Winter is the best time of the year to Laugh out loud

The Habitat is excited to become the new destination for stand up comedy in Kelowna and 2014 is going to be a busy year. The first show, on January 25th, starts it off right with Vancouver’s John Beuhler. John began performing stand up comedy at the age of nineteen and in his first few years he starred in a national comedy special called Chill, won the Just for Laughs Home Grown Comedy Competition and shot two stand-up specials for Canadian national television. All before the age of twenty-five. John has performed in the Just for Laughs Festival Gala where he won over the crowd and was touted as saving the show.

John then went on to win the Corner Gas Comedy contest, giving him $10,000 and an appearance on Corner Gas with his mentor Brent Butt. John has opened for the likes of Dennis Miller, John Rivers, Martin Short, Zach Galifianakis and Craig Ferguson to name just a few. John’s style has been described as wickedly funny, fearless and poignant.

I have seen John perform several times in Vancouver, where he frequently headlines shows at the Comedy Mix. I was blown away, so when we needed to decide which comedians to bring into Kelowna to start off the new year, John was at the top of the list. I recently spoke with John about the show and was able to ask him a few questions.

Me: We had our first big show at the Habitat (Comedy Bloodsport) last week and it was a success. When I announced that you would be headlining on the 25th, people were excited. I think you have a good fan base out here.

John: Thanks. I am really looking forward to it.

Me: When was the last time you laughed till it hurt?

John: If it hurts when you laugh, you should see a physician. Car trips with comics I find eventually deliver some crazy laughing fits.

Me: What is the source of your material?

John: I plagiarize Family Circus cartoon strips.

Me: What was it like writing for the Junos? Did you write anything they wouldn’t allow on television?

John: I said that a barefooted KD Lang arrived in a limo with no floor and that she stopped it like the Flintstones.

Me: What was it like meeting Lou Diamond Phillips when you were in that movie with him?

John: He made me feel like I was the only person in the world and then our conversation went straight to VHS.

Me: Where did you record your last CD and where can people get it?

John: I recorded it in Oregon and you can get it on iTunes or in my garage in the the box under the BBQ.

Don’t miss John’s show on January 25th at the Habitat. Come early as tickets are only sold at the door. Tickets are $10.

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2013: A Retrospective

One year has gone by since I was welcomed as a contributor to the A-OK team and granted with many fantastic opportunities. In this retrospective I’d like to look back at some of my favorite events and meetings from the past year. More-so than just retreading the events this post will be dedicated to a more personal odyssey of what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown over the last year as a self-proclaimed journalist striving to immerse myself in our rich and vibrant community.   (Click on any of the headlines to be directed to my coverage of that event)

Honorable Mentions:

Keloha, Ecotone, Lille Gard.

Great festivals featuring many great artists and musicians in one place.
Lots of good friends made these fun, memorable times.
A special thanks goes out to all of the people whose hard work made them possible.

Top 5:

#5 – Okanagan Arts Awards

No other time did I get to dress so fancy, act so professional, or feel so exclusive as I did this night. After watching a motivational awards ceremony I got to socialize with with other well dressed supporters and talented achievers while drinking complimentary wine and eating hors d’oeuvres. The party continued on into the night  at Hanna’s Lounge and Grill on the waterfront…

#4 – By Divine Right interview

One of the two interviews I conducted this year with out of town musicians. It was a great experience and honor interviewing indie rock legend Jose Contreras who’s fronted the band throughout its 20 years and 10 albums and has appeared in music videos on MTV in the 90’s. He was really friendly as well, giving me a personal look into the life and times of an established and professional musician.

#3 – Center of Gravity

What I enjoyed most about this event was spending time with my new found friend and acquaintance from Sublime Photography & Design backstage at the media tent and up front in the pit. Having an experienced and professional photographer around helped boost my confidence and passion for the art, and helped me have a lot of fun as well. I also got some rad pictures of big names for my portfolio, and got to shoot my first bikini contest as well. Center of Gravity hosted a smorgasbord of sports which let me step outside my realm of concert photography and realize how fun and challenging different subjects can be.

