping only.” What fun is that? “Dad took me into a shop called “Spank”, which believe it or not is a ladies clothing store. He said it was called “Spank” because all parents were allowed to spank their kids there. Yah right Dad.

Read the full story here...

Space for Rent at A Small World Shop and Gallery

If you are looking for renting a room at an affordable price ($10 per hour) for
holding alternative healing, massage, workshops and the like in the East Vancouver, you may like to contact Kevin Noble at A Small World at 604-215-0279.

To get a better idea of the room and location, come visit A Small World at 2120 Commercial Drive, Vancouver (@ East 5th Ave).

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Visual Art: A Small World Shop and Gallery

Kevin Noble is pleased to invite you to attend the artist showing at his gallery in March/April 2007.

"Ethiopia Reborn" Universal artist David Mesfin - oil/acrylic on canvas w/ mixed media
Exhibit runs from March 16th until March 31st.

"Pansies" a garden project... by Kuniko Ota - acrylic on canvas/wood
Exhibit runs from April 1st - April 15th.
Artist reception: Thursday April 5th starts @
6:00pm - til late
Live Jazz & Latin Sounds, artist meet & greet

"Visionary Art Project" St. Even - mixed media on canvas
Exhibit runs from April 16th until May 6th.
Artist reception: Friday April 20th starts @ 6:pm - til late
Live music, guest DJ, (420, need I say more)

2120 Commercial Drive, Vancouver (@ East 5th Ave)
Tel: 604-215-0279

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Music: David Campbell

Born in Guyana, South America, of Arawak Indian and Portuguese ancestry, now a Commercial Drive regular, wsng writer/singer/ guitarist/poet/picture maker/ prose writer/blogger/photographer/maker of videos/ recording artist[29 albums]/

student of life and conscious journeyer, David Campbell has a new video of his beautiful song “Pretty Brown” on YouTube.Check it and his other videos at:

Or go to his website at

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One Bedroom Suite for Rent

Live in the Funky Commercial Drive Neighbourhood

Available May 1st - Flexible move in date.

Square Footage: 600 + (approximate)

Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1

  • Large Patio
  • Carpeted Living room and Bedroom
  • Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher
  • Laundry in Building
  • Parking for one vehicle included
  • Gated Parking
  • Cats OK
  • No Dogs, no acceptions
  • 1 Year Lease
  • Storage in suite
  • Excellent location
  • On major Bus Route

This suite is located at Commercial Drive and East Broadway, close to shopping, restaurants, transit and all convenient amenities. Perfect for students sharing, on bus route to UBC and two blocks from Skytrain for SFU and BCIT students.

For photos and more information regarding this property please contact Michelle Farina at or call at (604) 782-6478

Advent Real Estate Services Ltd. has a selection of Furnished and Unfurnished suite available on an ongoing basis be sure to check our website often for the latest listings.

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Grocery Store Reviews

I found this neat little review of a couple of the grocery stores on the Drive, Dollar Grocers and Donald's. Thanks to YaYa for letting me use her words and her pics.

new mission- who's got what and at what price on the drive. i started at the bottom of the drive (near vaneast cinema... do good movies EVER play there?) and throughly cruised two spots... i am going to scour them all in an attempt to streamline my monday night drive shopping.
DOLLAR GROCERIES (2210 commercial drive): lots of bulk, limited groceries, lots of produce. contrary to the huge banner hanging over the entrance, this place doesn't have THAT much organic produce and i am continually disappointed with the produce i do buy. i returned three mealy, organic pears right after taking a gross bite on the bike ride home. remember to return your produce if it sucks, most grocers are cool about this. i also find the store crampy... like everything is about to fall over.

Read the full review here...


Literary: Capilano College Liar Spring Launch

The Liar Spring 2007 Launch

Tuesday April 3 @ 9 p.m.

Cafe Deux Soleils
2096 Commercial Drive
Recommended Donation: $2

featuring readings by the Liar collective,
& musical performances by Junior Major and Lasergiant.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Special Event: Justice for Leonard Peltier West Coast Tour

Featuring Bob Robideau, Co-director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and co-defendant in the incident at Oglala. Leonard Peltier, Indigenous warrior and political prisoner in the U.S, has been behind bars for 31 years for the alleged killing of two FBI agents in a shoot-out that took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975, despite that the courts and state prosecutors admit they do not know who killed the FBI agents. Learn more and come out to support justice for Leonard Peltier.

Sat March 31 at 6pm
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Center (1607 E.Hastings)

Fundraiser on Fri March 30th at 8pm
The Grandview Legion Auditorium (2205 Commercial)

Info email or call 604-339-7103


Riot at the Anza Club

Commercial Drive boutique riot clothing and accessories is having a fun spring event at the Anza Club on Friday April 6th - a circus-inspired fashion show and party. Bring a friend or two, find some fun circus-type outfits and shake your thang on the dance floor to resident riot DJ F-you-B. Tickets are $5 but you can bring your stub to the store (1395 Commercial) and get a $5 discount on your next purchase. Tickets are available at riot from any riot squad member, and at their sister store Hotbox (2560 Main St).

Need to find a perfect finishing touch to your party outfit? Stop by riot ahead of time to take advantage of their spring sale - spend $100 or more and get $25 off your purchase. Offer valid until Sunday April 8th.

