Monthly Archives: April 2013

A-OK Mixtape: The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Mixtape

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Mixtape - Front

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Mixtape - Back

Happy First Day of May tomorrow! You may very well remember our last summer Mixtape, The Big Wet Canadian Summer Mixtape, and if you’re anything like us you crave that perfect collection of songs to pair with a flawless summer day. We’ve made this mix 30 minutes longer and added a third side this time around, our longest mix to date! So what if it’s barely May, it’s been spring for 6 weeks. We’re all wearing shorts and sandals already even if it’s only in our minds.

This summer we’re excited to work with Cariboo to present the The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off, think of this Mixtape as a companion piece to the upcoming local showcase. After the event, we should have some great media to share with you of the local bands performing, maybe even a completely local Mixcast after-the-fact! As is the case with all our Mixtapes, the main difference from our Mixcasts is there is exactly none of my incessant pontification. All music baby! And you may notice there’s a lot of Young Galaxy on here, one original song and two remixes. Well, why not. I like them and I’m making the mix. The good news is, we aren’t using any music from their brand new album that came out a couple weeks ago, so there’s something thrilling for you to discover.

Side A: The morning is just starting. It’s maybe 11am and you’ve been awake for about an hour. The sun is shinning, maybe you work later, maybe you don’t. Either way, you’re looking to get into the right mood today and this is the mix for it.

Side A: Sun

  1. Shoreless Kid by Young Galaxy
  2. White Doves by Young Empires
  3. You’ll Improve Me (Young Galaxy Remix) by Junior Boys
  4. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It by Stars
  5. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire
  6. Call Me Your Friend (feat. Sandie Black) by The Slakadeliqs
  7. Girls by Kids & Explosions
  8. Drinking In L.A. (JPOD & The Funk Hunters Remix) by Bran Van 3000
  9. Millions by Hannah Georgas
  10. Danse Et Danse by Cœur de Pirate
  11. Be My Baby by Hey Ocean!

Side B: Turns out you have the day off, let’s hit the boat or the beach! Water not your thing? This mix works just as well for a longboard or beer on the patio. You’ve already got positive vibes, now you’ve got attitude to pair with it. You may follow up that first beer of the day with a shot of tequila or jack. This mix is rough around the edges, but aren’t we all?

Side B: Surf

  1. Concentrate On Me by ROCOCODE
  2. Youth Without Youth by Metric
  3. Younger Us by Japandroids
  4. What to Do by Dead Ghosts
  5. Rainbow Road (Little Jungles Garage Mix) by Kingdom Cloud
  6. Royalty by Dinosaur Bones
  7. White Night by Little Girls
  8. Black Hearts by Chains of Love
  9. Firecracker by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Side C: You’ve got to pace yourself in the heat, and this is where the third side of our mixtape comes in. We’re not talking bedtime here, just slowing the day down enough to collect yourself without losing any of the excitement we built through the day. This mix will take you past sunset and help you figure out your plans for the evening. It would never let you go home alone.

Side C: Shade

  1. Snake Charmer (Young Galaxy Remix) by CFCF
  2. Raw Spectacle by Miracle Fortress
  3. All Her Colours by Pick a Piper
  4. M4 (Part II) (The Paronomasiac Remix) by Faunts
  5. Amenamy by Purity Ring
  6. Blue Gowns by Blue Hawaii
  7. The Choke by Austra
  8. Oblivion by Grimes
  9. Even Though (feat. XXYYXX) (Teen Daze Remix) by Giraffage
  10. Maximalist by Av_
  11. Sulk (8 and a Half Remix) by TRUST
  12. Real Goths by Mode Moderne

Remember, if you’re listening to this Mixcast in iTunes or on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad there will be a link to where you can buy these great tracks! If you dig the song it’s only $0.99 in the iTunes store! If you’re an artist hoping to be featured in a future Mixcast please contact me!

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Fashionate: Okanagan Thrifting

Thrift shopping can be a great way to shop on a budget. It can also your ticket to fabulous finds and high-end clothing that might be otherwise beyond our means.

Pop culture has proved to be very influential with our generation, and in recent years thrift shopping has gone from embarrassing to the hippest trend around. I have always been a fan; it feels like you’ve just won the lottery when you find something amazing.

