Women in Mining Vancouver Branch Foosball Tourney Fundraiser

WIM Foosball TourneyI was just contacted by Women in Mining Vancouver Branch, and they mentioned to me about a fundraising they are running. I support cancer-related causes, as you know, so I thought I’d write about it.

We are raising money for Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. We understand that breast cancer is a disease that has negatively impacted many Canadian women. We would like to support and celebrate women whom have experienced breast cancer through our fun filled fundraiser. We are giving away lots of neat prices such as a hockey stick signed by Manny Malhotra and a wall of wine.

Time: 5-7:30
Date: Thursday September 20th
Place: Subeez restaurant, 891 Homer Street Vancouver
Tickets: $15 Online
Website: http://flavors.me/runwimvan

About Women in Mining
The Women in Mining network is an informal organization connecting women involved in or affiliated with the mining resources sector. The primary goal is to share knowledge, experiences and relationships that encourage growth and diversity. A secondary, but equally important goal is to encourage men and women from the mining industry to participate in the community by raising funds for breast cancer research, to promote Career Prep for high school students and to take part in networking evenings for university students. For more information about Women in Mining, please visit our website: http://www.amebc.ca/wim-vancouver

Happy Independence Day, Mexico! Feliz Dia de la Independencia, Mexico!

Banderas de México y souvenirsIn a completely ironic twist of fate (because I wasn’t sure where I was going to be for Mexican Independence Day, which technically is celebrated today, September 16th), I also wasn’t sure of what I was going to do. Normally, I would join some of the celebrations in Vancouver. However, since this year there was A LOT of promotion of Mexico in Vancouver (Mexico Fest and Mexi-GO for starters), I didn’t feel bad about writing a general post on where Mexicans could celebrate Independence Day in Vancouver. After all, there were plenty of events to celebrate. I spent it quietly with my Mom, having dinner and a couple of tequilas.

I’m incredibly proud to be Mexican, and at the same time, I’m incredibly proud of being Canadian. I owe both countries a lot, and both are amazing in their own ways. But strangely enough, Mexico keeps being looked at by some foreigners (luckily not a lot) as a country of mariachis who travel on burros and only live in shanty towns. Just travel to some of the Mexican cities and you’ll see the difference.

My goal in writing about Mexico has always been not to reminisce or long for where I wasn’t (when I lived in Canada) but to showcase that there is another Mexico. The one the mainstream media doesn’t tell you about it. A Mexico I’ve been recently living, with people who work hard, party hard and who have an incredible sense of love, friendship and family. A country with great history and culture. A country I’m proud to call my own.

Feliz Dia de la Independencia, Mexico!

Bella Señora by Emmanuel (Live, 2011 version)

I remember growing up listening to Emmanuel, an internationally renowned Mexican singer. As an early 20s guy, I remember I danced to this song (“Bella Señora”, which translates as “gorgeous lady”), but this version is about 20,000 times better than the original. This guy is like good wine, gets better with age. I hope you like this song as much as I do!

Fall Food and Fashion 2012 (Kim Cathers vs. Chef Jefferson Alvarez)

Two of the loveliest people I know, Kim Cathers (who is a fantastic fashion designer) and Jefferson Alvarez (Fraiche’s Chef) are doing a really quirky and unique event.

fraicheI never thought that Fraiche, one of my favorite restaurants, would ever host a fashion show, but they are, and this promises to be a fantastic event. You may have read my review of Fraiche and yes, I raved about it because it’s amazing. Check out below on what else is on the deck for this fun event. I’m really sorry to miss it. And I’m ever sorrier to miss it because my friend Phil Reigh, the GM of Fraiche, has even coordinated transportation (which was one of my complaints about Fraiche’s location given that I don’t own a car).

Fraiche restaurants’ Chef, Jefferson Alvarez, and General Manager Philippe Reigh have joined forces with local fashion designer Kim Cathers to host a fashion show showcasing her 2012 Fall/Winter line.

Enjoy the exclusive launch of the Kdon Fall/Winter line while overlooking the beautiful panoramic views of Vancouver and savouring seasonally inspired delicacies from Michelin trained Chef Jefferson Alvarez.

Kim Cathers first shot to fame was as a finalist on the hit TV series Project Runway Canada. Cathers is a Vancouver based designer and one of the more recognizable personas in Canadian fashion.

There will be organized transportation to and from Fraiche restaurant from the West End and Kitsilano departing at 6:00pm sharp and returning around 10:30pm. Tickets are $65 including transportation. Call Fraiche restaurant for full details: 604-925-7595. Transportation is limited to 22 people per location, so book early.

