Tag Archives: April 2016

Happenings 4 at Arts Commons

Last week, Alberta celebrated the 100-year anniversary of white women gaining the right to vote. While the entire population of women in Alberta wouldn’t receive the right to vote until 1960, April 19th marks a very important day in this province’s history; a day when change began and when people realized that anything is possible.

Arts Commons opens its Centre Court to a few local artists and celebrates the new art being shown in their galleries. The event is Happenings, and on April 19th, I had the pleasure of attending Happenings 4. In celebration of many Alberta women receiving the right to vote 100 years ago, all of the Happenings activities were inspired around women’s rights, empowerment, and equality, including a free screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry!, a documentary showcasing the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.

The documentary was wonderful. It held nothing back. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and hilarious. The film showcased the stories of multiple women involved in different women’s rights movements in the United States. Thousands of women all over the country fought for change and this film showed just how fierce, badass, and totally inspired these women were, and still are.

After the movie, I met up with my friend to peruse the Centre Court and the various activities. The Happenings events are designed for the public to curate their own evening from the various art activities The button-making table was buzzing with people, scissors, and glue, and so we continued our meandering. The surprise guest, Mikaela Cochrane, a dancer with the Garter Girls, filled the room with beautiful and lyrical dancing. She danced for twenty minutes and held us captive the entire time we were there!

We continued our wander around the court and of course, stopped at the cotton candy making station. The same cotton candy artist from Happenings 3, magically created a beautiful, colourful masterpiece of sugar and air. We stopped again at the temporary tattoo station and covered our arms with feminist fake tattoos— mine said “riots not diets” and Ryan’s said, “Girl Power!”

The evening was so fun. The film was thought-provoking, the activities and crafts in the Court were rad, and the entire evening was inspiring. I am thankful to live in a world where such change can occur and am motivated to continue striving for change. Thanks for the inspiring evening, Calgary!

Eating Poutine during Poutine Week in Calgary

There are some moments in history for which I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. Like when the first person decided to ride a horse! Was he drunk or just gutsy? Or when they first lit the flame on the Calgary Tower, as the tallest tower in Western Canada. Or when those brilliant folks in Quebec decided to put cheese curds on top of fries and melt it all down with gravy. I, like many other Canadians, are happy those folks did that because we just can’t get enough of it. The world calls it ‘exotic’; we call it poutine. Summer is rapidly approaching Calgary, and what better way to celebrate the upcoming bathing suit season than with an entire week dedicated to the cheesy goodness that is this Canadian classic.

To start off my week right, I went to Flipp’n Burgers with my dad. We ordered their poutine week special, the chilli poutine. It was $9.75 and the least expensive dish on the poutine week website. It was delicious.  A classic poutine— fries, swiss cheese, gravy, and with chilli as an extra. Plus jalapeños and sour cream. I sat there, eating poutine with my pops, drinking our hipster colas from glass bottles and listening to the sweet sounds of the Breakfast Club soundtrack.

I figured poutine number two should be completely different, so Chris and I went to the Coup on 17th Ave. I may be a proud animal byproduct eater and lifelong bacon lover, but I am absolutely not closed-minded. Our server was a little pretentious and not as friendly as we hoped, but we were pleasantly surprised by the poutine. The potato wedges were giant and smothered in mushroom gravy and the smoked tofu “bacon” bits almost tricked me, lover of bacon.

I decided poutine three would be from the other side of the spectrum. I rallied up my four favourite poutine people and we headed to Cleaver on 17th Ave. Cleaver with their house made cheese curds, their treacle gravy, and their whiskey duck. The only problem with this dish was that it had to end. You think you’ve felt heartbreak? Try seeing the bottom of your plate through the duck fat fries. Accompanied by incredible service, and a total adventure of a cocktail list, this was my favourite poutine experience so far.

The week is young! Poutine Week goes until April 23. Go find your fave poutine and indulge in a guilt free snack, for this is more than just a celebration of a delicious dish. In fact, every poutine sold during Poutine Week in any of the participating restaurants provides a free meal to someone in need, thanks to local non-profit Mealshare. “Poutine with purpose.”

Check out the participating restaurants and their menus here: http://www.calgarypoutine.com and let’s talk about it! #PoutineWeekYYC

Making Terrariums with Maker YYC

There is a crafter inside each of us. Whether it’s knitting, or painting, or building, or bottle cap art, or whatever, I believe we all have creative juices and once in a while, those juices need to flow. That being said, there is a lot of work that goes into opening those creative juices flood gates! Where do I get supplies for the craft? How much do they cost? How the heck do I actually do this craft? Then Pinterest mocks me with its “easy” DIY’s and “simple” tutorials and I recoil from trying the craft at all. Sarah and Kat, two Calgary artists, realize how frustrating it can be to try crafting, and they understand the difficulty in answering those questions, where, how, what, wtf, and have put together the perfect solution— Maker YYC.

