Pants-less Event Supports HIV and HepC Positive Youth

Let’s face it, dancing without pants is a lot of fun. Dancing without pants for a good cause, is even more fun. That’s why the PLUR Collective from Victoria, BC are taking their FUNdraiser Pants Off Dance Off (PODO) on the road to the Knotty Burl in Squamish for a night of delicious bass-thumping beats, good vibes,  and a lot of pants-less ass, all in support of HIV and HepC positive youth from across the country.

Formed in 2016, the PLUR Collective, comprised of Sarah Wilson, Geoff Plint, Shannon Lee, Kristie Signer, and Piotr Burek, started their foray into party planning with their first underwear party: Pants Off Dance Off; an event that raises money for Youth Unleashing Power (YUP), Canada’s only national symposium created entirely by and for HIV and HepC positive youth. Now, in its third year, YUP brings together positive youth from across the country for a four day retreat where they get to connect with each other, share their experiences of living with HIV and HepC, and heal as a community.

Inspired by Jessica Whitbread’s “No Pants No Problem” parties, which have grown to international fame in support of HIV positive folks around the world, PODO has become a staple in the Victoria dance scene, raising $3500 for YUP over the last two years. PODO is a queer friendly and body positive event that showcases amazing talent in the house and techno music scene and is founded on the principles of consent and harm-reduction. With beautiful sounds curated by past headliners like Squamish local Freebound, Vancouver duo Epitomic, and underground superstar Kasey Riot, PODO is an ode to raging good music and the curation of impressive electronic music sets.

However, it’s not just about the dancing. The PLUR Collective was formed as a response to the lack of queer party spaces in Victoria and the lack of events that acknowledge the history of activism within the dance community. In addition, the PLUR Collective saw an opportunity to create events that meet along the intersections of social service delivery, art, radical politics, and the “rave”. As lovers of house and techno, the PLUR Collective honors the history of those genres as having come from largely poor and racialized communities; communities that also face the brunt of the HIV and HepC epidemics. They recognize the rave/party as an inherently political act, which sometimes gets lost in mainstream narratives. It is with this understanding that the PLUR Collective aims to create events that not only give back to the broader community, but also build compassionate communities that become emblems of the rave scene.

By focusing on showcasing queer and femme artists, the PLUR collective is committed to providing opportunities for performers and artists that are often excluded from mainstreams events. The collective aims to provide a comfortable space where queer, trans, non-binary, and femme-folks can shake their booties and dance up a storm. Having said that, these parties are for anyone who brings good vibes and a commitment to community action, regardless of sexuality, or gender.

The Squamish edition of PODO will feature Victoria femme-superstar, TigRess, who also happens to be a member of the PLUR Collective, supported by Vancouver’s Kasey Riot, Whistler’s Evan Drops, and Squamish local Beatkeeper. Tickets will be available at the door on a sliding scale of $10-15 and all proceeds will support HIV and HepC positive youth from across the country to attend YUP. As always, the PLUR Collective will be stocked with harm-reduction tips, including safer partying information, naloxone kits, and safer sex supplies. We look forward to shaking our booties with y’all in March!

Ps. Don’t want to dance without pants? No worries, as a body-positive event, we encourage folks to show up however they feel comfortable, with or without pants.

Can’t make it to the party? Consider making a financial contribution to YUP. For more information about YUP, please visit www.youthunleashingpower.ca

S2S Female DJ Cover Story

All Hands On Decks: S2S’s Trail Blazing Female DJ’s

In the mid-2000s, electronic music was an underground phenomenon in the Sea to Sky.

Sometimes parties took place quite literally in the shadows; the shadows of towering trees in the Squamish Valley and below the majestic mountains across BC.

In most places the people making the music – a niche hobby that required rare skills and costly setup – was a male-dominated crowd. But as the scene began in the Sea to Sky, some of the best known DJs building it were women, bringing the party to the riverbanks and red cedars groves as the music scene flourished.

Andrea Graham Title Bar

The most well-known of Squamish DJs might be The Librarian, also known as Andrea Graham, founder of Bass Coast Music Festival and scene pioneer.