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Man Sought

MAN SOUGHT Burnaby RCMP is looking for 71-year-old Dominic Greco, who left his Burnaby home on Monday and hasn't been seen since. He takes medication for several medical conditions, and is known to frequent the Commercial Drive area in Vancouver. He has gray hair and glasses and was last seen wearing a heavy gray or black sweater and dark brown pants.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Potvin Wins Green Party Seat for Vancouver-Kingsway

Back on March 16th, we reported a Green Party candidates meeting at Cafe Deux Soleils.
Well, the vote is in and our own Kevin Potvin made the grade. Read his thoughts in this article from the Vancouver Courier:

Last Sunday, I got myself nominated as the federal Green Party candidate in Vancouver-Kingsway.
My motivation is the same as when I ran for council in 2005. The interface between citizens and politicians has become opaque with layers of mystery, intrigue and gossip. We can either have elected representatives making up the rules of the game, or we can have appointed technocrats doing it for us.

Read the full story here...

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Britannia ED Responds to Councillor's Capri's Remarks

Back on March 13th, we ran an article on budget cuts at Britannia. Kyle Pearce, Britannia's Executive Director, responded with a letter to the Courier's editor.

I am writing to respond to comments reported in the article discussing budget cuts that will affect Britannia Community Services Centre Society. We would like to clarify that the cuts made to our operating budget were not voluntary.

Read the whole article here

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State of the Arts

The Vancouver Courier has a few articles about and by Drivers, like the cover story by Kevin Potvin about the Vancouver art scene featuring Dr. Vigari's Bill Gotts.

Read the story here...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Special Event: Bite of the Underground

This Saturday evening at RIME on Commercial Drive will feature another eclectic and electric night of music, laughs, and spoken word...featuring Patrick Swan, Jess Hill, John Murphy, Adrienne Wong, Charlie Demers and Circus in Flames. Tickets are $12 and hopefully they'll be available at the door.
Here's the official blurb from organizer, Nick Marino:
Here is the line-up: Charlie Demers (one of the best comedians in the city - also a skecth comic and editor of seven Oaks online magazine) Patrick Swan (slam poet ) John Murphy ( actor/ writer / director will be performing part of his hilarious new play) It's Good to Know People ( sketch comedy duo - performed several show at the comedy fest last year - they are "the folk fest meets the shopping channel") Jess Hill (see picture) (singer/songwriter - beautiful voice, beautiful songs, friendly girl) Adrienne Wong (she has a ukelele). there will also be a band of local rockers - circus in flames - to close the show.
the show is called Bite of the Underground
it is on March 31st at rime ( a restaurant at 1130 commercial drive)
it starts at 8:30
tickets are $12
If you are interested in tickets, please reply to or phone Nick at 604 298 0955

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Armed Guards to Patrol Bus Line for Pilot Project

They're already on SkyTrain, and now armed guards will patrol a busy bus line through Vancouver as part of a TransLink pilot project. Two teams of fare inspectors and gun-carrying transit cops will ride the 99-B line from Commercial Drive to UBC, protecting drivers, breaking up fights, and making sure everyone pays.

TransLink is hoping to increase the load factor on the route by letting people board through all of the doors, but it needs to check fares to do that. Bus drivers will also benefit from a new $45-million radio system installed on all buses in April. It includes a GPS, so if a driver's in trouble, TransLink will know exactly where the bus is. There were 241 assaults on drivers last year, ranging from verbal assaults to all-out beatings.

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Car-Free Commercial Drive Needs You

[please forward to anyone you think might be into this!]

Hello all fans of Fun for Free.

This message is going out to my lists of people who have made the 2005 and 2006 Commercial Drive Festivals happen...that's 300+ of you!
And you are just the tip of the iceberg...this phenomenon exists because all of you threw down, plus hundreds more residents and visitors and businesses contributed in so many ways, and thousands upon thousands have come out to support Car-Free Drive and co-create the urban paradise we know is possible.
So now we are gearing up for the summer of 2007, and in the works are up to THREE Car-Free Commercial Drive Festivals! The first one is definitely booked for Fathers Day, Sunday June 17...and other tentative dates are Sun. July 22 and Sun. Aug. 19. It's going to be a HOT summer as we cool the planet and edge our way toward Car-Free Vancouver.
Of course we need your help, in whatever way makes you happiest -- as blockade marshalls, setup-and-teardown people, posterers, community organizers, and every other little chore that makes it all happen. Feel free to send me a note now if you want to participate in one or more days, and we'll get down to the details of that in a few weeks.
ALSO, we are looking for a few people to fill key organizing roles. Our organizing crew is a stellar bunch of dedicated street-party animals, and this is a super way to get hooked into the community, expand your skills, and have a crazy amount of fun. The roles that especially need filling, especially in the days leading up to the events, are:

-assist with organizing STREET VENDORS
-assist with Commercial Drive BUSINESS LIAISON
-assist or coordinate COMMUNITY OUTREACH
-WEBSITE maintainance (this is really urgent, even if only a quick fix!) and possible redesign
-assist or coordinate ROVING PERFORMER POD
-assist or coordinate KIDZONE
-assist or coordinate DRIVE FEST MERCH POD (t-shirts etc)

Of course if you have some special skill or resource you want to offer up, don't hesitate to put it forward.

Looking forward to a sizzling car-free summer, with gratitude to all our neighbours,

Carmen and the Drive Fest Crew

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Literary: Spoken Revelations Moves to Thursdays

Poet Kagan Goh's Spoken Revelations has moved to Thursdays. Same Bat time. Same Bat Channel.
A spoken word night for poets. Whether your are a seasoned writer or just starting out, this is the event for you!
At the Aroma Cafe.
1865 Commercial

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Special Event: An Evening Of Tiki At The Waldorf

Tiki expert Donald Luxton explores the Polynesian pop culture phenomenon. March 27, 7 pm, The Waldorf Hotel (149 E. Hastings St.) Admission $20; Heritage Vancouver members $15. Registration required at .

