Is Dan Mangan’s new album the first great Vancouver record of 2015?

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith released Club Meds this week.

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith released Club Meds this week.

Is Club Meds the first great album out of Vancouver for 2015?

It certainly looks that way, as singer/songwriter Dan Mangan’s third full-length garners acclaim both here and oversees. So what makes Club Meds different from the singer/songwriter’s previous releases?

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Is Dan Mangan’s new album the first great Vancouver record of 2015?

Where to watch holiday movies in Vancouver

Vancity Theatre is showing The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Vancity Theatre is showing The Muppet Christmas Carol Dec. 21.

Vancouver movie theatres are opening up their screens once again this holiday season. This year’s crop of special Christmas-y type screenings include a selection of free movies at the Vogue Theatre, a tussle between Vancity and Scotiabank to lure in people who can’t get enough of It’s a Wonderful Life, and perhaps the most faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol ever attempted – by Muppets. But what we want to know is – who’s screening Bad Santa?

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Where to watch holiday movies in Vancouver

2014 Vancouver International Burlesque Festival announces guests

Perle Noire, from NYC, will be a special guest at this year's Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. Photo courtesy VIBF.

Perle Noire, from NYC, will be a special guest at this year’s Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. Photo courtesy VIBF.

The 9th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival is heading our way, with guests ranging from the woman crowned Miss Nude Universe two years running in the 1970s to the current King of Burlesque.

The three-night event (May 1-3) features a different lineup of local and international burlesque talent, live music and variety artists each night.

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2014 Vancouver International Burlesque Festival announces guests

Mariachis gather in Vancouver for May festival

Photo credit: Mariachi Los Dorados

Photo credit: Mariachi Los Dorados

There’s something magical about being serenaded by a mariachi band. Perhaps it’s the new-world charm that draws you in. Or maybe it’s their dapper looks: matching oft blinged-out charro outfits complete with sparkly belts and bright cumber bunds.

For me the enchantment of mariachi exists in the music itself. The deep baritone of the lead mariachi singer, the shrill accompanying yips and hollers plus the combination of horns and strings endeared themselves to me since my first mariachi encounter in the warm lands south of the Rio Grande. Mariachi classics such as Volver Volver and Cielito Lindo have been some of my best meal time soundtracks. 

Mariachi music can be somber but it can also be jubilant and theatrical depending on the group and event. I like to think of mariachi bands as small, wandering orchestras ready to make you cry one moment and dance the next. A mariachi crew usually consists of three violin players, two trumpet players, one Mexican guitar player, a Vihuela, and a Guitarron plus the occasional harp. The art form started in the State of Jalisco of Mexico to serenade and impress members of the opposite sex (usually women).

Thanks to the efforts of local mariachi enthusiast and Mariachi Los Dorados band member Alex Alegria, Vancouver aficionados and newbies alike will   experience the magic of mariachi first hand this month. No, you don’t have to book a charter flight to ol’Mexico to get your fix of grandiose anthems like Guadalajara, instead stick around for the fifth annual Mariachi Festival Canada kicking off on May 15. Continue reading:
Mariachis gather in Vancouver for May festival

Sing It Forward—an acoustic all-star benefit

Ashleigh Ball Hey Ocean Summer Live concert photo

Ashleigh Ball with Hey Ocean! at Summer Live, Vancouver, July 10 2011. Photo credit: Anja Weber/The Snipe News

Sing It Forward features some of Vancouver and the province’s most talented bands in a concert to raise money for a local music academy.

Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas, Hey Ocean!, Yukon Blonde, Shad, We Are the City, CR Avery and Aidan Knight are all scheduled to play the Vogue Theatre show this coming Thursday, Jan 10. It’s an extraordinary roster top-heavy with breakout acts from last year. Continue reading:
Sing It Forward—an acoustic all-star benefit