Graham taught herself the basics of music producing while living in Whistler, and borrowed some Technic 1200s from a friend in Revelstoke in 2006. Her first booked gig was at Tommy Africa’s in 2007 – but her first time playing in front of a crowd, at a friend’s birthday in Powell River, makes for a better story.

“Sixty of us boated to a deserted ‘island’ and set up a generator and sound system beside the ocean,” she said. “To our surprise a woman in a four-by-four pulled up just after dark. It was not an island nor was it deserted!”

Since it was too dark to leave, the woman let them stay and continue the party as long as they were out by dawn.

The oceanside concert heralded an early career of wilderness concerts.

“There’s nothing better than playing music on a great sound system out in nature,” she said. “Squamish was a little smaller back then and was relatively undiscovered. It was easy to drive out into the woods and find somewhere secluded.”

Graham and other DJs in Squamish hosted mountain parties in the backwoods – taking care of the land, offering yoga, and “really building a supportive and open minded community.”

For Graham, the outdoor concerts eventually inspired Bass Coast, an electronic music festival that took place on the riverside in the Squamish Valley. Whether it was the festival that got too big for Squamish, or Squamish that got too big for the festival, it relocated to Merritt in 2012.

While her festival may be in the interior, and her turntables accompanying her around North America as a touring artist, Squamish is still home.

“It’s interesting, some of the first settlers to this area have shared stories of their versions of playing music in the woods not unlike what we did. It seems to be a rite of passage for the creative community.”

Just Sheila

Another Squamish DJ, who moved to the area to rock climb, started her love of music as a child with a house full of records. She moved on to mixtapes in high school, and then in Squamish discovered the outdoor rave scene and underground dance parties.

“I just decided that was something I wanted to do, rather than someone else, I wanted to play the music,” explains Sheila Cassels, who performs in the corridor as Just Sheila.

It was a tight knit scene, and you had to know who was who in order to get on stage.

Over time Just Sheila became one of those people to know – organizing and playing music for the legendary James Bondage Valentine’s Day party as a fundraiser for the Howe Sound Women’s Centre.

The party – featuring a whole line-up of DJs and skintillating dress code – went on for nine years, sometimes filling a capacity of 600 people.

“People are begging us to bring it back on, but the venue part is pretty hard,” she said.

Big, annual parties become less of a novelty when the town has a nightclub – Cassels said it was once hard to get 100 people out to a party. Now Squamish now has three dance nights a week at The Knotty Burl.

 

“It’s not easy. Now we have a nightclub, we used to go into the bush and throw underground things. It was sketchy at times. It was very fun, I’m so happy I did all that. Now I like to show up and have the turntables set up.”

After being a DJ for 14 years, Cassels now has a busy life with a young son, but still enjoys bringing the room alive for people who love her carefully crafted sets.

“It’s different, people are more used to the sound, and they enjoy it,” she said. “Now it’s a bigger part of people’s lives, going out dancing and enjoying the music.”

 

Terri Kirkham Title

The easy availability of digital music, and it’s growth in popularity, has been a game changer, agrees Terri Kirkham, Squamish-based DJ KitKat.

“That said, nothing beats digging for records, getting to the store early on new release day and the excitement of bringing home a new chunk of wax.”

Kirkham moved out west from Saskatoon, where her friends in the early 2000s were getting involved in the electronic music scene as well. Her parents pitched in for her first setup – and her mom pitched in with the name.

“After about three hours of tossing titles around, I was about to call it quits for the night when my mom asked me what kind of music I play. At that time I was strictly a breaks DJ, so I answered her and she started to sing the KitKat chocolate bar jingle “gimme a break.” Not many people get named by their mom twice in life, but luckily I did.”

With that moniker, Kirkham took her first set from her living room down to Vancouver. She co-hosted a club night and the Lotus Sound Lounge and a weekly radio show.

[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/djkitkat/on-the-radio-live-dj-set-bass-coast-festival-2012/ width=550 height=120 ]

While she began playing shows in the city, like Graham and Cassels, she says playing music and dancing in nature is one of the best things in the Sea to Sky.

“It has always been a bit of a challenge to be taken seriously as a female artist, but the same could be said in many fields of work,” she said.

She notes that hearing “Wow, you are really good for a girl” is not really a compliment.