You need to go into any thrift/second hand store with a purpose and you need to be prepared to search; search through the racks once, and then again and maybe a third time. There is that special something just waiting for you to take home.

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Scarves, Coats, Sweaters and vintage bags are among my favourite thrift store finds. I love searching for a vintage coat that you wouldn’t find in stores nowadays, or the perfect giant grandpa sweater—that a grandpa most likely dropped off.

The very best find are those great luxury items that snuck into the stores and somehow stayed on the hanger long enough for us to find! Burberry Coats, Prada purses or Chanel—well Chanel anything. That’s the moment of thrift shopping that makes all hours of digging and searching all worth it.

A few helpful hints before you hit the pavement: If you have something in mind you are looking for, scope out the stores in your area, some second hand stores are consignment, and you will generally find your higher end clothing here. The big stores tend to have more volume, lesser value, but none the less great finds! Always remember to hit the accessory/bag section, somebody’s trash will most defiantly be your treasure! Have fun and enjoy a resourceful and environmentally way of shopping!

Value Vs. Price: A Sort-of Love Story Involving Pizza

Mitch and Katy are a married couple. They are very close to our circle of friends. Theirs was the first wedding I attended where most of our closest friends were the wedding party, and if I remember correctly I was somehow convinced to be Katy’s bridesmaid (Mitch claimed Ryan as a groomsman, so looks like I got the short straw).

I remember specifically the first time they met, and how they fell in love, and also one time in January 2008 when Katy and I somehow locked ourselves in a small room for 10 minutes. We were in Kelowna in a room with four doors that were all locked from the outside for whatever reason. Mitch was in Vancouver (this part’s kind of important). We were both a little intoxicated and she called him of all people to rescue us. “Mitch, I need your beefcake arms to break us out of this room we’re locked in.” “I’d love to but I’m in Vancouver, Katy…” (I told you that part was important!) “Shut up! I love you!”

It was the first time she said the ‘L’ word in their relationship and I knew then they were total suckers for each other and we’d be stuck with them forever.

And ever and ever and ever...

And ever and ever and ever…

It wasn’t long after they moved in together that they found it hard to make enough money to live in Kelowna so they made the move to Van. This was 2009/10 and the blue-sky was that all of our friends would have moved to Vancouver and retired by now at the ripe old age of our mid-to-late twenties. It was sad to see them go, but they were building a life together and Vancouver’s really not that far away. There were more than a few times we would head down to visit them and could be there by brunch. Plus at our age we’re really in the ‘say so long for now’ phase; friends went to school or traveled across the country and abroad, moved away, came back and visited, we were all pretty scattered.

But I don't care where you are in the world: when Florence Welch performs, you show up.

But I don’t care where you are in the world: when Florence Welch performs, you show up.

We had built the trust and friendship that didn’t require proximity. We learned that even if we couldn’t see or speak to each other for months or years at a time, the next time we saw each other it was like no time had passed at all. This has become a pretty common theme lately as we’ve supported our friends on ambitious efforts or projects; the kind of choices that meant we’d see them less but would bring them joy and success and everything else they wanted out of life.

"Everything else," of course, meaning Butter Chicken pizza.

“Everything else,” of course, meaning Butter Chicken pizza.

They were making better money, they had a mortgage and two dogs, lived in a pretty great location about 35 minutes from our friend Ryan’s Beach House Haus in Pt. Roberts, life was ‘good.’ But really, life was starting to get a little lonely.

Our lives are pretty well documented. Our friends are all comfortable with Instagram and I have a tendency to make summer videos. 2012 was one of the best summers of all of our lives, we made a bunch of new friends who we spent a lot of time with and Katy and Mitch could see that all from the outside. They didn’t tell us too much at first, but we could sense it. Every time we’d head to Vancouver or they’d come here you’d start to hear the inflection in their voices, “We never have fun like this anymore!” “We miss you guys!” But they were paying bills and had responsibilities.

