Recap: Trip the Light

trip the lightLast night was artsScene Edmonton’s Trip the Light, a unique after-hours party and showcase of local artists. With a brand new board for 2012, the event was a great introduction to the new artsScene Edmonton and is hopefully a sign of things to come. Trip the Light was completely sold out, so Sharon and I were lucky to be on the guest list – thanks to artsScene for that! New co-chairs Erin Elizabeth Ross and Miranda Wulf and their team put on one heck of a party – it was certainly the place to be in Edmonton yesterday evening.

We asked Erin where the name came from, and she said it was a play on the phrase “trip the light fantastic”. As Wikipedia explains, the phrase has come to mean dancing in an imaginative manner. In the sixties and seventies, it was commonly used to mean “let’s go out and have a great time!” The organizers decided to drop the “fantastic” to shorten it, but wanted to channel that message.

Held at the Breakfast Television Studios, Trip the Light was an opportunity for people to experience an unconventional event space in the heart of downtown. I understand that it took a lot of negotiation and compromise to secure the space, but it was totally worth it. The studio worked really well as a venue, with lots of room for a stage, DJ tables, a photo booth, two bars, and more. Guests even got to sit on the BT Edmonton couch, and the Good Women Dance Collective partied in the elevator! It was particularly cool that they left the cameras and lots of other equipment in the studio. One of the monitors was setup with Twitterfall tuned to the very popular #tripthelight hashtag.

Trip the Light

Trip the Light
Ryan Jespersen

Trip the Light
Miranda & Erin

After DJ Alex Faid had gotten everyone warmed up, Mitch Holtby (aka Mitchmatic) got up on stage to perform his high energy mix of rap and music creation. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, Mitch impressed the crowd by playing the saxophone in the middle of rapping. Follow @Mitchmatic on Twitter to find out where he’s performing next!

Trip the Light
DJ Alex Faid

Trip the Light

The headline performer was local rock band Scenic Route to Alaska, made up of Trevor Mann on guitar and vocals, Murray Wood on bass, and Shea Connor on drums. They had back-to-back shows last night – fortunately their first gig at the Yellowhead Brewery was not far away! Sonic 102.9’s Band Of The Month for February, Scenic Route to Alaska did not disappoint. Follow @scenicalaska on Twitter for upcoming show announcements!

Trip the Light
Scenic Route to Alaska

Food was provided by Bistro La Persaud and consisted of two-bite quiche tarts and salad rolls. Yellowhead Brewery served up beer all evening, while wine was provided by Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery. There was a silent auction featuring the awesome Joker mural by The Daft Punk artist, and everyone left with a small piece of art also created by Daft Punk.

Trip the Light was lots of fun! Slightly reminiscent of Electric Circus, I think it showed what an awesome combination unconventional event spaces and local artists can be.

artsScene Edmonton will be hosting a new Behind-the-Scenes event this year with the Freewill Shakespeare Festival. For details on that and other upcoming events, keep an eye on the website and follow @artsSceneEdm on Twitter. To see more photos from Trip the Light, click here.

Leading the Way: LRT Dance Party in Edmonton

Ever wonder what a dance party on the LRT would look like? I had the opportunity last weekend to find out! The Saturday evening activity for delegates of the 2011 Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation was a DJ Dance Party on a chartered ETS LRT train.

LRT Dance Party

While we were touring the D.L. MacDonald LRT Garage in the afternoon, staff were busy getting the train prepared, adding streamers, disco balls, and lights to the interior. DJ Rob Wong also got setup with all of his gear and two giant speakers, one at each end of the train. After a quick dinner, we all boarded the party train! The train circled the garage a few times, apparently to make the most of our time.

LRT Dance Party

We then travelled the length of the LRT line, from Clareview all the way to Century Park, before travelling back as far as Churchill Station to let some people off downtown. In all, we spent about an hour and half on the train.

