The Okanagan Tattoo Show

The Okanagan Tattoo, Art and Culture Show is the first of its kind in the BC Interior region that unites a community of tattoo shops, artists, and clients. This inaugural year had an exciting and contemporary twist to Kelowna’s already rich and vibrant arts & culture industry. Over the weekend of July 26-28, 2013 DLD Productions and Events Rising is hosted The Okanagan Tattoo Show at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna, BC. A convention-style weekend that hosted 23 tattoo shop booths with artists in action, 23 retail vending booths and 23 Hot Rods creating an exciting atmosphere.

There were many talented tattoo artists in Kelowna for the weekend.

Many people were there to meet tattoo artists and learn about techniques in hopes of getting a high quality tattoo. Others are there for the social aspect of enjoying the company of others and having a good experience.


High Tide Fashion Show

Awesome Okanagan recently paired with CREAM Salons to board the high seas* (otherwise known as Habitat) together with some of the freshest talent the A-OK has to offer. We set sail in nautical clothes for “High Tide,” the 2013 Summer Fashion Show & Fundraiser benefiting the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Clothes by Man + Woman
Live music by Windmills
Choreography by Zebra Eyes Contemporary Dance / Cosmic-co-motion
Donations by Kelowna Actors Studio / CREAM Hair and Makeup Lounge / DunnEnzies Pizza / Mosaic Books

Music by DyE, their song “Fantasy.”

Why You May Not Survive the Mystic Trail at Mabel Lake

If you ever find your way up to Mabel Lake (via Lumby or Enderby) you’ll drive off paved roads into the forest and are likely to find a quiet, out-of-the-way lake with no cell reception. If this sounds like the beginning of every horror movie you’ve ever seen, congratulations you’ve seen through our preamble.

In classic horror cliché, we arrived Saturday with fresh food and cold beer to an already in-progress birthday party. Adventures kept pretty close to the campsite that initial day due to the fact that we were a big crowd and it’s fundamentally impossible to motivate our group to much more than a 1km ‘hike.’ The sun was hot and the sand was hotter, it was about all you could do to stay conscious all day. Exploring required more effort than we would muster smoldering under a scorching summer sun. Temperatures in the shade were reaching 32º+ and borderline uncomfortably frosty dips were important to help revitalize at much needed intervals throughout the day.

Pictured Here

Pictured here: comfortable shade and not-at-all the gateway to someone’s harrowing descent into madness.

Come Sunday, most members of our group made their way back to civilization and only the 3 of us remained; myself, Mitch & Katy. I had mentioned trails or waterfalls I thought I recalled from my youth that were nearby. Back in the day, my parents and I would go camping often. Of the many destinations we visited, Sugar and Mabel Lake were pretty regular. I guess the proximity to our house in Lavington made them pretty ideal for a quick trip away from home and, perhaps more importantly, an equally quick trip back at the end of a sun-baked weekend. We were already on the hunt for firewood that day so we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone, find the campsite host, and ask about any notable landmarks. After all, there is no way this could end with us being chased through the woods by the Blair Witch.

Maybe using the word "kill" was just asking for trouble.

Maybe using the word “kill” was just asking for trouble.

Upon meeting our host, she directed us a short trip up the road. She mentioned Cascade Falls (a place we couldn’t find to save our lives) and, at 15 1/2 forestry kilometer, The Mystic Trail. A ‘magical’ little path whose name is missing about two adjectives and three exclamation points. The campsite host’s description of “a cute little area where someone carved some neat things into the hill” really undersold the horror of what we were about to encounter.

"Oh good. This isn't foreboding."

“Oh good. This isn’t foreboding.”

The trail is adjacent to a haunted bridge and marked by a staggeringly-large amount of shoes nailed to a tree that locals have taken to calling the shoe tree. We won’t speculate why and assume any reason for this name is surely lost to time. Looking back, I suppose it’s my own fault that “neat things” didn’t immediately infer that they would be unspeakably nightmarish things. Maybe I was expecting stick-man drawings on rocks, or GRAD2013, or even Robbie + Julie 4Ever in a heart. Definitely something over-emphasizing the permanence of youth.

Hindsight

Here “someone carved some neat things” like this spinal column, unpleasantly twisted into the guise of the Ogopogo’s evil twin.