Voices in the Park (Sep 15, 2012)

This preview was written by my former intern and dear friend Jessica Brodeur, who is the cofounder of Vancouver Music Review. Thank you Jess for always helping me out when I need it!

voices in the parkIf you haven’t been to Stanley Park to just hang out this summer (or if you have) this coming weekend could be your last chance! Not only will it technically be the last weekend of summer, but it will be beautiful out, and there is an amazing event that you are not going to want to miss! Voices In the Park is basically a big end-of-summer fundraiser party concert. With Hey Ocean!, Hedley, The Boom Booms, Bryan Adams and more opening for Sarah, its a chance to catch the best that BC has to offer. Not to mention the scenery and view at Brockton Oval is a true BC treat. Gates open at 2 so you can come down early and bask in the sun, bring your family, have a picnic and enjoy. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on (not chairs) and there will be everybody’s favourite meal option — food trucks!

There are loads of General Seating tickets left but the reserved best seats are selling fast! You can find ticket info here, remember that your ticket purchase gives money to the Sarah McLachlan foundation. This money ensures that at-risk youth can relieve free music education, which benefits them in so many ways throughout life. From exploring talent and having fun to the therapeutic benefits, this program touches the lives of the youth who need it most. If you really understand this personally or have a story about how music impacted your life, enter the video contest to explain “What Music Means to Me” – your video could get aired at the concert!

If you can’t make it, you can still go online and vote for your favourite Sarah McLachlan song. This is a “Vote to Give” setup in partnership with Telus, where 5$ is donated to the Sarah McLachlan foundation for every person that votes! There are 3 songs to choose from, and its as easy as clicking a button and hitting “Vote!” It will be the easiest donation to make in your life, so please consider taking a moment to do it.

For all further details and info, here’s a guide to help plan your day. Everything from free bike valet to shuttle service and all other details are there to make it a fun and smooth experience for everyone. This coming Saturday, September 15th at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park.

Fecha de Caducidad (Expiration Date) at Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (Guest Review by @LoisRP)

Fecha de Caducidad is a surreal and occasionally violent Mexican film that has become too real.

The director, Kenya Marquez, the only female director to have a film at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, said that when she first started trying to get funding for the film, in 2000, its themes were not specifically intended to be political. But in an unfortunate twist of fate, as the years progressed until she finally got funding 10 years later, the Mexican political landscape had changed and her film did acquire a political aspect.

The film begins with the mysterious disappearance of a man who is clearly a “mama’s boy”. The mother Ramona, who is stunningly well-acted by Ofelia Murguía, displays a calm, dignified desperation as she grasps at small leads to find out what happened to her son Osvaldo. A young woman moves into her building, and Ramona becomes convinced she is somehow connected to her son. Ramona repeatedly visits a forensic unit, to determine if her son has shown up in the morgue, and the receptionist attempts to assist her quest to find her son. A somewhat disreputable handyman who hangs around the morgue finds himself enmeshed in the case to a degree he never would have thought possible.

The film plays with perspectives and viewpoints, looking at the same events through the eyes of different characters. The film ends with a twist that may or may not be expected. The background scenes look very much like everyday Mexico, even as surreal events occur within these scenes, causing a jarring juxtaposition of the mundane and the extraordinary.

In the post-film talkback, Marquez discussed how differently the film was received in different cities. In Mexico, the film had particular political overtones. In most cities, they related strongly to the grief of the mother for her missing son, but the reaction in New York was shocking to her, as the audience laughed at particular violent scenes.

Although I am not an expert on Spanish art and cinema, I felt there were overtones of both Almodóvar and Dali in this film. There is humour and pathos and human dignity. I suspect some viewers might be put off by the themes and content of this film, but I feel confident in recommending it to those who appreciate an intriguing, well-acted, and thoughtful film.

Disclaimer: Lois Patterson reviewed Fecha de Caducidad as an exclusive for Hummingbird604.com. There was no expectation of a review, nor in the case of a review being written, was there any expectation that it would be positive. Raul always has editorial control on the blog’s content. Read more about Lois below.


About Lois Patterson: Lois Patterson enjoys travel, theatre, arts, and literature. She favours integration of science and humanities, and has a special weakness for mathematical interpretations of artistic phenomena. Her work in technical writing, software testing, and UI design is informed by this philosophy. She writes a blog and can be followed on Twitter at @loisrp.

Afuera by Caifanes #MusicMonday #MexMonday

This past weekend I went for drinks with my best friend from university and his wife. We went to one of the bars we used to frequent when we were in university (I didn’t drink any alcohol until I attended undergraduate – my chemical engineering friends drank like fish!). As we were having drinks, a live band started playing covers of old songs. One of the songs we heard was also one that we had heard years ago by Caifanes, a Mexican rock band. The song is called “Afuera” (Outside). For your listening pleasure, and since it’s both Music Monday AND Mexico Monday, Afuera by Caifanes.

Managing yourself: Hire extremely competent people to help you

My life is incredibly busy and totally complicated, but not because I do not plan my life (in fact, I am such a planner that I schedule my life to the very last minute). I wake up early in the morning and get a bunch of things done. One of the beautiful things about having started working from a very young age (I worked for both of my parents, managing their office) was that I knew that behind every successful academic (or professional) there’s a fantastic team of support people.

