Local Event: Vancouver: Hop To It! Eggstra Savings at gravitypope

20 Apr

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Easter Weekend Savings! Spend $50 and receive a surprise Easter discount off your in-store purchase.
gravitypope // 2203 & 2205 West 4th Avenue

From the Back Room with Sue Gill of Country Beads

19 Apr

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Text & Photos by Amanda Gutmanis

The sheer volume of tiny objects at Country Beads on West 4th Avenue is striking – beads, charms, clasps, stones – very small, very colourful inventory, displayed in dishes and bottles and cases. Glass jars and little tubes filled with beads and grouped by colour line the front window, catching the light.  Amidst this plenty, owner/operator Sue Gill confirms that narrowing your selection and choosing a design are indeed the more challenging aspects for beaders, not the how-to that people often worry about. Sue has been in business for 20 years, and she and the staff most enjoy answering questions about the properties of different stones – the meaning and symbolism associated with them – though they can certainly help you with the technical side of creating too. Necklaces, dreamcatchers , malas or wine charms – you can stop by to chat it over, or register for a class. From semi-precious stones to ceramic wolf heads, Swarovski crystals to bright felt beads, inspiration beckons in myriad directions – string a few things together, and see where it goes!

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Favorite item that you keep in stock?
Well certainly all of our beautiful stones, I’ve just become more and more in love with a lot of our semi-precious stones, and finding out more about their properties, and just their beauty from carrying more variety. That as a general category I’m just loving, and some great charms out there right now, they’re doing some really beautiful charms in bronze and sterling of course.

Where do you eat lunch when you work?
Oh, Sejuiced. It’s a great little find on the street, it’s been here on West 4th for a long time, and it’s just a great, great spot and I’m not a vegetarian, so that says something. (laughs). Just good quality yummy vegetarian food; it’s feel good food.

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Friday night beverage of choice?
Wine. Wine, red or white, but I have been oozing into the white side of wine more lately, perhaps due to my age. (laughs) Or summer! Maybe hoping for the nice warm weather. And then, gin & tonics. Yeah, that really means summer’s here when the gin and tonics come out.

Building quirk?
Well, boy I’d love there to be ghosts, that would be great! But probably not – well a quirk would be the fact that we can see the outside from the inside, where maybe we shouldn’t. As the building sort of starts to ooze down the hill a little bit, the east wall has separated from the front window and the gap seems to get bigger and bigger. (laughs).  And hence a large crevice on the east side of our building as well, which we fill with duct tape, and lots of beads that roll down there. However we have had some smudging rituals, so maybe that’s solved any lingering spirits that are hanging out here. But we would welcome them if they were! (laughs)

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Dream customer?
We have so many great customers, we really do. And I have customers that I’ve had since I opened, which is fantastic. So, I guess my dream customer is the one that we get inspired from as well as they get inspired from us. There’s a lot of creativity in this city, and not just in the city, but people who come to see us, we’re in a creative field, and there really is some great talent out there, so I feel blessed to be able to witness that on a day-to-day basis.

Mascot or business pet?
No, we’ve joked about having a cat, and then thought it would be quite funny to imagine all of the beads skirting around on the floor. (laughs) But that would help the occasional mouse who makes its way into our store, yeah. They’re friendly mice, we like them. But a cat wouldn’t do it. No, we couldn’t survive the aftermath of cat for a weekend here on its own. (laughs)

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Business motto or philosophy?
Let’s see. Empower people to do things on their own. Let’s see, how do I put it in a few words, that’s the trying part. Get people to…..to help people to enjoy the process of creating and not be so critical of what they expect or want it to look like, and to realize that it’s the process that can be really enjoyable, and is empowering! And that it’s ….we become, we get critical as we get older, and it’s not as encouraged. And it should be.

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Favorite Vancouver hidden spot or little-known gem?
Hmm….I have little spots all over depending on what part of the city I’m in. Because every area has so many great places I think? In this area of course there’s Sejuiced, there’s a great little pastry shop, Belgian waffle place down on 2nd, Patisserie Lebeau. And in my area, I live up in the Main Street Area, retail-wise Regional Assembly of Text, you know it? That’s a wonderful little spot if you’re into sort graphics and typography, and they have a great little hidden room under the stairs where you can flip through books. If you haven’t been there, you should go. And let’s see, I love food as well, so I have little food spots all over the place. Budgie’s Burritos on Kingsway. Let’s see, up by me, Carano Pizza because I’m a pizza lover. What other places around here? I love retail, so I like to wander into any little independent store and see what they have going on. Gems all over! (laughs).  Well I just thought of it now, and it’s a gem ‘cause it’s in our neighbourhood and it’s also been here a long time, and they’re our partners in crime and it’s Amethyst Creations, down on 4th as well,  4th and MacDonald, and they’re also our stone friends. Yes, so I think that they are certainly a gem of the city.

