January's Calendar is No Less Full Than a Post-Christmas Belly

The New Year is upon us.  It settles in, like a nesting bird upon the tree of our daily lives, as memories of the holiday season fall to the ground, the last leafy drags sifting into dust from a dream.   Stores swiftly revamp commercial drives to grapple at the next fast-approaching observance with cunning ease, whereas the rest of us fumble at the knot of our ends and beginnings, to pursue a long string of uncomplicated sensibility.  However the festive spirit does not diminish come New Years Day.  In fact, the myriad of calendrical observances that exhaust the coming months, honour the enduring will of humanity by their persistent desire for thoughtfulness and transcendental expression.  It seems we are always on the run.

While it’s easy to get lost in the clutter of commemorations that trail each month, some stand worthy of our attention.  The Twelve Days of Christmas, a tradition remarked by the more popular English Christmas Carol, customarily extends throughout Christmastide until January 5th, (the “Twelfth night”), while Orthodox Christmas falls more commonly on January 7th, (Christmas Day) following the Julian calendar.  Meanwhile, the Old New Year, an informal, traditional Orthodox holiday, celebrates the start of the New Year of the Julian calendar on January 14th.  Martin Luther King Day follows on January 16th, while the Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day proceed to fill out the end of the calendar month with supping, toasting, dancing, music and fireworks.

It is interesting to note the relevant changes of such celebrations over the years, as our cultures and societies take on fresh shapes molded by particular economic and social interests.  Throughout the commonwealth for example, aspects of the Twelve Days are still celebrated, such as Boxing Day, (a national holiday) being the first full day of Christmas.  Chief culinary elements of the celebration, as are featured in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, still remain relevant in Britain, (plum pudding, roasted goose and wassail.) However such traditions as the Epiphany Feast and Twelve Days have mostly been forgotten in North America.  Widely popular nineteenth century stories focusing on generous gift-giving, the corresponding rise of commercialism and shopping campaigns, as well as the introduction of more secular traditions such as Santa Claus, and the growing popularity of New Year’s Eve parties are key contributing factors. Nevertheless, despite these fading seasonal customs, many Christians in other parts of the world continue to celebrate the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas according to their traditions.

Like a spike of insulin from a sudden hit of sugar, Christmas has become that decadent piece of dessert we tend to lament after consuming.  Did I really need that?  Have I eaten too much?  I wish there was more… But Christmas is not about gluttonous ambiguity.  Rather it’s a return to the simplicities of our nature brought forth into New Year in a humble parcel of goodwill and love.  January 1rst should never be known as the come-down of the holiday season to salt the soils of our heart. Rather it is the fertilizing nourishment for the months to come, a steady pulse of celebratory spirit from which new things can begin to grow.  Even though we may have lost aspects of our historical customs that once lit up January like a festive holiday display of Christmas lights, wooden reindeer, nativity scenes and blow up Frosty the Snow Mans, we can still appreciate the impetus of the season: the strive for synergistic appreciation, benevolence and love.

-Elizabeth Cucnik





New Years Resolutions...

There’s something to be said about the idea of starting anew, especially in the context of the New Year.  An initiative wrought with prophetic understanding and restored faithfulness; the idea of the New Year and its call for resolutions blows the wind that drives our sails.  Apart from the customary observances of fireworks, silly hat-wearing, clinking and clanking and midnight kissing, the heralding of a new Gregorian calendar year means more than just a “good time.”  New Years inspires a moral impetus for peaceful resolve, goodwill to all and the realignment of sensibilities gone astray.  Whilst Auld Lang Syne speaks to us from the depths of human experience, we are reminded of this wholesale need for novelty: the need for beginnings, the need for tolerance, forgiveness and healing, as well as the need for legacy in friendship, family and love.  New Years is our cairn of stones, marking an objective reference point from which we can trail our evolution and make sense of ourselves in the vast expanse of experience.  And so we usher in 2012 as our newest landmark, with a slew of resolutions to lead us to a superior vision of tomorrow. These resolutions, however small or large, help to create the foundation for our future relief and renewal, enlivening sluggish spirits to turn our slow, burning flame into a fury of wildfire that propels change and directs development.  Even though this New Year’s Eve may pass like any other night, without a break in the march of the universe, none of us will quite feel the same.  We will feel different somehow… changed.  Something inside us will begin to stir, awakening a laden confidence with which we can overcome the challenges and responsibilities of daily life.  And as we watch the cairn of stones rise and fall on the horizon, we begin to appreciate the constant variable of change framed by powerful resolution, in which the world will never again be the same as it is right now… as it is with each passing moment, as it will be on New Year’s Day.

