SIGGRAPH Beyond the Convention Walls Part 2: Art & More in Vancouver

Posted By Jessie Nagel on July 26, 2011 07:36 am | Permalink
Some more tips on where to go and what to see during SIGGRAPH 2011, from a Vancouver native.

Vancouver has been called terminal city, so named because it was the terminus of the Canadian National Rail line. But as a teenager, the name evoked a certain appealing ennui - food for my arty soul. I know you can relate. So in honor of that vibe, I wanted to offer some additional area finds that speak to the inner geek or alt hipster, depending on your point of view.

The Waldorf Hotel is a home base, if by home you mean a 63-year-old hotel re-imagined as a creative compound where contemporary art, music, food and culture convene under one roof. Tiki bar - check. Music events - check. Place to get a haircut - check. Wine tastings - check. Dig it at  Oh yeah, you can stay there too. The once gritty Main Street had been polished with the advent of galleries, vintage and boutique designer shops and restaurants. Most of the action happens between Broadway and 18th but there are a few cool places closer to 3rd including The Narrow Lounge and restaurant/gallery The Whip.

Another neighborhood worth exploring is Commercial Drive a.k.a The Drive ( If you've got a penchant for patchouli this is your area... but if you are adverse to the hippie aesthetic, do not shy away. The Drive has plenty of things to see and do that don't involve a dream catcher. This was once the center for Italian life in Vancouver. A few Italian cafés still thrive in and amongst the vintage shops, restaurants and the co-op bookstore.

If you love shopping at record stores - think High Fidelity - then Zulu Records is your new heaven. Located on 4th Street in Kitsilano (see my previous blog post), Zulu ( was founded in 1981 and has since been the place in town to get great music of all kinds including local bands and vinyl.

From sounds of the city to Sins of the City - walking tour, that is. The Vancouver Police Museum offers this glimpse of the city's shady past. For more information: . They also hold workshops for fingerprinting and blood spatter. Um...okay.

We move next to the unreal, as interpreted through art: Check out the Vancouver Art Gallery's current UNREAL show. As noted on the website ( UNREAL considers contemporary artists' explorations beyond the rational and looks at the ways in which they delve into ideas around desire, fantasy, anxiety and the absurd.  Sounds like perfect place to end this post.

See you in Vancouver!

Jessie Nagel is a PR vet specializing in our industry. Her company is Hype (