#2 –‘ Tiger Moon’ video shoot

I’ve always had a strong interest in film, but lack the resources and funds to seriously pursue it on my own. So when I was given the opportunity to film the debut video of local band Tiger Moon’s  song ‘North Highway’ I was thrilled to bits. Along with A-OK’s editor in chief we drove out to a fancy acreage, met the wonderful Kasey Graff and Dan Tait, and shot the video in the loft of their fabulous garage using professional camera equipment. It was a fun time, and seeing the finished product instilled me with the greatest sense of accomplishment yet.

#1 – Festival in a Box

This was probably the least sanctioned of events that I attended this year, but also the funnest. A bunch of great fiends and people gathered together to engage the community and express their talents and art. It poured rain that day, but it didn’t put a damper on the experience and even helped to cement the whole experience in my memory.

This concludes my retrospective of 2013.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope it will be as full of friends, fond memories, and opportunities as the last.

Dylan

Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood contributor, Dylan Mazur.

Bottega Christmas Market Art Show + Concert

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Bottega Farm Inn is proud to be hosting their third annual Christmas Market & Art Show on Saturday, December 14th & Sunday the 15th from 11am – 4pm. Over the two days, the festive market will feature some of the Okanagan’s Finest artists & crafters . Festive live music, kids activities, specialty treats, food, drink + much more, all set in the heart of beautiful South East Kelowna at Bo.ttega Farm Inn.

Bottega set out to bring a unique European style market to our community here in Kelowna, that would not only give families an opportunity to discover quality local arts, crafts, foods and music, but would help them to experience the warmth and excitement of this festive time of the year. All proceeds go in support of the Karis Support Society;  a local charity that provides safe housing, support, life skills, and training for people caught in life altering addiction and mental health.

$2 minimum donation/ kids are free!

To conclude Christmas Market weekend, Bo.ttega Farm Inn is presenting a special Christmas concert featuring leading west coast jazz quartet B3 KINGS.  Funky Festive Jazz at its Finest! Take a trio of leading west coast jazzmen, throw in a Hammond B3 organ — that old familiar groove of jazz, gospel and blues — circle Christmas on the calendar and call them the B3 Kings.
Sunday, December 15th at 8:00pm – Tickets are $25+tax+fees and available at Streaming Cafe , Mosaic Books (411 Bernard Avenue) or online.

low_bottegaXmasconcert_credit DARREN_HULL


Samantha Savage Smith

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This weekend I was fortunate enough to walk into Calgary musician Samantha Savage Smith’s performance at the Streaming Café on Leon this past Saturday evening. The smooth Jazz/Blues infusion of her voice captured my attention immediately as she sang slow, rhythmic rock love songs, and answered tweets from those streaming the show online. Many of her tunes were off her 2011 debut album ‘Tough Cookie’, along with some new ones. Her album quickly became one of my favorite albums that I picked up this year as I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since.

You can watch the show in its entirety  here on Streaming Café’s website.

 


The Fields – A Bouldering Film

Premiered at the screening of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival in Kelowna, BC, Canada, “The Fields” is a short documentary film following the story of local climber Andy White, directed by Clayton Arnall.

The Boulderfields, also known as “The Fields”, is a potential world class bouldering area located south of Kelowna, BC, Canada . Although the area has been known as a sport rock climbing area for quite some time, it’s only been in the last few years that people have been discovering the amazing bouldering the area has to offer. In that time hundreds of problems have been established, ranging from easy V0 lines, to hard double digit lines. At the forefront of development in the area are local climbers Andy White and Jason Duris. After a life threatening traditional climbing fall, Andy started bouldering in the Okanagan and hasn’t looked back. The film also provides a primer as to what bouldering is for those new to the sport. Thanks for watching!

For more info on bouldering in the Okanagan Valley, please visit Andy’s blog at okbouldering.blogspot.ca


Enter the Third Annual Jump:Start:Challenge

Jump:Start:Challenge

The Jump:Start:Challenge is a competition for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs that provides concentrated help in cracking one of the most persistent business challenges: raising capital.

Are you a technology start-up, entrepreneur, or company ready to go to the next level? This competition is for you!

Run by Accelerate Okanagan (AO), the Jump:Start:Challenge is a pitch competition supporting tech entrepreneurs seeking investment to finance their growth. This competition provides participants with hands-on training on how to get “investor ready”.

Through the 8 weeks of workshops, coaching, training and mentorship, the pool of candidates will be whittled down to 5 finalists who will go on to pitch to a room full of preselected BC investors. Besides offering the possibility for investment, our panel of judges will award a cash prize to the winning company.

