Gung Hei Fat Choy!

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.…