Letter from the Editor
Xīnnián hâo! I found it curious and at the same time compelling, that the Year of The Monkey, has a set of Lucky Directions, which happen to be North; Northwest; and West. It is also said to be a sign of hard workers who are dedicated and driven, but also strong thinkers who are equally effective motivators. Having been side by side with the family for years now, crafting the site, I have seen the value in effort, and appreciation of those around you. The Gregorian Calendar puts us in the second round of 2016 yet February seemed like a good time to reboot. And with a heavy dose of humility I can say: this month has been full of opportunities that can only be seen as blessings.
Some months ago, through my friend Noah, I was introduced to a gentlemen named Mark Miller. At the time, he was working for an orginization that funded Women's Shelters, Affordable Housing, and a number of community outreach programs. We spoke about the possibilities of building a program with Music Heals, and other ventures in which I could help give back to the community. Shortly afterwards he began a new position with an organization that has a long standing legacy of helping those in need. It's called The John Howard Society of The Lower Mainland of B.C., and through coming to understand the powerful and positive impact it has, it is with great honour, that when I was recenlty asked to take up a Chair on The Board of Directors, I jumped at the chance. I felt an instant connection, knowing that it would mean I could help further change. Along with my role at Music Heals, I see a great amount of opportunities in which we can continue giving back to the community. It is a humbling experience to say the least and I look forward to sharing thoughts and concerns with likeminded people who have a history of compassion and belief in society.
On a slightly lighter note…I am proud, staggered, and flattered to respectfully announce that I have been brought in as The Brand Amabassador for Nütrl Vodka! ( Probably no need for capitilization but it gives the appointment volume: Wouldn't you agree?) This position is going to be a lot of fun. I have been endoweed with the distinct pleasure of gifting bottles of this magical Canadian-made spirit, to the influencers of Vancouver and beyond. I will, for the precious sake of anonymity, never disclose my co-hort's names or whereabouts, yet, in some instances you may see or hear about traces of my work. Like I said, this is going to be fun! I have also been graced with the allowance to throw the occasional soirée and those are shaping up to make for some interesting conversation starters. Gotta give a shout out to my brother Paul Meehan for the shot at helping to create something inspiring on a multitude of levels!
As the entrepreneural winds that are synonomous with the Year of The Monkey, sweep through the mountainous passes of the Pacific Northwest, I can feel the tides of change in their gale. As always, we here at PrevailPrevail have a few tricks up our sleeve for this New Year. No hints yet! In regards to the above mentioned paragraphs, let me finish with this: I consider myself very fortunate in that, the number of rarified and wonderful opportunites I have been afforded thus far are starting to culminate into a platform where I can help put positive change in motion. I'm very excited, I'm tremendously enthusiastic, and I'm hyped on whatever the future may hold.
Enjoy the month my friends,
Happy New Year all! If you are resoluting, stay resolute. If not, it doesn't mean you can't challenge yourself towards betterment. My approach this year is continued learning. I have spent countless hours sharpening my skill set on the lyrical front and yet yearn for more experimentation. I have tossed and turned at night, staring at the ceiling with a restless mind as how to improve the site, only to open more avenues of creativity. My mind is hungry and I haven't felt this propensity for accumulation in ages. This excites me. I have vowed to not to stick to what I know, but to take what I have learned, unlearn it, and learn it again in a completely different way.
With a very rewarding 2015 behind me, I aim to keep pushing forward. Honoured to perform at The City of Vancouver Awards of Excellence, humbled by speaking at TedX Vancouver, and always touched by being an Ambassador for Music Heals, I have realized that life is a constant cycle of energy that demands continuos flux. As we look ahead, my family here at the zine is on the same page. Different content, a lá Startenders and Our City Tonight, keep us thinking dynamically. I am going to also take on a new column called Tried, Tested, and True: A monthly piece devoted to some of my hardest working pieces of clothing, footwear, and travel gear that have stood the test of time.
One of my favourite stories of last year came near the middle of December, when my dear friend Steph Johnson, photographer extrodinaire, was awarded the Nellie McLung Foundation Arts Legacy Award, a Manitoba-based grant that will ultimately allow Steph to spend more time behind the lens creating magical images. I had written a letter of reccomendation for her, so I was overjoyed when she texted me saying she had received the funding. (Congratulations my friend!)