Granville Island Brewery September 2011 event

Thus, I can’t stress this enough: when you hire help, hire extremely competent people. I did so, for example, with my research assistants and I’ve done so as well with my interns for Hummingbird604.com (Anabelle and Jessica, I’m sure you read their posts on my site).

My beautiful and fashionable interns @anabellebf and @space_cadet00 at @standingarmed presentation SS'12

Both Anabelle and Jessica had a number of skills and strengths that I could rely on (Jessica is an excellent photographer, Anabelle is a fantastic writer, and both of them have wonderful organizational skills, they were extremely professional and competent and they were fabulous bloggers – I really appreciated their support for the duration of their internship).

And even now, if I ask for their help, both of them have kind of a “mind meld” with me – they know exactly what I need done and how I want it done. This is one of the keys to achieving your goals: hire extremely competent people who can actually help you instead of you having to work harder to train them.

Managing yourself: Surround yourself with the proper tools you need for your job

Ever since I knew that I would be an academic (probably around when I was 10 and realized that bookworms would probably end up being academics, be it professors, researchers or both), I figured I needed to enable myself with tools that made my life easier. I may live a frugal life, but I will never scrimp on stuff to make my life easier. Yes, I know that having a DSLR would probably be nice for my blog, but as I am a full-time professor, I really don’t think I need one right now.

But what I realized since I was little that I did need was a book stand (as pictured below) that would enable me to have a panoramic view of the papers I was taking notes from, to hold books, or simply to organize my own notes, while typing. I write a lot on my laptop, but I am very much a fan of desktop computers. As I was writing a paper yesterday, I realized that had I not asked my carpenter to build the book holder, I would probably have a disaster of books and articles on my desk. This contraption facilitates my work like very few other things do.

I had my carpenter build a paper holder for my office :)

So I recommend that you should always surround yourself with the proper tools you need for your job. Don’t scrimp on stuff that facilitates your work. If you write a lot, consider ergonomic keyboards, chairs, etc. This is actually a piece of advice that JT gave me a few years ago: don’t be cheap on the computer chairs you use. And I completely agree. Same with other contraptions that I use for my academic work.

Sanborn’s (Hotsson Hotel, Plaza Leon, Leon, Guanajuato)

The one thing I love about Sanborn’s is that its restaurant is absolutely reliable. Much like the Canadian chains Earls and Milestones, which are also reliable good (sometimes brilliant, but mostly consistently good), Sanborn’s provides you with comfort food (their Mexican food selection is incredible) at accessible prices.

Sanborns Plaza Leon (Leon, Guanajuato)

I had dinner with my good friend Antonio a few weeks back, during the Enchilada Festival, so I ordered enchiladas (for less than $120 pesos, I had a full meal and a glass of soda) for dinner. Absolutely delicious, but then again, Sanborn’s enchiladas are ALWAYS good. He ordered molletes, which is also a very traditional Mexican dish.

Sanborns Plaza Leon (Leon, Guanajuato)

I came back to Sanborn’s in Aguascalientes and had a Caldo Tlalpeno, which unfortunately was extremely hot, but great nonetheless. I was a bit taken aback by the price ($65 pesos for the soup, which is less than $6 CND dollars) but still, had an amazing dinner for $100 pesos or less.

Caldo Tlalpeño

Overall, definitely you should check out Sanborn’s. It provides you with a store, a magazine area and a cake area too. Pretty fun place to go, and the restaurant is always good. Recommended and worth checking out.


Disclosure: As with most of my meals, I paid on my own dime, except for dinner with Antonio, when he paid on his dime for both of our dinners. I retain full editorial control over anything posted on my site.

Sarmientos de Tarapaca (Sauvignon Blanc, 2011) #WineWednesday

Sarmientos de Tarapaca Sauvignon Blanc 2011 003Another week, another wine that I *must* sample. The sacrifices I have to make for you, my dear readers. Though I jest, I should say that the Sauvignon Blanc produced by Sarmientos de Tarapaca (a branch of the Viña Tarapacá Chilean winemaker) is actually pretty excellent. Citrus-y in flavor, with a 12% alcohol, it packs a punch without being overwhelming. I am having a few glasses of this Sauvignon Blanc (Viña Tarapacá) on its own, though they could very well compliment a delicious fish dish, or maybe a chicken one (or a mushroom one, if you are vegetarian). This wine is extremely noble, I think, and probably with a pH in the range of 3.7.

I find this wine not incredibly acidic, but at the same time very solid and good if you want a light-er wine. The nose is very fragrant and kind of flowery. More on Viña Tarapacá below.

Viña Tarapacá was founded in 1874, at the foot of the Andes Mountains, making wines that are a reflection of its over a hundred-year-old tradition and contemporary elegance.

Our vineyards are located in Maipo Valley, the most traditional valley in Chile which also has the best qualities for the production of premium wines. A unique ecosystem for the development of wines of excellence, where a careful selection of the grapes from the right terroir for each variety, favors obtaining high quality, complex and balanced wines.

