Tag Archives: Vancouver

Following a Paper Trail

Sorry about that whole unannounced three-week hiatus thing.

With the ever-stressful combination of final assignments, Ontario visits and a brand new apartment I thought I may never live to see the month of May—but here it is! In case you’re curious, I’m staying here in Vancouver for the summer, writing for both Megaphone and Adbusters. Despite my recent neglect, I hope you continue to visit and enjoy my weird little corner of the internet.

In other news, there’s an art show opening tonight at the Atsui Gallery located at 602 East Hastings. It is called Paper Trail: Serial Material, and it will be throwing all traditional notions of gallery practices to the wind, and instead presenting a whole bunch of fun but simple DIY treasures.

From party posters to zines to homemade tit pins, the exhibition has a distinct lo-fi alternative vibe, and should prove to be good times all around. The show begins tonight at 8 pm and runs until May 30th. Check out www.galleryatsui.com for the full list of details.

Quiet Riots

Photo by Stephen Connor.

Photo by Stephen Connor.

Police tell the Cobalt to turn down the volume

BY: SARAH BERMAN, MEGAPHONE MAGAZINE

When it comes to punk and metal shows, there are few Vancouver venues as loud and proud as the Cobalt. Attached to a notorious Single Room Occupancy hotel, the hardcore bar is praised by fans as the last haven for underground and extreme music in Vancouver.

But after nine years of punk rock patronage, the Cobalt may have to shut its doors for being a little too noisy. Last month, three separate noise complaints brought Vancouver police to the bar’s doorstep within less than a week.

“We’ve been getting these weird complaints—after nine years of nothing,” bar manager Wendythirteen explained. She said Vancouver’s after-hours noise bylaws might put the Cobalt out of business.

Diane Shepard is a property use inspector for the City of Vancouver. She said bars with extended hours are subject to specific and testable noise requirements. “If we have complaints, we’ll go out and take readings. If they’re not in compliance, we’ll go from there.”

“The hoops they put you through are impossible,” Wendythirteen lamented about the city’s late night licensing restrictions.

To stay open past midnight, bars like the Cobalt must be equipped with metal detectors, security cameras, ID scanners and adequate soundproofing. Owners of the nearby Astoria Hotel bar recently spent $120,000 on a soundproofing upgrade, to comply with city standards.

Sound upgrades at the Cobalt will cost upwards of $50,000. Wendythirteen says she simply can’t pay for renovations. “I can’t afford it, nor am I willing to do it,” she said. “The slumlords won’t fix their shit—why should I put money into fixing their building?”

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24 artists, 24 hours

Here’s something  rad happening next month:

24artistsBeginning on Saturday April 18th, 24 local artists will be making art around the clock, to raise money for a Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.

The fundraiser will be held at the Interurban Gallery at Hastings and Carrall Street. The gallery will be open for viewing the entire 24 hours, and will end with an art auction.

A friend of mine who makes artist trading cards will be participating. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

Art and Anarchy

Downtown Eastside artists give the Cultural Olympiad the middle finger

BY: SARAH BERMAN, MEGAPHONE MAGAZINE

There are many reasons to hate on the Olympics. Housing promises have been abandoned, the cost of living is rising, and millions of city dollars are being wasted—all for the sake of the 2010 Games.

Gord Hill's "Resist 2010"

Gord Hill's "Resist 2010"

So, if you like art, and want yet another reason to shake a fist at that hideous tooth-shaped Olympic countdown clock, mark your calendars for Friday, March 13. The unlucky night marks the beginning of an underground anti-Olympic art show called Art and Anarchy.

Art and Anarchy is the brainchild of 12 anti-authoritarian artists, who are concerned with the Olympics’ slick marketing and cultural appropriation. The show’s overarching message is pretty clear from its posters, which simply read: “Fuck the Cultural Olympiad.”

In the basement of the historic Tellier Towers (located at 16 East Hastings) Art and Anarchy will be showcasing a radical collection of sculptures, carvings, paintings, jewelry and video art. Pieces by Gord Hill—a well-known carver, illustrator and Olympic resistor—will be on display along with a barricade used during a tent city protest.

The artists, who do not receive any funding for their work, hope to show the Downtown Eastside’s creative community the perils of accepting Olympic money. From the use of aboriginal artwork in Olympic marketing campaigns to the use of state-sponsored art to block out scenes of poverty—Art and Anarchy aims to let local artists know they are being exploited rather than supported.

Street performer and anti-poverty activist David Cunningham is one of many Art and Anarchy members who believe community art in the Downtown Eastside is being used to disguise capitalist plunder. Cunningham has lived and worked in the Downtown Eastside for 10 years, and has avidly spoken against other gentrifying projects such as the Carral Street Greenway.