“That said, I am very proud of what I do, I have so much fun while performing, and I love feeling the response from people on the dancefloor. There is an air of badassery and empowerment by having a female on the decks and I love every minute of it.”

 

Tammra Brougton

Tammra Broughton, known as DJ Sprout, had her start in the middle of a surprisingly similiar scene east of Squamish, when she returned to Lake Louise after a trip across Europe that introduced her to rave culture in 1997.

It was the people and the energy that attracted her, and she bought turntables soon after – but not originally with the goal of becoming a performing DJ.

“I just wanted to do it,” she said. “I’m just one of those women who are like, ‘I really like that, I want to learn how to do it.’ I never really thought about performing. It’s like when you pick up a guitar, you just want to learn to play it.”

Around the same time that she moved to Golden, Sprout inherited a collection of 70s records. The mountains were ready for the music, and so was Broughton.

“Obviously my first parties were disco parties,” she laughs. “The early days were epic in Golden, and I’ve heard the same thing was happening here.”

When she relocated to Squamish, Broughton played James Bondage, Shambhala and opened for the Funk Hunters.

There have been breaks along the way – the scene can be taxing, and it takes an incredible amount of personal energy to organize a safe and welcoming event. After all that work, there were times when a gig went unpaid or someone harassed her on stage.

As a holistic health practitioner, Broughton had to reconcile the love of a party crowd scene with her health and life intentions. Now she brings music and dance into her holistic healing practice work with clients, and this brings more balance to her shows.

“I’m very selective now about where I DJ and why I DJ, and it’s taken on a completely new life of its own. I’m loving it,” she said.

“Music is music. Love is love. I’m learning as I go.”

 

Written By: Haley Ritchie

Files From: Craig Davidiuk

Tire Flip PTSD Awareness Fundraiser

Breaking The Chains Of PTSD

On Feb 13 – 16, Terrance Kosikar, the founder of Camp My Way, will undertake the Herculean task of flipping a 400 lb tractor tire up to 7,142 feet on 7th Heaven Summit ( Cloud 9 ) on Blackcomb Mountain while wearing 50 pounds of SOLID STEEL CHAINS!

DONATE NOW– https://campmyway.com/tire-flip-pledge/

The event is a fundraiser to honour the memory of a young Olympic athlete, increase awareness about the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and raise funds for Camp My Way, a residential wilderness program for people with PTSD.

Together We Camp Veterans Program – http://twcvancouver.org/together-we-camp/

Eight years ago, on the opening day of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, a tragic accident resulted in the death of a young Georgian luge athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili. The first person on the scene of the accident was Terrance Kosikar from Whistler, BC, and a part of him died that day, too.

As an Emergency Responder, Kosikar was well-trained in a myriad of life saving techniques, however he was not prepared for the emotional trauma which resulted when he was not able to save the young man’s life. Kosikar developed Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSD) and his life spiraled out of control. He lost his career, his family and — as a result of severe depression, anxiety, and substance abuse —Kosikar almost lost his own life.

Kosikar fought back against this devastating disorder and, after finding solace in the peace and beauty of the backcountry near Lillooet, BC, Kosikar became determined to share the healing power of nature with others. In 2015, he began a residential wilderness program called Camp My Way to help Emergency Service Providers who are struggling with PTSD to get their lives back and reconnect with their family and friends through teamwork, self-discipline, meditation, exercise, nutrition and sharing positive experiences, in a natural environment.

Over the past several years, Kosikar has symbolically demonstrated the struggle of PTSD by flipping a large tractor tire across great distances around the World. For the fundraising event on February 13- 16th, Kosikar will literally do the heavy lifting by flipping the 400lb tire up to the Summit on Blackcomb Mountain. They are asking friends, family and supporter of Emergency Service Providers and anyone that may have struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues to sponsor the team’s efforts by pledging a donation for each kilometre.

For more information about the EVENTS or to arrange an interview withTerrance Kosikar, please contact :
Jeff Waters 604-848-4551
jeff@campmyway.com
Terrance@campmyway.com

Avalance Awareness Day Red Heather Garibaldi

Avalanche Canada Awareness Day With BC Parks January 20,21

The BC Parks Avalanche Awareness Days will be taking place from 11am – 2pm on January 20th and 21st, 2017 at the Red Heather Shelter in Garibaldi Park (www. env.gov.bc.ca.)