Due to its noble and long course in time, it is a faithful representative of New World wineries, delivering excellent quality and consistence in each of its bottles. Viña Tarapacá is part of the VSPT Wine Group, which has wineries in both Chile and Argentina, each with brands that are highly prestigious in the international market. VSPT Wine Group is Chile’s second largest wine exporter and is first in the national market for fine wines.

Highly recommended, and since it’s an export wine, I am guessing you can find it wherever you are.

The mushroom sculpture on Barclay Street in the West End

Every time I would walk from my office at The Network Hub to JT’s house (he lives in the West End), I would walk by the mushroom sculpture on Barclay Street, in the heart of the West End. I have always wondered who created it, but much like the gnome house on Nelson Street, the mushroom sculpture on Barclay is one of those cute and quirky things that the West End has that just makes me smile. Does anybody know more about this sculpture? If so, please leave a comment in the comments section.

Mushroom sculpture on Barclay

West End Fest 2012 (formerly Davie Day)

logo WEFEven though I have never lived in Vancouver’s West End (and I should have) I have written about it extensively, sampled its restaurants, walked its streets, and spent an inordinate amount of time finding cute little things around the West End that I could blog about, including the Nelson Street gnome, and some hidden gems like Adesso Bistro, Cardero Bottega and the little store on Cardero right in the middle of the residential area. I have also written about Roedde House, and the mushroom on Barclay, and a few other awesome and quirky things about the West End.

So, it’s only fitting that I write about West End Fest 2012, formerly Davie Day, and organized by the West End Business Improvement Association.

September 8th, 2012 noon to 7pm. This will be the inaugural year for the expanded West End Fest – formerly Davie Day. This year the business community will open Davie Street from Burrard to Denman Street for the public to stroll, shop and play.

There will be more opportunities to interact with area businesses, to enjoy live entertainment on two stages, and to celebrate people, culture and history of the West End.

Program Highlights Include

* Wild and wonderful Joan-E will Emcee and put on a spectator favorite drag show.
* Performances at the Burrard Stage by Really Rod, Deep Seated, Dating myself, Matthew Presidente, The QLUTCH Project and DJ Zak Santiago.
* The Denman Stage will be Emceed by Ryan Steele and will have DJ performances by Ronnie Mejia, Nina Mendoza, Michael Fraser and MY!GAY!HUSBAND!
* Dodge Ball Tournament put on by Urban Rec
* Heritage Walking tours of famous Mole Hill
* Active Artist Gallery
* Musical Buskers
* Charity Ball Roll game with proceeds going to A loving Spoonful and the West End Seniors Network,
* Roller Disco

And lots of entertainment and activities for children and families

This sounds like it’ll be a great day, so on September 8th, don’t forget to head to the West End for West End Fest.

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival (September 17-23, 2012) [win tickets!]

Anybody who knows me knows that I have always wanted to dance flamenco, even though I’m fully aware of how hard it is for a male to handle all the movements without all the accessories (remember, women have long and flowy skirts, fans and castanets, and we don’t). Nevertheless, I absolutely adore Flamenco. Even if I can’t be there, you should totally check out the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival which runs from September 17 to 23 in a variety of locations. See below, particularly because I have a neat contest coming up!

Flamenco

Flamenco Rosario’s Artistic Director, Rosario Ancer, and Musical Director, Victor Kolstee, take great pride in announcing that Seville, Spain’s renowned award-winning performer Angeles Gabaldón along with national and local artists will grace Vancouver for the 23rd year of the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival.
Having performed on all seven continents, special guest artist Angeles Gabaldón’s dancing combines the most passionate aspects of Flamenco with the elegance of classical Spanish dance in a simple and natural way, fusing temperament and strength influenced by elements derived in other genres such as modern dance a mix that shows her vast artistic richness. Angeles work is a combination of her great restlessness and a strong sense of the necessity towards self-improvement that have allowed her, step by step, to find, shape a unique style that stands out from the rest of contemporary flamenco artists.

The festival presents flamenco artists performing in a range of styles – from traditional to contemporary, and soloists to ensemble works. As a gathering place for the ever-growing local and national flamenco community, the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival takes the audience from flamenco’s origins as a blend of cultures through to today’s continual evolution of music, song, and dance.

Festival highlights include:

Monday, September 17, 8 pm
Flamenco Rosario’s Free Lecture & Dance Demonstration, Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch

Thursday, September 20, 8 pm
Performances by Calgary’s passionate Fiona Malena Flamenco Ensemble who fuse the power of traditional Flamenco with an exciting blend of world music & jazz & local favourites, Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island, $30/$25

Friday, September 21, 8 pm

Performances by Montreal’s highly innovative flamenco company La Otra Orilla and local favourites, Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island, $30/$25

Saturday, September 22
“Del Quivir” by Spain’s Angeles Gabaldón and Performance by Flamenco Rosario, Vancouver Playhouse, 8 pm, $55/$50
Lecture & workshop – Public Forum Scotiabank, Dance Centre 10-1pm

Sunday, September 23
La Musica del Flamenco: a night dedicated to Guitar and Song. Hosted by Guitarist Victor Kolstee featuring Spanish singer Alicia Acuña and guitarist Raul Cantizano, Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club 7pm
Dance, percussion, guitar, song, flamenco workshops by Angeles Gabaldón and company members, Centro Flamenco

You can purchase tickets to the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival 2012 here. And if you want a chance to win a pair of tickets to “Del Quivir” at the Vancouver Playhouse, you can enter through any of the following methods:

1) Comment on this blog post telling me which of the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival shows looks most appealing to you (e.g. the one you’d want to check out if you had infinite money, hehe).