-Elizabeth Cucnik





Charity Begins At The Penticton Lakeside...

2011 Rotary A
The art of giving is rarely honed and crafted to such collaborative altruistic tenor, as it is at Christmas.  Tis’ a true wonder to behold: this call to action that nourishes a restorative faith in mankind.  What invokes this stirring spirit of benevolence?  Maybe it’s the spices in our drinks, the extra butter and cream in our foods, or the customary carols that transpose us back to our warmest childhood memories… or maybe it’s simply the feeling of Christmas that inspires us so.  The feeling of Christmas, like pollen dispersed by a field of winter roses, is the dander of the very idea, meaning and tradition of Christmas.  It covers all things in a blanket of fuzzy tenderness and beauty, under which we are snug, sheltered and loved.

Despite the frostiness of the global economy, people within the community are warming up by supporting local businesses, volunteering, and participating in charitable causes like Toys for Tots to Teens.  This year, Toys for Tots, hosted by the Penticton Lakeside Resort, successfully met the growing demand for gifts with the help of non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army and with the assistance of generous businesses like Canadian Tire and contributions from the City of Penticton.   Live Christmas music festively filled the air, while children’s choirs from Columbia and Uplands Elementary Schools sang with heartbreaking devote conviction following weeks of preparation.   As each child extended themselves to present individual gifts over the Rotary, smiling from ear to ear with budding humility in recognition of good deeds done, an overflow of Christmas spirit pervaded.  The scene, in all its munificent splendour, conjured historical sentiments seemingly lost to generations past that embraced an open door philosophy which didn’t require us to lock our doors.  It reminded us of a simpler time: when communities centered more on family values, familiarity, reciprocity and friendship rather than enterprise and capitalism.  Toys for Tots has become the cardinal event of the year, where the jovially-spoken slogan, “Merry Christmas” is echoed among the crowds with good will and true holiday cheer. This year, the event saw volunteers from all spectrums of our local community, (Starbucks, Quality Greens, Summerland Realty, Critteraid, Kinettes, Penticton Self-Storage, White Kennedy and Penticton Lakeside staff and family) working as hard as Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve, to package and bag gifts in joint jubilee for those less fortunate.
2011 Penticton Lakers A

Of course, the season of giving does not stop there.  The Penticton Lakeside Resort hosted a complimentary “picture with Santa” this past weekend, which saw handfuls of wide-eyed children lost in rapture, experience the iconic man himself, with the photo to prove it!  Set among an authentic backdrop of antiquated tapestries in the Lakeside’s front lobby, Santa Claus, all clad in traditional red and white, sat atop a bona fide Victorian sleigh, alight with glittering Christmas cheer: a true hallmark on the holiday agenda.  And now we must turn to the next events that fill the advent calendar: December 18th, the Christmas Community Market and the Artists Lobby Gallery are coming to the Penticton Lakeside Resort, inspiring yet another reason to get dressed up in festive finery and enjoy the delights of the season!

This Christmas, there is so much to cherish, love and experience in Penticton,  so get out there and snuggle up together, under that warm Christmas blanket of fuzzy tenderness, beauty and love.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

2011 Valley First Servers B




A New Canadian Christmas Tradition

Christmas is more than an idea, belief, or calendar date; it’s a universality that extends into the far reaches of the imagination, anchored in transcendent thought and feeling.  A return to innocence and magic the holiday season renders pure spirit, when Canadians come together to behold a lighter rendition of ourselves and feast upon the world with childish wonder.  Society revives in a decadent display of festive holiday cheer, local and small businesses extend themselves to give back to their communities by charitable means and provide services that encourage homespun creativity, fellowship and association, while neighbourhoods put Christmas in the air by seizing it first in their hearts.

As we lean back in a deep collective sigh, admiring the glow of the Christmas tree as it blooms from within, we are reminded of its profound state of mind - the notion of simple extravagance by which we are truly rich indeed: family, friends and the utter joy of human experience (the crunch of snow underfoot, the peaceful calm and beauty of a winter flurry, the radiance of a blazing hearth, hot breath upon a chilly air, the sparkle of dancing lights, the awakening of senses…)  However rising concerns over the recent global economic crisis, foreshadowing the possibility of a double-dip recession throughout the developed world, does little to encourage jovial toasts and bursts of spontaneous laughter.  Instead it stands as a reminder of what we must hold close, cherish and preserve this holiday season: the think-tank of Canadian-ism, inspired by communities and businesses across Canada.