Naturally hindsight is 20/20, or it would have been if our eyes weren’t plucked straight from their sockets while tempting the curse of the Mystic Trail that we absolutely didn’t just make up.

I want to believe this place is only unintentionally terrifying and probably meant to evoke feelings of whimsy in adults and children alike. Makes sense. Everyone knows little boys and girls enjoy mutilated skulls and trash dolls displayed in gruesome manners meant to mock death in many creative ways.

I See You

Even with warm, summery Instagram filters, this is only barely passable as the least paralyzing piece of art present.

Now, there’s nothing saying any of these bones or parts are from humans. For example, we escaped alive and slept through the night with only a few mosquito bites to show for it. Had this mockery of the human death experience been made of actual persons we’re pretty sure only one of us would have escaped alive. I’m half-Mexican and Mitch is the big, white guy, sooo clearly the survivor would have been Katy.

"Hey. Haunt here often?"

Especially after I literally taunted the “artwork.”

Jokes aside, it was a pretty sweet little tour and quick way to beat the heat. Just don’t spend the night inside the tiny, abandoned cabin or pee on any of the dolls and you’ll probably make it out unscathed.

That or you'll find yourself buried in this patch of Skull Daisies. Which were exactly as petrifying as you'd expect.

That or you’ll find yourself in this patch of Skull Daisies, which are exactly what you’d think they were if you were expecting them to be lots of tiny bird skulls.

Thanks to Katy (@ktken on Instagram) for snapping pictures while my iPhone cowered in the vehicle.

Hot and Dry Sessions: The Fangles “Concrete Wave”

As part of our own Throwback Thursday and keeping the #aokendlesssummer going strong, today and every Thursday for the next 10 weeks we’ll be releasing a live video by bands who performed at our Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off at Habitat on July 4-6, 2013.

For lovers of punk get to know Kelowna’s The Fangles with their song “Concrete Wave.”

Off to England: The Lake Monsters Take on the English Channel

Photo by Angelique Duffield www.BrightSparkMedia.ca

The Lake Monsters in our team suits: Phred, Denise, Tracey, Leora, and Mike. Photo by Angelique Duffield

Well, the time has finally arrived! The Lake Monsters head to Dover, England this week for our chance to tackle swimming the English Channel. We have been told by our support boat captain that if the weather remains good we will likely make our attempt on August 1st. If the weather doesn’t cooperate right away, we have until the 6th of August to make our attempt.

Just as a refresher: the Channel is 35km across in a straight line, but because of the currents we will likely swim a greater distance than that. We are not allowed to wear wetsuits and the water temperature in the Channel is currently 16ºC. We’ve been training in the lake since it was 8ºC so that we won’t become hypothermic in the 16º water. Our start time will likely be around 1 or 2am as that is when the tides are retreating from the English coast, giving us some help getting out into the Channel (but we’ll have to start by swimming in the dark with glow sticks on our caps to make us visible to our support boat). We each swim for one hour at a time and then rotate through. If anyone can’t complete their shift, touches the support boat, or touches anyone on that support boat before their hour is up the entire team will be disqualified. The swim will be monitored by a member of the Channel Swimming Association and will be considered “complete” when a swimmer from the team clears the water line on the French coast. We anticipate that it will take us between 15 and 18 hours based on our swimming abilities, but again if we run into rough waters, jellyfish, or bad currents it could take us much longer.

I am excited to go and feel that we are ready! The majority of the team completed the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim this weekend and we all put in good times for that 2.1 km swim. Now we get to take it easy on our bodies until we get to Dover and start training in the cold water again (our lake is currently around 22ºC).

My last submission for Awesome Okanagan will be published in late August or early September (after I get back from my travels) to let everyone know how it went. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Awesome Okanagan (particularly Brandon) for letting me use this forum to talk about my experience training for this over the last year and for being so supportive of our swim!

Finally, we are raising money for the Y Strong Kids campaign as part of our Channel Swim attempt. If you’d like more information about this charity or would like to support my team please go here.


Hot and Dry Sessions: My Kind of Karma “Ho Hey”

As part of our own Throwback Thursday and keeping the #aokendlesssummer going strong, today and every Thursday for the next 10 weeks we’ll be releasing a live video by bands who performed at our Hot and Dry Canadian Summer Kick-Off at Habitat on July 4-6, 2013.