On April 5, my friend Chris and I went to Inglewood. Here, the Maker YYC Build-Your-Own -Terrarium event was happening! We found the place, 500 Cucina, a delightful Italian restaurant with a killer cocktail menu, because we all know that the only thing that could possibly make craft night better is an amaretto margarita!

Terrarium 101 began. Kat presented us with a diagram of the standard components of a standard terrarium and all of the various bits and pieces we would possibly need to complete this project. Of course, our terrariums must have dirt so the plant doesn’t die but Kat told us about all the other things we could put into our creations— sand, shells, sticks, moss, figurines, and anything else we damn well please! I was nervous! How would I decide? What if it looks bad? Kat read my mind and said, “the terrarium you thought you were going to make this evening? Forget it, because the one you are going to make is going to be even more amazing than you could imagine.” I just went for it. I put some white rocks in the bottom, then put in some dirt, and then replanted my little cactus. It was the most dangerous thing I’ve done in a long time, replanting a cactus. I added dried berries and pinecones and moss and some crystals and sticks, because why not?! Then a little bear figurine. It’s a ter-bear-ium now! I sat there and smiled.

It is clear that Kat and Sarah want to inspire people to let their creative sides see the light every once in a while. No more will I be intimidated by Pinterest. No more will I think, “I can’t do that, I’m no artist.” Everyone is an artist, we just need room to practice and try and fail and discover. Kat and Sarah and Maker YYC create that space.

Thanks for shining the light on my crafty side, Calgary!

Check out Maker YYC on their website, or on Instagram, to keep up to date about  future events!



Rocking out at JUNOfest!

The 2016 Juno Awards were held in Calgary on April 3. The Juno’s are a celebration of Canadian music and so, fittingly, the two nights leading up to the awards show was Juno Fest. Over 100 Canadian bands and musical acts to see, 50 venues around the city participating in the festival, and a wristband to get you into any venue on either night cost $30! There were so many options. It was like a ‘Build Your Own Music Festival’. No two music lovers would have the same Juno Fest experience. Here’s mine.

On April 1st, some girlfriends and I started our evening at Nite Owl. We were presented with our Juno Fest wristbands and were set to see Shred Kelly, from Fernie, BC. The 5-piece walked out on stage and from the first strum of the banjo to the last chord of their set, the crowd did not stop moving. The band was having a blast. I was having a blast.

After Shred Kelly, we wandered over to Flames Central. The Royal Foundry had already taken the stage. The only thing bigger than the lead singer’s beard was the female vocalist’s stage presence – the one with purple hair and a sequin shirt. The two of them smiled and laughed as they sang to a rowdy, dancing audience. The Dead South came up next. These men, from Regina, look like they walked off the farm and onto the stage. They all wear white shirts, tucked into pants with suspenders. My absolute favourite part, other than the mandolin player’s curls, was when the cello player held down a rad cello melody, and the other three each cracked a beer in time to the music. A band with beer choreography? Gotta love it!

On April 2nd, we began our night at the Palomino. Here we would catch the last half of Calgary’s own The Ashley Hundred. I like this band. Their sound was so fun and they each looked like they belonged to a different band! From the bassist in the Canadian flag tank top, to the poncho-wearing banjo player. As different as their looks were, their sound was cohesive and they rocked the basement of the Pal. Off to the Ironwood in Inglewood. It was here my heart would swoon over the songs of Joe Nolan. He sang a song about “dead ends and damaged hearts” and I could tell this guy had some heart break to sing about. At the end of his set when he had the audience sing along to “Come On, Baby”, my love for this musician was solidified.

And the perfect way to end my Juno Fest was listening to the Fortunate Ones. Sean Majumder from This Hour has 22 Minutes surprised the audience by showing up and introducing this band. From Newfoundland, this duo is a girl with an accordion and a guy with a voice that’ll make you sigh. There I sat, listening to the softest voices, smiling like a goof.

To sum up my Juno Fest:

Number of bands I saw: 6

Number of venues I went to: 4

Number of banjos I heard: 3

Number of bearded musicians I fell for: 8

Number of sequinned shirts I saw and wish I owned: 1

Number of times I said, “Calgary is Awesome”: COUNTLESS!

Thanks for the rad Canadian music, Calgary.