Brian Howell-Wrestling: One Ring Circus Exhibition

Odessa Bennett is reporting for City Lights on Novus TV at the opening reception of “Wrestling: One Ring Circus,” a photography exhibition by award winning editorial artist and photographer, Brian Howell. Welcome to the world of Canadian minor league wrestling. 

“I went out of curiosity, much like anyone looking for a story would do. I heard about it and I went, and the first night there was violence, there were fights in the street, a cop came, a wrestler was smoking dope, there was a guy dressed up as an 1880s prospector, so visually, it was just stunning. It was loaded,” says Brian Howell. “I started to see that there was a community, a relationship between the fans and the wrestlers, and it was a place, almost a forum, for reflection of stuff that was happening…outside of the wrestling hall.” 

Gallery Owner Jennifer Winsor Zed describes the works in this manner,”this work I view as being very documentary…we were very excited by the intimacy of these images. They are very true, and kind of blunt, some of them a little difficult to view…but for the most part when you walk down and view the entire series, you feel at the end of it you have a strong sense of what this group of people, what their passion is all about.”

The black and white photos are amazing, with many of the subjects of the photographs there on opening night to add even more spark to the electric atmosphere. Make sure you get down to check out this histrionic collection while you can. Visit for more information.



City Lights-REM, Modest Mouse, & the National

Here we revisit one of the greatest gigs to have started off Summer ’08. Our Host Sarah Westwood talks to the crowds out at REM, Modest Mouse, and the National about their favourite band there and their opinion of the Vancouver music scene. 

For the very first time, REM, Modest Mouse, and the National are sharing the stage and they picked Vancouver as the city to do it. With REM recently inducted into the Rock n’ Roll hall of fame, there is even more reason to celebrate this fabulous triple header. There is a smattering of various accents through the excited chatter; some festival goers came from Edmonton, others as far as Australia, but their answers to who they’ve come to see are all pretty equal, all the musicians in this gig have equal drawing power. 

What some of the festival goers have to say about the music scene in Vancouver:

“I think we’re pretty satisfied…I think we’re sending out a pretty good outdoor venue here in Vancouver.” 

“For a while I think we were deprived of a lot of shows, meaning it seemed that only Montreal and Toronto were the ones, but now I think with all the festivals, and all the other great acts coming, we’re certainly privileged.” 

For more information on future gigs coming to Vancouver, visit 


City Lights-Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival-2008

Heather Bissonnette and City Lights are loving up Shakespeare in the summer of ’08 down at Vanier Beach.

Christopher Gaze, the Artistic Director behind Bard on the Beach, explains what makes the event so special. “What we did here at Vanier Park, essentially what was different from other places was to open the back. I’d seen this before in Edmonton, and here we really have a spectacular backdrop, the city, sea, and mountains…put the beautiful play, the great Shakespeare work, on the stage. Everyone’s under the tent, everyone’s dry, but the backdrop, of the mountains and the sea!” 

2008’s line-up saw such favourites hit the stage as: the Twelfth Night, King Leer, the Tempest, and Titus Andronicus. “On a summer’s night, there’s nothing better that we like to do than be outside…so you get to see a sunset, see some great Shakespeare…and its a huge demographic, all kinds of people sharing a great evening in the theatre,” says the director of the Twelfth Night, David MacKay. You’ll notice that these productions aren’t in keeping with a more traditional portrayal of Shakespeare, such as there being no haughty English accents, no elaborate costumes, and the plays are set in different time periods, such as the 1920s. 

“Shakespeare, in our city, in this setting, has struck a wonderful chord, a wonderful note, and…we’ve embraced it,” says Christopher Gaze.

For more information on 2009’s Bard on the Beach, visit


Seeing Eye to Eye

Ryan Lowe and City Lights are out at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown for the show, Seeing Eye to Eye, a charity event where all the proceeds go towards Operation Eyesight, an organization that focuses on eye health in the developing world. Seeing Eye to Eye is an evening full of our favourite things: music, theatre, art, etc…not only can you feel good being inspired by looking and listening to the beautiful things on display around you, but by attending and purchasing, your cash goes towards helping our lesser brothers in other parts of the world, towards helping them with their vision, something we take for granted and need for these events in the first place! 