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Artist Talk: Archer Pechawis

The Artists in Our Midst Program presents

An Evening with Archer Pechawis
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
7 – 9 pm
free admission

Archer Pechawis is a media-integrated performing artist, New Media artist, writer, curator and
teacher. He has been creating solo performance works since 1984. His practice investigates
the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology. Archer also works as a “First
Nations Stand-up Essayist” webmonkey, technician and MC.

Pechawis is fascinated with what he calls ‘transitional Cree culture’, the place where Cree
culture meets the onrush of millennial technology. He explores this fascination through
performance. He uses digital technologies in an attempt to locate and query this meeting
place, however fleeting. He describes his work as a temporary roadmap — signposts of
the moment, which he creates to share.

This special event takes place in the Conference Room of the Britannia Information Services Centre.

Britannia Art Gallery
1661 Napier St., (just off of Commercial Dr.,)
Vancouver, BC, V5L 4X4

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Visual Art: International Baccalaureate Art Show

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Visual Art: Helen Spaxman

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Theatre: We're All In This Together

Vancouver Moving Theatre, in association with urban ink’s Fathom Labs
and the Carnegie & Roundhouse Community Centres, present live shadow theatre on a giant shadow screen featuring 30 DTES involved musicians, crew and actors!

We’re All in This Together is a contemporary fable from the Downtown Eastside
Two families from different social backgrounds encounter humanity’s struggle with addiction. Out of the shadows emerge dreams and memories, fears, hopes and visions.
Written by Rosemary Georgeson and Savannah Walling with Sheila Baxter, Wendy Chew, Paul Decarie, Mary Duffy, Melissa Error, Patrick Foley, Leith Harris, Stephen Lytton, Muriel Williams and contributions by Larry Reed and James Fagan Tait.

Savannah Walling Artistic Director
Kim Collier Director
Ya-wen V. Wang
Musical Director
Joelysa Pankanea & Ya-wen V. Wang Music
Tamara Unroe w/ Sharon Bayly Design
Adrian Muir T.D. and Lighting Design
Robin Bancroft-Wilson Stage Manager
David Chantler & Larry Reed Shadow Theatre Consultants
Terry Hunter Producer
John Endo Greenaway Graphics

Post Performance Talks featuring among others

Donald MacPherson, City of Vancouver Drug Policy Program Coordinator
Professor Emeritus Bruce Alexander, Author ‘Roots of Addiction in a Free Market Society’
Coco Culbertson, Director, Lifeskills Centre

Aline LaFlamme, Executive Director, Aboriginal Front Door

Bud Osborne, Poet & community activist

APRIL 19 to APRIL 29, 2007
Thursday to Sunday Shows 8pm
Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Avenue
Campbell and Keefer, seven blocks east of Main
Suggested Donation $5 - $20
Reservations Recommended 604-254-6911

“Stunning, stark and startling all at the same time.”
Robyn Livingstone, Carnegie Newsletter
“There is more wisdom in this play then in 150 years of research.”
Author, SFU Professor Emeritus Bruce Alexander

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Picture of the Day by Peter Valentine

Are you a shutter bug?
We want your take on the Drive!
Send us your pics to


Sunday, March 25, 2007


With CelticFest 2007 put to bed Sunday evening, I finally had a break from what amounted to five straight days of drinking. Mind you, it was not all for naught – I heard and saw some great performers and met some wonderful, interesting people from all nationalities. The price paid, however, was with my health and so Wednesday morning I woke up to a cold - my third one since New Years!

The expression that says one “comes down” with a cold, is smack on because it certainly does bring one down. I’m sure that stress was a major factor, too, since I’ve got a lot going on these days, lots of looming opportunities and big decisions to make. But when you have a throbbing head and are having trouble even breathing, it’s hard to contemplate tackling anything bigger than just getting out of bed.

I watched a lot of TV, having found this great site that has tons of shows, cartoons and movies. Who needs cable!

I watched the whole season of Heroes, a show about seemingly ordinary people who discover they have supernatural powers. Comic book stuff: as a matter of fact one of the characters is a comic artist who paints the future and Spider-man creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance.

An Iraqi friend of mine calls superheroes and comics the American Mythology. I think he’s right, but I think that what makes them popular is that they do strike a cord with most people.

There are two underlying threads to the series which are also common to comics:

People with special talents and abilities are outcasts and generally unappreciated,


Everyone has a destiny.

I believe the first is a truism, and the second a leap of faith.

Commercial Drive is full of comic book characters and sensibilities. So many people in funny costumes and disguises who carry inside them a mostly blind faith as to what destiny holds for them - to the point of alienating themselves from friends and loved ones in pursuit of it.

I think it takes courage to be different, to follow dreams and chase uncertainty. The rest of the world is jealous of what it can’t do.

And yet, when someone finds themselves in some type of emotional train wreck, it is some type of art that helps pull them out of it!

Until next time, keep up the good work, and stay in touch.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Literature: Advance Van Slam Final Tickets Available

The Vancouver Poetry Slam season is heating up as Van Slam Playoffs draw near. The Van Slam finals night will be Monday May 7th at the WISE Hall on Adanac street. Advance tickets will be available at all 3 Poetry Slams in April at Café Deux Soleils and the dates for the April slams are April 2nd, April 16th and April 30th.

Advance tickets are $10 each. Day of tickets at the door will be $15. The feature for finals night will be 2 time National Poetry Slam Champion, Anis Mojgani. Anis was also a top 5 finalist at the most recent IWPS Festival held in Vancouver in February.

