Calendar: Spring is in the Air (Almost)

23 02 2011

It seems like Shubenacadie Sam (Canada’s East coast groundhog) may have been right to predict an early spring. While the weather might not appear nicer, Victoria’s gardens are already bursting with blossomy anticipation. Till spring officially comes knocking, keep yourself amused with this week’s events.

Enjoy a little music this week by emailing calendar@mondaymag (SUBJECT: THE CREAKING TREE) to win The Creaking Tree String Quartet’s latest album, Sundogs.

Zonta Club of Victoria – Chinese buffet dinner meeting and presentation by Alan Lowe, former Mayor of Victoria on Chinese culture, history of the development of Victoria’s Chinatown and the formation of our sister city Zouchow in China. Everyone welcome. THURSDAY 5:30pm at the University Club (UVic). $30. 250-658-5516.

Tsukino Con 2011– Convention focuses on Japanese pop-culture with anime, manga and cosplay, as well as traditional Japanese culture. Featuring the locally made internet sensation LoadingReadyRun. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. $25 weekend pass. 250-588-3314,

You never know what you'll find at VintAgeous.

VintAgeous! – Featuring 30 unique vendors selling chic clothing, accessories, funky decor, nostalgia and much more. FRIDAY 6-10pm and SATURDAY 10am-4pm at the Fernwood Community Centre (1240 Gladstone). $3. 250-590-1491.

Genealogical Society Workshop – Researching Black Canadians: a Case Study. Learn how to research the Black Canadians in your family’s history. SATURDAY 10am-noon at the Genealogical Society Resource Center (947 Alston). $12/$10. 250-360-2808.

Knot-On-The-Schedule Workshop & Play Party – Join Fisherman, Ladyfish, Matt, and MzKizz as they pull out all the ropes (and a few naughty tricks) in this 3-hour workshop that will cover Rope 101 and Rope 102 (fundamentals of suspension). SATURDAY 1-4pm. Play party 8pm. All at the Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad). $10-$25.

Health Co-operative Community Forum – Learn the latest about services in the community, at the Co-op Community Health Centre, and on our new website. SATURDAY 1-4pm at the James Bay United Church (517 Michigan). Free. 250-414-0308.

Africa Day Celebration – Enjoy dinner, live performances, a fashion show and more. SATURDAY 6pm at the White Eagle Polish Hall (90 Dock). $25/$20 students/$15 children/free 5 years and under. 250-370-0827,

Services Expo – Featuring information displays and seminars from community organizations and government agencies serving Victoria. Hosted by Denise Savoie MP. SUNDAY 1pm at the Fairfield Activities Centre (380 Cook). Free. 250-363-3600.

SKAM Fundraiser –  Celebrates its 16th year. Featuring extraordinary performance poet Missie Peters. Proceeds help support SKAM. SUNDAY 7pm at Earle Clarke House (1461 Pembroke). $50. 250-386-SKAM.

Calendar: Food, Glorious Food!

16 02 2011

Delicious delights abound in this town.

Victorian’s are in for a treat this week. Foodie fun abounds, whether your into fine dining or prudent potlucks, there’s plenty to sample. You can even learn how to grow your own! how’s that for DIY?

Win tickets to 9th Annual Hans Fear Memorial event, Jazz at Cafe Berlin, by emailing (SUBJECT: CAFE BERLIN).

Dine Around Town – Step out and rediscover Victoria. Local participating restaurants offer three-course menus for $20, $30, $40 per person and are all paired with BC VQA wine suggestions. This year, celiac-friendly menus available. THURSDAY to March 6.

Transition Victoria – Potluck and meetintg. THURSDAY 6pm at 1268 Walnut. Free.

Planning Your Food Garden – Come learn about how easy it is to grow a vegetable garden all year round. Twelve month workshop with Amy Crook. THURSDAY 7-9pm at the Lifecycles office (625 Hillside). $20.

Seedy Saturday – The place for vegetable, flower and herbs seeds direct from local growers, with fruit and nut trees, native and specialty plants and more. The show includes food and garden products, Seed Exchange, Master Gardeners, displays and demos, kids’ activities, free speaker talks. SATURDAY 10am-4pm at the Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas). $7/children under 12 years free. 250-381-5323,

VIVA-Raw Potluck – Come join us for a wonderful potluck of delicious raw vegan food. Bring raw vegan dish of 6 or more servings with ingredients list, serving utensils plus your own plate and cutlery. SUNDAY 5:30-8:30pm at the Esquimalt Rec Centre (527 Fraser). $5-$3 sliding scale. 250-380-6383,

Stop the Presses!