Local and small businesses (which account for roughly 48 per cent of the private-sector labour) are the engine-force of this country, as they propagate the wants and needs of society by reinforcing strong, healthy communities in which to raise our children, accommodate our youth and provide for our elders.  Local and small businesses account for an enormous portion of the Canadian economy, with a quarter producing goods and the rest providing services, they reflect the true inner workings of culture, whilst integrating a broader consensus within the hearts and minds of Canadian families.  However, the global financial crisis has tightened access to the kind of credit and loans these businesses rely on for their livelihood, and there is a growing concern over short term viability, which will become a serious problem in the near future should sources of credit dry up.  Indeed, many local and small businesses have felt the negative impact from the current economic environment.  It’s more important now than ever to rethink our Christmas shopping, by accommodating and supporting local businesses and communities.  Let’s begin to rebuild and strengthen Canada’s economy from the grassroots.  Buy Canadian.  Shop local.  Gift certificates to ma and pa businesses, locally-run and operated restaurants, ski lift passes and day passes, hair salons or barber shops, car washes and detail shops, gym memberships, home repairs and maintenance or house-cleaning services, golf course memberships or certificates, dog-walking and grooming services, children’s daycare, babysitting, computer repair, local craft, jewellery and boutique shops, art galleries, local pottery and artisan stores, community theatre  and live shows at local venues… this Christmas we can all buy local and buy Canadian, for we have so much right at our doorstep to inspire!

Christmas is a savoured gift to mankind, one that beholds the world in a softer and more beautiful vision, therefore it’s imperative we uphold such revelation by maintaining strong, healthy communities and continue to support local and small businesses that provide us with the kinds of unique products and services which encourage synergistic friendship, reciprocity, intimacy and mutualism – the key elements of Christmas spirit.

-Elizabeth Cucnik


The Hidden Gem of Winter, Apex Mountain Resort Speaks to Snow-Seekers, From 1 to 92...

As with many things in the world, the greatest treasures are often those found off the beaten path - paragons in the white space of the remarkable and unfrequented, to which there remains a quiet refinement.  Apex Mountain Resort is one such treasure.  Nestled in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, a short 30 minute drive from Penticton, Apex is not difficult to seek out and is indeed, anything but usual.   Apex Resort has personality.  Its quaint, rustic, home-spun appeal, invokes a personal experience that inspires a savoring belonging.  Unlike the larger, commercialized, corporate ski resorts, Apex speaks to a more intimate sensibility, emphasizing family, friends and the timeless magic of the season, without the burden of long queues and heavy crowds.  The perfect blend of world-class terrain and accessibility, the peak sits at an impressive 7,200 feet, delivering 2000 feet of vertical in just six and a half minutes, with 1,112 ski-able acres, and a total uphill capacity of 6,700 riders per hour, ensuring quick and easy navigation.  An ideal climate makes for the most incredible champagne powder among the widest variety of trails; from the extensive glades of the Wild Side, to the elliptical south bowls, from the steep chutes along the north face, to sprawling wide open terrain and gently rolling slopes, Apex Mountain Resort captures the indefinite imagination of any snow-seeking enthusiast.  It`s no wonder the mountain has been awarded so many distinctions over the years, including, Canada’s Best Small Destination Resort, Best Weather, Best Lift/Run Ratio, Best Steeps, Best Grooming, and B.C. Alpine Resort of the Year, (to name but a few).  Moreover, Apex is now recognized as the National Training Center for Freestyle Aerials and Moguls, where one can catch Olympic and world-class athletes from around the globe, training for upcoming events and competitions. Hosting a plethora of activities that cater to everyone, from the tube park, to the Fairview hockey rink and adventure skate loop, from night skiing to snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing at the Nickel Plate Nordic Center, Apex has it all.  The resort is a diamond in the ruff, a place of engaging innocence and enduring character that encourages the funky and poignant, the seasoned and savvy as well as the green and inexperienced, in a transcendence of age and ability.  This year, The Penticton Lakeside Resort wants to let you in on the best-kept secret in the world of winter recreation.   We are now offering ski packages for two, that feature two nights stay in one of our deluxe lakeview guestrooms, inclusive of two full day lift passes at Apex Mountain Resort, starting at only $280.00 + taxes, and our All Inclusive Ski Inclusive features an additional hot toddies for two at the Hooded Merganser Bar & Grill, and dinner for two at the Bufflehead Pasta & Tapas Room, starting at only $365.00 + taxes, both of which are available until April, 2012.  Call for details and bookings at: 250-493-8221 or toll free at: 1 800-663-9400. Experience one of the world’s greatest hidden treasures today!

