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November 2011 Archives

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The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver

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Copies of The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver are hitting bookstores shelves now. And they are probably weighing them down! The book is nearly 600 pages of facts, stories, photographs and maps about the city. Chuck Davis had been working on this book for decades and sadly he died before finishing the work, but a group of writers and friends, including writer Allan Garr, got together to finish it.



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The Cow Bay Cafe Cookbook

Cow Bay Cafe soup!
Chef Adrienne Johnston of the Cow Bay Cafe in Prince Rupert spills the beans in her book No More Secrets: The Cow Bay Cafe Cookbook. It's a collection of favourite recipes and stories from the cafe.  I have such fond memories of eating at the Cow Bay Cafe and am delighted to finally have the recipes!

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Just Dance!

Would you like to find a place where you can dance like nobody's watching? DJ and producer Abheeru talks about how his passion for dancing, community and world cultures inspired him to create Just Dance. The event, which happens three times a month in Vancouver, is more than an alternative to the bar and club scene. Just Dance is a place where you are free to be yourself and dance the way you want!



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Behind the Scenes at the Museum of Anthropology

I love to get to see behind the scenes anywhere I go.  It is one of the reasons I love this job so much.  Recently I got to head down into the archives at the Museum of Anthropology where I talked to archivist Krisztina Laszlo about a collection of very old glass slides.

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Go Lions Go!

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Lion's super fan Carrie Nelson has written a song for the team in honour of this year's Grey Cup appearance. She dropped by the studio with her daughter Crystal Crete and her beloved ukulele to sing it for us!  It was pretty much her first time singing in public too!

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Chef Bruce:

Saltspring's Chef Bruce Wood

Chef Bruce Wood of Bruce's Kitchen on Salt Spring Island has lots of great tips for making fruitcake and steamed pudding, just in time for Christmas. 

He also has a great suggestion for toasting slices of fruitcake...and for using hard sauce and custard sauce together on top of pudding.  Now why didn't I think of that before?
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Author and Poet George Bowering

It's always so much fun to have George Bowering into the studio. George is a poet an historian a writer and a lover of baseball. His latest book, The Diamond Alphabet is an "a" to "z" of baseball stories. I asked him to come in and read from a W entry about Whoppers!





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Acoustic Guitarist Don Alder

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Don Alder is a guitar player extraordinaire!  He's won a couple of top international awards for his fingerstyle playing in the past couple of years and now he's off to the UK to compete with top performers from around the globe.

He's also got a new passion, for the harp guitar.  It's an odd looking thing with a distinctive voice.  

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Katie Burke: Featherettes

I have talked to artisans working with a whole range of materials over the years but I don't recall ever meeting anyone who was working with feathers.  That changed last week when I had a chance to talk to Katie Burke, one of the two founders of Featherettes on Salt Spring Island.

Katie has been creating head bands, fascinators, earrings, necklaces and even a dress out of feathers.  And she says this is only the beginning!


Fashion from Featherettes


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Winter in the Kootenays

Here are a couple of shots from this wintry morning at Jim Smith Lake near Cranbrook. 

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Thanks to Sally Passey for the pictures!

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Babylon Buttons

Melva Forsberg has been charting the history of BC for decades now, through the medium of buttons.  She's the creative force behind Babylon Buttons in Vancouver and her studio is wide open this weekend for the East Side Culture Crawl.



Babylon Buttons!
Babylon Buttons!

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Patrick Dewitt wins the Governor General's Award for Literature

It has been quite a fall for Patrick Dewitt.   His novel The Sisters Brothers was nominated for  four of the big literary prizes.  Earlier this month he won the Writer's Trust prize and this week was named winner of the Governor General's Award!

I really enjoyed the novel.  The Sister's Brothers tells the story of Eli and Charlie Sisters, who are a couple of professional killers, travelling through Oregon and California at the time of the American gold rush.  It's a chaotic world, filled with a range of very quirky characters and Patrick Dewitt is an original and talented storyteller.

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Author Gayla Reid

Gayla Reid is an award winning author who lives on Vancouver Island.  Her latest novel is Come From Afar and it's a compelling story set in the time of the Spanish Civil War.  The main character is Clancy, a nurse from Australia who ends up working in the field in the midst of the conflict.  The book is filled with vivid descriptions of the landscape and a real sense of the confusion causes by the civil war.  I really enjoyed reading it and talking to Gayla about the story and her research for it.