Hence, the energy that life demands keeps on rotating, and hopefully it churns out positive effect. But, when it doesn't, double-guessing yourself isn't always a bad thing. Throwing out preconceived notions allows for new ideologies, and reshaping approaches can usher in fresh opportunities and isn't that the true reward of risk? On that note, thank you, our valued and much appreciated readers, for sticking with us, and sometimes sticking it to us. Opinions are always valid, voices should always be heard, and actions should always be respected. A famous song once said, "People make the world go round!" So, as we rotate through another cycle, be curious, be true, but be open to the unforseen combination of possibilities that life can hold. After all, we owe it to each other, and to ourselves.
I just celebrated my 40th and it was a night I will never forget! First, a three hour lunch at West, thank you Dave and Joe! Then dinner at the amazing Vancouver Club! And to top it all off, a surprise ambush (thank you Keilani, I love you) with about 100 of my friends, including performances by Tonye Aganabe and The Sweetz! Needless to say, I was overwhelmed! Ok, enough use of the exclamation mark, I think you get the point? With a milestone like that, I had been doing some reflection on my life: past, present and, future. I have been extremely blessed and having so many friends and loved ones around me on the day was powerful. As you may have noticed, I wasn't the only one to get a B-Day celebration. The new and improved PrevailPrevail site has been re-structured and I hope you find it easily navigable and full of good reading.
This month is chalk-a-block with activities. After TedX Vancouver, which I am extremely honoured to speak at this year, Neph and I set out on the first AlphaOmega tour across Canada. I will be gathering fuel for the fire in terms of new articles for the site and I have found that travel often offers some of the best and most exclusive material to write about.
Closer to home, for those who have been curious about how last month's Music Heals gala, Strike A Chord, did in terms of fundraising: How's over $100,000 in an evening? That's what I said too! I had the pleasure of hosting once again and was floored by peoples' generosity. Plus, amongst all the talented performers, at the end of the program we all possied up on stage and sang a cover of Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Then, Maestro Fresh Wes and I did a cover of Eric B & Rakim's Paid In Full. Legendary night! Keeping it philanthropic, don't forget to support Movember. I am a few days behind schedule myself but tomorrow will be up and running in terms of fundraising. I think this year I might even be able to pull off a half decent "stache." That's what happens when you hit 40, instant facial hair!
Ok friends, I'm outta here. I recently painted an entire wall of the office with dry erase paint. At first I thought it would be helpful in getting things organized, until I realized that a blank 10 x 12 foot wall is a lot of space for creative notes. It's filled with all good positive stuff but some of it needs to be tended to, so off I go! Be well, and remember, love conquers all (except birthday hangovers).
Prevail a.k.a. Sporty Fourty
I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to use that title in relation to a food article. But, in the case of my experience last week, it is completely fitting. My friend Cassandra Anderton from Good Life Vancouver invited me to a great event on behalf of Tourism Abbotsford (#exploreabbotsford). Hosted at the picturesque Mt. Lehman Winery, about 20 of us sat down at a well-decorated family style table, designed by The Spruce Collective. A blend of brewers, farmers, vintners and, media types, we were all encouraged to sit next to folks we had yet to meet and get to chatting. After a warm welcome from Vern Siemens, proprietor of the winery, the lot of us traded stories about not only the fare, but also about what inspired us.
I sat next to my dear friend Joe Leary, although we made sure to surround ourselves with unfamiliar but friendly faces. Over a few glasses of pinots, gris and noir respectively, we followed with a merlot reserve. All three varietals are approachable now but the 2012/2013 vintages would surely show structural character after a few years. And, as wine has the mystical power of invoking conversation, the volume around the dinner table grew in decibles. I especially enjoyed speaking with young enthusiastic cheese maker, Jason Dykstra of the Mt. Lehman Cheese Co. He brought a very fragrant blue capri, an ash ripened goat "Frisky" and a wonderfully complex cheese he called "Duchess." In an homage to his Dutch roots, Jason "scooped out" half of the moisture to make the curd "bouncier", and indeed he acheived just that. In fact, that very morning he had experimented making Water Buffalo cheese for the first time. I look forward to the end product. All the food and beverage was provided by the local Fraser Valley producers and the menu was well executed by the brigade of Restaurant 62.