We’re stoked to hear Kelowna band My Kind of Karma cover The Lumineers with “Ho Hey.”

Interview with By Divine Right

BDR 011

Canadian alternative indie band By Divine Right played Fernando’s pub last night as part of their coast to coast tour promoting their ninth album, ‘Organized Accidents’.  Formed in 1989, the group’s only consistent member has been original founder Jose Contreras, well-known for leading the alternative rock revolution throughout the nineties, and for his collaborations with other big name Canadian artists. Past members of By Divine Right have included Brendan Canning and Feist. BDR now plays as a trio with Jose accompanied by drummer Geordie Dynes and his nanny Alysha Haugen on bass. After the show I got to catch up with Jose for a quick off-the-cuff interview.

When you started By Divine Right in 1989 where did you want it to go? What were your intentions?
I thought BDR would be a mostly improvisational Psychedelic band. When I was younger I was so influenced by the 80’s, I had a band that was synthesisers and drum machines, then at one point I saw Apocalypse Now and I heard the Doors again so I started listening to all of my 60’s albums and realized I loved the 60’s more, so my goal was to somehow steer it back to something real. I really just wanted to make a cool psychedelic record and listen to it, and I did.

What do you think about what BDR has become?
The weird thing is how time changes how you view things. In the States we were considered alongside with all of the other Canadian bands that were blowing up at the time so we were playing all of these really over the top shows and getting great reviews, whereas in Canada it was like people just wanted us to go away. Then just 5 years ago I began getting all of this credit for stuff because I was there and I didn’t stop. I think my last couple of records are really cool and fresh sounding. They’re honest and they’re creative and they’re not marketed. There are a lot of peers right now that are going a little too hard. They could be weirder and sound a lot less manufactured. There’s something to be said for the idea that obscure music is better. I believe in what I am doing, and when I pour it on it feels real.

You also produce? I heard you collaborated with Hannah Georgas?
Yeah, we wrote a song together, Bang Bang You’re Dead. It was like song 4 on CBC 3 which is cool. I have a lot of friends who are really good at marketing what they do. I’m not really like that. Out here I’ve worked with the likes of Hey Ocean, and in Toronto I’ve worked with my wife Lily Frost, the Meligrove Band, Bicycles, St. Sebastian etc.

Your ninth album just came out, are you already working on anything else?
Yeah, I’ve got three records that are almost done. One’s a new BDR record which is super off the cuff, but it’s really fun, and also I have an improvisational record in the works. The third project is a secret which nobody knows about. The new BDR record is tracked live. It’s really unexpected. Its super scrappy, super amazing and we’ll probably just release it digitally.

BDR has really paved the way for Alternative and Indie rock, and they will continue to do so with their experimental style and ambient sounds. The current line-up is a formidable trio of honest, outgoing and sincere musicians who have a great passion for their art. Even after two decades Jose is still animated and fun when he gets up on stage, and has a modest outlook on his life and achievements that make him very personable. I look forward to what he has in store for us.


Larry, His Flask, a Wild Son and a Canyon Rose Outfit

I caught the great Larry and His Flask last night along side them played Wild Son and another band originating from Edmonton, called The Canyon Rose Outfit.

WSON2

All three of these bands were great, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen Wild Son perform and remembering their talent was a perfect start to the evening. Being a Wednesday night, I was surprised at the turnout of excited fans that showed up.

WSON1

After a short tear down, The Canyon Rose Outfit came on stage and brought the energy on. This band consists of: Christan Maslyk (Guitar,Vocals), Justin Perkins (Guitar), Matt Harrison (Bass,Vocals), Jesse Gauthier (Drums) and Alex Pelletier (Trumpet). Their sound was different and I liked the trumpet solo’s that Alex pulled off towards the end of their set.

TCRO1

This band was good, I liked their blues style and the energy was amazing for a mid-week show. Anyways check these guys out, they’re worth a listen.

TCRO2

Next was Larry and His Flask and this was when the night got pretty rowdy. Dancers everywhere, spilled drinks, the venue was packed and the band was: loud, powerful and extremely talented. They had people buzzing, and grooving along to all their songs — it was awesome.

LAHF1

If you haven’t heard of these bands before, get out from behind your rock and get involved. Click any of the band names above to be directed to their respective websites and do yourself a favour by listening to some great new music!

Until next time, support your local artists!