If it is impossilbe for you to make it in advance to Café Deux Soleils in April you can purchase tickets directly through RC Weslowski at 604 215 9230 or email


Literature: Guerilla Poetry Series

Join Commercial Drive poet Warren Fulton
for the GPS (Guerilla Poetry Series)

According to Fulton, GPS is "a poetry reading event held in public venues, that takes poetry out of the cosiness of the coffeeshops, the guarded security of chain bookstores, the safe asylum of the university's ivory towers & the other pampered & protected sanctuaries that act as secure havens for poetry & poets, & brings poetry out into the light, out into the fresh air, to revitalize it, presenting poems to the people, accessible to the great unwashed masses, the multitudes just waiting for something to happen, the general populace paralyzed by the monotony, the predictability of the everyday, day after day...

"We will offer an eye-opening wake-up call, through vivacious verse, poets/spoken word artists sharing their words, gifts, their insights, their observations, opinions, etc... on sidewalks, in barbershops, in laundromats, in front of libraries, in public parks, at bus stops, in touristy areas of interest, in shopping malls, grocery stores, bowling alleys, post offices, etc..."

These happenings happen each & every Sunday in & around the lower Mainland of Greater Vancouver, BC
at 3:00 PM
every SUNDAY

This Sunday:
meet at the corner of Robson & Burrard
in front of the building that once was home to the Vancouver Public Library & is now home to HMV Canada
Check it out at:

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Theatre: Bigger Than Jesus

MARCH 28–APRIL 7, 2007, 8 PM

March 31 & April 7, 4 pm matinee performances. No performance April 2

Vancouver East Cultural Centre

Created by Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks

Performed by Rick Miller

Directed by Daniel Brooks

Designed by Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson

Who was Jesus? Was he the Son of God or just another prophet? Bigger than Jesus begins with a 33-year-old man coming face to face with the Roman Catholicism ingrained in his youth. He leads us on a quest to understand the tremendous impact that a Jewish peasant from Galilee has had on the world. Through twelve interlocking character portraits (mirroring the 12 stages of the Passion), we confront varying interpretations of Christ and Christianity, and the often cavernous gulf between them.

This challenging new one-man show features the trademark humour and intelligence of actor/playwright Rick Miller. Live video projections show off Miller’s facial expressions, Daniel Brooks’ clever staging, and the play’s innovative design. Bigger than Jesus has wowed audiences across Canada, the US, Germany and Italy. Christians and non-Christians alike will find plenty of philosophical points to chew over, as well as virtuoso performing and staging to enjoy. Visit to learn more.

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Sauna Sessions Herb School Art Auction

Herb School Art Auction and the Late Night Sweatshop

This friday come to the Sweatshop skate studio for an all-out, all-herb revue featuring an authentic herb-themed street art auction benefit for the Herb School, food from Lux Nouvelle high cuisine, music with DJ Woodhead, Karlis & MC Cedar, Pandora Springs (in a herbal mood), DJs
Ghetto and Dan Solo, and a saunatruck to get your extra sweat on.

We'll be going from like 8pm-3am

no cover.

The Sweatshop: Friday March 23, 1820 Pandora Street Alley Entrance.

bring your skateboard and bring a towel!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Job Search Workshop

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Music: Upcoming at the Rime

Tambura Rasa returns to RIME for another evening of enchanting Mediterranean and Middle Eastern grooves on April 6th.

Get Closer To The Flame, April 26th at RIME when Joel Kroeker celebrates the release of his new album by the same name. Hear more of his music at

For a complete listing of events happening at the Rime, go to their website


Music: Galitcha

Experience a unique blend of Indian and Quebecois folk! Galitcha means ‘tapestry’. Witness a musical weave you won’t believe, March 31st at the WISE Hall.

Since 1996 Kuljit Sodhi, Galitcha's lead singer, composer and percussionist has been building an ensemble which integrates music with a strong North Indian footprint overlaid with influences from western folk and jazz and instrumentation from around the world.

From heartfelt devotional and love songs, to compelling lively dance tunes, Galitcha (meaning tapestry) takes audiences on a musical journey from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. The songs are mainly sung in Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi with explanations in English and/or French. Vocalists Kuljit Sodhi also on East Indian dholki drum and Chris MacLean also on guitar, the accordion-like harmonium, Appalachian dulcimer and a one-stringed banjo called gopichand; Linsey Wellman on saxophones and flutes; and Shawn Mativetsky on East Indian tabla drum, dhol (barrel drum) and percussion; create a culturally diverse Canadian sound. But Galitcha's performances are not just about the music. There is an inspiring sense of devotion - to the muse, to each other, to the audience - which is consistently part of their presence on and off stage.


Music: The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble

The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble will perform a special concert for spring at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, March 2nd & 3rd. Featured will be a new work by Vancouver trumpeter and composer, John Korsrud. 604.683.8240

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Music: Live Jazz and Swing Dancing!

Thursday, March 29, 2007
8:00 PM

Stomp It Off!
2205 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia V5N 4B6
A special night of swing dancing with the Blue Morris 6 swing band featuring Carly Jepsen. Brought to you by Jungle Swing.

At the Grandview Legion Auditorium on Commercial Drive. Wonderful large auditorium upstairs from the Legion. Big stage, great dance floor. Near Broadway skytrain station. Go in the door under the sign that reads "Auditorium."

The Blue Morris 6 is Vancouver's new swing band featuring the voice of Carly Jepsen. The group was formed by Blue initially with one goal in mind: to create music that's great for swing dancing! Since then the band has gained a following in Vancouver with both dancers and non-dancers alike. The band has a sound similar to the 1940s & 50s small-group swing bands, but with a bluesy twist.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Where Are They Now: James McAuliffe

If you were a poet in Vancouver in the mid-90's, James P. McAuliffe will be a familiar name to you. His deep, resonating voice (both literally and metaphorically speaking) was unmistakable and unforgetable. Leaving Ontario to settle here, he immediately hit the ground running and began producing several poetry readings around East Vancouver.
I call him the grand daddy of slam poetry because, along several other poets like Graham Olds and Justin McGrail (and myself), he was instrumental in building and sending the first slam team down to Portland, Oregon back in the mid 90's.
The success of the recent Individual World Poetry Slam, shows that McAuliffe was on the right path.
Currently he lives back East, where he is the Creative director for Hideout Press ( - A publication dedicated to helping independent writers.
His work is currently spotlighted on the blog Hammered Out.
McAuliffe is married and the father of 4 children.

