So, Happy New Year! Welcome to the year of the Dog. To put things in perspective, Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than 25% of the world’s population. With one of the largest Chinese populations outside China here in Vancouver, it’s a big deal.
Rather than celebrate it by going to the parade through Chinatown, we actually had another mission. Or rather, I did. Today, I had my first writing gig for the Georgia Straight. The Straight, for those of you not in this area, to quote the ‘About the Straight’ section of their web site, is:
About the Straight
Canada’s Largest Urban Weekly
No other city publication knows more about Vancouver than the Georgia Straight. Established as the lifestyle and entertainment weekly in Vancouver for over 30 years, the Georgia Straight is an integral part of the active urban West Coast lifestyle with a per issue readership of almost 340,000.
Every Thursday, the Georgia Straight delivers an award-winning editorial package of features, articles, news and reviews.
Regular weekly coverage includes NEWS, ARTS, MUSIC, MOVIES, FASHION, TRAVEL, BUSINESS, HIGH TECH, FOOD and RESTAURANTS, plus Vancouver’s most comprehensive listings of entertainment activities and special events.
Throughout the year, the Georgia Straight also produces a series of reader polls covering a variety of interest that are entertaining and informative.
The Best Of Vancouver — September
The Golden Plate Awards — March
The Straight Music Awards — June
My assignment was the Sunday Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert celebrating Mozart’s 250th birthday. For me, this is both easy and hard. Easy because it required less research; I knew most of the music on the program already: Overture to The Magic Flute, Piano Concerto No 23 — (that’s the one with the last movement that sounds like the theme from The Flintstones — go check it out and see if you don’t agree!), Exultate, Jubilate, and the Symphony No 39 (the first of the final trio of them that ended with The Jupiter). Hard, because, well, what can you write about Mozart that hasn’t been written already before? Prodigy, Genius, Billiard Player extraordinaire, it’s all been done before. Not to mention the fact that there have been Mozart festivals all around the world, including some 24-hours of non-stop partying in Salzburg and Vienna. What can Vancouver (much less I) add to the millions of notes and words being played and uttered about one of the greatest musicians who ever lived? Oh, and lastly, it had to fit within 500 words, and be written in the Straight’s style. If I get to write for them again (and I’m hoping I will), I’ll expound more on what I think the style (or maybe even formula) for a Georgia Straight review is. I think I’ve got it figured out, but I’m not positive yet. Only my editor will tell for sure. The review, if they print it, like everything else in the magazine, will be available online on Thursday. I’ll link to it if and when it goes up.
Yesterday, we met Matt and Oana for breakfast at The Elbow Room on Davie Street, a café that cooks some of the best breakfast creations I’ve ever had, served up with a side order of ‘personality’ (if your waitress doesn’t give you a hard time, she’s apparently not doing her job). Nevertheless, despite the wisecracks, it’s no surprise that nearly every movie star that spends time in Vancouver ends up there a morning or two. Like Lindy’s or Sardie’s in NYC, the place has signed photos everywhere and quite a few dishes named after celebrities. I had the Brett Cullen, which is two poached eggs, sautéed spinach, bacon, avocado and blue cheese on a sour dough muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce (Delicious!). I guess Brett Cullen was on West Wing this month. Pam had the Cindy Williams (of Laverne and Shirley fame). That’s sautéed mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, white onion, fresh spinach, blackforest ham and tomatoes, one large egg over easy on a croissant, covered with melted mozzarella and feta cheese. What could be bad?
Afterward we took refuge from the rain for a while at the mall downtown (imagine us, mall rats!). We later ended up at the Caffe Artigiano, where I had one of those gorgeous Lattés as we chatted the morning and afternoon away. It felt great to just hang around, and it helped get my mind off my impending review, which is now, thank goodness, in the hopper.
So, my schedule (which continues to be pretty full) and my new writing gig have made my postings to this blog a little harder to squeeze in. I’ll put up more if I have the time, but to be honest, the pay stuff comes first. I hope you’ll understand, dear reader. Next week is much like this past one: Gamelan rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday Night, and one evening event, a meeting regarding Podcasting, on Friday. Never a dull moment, despite the nearly perpetual dull and gloomy weather. Busy schedules are potentially one treatment for S.A.D.…