Gayla Reid





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The Yale Hotel Celebrates 130 years!

Vancouver's legendary house of rhythm and blues The Yale Hotel is celebrating many many decades in the music business this week with a great series of concerts from Wednesday November 16 to Sunday November 20th.  After the lights go down on Sunday's show though the Yale will be quiet for about a year and a half while the place is treated to a major renovation.

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Voices of British Columbia : Agnes Russ

The Voices of British Columbia feature draws on the incredible collection of interviews conducted by CBC producer Imbert Orchard in the 1950's and 60's in B.C.

Robert Budd is a historian who has spent much time delving into the Orchard collection in the BC Archives.  He has also published book featuring some of the people and stories titled Voices of British Columbia.

This week the voice we hear takes us back more than 150 years!

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Featured Guests:

Wade Davis

Wade Davis is a scientist, anthropologist, photographer, best selling author as well as being Explorer in Residence with National Geographic. 

One of his books this year is titled Into the Silence: The Great Way, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. It's a book that Wade researched for over twelve years, in countries around the world.

In it he tells the story of George Mallory's epic attempts to climb Everest in the early 1920's. He also takes us to the time before the climb, to the trenches of World War 1 to show the links he finds between the imperial ambitions of European countries and the drive to climb Everest.

Here is an excerpt from a review in the Guardian newspaper by Geoff Dyer:

Still more impressive is the way Davis depicts the meeting of incompatible belief systems. While the British see the mountain as an obstacle to be overcome (by sheer force of Britishness if necessary), the opinion of their Tibetan hosts - that the spirits of the mountain, if not sufficiently appeased, will hurl them from its side - comes to seem just as plausible. It would be a mistake, however, to see one outlook as "spiritual" and the other as pragmatic. The Tibetans, quite reasonably, can't see any point in climbing the mountain; the British, in turn, are animated by a "mystic patriotism" that is itself a kind of delirium.

Wade Davis


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Chef Mark McEwan

Mark McEwan's latest cookbook is Fabbrica, named for one of his restaurants in Toronto.  He's a familiar character to viewers of the Food Network in his role as host of Heat and as the head judge in Top Chef Canada.

The new book and the new restaurant focus on Italian cookery. The subtitle is Great Italian Recipes Made Easy For Home.  In the NXNW Cooking Club he served up some gnocchi with lamb bolognese and mint rocotta which was delicious and may have eased my fears about making gnocchi at home!

You can find the recipe on the Cooking Club page of this website.

Mark McEwan

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Michael Kusugak

Michael Kusugak is an award winning author of books for children and a much loved storyteller.  He grew up in what is now Nunavut but has recently moved to Vancouver Island. 

As soon as Michael sat down in the studio for our conversation he began to tell a story about when he was a little boy and would pester his grandmother to tell him stories!  That's what it's like having a conversation with him, story after story!   As you can imagine we talked for quite a while.  I could only broadcast part of our conversation in the time available on the radio so here's the more complete version of my visit with Michael Kusugak!
Michael Kusugak


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Craft Fairs!

It's Craft Fair season again!   I went to the Circle Craft show in Vancouver on Thursday morning to talk to just a few of the many many talented artists and artisans there. I will tell you it was hard to stick to working and not just wander the aisles (and shop!)  The Circle Craft show continues this weekend at the Trade and Convention Centre in Vancouver.

On Saturday's show you'll hear from a weaver (Laura Fry of Prince George) who stumbled onto her passion for the craft, a fibre artist (Melody MacMillan of Chiengora in Revelstoke) who uses dog hair to make mittens and hats and pillows, and a glass artist (Minori Takagi) who makes intricate and beautiful glass beads in a Japanese traditional style.

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Some other craft fairs this month:

Burnaby Arts Council 40th Annual Christmas Craft Show, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Nov 11-13

Port Alberni Mistletoe Market, Rollin Art Centre Nov 12- Dec 24

Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market, Chilliwack Heritage Park Nov 18-20

Maple Ridge Art Gallery show and sale Ensemble 2011 Nov 19-Dec 17.

Leigh Square Annual Winter Artisan Fair in Port Coquitlam Nov 26-27

Campbell River Art Gallery Christmas Arts and Crafts Market opens Nov 10.

