12 Months Means 12 Getaway Ideas – Victoria, B.C

The Vistoria Clipper is a high speed passenger only ferry with service between Seattle, Washington and Victoria, British Columbia. I highly recommend upgarding your seat to the “comfort section”.

January – Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year will be January 25, 2020 and where better to ring in the New Year than Canada’s oldest Chinatown. The traditional Lion Dance is always a must see when visiting. Love watching the parade, the costumes, the dancers, the music!

February – Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival has been bringing film to life since 1995. February 7 – February 16, 2020 the festival will showcase as always a diverse selection of Canadian and international films.

March – Capital City Comic Con

My very first Photo Op and I got it with none other than Chief Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) from Battlestar Galactica. I, am a much older and wiser “Starbuck” Kara Thrace (Katee Sackoff). Missing my cigar and aviators but Chief knew who I was! Capital City Comic Con will take place March 20 – 22, 2020. Will I see you there?

April – Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival

The annual Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival takes place over a six week period with performances beginning in April through mid May. Thousands of Victoria based performers and student of music, dance and dramatic acts are on stage throughout the city. Festival begins April 14, 2020 and is an experience to be seen and heard time and again.

May – Mother’s Day at Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress is recognized as one of the TOP 21 Iconic Hotels in the World by National Geographic Traveler magazine and upon your arrival you will know why. The annual Mother’s Day brunch is amazing, and always a sell out. Do you have other plans for Mother’s Day? You can always stop by for their world famous Tea at the Empress, served daily since the hotel opened in 1908.

June – Oak Bay Tea Party

The 2020 Tea Party will be held Saturday June 6 – Sunday June 7. The 58th Annual Oak Bay Tea Party Parade is set to begin at 10:30 am on Saturday June 6. The Air Show, which last year included the Royal Canadian Air Force, Aerobatic Aircraft, and skydivers. There is something for everyone. Enjoy!

July – Butchart Rose Garden Fireworks and Concerts

Firework Saturdays at The Gardens create a night of entertainment with illuminating displays. Firework Saturdays start in early July and go through early September (July 4th – Labor Day usually). Each Saturday features aerial and ground displays choreographed to music created by Jennie Butchart’s great-grandson, Christopher Ross. The firework show is included in the price of admission o The Gardens.

August – Visas Cricket Tournament

The Victoria International Six-a-Side (VISAS) Cricket Tournament festival is hosted in beautiful Victoria, BC at Beacon Hill and Windsor Parks. Photos from Dallas County verses Colts International (Ron Green). The tournament event is slated to take place July 31 – August 8, 2020 in Victoria, BC. Spin bowler or not, these games are worth watching!

September – Blues Bash

September 5 – September 7, 2020 the annual Vancouver Island Blues Bash festival will be held at Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Ship Point Picnic Site. Follow the line up announcements as they happen through Victoria Jazz Society’s newsletter. It will fill you in on local, international and regional blues and R&B artists/groups that will be performing in both the free to public area and ticket requirement performances.

October – Victoria Zombie Walk

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by walking with some Zombies. Victoria Zombie walk takes place in October and starts at Centennial Square and continues through downtown Victoria. There are makeup and costume contests so come dressed to impress. You might win some brains.

November – Rememberance Day

Victoria takes time out on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember all of the men and women who have served in their military and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Victoria is rich with military history and the display of honor and remembrance every November is extremely touching to this military veteran.

December – Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees events have been held in Victoria and communities around the province each year and are noted to be the start of the holiday season. The beautifully decorated trees raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to provide children within the province the best health care possible.

Throwback Thursday – 91X Fest Making History

What do Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, The Stray Cats, The Ramones, Bow Wow Wow, Modern English and The Flirts all have in common? They were all a part of the first ever 91X Fest at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. What concert did you attend that still stays with you? What band/song do you hear on the radio that automatically lightens your mood and has you chair dancing in the car, at work or dancing like no one is watching in your living room?

The 91X-Fest event took place on April 23, 1983. XETRA-FM, otherwise known as 91X, is an English speaking, Mexican owned, radio station broadcasting from Baja, California. The station plays local, independent, alternative music and had always been my pre-set number 1 on all of the cars that I owned while I lived in the San Diego area.