9 02 2011

Richard Wagamese – Ojibway journalist, broadcaster, author and poet Richard Wagamese is this year’s Harvey S. Southam lecturer in Uvic’s Department of Writing and discusses The Power of Stories: Changing the World, One Story at a Time. WEDNESDAY 7:30pm in room 105, the Hickman Building (UVic). Free. 250-721-6222.

Calendar: Love is in the Air

9 02 2011

Hands are being held, chocolate is being eaten, and love is in the air. There’s no way to avoid it, Valentine’s is here. But never fear, there’s lots to do for Valentine lovers and haters alike.

Looking for a little love? Send an email to (SUBJECT: BUMP AND GRIND) to win tickets to the Cheesecake Burlesque Reveu’s latest show Bump and Grind Valentine on SATURDAY.

Victoria Tea festival – North American’s largest tea festival is here again! Sample teas, bid in the silent auction and learn more about the worlds favourite drink. SATURDAY-SUNDAY at the Victoria Crystal Garden (713 Douglas). $25/$20. 250-370-4880.

Open House at the Well – A weekend of exceptional activities commences SATURDAY 5:30pm with a special ribbon cutting ceremony,  reception, puppet show and live music performances. SUNDAY 11:30am Author Breakfast Brunch with book fair and visual art showcasing books by several local authors and artists followed by the Valentine’s Day Open Poetry Contest: Kiss and Tell at The Well, a lighthearted time with romantic verse. SATURDAY 5:30pm and SUNDAY 11:30am at 821 Fort. Free. 250-590-4995.

Island Singles: Valentine’s Dance – Couples welcome. Party dress code. SATURDAY 9pm-1am at the DaVinci Centre (195 Bay). $11. 250-383-8041.

Rotten Luck – (5 years+) Learn about the decomposers of the woods and discover how they keep the forest healthy. SUNDAY 1-2:30pm at the Nature Centre off Munn Rd (Francis/King Regional Park), Free. 250-478-3344,

Sass Class 101 – Learn everything burlesque with the stars of the Cheesecake Burlesque Reveu! Registraion required. SUNDAY 2-4:30pm  at the Yoga Shala (Studio K 1322 Broad). $50/$40.

2011 Spay/Neuter Blitz – Low income cat owners can have the cost of spay or neuter covered by Victoria Cat Rescue Corps. Program runs to March 15. 250-656-1100.

A Big Machine Lifts Off In Victoria: Swain at St. Andrew’s

9 02 2011

“The Lord is in this Holy Temple, let all the earth keep silence”: thus sayeth the gold-emblazoned banner high above St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s small stage.  But on Saturday night, the Lord’s holy temple was anything but quiet.  Oliver Swain’s Big Machine pulled to play a homecoming show with a little help from some friends in support of Swain’s first solo CD, “In a Big Machine”; and on this night, all of the earth rejoiced.

Swain is no stranger to Victoria’s bustling music scene.  Having played with bands such as the Bill Hilly Band (now known as The Bills), Scruj MacDuhk (whose name has also been abbreviated, since Swain’s departure, to The Duhks) and Outlaw Social, Swain is virtually omnipresent in Victoria.  If Saturday night is any indication, Swain’s most recent project, aptly called “The Big Machine”, is his most adventurous and rewarding incarnation yet.

The evening began with a taste of things to come as Big Machine guitarist Quinn Bachand took the stage with his big sister to play a short set of traditional songs.  The younger Bachand impressed us all with his undeniably preternatural guitar talent.  Several members of the crowd whispered to the person next to them that the lad’s licks, were ‘finger picking good’; good God!

When the Bachands left the stage to a rousing applause, they were quickly replaced by Victoria music veteran Lily Fawn and her Brightest Darkest Lullaby Band, who rounded off the first half of the show.  Fawn lulled those gathered before her into an adrenaline soaked derangement of the senses with her sugar-sweet, horrific tales of baby-stealing and mermaids. Drummer Matt Skillings (also a member of Chet) was especially impressive with his refreshing approach to percussion, a style less rhythmic, more melodic— Skillings paints pictures of horrors and beauties heretofore inconceivable with his brushes, sticks and tom-toms, lending to Lily and co.’s evocative set, which left us all enraptured and ready for a brief intermission.