Keep an eye out on this blog for a profile on Alexandra Oliver, a member of the first team that went down to Portland, back in 1996.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Workshop on Publishing Begins April 9

Join the editorial board of the Republic of East Vancouver and learn the ins and outs of newspaper production, with Britannia Community Centre's Introduction to Small Publishing workshop.
Publisher Kevin Potvin leads the 10 week workshop which will produce the paper's special supplement which this time around will focus on energy - nuclear, geopolitics, and peak oil. The focus of articles will be on information and public policy choices, and a little bit of opinion too.
Participants will be expected to learn about the larger issues, discuss article ideas around the table, research those ideas during the week, write articles, edit each other's articles, design the supplement, help lay it out, raise funds for it's printing, and contribute to its distribution.
On a larger level, participants will learn firsthand what is involved in a plan to launch their own small independent newspaper.
Classes start April 9 and meet from 7-9pm. Call 6o4-718-5800 to register or visit

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

From the Editorial Desk

There won't be much of a musing this week, because CelticFest 07 is in full heat. I've lost track of how many times I've heard Whiskey In a Jar. Too many, but that's the worst complaint from the festival.
Come take in the parade on Sunday. East Van's Terminal City Rollergirls will be there, among tons of other people you might know.
On Wednesday night I went to the Afro-Celt Beats Without Borders concert. Saw many Drivers there and much fun was had by all.
On Thursday, the four members of the East Vancouver Limerick Allstars had their asses severely wooped by members of the audience in the Celtic Kink Limerick Challenge. Even seasoned slam poets RC Weslowski (Randy Jacobs), Chris Gilpin, Sean McGaragle and Nora Heslersmith couldn't avoid the feminine wiles of members of the Sweet Soul Burlesque. In this writer's opinion, though, Nora faired best! Nice to see familiar faces in the crowd.

A word of advice: Clean up your garbage. I'm not kidding. East Vancouver doesn't have to look like a crap hole. I saw a letter in one of the dailies suggesting that the city pay for advertising to remind people to pick up their garbage. I think it would be better if we spent money directing advertising to parents. Tell them to teach their kids to clean up. Perhaps we can breed some decent values into the next generation.
I'll leave you with a link to a Commercial Drive version of the popular Free Hugs video.

Sadly it really doesn't compare to the great real Free Hugs video with music by the Sick Puppies, but I applaud the sentiment all the same.
Until next week, keep doing good work, and keep in touch.

Special Event: 21st CENTURY FLEA MARKET

Sunday, March 18, 2007

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Croatian Cultural Center
3250 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia

Friday, March 16, 2007

Public Meeting: Meet the Green Party Candidates For Vancouver-Kingsway

Kevin Potvin, publisher of The Republic newspaper, will be seeking the Green Party nomination in Vancouver-Kingsway for the next federal election expected this spring.

The nomination meeting will take place at 2:30 on March 24 at Café Deux Soleil, 2096 Commercial Drive. Come out to show support and hear some ideas!

Vancouver-Kingsway is currently represented by Liberal-elected, but Conservative-defected, David Emerson. In the previous election, the Liberals won with 43% of the votes, running that star candidate. Ian Waddell, a long-recognized figure on the left, representing the NDP, came second with 34%. The Conservatives came third with 19%, and the Green candidate came in fourth at 3%.

This time, the Conservatives, after Emerson’s defection to them, could lose half their support; the NDP, if Waddell bows out this time, could lose 5%; and the Liberal candidate, an unknown taking the place of Emerson as a Liberal, may lose up to 14% . That would leave 31%—enough to win—for an effective Green candidate. It’s a long-shot scenario. But if it’s possible to win, that’s how the vote would break out.

Come out and talk to the candidates (other ridings in Vancouver will also conduct their nomination meetings same place, same time) March 24 at 2:30 at Café Deux Soleil, and see just what the possibilities are!

You could also volunteer to help, which would be ducky. Time could be extremely short. An election may well be called before the 24th.

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Free Breakfast for Riding the Bus

If you took public transit yesterday morning, breakfast was on SPEC.

Organizers from the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) and Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) were pulling out all the stops for transit users, providing a free plate of pancakes and scrambled tofu to riders passing through the Commercial Drive and Broadway station.

The free breakfast campaign was a unique way to both reward transit users for their environmentally friendly transportation choice, and highlight concerns over the provincial government's approach to climate change in the Lower Mainland.

SPEC and BEST organizers are worried that the recent announcement of plans to reorganize Translink will widen the gap between the transportation authority and regional land use plans, increasing single-occupant vehicles and greenhouse gases.

"We want to deliver a message to government that they should [stop] starving transit and de-emphasize their car-centred approach," said David Fields, with SPEC.

Breakfast, bought locally and mostly organic, was served at the westbound B-Line stop.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Local Poets Take on Limericks at CelticFest 2007

Familiar slam poets RC Weslowski, Sean McGarragle, Chris Gilpin and Nora Heslersmith will be making up the Vancouver Limerick All Star team and taking on any challengers at CelticFest 2007's first annual Celtic Kink Limerick Challenge tomorrow night at Ceili's Pub (the former Sky Bar) night club.
Why call it Celtic Kink? As if it weren't tough enough to write a limerick on the spot, the poets face the real challenge of having to do so while being distracted by sexy burlesque dancers from the Sweet Soul Burlesque troupe (See above pic).
Contestants have a chance to win CelticFest 2007 prizes, including a custom-made kilt from Utilikilts.
Complete information on the event can be found here:

Tune in tomorrow, March 15 to CFUN (1410 AM) at 3:30pm for an interview with event organizer Steven Duncan and Jennifer Thomson (one of the celebrity judges for the competition)
on the Jenn and Joe Show.