Organizer Christina Gooding says,”…I’ve had it in my back pocket for a while, I recently moved back to Vancouver from New York…I was feeling the need to put something on and collaborate with local artists, and I feel like it was something that was kinda lacking in Vancouver that I really missed from New York…one of my best friends, Tod Simpson, he works for Operation Eyesight, I kinda got a personal perspective into the impact that happened with the economic crisis, how much funds they were losing, that I just thought, what can I do to help that?” 

The  genius thing with multifaceted events such as this is that its guaranteed to bring all sorts of people together, lots of people, and as musician Adam Woodall says, “a lot of the people that have these eye problems, it costs about thirty dollars to fix these things…such a little amount of money can make such a big difference to somebody, I’m happy to do it.” 

To learn more and help out Operation Eyesight, you can visit their website at


Burn The Floor

Shauna Baker and City Lights are out at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to watch the production, Burn The Floor, a phenomenal display of Ballroom dance that takes the energy of a rock show, the glamour of a Broadway show, mixes in a few hours of “So You Think You Can Dance” type TV shows to create a new hybrid of onstage entertainment.

Jason Gilkison, choreographer of the show, talks about its origins, “Burn The Floor was created through an idea at Elton John’s 50th birthday…a group of sixteen ballroom dancers went along, did a show, and it blew the roof off for the celebrities there. They were so memorized with the dancing that happened that our producer, Harley Metcalf said, “let’s turn this into a theatrical sort of extravaganza, give them lights and sets and music and see what we can do,” and Burn The Floor was born.” 

“What Burn The Floor specializes in is taking all those favourite ballroom dances that people are used to seeing in dancehalls like the Waltz, the Mumbo, the Cha-Cha…all of them, and basically transporting them to a really cutting edge modern way, so this is ballroom dancing as raw as you can get it.” 

The blur of technique and style, and the high energy of the individuals on display makes this show something really special to see, if you’re able to sit still in your seat long enough. “We’re constantly changing and moving all the time,” says Jason, “so it’s a work in progress, we never freeze the show, so to speak.” 

The footage here will dazzle you. If you weren’t able to see the performance live, visit their website for more information and future touring dates, at


Novus Free Talk-New Years Resolutions

New Years resolutions….if you haven’t made any by now, don’t bother, because it seems, from the footage here at least, that most of us aren’t even planning on trying. 

What is going on Vancouver? Not that I blame us for not trying to make ourselves better people, but the lack of imagination when asked if you have any New Years resolutions, is well, pretty damn sad. How about instead of no resolutions, or trying to quit smoking, or wanting to lose weight, or  trying to keep our rooms clean, we learn about spicing things up a little! Host Erin Ireland has a good one for this, less Facebook!

Getting out there and mixing things up can clash with such conscious decisions as getting healthier, being more active, drinking less…but what the hell. Have a glass of wine, a bit of liquid courage, and get out there and live a little! Start conversations with strangers, spy on someone you’re in love with, bake pies and give them to your neighbour, jump out of a plane, paint rocks and glue on furry ears, go out to venues and gigs you’ve never been to before, anything….! Get out of the mall where we interviewed you, make a beeline to your pack of friends and take over the streets with your mad selves. Explore every inch of this city, and not only will all the activity shed those pounds, you’ll make a gaggle of new amigos in the process. Try making 2009 the most exciting year to date, and that won’t be a resolution you’ll be giving up anytime soon.


City Lights-1000 Stories

In this segment City Lights and Paul Anthony catch up with Vancouver writer, Kevin Spenst, who had been writing a short story every day for the past three and a half years. At the Carnegie Centre we poke our nose into a documentary film showing the process involved when trying to make it as a wordsmith. 

“In 2003 a friend of mine set-up a website for me, and I thought I had to do something interesting with the website so I wrote a story everyday on the website…it makes it something that I have to do. Every morning I wake up at about five or six and then I sit down and I write,” says Kevin. 

Jeremy Shaulin-Rioux, the Director of “1000 Stories” says, “Kevin’s gotten stuff published, but his goal is to be a writer, to make a living off of writing, and so, when a couple publishers wouldn’t publish “1000 Stories”…he just published it himself, and then when he wanted to do readings, he would just bomb out there and do it himself. The movie is about a guy struggling to be an artist. It shows its hard to get people to listen…it’s about a struggle. What he’s looking for is success with his peers, he wants to feel like he’s a part of a nucleus of writers.”