Describe your neighbourhood in three words. 
The neighbourhood we’re in here? Pffouf! Transitioning. Boy that’s really difficult, because it really is transitioning. I guess the reason I …I’m gonna just explain, is because the street is different from one end to the next, so maybe, hmmm. I’m gonna say, young, and beautiful. (laughs).

Country Beads // 2015 West 4th Avenue

From the Back Room with Tony Marzo and Sachi Iwamoto of Kessel & March

14 Apr

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Text & Photo of Tony & Sachi by Amanda Gutmanis
Photo of Dinner Plate by We Are Local
Others photos courtesy of Kessel&March

Husband and wife team Tony Marzo and Sachi Iwamoto are in the thick of their first year as owner/operators of a food shop & eatery in the East Village, a particularly vibrant pocket emerging within Hastings-Sunrise. Kessel&March (the name a reworking of his parents’ names) serves three meals a day, six days a week, the menu as mixed European as his heritage. The couple spent two years travelling together, and wanted to recreate the smaller dishes and longer meals they had enjoyed overseas. Sachi, an interior designer by day, joins chef Tony on evenings and weekends. They sustain their demanding schedule with the help of Sunday night dinners together “like civilized human beings”, pints of Asahi draft, and the encouragement of enthusiastic barside diners. Located on the ground floor of an artists’ live-work complex, they share a building with their wondrously multi-talented neighbours. Champions of the recent Vancouver Mac & Cheese Challenge, drop in to enjoy their comfort food, sample their baked goods on the go, or reserve your spot at their weekly Wednesday family-style supper.

Favourite item that you keep in stock or serve?
Tony: At this moment? That we stock or serve? I guess we kind of always say when people ask us for something on the menu that most represents what we do I always list the chicken liver pate, the farmhouse terrine and the sardines on toast. Then after that I’m always proud about the pork belly. And then actually all of our desserts I’m always pretty proud of, and it’s kind of picking up now, and it feels like everybody’s ordering a dessert. So those ones are kind of the fun ones I guess, that most represent what we’re trying to do, and kind of what we want to keep as the main staples as being on the menu almost all the time.

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Friday night beverage of choice?
Sachi: (to Tony) I know what yours is, you like to drink the Asahi on tap.
Tony: (laughs) I’ll start with an Asahi while I’m cleaning… then I move on to – well it’s tricky, because around this area, there’s so many breweries, and we get pretty good support from them, and there’s a couple particular drinks that I do enjoy: the 311 from Coal Harbour, and then we’re always moving the Parallel 49s, so some of theirs…
Sachi: I also share the Asahi with Tony (laughs)
Tony: The Asahi is – we weren’t even going to have draft beer, because we didn’t really have the space for it, and then Asashi is the only one that has draft beer in this size (points to small keg), and it actually filters through and cools in the line, and Asahi’s one of my favorite beers, and to have it on draft is pretty fantastic.

What is on your current playlist?
Tony & Sachi: (laugh)
Tony: That’s funny. I’ve had like the same playlist playing in here since we opened (laughs)
Sachi: That’s almost 10 months now.
Tony: It’s like purgatory! This is what I say to everybody. It’s so funny, it’s almost comforting right now, because I know when I come in that it’s like a warm blanket. It’s just the same music all day, and I think it’s like about…
Sachi: 17 hours?
Tony: Yeah, it’s about 17 hours, so-
Sachi: It’s been the same for almost 10 months now.
Tony: Yeah, so every once in a while I’ll be here for a really long day and I start to hear the same stuff again and I’m like (despairingly) “I’ve already heard this today!”
Sachi: But it’s a very-
Tony: Eclectic playlist.
Sachi: Yeah.
Tony: It’s got – I’m all over, from Black Keys, Radiohead, and then I have all of these Rolling Stones covers done in bossa nova, and then I have like even the Ramones in bossa nova, and then there’s Bonobo, there’s, you can go into lots of –
Sachi: There’s Frank Sinatra, James Dean, to…
Tony: Dean Martin, yeah, it’s all over the map. All very, uh, PG (laughs). Nothing just comes out of left field, although that’s what I would – if it was up to me – I’ve actually asked Sachi: “Do you think that Snoop Dogg would be alright if we played it in here?

