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Vancouver

Artful Shopping at Still Life

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Designer duds from the stylish Still Life

Designer duds at stylish Still Life. (Photo: KK Law)

If any shop should be as pretty as a painting, it’s the aptly named Still Life. Located on hip-and-happening Main Street, this portrait-worthy boutique carries a curated collection of fashion and wares. Scandinavian design influences both the interior and the stock, so shoppers will find many brands from Denmark and Sweden in a bright white oak setting, plus sunny skylights and suspended planter boxes. The store also carries designs from the other side of the world, including local leather goods by Erin Templeton and Ken Diamond, and fashions by Dace and Allison Wonderland. Set aside suitcase space for jewellery by Pyrrha and scarves by the Hudson’s Bay Company, too. Consider it a lesson in the art of shopping.

Waiting for Beckett

By SHERI RADFORD

A radio play on stage: All That Fall (Photo: Tim Matheson)

A radio play on stage: All That Fall. (Photo: Tim Matheson)

For half a century, no one was allowed to watch All That Fall. Samuel Beckett refused all requests to turn his radio play into a stage play. Finally, in 2012, the playwright’s estate relented, and audiences in London and New York have been lucky enough to see the show, which is staged as a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a radio play being performed. Now Beckett’s creation comes to Canadian soil for the first time, with a production Dec. 29 to Jan. 24 at the Historic Theatre at the Cultch. What are you waiting for?

4 Asian Adventures

By TIM PAWSEY

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen (Photo: KK Law)

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen. (Photo: KK Law)

In this cosmopolitan town, myriad Pacific Rim flavours tempt at every turn.

1 Gyoza Bar + Ramen Find an edgy but cozy updated take on traditional ramen and gyoza in a warmly refurbished heritage setting. Go for the teppan gyoza served in a sizzling cast-iron pan, but don’t miss the kaisen tomato ramen brimming with fresh Ocean Wise seafood (pictured).

2 Banana Leaf This friendly, brightly decorated, casual chain celebrates all things Malaysian with wide-ranging cuisine from the heart of the Spice Route, such as rendang beef and Singapore chilli crab.

3 Kingyo Always hopping, this West End izakaya caters to a loyal following with polished small plates ranging from tantan noodles to miso-marinated black cod to pork tenderloin tempura.

4 Pink Elephant Thai Boldly fuchsia-toned, this Alberni Street haunt lures a lively crowd for smart cocktails, fusion dishes, and classic Thai tastes such as chicken satay, hot and sour soup, spring rolls, and spicy lettuce wraps with a choice of meats and tofu.

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Location, Location, Location

By SHERI RADFORD

The expansive new location of L'Occitane en Provence

The expansive new location of L’Occitane en Provence

Long considered Vancouver’s mecca for savvy shoppers, Robson Street now ups the ante even more with recent additions to the intersection of Robson and Burrard. Anchored by Canadian stalwart Roots, the corner also boasts a Victoria’s Secret, for alluring lingerie; Lululemon, for stylish yogawear; and L’Occitane en Provence (pictured), for luxury skincare and fragrances. Nearby, find new Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart locations, both filled with popular make-up brands. It’s enough to set a shopaholic’s heart aflutter.

Bella Gelateria’s Sweet Treats

By TIM PAWSEY

Award winning James Coleridge

Award winning James Coleridge (Photo: KK Law)

The first full-service room from gelato maestro James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria in Yaletown offers his celebrated gelato with other Italian treats such as Neapolitan pizza. Coleridge’s latest invention is the Gelatini: think affogato but with gelato instead of ice cream and a martini in lieu of coffee. Tiddly temptations abound, from Saffron Persia to Matcha Smasha to Wild Evita (salted caramel with scotch).

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors

By LAURA DENNIS

"Portrait of Emporer Qianlong's Concubine"

“Portrait of Emporer Qianlong’s Concubine” from the Beijing Palace Museum

Go to a time of mystery that has captivated the world since the 1400s. At the Vancouver Art Gallery’s The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors (to Jan. 11), peek behind gates that were closed for 500 years. Many of the artefacts from Beijing’s Palace Museum—including paintings (pictured) and armour—have never left the city. Don’t miss this rare glimpse into Imperial China.

CONTACT Winter Music Festival

By LAURA DENNIS

Catch Zedd at CONTACT Winter Music Festival

Catch Zedd at this popular music fest

Sports fans in foam fingers are replaced with partygoers in furry boots and glow sticks when BC Place Stadium hosts the largest indoor music fest in Western Canada. CONTACT Winter Music Festival (Dec. 26 and 27) features some of the world’s most-coveted DJs, including headliners Armin van Buuren and Zedd (pictured), spinning at the state-of-the-art stadium. Lose yourself in a light show using all the latest technology or step out for some fresh air and catch more artists playing on the tented outdoor stage.

Bobbie Burgers’s Pretty Petals

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"The Lure of Magical Thinking" by Bobbie Burgers

“The Lure of Magical Thinking” by Bobbie Burgers

At this time of year, the most gorgeous gardens are indoors, not out. Especially at Bau-Xi Gallery, where a room of bold-hued blooms by Bobbie Burgers can be found in The Lure of Magical Thinking (Dec. 11 to 24). The Vancouver-based artist is known for her fresh florals, and her most recent works explore mature and dying flowers with thick, layered colours and lush sculptural elements (“The Lure of Magical Thinking #1,” pictured). It’s the same beautiful blossoms, just in a different light.

In the Spirit

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Gary McMillan's "Economical Use of Three Bears"

Gary McMillan’s “Economical Use of Three Bears”

For artworks that are merry and bright, head to Elissa Cristall Gallery for Holiday Exhibition (Dec. 11 to Jan. 10). This lively collection includes Gary McMillan’s whimsical landscapes (“Economical Use of Three Bears,” pictured), which feature natural settings that are carefully rearranged and reimagined. Also gracing the gallery walls: minimalist abstracts by Camrose Ducote and Christopher Friesen, super-saturated landscapes by Lesley Finlayson and airy collages by Jessie McNeil.

Charlie Brown Christmas

By LAURA DENNIS

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree

Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree serves as a reminder of the spirit of the season

It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour at this time of year, so if you need a gentle reminder about the spirit of the season, check out A Charlie Brown Christmas: Finding the True Meaning (Dec. 21) at Ryerson Church. The animated television special is brought to life by actors, jazz musicians and singers. Enjoy Peanuts originals, as well as traditional carols, sung by the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Vancouver Youth Choir. Go to a simpler time when all it took was a tree to teach the true meaning of Christmas.

Japanese Drumming of Katari Taiko

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Katari Taiko-Jeanie

Katari Taiko. (Photo: STU-DI-O by Jeanie)

Some follow the beat of their own drum, while others follow the Japanese drumming of Katari Taiko straight to the Vancouver Playhouse. On Dec. 6, the group celebrates 35 years of reverberating rhythms with Return of the Wild Taiko. The group, the first of its kind in Canada, fêtes the major milestone with musical guests Chibi Taiko, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko. Get ready for an evening with more percussion than you can shake a drumstick at.

Brunch Bliss at Café Medina

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Just a hop, skip and jump from its original location, Café Medina’s new digs channel Parisian charm with a side of heavenly Liège waffles. The cafe is one of the most adored brunch spots in the city, so despite the newly expanded space, line-ups are still de rigueur—but well worth the wait. Treat taste buds to the luscious lavender latte, a perennial favourite, before tucking into tagine, fricassée or saumon fumé. On the run? Grab a waffle to go, topped with irresistible peach-bourbon butterscotch or blueberry-juniper preserve. It’s a guaranteed morning-maker.