This free event will include single and multiple burial transceiver tests, snow profile demos, and gear use demos. Allow 1-2 hours to get from the parking lot to Red Heather and expect winter travelling conditions. Vehicle chains are mandatory for the upper section of the Garibaldi Park Road. All ages and abilities are welcome.

It’s a great opportunity to “get your feet wet” with snow safety. If you are considering backcountry travel, this day is for you.

 

Chekamus Centre Offers Unique Family Experiences

Are you looking for a unique winter experience?  Cheakamus Centre, located just a few minutes north of Squamish, has just launched the Friends of Cheakamus program and with a donation of $25 or more you can participate in exclusive seasonal events hosted on the 165-hectare ecological reserve.

The first Friends of Cheakamus event of 2018 will take place on Saturday, January 6th.  The Wintering Bald Eagles Walk will provide a glimpse into the lives of these majestic birds.  You will have the opportunity to go into the field with volunteer experts and learn more about our winter resident bald eagles. This is a remarkable natural phenomenon not to be missed.

To learn more about participating in our nature community, become a Friend of Cheakamus at http://www.cheakamuscentre.ca/donate/friends-of-cheakamus or contact Sarah Bainbridge at sarah@cheakamuscentre.ca.

Now in its 49th year, Cheakamus Centre is an environmental education centre that offers a range of programs that inspire thousands of students, of all ages, to gain a better understanding of our natural world.  Formerly named and fondly remembered by many as the “North Vancouver Outdoor School” it is a well-loved tradition for many.

Old growth Cedar Trees Squamish Valley

Massic Old Growth Cedar Trees

We host over 15,000 visitors annually from the Sea to Sky, Lower Mainland and beyond. The renowned overnight field school immerses students in nature-based activities that instill a sense of respect and appreciation for our environment.  Skw’une-was, another time-honoured program, developed in conjunction with Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Elders in the 80’s, shares some of the traditional daily activities of the Ch’iyáḵmesh people.  At the longhouse, cultural interpreters, parents, teachers, and students engage in a variety of pursuits.  Even as adults, people frequently talk about these overnight learning experiences as highlights of their school careers. What started in 1969 as one teacher’s idea to get kids outside, in a then little-known town of Squamish, is emerging as a centre of excellence for outdoor education and a welcoming place for gathering and sharing in nature.

Unique features of the campus include: ancient cedars, a teaching hatchery and network of restored spawning channels, large numbers of wintering bald eagles, a small farm, edible gardens, and honeybees.  All provide unique learning experiences for students and support sustainability initiatives on campus.

Cheakamus Centre also hosts visitors from around the world for special events, conferences, meetings and retreats. The Centre has received numerous provincial, national, and international awards for our education programs, and for leadership in green building with the LEED Platinum BlueShore Environmental Learning Centre.

At the heart of Cheakamus is the place and people. Talented staff and volunteers are passionate about outdoor education, and preserving the natural beauty and health of the community for future generations. Community-minded education partners lend for secondary and post-secondary students to participate in conservation projects. We are proud of the great numbers of salmon presently spawning on property as the result of over three decades of partnership efforts to restore salmon habitat.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Squamish Nation, Squamish Watershed Society and a community of friends have been working together since 1981. As a result of these successful partnerships, Cheakamus Centre has the most restored side-channels in the Squamish Watershed.

To celebrate, we invite you and your friends and family to join us at our annual Open House taking place on Sunday, May 6th.

Learn more about Cheakamus Centre at:  www.cheakamuscentre.ca or contact info@cheakamuscentre.ca.

Holiday Family Activity Guide

8 Things To Occupy Your Holiday Guests

8 Things To Occupy Your Holiday Guests

If you are hosting your relatives or out of town friends in Sea to Sky country this holiday season, you might start feeling like the walls are closing in after a couple days. To prevent the next family dust-up, we’d like to offer a list of activities to help keep you and yours occupied.