The Born to Flirt album released in 1983 has 4 versions of the top hit Danger

The first band to take the stage was The Flirts. Bobby “O” Orlando conceived the idea for The Flirts, wrote the songs, played the instruments, and produced the tracks. He then auditioned girls to be the faces of the group. The Flirts went through several band member changes and with every album release and tour, some band members left and some band members stayed. The Flirts released six studio albums from 1982–1992 and numerous singles. They made several international tours, often in the club circuit, and usually lip-synced alongside the recordings. In 1983, promoting their latest album Born to Flirt, they played in San Diego at the 91X – Fest.

After the Snow released in 1982 with top hit songs: I Melt With You, Someone’s Calling, and Life in the Gladhouse

Next to perform was Modern English, known as a new wave – post punk band from Colchester, Essex, England. The band originally formed in 1979. The group disbanded in 1987 and has been on again off again and are performing together at present, for the moment at least with four fifths of the original lineup currently back in the band. The original band consisted of Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals). Modern English was originally named The Lepers. The group changed and became “Modern English” when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were added.

I Want Candy and Do You Want to Hold Me have been one of the BEST stage performances I have ever seen

Next up was an English band that formed in 1980 under the management of Malcolm McLaren. He had persuaded Barbarossa (also known as Dave Barbe), guitarist Matthew Ashman and bassist Leigh Gorman to leave Adam and the Ants and become Bow Wow Wow. Persuading the m to leave was the easy part, it was a six-month audition process to find their lead singer.  A talent scout Dave Fishel heard 13-year-old Annabella Lwin singing along to the radio at the laundromat she worked at, and convinced McLaren to audition her for the lead singer role.  

On the Subterranean Jungle album the band was given more control and the band went back to their punk roots.

The next band to perform were the Ramones. The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in Fort Hills, Queens, New York in 1974. They are often cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success initially, the band was highly influential in the United States and the United Kingdom. All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, although none of them were biologically related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996 the members disbanded, by 2014 all four of the original band members had died.

The band played Rock This Town and Stray Cat Strut from their Need for Speed album and also gave us a sneak preview of their album to be released August 1983 and performed She’s Sexy + 17

The next band to play at the 91X-Fest was Stray Cats. The band first appeared in the middle of 1979 performing under a number of names including the Tomcats, the Teds, and Bryan and the Tom Cats. According to Brian Setzer, the band changed names to fool club owners (who wouldn’t hire the same band for consecutive nights), but kept the ‘Cats’ moniker in their various names so the audience would know they were the same band. Brian Setzer joined up with Slim Jim Phantom, and they soon added Phantom’s schoolmate and friend, Lee Rocker. The three later realized they were from the same neighborhood, the Long Island town of Massapequa, New York, and enjoyed punk and rockabilly music. Since 1983 they have used only “Stray Cats” as their name. The group, whose style was based upon the sounds of artists from the 1950s, the Stray Cats quickly developed a large following in the New York music scene. Musical and personal conflicts began to emerge in the ways that the individual members handled their new-found success. In late 1984, the band after a European and US tour parted ways.

Representing their 1982 album Long After Dark the band played You Got Luck and Change of Heart

And did I mention that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were there!  Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were an American rock band, Southern rock, heartland rock, from Gainesville, Florida. Tom Petty (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Campbell (lead guitar), Ron Blair (bass guitar), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards) formed the original group in 1976. In 1981, Blair, weary of the touring lifestyle, departed the band. Howie Epstein (bass guitar) stayed with the band for the next two decades. Scott Thurston joined the band as a multi-instrumentalist—mostly on rhythm guitar and second keyboards in 1991. Ron Blair returned to the Heartbreakers in 2002, the year before Epstein’s death. Steve Ferrone (drums) replaced Lynch in 1994. In 2002 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, their first year of eligibility. The band remained active touring and performing but disbanded after Tom Petty’s death in 2017.

I am a big fan of music festivals. I love being able to see a variety of artists perform all at one venue. This was my first festival and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. The artists were amazing. The stage performances from each band were a sight to see and worth every elbow in my back and toe that was stepped on :/

#91X #TheFlirts #ModernEnglish #BowWowWow #TheRamones #StrayCats #TomPettyandTheHeartbreakers #MusicFestival

Blinded by the Light Movie Review

Luton is a Four Letter Word

Blinded by the Light (2019) is inspired by a true story and the words and music of Bruce Springsteen. Yes, there were belly laughs. Yes, there were tears. Yes, the were coming of age chords strummed throughout the movie. Yes, it was slow at times with plot holes that could not be ignored. Yes, I loved the film!