We started with squash roasted with Cambell's Gold honey and chèvre. Then a Maple Hill Farms chicken roulade. I have had their product before and it is always beautiful. Roasted beets and parsnips, risotto with shiitake mushrooms and, a Yarrow Meadows duck breast came in sequential order. All were wonderfully done. We had already enjoyed a nice balance of flavours but then, a final dish of Lepp Farm's Market pork loin arrived and added a perfect finish to the program. I usually don't have a very big sweet tooth but when the plate of Onnink's blueberry chocolate bonbons came around, I had to indulge myself. That was a good call and, as proprietor Jesse tells us, "They are always in perfect taste!"
As we were getting ready to depart, the fine gents at Ravens Brewing Company laced Joe and I with a parting gift, a smoky I.P.A. Thank you fellas, it was delicious. The take away bag contained a crisp, juicy apple from the Taves Family Farm. I enjoyed it the following morning and in doing so, I had a flashback of the prior night's soiree. What impressed me the most was the pride of the Fraser Valley crew. They know what they have going on out there and they aren't afraid to enjoy the fruits and, cheeses and, liquids of their labour. I'm just glad they like to share.
This October has already been full of more treats than tricks. Take this past week for instance. I received a phone call from the offices of Montecristo Magazine a hallmark of Vancouver publications), informing me that my latest submission : "To Top It All Off", was ready to be published online. What a great way to start a day! Only days earlier my Lady and I had a wonderful photo shoot session with our friend Allan Bacani. What a great way to end a day!
Later this week I sit down with Jordan Kallman of The Social Concierge to finalize my involvment in this years TedX. It's being held at Rogers Arena, an amazing venue that is sure to be filled with bright minds, I will have to take a very deep breath before taking stage that night. In the midst of this work-related stuff, I am looking forward to the opening of my friend Mattie Schmidt's (formerley of House Guest) new venture, Hello Goodbye. I love when the Vancouver lounge scene gets another well deserved spot to socialize in. And by the time you read this, I will have made an appearance on Shaw TV for National Poetry Day. As soon as I get a link for the segment I will make sure we get it out to you via social media.
Never to be without good food, wine and friends, I have been invited to an upcoming local harvest dinner at Mt. Lehman Winery later this month and I can't wait. The month wraps up with the 2nd Annual Music Heals Gala: Strike A Chord. Last year we did very well in the fundraisng department and I aim to do my best as the host of the event, to keep people motivated to donate.
I'm writing this from our new office space, glancing up occasionally at the back wall which I painted this past weekend with dry erase paint, the ideas are flowing. As you know, next month is our yearly relaunch. New content, new look, new energy. We are constantly learning and that will always help guide us in providing you with the most interesting material we can muster. Enjoy the Thanksgiving and Halloween festivities and remember, it's always better to give than to recieve!
My posse. My peeps. My clique. My family. We recently had our annual PrevailPrevail staff appreciation day and it was awesome. A BBQ at Kits beach then an hour long boat ride on False Creek Ferries around the outskirts of the city. It was a great day weather-wise, and our unity as a collective grew even stronger. I made my speech, as has become tradition, and then we opened the floor to commentary from all involved. Internal feedback has become a huge indicator for our team and we encourage each other to be forthright. "Each one teach one" as the saying goes.
I have also been back on the interviewer side of the camera and continuing to build up some more Tête-à-Têtes. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jonathan Litchfield of Lithcfield's in Gastown, a wonderful shop that stocks curios to inspire the mind and improve one's life. My next chat was with Tyson Villeneuve and Jordan Kallman of the Social Concierge, who, in my opinion, are two of Vancouver's most genius geniuses.
As the site gets primed for its November relaunch, I am going to keep stacking content that will help us navigate the next year of articles. Of course, though, there will be fresh and new content that is not only time sensitive, but is guaranteed to be exciting. I have also been shaking hands and kissing babies and some of it has led to inspiring conversations. Let's just say, I have been meeting with like-minded people and the firepower for the site is building. I will keep you up to speed as things come to fruition, but for now allow me to say this: my friends have always told me I have a face for radio.