1.Indoor Axe Throwing

Pick up a sharp metal object and hurl it at a target.  It’s cheaper than a family therapist.  AND! You can hit up your dad for your league membership fees. Sign up for an hour-long session that includes a lesson and competition for bragging rights. Two locations to choose from. 

https://www.forgedaxe.ca/

http://batlgrounds.com/axe-throwing-squamish/

axe throwing

2. Whistler Family Zone & Village

Whistler Holiday Experience

Simply walking through Whistler Village during the holidays is a magical experience. It’s a very animated and festive place.  Parents take note that the Family Fun Zone is back at the Whistler Conference Centre. Located at 4010 Whistler Way  https://meetings.whistler.com/conference_centre/

There is a huge room set up with bouncy castles, ropes courses, games and toys. You can even dance with your entire family! The grandparents and the relatives can sit in a nearby lounge area and sip a hot chocolate or munch on a snack.

3.Sea To Sky Gondola

Visiting the gondola itself is an amazing experience for everyone. They also have a really great list of holiday themed activities that you can participate in.

Family Sing Along:

Grab a carol book and belt out Christmas classics to your hearts content on December 20th.

https://www.seatoskygondola.com/events/family-sing-long

Headlamp Hike

https://www.seatoskygondola.com/events/headlamp-hike-over-holidays

The gondola does most of the heavy lifting. Once up top, you can hook up with a short guided tour at twilight. The tour will be done on foot or with snowshoes.The tours run every Saturday in December or you can book a private tour. Advance booking required.

4. Escape Room

There seems to be an escape room in every city now and Whistler is no exception. Check out Escape Whistler and pick from one of four challenges. They suggest bringing a group of 4-6 people to try out your choice of the Pirate Ship, The Pinball Machine, The Buried Cabin and The Rabbit Hole.

http://escapewhistler.com/

5. Tenderfoot Fish Hatchery

A lot of our out of town relatives are often quite clueless about Salmon and the role they play in Sea to Sky’s ecosystems. This is where we take our friends and relations to educate them and to burn off some butter tarts. Take a drive 15 minutes from Squamish and see live salmonoids being grown and nurtured. During December, you can expect to see adult Cohos.  A self-guided tour will help you understand the life cycle. There is also a wee hike that you can take to the top of a nearby hill.
http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sep-pmvs/projects-projets/tenderfoot/tenderfoot-eng.html

6.Distillery Tours

This might not be the ideal activity for families with minors, but maybe you need some male bonding with Dad or a post shopping cocktail with Mom?

The Sea to Sky food and beverage scene has grown by leaps and bounds this past decade. The micro-breweries are all the rage in the corridor. If your family experience causes you to crave something a little stronger, we have two distilleries to share with you.

Pemberton Distillery: This sauce-mill was started pre 2010 and is still going strong today. They are open every day throughout the holidays and it’s worth the beautiful drive. They open at 1pm daily. 

https://www.pembertondistillery.ca/

You can also register for tours here:

http://pembertondistillery.rezgo.com/

 

Gillespie’s Fine Spirits: This place has a really unique atmosphere and is centrally located in Squamish. Stop in and see the “Booze Witch” Kelly Ann Woods and get her to craft the perfect drink for your holiday needs. Locally made hooch  and elixirs also make an awesome gift.

Open Thursday-Sunday 1:00-6:00

http://gillespiesfinespirits.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GillespiesFineSpirits/

7)  Cheese Fondue

Nothing bonds a family like dipping bits of food in gooey sticky cheese. Whistler has a few places to enjoy fondue, but we are suggesting the atmospheric Fairmont Chateau Whistler. You can also google “whistler cheese fondue” and come up with other options at different price points. We also like the fact you can leave the clean up to others. 

http://www.fairmont.com/whistler/dining/thechalet/

cheese fiondue

8)  Fresh Tracks Breakfast

If you have some super keen skiers or riders in your group, consider the fresh track breakfast. You have to get up early as it’s only open to the first 650 people. It officially opens at 7:15 but locals start lining up at 6:00am.

Whistler Fresh Tracks Breaky!

Quality Nosh B4 Fresh Tracks

There are two really great reasons to do this. One, ideal conditions for powder or fresh groomers. Two, the buffet breakfast. It’s the only easy way to get fresh tracks unless you have a buddy who operates a groomer. You can also purchase this as a gift. 

https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events-and-activities/activities/fresh-tracks