The thing is, Kevin is out there doing it everyday, taking charge and leading the pack. 

You can visit his website here, at


City Lights- KRAZY! Exhibition

Krazy! The Delirious World Of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art was the first exhibition of its kind, in that it combined all the mentioned mediums into one exhibition, at the Vancouver Art Gallery this fall.

Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator at the VAG, describes it in this manner,”There was a number of things that we tried to do for this show in terms of thinking about it, one was to lay out all of these things together because this has never been done before…you might have seen a comic show, a video game show, or a manga show, or maybe on a specific artist that sort of thing, but never before have all of these things been mixed together…the real story gets told when you see them in conjunction with each other. That’s the value of an exhibition like this.” 

A project like this offers unique and dynamic insight into the world of comics, animated cartoons, anime, manga, graphic novels, computer/video games, and visual art. A time line of this genre of creative works starts with the appearance of comics, such as George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat”, in the early 1990s. Portraying a timeline of influence, inevitably between East and West, up until the present day, is what the exhibition was all about. Seeing that it’s been and gone, you can get a glimpse by checking out the segment here, and by visiting the website and clicking on past exhibits.


City Lights-Go Fish

Erin Ireland is here with City Lights to investigate one of Vancouver’s great little culinary secrets. Go Fish, a little fish shack situated down on the water in False Creek, pulls extraordinary numbers regardless of the day, the time of year, or the weather. This fish n’ chips joint continuously has a line-up off the docks and we are here to discover why.

Matt, one of the chefs working all the magic behind the scenes, tells us a tale of addiction like behavior once one of their items off the menu has been tasted. “We have people that come back at least five days a week to eat some of our food, things like tacos and fisn n’ chips, people go absolutely crazy for it. The fish we actually use here is the fish that they use in all the high-end seafood restaurants in Vancouver.” 

With the source only mere meters away, its no wonder that with seafood freshly pulled from the ocean you are going to get a flavour sensation like no other. Not only that, buy by eating at Go Fish you are supporting local fishermen. “We are making every effort that we can to leave a light ecological footprint…we try our best to be as green as we can.” 

A lot of singing, joking, and banter can be heard from the chefs, so adding another layer of happiness to the food prep is probably the secret ingredient in their tasty food. “I don’t bother showing up for work if I can’t have fun,” Matt confirms. “You know a good cook by the amount of crap they have on their clothes.” 

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, something is severely wrong with you. Grab your jacket, slip on your gummies and make tracks down to the Go Fish fish shack, before it’s all gone. 


Novus Free Talk-Worst Christmas Present

Erin Ireland braves the cold to discuss with our street warriors the worst Christmas presents they’ve ever received. We all imagine a lump of coal or an ill-fitting sweater to take the cake, and to be honest, that’s about as bad as it seems to get for most folks. But read and watch on to see what irked Vancouver’s slightly disappointed.

“A photo of a surfboard,” one of many Ozzies in the city mentioned, perhaps wishing he could have received the real thing instead of its polaroid doppelganger. 

 “A gym membership,” one hesitant young lady says, seeming very disappointed. “Motivation maybe?” asks Erin. “Uhh no…the first thing I think is, am I fat?” “Was it from a boyfriend?” “No, my boss.” Hmm. A weird one indeed, not sure how you should feel about that. “Did you use it?” “No, I re-gifted it.”  

One man confessed that it’s been pretty good for him and couldn’t recall a bad present to date. “Do you write lists?” Erin asks. “Lists? No, I gotta be honest with you, it’s a whole big disillusion for me, because I always thought Santa Claus was black.” “No, he’s not!” “Well, you know, Christmas isn’t that big of a deal for me then,” he says laughing. Fair enough.                  

 “I got a leather vest from my parents.” “Sounds hot.” “Not really. I’m not a sixty-five year old gay man. Yet.”      

  “Oh man. It’s been haunting me since my childhood. It was a pair of Flintstone underwear that I got when I was 17 and they were like, five sizes too big. So it was just the most absolute most useless gift I really could have gotten. It had nothing to do with anything about me at the time.”

Ouch. Here’s hoping you fared somewhat better this Christmas day Vancouver.