Smithers Art Gallery Wintergold Arts and Crafts Fair Nov 25-26, Central Park Building

Lillooet Christmas Craft Fair Nov 20 11-3 at the Recreation Centre


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Ed Henderson and VICO

The Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra has been descibed as "sounding like Vancouver looks."  The group includes musicians and instruments from a range of musical traditions and performs a blend of contemporary and ancient music.   This year VICO is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Ed Henderson has composed a new piece to celebrate the anniversary.  It's called Drowned Out- a folk tale and is dedicated to the people of the Narmada Valley in India who are protesting construction of dams in the region.  It's a tribute to displaced people everywhere in the world.

The Gala 10th Anniversary Concert is Saturday Nov. 12 at 8 at the Norman Rothstein Theatre (950 W 41st Ave Vancouver)

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Okanagan Symphony Orchestra

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and the Okanagan Symphony Chorus will present Mozart's Requiem Saturday Nov. 12 at 7:30 at the Cleland Theatre in Penticton and Sunday Nov. 13 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre at 7 pm.

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Featured Guests:

Dead Horse on the Tulameen

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are cultural historians and singers.  They've been collecting and preserving poetry and song from the early days of BC for years now. Their latest project is the book Dead Horse on the Tulameen.  It's filled with poetry they discovered during years of pouring over newspapers in the Princeton archives, as well as with historical context and some wonderful archival photographs.

They will be launching the book in Vancouver at an event on Wednesday November 9th at the Friends Meeting House, 1090 West 70th Ave in Vancouver (just west of Oak)  The evening gets underway at 7:30 and is bound to include much song and merriment!

As they left the studio after our conversation on the show Rika said she meant to mention that people all around BC  should get out and see what treasure they can find in archives in their region.

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Singer Isabel Bayrakdarian

When I spoke to Isabel Bayrakdarian the other day by telephone she was just as charming and delightful and down to earth as I imagined she would be.  I have been a fan of hers since the first time I heard her perform (on CBC Radio) about a dozen years ago. 

Since that time Isabel Bayrakdarian's career has been an exciting one. She has performed in concert halls around the world, recorded a wide diversity of music and was featured in the sound track of The Lord of The Rings film. 

She is just embarking on a huge tour of BC with 12 concerts on the schedule.

Isabel Bayrakdarian


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Alex Cuba

Alex Cuba is an award winning singer and songwriter from Cuba who makes his home in Smithers these days.   He's on a big cross Canada tour right now on his way back to BC and he's working on a new cd that features some English and Spanish versions of the same song.


Alex Cuba


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Author Daniel Kalla

Daniel Kalla is a pretty amazing person.  He has managed to develop a very successful writing career while maintaining his day (and sometimes night) job as an emergency room physician in Vancouver.

His first novel was Pandemic, which became a best seller. And he followed that up with five more books which have all become international best sellers.

His latest novel is a bit of a departure.  It's set in Shanghai at the beginning of the second World War.  The Far Side of the Sky is based on a part of history that seems largely over looked these days.


Daniel Kalla


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Violinist Timothy Chooi

Timothy Chooi was born to play the violin. As a baby, Timmy would fall to sleep to the sound of his older brother Nikki practicing in the same room. When given his first pair of chopsticks he lifted them up to his chin and bowed one with the other!

These days Timothy, now 17 years old, is studying at the world famous Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.  He has won numerous prizes including the Grand Prize in the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal Standard Life Competition.  In 2010 he was awarded the "Special Prize" at the Menhin International Violin Competition, Senior Divison in Oslo, Norway.

The last time I talked to Timothy he was just back from the competition in Norway with an amazing story to tell of his journey to get there in time to perform.  He had been delayed by the eruption of the volcano in Icelang and only arrived, after a marathon bus journey, with moments to spare. 

He is back in BC now to be part of the Vancouver Winter Chamber Music Festival taking place Saturday and Sunday evening at CBC.

Timothy Chooi


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Vive la Poutine!

Poutine, aka fries, cheese curds and sauce, is a favourite food treat in Quebec.  And in recent years it's been catching on all across the country.  In Vancouver it's become such a hit that the evening event for the Festival de la Poutine (November 19)sold out in a flash.
But don't despair you can still take in the free family events (including poutine) during the afternoon and if you tune in to the show on Saturday just after the 7 am news you'll hear about a few more special tickets for North by Northwest listeners!

Poutine!




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Author Janet Romain - Grandpère

I met Janet Romain at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written arts this summer. She was one of my guests in the New Voices event.  I really enjoyed reading her book Grandpere and talking to Janet about the inspiration for her novel.

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