Posts from Kelowna

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.

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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

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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

Focus Friday: Creek Fog

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This week’s fog made for some magical light and dreamy autumn scenes, like this one in Mission Creek Park. The Greenway is spectacular right now — definitely worth a walk or bike ride this weekend. Earlier in the week, it seemed like the morning fog was burning off by lunchtime. The last few days have stayed socked in, giving us a preview of winter cloud.

Foggy Morning by Melanie Friesen

Daniel Romano – Streaming Cafe

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Another amazing concert happened last night at Streaming Cafe. . . Daniel Romano with Grey Kingdom performed and you should’ve been there. Spencer Burton (Grey Kingdom), not only has a great stage presence of humour and sarcasm, but his vocals and folk melodies will move you. . . check him out and buy his album here.
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The Streaming Cafe has great sound and the small venue makes for the perfect audience experience. You become fully absorbed while in an intimate live setting. Daniel Romano and band played amazingly well and I was surprised to see such well crafted country/western songs. Romano played all of the set electric as well which is something I’ve never seen before, so that was a nice touch. Romano’s vocals pierce the soul with a deep range that drawls on with highs that can leave you heartbroken. His songs tell stories of relationships and heartbreak that make you yearn and reflect. If you haven’t heard of Daniel Romano before, please do yourself a favour and check him out.
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After the evening of music was over, I stuck around and got to talk to Daniel for a few minutes outside and conversation ensued.

What are your opinions on alternative country, indie, folk and pop country music?

I think that those probably exist, genres like “alt country” or “americana” because there’s such a disconnect with the origin of country music and what is now considered country music. I don’t know if it helps any, but if it helps people decipher one thing from another I guess that’s a good thing.

Do you think it’s getting better or worse for country/western music?

It’s hard to tell right now, I know that the “americana” scene is flowering and that’s good I think. That’s pretty broad that category though, there’s a lot of styles of “americana” and that can be confusing.

What’s your favourite venue so far in Canada?

Oh you know what, there was this festival on Wolf Island in Kingston, Ontario. We were supposed to play on the back of this dock looking back at this bar. Minutes before our set time we moved inside because there was torrential down-pour. So we crammed inside this little bar and moved some chairs aside and did a show, it was so much fun. We had weird adrenaline from being confused and having no P.A system, that was a memorable show.

What’s your favourite show in the USA?

Actually, we just played a chili cook off in Portland that was awesome.

What’s your opinion of downloading and social media?

Uhm, whatever. It’s inevitable, it’s going to keep happening.

How has it affected your career?

There’s just no money to be made. It sucks because you can’t sell records and that’s what you want to do, but right now bands basically make their money off of merchandise.

How has it felt to transition to playing country music and changing your image?

I mean my image hasn’t really changed so much, but I would say that it’s a lot more comfortable for me.

Follow Daniel Romano on Facebook and check his website to learn about tour dates. His next show is coming up on the 13th of October, where he’s playing at Mercer Tavern in Edmonton.