The music was loud, and slowly but surely most people started dancing! It was easier than you’d think to dance on the moving train, though whenever there was a sudden jolt it was just another reason for everyone dancing to yell and cheer. There were a few people who chose to just sit through the entire experience. It kind of reminded me of a high school dance in that way – slow to get going, with some people sitting off to the side the entire time.

Here’s DJ Rob doing his thing:

LRT Dance Party

Most of the dancing happened as we passed through a station. People on the platform would look at the train with bewilderment, and occasionally someone would give a thumbs up or clap. Faces filled with confusion just made everyone on the train dance and cheer even more! It became pretty obvious who among us were the exhibitionists. Here’s what it looked like for someone on the platform:

Unsurprisingly, the best part of the trip was the underground portion where it was darker. Tinted windows, dimmed lights, and some…uh, lubricant…would have made the dance party more like a dance party and less like a bunch of people moving around on the train! Maybe I’m just getting old.

That said, it was still a lot of fun. I absolutely love the concept of taking the LRT, normally seen as somewhat mundane (trains just get you from A to B), and using it for a completely different purpose. I think everyone enjoyed themselves! Obviously ETS doesn’t normally charter trains for this purpose, but I think they could if they wanted to. It’s certainly a unique experience!

You can see more photos here, and see more videos here.

Recap: Refinery at the Art Gallery of Alberta

RefineryLast night was the Art Gallery of Alberta’s second Refinery Late Night Art Party. I was invited to attend for free in exchange for live-tweeting during the event, an offer that Sharon and I happily accepted. I can’t remember why we didn’t make it out to the first Refinery party, but we heard nothing but good things about it. Needless to say, we were looking forward to checking it out the second time around.

The doors opened at 8pm, and slowly but surely people started to arrive (apparently there was a line-up outside at the first Refinery party). DJ Justin Der (Shortround) helped set the mood on the main level. Two of the event’s featured artists, actors Amy Shostak and Arlen Konopaki, were asking guests to help them prepare for their improv show by writing favorite lines from Warner Brothers cartoons on little slips of paper. Sharon and I had difficulty remembering anything but the most famous lines, but we eventually came up with a few things.


Our next stop was the new exhibition, The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons. We both grew up watching Looney Tunes, so it was really neat to see the original character sketches and the evolution of the characters. It was also surprising to learn that they stopped making new cartoons in 1969! Everything we watched as kids was so old! Or timeless, I guess 🙂 Here’s a little about the exhibition:

This major exhibition features 165 drawings, paintings, animation cels and related art objects used in the making of Warner’s classic cartoons. The exhibition explores seven different themes from a chronological history of the cartoon studio to the evolution of Warner’s first cartoon stars, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck; and features a step-by-step breakdown of how classic cel animation was made and an in depth look at Warner’s most famous creation, Bugs Bunny.

We also spent a few minutes in the M.C. Escher exhibition adjacent to the Warner Bros. one. Just outside the exhibitions on the second level, local filmmaker Adolfo Ruiz was working with Refinery guests to create a group film. Everyone was invited to scratch, paint, and draw on 16mm film. The final product was displayed at 12:30am. Also on the second floor was the Warner Bros. photo booth! Here’s Sharon and I in front of the backdrop:


One of my favorite things about Refinery is that the entire AGA was utilized. We eventually made our way to the third level, where local artist Sarah Jackson (one of our favorites) was drawing condiment portraits. Everyone received three of Sarah’s trading cards at the door, the idea being that you trade with others as you meet them, hopefully collecting all seven to win a prize. With the condiment portraits, Sarah would draw you as a “condiment”, like a salt shaker, or a cupcake. The line was long all evening, but Sarah just kept on drawing!


Outside on the terrace, DJ Dane Gretzky was spinning records and drinks were being served. It was a beautiful night to be outside, and you could just catch a glimpse of the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival taking place in Churchill Square. At 10:30pm, Amy and Arlen performed their improv show using Warner Bros. as the theme. It was funny and entertaining, as expected! The AGA did a fantastic job with hors d’oeuvres and treats, created by Zinc. Over a dozen different plates of food were carried by servers throughout the terrace. There was also an ice cream bar!