-Elizabeth Cucnik

Remembering The Meaning Of Remembrance

Remembrance Day is about remembrance.  But what exactly are we remembering?  Officially, November 11th is a Canadian public holiday, commemorated by the Commonwealth countries in remembrance of all those who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the Great War.  World War II, Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 and most recently, the Libyan Uprising, are all included in a collective acknowledgement.  War is a central theme to the institution of Remembrance Day, but Remembrance Day is not just about remembering a timeline of war, nor its distinctions and details.  It also reminds us of the seed of war, surging in the hot and dense state of our early universe, before it spontaneously burst across the heavens in a thunderous rage of fury and might - creating, destroying, building and beating.  It reminds us of our own peaceful and war-ravaged creation and the very germ from which we sprung.

Remembrance Day is a motion that emphasizes the human in humanity.  An unyielding reminder of mankind’s universality, Remembrance Day creates history just as much as it pulls the rug out from under it. It stands as an annual indication of our pressing mortality, slinking sneakily in the shadows of Man’s epic struggle and loneliness.  Like leaves which fall to the ground with the changing of seasons to cover the earth with a blanket of decay, the years of mankind’s collective history is the mulch of our future.  Remembrance Day, is simply a walk through the leaves; history is its compost.  And so we remember…

Independent of epoch or culture, we remember the human condition – constant, universal, innate - it subjugates any linear timeline of sociocultural evolution, bringing into question the relevance of history among the backdrop of Flanders Fields.   Emblems of the common humanity, poppies symbolize the dreams of our unconscious by their opiate properties, and our life, death and resurrection by their blood-red colour.  White poppies, born in peaceful protest by the pacifist hand of the hopeless romantic, in dissent and denial, they undermine the human condition by disassociating themselves from the militaristic aspects of Remembrance Day with the meaning of a hope to end all wars.  This dichotomy of red and white tears at the very heart of our civilization, as humankind remains both full of the red fire that creates and destroys, and the white wash of peace that wants for nothing.

And so, Remembrance Day is more than, O Valiant Hearts, the sounding of The Rouse and the wearing of red and white poppies.  It is a beacon within the dark abyss of human evolution, a marker in no man’s land, speaking of an experience within which we can dream, fail, and continue to survive.  And when we stand in salute for the Royal Anthem of Canada, we sing, “God Save Mankind from Man” while the Queen disappears into history before the veterans march past.  Like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we are nameless, faceless, everyone and everything, echoing its inscription within the context of our own convictions, “The Lord Knoweth them that are his, Unknown and yet well known, dying and behold we live.”  Yes.  We remember.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

The 21rst Century Relevance of Halloween

That day has come.  We are in the present of a future only imagined in science fiction novels and comic books from decades past, a respective conclusion of Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision.  Westernization has become the Metropolis in which we live – the well-oiled, fire-breathing machine that feeds off the blood, sweat and tears of nations enslaved to the system itself.  Historical social contract has up sprung a nightmarish embodiment of new-age restrictions, manifesting our own cynicism, narrow-mindedness and spiritual anarchism, to which there is no longer any magic left in the world.  1984 is 2011 going on 2040.  We are those futuristic drones from Lang’s expressionist film, from Orwell’s compelling imagery: shuffling in and out of the Big Brother workplace like marching penguins dressed in black and white, matching our outsides with our insides.  We speak in codes and cling desperately to the addiction of our remote technologies.  Surrealism has replaced realism.  We don’t even need to be our own person anymore.  Alter-egos projectile into cyberspace via social networking platforms to create a new world of celebrity in which we make-believe ourselves into anyone we want to be – anyone, except who we really are.  Our phones talk for us, our cars drive for us, our computers compute for us, our machines make and break for us, and we, the Wizard of Oz, sit behind the smoke and mirrors of this global farce, not sure whether to laugh or cry, (maybe there’s an “APP” for that?…)  Too much is at stake for us to be so cavalier about it all.  We are losing our instincts, if we haven’t already lost our humanity.

