Vancity Buzz asks is Vancouver’s Nightlife Dead? We set ’em straight!

March 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm  •  Posted in General by  •  4 Comments

As a writer and editor covering events and sexuality issues there are a few things that are quite likely to get my ire up. First are repeated insistences that Vancouver continues to be “No Fun City” despite our burgeoning alt-entertainment and sexuality scenes. Another is just about any time Vancity Buzz covers a story having any relation to sex – from their heteronormative relationship coverage to their  insistence on sensationalist stock images for stories on sexual assaults to their piss poor coverage of alternative events.

So when Vancity Buzz’s own sexuality and relationships writer, and their Single In Vancouver columnist, penned a piece entitled “Is Vancouver’s Nightlife Dead?” I read it expecting nothing more than a craptastic re-hashing of how there’s been nothing good in Vancouver besides the Olympics since the turn of the century. And that’s exactly what I got.

Were this story written by just any reporter perhaps my ire would have risen less – but when a reporter claiming to cover the sex beat manages to write a story on Vancouver nightlife without mentioning burlesque, fetish, swing or polyamory, I feel a need to call out that writer and the website that purports to be “Your inside source for Vancouver happenings” on their BS.

Here’s What’s Happening, VanCity Buzz

Vancouver enjoys a vibrant burlesque scene, and rare is the night there isn’t at least one burlesque show playing to a packed house. And the “nerdlesque” scene that has grown out of it is enjoying great successes of its own, most notably the “Geekenders” troupe which runs both variety nights and mounts full blown burlesque theatrical productions to sold out crowds. Their “Star Wars A Nude Hope” was held over not once but twice at the RIO theatre.

Polyamory, which is regularly reported on in the media is growing in Vancouver, although the stories in the press tend to focus on specific relationships or abstract concepts and not the numerous discussion groups, pub nights and meet ups happening in and about Vancouver. To fail to mention their existence is shamefully lacking in a piece by a relationship writer.

Vancouver’s Fetish scene is the envy of scenes elsewhere in Canada, with the possible exception of cosmopolitan Montreal. Sin City celebrates a lucky 13 years running this summer, and NOIR Fetish Ball (which I’m a partner in running) has grown to the point that in addition to monthly parties we now do special events for Pride, Halloween, and New Year’s – and possibly more!

Vancouver’s swingers scene is even busier – and recently two new clubs, Hush and Club Dante, have started to host events in the lower mainland, in addition to the already thriving Club Eden, Club Allure, Bon Bon Club, and others.

Is Vancouver’s night life dead? Only if like column author Ms. Pescitelli you think that night life consists of canned Top 40 music in monster clubs, tired old bands taking to the stages of massive venues rather than small up and coming ones playing wherever the space can be found, and the same old same old of pick up joints, as evidenced by her previous column on the “Top 10 Bars to Meet Single Women In Vancouver.”

No, Vancouver night life isn’t dead, it’s moved on – unlike Ms. Pescitelli, Vancity Buzz, and so much of Vancouver’s media.


  1. Marie M Files / March 8, 2014 at 7:23 am / Reply

    Reive, I love you and what you do, but in this case, the author of the story is correct, and it’s not just me who agrees. Click on the link for the opinion poll. When I voted, over 75% agreed with her. Face it – Vancouver’s nightlife is a boring shithole compared to other cities.

    The mark of a great urban nightlife isn’t a fetish or burlesque thing somewhere out of downtown that you have to seek out. If Vancouver truly cared about its nightlife, Granville Street would be filled with sidewalk cafes, nightclubs open to all, fitting every mood and every mode of dress – and especially, responsible drinkers.

    Vancouver isn’t there yet. Hell, Vancouver isn’t mature enough to even want it. No, most Vancouverites actually WANT Granville Street to remain a drunken vomitorium, to serve as an excuse to proudly proclaim “We don’t go downtown”.

    That, my friends, is why Vancouver’s nightlife is a boring shithole – because that’ exactly the way Vancouverites want it to be.

  2. James / March 8, 2014 at 8:44 am / Reply

    Indeed – Any night on any weekend and there is a fun outing to be had thanks to promotion of event on your sites and others!

  3. hm / March 8, 2014 at 11:44 am / Reply

    Hate to be contradictory, but these nights don’t appeal to everyone in vancouver, rather a fairly distinct minority. We’re talking burlesque nights once or twice a week, sure they have a following, but it’s the same people going to all the shows. I enjoy a good burlesque show as much as the next gal or guy, but the ‘No fun city’ moniker isn’t entirely inaccurate for describing a city whose up and coming cultural institutions are one lease increase, or one zoning change away from eviction. There is no shortage of places to listen, dance and cavort to mainstream music, but alternative arts scenes have historically had a hard time in this city. They cater to an underclass. The fox cabaret for example came from the death of the waldorf, but this is the exception to the rule, more often than not when an alternative, locally supportive venue closes in this city it’s gone for good. Galleries close all the time, artists lose spaces to show, and to practice their art all their time. Using Vancouver’s ‘sex’ scene as an example of how vancouver is a fun city, and using sold out events that happen a couple times a month is incredibly myopic. It ignores the larger issues of culture that are implicated by ‘no fun city’, but then again perhaps Reive doesn’t understand where it came from.

    • Reive / March 8, 2014 at 11:56 am / Reply

      Hi hm,

      I appreciate your sentiment. I call out this reporter here for her particular oversight of the alt-sex scene given that she’s the supposed sex reporter for Vancity Buzz. But there are certainly other nightlife events going on besides full out sex ones.

      I’m not sure where you’ve gotten the idea that Vancouver enjoys two full house burlesque nights a week – in some instances, like last night, that’s two full house venues in one night!

      In fact rare is the night there isn’t some burlesque performance going on. Geekenders, who I single out for mention, aren’t just packing clubs either – their full theatrical parodies “Star Wars A Nude Hope” and “The Wizard of Bras” both packed out The Rio Theatre multiple nights.

      Going broader than my original article but sticking with the theatrical, it’s worth noting that Vancouver’s improv scene is widely recognized as one of the best in North America, and that improv players in this city can actually make a buck doing what they love! And not just down at the Improv Centre on Granville Island either – the Fictionals have amazing weekly shows, one of which “Improv Against Humanity” is also big enough that it’s spilled out of its initial home at Cafe Deux Soleils to playing at The Rio as well.

      Does the Granville Street Entertainment District and what passes for nightlife suck? You betcha. About as much as Vancity Buzz, and their apparent insight to our cities event scene!

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