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DIY TILL YOU DIE: Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

24 Jun

I love performance and technology, particularly when they intersect with fashion and design.

Luckily, I’m not alone…

Because Vancouver’s first Mini Maker Faire is happening this weekend!

From 10 am to 5 pm on June 25 and 26, Great Northern Way Campus will be turned into a veritable feast for the eyes, ears and hands of novelty-hungry Vancouverites. For the first time ever in our fair city, we will be able to interact with a community of local crafters, builders, tinkerers, engineers and hobbyists who will gather to show off their skills and enthusiasm under the umbrella term of “Maker.”

Vancouver Mini Maker Faire (VMMF) is a two-day celebration of making and creating. It’s an all-ages family festival promoting the ethos of DIY on a large scale. Some of the features include pyrotechnics, kinetic sculptures, interactive musical installations, and 3d printers that can print themselves.

Interactive booths stationed throughout will both educate and entertain: teaching people how to complete a circuit, spin wool, or even smoke bacon!

Awesome.

Something really cute and creative that’s been garnering a lot of attention in on blogs and such these past few weeks is yarnbombing (aka yarnstorming or yarngraffiting), whereby a group of knit-savvy crafters gather together to shroud a public space in cozy, knitted coverings.

One such group, led by VMMF organizer Emily Smith, yarnbombed the Dunsmuir bike lanes the weekend of June 11 to promote the faire, and the results couldn’t have been more charming.

I love it!

Check out the VMMF blog for more info.

Something else I plan to take in is a talk by Vincent van Haaff, who will be discussing what music, video/installation art, hackspaces, and the maker movement all have in common. Van Haaff will explore the parallels between connecting software libraries and hardware, and connecting people and communities, taking into account how these points can benefit and accelerate every piece involved.

Originally from Southern California, van Haaff went from a record label co-founder and audio hacker in Los Angeles, to a rock climbing/chard-growing hippie in Santa Barbara, before moving to Vancouver to become a video game software developer and media artist. His expertise spans from data and music visualization to computer vision and user-centred design.

Definitely someone I want to learn more about.

Read more about Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in the Vancouver Courier and the Georgia Straight, and listen in on CBC Radio.

To pique your interest even more, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite music vids by Bjork, which I think really captures the Maker mindset:

See you all at the Faire!

First photo courtesy of xyberlog.com. Yarnbombing photos courtesy the VMMF blog.

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2010 OLYMPIC MADNESS: Enjoy street dance parties, avoid epic lineups

20 Feb

Dear any/all loyal readers,

My profoundest apologies for not updating this past week. I am completely wrapped up in Olympic madness!

Things will get back to normal by the end on Feb. 28. Promise.

Love,

LR.

Post Script:

As a former naysayer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, I am happy to report that I have had an awesome time pretty much every day since they started on Feb. 12.

It’s been one gigantic party from start to now!

The most fun thing I’ve done thus far is attended the Decentralised Dance Party last Saturday. It was freakin’ am-a-zing, and I’m not the only one who thought so. Check out what local blogger Miss 604 had to say about it.

It was basically a flash mob-style dance party where everyone shows up at a pre-specified time with boomboxes tuned into a local radio station that broadcasts dance tunes by event organizers Tom and Gary. There have been eight of these so far. This time, everyone was decked out in Canadiana and red and white sporting accessories.

The guys do all their broadcasting on the move, so it becomes a mobile factory of love and energy!

The event started at 6 pm at the Roundhouse in Yaletown and will roamed through the narrow streets nearby before heading toward Granville St. Honestly you guys, I danced in the streets with hundreds of other gyrating partiers for THREE POINT FIVE HOURS!

Check it OUT!

My poss! Canuck rowdies.

Epitome of decentralized dance. Couldn’t be a better photo.

“Everyone gets a free balloon!”

Our friend brought his giant bike speaker. So right on.

AND his bike has a strobe light! We are glad he is our friend.

Short shorts and a luger. Is this in poor taste?

Hockey stick limbo!

Mostly succeeded at limbo. Mostly…

Non-judgmental dance party!

Sex with speakers.

Yeti love!

