Calgary Cheerleader Sunday May 28, 2006

There are people who constantly call down Cowtown as a city without urbanity; which lacks the vibrancy of a Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto. A redneck city lacking any element of culture; it’s a city where nothing ever happens. To all you play-a-haters I have to tell you to go get bent.

I’ll agree there are some elements of the city I can’t stand. But in all honesty it only takes a little motivation and a small sense of experimentation to turn a crappy drizzly weekend into a memorable one. I totally expected this weekend would be pretty shitty, but it turned out to be a gem.

On Friday night I was coaxed into checking out a random show at Broken City. The feature was Vancouverites Pink Mountain Tops and a local band called PressureKillCommonStyle. Although I only caught a subsection of the PressureKillCommon set, (You can blame my early exit on a partied out roommate) it was a great night. I’d call it the TSN turning point for the weekend.


It’s hard to fathom people that constantly slam Broken City as either too snooty or snobby. I know I’m extremely biased to the place, but I just don’t get all the animosity. There’s no dress code. It sells cans of Lucky Lager and Pilsner. Pints are always reasonable and the service, while somewhat slow, is usually really friendly. To me it’s one of the best places to waste an evening and catch an interesting act. It’s built on a mishmash of really neat ideas. You have your classic pinball machine, a comfy rooftop patio, cheap tall cans, great live bands, some interesting themed nights including the now defunct crafternoon Sunday’s. I love it.

Anyways, I’ll continue. Then we closed out the weekend with the annual pilgrimage to the Lilac Festival. To me there always seems to be people who constantly complain about the festival. I know it can get fairly busy it is and there’s nothing really special, but I never understood the undying hatred some people have for it. I’ve been going since I was a kid (back when it was only four blocks long). Now it sprawls over 13 blocks, has four beers gardens and this year included an Indiana Jones Rollercoaster. [Good Christ what does Indiana Jones have to do with Lilacs?] Anyways it’s still amazing.

Indiana Jones RollerCoaster

Sure there is a constant bombardment of smelly hippies and slop tarts in cowboy hats, but at heart of it is a simple community run festival. You are always guarnteed to run into somebody you haven’t seen in months and everyone just seems so happy. Plus with a few bucks you can sample some great curry, watch a decent band and even get a honking bowl of Fiasco Gellato. There is always a hidden gem to find along fourth street. This year we popped into the Purple Perk. This turns out to be a new Italian Bistro, which unfortunately has replaced one of my childhood haunts. (The Planet/Rosstarrie) While I could have inflicted some bitter revenge by whyte trashing the urinal, we ended up enjoying one of the largest Nanaimo bars I have ever encountered. It was like the size of my swollen liver. It was huge.

Turtlesized Nanimo Bar

Where is the rant coming from? I’m sure it has something to do with my occational desires to experience life in a different city. Recently I’ve been day dreaming of a grandiose lifestyle in Vancouver, Victoria, Austin or even London. But this weekend I had to wonder if there truly something better and more spectacular in these cities. I know Calgary might never culturally compete with an the Alpha cities such as New York, London, or Tokyo. But Calgary is going through right now is just as exciting as living in an already really esbalished cultural mecca. There is so much to do. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities provided by the city, you’ll never really appreciate it.

And I think that’s my point. I was on the verge of writing this weekend off to bad weather, video games and a good old fashioned mullet shaving competition, but the whole scope of the weekend was changed when I was pushed towards BrokenCity on Friday night. Calgary’s a killer place to be living in at the moment, there’s a can do atmosphere where a lot of different ideas are being tested. I know it doesn’t have instituted cultural establishments of Austin, Vancouver or New York. But I argue that’s Calgary’s greatest charm.

This is such a young city, that it is only now building its establishments of culture. By living and participating you can be apart of laying the ground work for this city’s urban vibrancy. Whether it’s feasting on a tubby dog and yam fries or checking out the reincarnated fringefest there is so much to do and so much to be apart of.

So here’s the deal I’ll put away the pom-poms if you stop bitching to me about this city. Agreed?

Categories: The-Urban, The-Personnal,

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