2) Tweet the following:

Told @hummingbird604 which Vancouver Int’l Flamenco Festival show I want to check to enter to win tickets to a show http://is.gd/9hJ8yG

3) Re-pin my pin of this blog post on Pinterest.

4) Comment on my pin of this blog post on Pinterest telling me which show you’d like to check out.

If you do all four, as always, I will count it as 4 entries (and so on and so forth). I will draw a winner from all entries (randomized) on Wednesday, September 19th (which coincidentally, is my birthday!) at 2pm.

Interesting Vancouver 2012

interesting vancouverI love the concept of Interesting Vancouver, although I have not had a chance to attend some of the previous events, some of my own (rather very interesting) friends have spoken there (Monique Sherrett nee Trottier did so, for example, on the science of perfumes and scents). Ticket sales have just opened and you can buy them on Eventbrite. This year’s event will take place at the Museum of Vancouver, another gem I absolutely love.

Interesting Vancouverites from various walks of life will be sharing personal stories at the fifth annual Interesting Vancouver on Friday, September 28 at the Museum of Vancouver from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. Interesting Vancouver is a conference that seeks to reveal the richness of Vancouver’s cultural DNA through stories exploring possibility, curiosity and adventure. In 2011, the Museum of Vancouver became the official co-host and presenting venue. There are no corporate sponsors, themes or agendas. The format is the same every year: eight Vancouverites drawn from the city’s diverse and multi-disciplinary fields are selected to speak for 15 minutes each and answer questions from the audience.

Interesting Vancouver 2012 with the Museum of Vancouver has curated a selection of speakers, some of whom I actually am friends with or at least know:

Ron Skewchuck, a Public Relations guru who is also an international BBQ champion;

Roy White, a successful international designer who found an avocation in middle age as a dancer;

Lloyd Bernhardt, a software developer who turned Ethical Bean coffee guru as a result of adopting a child in Guatemala;

Boris Mann, a tech entrepreneur who spent a year sailing a tall ship;

Aamer Haleem, co-host for CTV Morning Live who has interviewed celebrities such as George Clooney and Madonna, and covered international events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Concert for Diana;

Tori Holmes, the youngest women to row an ocean — as a novice — and live to write about it;

Corinne Lea, an artist turned business woman who successfully fought city hall at the Rio Theatre;

Toby Barazzuol, who spent his childhood in the Stanley Park Teahouse, became an entrepreneur, and then found a vocation restoring buildings and supporting community in the Downtown Eastside.

Driftwood Beer returns as the 2012 sponsor, and is joined by Mark Anthony Wines, Field Notes and Eventbrite. For more information and ticket sales, please visit their website.

Interesting Vancouver is an offshoot of Interesting, an event that takes place in cities worldwide and was founded by Russell Davies. Brett McFarlane founded Interesting Vancouver in 2008.

Love Changes (Everything) by Climie Fisher #MusicMonday

I remember when I was a teenager I bought a CD with (reputedly) some of the best love songs in English (remember, when I was a teen I was living in a Spanish-speaking country). I always loved listening to music in English so I bought the CD without giving it much thought. The one song that always stuck in my mind was Love Changes (Everything) by Climie Fisher.

For some reason I always happen to love UK bands or duos. Probably part of my European heritage. Anyway, for your listening pleasure, I hope you enjoy Love Changes (Everything) by Climie Fisher.

I was only seventeen when she looked at me that way
Seems like yesterday
I was only foolin’ ’round but she stole my heart away
I’ve never been the same

I felt the strangest feeling like a raging fire it burned
She left I cried for weeks and
I can’t forget her or the lesson that I learned

Love changes, changes everything
Love makes you fly it can break your wings
Love changes, changes everything
Love makes the rules from fools to kings
Love changes, love changes everything

Then the years went rollin’ by
I grew up and moved away
Had to earn my pay
Found another lover then
But my heart is sad to say
It only ended up the same way

And I wondered was I destined to spend my life alone
Oh girl you answered my question
This time it’s working you’ve given me new hope

Love changes, changes everything
Love makes you fly it can break your wings
Love changes, changes everything
Love makes the rules from fools to kings
Love changes, love changes everything

I’ve seen the way love shakes ya makes ya break ya
It’s got a power of it’s own

Love changes, changes everything
Love makes you fly it can break your wings
Love changes, changes everything
Love makes the rules from fools to kings
Love changes, love changes everything

The Spitfire Grill at Pacific Theatre

12-SPIT-Page-WebI am so sad that I’m going to miss The Spitfire Grill (taking place Sep 27 through Oct 27th, 2012 at Pacific Theatre, one of my favorite theatres in Vancouver), particularly because it promises to be a fun and uplifting musical. Pacific Theatre characterizes itself by putting together some really challenging, thought-provoking shows, but I get really excited when they put together musicals, because they are more uplifting and make people feel good. The Spitfire Grill promises to leave with your heart glowing.