When we finally reconvened on predestined pews, and the Big Machine took the stage, it became instantly clear that this was a machine most immaculately oiled.  The band’s homecoming was the centerpiece of their tour: having already played shows in Cumberland, Powell River and Vancouver, the band plans to roll across the mainland, through the mountains, and onto the frozen prairies of Alberta before flying to Memphis to complete their tour.

The Big Machine’s set was as varied as it was entertaining.  Swain’s band played songs in honour of the long-belated John Henry, but they also played songs in the key of alien abduction.  We in Victoria were particularly fortunate as the band’s stop in our town was the only show on the tour to feature The Marlborough String Quartet, who launched Swain’s band from blue grass to shining stars with their heavenly flourishes.

Swain has made an important step with “In a Big Machine”.  His is an undeniable talent, but on this disc, Swain is surrounded by musicians and composers capable of taking his songs to a higher level.  All who gathered at St. Andrews on Saturday night left with a smile, and a hope that Swain will stick around for a while on his newest project: for it is one most heavenly.

Calendar: Mighty Miniature Fun

2 02 2011

The Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society brings out it's best boats this weekend.

This week, the Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society and Gottacon prove that fun can come in small packages. If that doesn’t float your boat, head out to the VFF Opening Gala or the Psychic Spring Fair.

If the future has you worried, email (SUBJECT:2012) to win 101 You Should Know About 2012: Countdown to Armageddon…or a Better World?, by Mark Heley. Find out what the Mayan calendar has in store, according to Heley.

Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society – One of the largest model exhibitions. Large models will be on display tables and the club’s portable pool for running smaller radio controlled craft. Spectators are invited to talk with any members present and vote for their favourite model. FRIDAY-SUNDAY at the Westshore Mall (2945 Jacklin). Free. 250 385-9552

GottaCon – This hobby based gaming convention celebrates its third year. Board, card, and fantasy game tournaments, costume contest, and the latest in board games. FRIDAY 5pm-SUNDAY 7pm at the GR Pearkes  Centre (3100 Tillicum).  $40. 250-388-6432.

VFF Opening Gala – Kick of the Victoria Film Festival with a film viewing and reception. See the Atrium transformed into a magnificent South Polar spectacle. FRIDAY, film 6:45pm at Capitol 6 (805 Yates), Gala 9pm at the Atrium (800 Yates). $40 (film and gala).

Paint Your Character House – Everything you need to know about painting your character home with the chance of winning 10 gallons of Kelly-Moore premium paint. WEDNESDAY 7pm in the Windsor Park Pavilion (2451 Windsor). By donation.

Psychic Circle Spring Fair – Find out what the future has in store for you. MONDAY-February 11 9:20am-9pm, February 12 9:30am-5:30pm, February 13 11am-5pm. Free. 250-478-4226.

Let’s Have a Ceilidh – The Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dance Society invites the public to an evening of dancing and ceilidh performances. No partner required. Wear soft-soled shoes. Registration appreciated. FRIDAY 7:30pm at the Victoria Dance Studios (2750 Quadra). Free. 250-598-0207.

Walkin’ the Dog.

1 02 2011

In light of the recent dog-related tragedies that have taken place in our Country, a few of us will be taking part in a dog walk this Saturday mo(u)rning: all who wish to attend are more than welcome. I shall borrow the rest of the words from Fiona Harvey, who has planned the event. Please follow all instructions to ensure that everything runs smoothly:

In light of both the tragic massacre of sled dogs in Whistler, and the brutal slaying of Bandit, the pit bull puppy, I’m organizing a community dog walk to honour our canine friends.

The walk will take place Saturday, Feb 5th at 11 am at the Dallas Road Dog Park, and in keeping with the City’s permit, we must START at Cook St, and walk down to Clover Point and END up to St.Charles St. by the Ross Bay Cemetery. These are the boundaries we must operate within. Please congregate at the Cook Street portion of the Dog Park at 11::00 AM.

Safety for dogs and dog owners alike is paramount. Please bring your dog ON A LEASH, and ensure your dog is comfortable being around other dogs and large crowds. The last thing we want is any dog altercations. If your dog is not suitable for the walk, please come anyways, as your presence is just as valuable.

The SPCA is the event’s benefactor, and although the event is free, donations are welcome and will support the SPCA. Thank you for your support. I hope to see a great turnout on Saturday morning. More details about the event can be found at:!/event.php?eid=185796088119860

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