Endless Summer

Let’s not call it denial, (that’s such an ugly word) let’s just say, even though winters in the Okanagan are both beautiful and great excuses to hit the mountain, we still reminisce about driving with the windows down. This is our ode to Vitamin D, the A-OK Endless Summer; articles from and inspired by golden rays and longer days.

SS Rodeo Derby Girls Zipline Naked at ZipZone Adventure Park

Believe it or not this isn’t something the SS Rodeo came up with on their own!  When we heard about recently opened ZipZone Adventure Park in Peachland, BC offering the chance to zipline naked and raise money for your favorite charity we knew this was something we had to do.  So on June 23rd, 8 of us derby girls took it all off, harnessed up and rode 2 of the highest ziplines in North America!  Raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, we collectively pulled in $1500 for breast cancer research.

 

ZipZone Adventure Park opened up just last month in Peachland.  With 7 lines in total (6 cross canyon lines and 1 training line), they have the highest lines in North America, one at over 350ft in the air, and the longest at 1800ft.  They offer group discounts, full moon rides, and “Dangle in the Dark” where you can zip across all 7 lines, in the dark!

The park is beautiful and the staff are great, this is definitely something to experience in the Okanagan.

Us girls had a great day of team building, ziplining, and raising money for an important cause.  If you ever get the chance to zipline naked i’d highly recommend it, very freeing ;)

The SS Rodeo have their next Roller Derby Bout comin up this Saturday, July 9th at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, where they take on the Ridge Meadows team.  Tickets are only $12+service fees, and kids under 10 get in free!  Available at the SOEC box office or online www.valleyfirsttix.com.  The event also features a nuvo-burlesque and hooping half time performance, as well as a vendor village and beer gardens.  For more details check out the event page:  SS Rodeo vs. Ridge Meadows

 

Live for the Ride

It’s easy to be critical about the lack of pedestrian space on roads in the Okanagan, we’re still pretty young and we’re pretty spread out. It’s clear we come from a history less involved with people walking from place to place more interested in hoping in their car to roll through the nearest drive-thru.

It’s another thing entirely to actively take part in the discussions of where these in-roads (punny!) need to be made. Conserving areas for pedestrians to enjoy this incredible area we live in means planning for our future and for future generations. Getting outside and having an actual place to walk — or bike, or longboard, or roller blade — means taking your time. You may not even have a destination (after all, it’s about the journey, no?), but you’re taking in the environment, you’re taking in friends, views, and everything else the A-OK has to offer.

Lately, Kelowna has been expanding their pedestrian areas. I had no idea to the extent with which the city had expanded some of these paths leading in and out of Downtown.

I love to longboard, but I’m pretty whiney about where I’ll do it. I like solid and bumpless ground and these new paths are exactly that. I can travel, uninterrupted by bumps and rocks, from Gyro Beach up Abbott Street to the North End of Downtown and all the way to Spall Rd.

And, of course, meet some new friends along the way.

So get out there, be a tourist in your own town. If you feel yourself becoming cynical or jaded with your place in the Okanagan, look at the area you live in from a different perspective. Let go of the steering wheel, get out of your car and go for a walk. Or a ride. Or whatever. Enjoy this beautiful weather, you won’t regret it*!

*results may vary, wear sunscreen.

Make it Light All Day

Summer was never my favourite season growing up. It was too hot for me to wear my standard uniform of a hoodie and jeans, and my parents expected me to, like, do stuff just because it was nice out. I know, total child abuse. For years, I spent as little time as I could in the heat. I made friends based on whether or not they had air-conditioning and if they’d let me come over whenever I wanted to lay over an air vent with the blinds closed. Needless to say, my friends group was somewhat limited.

Kasugai Gardens

However, summer in the Okanagan is an entirely different animal. After living here for 6 years, I’m still not over how spectacularly beautiful this place is. Really, look around you at the unbelievable mountains, shimmering lake, and gorgeous greenery. Try to tell me that you don’t feel “at one with nature” or something similarly saccharine.