A young woman leaves prison, only to learn that a second chance isn’t easy to come by. From the beloved film, an uplifting and inspiring story of personal redemption and the reawakening of a small Wisconsin town.

Director: Kerry van der Griend
Musical Director: Steven Greenfield
Cast: Damon Calderwood (Christmas on the Air, Steven Greenfield, Julie McIsaac, Caitriona Murphy, Barbara Pollard, Sarah May Redmond, Gordon Roberts

Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday matinees 2pm
Pay-What-You-Can Preview: Thursday, Sept 20
Artist Talkback: Friday, Sept 28

A young woman leaves prison, only to learn that a second chance isn’t easy to come by. From the beloved film, an uplifting and inspiring story of personal redemption and the reawakening of a small Wisconsin town.

Playing Sept 21-Oct 27 Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm with 2pm matinee on Saturdays at Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Ave. For tickets ($17.99-29.99, HST incl) call 604-731-5518 or buy tickets online. This is a guest production by Midnight Theatre Collective with an audience advisory for mild language.

Canada isn’t better than Mexico. You make your own paradise, or your own hell…

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

John Milton, Paradise Lost

Still Proud Mexicans!

Photo credit: Austin K on Flickr

I never moved to Canada escaping Mexico.

In fact, I never moved to any country I have lived in (Spain, France, England) escaping Mexico. I have always moved chasing my dreams and seeking new horizons. I say this because I know tonnes of Mexicans who have moved to the US or Canada escaping Mexico. There are, for certain, many, many things that are wrong with Mexico. But there are just as many or more that are wrong with Canada.

There is no paradise.

There, I said it.

Canada Day Parade / Sidney Days Parade - Vetrans Flags - Canada Flag

Photo credit: Cindy Andrie

The John Milton quote (a quote I learned from my Dad since I was like 6 or 7 years old) has remained stuck in my brain, and has been part of my philosophy of life all the time. Even when I was heartbroken, and I had been cheated on, I made the best of what I could do with what I had. I moved to Mexico in an attempt to heal because a Canadian broke my heart. I worked in academia during the time I lived in Mexico. And I flourished as an academic. And then I returned to Canada. And succeeded here as well.

Yes, there are amazing things in Canada. Some of the people I love the most live in Canada (do note, however, that many of them aren’t born-Canadians – they live there, just like I did, as immigrants – that said, I do love A LOT of born-Canadians – some of my best friends were born in Canada). I owe Canada a lot, as a professor, as an academic, as a human being. But I also owe Mexico a lot. And Spain, and France, and England, and the US, and everywhere where I have left.

I strongly believe that you make your own paradise or hell. I am living grand in Mexico the same way I lived grand in Canada: by making the most of what I have. Not by chasing what I don’t have, but by being happy with what I have and where I am. That’s why adapting to my new life here hasn’t been as difficult: because I know that even living in Canada I would have to deal with bureaucracy, with stupid people, etc. But there are so many amazing things here, maybe just as many as in Canada.

It just takes time to find them.

Lunar Tunes (Sep 13, 2012) Fundraising Concert by the Canadian Music Centre

Moon and Saturn / Maan en Saturnus

Photo credit Arjan Almekinders on Flickr

Organized by the Canadian Music Centre, British Columbia chapter, Lunar Tunes promises to be a really fun concert. The concert, to be held on September 13th at 7pm will celebrate the CMC’s launch of its BC Creative Hub’s digital platform with the inaugural webcast of the live concert; it will be the first webcast telethon for CMC BC Region.

Tickets $100 for gala reception
Tickets available at: CMC BC Region, 837 Davie St. Vancouver BC V6Z 1B7,
Phone: 604.734.4622 or email: bcregion@musiccentre.ca

Sylvia L’Ecuyer, Senior Producer at CBC Radio Canada will emcee the dynamic musical evening celebrating Canadian music performed by an ensemble of Vancouver’s finest musicians conducted by Leslie Dala, Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra joined by acclaimed soprano Heather Pawsey. The musical works selected have a lunar theme, which has special meaning to CMC for a number of reasons. Schoenberg’s work “Pierrot Lunaire” will be showcased. The additional work chosen is “Sur les pas de la lune” Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy which identifies what CMC is all about – providing a resource and forum for Canadian contemporary composers.

The Tiffin Project

The Tiffin ProjectIf there is something that irks me is irresponsible consumption. I have had conversations with many a restaurateur where I have asked them why do they provide containers built in either Styrofoam or other non-sustainable material, instead of looking at ways to reduce food waste and bring down waste levels in Vancouver and the lower mainland. I have supplied many of these restaurateurs with connections to sustainable initiatives such as Green Table.

