Dash and dance in an Ugly Christmas Sweater

Photo from Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on Facebook

Photo from Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on Facebook

At some point in December the Christmas kitsch can start to get to you. You can either bemoan it or embrace it—and the latter is much more fun.

So dig out your best, most gaudy Christmas sweater, and get ready to run! Or dance– whichever you prefer.

Promising “the most fun you can have with your knitwear on”, the Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash takes place on Saturday, December 13.  (Full disclosure: it also promises to be “the hottest and itchiest 5K ever”.)

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Dash and dance in an Ugly Christmas Sweater

The Tea Party (with Guests) at The Commodore Ballroom, Dec. 10 (Free Ticket Giveaway!)

The-Tea-Party

The arrival of the venerable Canadian exotic rock trio’s highly anticipated new studio album, The Ocean At The End, marks the official end of the 10-year vacuum of fresh The Tea Party original material. “The Black Sea,” a stellar track from the 11-song-deep effort and the electrifying tandem of Jeff Martin (vocals, guitars, producer, songwriter); Stuart Chatwood (bass, keyboards) and Jeff Burrows (drums, percussion), completes the band’s cycle of resurrection, some of the first new music we’ve heard from them since 2004’s Seven Circles and the first project since the double-disc Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour 2012.

“The three of us probably never thought we’d be sitting here right now,” admits Martin, whose booming baritone, emotionally candid and mystical songwriting and string-bending guitar prowess has served as the creative catalyst for eight platinum and gold studio albums, one EP, one greatest hits collection, a live disc and over 2 million in global album sales.

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The Tea Party (with Guests) at The Commodore Ballroom, Dec. 10 (Free Ticket Giveaway!)

‘Embedded historian’ Aaron Chapman on his new book, Live at the Commodore

commodore-ballroom

One of Vancouver’s most venerable entertainment institutions now has its own book.

Local author/historian Aaron Chapman has penned Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver’s Historic Commodore Ballroom. The book is a loving ode to the Granville Street venue that has hosted everything from vaudeville to big bands to classic rock to punk, and just about everything in between.

Live at the Commodore Ballroom is in local bookstores now. But you can also attend a launch at the Commodore itself Nov. 26. It will feature readings and live music, and admission is free with ticket or reservation (see below for details). Also featured as part of the evening, The Vancouver Heritage Foundation will present one of its Places that Matter plaques to the Commodore Ballroom recognizing its significance to the city.

We talked to Chapman about the book, which is filled with telling anecdotes and never-before-published photographs, posters and more.

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‘Embedded historian’ Aaron Chapman on his new book, Live at the Commodore

Six must-see Vancouver concerts in October

Sarah McLachlan at Lilith Fair

Sarah McLachlan at Lilith Fair at Ambleside Park, West Vancouver, July 1 2010. Jade Dempsey photo.

October is studded with shows, far too many to mention here. So we’ve selected a few highlights, with the emphasis on homegrown talent as well as a few outliers, including “the Sinatra of flamenco” and the artist behind what the Guardian says may be “the first post-Internet album,” The Future’s Void.

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Six must-see Vancouver concerts in October

Six must-see March concerts in Vancouver

St. Vincent at the Commodore Ballroom

St. Vincent at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Oct 12 2011. Photo credit: Anja Weber.

It’s the middle of March, and all the cool kids are down in Austin for the annual South by Southwest music conference. Maybe that’s why the next week or so is heavily weighted with what the music industry likes to call “legacy acts” such as Yes, ZZ Top, The Wailers (March 14 at the Commodore) and Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House).

But, while March’s concert schedule may be a field day for classic rock radio listeners, Vancouver is getting some hip indie-rock and -pop acts as well. Here’s a look at some of the top concerts in the last two weeks of this month.

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Six must-see March concerts in Vancouver