Movies Italian-style at the 2015 Vancouver Italian Film Festival

Those Happy Years

Scene from Those Happy Years, screening at the second annual Italian Film Festival at Vancity Theatre.

Ah, Italian cinema! Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica – all of the greats and more will be represented at this year’s Vancouver Italian Film Festival at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.) between Jan 9-14.

Now in its second year, the festival celebrates movies from Italy, then and now, from classics like Marriage Italian Style and 8 1/2 to new movies like Those Happy Years and A Five Star Life. Along with screenings, the film festival will feature a photo exhibition devoted to Sophia Loren and other special events. Here are some highlights.

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Movies Italian-style at the 2015 Vancouver Italian Film Festival

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet Coming to Vancouver: Tickets on sale now

Promotional photo from Wikipedia

Promotional photo from Wikipedia

Two of the biggest music stars on the planet – whose ages happen to differ by more than 60 years – are all set to go cheek-to-cheek in Vancouver.

Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga will be rolling into Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre May 25 and May 26 as part of their much talked-about Cheek to Cheek concert tour.  Tickets (from $94-$275) are on sale now via Northern Tickets.

The special performances will highlight tracks from the pair’s Billboard-topping album Cheek to Cheek, released back in September. The album features 88-year-old Bennet and 28-year-old Lady Gaga crooning away to jazz standards.  The unlikely chemistry between the two artists comes through in classic duets including title track Cheek to Cheek, But Beautiful and I Won’t Dance.  Each artist also has a solo number on the album.

The fact that Vancouver is a stop on their tour is, in itself, pretty amazing.   Continue reading:
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet Coming to Vancouver: Tickets on sale now

3 Fancy New Year’s Eve Parties to Celebrate in Style in Vancouver

Photo credit: Phil Wood | Flickr

Photo credit: Phil Wood | Flickr

Looking to paint the town red on New Year’s Eve? Vancouver offers plenty of options for New Year’s Eve revellers who like to party in style. While some events are sold-out by now, a search of Craigslist or popular resale websites may just turn up a few last-minute tickets.

Quite possibly the swankiest affair in the city, the Shangri-La Gala is held inside the 5-star, 62-storey Shangri-La Hotel in the heart of downtown.  The lightly Asian-themed party features canapes from the kitchen of Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges, as well as a midnight champagne toast.  The party spreads over four rooms and a grand ballroom and features two of Vancouver’s top DJs. All of this high-class fun will set you back $120 (guys 25 or older; ladies 21 or older).

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3 Fancy New Year’s Eve Parties to Celebrate in Style in Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver is Getting its First “Escape Room” Attraction

Photo credit: Soban | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Soban | Wikimedia Commons

Good at puzzles? This may be right up your alley.

Downtown Vancouver is getting its first escape room.  Popular around the world but just starting to pop up in North America, escape rooms are dedicated attractions where a group of people pay to be locked up inside a themed room – say a mummy’s tomb or a haunted mansion. The idea is to use teamwork to solve a series of puzzles and piece together intricate clues in order to escape before time expires, generally after 30-60 minutes. Though they’re inspired by video games, escape rooms are real-life rooms where you’re really trapped inside.

Richmond already has one of these escape room attractions and now Vancouver is getting in on the act with a 3,200-square-foot facility opening in Gastown in early 2015. Continue reading:
Downtown Vancouver is Getting its First “Escape Room” Attraction

Late addition – top albums by Vancouver artists in 2014

Ian_William_Craig

Ian William Craig. Photo courtesy Recital Program.

A couple of days ago I published a post listing a number of notable releases by Vancouver artists in 2014. I knew then that I’d miss a few, and local music scribe Alan Ranta was kind enough to point out two excellent local records that I hadn’t heard, Colin Cowan & the Elastic Stars’ Eye of Winter and the self-titled album from A Dada Plan is Free.

A third record came to my attention recently though, and it’s one that I think deserves its own post. The record is called A Turn of Breath, and it’s by Vancouver-based visual artist and trained opera singer Ian William Craig.

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Late addition – top albums by Vancouver artists in 2014