As someone who strongly supports sustainable consumption and responsible eating-out, I’m thrilled to hear of The Tiffin Project.

A Vancity-backed social entrepreneur is launching Vancouver’s first attempt to tackle our eat-and-toss disposable container habits, while supporting local agriculture. The Tiffin Project’s container is a leak-proof metal unit that gets you discounts on meals at 10 restaurants and takeaways (and growing) in Vancouver, with plans for 17 in the next six months. It is made of food-grade stainless steel by Onyx Containers.

The Tiffin ProjectThe Tiffin Project (whom you can follow on Twitter at @TiffinProject) is a project aimed at reducing restaurant industry waste, supporting local agriculture, and changing eat-and-toss culture using positive incentives and building community.

A portion of the sale of all Tiffin Project containers goes toward shifting the initiative’s restaurant partners to improve their own eco-habits by acquiring more of their ingredients from local producers. By the fall harvest of 2013, the Tiffin Project Foundation Fund will give funds to participating restaurants, to pay the difference between the current price of local produce and the current price of imported produce.

How does the Tiffin Project work?
Consumers buy in to The Tiffin Project by purchasing a $24 Tiffin from any of the participating restaurants. Then they receive discount incentives when they go to any participating restaurant or takeaway with their Tiffin.

So who is behind The Tiffin Project?

The Tiffin Project founder Hunter Moyes is a Vancouver-area Chef who has been behind Burgoo, The Waldorf Hotel (Nuba), and most-recently Tacofino. He is also a food writer for Urban Diner, a sustainable seafood ambassador with the David Suzuki Foundation, and a frequent partner of Oxfam’s Western Canadian campaigns. Hunter hopes to use The Tiffin Project in tandem with Vancouver’s exciting food culture and restaurant community to create a more sustainable model for its supportive food systems and environment.

This sounds like a really neat initiative and hopefully many more restaurants will participate.

Managing yourself: Force yourself to take a break every now and then

This past weekend I did something that very few people have seen me do (well, with the exception perhaps of JT and Ianiv and Arieanna): I forced myself to take time off. Yeah, I did. I went for lunch with my friends from when I did my undergraduate degree, I went for coffee with another friend, I went for dinner with one of my closest friends on Friday, I went for brunch twice (once with my Mom, once with my Dad). I went shopping. I took my mind off of work (and do remember, for me, work includes writing on Hummingbird604.com – my professional activity is being a professor, but I put a lot of effort and care into my blog, particularly because there are organizations, non-profits, and small businesses, theatre companies and others who depend on me for the exposure).

resting

Photo credit: Liber The Poet on Flickr

Because of the fact that I am always on the run, always thinking and looking at my calendar and revising my To-Do lists, and despite scheduling time off and fun activities during my weekdays, I have always struggled with being able to take full weekends off. But now that I’m in Mexico, I *have* to do it. I spend weekends with my parents, and even though they understand academic life, they won’t take a “sorry I have to finish one more blog post” or “I just need to finish editing this manuscript” for an answer.

So, one of the things that I now do is I work intensely during the weekdays, even if that means doing less fun activities during those days, so that I can fully take weekends off. And yes, I do feel refreshed after taking time off. So much so that I am now able to write more, both on my blog and in my academic writing.

Grape Jell-O for the soul

Grape Jell-O for the soul :)When we first met, JT always asked me if I had known myself and who I was my entire life. After all, to most people I look like (and behave like) an old soul. In many ways, I *am* an old soul. I thrive amongst people older than me, I eschew the usual party animal style of younger people or even people of my generation. And yes, ever since I remember I have known who I am, where I am going, and what I want.

Because of how well I know myself, I know that eating grape Jell-O will always soothe my soul. There is a back story to that fact. My late Auntie (she passed away in 1999) was like my second Mom. She never married, but she was very close to my mother, and because of that, she became really close to us. In my mind, I never defined any family event without my Auntie and my Grandpa. Whenever I (or any of my brothers) calculated tickets for graduations, my Auntie and my Grandpa always came into the equation. They were a constant in my life, and that of my brothers (and they even were part of my oldest 2 nieces).

My Auntie had her “signature” dishes: pork rinds with chile, a chorizo dish, and grape Jell-O. Yes, strange as that sounds, her grape Jell-O was just amazing. And ever since she passed away, I have grown to make those dishes to remind myself of her, and to soothe my soul. Same as when I’m missing my Mom (though, lucky for me, she and my Dad are still alive). But whenever I want to remember them, I simply cook something they used to make for me as a child. So that’s why I am making grape Jell-O for my soul tonight: Because tonight, I’m just giving myself a mental and emotional break (I’ve been working a tad too hard). But it’s time for myself too.