Ok my friends, my crew, my unit, my family, I'm signing off for now. Thank you for your readership as we continue to sculpt and mould. It's becoming a living, growing entity and the future is bright. As I write this from our new office space (thank you Mr. D.B.!) I couldn't be more optimistic about the days to come. The energy and focus is starting to line up and our whole camp can feel it; when that happens, oh boy, let the good times roll. Until next month, be well, soak up the rest of Summer's rays and, enjoy each other's company – good vibes are infectious!
July was a month of first times. First time missing an international flight (I still made it to Zurich on time to perform), first time in an artistic capacity on stage at The Orpheum (bucket list), and, the first time being involved in The City of Vancouver Awards of Excellence ceremony (very honoured). A few days ago Music Heals, a music therapy charity I am proud to be an ambassador for, held a gala event on the rooftop at the fabulous Vancouver Club and we raised some good money to help people in need. With all these first times, what have I learned? Always allow for the unexpected. Things don't always go according to plan, but when they do, embrace them.
Case in point: I am sitting in my new office space taking meetings for a new venture that I have embarked upon and, although I didn't see this opportunity coming, I have fully devoted my energies towards it and am trying to perpetuate as much movement as possible from the onset. Work. Fun work, but work. On the PrevailPrevail side of things, our humble online zine is about to get a big boost. I can't spill the beans yet but, it is a monumental endeavour that I think will springboard us to the next level.
With Diner en Blanc Victoria and a Bastille Day celebration behind us, courtesy of the of the ever magnanimious Social Concierge team, we look forward to next week's Deighton Cup. Held annually at the legendary Hastings Racecourse, this event sees Vancouverites dressed to the nines and enjoying everything from the classic Mint Julep to perfectly chilled bottles of Veuve Clicquot. All set in an amazing backdrop with music and comraderies that helps to define this special event. Needless to say, since last years Deighton Cup, I have been assembling my outfit piece by piece in hopes that it's worthy of the highly sought after "Satorialist Sash" that indicates nomination for the best dressed. Last year my lady and I were in the running (get it?), yet were unable to clinch the prize. And certainly winning isn't the be all end all, but it would sure be a proverbial feather in the cap (get it?). Ok I'm stopping with the jokes now.
In all seriousness, things are feeling great. Natural progression at a pace that allows me to see the picture develop while still being enthusiastic to keep shooting. A few projects on the go, each of which inspires me to channel energy into the other. A family of true friends at PrevailPrevail.com who have guided me immensely and with whom I can't wait to continue a shared creative process. A chance, a shot, all accrued from wading into the unknown and embarcing the myriad of possibilities that culminate into a "first time." Without risk, reward is futile. But so is resistance ( last joke of the day for real ). Thank you all, be well, enjoy the Summer and, don't be afraid to take chances, sometimes they turn out to be positively life changing.
This year I'm taking Spring cleaning to a whole new level. My girlfriend and I are currently on The Wild Rose Cleanse and it has been fantastic. A chance to reassess what I'm putting into my body and the corrolation to the soundness of mind has been illuminating. With a renewed vigour, this month is shaping up to be a big one. A new office and creative space on the horizon is getting me excited to pursue business and art on a rejuvinated level.
Pre- planning for this year's Strike A Chord gala for Music Heals has begun and it's going to be a great event. Music, good people and helping those in need: what could be better? And it wasn't as if May was without some excitement as well. The second annual Duelling Arts at the Vancouver Club was held a few weeks ago and Tyson Villeneuve and the geniuses at The Social Concierge knocked it out of the ring yet again. PrevailPrevail had the honour of being the exclusive media partner and I had the pleasure of co-hosting the event with Tyson. Complete with a falcon, champagne sabering, live music and, of course, swordplay galore, the evening was amazing. For more, look out for my upcoming article, "Blades of Glory."
On the heels of Duelling Arts came the first annual Shuck It Forward event at Chewies Coal Harbour. With proceeds going to Autism research and family support, this oyster shucking competition brought out some of the city's best for a worthy cause. More on that later ,as well, in another article titled, "The Shell Game."
