How to get live music happening in venue-starved parts of the city?
It’s an old question, and Kevin Mooney has an imaginative answer. He’s putting on a series of concerts in Vancouver’s firehalls. “The music will be very eclectic–everything from blues and traditional folk to mainstream jazz and pop,” said Mooney, director of the Neighbourhood Fire Hall Concert series. “We’ll also have quite a lot of shows specially for kids.” The inaugural event will be at Firehall #9, 1805 Victoria Drive, on November 17, featuring the stellar world-music trio of Celso Machado, Sal Ferreras, and John Reischman. Proceeds from the concerts will go to the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
Black Strathcona is an example of locative art, a fascinating infusion of up-to-the-minute technology and the oral tradition, of documentary film and hands-on experience.
It encourages you to interact with the neighbourhood, – to walk around and not only see the story locations and go “Gee, this is changing,” and “Gosh, this is being knocked down,” or “This should be saved” says filmmaker Gordon McLennan, who worked with poet/historian Wayde Compton and Eastside Cultural Crawl Director Esther Rausenberg to bring the project to life. Compton and McLennan had originally envisioned taking a more traditional documentary approach, but technological advances over the project’s 10-year incubation persuaded them to change their tack.
“What we wanted to do with the project was to make a piece that was today,” Rausenberg stresses. “Even thought the stories are historical, we wanted to use younger people to tell the story. So much of the history is being told by these younger presenters, spoken-word artists and poets. Another intention of the project is that it is an educational resource. It can be accessed by school groups in Prince George or on Haid Gwaii…and if they do come down here, they can actually walk around our wonderful community of Strathcona and get a sense of what was here. It’s kind of like an open museum.”
It’s also a reminder that Vancouver’s multicultural heritage is both deeper and wider than many area residents realize.
Georgia Strait, March 6, 2014
Black Strathcona Interactive Project Vancouver, British Columbia
Black Strathcona is an innovative, interactive new media project celebrating Vancouver’s vibrant Black community that flourished in the East End neighbourhood of Strathcona from the 1920′s to the 1970′s. The project consists of 10 short films, combining narration with rarely seen archival photographs and film, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of the community. TD Diversity Events
The Rickshaw Theatre, formerly known as the Shaw Theatre, was built in 1971 as part of the Shaw Brothers’, Sir Run Run Shaw and Tan Sri Runme Shaw, worldwide movie empire. The Shaw Brothers are the most significant film production company in the history of Hong Kong cinema. Over the past nine decades, the Shaws have amassed a collection of over 800 titles.
By the early sixties, the Shaw empire had incorporated 35 companies, owned 130 cinemas, 9 amusement parks and 3 production studios.The 1967 blockbuster, “The One Armed Bandit”, a Jimmy Wang Yu revenge yarn by the legendary Chang Cheh, shaped the emerging Kung-Fu movie genre. Chang Cheh’s 1970 work “Vengeance” marks the first genuine Kung-Fu movie.
By the 1970’s, Shaw Brothers’ movie empire blossomed to 230 cinemas including the one at 254 East Hastings, Vancouver. Centrally located between the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and Strathcona, The Shaw Theatre in Vancouver was the west coast hub for all of the Shaw Brothers’ North American business operations and distribution. The theatre itself was the west coast crown in the Shaw Brothers’ theatre empire and featured the most modern movie technology of the time including a 10,000 square foot theatre room, dolby sound and cinema-scope screens.
But by the mid eighties, the Shaw Theatre closed its doors as interest in the Kung-Fu movie genre waned. The theatre sat more or less dormant until David Duprey reopened it as a live music venue in 2009 and renamed the theatre Rickshaw Theatre.
Realizing the Rickshaw’s potential as an outstanding music venue, Mo Tarmohamed came on board in the summer of 2011 to run the operations and eventually taking over the business. The theatre boasts possibly the best sight-lines of any music venue in the city, with scalable capacity that can be easily configured to accommodate 200 to 600 people. With the help of talent buyer, Stephen Lyons and production manager Denyss McKnight, the Rickshaw has successfully hosted a number of outstanding international touring acts such as Thee Oh Sees, Black Joe Lewis, Deerhunter, Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile, The Sonics, Death, Spiritualized, Deer Tick, Kreator, Accept, Napalm Death, The Joy Formidable, The Human League, Ariel Pink, Andrew W.K., Blitzen Trapper, Caravan Palace, Wax Tailor, Calexico, Built to Spill, Killing Joke, High on Fire, Kvelertak and Ghostface Killah, the Rickshaw has also played host to local titans No Means No, DOA, The Pack AD, Japandroids, Bison BC, Three Inches of Blood, The Dreadnoughts, Five Alarm Funk and emerging home grown talent such as Anciients, No Sinner, Black Wizard, White Lung and many others.
A vibrant Rickshaw has now become a vital institution in the ongoing revitalization of the Downtown Eastside.