In the dead of winter, when I’m longing for summer most, there are a few Okanagan delights that I crave in particular: driving down to Sun-Oka for a day of lounging in the hot sand, followed by a stop in Penticton for the most incredible fish tacos from Salty’s Beach House.

Salty's Beach House

Or spending a beautiful, sunny afternoon with friends on the Greenroom patio, ordering pitcher upon pitcher of sangria and later walking off the afternoon buzz with some impulsive shopping.

Wandering around City Park for hours, watching the ecclectic locals with their hula hoops and hookah pipes and hand-made jewellery. Finding a shady spot in the grass to take in one of the dozens of live shows that take place during the Parks Alive! Festival.

City Park

Strolling down sunny South Pandosy with an iced mocha from the adorably eclectic Marmalade Cat Café, browsing the craft fairs and the Wardrobe for vintage treasures.

And, of course, wine-tastings. So very many wine-tastings.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? Hit me up with your recommendations in the comments!

A-OK Mixtape: Big Wet Canadian Summer

Hello and welcome to our most ambitious mix yet! Just in time for May Long (and by that logic, summer) I am proud to present the A-OK Big Wet Canadian Summer Mixtape. Yes, mixtape, just like those of us born in the 80’s or earlier used to make for our crushes. This one even comes with two sides, as I’m sure you’ve put together by looking at the artwork.

Now, these songs aren’t the newest or latest, but every one of them has felt the delicious kiss of Canadian talent. There are only four non-Canadians on here but it’s A-OK because their remixes are! The imports are Korallreven (remixed by Memoryhouse), Martin Solveig (with Dragonette), Boys Noize and Sébastien Tellier who are both remixed by Montréal’s A-Trak (of recent Duck Sauce fame).

You can even catch Dragonette & Chromeo at this years’ Center of Gravity!

But what is probably the best part is that you won’t have to listen to me blather on, this mixtape is all music baby!

I’m going to be honest, Side A is for the summer mornings you add whipped cream to breakfast and call it brunch just to justify drinking a cocktail at 10am. These are songs for carefree days, a soundtrack for lounging on the beach, longboarding or perhaps even walking around naked in the comfort of your home.

Side A:

  1. We Have Everything by Young Galaxy
  2. Letters Home by CFCF
  3. Odessa (Nite Jewel Remix) by Caribou
  4. Blue Heron by Little Jungles
  5. Let’s Rock This Dagobah System by Teen Daze
  6. The Waves by Memoryhouse
  7. Honey Mine (Memoryhouse Remix) by Korallreven
  8. Wet Hair by Japandroids
  9. Heat Wave by Makeout Videotape
  10. Meet New Friends by Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains
  11. Rose Garden by Shad
  12. Zombie Delight by Buck 65

Side B is another story. You’ve spent the day baking in the sun, you’re washed out and you’re running home to shower and get ready for the night. High energy are the keywords here, this mix will take you on a night out on the town. It won’t judge you, it knows it’s still hot out and doesn’t care if you have a farmers tan and you’re wearing shorts in a club.

Side B:

  1. I Feel Cream by Peaches
  2. Walking with a Ghost (Morgan Page Bootleg Remix) by Tegan and Sara
  3. Sexy Results (MSTRKRFT Edition) by Death From Above 1979
  4. Hello (feat. Dragonette) by Martin Solveig
  5. Sick Muse (Adam Freeland Remix) by Metric
  6. Beep Beep Beep by Tiga
  7. Work On You by MSTRKRFT
  8. I’m No Human by Misstress Barbara
  9. Oh! (A-Trak Remix) by Boys Noize
  10. Fixin’ to Thrill (Don Diablo Remix) by Dragonette
  11. Kilometer (A-Trak Remix) by Sébastien Tellier
  12. Dragnet (Green Go Mix) by The D’Urbervilles
  13. Momma’s Boy by Chromeo

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!