Jeff Keen, CEO of AO said, “We’ve seen remarkable successes from previous Jump:Start:Challenge participants, and we’re excited to see what the next group of Okanagan technology companies have to offer. The top 10 companies that earn access to the program, will receive 8 weeks of coaching and mentorship that will dramatically improve their chances of raising capital.”

How to Enter

Email a short description of your business concept (1 page max) to jumpstart@accelerateokanagan.com or tweet it to @accelerateok by December 13th, 2013. Successful applicants will be invited to pitch to a panel of judges in Kelowna, BC on January 10th, 2014.
For more information, click here: http://www.accelerateokanagan.com/jumpstart/

Prizes

  • The top 10 entrants will receive eight weeks of expert training, coaching and mentorship to improve their pitches and increase their chances of raising capital.
  • Five finalists will get to present their business ideas to pre-selected members of the BC investment community.
  • The winner will receive a cash prize.

Meet The Past Winners

Rob Bartlett, CEO of WTFast, won first place in the Jump:Start:Challenge in 2011. For WTFast, the Jump:Start:Challenge was the perfect platform to springboard growth. “I found the Jump:Start:Challenge invaluable – it’s like a boot camp for companies looking for investment. You will learn what investors are looking for and how to present. Along the way you will learn more about your company and ways to improve it.

Thanks to AO and this program, I have gone from never pitching before in my life to now pitching to investors in Vancouver, California and Seattle. These pitches led to $150k in investment for WTFast in 2012, which helped drive company revenues in 2013, leading to an additional $424k in debt and grant funding in 4th quarter 2013.”

Alison Yesilcimen, Co-founder and CEO of Media Cooler Innovations, won first place in 2012. She said, “The Jump:Start:Challenge greatly benefits every company that participates. The mentorship that you get is incredible, as it allows you to continuously improve how you pitch your company’s idea. As an entrepreneur, you are going to need these skills anywhere, whether it’s in a boardroom selling your product or presenting to investors and so having those skills, and always refining those skills, is very important.

Winning the Jump:Start:Challenge created a lot of great exposure for our company throughout British Columbia. I would strongly encourage any startup to join the Jump:Start:Challenge!”

For further information, contact Accelerate Okanagan at (250) 870-9028.

Tweet it up at #AOJumpStart and @accelerateok.


Happy Halloween


Goblins and Skulls, Dark Angels and Ghouls!
Photo: L.G. Photography
Makeup: SJB
Hair: AMP Hairstyling
Model: Shelby
Stylist: Lise Guyot


If Only Comedians Could Play The Hits

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Photo by Joe Moroney

Article Submitted by David Kopp

Stand up comedians have it rough now. In the 80’s and 90’s, they could travel the country with a solid hour of material they honed over the years. Everywhere they went it was new and fresh. At least to the audience.

Musicians can play their one hit song and everybody loves it, but no one wants to hear a comedian’s jokes from last week. YouTube has made this even tougher on the pro comics. With audience members posting clips of unfinished jokes online, it is becoming even harder to keep audiences in suspense.

The silver lining is that this forces comedians to write more material than ever before and, as a result, everyone is getting better. Today could be seen as the new golden age of comedy. Comedy really is everywhere. Every full time comedian has a podcast and a special and most touring comics have at least a one DVD of amazing material for sale and a few great clips online.

The other effect of there being so much comedy available is that the bar has also been raised. Almost everyone in the audience watches the newest comedy specials. This is obviously great for comedy, but it also means a new comedian is performing to a pretty savvy crowd. New comics are forced to learn the trade quite quickly or deal with perhaps the worst feeling imaginable… bombing. A crowd who talks through a set is annoying, but when they sit silently through it, there is really no one else to blame. No artist ever bombs as hard as a comedian and even if a comedian does find that special line that works every time, eventually everyone’s heard it and its no longer special. No comedian can tour like the Rolling Stones, getting by on forty year old material when the new stuff sucks.

Comedians really are in a unique position. Just imagine if at your job you were constantly compared to the best performers of all time’s very best performances. No one ever says to the best architects in town, “Yeah, that is pretty nice, but have you seen the Taj Mahal? You should make buildings like that.” However, it is common, after a set, to hear “You should do jokes like Seinfield. I saw him. All he really does is talk, but its so funny.”