We also wandered through the TIMELAND: 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art exhibition, and Sandra Bromley’s FIRE as well. If you haven’t checked out the newest exhibitions at the AGA, you should, they’re worth the visit.


The crowd at Refinery was pretty diverse, which meant a few familiar faces and lots of new ones. I’m not sure how many people attended, but the terrace was pretty full for the improv show. Everyone was dressed really well too, so if you’re looking for an excuse to wear something new, Refinery is the party for you!

Thanks to the AGA for inviting us to check out Refinery. We’ll be back for future parties!

You can see the rest of my photos here. The AGA will be posting theirs on Flickr too.

Recap: artsScene Edmonton Summer Party

Last night was the artsScene Edmonton “Jekyll & Hyde” Summer Party. The unique event was held at two venues – first the “Jekyll” part at Latitude 53’s rooftop patio, then the “Hyde” part at Prohibition. I had never been to Latitude 53 before, so it was a great opportunity to check out the space. The crowd was a bit smaller than anticipated, but everyone had a great time chatting, drinking, and listening to the musical stylings of Keri Lynn Zwicker and Jay Sparrow.

At around 9pm, the crowd started to migrate to Prohibition where Peter Sagar, Roland Pemberton III, and The Cake Eaters performed. It seems that many people skipped the first part of the evening and went straight to Prohibition, because the place was packed. Ken Bautista, Chair of artsScene Alberta, mentioned that they did the two venue style event in Calgary with locations directly across the street from one another. I think that would have worked better here too.

One of the interesting things they did during the event was walk around with an iPhone survey using software by local firm TouchMetric. The results were displayed on an LCD screen at Prohibition, which was pretty neat.

You can see my photos from the evening here. Hopefully they’ll soon have much better photos (and video too) on the website.

artsScene Edmonton Summer PartyartsScene Edmonton Summer PartyartsScene Edmonton Summer PartyartsScene Edmonton Summer PartyartsScene Edmonton Summer PartyartsScene Edmonton Summer Party

In addition to the socializing, there was some news about upcoming artsScene events. The first is called boardLink:

boardLink is a live event that introduces and connect young professionals (ages 18-40) with local arts boards through a unique speed-networking format. boardLink creates opportunities for young people to be more actively involved in the leadership and development of Edmonton’s arts and culture scene.

Event partners include Emerging Business Leaders, InterVivos, Junior Chamber International Edmonton, and The Citadel Theatre. The first boardLink event will happen about a month from now:

WHAT: boardLink
WHEN: September 28, 2009 at 6:30pm
WHERE: Shoctor Lobby, The Citadel Theatre

Tickets are $15 – check the website for more information.

The second event we learned about is actually a series of events – the Behind the Scenes Series, featuring five of Edmonton’s major arts organizations.

At each Behind the Scenes event, young professionals (ages 18-40) discover the performing and visual arts in our community through exclusive talks with artists and artistic directors, stage and gallery tours, and opportunities to attend performances and exhibitions with follow artsSceners.

Here the the dates for each organization:

October 19, 2009 – Edmonton Opera: Featuring Rigoletto
November 9, 2009 – The Citadel Theatre: Featuring Rock ‘N’ Roll
January 18, 2010 – Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: Featuring Late Night Beethoven
April 8, 2010 – Alberta Ballet: Featuring Songs of a Wayfarer and The Seven Deadly Sins
May 20, 2010 – Art Gallery of Alberta: Discover the inner workings of the new AGA and see a new exhibition come to life

You can get tickets for an individual event for $19, or passes to all five for $79. Again, check the website for more information.

artsScene is starting to make some really cool things happen for young professionals in Edmonton. Stay tuned to their blog and Twitter for updates!