The film synopsis states Javed (Viveik Kalra) is a British teen of Pakistani descent growing up in the town of Luton, England in 1987. Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of The Boss (Bruce Springsteen), Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in the powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers an outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own voice. I truly enjoyed this life affirming rock anthem with music, and dancing and running. So, much, running!

The 2019 SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) Awards nominated Blinded by the Light for Best Film (for Director Gurinder Chadha) and Best Actor (for Viveik Kalra). Clumsy, charming and bittersweet. It was a spark that started a fire I highly recommend going to see, and don’t forget your dancing/running shoes! #wonderlesch #warnerbrospictures #newlinecinema

Corvus & Company and Osteria la Spiga Happy Hour

It’s Monday. Back to reality. My memories of a very busy weekend still playing in my mind. I don’t like Mondays, but I love Happy Hour. Yes, I am counting the minutes until quitting time and trying to decide where I will be heading at 5:01 pm. Great food and even better drinks make me almost long for Monday’s, almost. My top go to’s for a Monday after work treat are Corvus & Company and Osteria la Spiga.

Corvus & Co.

The Corvus & Company website states it is a neighborhood bar inspired by the natural world and saloon bars of a bygone era. A dark, sexy, and mysterious den that beckons and bewitches. Happy hour is daily 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mondays 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Their happy hour specials include: $2 off all cocktails, $6 well drinks, $6 house wine, $2 off draft beers, $2 Hamm’s tall boys, and $2 off all small bites. Non-alcoholic drinks and CBD sodas are available.

The Jade Pearl – a bit of citrus and sunshine in a glass

The specialty cocktails that are served rotate on a seasonal basis and currently are: The Sun God (Uruapan Mexican rum, lemon, suze, orgeat and sandalwood).The Sonic Rejuicer (vodka, lime, ginger, orange, and cucumber). The Jade Pearl (gin, lemon, verjus, passion fruit, lacuesta blanca, and kaffir lime). The King of Swords (bourbon rye, lemon, maple syrup, black walnut, and barrel aged bitters). Having a hard time deciding which drink to choose, tell the bartender the liquor you like and they will create an elixir just right for you.

The Small Bites available include: House spiced fries with feta aioli. Artichoke fritters with tahini aioli. Cucumber pistachio gazpacho with yogurt, pink peppercorn, black lime and dill. Hummus mezzo plate with hummus, muhammara, marinated olives, homemade pickles and warm pita. Roasted beet salad with pistachio puree, preserved lemon vinaigrette, goat cheese and fig balsamic. Grilled asparagus served with a soft boiled egg with black garlic aioli and paprika oil. Chicken wings with spicy and sweet fresno pepper glaze, black sesame seeds and feta aioli. Lastly Stuffed dates with goat cheese, marcona almonds, honey, sea salt, and drizzled in fig balsamic.

Hummus Mezze Plate – I got another order to go

Weekly guest DJs on Tuesdays and Saturdays and Tarot readings every Sunday evening make this spot somewhere I can love more than just Mondays.

Osteria la Spiga

Osteria la Spiga states it was co-founded in 1998 by Chef Sabrina Tinsley and her husband, Pietro Borghesi, in a quest to bring authentic cuisine from northern Italy to Seattle. La Spiga’s menu pays homage to Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and as co-founder and host Pietro Borghesi says, “An evening at la Spiga is like dining in Italy – without the plane fare.” Using the very finest ingredients, menus are changed seasonally to reflect what is freshest in local markets. Happy hour is daily 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm and Mondays 5:00 pm to close.

Bottle of Lambrusco – it was so good, one glass was not enough

Drink specials include: Happy Hour Wine (Rosso E Bianco) $6. Lambrusco by the glass $5. Well Drinks $7. Birra Moretti $6. Happy Hour Amaro (La Spiga’s Choice) $7.