Although this dance party was the best, I will say that in general, the lineups have been ridiculous. See below for list of Olympic events/venues I’ve tried to attend, with synopses and actual time spent waiting in line:

WINS:

1.) Feb. 13 – Atlantic House on Granville Island – wait time: 20 minutes – spent the afternoon drinking some East Coast beer; had a general awesome time.

2.) Feb. 13 – Decentralised Dance Party throughout Downtown Vancouver – wait time: 0 minutes – by far the most excellent thing I’ve done relating to the Olympics. See amazing photo essay above.

3.) Feb. 18 – Olympic flame at Coal Harbour – wait time: 0 minutes – checked out the flame with friends and stood near its warmth for a while taking in the general good cheer. Then off to a nearby pub! Nice to experience no lineups to see something for once.

FAILS:

1.) Feb. 13 – Swiss House on Granville Island – suggested wait time was 45 minutes. I only waited for five mins before I left for nearby Atlantic House.

2.) Feb. 15 – Matisyahu at LiveCity Yaletown – wait time: 35 minutes, barely moved. It was raining so we left and got dessert nearby.

3.) Feb. 19 – Deadmau5 at LiveCity Yaletown – wait time: 30 minutes, didn’t move. Got there at 5pm for 9:30 show, and they closed the gates at 5:30. Venue was at capacity at 8,000 and, according to the Vancouver Sun, 20,000 people tried to attend. The ensuing street party sounds like it would have been fun though. I LOVE DANCING IN THE STREET!

3.) Feb. 19 – German House in Gastown – wait time: 45 minutes to get into the waiting tent, bought at $9 beer and waited for another 45 minutes before realizing there were 200 people ahead of us in line to get in to the actual pavilion. I asked the bouncer if it would be worth the wait of several more hours, and he answered honestly that he wasn’t sure. No glass boots! No ATM machines! No German athletes (that we could see)! No free German swag! Moving along…

4.) Feb. 19 – Saxony House in Stanley Park – Did not even BOTHER waiting in the gigantic lineup for this; it looked like we’d be in line for about five hours so we observed the line full of hopefuls, took photos like tourists and promptly left.

So that’s what I’ve taken in so far. What other events have you all been checking out? What’s worth doing, and what’s better left to the patient masses?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

All photos by me. Click images to see them in better quality.

RANT: Drinking at CODE Live event difficult; caused separation anxiety

10 Feb

Well, I would like to review the Junior Boys DJ set I attended last Saturday as part of the CODE Live Cultural Olympiad

That is to say, I would like to, but due to the stifling nature of VANCOC/City of Van/B.C. liquor laws — I cannot.

I totally missed the @#$%! Junior Boys because it took SOOO long to get a drink. The show was held in a huge warehouse out on Great Northern Way Campus, and this had the potential to be pretty darn awesome.

But first, after waiting to get inside the venue (to be expected), we had to wait in a 20-minute line to go through one tiny door toward the drinking lounge. Behind the door was a large, colourfully-lit area with white glowing tables and doodles of intestines and sperm on the walls.

Hmmokay, sperm… no, drinks! Let’s not get distracted here.

We quickly found the bar and some minutes later (like eight) we were told we needed to buy drink tickets first. Bah. So we waited in a 15-to-20-minute line to get those.

Then we had to wait in a fourth and final line to get a @#$%! drink! Obvs I got two because I was not about to go through that go-around again.

Annnnnnnnd therefore I missed the bleeding Junior Boys DJ set. The very same DJ set I had hoped to see the most!

Ahh well, I did see LA Riots, and they managed to rock the warehouse pretty badass (see above photo of crazy crowd-surfing-bodystocking dude) but I must admit, as  I danced the night away I felt a bit deflated. Perhaps it was empty space in my hot little hand, just the right size for, oh I dunno, a DRINK?

Anyway, all in all the show was decent but in the end I went home pissed… and not in the drunken way.

Perhaps the provincial laws are not to blame. Perhaps it’s the typical Vancouver prohibitions on drinking in order to make the city into a designated no-fun zone: “No, no we can’t have drinking in places specified to have fun things happening there as well. People might see! They might not buy property!”

This would never fly in the U.S.; it would never fly in the U.K. This is why the Pemberton Festival will likely not return to our fair province! Sorry: rant.

