Canadian Music Scene

Today I went about starting a new Spotify Playlist. This time I decided to put only Canadian Bands into it. Majority is from the grunge scene in the 90’s. I forgot how amazing some of those artists were.

Listening to band like The Odds, Age of Electric, Great Big Sea, Our Lady Peace, Moist, Barenaked Ladies, Econoline Crush, Moxy Fruvous, 54-40, Big Wreck, Sloan, Bran Van 3000, Prozak, Rush, Tragically Hip, Loverboy, Celine Dion… the list goes on. Okay some aren’t 90’s grunge, but the music that was created over the years is iconic. Maybe it’s the fact that in Canada radio broadcasts need to be 40% Canadian artists.

However, I was reminiscent of hitting the clubs for concerts in small venues as well as outdoor festivals. I’m also discovering some “One Hit Wonders” that I had forgotten about over the years. I’m also adding more artists as they get recommended to me.

Feel free to take a listen to my playlist and let me know if there are any bands I should add. Or feel free to add some songs for me. No country music please- or I will turn off the collaboration option. Rock, pop, grunge are the preferred music talents. I’ll be accepting of some rap music if it gets in there.

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Supporting Small Biz

I’m a strong believer in supporting small businesses.  I find there is more attention to detail when someone has more at stake than just making a few dollars.  Many of my friends are super talented, so I’d like to share with everyone some links to their products/services:

I’d like to start with Elemental Illusions.  Here is a talented lady who makes amazing leather masks/dragons in her spare time.  She attends conventions in Alberta regularly.  Her daily grind is being a teacher in Alberta and raising her twin boys on her own.

Next is a husband & wife team from Salt Spring Island who have made it their full time job to create amazing glass art pieces.  They travel across the continent to conventions & craft fairs and have earned themselves a devoted following.  Check out Bling Squared to learn more about their process and perhaps pick up some “Cute Glass”.

Changing it up a bit and bringing it closer to my home: Here is a young lady who has made it her passion to bring amazing vegan food to the people of BC.  Follow her on Facebook to find out where she will be next so that you can sample some of her goodies.  You won’t be disappointed with Gypsy Food Trunk!

Take a break in the evenings and sing your heart out with 1 Epicnight Karaoke.  They set up at numerous locations throughout the week in Surrey and Langley.  Singing relieves stress!  Plus it’s an opportunity for you to showcase your skills.

Looking for an online giggle based on the struggles of parenthood?  Check out How Baby twice a week.  I was once Lindsay’s boss at Chuck E. Cheese’s and I’m glad she has kept up with her art- she is extremely talented.  You can also find this artist attending anime conventions and Comicons.

Speaking of babies, be sure and check out Geekling Designs for geeky clothes to dress you and your baby in.  Made and shipped out by a couple with two daughters at home who understand what it’s like to be nerds with children.

Needing to celebrate something special?  Have Mosaic Party in Kelowna help you out.  Classy and elegant decorations as well a professional attention to details.  If Kelowna is a bit far, at least check out the cookies that she hand makes- Sugar Bee Cookies.

This summer, make sure and take the family out to the Twilight Drive-In.  This is the last Drive-In theater in the Lower Mainland.  It’s privately owned and operated and not part of the big chains.  My family and I love the fact that you can see two-three movies in one sitting.

Loretta Braun: She is a fantastic piano teacher in the Langley/Aldergrove area that has been teaching my children for over eight years now.  She has also become a close friend of ours.

Here are a couple other friends who are just starting out that you may be interested in as well:

Ice ‘N’ Fire: They sell scented candles with a beautiful ring hidden inside.  Not only are you supporting a small business when you buy from them, but they also donate a part of their sales to charity.  Goodness x2!

Knottie Things: She is just starting up, and made a lovely crocheted Toadette for my daughter.  Be sure and follow her on Instagram to see some of her amazing work.

And of course, there is my wife (whom I’ve promoted numerous times before) at Ningen Headwear.  She works from home and hand makes all of her products in her own studio on the side of our house.  If it wasn’t for her business, we’d probably never have traveled or seen as much of the world as we have over the past few years.

I know there are plenty of other people who have a small business that they are working on getting off the ground. I meet plenty of artists and crafters at the conventions who are extremely talented and deserve recognition. So, get out there and support your local small businesses!