Dessert Party

As my Twitter followers all know, Sharon and I hosted a dessert party on Sunday. When Sharon pitched the idea to me (she had been thinking about it for a long time) I thought it sounded kind of neat. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I figured it would be fun anyway. What I didn’t realize, of course, is how much work it would require!

Dessert Party Invitation

Sharon has this book that gives you tips on how to host parties like this. I’m guessing it was written a long time ago, before Facebook came along, because it of course says you should send invites. And so we did! I bugged her a lot about sending paper invites to our friends, all of whom have Facebook and email, but in the end I actually really liked the invitations. I think they looked great!

Over the last couple weeks we did some “practice runs” of the desserts that we wanted to serve. For instance, we made the chocolate cake and the white chocolate tartlets. Turns out that was a good idea, because we were able to learn from and fix the couple of mistakes we made the first time around.

We got started at around 1pm on Saturday, and weren’t really finished until 1pm the next day when the party started! Okay it didn’t take 24 hours obviously, but it certainly felt like all we did was bake. Though the worst part was definitely having to re-wash dishes repeatedly!

White Chocolate TartsPanna cotta

Our final menu consisted of: Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate Tartlets, Panna Cotta with Strawberries, Cupcakes, and Cookies with Strawberry Jam. We also served coffee, tea, and wine.

Sharon had made the panna cotta in the past, so I was pretty sure it would turn out well. It was delicious as expected! My favorite was probably the cookies, but that might be because they were the hardest to make. Piping dough is not for the faint of heart! I learned you need to warm it up a bit to make it easier on yourself. My least favorite were the tartlets, though they tasted good and everything. They were sort of difficult to make as well, thanks to the phyllo pasty.

I think everyone enjoyed the desserts – there wasn’t too much left over when all was said and done. I was glad to have some extra panna cotta and chocolate cake to eat though 🙂

I don’t think I’d jump at the chance to host another dessert party, but it was a fun experience nonetheless. I’m getting better in the kitchen too!

My photos of the dessert party are here.

UPDATE: Sharon’s much more detailed post is now up!

Congrats Violet and Vincent!

Post ImageYesterday afternoon my friends Violet and Vincent were married in a lovely ceremony, which was followed by a banquet last night. Violet looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress, and Vince didn’t look too bad himself! The weather was great yesterday, and I think everyone had a good time.

I’m only 22 years old, but events like this sort of make you feel older, you know? For instance, in between the ceremony and the banquet, a bunch of us went to Moxie’s downtown. When I went up to the bar with our waitress to pay, she asked if we were celebrating a grad or something. I replied, “nope, a wedding.” Now maybe she meant a post-secondary graduation, but I got the feeling she was talking about high school, which is especially odd since it was the afternoon, and it was July. Regardless, I realized that big events for my friends are now weddings and children, not graduations or simple gatherings.

I took lots of pictures yesterday, which you can see here. Unfortunately the ones from the actual ceremony are not great, because the official film/photo crew were hogging all the best places, and at one point, even asked the guests to refrain from taking pictures, which most of us promptly ignored.

If you’re reading this V&V, I hope the move to Calgary goes smoothly, and have a wonderful time on your honeymoon! And Jane et al, thanks for the superb organization, I know the newlyweds appreciated it, as did guests like myself.

Read: Photos

Weekend Parties

Post ImageIt’s been a busy weekend as far as parties go! It started on Friday night as Chu (or Steven) and Michelle had a dinner to celebrate their birthdays, both of which are in September. It was a relatively small gathering, but it was really good! Michelle made almost all of the food, which was very good. May brought an ice cream cake from DQ that was delicious. Good times! You can see some pictures here.

Last night was Yi-Li’s summer BBQ. It was also a “going away” party for Ylz, who left for a four month job in Rainbow Lake today. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, and some amazing steak. We also played Bingo and Cranium, and somehow figured out a game of paper-rock-scissors challenges to finish off the melted green tea ice cream cake (that was a disgusting green goop). Dickson played piano for a while as everyone just kinda relaxed. Here are the pictures. Have fun “up north” Ylz!