There is something eerily apocalyptic in our inherent quest for greatness and absolutism.  As if the ‘the meaning of life’ has simply been reduced to an anagram for ‘the fine game of nil’: the more we look, the more there is nothing left to see.  In this day and age of media, technology, profit and gains, alchemy within the world has been stripped bare, reduced to vague reflections in store windows and dancing plastic bags embracing in a sinister gust of wind.  Customs and traditions like Halloween have become a commercial means to a profitable end, where we gain disposable, shallow ideals from the loss of true substance and meaning.  Oh how predictable we have become! Work to spend, and spend just so we can work again.   It is true, the overstimulation of our technologically-charged culture, has under-stimulated our intrinsic understanding and insight, leaving us deeply deprived and starving for a sense of bewilderment and perplexity in the wizardry and witchcraft of the unknowns.  Yes, indeed, we yearn for the return to a world that wriggled in an infinite regression of possibilities.

All Hallow’s Eve is an adrenalin shot of magical mystical wonder straight into the heart of society’s indifference.  It reconciles us with simpler ideas, and acts as reprieve from the burden of daily responsibility and restriction, in which we learn to trust in the wisdom of our youth once again, while stepping out of the shadowy shackles of maturity.  Halloween, like other seasonal holidays, summons the allure of our childhood, when we saw the world through the world’s unveiling, omnipresent eyes, rather than by the prejudice of our own.  Now that Halloween nears, we are reminded of this time to believe in magic again and of the importance of the supernatural element of all existence, (to which we are undoubtedly apart of).  It is time to set aside our tricorder-turned-smartphone, our pop culture trivia and YouTube references, to surrender to the deep.  So on this Hallow’s Eve, whether we share the excitement and anticipation with our children and our families, or we take a solo stroll down a dark street with nothing but moonbeams shining down from a starlit helm, we must look not with our eyes, but with our senses, hear not with our ears, but by the stirring silence within, understand not with our logical brain but with our pure spirit.  In doing so, a quiet beauty will begin to appear, like a small kindling fire catching wind from within your mind.  We shall begin to see magic again, the way our children see magic: a natural perfection that pervades and covers the entire world, like a shimmering sheath of fairy dust.  The supernatural abounds: tree moss becomes witches hair, caught in the branches and twigs as they fly by on broomsticks, black caves on rocky cliffs become the dens of dragons, ripples in the water’s surface are trace movements of mermaids, and silvery moonlit trails through the wood lead to unicorns and dwarf dwellings.

And so, Halloween, like other customs, traditions, and festive holiday seasons, satiates the needs of our humanity, and becomes imperative to the healthy functionality of our societies.  Acting as anchorage to which we are tethered and unable to drift away, even within the stormiest of seas, Halloween is an action of openness, willingness and surrender, a lightness of heart, which unveils a wider world of the infinite.  We cannot speculate about the future but we can plant the seeds and cultivate the right kind of conditions to sway the future towards a favorable, desirable outcome, one that includes magic, mystery, wonder and beauty.

-Elizabeth Cucnik



Vintage Is Indeed, Back In Vogue: THE WEDDING SHOW brings haute-couture sophistication and sensibility to Penticton

There are ideas and movements, and then, there are those ideas and movements that invoke epic sensibilities for deep-rooted change. Change and revolutionary change happen daily - within our homes, in our hearts and minds, en mass in parliaments and city halls, in corporate offices and media centers - within the very entity of globalisation. It's this need and appeal for change that defines who we are, while ideas and movements create the motion of our humanity. Fashion is not only a movement of change via protest, resistance, creation, and innovation; it may arguably be the single greatest reference point for reviewing and understanding the humanities. For fashion is to culture what war is to revolution.

When attempting to understand the true significance of what a place and business like Vintage & Vogue brings to our town, through the world of fashion, we must first understand the significance of fashion. As a generic term, Fashion is used for distinguishing popular style, practice and current trends in the look and dress up of a person. While humanity is an appeal to lateral thinking, a creative multidimensional process that moves neither forward nor backward, it's important to take note that what is current and popular, is also historical and archival. Fashion is a direct reflection of this mode de vie. 