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Dream customer?
Tony:  I think I know what mine is; Sachi might have a different one. We have a couple of customers, and they enjoy sitting at the bar. And they’ll talk to me, they don’t overly talk to me, but every time they take a bite they tell me how good it is! [laughs]. And there’s one guy in particular, when he comes in honestly, my head just starts to like, swell. He’ll eat one dish and there’ll be three or four times he’ll just be like (dramatically) “Oh my God. Tony this is so good! Oh my God, oh my God. You can’t take this one off the menu. No matter what, this one’s staying on!” And if every customer just sat there, asked me a couple of questions, – didn’t annoy me, but just wanted to feed off of me and just compliment me for the whole night, that’d be great, that’s pretty much my go-to customer!
Sachi: I think it’s anyone who enjoys food. There’s usually a common thread there. People who sit at the bar are interested in food, and I’m always impressed at how knowledgeable they are, about cooking techniques or machinery and types of food. So it’s a lot of fun to be able to talk about food and travel, and what they’ve experienced, and get into conversations…
Tony: That’s funny, that’s what I thought you were going to say!

Favourite Vancouver hidden spot or little-known gem?
Sachi: Maybe the park?
Tony: I would say here.
Sachi: (laughs) Tony!
Tony: I think we’re a hidden gem. But I would say this area.
Sachi: Is pretty undiscovered, and lesser known I think, to the general public. What this area has to offer, and how it’s growing.
Tony: Yeah, I would say probably from this corner to New Brighton Beach, to New Brighton Park, I think is pretty amazing. And lots of people come in here, and they’ll start eating, and you end up striking up a conversation with them, and we always ask them: “Do you live around here?”, and they’ll be like “Oh yeah, I live really close!”. And it ends up about being almost 50% of our customers live around the corner from where we live, because we live on Wall Street,
Sachi: On the same street, yeah.
Tony: They’ll be like “Oh, I live on Wall Street”, and we’ll be like “Oh, where?”
Sachi: “Us too!”
Tony: It’s quite funny. So I’d say this area I feel is like a hidden gem, because even when we moved onto Wall Street – we live with Sachi’s parents – and when Sachi had taken me there for the first time, they had moved, and when I got to see this area for the first time, while we were driving I’m like “Where are you taking me? Where is this?”, and then when we got there I was like “Wow, this is really cool, it’s so nice”, all these little parks along the way, it’s just really nice. Yeah, I’d say it’s a hidden gem. Because that’s what we constantly hear: “Oh you’re such a hidden gem”.
Sachi: “We couldn’t find you!” (laughs)

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Something you won’t budge on?
Sachi: I won’t compromise on the quality of the food no matter what. There’s just… if it doesn’t look right, I’d rather not serve it than for it to go out.
Tony: I won’t budge on whatever she tells me not to budge on! (laughs)

Describe your neighbourhood in three words.
Tony: In three words?
Sachi: I think it’s eclectic.
Tony: Changing? That’s a tough one. I didn’t want to say eclectic because the Vancouver Special girl said eclectic. (laughing).
Sachi: Oh really?
Tony: (to Sachi) Yeah, you said eclectic right away and I was like “Ohhh!”
Sachi: But it is! There’s all sorts of people. I think it’s….kind of creative. In this area.
Tony: Yeah I would say it’s a creative hub. I would say –
Sachi: A lot of things are happening. Even the breweries are doing their own thing. Each one is very unique and interesting, we’re surrounded by artists and artist studios.
Tony: I think that, yeah, you could be in Kits and if you talked to somebody and you would be like “What’s your job?” and they would be like “Oh, I work at another restaurant”, or “I work at Telus”, the range of what they do is… I used to live in that area, or South Granville, you could ask anybody anything, but I find that if you talk to anybody around here about what they did, it would actually be a list of things, of things that they do. Like to make a living off of puppeteering, graphic designing, organizing people’s spaces – and the list goes on. And that’s just one person. It’s just crazy.
Sachi: Yeah, but even the woodworking shops, the metal shops, there’s a glass shop, fabricator, people are always making things, creating things.
Tony: Yeah I guess, creative? Creative space.

Kessel&March // 109-1701 Powell St.

Local Event: Victoria: Feet Fingers at Positive Negative Gallery

12 Apr

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Feet Fingers
New work by Mark Illing and Ola Volo. Through to May 3rd.
Positive Negative Gallery // 436 Columbia St.

 

Local Event: Vancouver: Gastown Shop Hop

10 Apr

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Gastown Shop Hop // Tonight from 5-9pm
Find in-store specials and lots of treats at your favourite Gastown boutiques & eateries. Here are just some of the great businesses involved:
Board of Trade Co
Bruce Eyewear,
Community Thrift & Vintage
Dream
FortKnight Boutique
Honey Gifts
John Fluevog
Litchfield
LYNNsteven
Meadow Gifts + Apparel
Motherland
Niftydo
One of a Few
Rowan Sky

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