Vancouver busy in some intriguing ways

tikiThis past week has meant a whirlwind of arts events and dining out in Vancouver all of which were courtesy of friends. It was my birthday. Over now. Spoiled!

On February 14th, Gwen treated her friend Karen and I to dinner at the Afghan Horsemen, a place I remember from 20 years ago at its former location on Broadway. We followed that up with attendance at a micro-performance by T.J. Dawe, whose only other play I’ve seen was Medicine, about his experience with Ayahuasca.

This micro-performance, produced by Boca del Lupo meant 22 people crowded into a triangle-shaped space to sit on tiny, rather uncomfortable stools. It wasn’t clear which direction was the “right way” to face. T.J. walked around the perimeter talking the entire time while showing slides on three walls that revealed what the term fugue means in music. That’s how it began. Life has become a fugue state. Busy. Many layered. Here’s the example of a fugue that helped him explain the premise for his multimedia presentation. It was unique. I like the way he thinks. Not to everyone’s taste for sure.

Once that was revealed, he used all sorts of slides to reveal the way fugue has been used in other areas of life. He used maps of London and talked about the enlarged Hippocampuses of London taxi drivers as a result of their need to memorize locations. He referenced Aldous Huxley’s book, Point Counter Point, and Mark Twain’s On the Mississippi, and Robert Altman’s style of film-making. The other thing that couldn’t be missed was the heat. There was a reason they demanded you give up your coat before going in. Good thing it only lasted 20 minutes. That was enough.

Prior to the show, crammed into a tiny, tiny space waiting to enter the even tinier space, we ended up talking to a guy named Joe. He looked like a biker. He didn’t look like he would be interested in this type of performance. I liked that. I like it when people’s looks and interests are incongruous. I don’t know why. After the performance Joe asked us if we were going for a drink. Karen left. Gwen and I joined Joe at the newly renovated Bridges Bar. He told us he knew T.J. Dawe (his Grade 5 teacher’s son) and we got to hear about all things techie and how he broke his neck in Chetwynd quite a while back.  It was interesting in a “that was kind of weird” way.

My ever generous sister, June, treated me for lunch the next day. Later that night Heather and I went to Caffé Brixton for a drink and then to Raincity Chronicles at The Rickshaw Theatre to hear storytellers talk about all things gone wrong in love. Some of them were pretty funny/weird/scary/interesting.  Who can’t relate? If you can’t relate, there must be something wrong with you. To make it as authentic as possible, unbeknownst to Heather, a former love interest of hers was there and I got to meet this guy I’d heard about ad nausea. I could see the charm. Sometimes charm ain’t enough.

Sunday Dee and I had pre-planned a trip to the ever packed and kitschy, rather politically incorrect (at this point in history), breakfast eatery on the North Shore called The Tomahawk. After that we headed off in search of Lynn Canyon. I must be the only person who was born in the Lower Mainland who can never find the place. But, we did…eventually.

Tuesday night Donna treated at Bitter on E. Hastings.  I feel like I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the Downtown East Side attracted, I hate to say it, by all the gentrification and interesting places that have popped up.

On Wednesday night, Colleen wouldn’t tell me where we were going except which neighborhood: Kits. “Just get me in the vicinity and then you can take me by the hand and I’ll close my eyes and you can surprise me.” Funny thing to say given that we were going to Dark Table, where you eat in the dark (pitch black) and the servers are “supposedly” blind.

I know. I’m a total cynic. I don’t believe all the servers are blind.  Wash your hands really well before you go because you will end up using your hands to eat at some point. It’s easier than cutlery. And besides, your fork or knife will inevitably end up on the floor, probably right after being seated as mine did. As someone who is easily distracted by my environment, I found it strangely soothing not to be able to see anyone else.  A word of advice. No gossiping. You just never know who’s sitting two tables over.

Afterwards we headed over to the Shameful Tiki Room on Main St, sat at the bar and who should show up but Colleen’s neighbour whose nephew owns the place. The décor is fantastic, really authentic (or to me it seemed that way) and in Vancouver in February, it’s worth taking a mental health night there. Pretend you’re in Tahiti. Or re-ignite any memories you may have had, if you’re old enough, of the former Trader Vic’s at the Bayshore. Small black and white screens at the bar take you to Honolulu complete with the beach and hula dancing circa 1965. Fun! I had a Chi Chi. Colleen had a Pain Killer which would explain why she overslept by an hour the next morning.

Tonight, Dee and I are headed to Macy Gray at Hard Rock Casino tonight. Tomorrow I’m taking in a walking tour led by John Atkin, a Short History of Shipping in Burrard Inlet, and then a play at the Firehall called The Drummer Girl.

On Monday, it’s a fundraising dinner at Graze to raise money for Blumin Warehouse where eight readers will read for eight minutes each.

It’s been a memorable and very entertaining week. Gratitude!


  1. Amazing week. I don’t know half of what’s going on around town and probably just as well as I’d spend way too much money.

    1. Are you kidding me, Christine? You’re always out and about. You’ve been to Dark Table. I remember when you told us about it in 2012 and forgot that until Colleen took me there. You’re flying all over the place. You live like this on a regular basis it seems to me, not just when it’s your birthday.

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