Anyway, in the end my favourite memories from the night were rooted in the compliments I received on my new and awesome necklace:

Isn’t it the best?! I think the necklace looks kinda like a disease, or, as my lovely friend said, “Like something created by Lucy and Bart” — those creative geniuses to whom I gave shoutouts some months ago.

It’s made by Majique and I bought it at the Bay, also where I picked up this nationalistic t-shirt to wear to Olympic events ’round the city.

Let’s hope the rest of the festivities don’t disappoint.

(Stern stare.)

All photos by me.

ELAINE SAYS GET OUT: And go see Junior Boys’ DJ set

6 Feb

Whatchoo doin’ tonight?

You don’t know? What?!

Well, you know what you should do: Check out the New Forms Festival that’s part of Code Live, the interactive arts and culture arm of the 2010 Olympic Games!

It’s at 9:30 pm tonight at Great Northern Way Campus. Tix are $18, I believe.

If so inclined, here is the smorgasbord of electronic artists you can see tonight:

LA Riots
The Golden Filter
Junior Boys DJ Set
Konrad Black
U-Tern
Humans
Electrabelle

I’m particularly stoked for the Junior Boys DJ set (love those guys… AND they’re from Hamilton, ON!). Not sure exactly what kind of set to expect from them, but I’m a huge fan of their remixes so I have no doubt it will be a dancing good time.

Speaking of dance, you simply must check out this rad dance routine to Junior Boys’ “In the Morning:”

Isn’t it hilariously awesome? I really like their matching outfits — particularly the striped shorts with dangling suspenders.

And I am totally stealing those moves tonight!

Here’s me gearing up:

Top and skirt, H&M; necklace, the Bay; shoes, Lacoste; tights, American Apparel.

Note how I am wearing NO SOX in January. (!)

Also, you should check out other Code Live event listings while the Olympics are in town. I’ll make it worth your while… through dance!

Top photo courtesy of blog.kexp.org.

ART ATTACK: Giant robotic spider conquors all… with beer!

25 Jan

Two Saturdays ago… I witnessed something heretofore unseen.

“What was it?” you ask innocently?

It was something the likes of which you would never believe. And even though the answer may give you night terrors, you should really pay attention and stop asking so many questions.

As I was saying, Two Saturdays ago… I attended a party thrown by the hip folks at eatART (short for Energy Awareness Through Art), in a warehouse on Great Northern Way Campus.

And just as those hedonistic vices known as “drinks and dancing” started to take hold… a giant robotic spider the size of a Honda Civic took over everyone’s brains!

Well, maybe just their iPhone screens.

Dubbed “The world’s first and only zero-emissions walking vehicle,” the Mondo Spider was created in August 2006 by a group of young engineers who participated in the Vancouver Junkyard Wars the year prior.

Through their passion for developing the 1600 lb walking beast, the group created a registered charity foundation called eatART and have since created several amazing large-scale art pieces.

In fact, in a few short weeks the Mondo Spider will participate in CODE Live as part of the Vancouver Olympic Games. Impressive!

So who are these people, and what exactly are they doing?

In their own words:

“eatART fosters new media art research with a focus on large-scale, kinetic and robotic sculpture. Our projects use art to educate people about the role energy plays in our lives and to raise questions about the social and environmental impact of energy use.”

Basically, they’re a bunch of engineering nerds that loves to party, build robots, and promote green energy use. Totally awesome.

Interestingly enough, the Games actually commissioned the Mondo Spider’s switch from a gregarious, gas-guzzling machine to a skulking, green-powered walking vehicle. It’s pretty incredible how little noise the thing makes. It’s now got the stealth of an actual spider! Très creepy… and très cool.

Check out this video of the Mondo Spider in action on Vancouver is Awesome.

FYI – That’s the very same night LR was present! (Though the video was of the earlier unveiling…)

I should mention that these guys really do know how to throw a party. Great tunes, stocked bar, interesting people, and a walking spider to boot. What more could your favourite girl-about-town ask for?

If you’d like to learn more, read this delightful post on the Mondo Spider on The Daily Gumboot. Also keep your eyes peeled for the machine walking about during the Olympics; you may not notice it until it has you in its technical grasp!

Creep-score.

Photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Michael S. Joyce.