Developments in fashion throughout history, often occurred during times of social and economic change, and through trans-cultural diffusion, (the profound spread of cultural items through an exchange of ideas via travel, exploration, religion, war and trade). Therefore, contemporary academics use fashion as a means for dating, analyzing and understanding the history and relevance of the humanities. Fashion allows us to rethink the current pop-culture, positing: what's trendy today and why? A rising interest in vintage clothing, for example, reiterates the need for a 21rst century environmental sustainability: to reuse, recycle and repair, rather than promote this throw-away society by means of excessive production of short-lived items. Vintage is back in vogue, as we rethink over-consumption with a return to quality versus quantity. Mark Twain probably said it best: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." And so we see the rise of vintage clothing and vintage-inspired reproductions on both the high street and couture runways, as a rhyme in our cultural prose. Vintage & Vogue is not just an ode to a previous era, it is a clothing store that brings a global and historical sophistication and perspective to our town, exposing us to the reason for fashion, the powerful means by which fashion operates, and how fashion reflects and manifests the human condition.

Vintage & Vogue, along with the Penticton Lakeside Resort, are hosting one of the most enduring, exclusive events of the year - THE WEDDING SHOW.  Bringing urban high culture and Euro chic, to the thought-think of our small town, the fashion show features a callback to the Edwardian and Victorian eras, the Trousseau epoch, and affectionately explores the world of bridal obsession. The spectacle transcends absolutely, so it's easy to forget where one is, as an observer. Sitting in the dim of the audience, looking up on the bright expansive runway that serenades a train of glamorous, statuesque models, draped in the most exquisite, hand-picked vintage masterpieces, one can truly transpose. For a moment it's Milan, and the socialites abound, searching for their winter wardrobe or the perfect wedding dress, or Paris, abuzz with top industry representatives, buyers, merchandisers and fashion journalists. And when it's all over, you'll want to hit the streets of New York for that dry martini and canapés, flashing your best smile while descending into cavalier conversation. Without having to travel half a world away, it’s easy to get what you want with Vintage & Vogue at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. So dress in your finest designer garb, dust off your grandmother's coat and scarves, drape yourself in Aunt Betilda's jewellery, wear your most obnoxiously high heels and English fascinator, and have your cosmo or crantini in hand, to enjoy the show. It may not be a total revolution, but it is its own sort of triumph, creating movement and change in Penticton today, to create movement and change somewhere else, tomorrow. Tickets sell out quick, so don't delay. Prices are $20 or $35 for rushed or preferred seating and are available at the Penticton Lakeside Resort also at Vintage & Vogue, downtown Penticton. Enter to WIN a weekend getaway or a vintage brooch bouquet.  For more information call: 250-493-8221.

-Elizabeth Cucnik


Below is a clip from the Vintage & Vogue Spring Fashion Show, 2010



The Fall Brings Many Things...

Ok, so it's the start of fall: a new season turbo-charged with fresh ideas that compel a modish enthusiasm for a new spectrum of preference.  Our inclinations shift to warmer, more romantically-fueled sentiments and among the falling leaves, changing colours and assortment of smoky smells, we find ourselves in the grip of a melodrama that precedes the hollow of winter.  But that doesn't mean pack up your party boots and find reclusive solace beneathe those bulky sweaters!  In fact, the changing of the seasons ushers in a whole range of activities and events that trumpet seasonal diversities that you and your family can dive right into! The party starts tonight, while we all chorus: thank God its Friday!

As the week rolls into a luxurious weekend full of warm weather and sunshine, we're celebrating the close of "Bike to Work Week" with a BBQ wrap-up party at the Barking Parrot, from 5:30-7:30 pm.  Enjoy live music by Penticton's favourite band, One 2 Many, indulge in some tasty burgers and take in the breathtaking views of the South Okanagan from one of the best lakeside patios in the valley.  With all proceeds going to the Bike to Work Foundation, it's a great excuse to get out and support a fantastic cause.

Library Voices follows suit, this Tuesday, September 27,  taking center stage, once again at the Barking Parrot.   Let us bring what's hot, new and hip in the Canadian music scene to you this fall, with a night chock full of cutting-edge sound that heralds the exciting future of pop music.  An iconic Canadian indie ten-piece band, Library Voices generates a buzz wherever they go, with notable reviews and showpieces by The New Yorker and Spin magazines and the alternative newsweekly Now. It's a music experience not to be missed!