Food Specials include: Castelvetrano Olives $4. Formaggi Tris with chefs selection of three Italian cheeses served with homemade preserves $10. Prosciutto Di Parma thinly sliced to order and served with balsamic mustard $7. Crostini del Poggio Rosso – crostini topped with tuscan pate, grilled beef and truffle oil $6. Polenta al Coniglio – crispy fried polenta with braised rabbit rag $8. Cavolfiori Fritti – fried fresh cauliflower florets with la Spiga’s herbed sea salt $6. Insalata Mista Della Casa – house mixed salad with apple cider vinaigrette $4. Gnocchi al Pomodoro – homemade gnocchi with house tomato sauce $12. Tagliatellee al Tartufo – tagliatelle with white alba truffle butter $12. Lasagne Verdi – signature lasagna rag, béchamel, and parmigiana reggiano $12.

Prosciutto di Parma – asked for thinly sliced and ate the whole thing

Corvus & Company and Osteria la Spiga are two great ways to beat the Monday blues. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Let me know what you choose to help you make it through your Monday.

My Love Letter to Ireland

  • Oh Ireland, what have you done? Your land, your people, your music, your food, your drink. What is a girl supposed to do?
  • The architecture found within the city limits almost makes me forget how beautiful your rolling hills are. “Wow, look at that, it is amazing.” My statement of shock and awe at every corner, and with each turn you tug at my heart strings.
  • The only thing more beautiful than the architecture found throughout this amazing island, is the people that live here, and the music that they play. Walking through the city of Dublin, passing a pub playing live music I could not, not step in to listen and of course enjoy myself a pint. (Or two!) Tug, tug.
  • The food and the pints are a plenty. Irish traditional food and local breweries abound. The food and drink have a way of filling my tummy, my heart and my soul. Slainte! Tug, tug, tug.
  • The land, the people, the music, the food and the drink all filled my heart and it in turn spilled over with love. I left a part of my heart with you Ireland, so take good care of it, I will be back. Love you always and forever, Erin

Where have you left a part of your heart? Will you go back to get it, or let it stay?

Sometimes Dead is Better

Pet Sematary (2019) is a supernatural horror film based upon the novel written in 1983 by Stephen King. There are several changes between the 1983 book, the 1st movie adaptation released in 1989 and the newest adaptation released in April 2019. I have read the book, watched the 1989 movie and just watched the 2019 version. I am a bit mixed regarding the changes from the storyline of the book, versus the 1989 film, versus the 2019 film. Louis’ muddy feet scene is still a favorite “uh oh” moment of mine in both movies. I felt the 2019 version moved slowly through the storyline, I actually found myself checking my watch often to see the time remaining in the film and knowing from the book and the 1989 film all the events that needed to take place prior to the end of the film and thinking to myself how was it going to be wrapped up in the amount of time left. The dark theme of the film portrayed by all actors involved was felt throughout the theater from beginning to end. The special effects used in this version added a positive scare here and there, the numerous jump scares were more than my preference. Overall I liked the film. I am glad I watched it on the big screen. I will purchase the movie when it becomes available.

Pros:

Amazing acting by all characters throughout the movie. The dark theme rang true throughout the movie and with each character. A family film with a happy ending.

Cons:

Slow pace throughout the movie. Too many jump scares. Doctor burnout is real.

Yes, I will go to Cons with you.

Aluel Cellars Spring Shipment has Arrived

2018 Chardonnay, 2018 Rose of Carmenere, 2018 Grenache, 2018 Malbec

It’s that time of year again. Spring time wines have arrived at the Aluel Cellars tasting room and are now available for purchase as wine flights, wine by the glass and wine by the bottle. The Aluel Cellars tasting room is located in the Capitol Hill area near Broadway and E Thomas. They have seasonal hours so I recommend checking their website to verify when the tasting room is open. Aluel Cellars concentrates on limited production of their wines, great things come in small packages. Their website states their wines are handcrafted in the old-world style to showcase great fruit sourced from some of the top vineyards across Washington state. It is a recipe for success, their 2014 Coat of Arms was named by Wine Press Northwest the #1 Wine in the entire Pacific Northwest which may in turn have helped a bit in their winning the 2018 Greater Seattle Business Association’s New Business of the Year Award. Great wine made by great people is a great combination. Joining their wine club (no membership fee) allows you access to wine, events and discounts not available to the general public. Cheers.

Pros:

Small local business. New Business of the Year. Offers a variety of wines to please every palette. Release events twice a year allow tastings, food, and a chance to network with like minded wine lovers including Alex and Samuel.

Cons:

Yes, I’ll go to Cons with you 🤓

Owners Alex and Samuel
Aluel Cellars Logo