Almuerzos y Comidas Del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato) #FoodFriday

My biggest complaint when I search for information about Mexico online is that there are very few restaurant reviews or websites in English describing where people can go for dinner or lunch. My goal with writing about restaurants in Mexico, anywhere I travel (or where I live) is to enable English-language readers to find about some hidden gems that aren’t advertised everywhere. This is the case with Almuerzos y Comidas Del Portal (literally, “brunches and lunches of the door”)

Ever since I was a child, we would come to “Los Almuerzos El Portal” and have brunch. My Dad now has stomach problems (just like I have started to have with my lactose intolerancy) that don’t enable him to eat as much spicy food as he used to. But I hold very fond memories from doing brunch at Almuerzos y Comidas Del Portal, so I took him for brunch there with me.

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

I ordered a “Special Plate” (Plato Especial) with chicharron (pork rinds), cecina, beans and pork in pasilla chile (cerdo en chile pasilla). Most restaurants will offer blood sausage (moronga or rellena) in a Plato Especial, but I totally hate blood sausage so I always ask for an exchange.

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

I love that Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal offers hand-made tortillas, and a very broad variety of dishes at extremely affordable prices. Excellent service too.

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

Almuerzos y Comidas del Portal (Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico)

If you consider that brunch for my Dad and I was less than $12 USD (about $125 pesos), this is a pretty affordable breakfast or brunch place. Highly recommended if you ever visit Leon, Guanajuato.


Disclosure: I paid for both of our brunches on my own dime. As always I retain full editorial control over anything that I post on my site.

MexicoFest 2012 – Experience Mexico in Vancouver (Sep 5th-16th)

mexicofest2I have a weird relationship with Mexico in Vancouver, and that has always been the case for the more than 10 years that I lived in Vancouver. I have set foot at the Mexican Consulate in Vancouver TWICE in my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, I love being Mexican, and with an increasing flow of Mexican folks to Vancouver, the number of events associated with showcasing Mexico and Mexican culture has increased as well. But I never really felt the need to be part of the Latino or Mexican community in Vancouver.

I do, however, feel a duty as a Mexican who has a blog that is very popular in Canada, and in Vancouver particularly, to promote MexicoFest 2012 (although I’m a bit uneasy with the popularization of Mexican culture, as I often fear that we will soon have Can-Mex food, as we have Tex-Mex in the US). Nevertheless, I’m proud of my country and its culture, arts and people, so I do encourage you to participate in MexicoFest 2012.

Mexico Fest began in 2008 as a celebration of the anniversary of Mexico’s Independence and has grown into the most important festival to be hosted by the Consulate of Mexico in British Columbia. Due to the growing interest the festival has attracted from the local community, MexicoFest has become an opportunity to feature some of our renowned tourist spots and a way to bring about a greater understanding of our country.

This year’s focus will be on the beautiful Banderas Bay and the preferred tourist destinations of Western Canadians: Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.

Mexico Fest 2012 encompasses 11days of art exhibit, music, culinary celebration, a gala dinner, a golf tournament and the 5th edition of the Fiesta Mexico Independencia.

The Consulate General in coordination with the Mexican Tourism Board in Vancouver, the Mexican Trade Commission and the Mexican Community are dedicated to strengthening the cultural exchange and presence of Mexico with the local and international community of British Columbia. It is with great pleasure and pride that we invite you to experience Mexico in Vancouver starting on September 5th and concluding on September 16th/

Given that I recently participated in a media trip sponsored by the Mexican Tourism Board, I foresee that I will be doing more promotional work of Mexico in Canada, so stay tuned. And do consider attending MexicoFest 2012. There will be A LOT of things to do. Check out the list of events for MexicoFest 2012 here.

Vancouver Latin American Film Festival 2012 (Aug 31 to Sep 9)

Normally, I would have promoted the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival 2012 like crazy (if you recall, in previous years I have been not only a partner by giving away tickets, but I have also covered the festival AND I’ve been a media sponsor). This year, my crazy academic workload has not enabled me to give as much time to VLAFF as I would like, so I have decided to just write a short post to let people know about this wonderful event, which I’m happy to support, as I am, obviously, Latin American. I hold many fond memories from VLAFF, including going to the movies with my friends Dorita and Guacira.

vlaff

VLAFF is a registered non-profit charitable organization with the mission to provide a forum for the promotion and exhibition of Latin American cinema. This annual festival promotes dialogue between cultures and explores historical and social issues through the eyes of filmmakers.

Since 2003, VLAFF has continued to provide audiences with the unique opportunity of experiencing Latin American cinema in Vancouver.

VLAFF Mission
- To conduct a Film Festival for the purpose of educating and advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of Latin American cinema.
- To conduct educational workshops and seminars.
- To provide independent filmmakers with the opportunity to display their artistic efforts.
- To provide Canadian audiences with an opportunity to observe a variety of films, which closely reflect the society and people of Latin American countries.
- To generate a network between the Canadian and Latin American film industries and forge an artistic alliance between the two.

This year, the lineup looks pretty incredibly, and tonight (Friday August 31st) is opening night. I’m pretty sure tickets are sold out but you never know, do try and get to it, as it promises to be a really fun festival.