Pictured: "Responsibilities"

Pictured: “Responsibilities”

Over the winter at Katy’s place of work a mature woman lost her husband. Katy is a very loving person and was consoling the woman, but found in the end that the woman consoled her nearly as much. There is so much to learn from fully-lived lives. After 70, 80 or 90 years there’s a level of wisdom, and in some cases regret, that we can learn from to avoid some of the bigger pitfalls in life. These are the experiences that teach us the value of life rather than the cost or price. The woman explained to Katy, “You know dear, you will spend the rest of your life trying to make money, but in the end what really matters is the time you spend with the people you love.”

That’s all it took. They called a couple of us in secret at first mentioning they missed our lives together and they missed living in the same city. Katy and Mitch listed their house in April and it sold in a week and a half. They were so excited that they had to call all of us! Naturally, the one week they had this great news, Kayla and Ryan were in LA, I was in Cancun, and Jason was in Saskatoon. No one was available to hear the good news.

Pictured: "Good News"

Pictured: “Good News”

Eventually we got the texts. There were a couple days of them begging us to let them couch-hop for a month or so while they found a new place, but only a couple days later they found an apartment. An apartment that is around the corner from me. No joke, they went from living 380 km away from me, to less than 380 m away. It was an interesting week as another good friend I made over the year, Kris, moved back to Langley and we basically traded him for our dear friend Erik when he came back from UBC for the summer. Three days after Erik arrived, Katy and Mitch moved back. The four us live within the same 2 km zone in the Mission. We practically have our own beach access nearby.

Balance is restored.

Our first order of business was a pizza party last night. We grabbed a ton of veggies and got a lot of awesome suggestions:

 

 

So the point is this: Live your life for what makes you happy. Money may always be a problem (though I’m sure I’ll be able to retire at my updated date of 35-ish…), but problems never seem quite as big when the people you love — and who love you — are near.

And Beach Haus, Baby!

And Beach Haus, Baby!

Carrie Harper: Selling Art with Instagram

Frithjof Petscheleit of Tweet4OK interviews local artist Carrie Harper about selling art about selling art with Instagram.

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off

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Here at A-OK it’s pretty clear we love the locals. The creatives, the community leaders, the supporters, the dreamers. Chances are, as one of our readers, you fit into one or more of these categories, so do we. And, just like you, sometimes we get way to excited supporting events, artisans, beaches(!) and musicians. It’s been awhile since we hosted music, and never like this! We’ve been bursting at the seams for the last couple weeks to be able to announce this soooo here we go!

A-OK is proud to present in collaboration with Cariboo Brewing The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off! Join us the first weekend of July to celebrate our love of local music, too-hot days and festival-ready style. Featuring performances by Shreddy Krueger, Windmills, Van Damsel, Wild Son, JoyfulDoor, My Kind of Karma, The Fangles, The Winter Provincial, Manual Scavengers & Tiger Moon!

Taking place July 4—6th at Habitat each night will be $10 before 10pm, $15 after 10pm, and we’ll be offering up $30 weekend passes soon (they will be limited!). So stay tuned to A-OK as we reveal more information about these great acts and this awesome weekend! For now, we’ll leave you with a live acoustic version of Van Damsel’s “Sun & Sand”

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Beautiful, Fresh Spring

Every spring farms come alive with little animals. Why do they have to be so cute?

An Evening of Continuum

Continuum: Opening Night Gala of BFA Graduation Exhibition

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Here is a list of things that I did last night, in no particular order:

  • Ate butter tarts (3 in total)
  • Two stepped obnoxiously to some rad, local music
  • Felt small, humbled and awestruck by art

I’m uncertain as to which of the above three had the most profound and memorable effect on me. Though those butter tarts were pretty life changing (okay fine, I had four, that’s it), I must say, mingling with art connoisseurs, lovers, and artists of the graduating kind and the non-graduating kind, Continuum, the UBCO’s Opening Night Gala of BFA Graduation Exhibition is the cherry on top of my weekend in the same way that strawberries were the delectable garnish atop those tasty, creamy butter tart feast (I promise that will be the last time I talk about tarts in this post).

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A lot can happen in four years. Saturday April 20th was a manifestation of just that. A proclaimed rite of passage for Fine Arts students at UBCO, the Graduate exhibition showcases the creative work of BFA students, a show that previously has shown work that has went on to receive national critical acclaim.