CelticFest 2007 runs from March 14-18th in and around downtown Vancouver. For more information check out the CelticFest website

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Britannia Talking Lost Weekends

$10,000 Cut Affects Auxiliary Staff
By Sandra Thomas – Vancouver Courier

The executive director of Britannia Community Centre says a recent budget cut will hurt its popular weekend operations.

Kyle Pearce noted the NPA-dominated city council cut $13,000from the centre’s annual $2.5 million budget during the city’s budget deliberations. The cut included $3000 from general supplies and $10,000 from auxiliary staffing.

“We think we can absorb the $3000,” said Pearce. “Though that doesn’t mean that money will be given back next year, it’s a scar that stays. But what will really affect us is the $10,00 for auxiliary staff.”

Two auxiliary staff members, one at the information centre and an activities coordinator, work weekends. Pearce called both jobs vital to running the centre and said the budget cuts amount to a loss of 10 hours per weekend between two positions.

According to Pearce, the information centre employee greets people as they come to the door, does clerical work, registers visitors and sells memberships. The employee also directs visitors to locations such as the pool and rink, which are housed in other buildings of the large complex. The activities coordinator opens the doors on all the buildings and registers program instructors.

“The person in the visitors centre also has lots of information for people that’s not related to the centre and can refer them to the service agencies if that’s what they need,” said Pearce.

Pearce said the centre must choose between dividing the 10-hour cut between the two jobs or closing the information centre on weekends. The ice rink and pool won’t be affected by the cuts.

Jenn McGinn, association president for the community centre, said depending on how the hours are divided, weekend programs could be cancelled because no staff will be available to open rooms and buildings.

“For example, if there is a yoga class that’s supposed to be offered on Saturdays, it could be cancelled because there is no staff around to open rooms,” said McGinn.

Britannia is unusual because unlike most other community centres in the city, it doesn’t fall under the parks board’s jurisdiction but instead is handled by the city. McGinn said under previous councils the centre had a dedicated liaison, but that’s not the situation now.

“Under Larry Campbell we had a liaison, but not under Sam Sullivan,” she said. “We have a park board and school liaison, but no liaison from council.”

McGinn said each year the city asks the board of the community centre to make a list of three areas where “budget adjustments” would have the least impact. She said despite the fact that auxiliary staff was on this year’s “least worst” list, the board still argued unsuccessfully against the cut.

“We did what we could, but it didn’t help,” said McGinn.

NPA Coun. Kim Capri said auxiliary staff were included in the community centre’s list of possible budget cuts for the second in year in a row.

“They came forward and said these are the ways we could tighten our belt,” Capri told the Courier “The $10,000 cut is based on their recommendation.”

She said $10,000 isn’t a huge cut, considering the centre’s $2.5 million annual budget.

“And at the end of the day, it was their recommendation.”

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Picture of the Day by Peter Valentine

Exclusive to Commercial Drive - Live!


Design For Development Society (DFD) Receives Charitable Status!

The idea of DFD started about two years ago while when Sue Fairburn and Niki Dun participated in a design workshop in rural South Africa. There they used design to solve problems and empower communities to self-reliance. Soon after, Design For Development was born based on the premise that they would use the design process as a problem-solving tool to address specific issues in areas of the world where basic human needs are not being met.

Though the aim was lofty they were well on the way to achieving it with they’re first project – a Bike Ambulance manufacturing facility in Namibia. The bike ambulance, their main project to date, was developed to improve the referral of patients to clinics from local communities and homesteads in situations where motorized transport is unavailable or inappropriate.

In Namibia they’ll be working to make the bike ambulance available to rural villages and health clinics, as well as providing community members with practical skills so that they can address future issues with confidence. DFD focuses on designing for (and with) the end-user, utilizing local materials and means of manufacture. They will be providing training to local trades people in the manufacturing of the bike ambulance, as well as in basic design and marketing.

It is this project that a number of Rotary clubs have recognized as their International Project of the Year and have agreed to partially fund. With the first phase of the project to begin in Windhoek, Namibia in June 2007, the fledgling society is now looking for additional support so that they can ensure the project progresses smoothly and completely! DFD is inviting people to help make this project a success. Reaching their project target of CAD$20,000 will ensure that they get bike ambulances and manufacturing/maintenance facilities to communities where they’re needed most.

Can you help?

To support the project, you can Donate Online through Canada Helps * Donate by Mail: If you would prefer to donate by mail, email at for a DFD donation form and send it along with a cheque made payable to Design For Development to:

Design For Development Society

PO Box 21658 - 1424 Commercial Drive

Vancouver BC Canada


All donations from Canadian sources will receive a tax receipt.

Take a look at their recently updated website ( Find out more about the bike ambulance and DFD’s other areas of focus. Ask questions by email or phone and please feel free to pass along our link to others who might be interested. Contact? We can be reached by email at or by telephone at +1 604 329 9657 (Canada) or +44 1224 485 029 (UK).


Monday, March 12, 2007

Meeting: Commercial Drive Fest

There will be a Drive Fest Org Mtg this coming Wednesday, March 14, at 7 pm, in the Common Room at 1707 Charles St. (the Turks building on the Drive, around the side through the gate). Snacks are always appreciated...

At that meeting we will
-do a check-in with the pods to see what's new
-discuss some exciting new developments and various vexatious issues, and
-get stoked for the summer ahead

Hope you can all make it out! And please invite anyone you think might be interested in taking on an organizing role.