Of course, we couldn't use the terms "iconic" and "music" in the same reference without giving a grand ol' nod, bow and curtsey to real pop royalty.  ABBA, a truly iconic phenomenan and legendary band who marshaled a whole new era of dance music, popular culture and fashion furors that reverberate into the trends of today, are back!  ABRA Cadabra, a renowned tribute band having performed for large audiences to rave reviews all across North America, is coming to the Penticton Lakeside Resort, Oct 1.  Tickets are $50.00 + tax, which includes the fabulous Lakeside Market Buffet, and can be purchased at the front desk. For more information call: 250-493-8221.

-Elizabeth Cucnik


Q & A With Chef Remington, Former BC Iron Chef and Contender For Title In Citytv Master Chef Competition!

Chris Remington, noted Head Chef at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, can add yet another badge of honour to his placard of prestigious culinary achievements and credentials. Upon winning the coveted Covert Farms chef competition at the infamous Festival of the Tomato this past August, Remington now embarks on the next level of competitive cooking, at the ninth annual Citytv Master Chef Competition, hosted by the BC Chefs Association at EAT! Fraser Valley on September 16-18th. Remington is no stranger to the arduous challenge of a black box cooking competition, having previously won the esteemed title of BC Iron Chef for two consecutive years, he enters the culinary arena with a firm grip and biting teeth. The critically acclaimed Citytv Master Chef Competition is executed in typical "Iron Chef" fashion, where 17 top chefs from around British Columbia, compete for the ultimate title in a fierce, head-to-head competition before a panel of professional culinary judges, a live audience and a national broadcast on Citytv and the Food Network Canada. The competition itself is a nod to the popular fan-crazed Iron Chef and Top Chef phenomena, which have recharged the nation with a newfound sensation for the entire experience of food and cooking. From the culinary artistry, to the technical mastery, to the breakdown of new age molecular gastronomy, the world seems to be fascinated by everything "food", therefore it comes as no surprise that the Citytv Master Chef Competition generates a large following of its own. So if you've been hiding under a rock these last few years and aren't familiar with the black box format, here is a quick refresher: this style of competition is renowned for being the toughest and most grueling of culinary challenges. While each competitor is unaware of the ingredients until the very moment the competition commences, the chefs must then devise an impromptu main course within the allotted 35 minutes, judged on composition, creativity, correct preparations, service practicality, taste, utilization of ingredients, presentation and consistency. The parameters of the competition set the stage for a feverish escapade of cooking madness, showcasing true culinary talent, passion and skill. So if you're one of those typical foodies who likes to throw around classical French cooking terms as if you were Eric Ripert, then tune into the competition and excercise your inner food critic by cheering on our very own Chef Remington!

-Elizabeth Cucnik

Q & A With Chef Remington

Congratulations on your coveted Covert Farm chef competition win! Now that you're off to Vancouver to compete in the Citytv Master Chef Competition, how does it compare to other competitions you've done?
The competition is a little different in the sense that there will be 16 other chefs and each stage is a knock out round so you are trying to stay in to go on and compete in the next round

What does food mean to you?
Experimenting. Different cultures mean different tastes, textures and smells that are intriguing and open up many new doors

What made you want to be a chef?
Both parents are great cooks (not professionally) but they were always cooking and I always seemed to be there, hands in, enjoying it. After high school it was just a job that turned into a passion

How would you describe the creative aspect of competitive cooking?
I have traveled and worked in many restaurants, in many different countries and I try to draw from all of those to create my own style of cooking

What are your strengths?
Having worked in many different places and for 17 years I have seen many different items done many different ways, so using that diversity in a black box competition really helps

How would you describe your cooking style?
Clean and simple. Don't confuse the flavors

How do you come up with your dishes? Is it all impromptu and instinct or do you go into the competition with some preconceived ideas?
Honestly it is fly by the seat of your pants - see what they give you and create as you go

What do you find the most difficult aspect of competitive cooking?
Trying to do something completely different than you competitor

What ingredients are you most comfortable with?

What are the strangest, most exotic ingredients you've had to cook with in the past?
Pigs brain was a strange one at first and a lot of the fruit and vegetables in Asia

Best of luck in the competition! It's so great to have you representing the Penticton Lakeside Resort! We'll be cheering for you all the way!