As the site continually finds its pace and footing, things are getting interesting. Our idea has always been centered around empowering our contributors to scribe about what inpires them and it has paid off in spades. I am stoked to say we officially have our first paid advertising spots and this will help us to propel things to the proverbial, "next level." Hard work, focus and, a whole lot of fun has gotten us this far and now with a little capital the floodgates are open! As always, we look forward to sharing our stories with you and expanding upon our content. Thanks to Dave Ritzer, a.k.a. The Honest Butcher, we have a new collection of recipes to keep your pallates happy and the response to his culinary offerings has been overwhelming. We also plan to cast more light onto Sights & Sounds and Style & Taste. I feel we could be provide more good stuff in those arenas and so we shall.
I thank you for your patronage, your feedback and your support. This site is becoming a hub for creativity on different levels and, as the founder, it is hugely rewarding seeing that the voice of the individual can be combined with like-minded kindred spirits and produce something unique. To the fututre then, onward my friends and, know this: You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support. – Sabrina Bryan
The month started off with a visit to Vancouver's newest Chinatown restaurant, Sai Woo. After an amazing dinner and cocktail tasting ( thank you, Justin ), only days later, I was invited to view the archives at the Museum of Vancouver. I admired the collection of over 70,000 articles until I ultimately gravitatded towards a pair of antique fountain pens used at the original City Hall to sign the guest book. The pair had been used by Eleanor Roosevelt, The Duke of Edinburgh and even The Queen herself. The purpose of choosing the pens was that they are now part of an exhibit for The Happy Show, an absolulety stimulating display cuarted by Grammy Award winning designer, Stefan Sagmeister. I will give you all the goods in one of my upcoming editorials.
Then a day of furntiure shopping with my brother, Jacob Sweetapple, for an upcoming pop up cocktail lounge called Notion. Mr. Sweetapple is not only the ambassador for Absolut Elyx Vodka but also a 5 time World Champion. On the wheels of steel, the one and only Tyson Villenueve from Socail Concierge, and with myself working the room, a lá Maitre de style, the parties are sure to be a blast. My lady and I took in an amazing symphony last week as well, where I got an onstage shout out from one of the world's most renowned conductors, and a good friend, Bramwell Tovey of the VSO! We launched a new column as well for PrevailPrevail, written by Nadine Spuls, all about how, why and when to attend tech conferences, a rising source of unique information. As I am writing this, memories of last night's media event for The Happy Show continue to make me question life and its many importances. And as recently as this afternoon, I soldified a position with an organization known as Chimo, to help bring awareness to domestic violence. As we plan to team up on select events with Music Heals, I hope my involvement can help spread some good energy.
Next month will be chock a block with charity events as well and, the second year of Duelling Arts, but more on May in May. Until then my friends, be good to one another, be good to yourselves and, give back when you can. As always, much respect and thank you for reading!
Whirlwind: The best way to describe my last month. A European tour that spanned 8 countries in 16 days with 13 shows interspersed, followed by a gallery showing for the launch of The Arcachni and BloodType Meda as soon as I got home. Whew! But it was awesome and a reminder that life happens in starts and fits, a constantly changing experience that reserves the right of unpredictability.
In Europe, not only did I have the chance to eat some of the best meals of my life, take in some legendary architecture. and shop some of the worlds' best streets, I also had some refection time and I will be highlighting it all through a blend of editorial and video excerpts over the next few weeks. I also found inspiration my next article for the fabulous Montecristo Magazine called, "…And to top it all off…" : where I had the chance to sit down with one of the world's premiere milliners from Szaszi Hatters in Vienna.
Between all the eye opening experiences of Europe and curating my first gallery show, the last four weeks have helped sculpt my love of art and my appreciation for self expression. Being imersed in history that vibrates through the languages and cultures of a city's inhabitants changes the way one looks at one's own life. Food, scent, music, colour. They all take on different and unique forms when travelling abroad. Each one finds it way into the structures, the cuisine, the expressions on people's faces: the daily shuffle.
Each of these elements are important to observe, individually and as a whole. I hope I have brought back some knowledge to share with you and hopefully I have left some influence floating around Europe through the stimulating conversations I was lucky enough to engage in. I look forward to divulging and hope you enjoy my tales, as they were certainly as stimulating as they were life-changing.