For more info contact Carmen at Carmen


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Profile: Joanna Chapman-Smith

Joanna Chapman-Smith grew up with her New Zealand-born father, Italian-American mother, in a family of six on a quiet street on the edge of Toronto. Her father fell in love with the folk music of Eastern Canada when he came to Canada in 1983, singing his four children to sleep with these and the songs from his home every night. With the Toronto traffic rushing on in the distance, this is how Joanna learned music.

When Joanna moved out west to Vancouver, British Columbia - her music met a vast new array of cultural traditions. That was five years ago and since that time, Joanna has grown into her power as a singer and as a songwriter. In 2007 she released her first full-length album, Eyre Corvidae (Journey of the Crow Family). The songs in this collection are personal melodies, soothing rhythms and rocking laments. Influenced by a wide variety of traditions, her style is a satisfying blend of sounds. She ties her sound together with a unique vocal style that is sensitive and powerful. Joanna's love of music, and her joy of life come across in her music and voice. It is pure, passionate, and playful - as is her approach to music.

Find her music at or hear Joanna live with the Glee Club and friends Blue Island Trio, 30 Toes (Dance Company) and "Bad Poetry" by Melissa Bandura, Natalie Hobbs & Marnie Norwich

Friday, March 30th
9pm at Rime
1130 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC

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Saturday, March 10, 2007


It is funny where a person finds himself sometimes, speaking both physically, mentally, and spiritually, too, I suppose.

Life has put me in many strange places. On Friday afternoon a week ago, it was at a bus stop in North Vancouver. I’d just left a gymnasium full of about 300 elementary school kids going nuts dancing to Quebequois folk songs. Quite the spectacle, I tell you. A real Tylenol 3 moment.

Work put me there.

And as I was waiting, a car pulls up, the window rolls down, and a heavily-accented voice calls out to me, “What are you doing here?” It was Oscar, the ever-smiling owner of the Latin Quarter. He was taking his teenaged son to Bikrim Yoga for the first time. Not something I would have expected, but cool.

He offered me a lift down to the drive, and with snow starting to fall on that damp, off-the-beaten-path street, I could hardly say no to the offer. Besides, it was a good opportunity to get to know the man who’s business had been such a strong Arts supporter for so long.

We chatted a little bit about his business. The session at yoga was just one of about 3 other items he hoped to cross off his checklist before opening the restaurant doors later that night.

“Owning a restaurant is hard work,” he sighed. Being my own boss, I could commiserate. There were a thousand other things I needed to do too. But an afternoon like that, watching a talented kid’s performer like Marian Rose do her thing, was all part of it. I think of it as field work.

He mentioned his other endeavour, down in Seattle, Kirkland actually,, another restaurant specialising in Andean cuisine.

Rent and overhead was bringing the monthly bill for the place down south up to almost $50,000 (not sure if that is in CDN or US pesos). Yikes! It feels good when I compare it to my measly $10,000 debt load. Life could be worse.

Then we talked about rents on the Drive. As expected, they are cropping up, too, but traffic into the restaurant hasn’t necessarily kept in step.

He complained about returns being tight. They are thinking about trying a lunch menu, but in that business, every thing you experiment with is a financial drain and a risk because of the upfront cost of ingredients, labour and utilities.

So as the story usually goes, the artist suffers. Oscar’s having to cut live music a couple of nights a week. It’s not a decision he likes to make but inevitable. Something has to go.

It’s hard to hear this story when one thinks of all the new businesses cropping up and re-evolving. It makes me wonder how many of them have done any market research. Do they know what they’re getting into? Or maybe we just don’t know what’s coming.

“Life is difficult,” is the line that starts M. Scott Peck’s famous book, The Road Less Traveled. As North Americans, more specifically, as Canadians, most of us have not really had to learn this lesson. If you are reading this article, it means you have access to a computer and the internet, and that puts you at a level beyond most people in the world.

And yet these days, more and more, we are seeing and hearing stories of friends, neighbours and relatives finding life difficult. And while the latent causes for this despair tend to be things beyond our mortal control, like death and sickness, one can’t help but think that economics is playing a subtle role in the sadness we are experiencing.

The Drive has always been considered working class, although working poor is probably a more accurate description – a catch-all for artists, musicians, shift workers and small business people, etc.. This area attracted two types of visitors – the rich and the poor. The rich came for the food and atmosphere, the poor for the compassion. Both seemed to disappear when the businesses closed shop for the night.

These days those visitors are becoming the new residents. The poor are taking up residence in doorways while the rich are buying up houses and pushing property values to levels which were unimaginable just a few years ago.

The high cost of living is in contradiction with the fallen minimum wage. People are working more for less. And those not able to work are looking leaner and longer in the tooth. Relying on the kindness of strangers is its own kind of work. The problem is that many of us in this neighbourhood are only a paycheque or two away from being on the street corner beside them.

Most of the postings I put on this blog and in the email blasts I send out are for benefits or fundraisers of some sort. Has it always been like this?

I know dropping live music is not a decision Oscar takes lightly. He’s a big supporter of the arts. The Latin Quarter threw us a great wrap-up party after last year’s ANU, the multi-disciplinary event which happened at the Roundhouse (and which I was lucky to direct). Another option besides paying performers directly might be to start charging a cover, but the risk there is customers turning away at the door. Some places let performers pass a hat after their set. Personally, I find this a little hard to swallow. Frankly, I'm often stepping into a place to seek refuge from outstretched hands.

The Campbell government and the mainstream media keep telling us that unemployment is lower than it has been in years and that there are more jobs than people to fill them. I guess that all depends on what you want to do for a living. I don’t see many job postings that do much more than cover the bare basics.