“We see this style of community art as an aesthetic of social cleansing,” he says. “The only opportunity VANOC has to represent itself in the neighbourhood is to give money to artists. This creates a façade of progressiveness, where they can claim to be investing in the community.”

Cunningham says community art is sometimes used as a physical barrier, to divide and disguise parts of the neighbourhood. “As we move closer to the Olympics, art is being placed over fences. Art is literally being used as walls in the Downtown Eastside.”

“We want to recapture what is now been exploited,” he says.

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Punk rock saved the Minutemen—but will it save the Cobalt?

It seems one of Vancouver’s most prized punk, metal and extreme music venues is facing threats of closure, according to a growing Facebook group titled Keep the Cobalt Alive. More than 3,500 people have joined to ensure the beloved hardcore bar stays open.

Agent Orange plays February 22, 2009 at the Cobalt. Photo courtesy of Avenida Once.

Agent Orange plays February 22, 2009 at the Cobalt.

Reasons for the impending closure remain unclear. The Facebook group’s administrators have cited both noise complaints and Olympic politics as possible factors. While the Cobalt has thrived complaint-free for over nine years, Vancouver Police responded to two separate incidents of noise just last weekend.

On Wednesday, February 25th, the following update was posted by the venue’s vociferous concert promoter, Wendy Churcheen (known among Cobalt regulars as Wendythirteen):

“I WONDER WHO IN THE CONDO ACROSS THE STREET COULD POSSIBLY HEAR A SMALL VOCAL P.A. OVER TRAFFIC ON MAIN ST AND THE VIADUCT…I SMELL BULLSHIT….HERE WE GO…

WE HAD THE COPS THERE SUNDAY FOR THE AGENT ORANGE SHOW…OK…DOOR OPEN …BIG PA….MAYBE…..

BUT AFTER 9 YEARS WITH NO COMPLAINTS…5 OF THOSE WITH THE CONDO EXISTING…HMMMMM

AND NOW TONITE…SMALL VOCAL PA….COPS AGAIN….ANOTHER NOISE COMPLAINT….IS THIS HOW IT STARTS?

ARRRGGHHH…..THIS IS BULLSHIT…2 COMPLAINTS IN 3 NIGHTS…AFTER 9 YEARS OF NONE….

I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED AS THE SHIT UNFOLDS….”

The Cobalt is the home of both Monday Night Khaos and Fake Jazz Wednesdays—two weekly concert features that support local punk and experimental bands. Fans of the bar (located at Main and Prior, attached to the Cobalt Motor Hotel) have named it Vancouver’s “last true haven of the underground.”

A benefit concert is likely to be held to raise money for the venue. As of yet, no date has been selected.

Photo courtesy of Avenida Once.

No Eastside love for the Cultural Olympiad

Coming up in March, a Downtown Eastside art show has a simple message to share. Fuck the Cultural Olympiad.

Artists and community activists have come together to criticise the 2009 Cultural Olympiad.

Artists and community activists have joined forces against the 2009 Cultural Olympiad.

Yes, the folks organizing Art and Anarchy aren’t ones to mince words. They are joining a larger cultural front against the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Street performer and anti-poverty activist David Cunningham is one of many A&A artists concerned with the “socially-cleansed” cultural aesthetic churned out by Olympic promoters.

Cunningham and a growing group of anti-authoritarian artists aim to criticize the Olympiad for it’s use of community art to “disguise capitalist plunder.”

Beginning Friday March 13 and running until the 19th, the basement of the historic Tellier Towers (located at 16 East Hastings) will be the site of radical theatre and art exhibition.

I certainly plan to check it out.

Opening night begins at 8 pm, and continues between 3 and 8 pm through the rest of the week. Photo courtesy of Roland.

$2.5 million Cultural Olympiad invades the Eastside

Vancouver-based musician Matt Good thinks Olympic money would be much better spent on poverty relief in the Downtown Eastside.

He’s certainly not alone. With a crumbling world economy, growing city debt and increasingly visible street poverty, it’s no surprise many Vancouver residents are reconsidering their support for the two-week, $6 billion event.

But despite extensive criticism, the Olympic machine keeps on rolling. To remind us all of the inevitable 2010 Games (or perhaps convince us this whole shebang is really worthwhile) the folks at VANOC have launched a seven-week cultural festival.

The 2009 Cultural Olympiad kicked off with a Chinese New Year celebration throughout the streets of Chinatown, Feb. 1.

The 2009 Cultural Olympiad officially began February 1 with a Chinese New Year celebration.

Yes, the 2009 Cultural Olympiad is upon us, which boasts over 400 events spanning from February 1 to March 21. Many Canadian musicians have been scheduled to appear (including Chad VanGaalen, Hawksley Workman, Broken Social Scene, Tegan and Sara, Joel Plaskett and of course Sarah McLachlan) as well as a wide variety of art, dance and theatre exhibitions.

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