Where’s My Parade?

Wednesday night was the last night we went out with Joy and friends before she headed out of town and the Drag Queen Bingo night at Celebrities nightclub seemed like a hot ticket.

Drag Queen Bingo is hilariously fun! The main drag queen, Joan-E, is a towering creature with a repertoire of dirty jokes and innuendos. She also doesn’t take any guff from anyone who gets out of line or screws something up. One poor guy mistakenly called bingo and had to wear an Anne Of Green Gables hat with pigtails.

Our table had 3 bingo wins which I think was almost half the prizes. We owned it!

The thing I like most is that this is a charity event for The Friends for Life Society which helps people who have a terminal illness. So far the Wednesday night bingo events have raised over $275,000 for the charity!

I’m glad Joy made it out to Vancouver for a few days. I had a great time hanging out and exchanging music and cultural notes. She introduced me to Margaret Cho’s infamous “Am I gay? Am I straight?” act. I also found out about a new indie rock band from Versailles called Phoenix. Chill beats. I like them!

Last night I took the first of 4 bike maintenance courses at Pedal Depot where I learned about bearings, hubs, and the rotational systems on a bike. This culminated with everybody disassembling, re-greasing, and reassembling a wheel hub. I learned a lot (in fact I was feeling a little drained at the end) and feel like I have a better understanding how my bike works. I’m looking forward to the next session!

Now I’m going to pack up to head to Vernon for the weekend to visit my Mom and catch some Okanagan sun.

The Beat That Kills!

The Refused are a punk/hardcore band from Sweden who split up in the 90’s. I first discovered them through the singer’s new band, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, which quickly became one of my favorites and I never missed a show when they came to town.

Last year news broke that The Refused were getting back together to do some shows and I became very excited to see Dennis Lyxzén (the singer from Noise Conspiracy) rock out again. Shanman called him “the Mick Jaggar of punk” and it’s totally true. He has a  repertoire of microphone tricks that he’ll unleash during a performance and I spent the entire show watching his mic swinging around and flying up in the air before, with a flick of his hand, he would pull it back in time to sing.

The songs were pretty much all the ones off their last (and most popular) album but they did throw in a cover of TV Eye by The Stooges, which The (International) Noise Conspiracy had also covered on one of their live albums.

They’re a political band and as such we were encouraged to support the recently-jailed Pussy Riot members in Russia. The crowd got the message and during the encore break everyone began chanting “Free Pussy Riot!” which impressed the band.

Opening the night was a band called The Bronx who were OK but I was more impressed with the gigantic banner featuring an angry gorilla with the words, “The Beat That Kills.”

Joy, Slacklining, and Squamish

Joy and her friend Makoto rolled in from Japan on Sunday morning and we’ve had heaps of fun running around checking out our beautiful city. Sunday we started with brunch at the Alibi Room followed by a wander along the seawall in Coal Harbor. This led us to meet some more friends on The Mill’s outdoor patio for a couple pints of Whistler Brewing beers. The day was gloriously sunny so we walked across downtown to chill at Third Beach in Stanley Park. Eventually, after a couple of hours of sitting back at the beach, we became hungry and went over to Oysi Oysi on Alberni for sushi. The evening was capped off with a beer at our favorite Gastown pub, the Black Frog, where we exchanged scandalous stories before making our way home to collapse and get some sleep.

Monday I took Joy and Makoto on a scenic drive up to Squamish where we stopped in at the Howe Sound Brewery for a late lunch and then wandered around the shoreline. There’s a big park at the end of Squamish where they have slacklines set up. Of course we had to try them out! Slacklines are like tightropes, but are usually closer to the ground and use nylon webbing instead of actual ropes. It’s tough to balance on them although with a bit of practice it shouldn’t be too hard. It sparked my curiosity in that sport and I’d like to try it out more seriously some day.

Once we got home it was time for me to go see The Refused! I’ll do a separate write up on that experience.

I Heart the PNE

On Friday night Sharon arrived home with a surprise for me: 2 tickets to the PNE, rides included! So, after a lazy Saturday morning, we went through the gates and straight for the first Superdogs performance.

Even though Superdogs has been around for 35 years, this was only my second time seeing them. The first time was about 8 years ago when the Beastie Boys played at the Pacific Coliseum and Superdogs were the first warm-up act. At the time I didn’t know about the Superdogs and was surprised to walk into a concert and see dogs doing tricks on stage!

The whole show revolves around trained dogs (40% are rescue dogs) doing tricks, running obstacle course races, dancing, and even performing a hockey-themed game of musical chairs. Afterwards, there’s a meet and greet with the dogs and their owners where heaps of curious children get to crowd around and pet the animals.

After Superdogs we got a chance to hit some rides, starting with something called Baywatch. Imagine a merry-go-round that spins around and is tilted on it’s side. This looked like a gentle ride to get our feet wet but turned out to be a real stomach-lurcher! So of course we hit it twice!

Sharon wanted to see Superdogs again so we caught the second show which was every bit as entertaining as the first. Then it was time for more rides, the highlight being the wooden roller coaster which was built in 1958 and is said to be one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. I always thought it was a wilder ride that any other roller coaster I’ve been on and try to get on it whenever I’m at the PNE.

At 8pm the band Heart had a sold out performance on the PNE grounds and Sharon and I wandered over to check them out. It was good timing too since my stomach was starting to get upset with all the spinning and bouncing around on the rides that afternoon.

Heart rocked! When they started up I knew we were in for a good show. About halfway through they slowed it down but kicked it back up at the end with Barracuda, the song I’d been wanting to hear all night. Song rocks! What I didn’t expect was an even more thundering encoure that was opened by a new song, 59 Clutch and closed with a blazing cover of Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin.

Spent from a day of rides and a phenomenal concert we jumped on a last couple of less-intense, older rides to relive our junior high school years and then staggered home.

Fun times! Now today I’m pretty wiped from all of the excitement and my throat is a little rough from screaming like a schoolgirl on the rides.