I was at the Latin Quarter last Tuesday. Lache Cercel was playing. In my opinion, he’s one of Commercial’s best kept secrets. A classically trained Romanian violinist, he plays with incredible passion and versatility. The audience loved it. So did I. The day had been a tough one Lache’s music was the perfect tonic.

Lets hope that this new economy somehow finds a place for music and for art to not just exist, but thrive, and that, as a society, we find a way to always respect each other and the work each of us does.

Until next week.

Keep up your good work and stay in touch!


Special Event: Vulnerable Workers’ Rights Free Public Forum

The International Agenda for Vulnerable Workers’ Rights free public forum is being held on:

Thursday, March 29 @ 7 pm
Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street

Guy Standing, former Director of the Socio-Economic Security Program with the International Labour Organization, has written extensively on flexible work in the global economy, the feminization of employment and how to enhance the economic security of casual and precarious workers.

Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour, will also be speaking.

This public event opens a 2-day conference, Jobs and Justice: Strategies and Solutions for Economic Security, taking place March 29-31. Registration for full conference is $175 ($35 for students/low-income).

Visit for details.


Artist's Talk: Stanley Mishkin

Stanley Mishkin is an artist who specializes in oil paintings with a focus on figurative work. He will present a detailed look into the process he uses in developing his imagery in the

Sunday, March 11 from 2 - 4pm

Britannia Art Gallery
1661 Napier St in the library.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Public Meeting: Supportive Housing Strategy

This is a message sent on behalf of Jill Davidson, Homeless Policy Coordinator, City of Vancouver.

"I'm writing to invite you to be part of the public process for the draft Supportive Housing Strategy. On January 30, City Council received the draft Strategy and referred it public discussion. All the public feedback will be presented to City Council in late May at which time the public will have an opportunity to speak directly to Council.

The draft Strategy identifies where and how an additional 450 supportive housing apartments (10 – 15 buildings) could be built over the next 10 years. Currently there are over 1,200 units of purpose built supportive housing in the City. City Council policy is to locate supportive housing throughout Vancouver.

We have organized a series of meetings in conjunction with Vancouver Coastal Health. The purpose of these meetings is to:

· Provide information about mental illness, addiction and supportive housing and;
· Discuss the recommendations in the strategy with an emphasis on how supportive housing can be integrated into neighbourhoods

There are a number of ways you can participate.

You can visit our webpage at

You can attend one of our smaller eight neighbourhood-based community discussions. Please call Peter Greenwell at 604-871-6434 to register so we can ensure adequate space is available to accommodate those who are interested.

March 7, 7-9 pm
Collingwood Neighbourhood House
5288 Joyce Street

March 14, 7-9 pm
South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
6470 Victoria Drive

March 20, 7-9 pm
St. James Community Square
3214 West 10th Avenue

for information and to provide feedback on the Strategy.
March 23, 7-9 pm
Aboriginal Friendship Centre
1607 E. Hastings Street

April 4, 7-9 pm
Mount Pleasant Community Centre
3161 Ontario Street

April 11, 7-9 pm
Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House
4065 Victoria Drive

April 12, 7-9 pm
South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
6470 Victoria Drive
(Punjabi interpretation provided)

April 17, 7-9 pm
Chinese Cultural Centre
50 East Pender Street
(Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation provided)

April 18, 7-9 pm
St. Mary’s Church
2490 West 37th Avenue

April 24, 7-9 pm
St. Andrew's-Wesley
1012 Nelson Street

You can attend our two general public meetings.

March 26, 7-9:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm with displays)
Kitsilano High School Auditorium
2550 West 10th Avenue

April 5, 7-9:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm with displays)
Croation Cultural Centre
3250 Commerical Drive

For further information please contact Peter Greenwell at or call him at the number above."


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Beers, Bands and Derby

March 25, 2007

The Faster Pussycats are raising funds for the Terminal City Rollergirls May 2007 Exhibition Bout!

Come out and have a cocktail with the Cats and rock out with
Seattle’s very own Merle Haggard Rock Tribute band Mama Tried as well as the recently revamped Crossbone Cadalliacs, now know as The Killer Saints, and Air Raid Siren!

The Tiki Lounge at the Waldorf Hotel

489 East Hastings
Doors at
7pm first Band at 8! Be there!
Win 2 VIP Lounge Passes to TCRG Exhibition Bout!

Tickets $8 in advance at Red Cat Records and Zulu OR $10 at the door.

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Special Event: Chaz Royal's Infamous St. Patty's Burlesque Showdown

Chaz Royal's Infamous

Red Head Revue VS Raven Haired Revue!

Friday March 16th 2007
@ Croatian Cultural Center, 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver British Columbia

Tickets $17.50 Advance/ $20 @ Doors

Available at: Scratch, Zulu, Red Cat, Highlife, Clubzone

Team Red Head:
Cecilia Bravo, Goody Goody, Lady Aurora, Miss Via Rose, Lucy Luck

Team Raven Hair:

Chica Boom, Bella Cozette, Lola Frost, Farrah Moans, Pink Sky

Hosted By the Intrepid:

MC Chris Alan

Doors at 9pm, Showtime 10:30pm

This Year's Best St Pattys Event! Spead the word :)

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Literary: Vancouver Poetry Slam











"...Is a femme dyke working class poet who was born and raised in Michigan, but now lives, writes, and teaches in Seattle. She believes art is a tool for social change. Her poems, essays, and novel-in-progress explore issues such as gender, sexuality, social class and race. Her work brings into focus lives and experiences not often explored by mainstream artists. Her long-term goal is to begin a queer writing institute here in Seattle. To that end, she has been teaching queer writing classes for two years, and has recently quit her day job to pursue this objective."










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