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Spanning the first two floors of the Creative and Critical Studies Building, Kelsi and I waltzed through an intricate display of Graduate artwork, ranging from photography, ink, oil, acrylic, sculpture, mixed media, print, typography, and installations. Saturday’s exhibition also featured live performance from the first graduating class of UBCO’s Interdisciplinary Performance Program.

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Peering through the crowds, even an external third party, not accustomed to the arts scene, the work, time and effort involved in creating an embodiment of yourself, or something like it, could see the pride and love in the final products on display and the crowds admiring them.

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And that’s literally what Saturday’s Gala felt like: swimming in a sea of proud parents, family and friends. At eight, we all pressed to the walls and stairs as heads craned in an effort view the graduating artists receiving awards in recognition for their hard work and artistic endeavors (winners listed below!)

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Canwest Global Centre Graduating Prize:
Emilia Schmidt

DVC Purchase Awards:

  1. Nadine Bradshaw
  2. Sarah Franklin
  3. Jenna Stillwell
  4. Brit Bachmann

FCCS Visual Arts Prize:
Dylan Ranney

Creative Studies Dept. Award:
Corie Waugh

BMO Competition*:

  1. Brit Bachman
  2. Nadine Bardshaw
  3. Sarah Franklin

FCCS Dean’s Office Purchase Award:
Devon Kennedy

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The Habitat is Where it’s At: The Dudes

There’s no better place to be on a Wednesday night other than The Habitat, drenched in its black lights and swallowed up in a swarm of excited, energetic party people looking to unwind at the weeks midway. The venue had been drastically improved from what I remembered just two months back with incredibly flashy stage lighting, new bar counters, and what it sounded like to me – better sound.

The aesthetically appealing but vision impairing and divisive curtains that once hung between the tables were removed, which I was thankful for, and instead a curtain was erected between the stage area and sitting area that was pulled completely back when the show began. The place had a fancy new vibe to it, but the only change that I didn’t welcome was the merchandise table being moved to a dark corner by the stage instead of where it used to be, a well-lit counter on the way out that was converted to a second bar instead. When I went to peruse the table I had to fight my way through the entire mob of people on the dance floor, and when I finally arrived it was too dark for me to see anything they were selling. But I digress. This was one of the best shows I’ve been to at The Habitat, the energy and excitement of the crowd was amazing.

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The show opened up with Vancouver indie rock band The Zolas. In a way this show brought a segment of my life full circle, because when I first came to The Habitat as a teenager in 2009 before they acquired their full liquor license I remembered seeing their name up in lights with the likes of Hey Ocean and Said the Whale. I missed that show, but always had a curious desire to see them since. I figured this night was my chance. Add the two extra hours it took for the show to finally start, and it was all still worth it. I’ve seen bands break the barriers between them and the crowds many times before, but none were so daring or memorable as when lead vocalist/guitarist and original founding member Zachary Gray climbed off the stage carried his mic stand and guitar through the crowd to stand and perform amongst the people.

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Like me, most people had come to the see The Zolas, and had no idea what to expect when The Dudes were to come on stage. Suffice to say, they did not disappoint and ruled over everyone as the headliners of this show. These guys rocked hard (of course they did, they’re from Calgary, the Rock Central of Western Canada) and it was clear they were enjoying themselves and had a genuine compassion for Kelowna and its residents. Much respect in return to you, The Dudes.

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Lead man Dan Vacon, with his killer beard, was fun to watch perform as he was very articulate and expressive with his gestures and had phenomenal control over his music as he interacted and took risks with it. I haven’t seen someone perform with such confidence in a long time. From filling in spaces in the music with crowd participation to improvising solos and lyrics, one was always wondering what to expect next. These guys were legitimate and skipped all the nonsense. No phony encores here, folks.  Just straight up entertainment and fun until it was time to pack it in and call it a night.

On a side note: I thought I recognized the bassist’s illustrious chops. Turns out he was in fact Brock Geiger, frontman for Raleigh, another Calgary band, whom I saw perform at the Streaming Café here in Kelowna last winter.

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If you’re like me and hadn’t heard of The Dudes before, make sure to check them out on their BandCamp. Or better yet, go to one of their shows and check them out live. They will blow you away.

And while you’re at it, check out the talented Vancouver act The Zolas as well.