Subscribe to A-OK Mixcasts in iTunes

Play

So You Think You Can Dance (Vitaminsforyou)

If you weren’t there last night, why?! Vitaminsforyou is Bryce Kushnier in what Wikipedia calls “a pioneer of the “lo-fi bedroom electronics” genre of music,” which almost feels like an understatement after last night. He was supported by two other musicians and they just came off playing three sets at Shambhala (two live and one DJ by Kushnier who also has extensive experience as a DJ, playing in Toronto collectives such as Do Make Say Think which you can catch on A-OK’s Summer Mixcast Three).

This was an interesting night for me and in the interest of full disclosure, if you didn’t know already, I work at the Habitat which was the venue hosting Vitaminsforyou last night and I assure you this isn’t a biased plug. And here’s why: I love electronic music. I love Nu Disco, I love Electronica, I love Electro House, Progressive, Experimental, French House, you name it… but we don’t get a whole lot of it in our venue. Vitaminsforyou was a lot of these and more, brushing off Psychedelic like it ain’t no thing, and teasing Folk just a little bit. They dabbled, and this is key. While I love electronic music, there is something about the DJ party that just doesn’t hold my attention, and believe me as someone who flirts with DJing the irony is not lost on me.

Call it A.D.D. (or it’s hyper-active cousin A.D.H.D.) but I can only dance to a DJ for a 5–6 hours at most before I get tired or lose interest, I prefer to hear the song at home or dancing with friends at a house party I guess. It’s no secret I dig live music and I think I’ve finally found my niche when it comes to the live electronic party. I can think of a couple DJs—M83, Booka Shade—whose live performances kept me riveted the whole time and it’s got to be the mix of the live bands and sampling. Live loops, bass and drums does it for me. Listening to Vitaminsforyou’s Myspace was good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not 100% sure if it would be enough to get me to go out. After a few moments of them on stage, literally seconds, it was clear this was a live experience more than anything. Kushnier was meant for the stage. The energy they held and maintained throughout the night was incredible, the scene was awesome, the outfits were crazy (four layers of masks!) the night started out quiet and I’ll admit I was a little worried—I always feel bad for the band when a room isn’t just packed—but by the end of the night, a quick survey of the room found exactly three people not on the dance floor. Only three people in the entire room weren’t dancing, and everyone else was giving hell.

When Vitaminsforyou come back, I can guarantee you that I’ll be there.

They’ve also mixed up a summer mix you can listen to, download and enjoy.


Backyard BBQ’s

It’s that time of year when backyard BBQs abound. Kelowna summers are infamous for their dry, sunny days. July averages 300.5 hours of bright sunshine (or so Wikipedia tells me) and more than a few people live for the rays in this town. Summer is easily my favorite season and is a big reason for why I live here, part of that reason is summer nights and backyard BBQs. There is something that takes place around a group of friends having a few drinks, making a meal together. Maybe it’s the beer (lubrication for intelligent conversation?), maybe it’s the positive weather (29º of it, baby!), or more likely something primal and instinctual in all human beings, but there is definitely a connection made.

Backyard BBQ's

My friends and I love to make dinner together and BBQs take the party out of the house and into the world, which is refreshing after being cooped up inside throughout the winter. The sun beckons me every day I’m inside working in the summer, and I try to use it to my advantage. The eagerness builds to anticipation, and when I finally reward myself after a good day’s work, it makes me that much more aware of how lucky we are to live in a place like this. I feel as though we’re close to finally hitting our summer stride and you can bet you’ll see me around decks, patios, parks and streets. Probably with, like, food hanging out of my mouth.

Summer BBQs are made that much better with Lake Heartbeat’s album ‘Trust In Numbers’ or for something a little more raw, Tame Impala’s album ‘Innerspeaker’ would do nicely.