CRYSTAL CLEAR: Chairing the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Crystal Ball for the second time, interior designer Jennifer Johnston saw it raise approximately $4 million. That is a substantial increase, if less precisely, over last year’s $2,815,129. The Beedie Group-sponsored 35th-annual event’s theme was unchanged, though. Funds raised will support B.C.’s “84,000 children and youth experiencing mental health issues,” of whom, “70 per cent aren’t getting the care they need,” Johnston said.
Raising four megabucks is now now more or less expected by big-time galas. Still, this Zen-themed event’s attendees witnessed something less achievable. As waidoko drummer Nori Akagi generated rolling thunder, Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos played the four-finger-hole shakuhachi bamboo flute with fluency, tonal frequency and chromatic range that might mentally challenge others striving to do so.
JUSTICE SERVED: At its recent gala The Justice Institute of B.C. Foundation honoured Marvin Storrow with the Anthony P. Pantages QC Award. It recognized the litigator and former gala chair having “made a significant contribution in the field of justice.” The award also symbolically reconnected Storrow to a fellow “east-end yo-yo champion when we were kids.” That was former Supreme Court of Canada justice and past honoree Frank Iacobucci.
Longtime B.C. Sports Hall of Fame trustee Storrow attended the gala following the two or three sets of tennis he plays up to five times weekly. As combative athletically as in the courtroom, he once reported his nose broken four times by sports encounters and twice by “differences of opinion.” Representing JIBC’s 30,000-plus student enrolment, graduates-turned-lifesavers Franjo Gasparovic and Megan Rook received the Heroes & Rescue award. Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia and Sergio Cocchia were cited for community leadership, and the late Douglas Eastwood and Heather Lyle for lifetime achievement.
RING TIME: As for broken noses, the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese and North Burnaby Boxing Club’s 10-bout Night of Fights helped fund those organization’s scholarship and boxing programs. It also benefited the East End Boys Club and Camp Miriam. Italian Cultural Centre catering director Fabio Rasotto all but knocked out 600 attendees with pork spareribs, roast beef, chicken, salmon, pesto pasta, five salads, cold cuts, cheese and Italian pastries. The Angelo Branca Sportsman of the Year award went to local boxer Tommy Boyce, who won 175 of 185 amateur and 17 of 18 pro fights. An earlier recipient, Olympian Manny Sobral, founded and heads the Burnaby club. Calling under-141-pound light welterweight Freya Orr’s split-decision win over Aanika Sehgal, “a barn burner and fight of the night,” Sobral said the latter “feels better about her body image and more confident” after shedding 60 pounds at Surrey’s Savard Boxing Gym.
PUSH TO SHOE: The 15th-anniversary PuSh International Performing Arts Festival got off on the right foot recently. On the left one, too. That’s because board presidents Jessica Bouchard and Mira Oreck fronted a kickoff event for the 15th-annual running at Gastown’s Fluevog shoe store. The two described the Jan. 17-Feb. 3 festival’s 26 staged works as “visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original.” Somewhat like designer John Fluevog’s shoes, that is. Interim executive director Roxanne Duncan and interim artistic director Joyce Rosario filled in for now-retired and much lauded PuSh founder Norman Armour. They and attendees also acquired shoes, Duncan’s being appropriately theatrical silver glitter “Munster” platforms at a price of $399.
HOTFOOT: Costlier footwear was offered at Aaron Van Pykstra’s bazaar-style charity event in his Autoform dealership’s showroom. Along with artworks, cigars, handbags, watches and suchlike Aleix Dai showed rare sneakers from his Richmond-based Stay Fresh operation. Priced at $3,300, Dai’s red-white-and-black “Off-White” Air Jordans complemented a 1964 Chevrolet Impala V8 convertible that cost US$3,196 (CAD$3,436) new in 1964. According to Van Pykstra, $54,995 would put your clodhoppers on its pedals today.
RIDE DALI RIDE: Howe Street passersby might paraphrase the 1953 novelty song by asking: “How much is that Dali in the window?” They’d be referring to the sculptures, lithographs and other works by late Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali in Susanna Strem’s Challi-Rosso gallery. In fact, a self-portrait in the window recently was by local big-canvas artist Pamela Masik, whose other paintings inside “interpreted classics of the master: Dali.” Somewhat surreally, two topless women pressed their pigment-coated upper bodies against canvases that, on a smaller scale, echoed Masik’s performance-art creations.
FOSTERING GROWTH: SOS Children’s Village B.C. should soon receive a 4.9-hectare site worth $6 million in Mission’s Silverdale area. With the Vancouver Native Housing Society, it plans to house foster children in some 30 dwellings there by 2021. So said executive director Douglas Dunn at a gala that reportedly raised $68,000 with more pending. It was chaired again by financial planner Nesrine Jabbour whose second child is due in February. Thirty-nine youngsters presently occupy the 34-year-old SOS chapter’s 12-house, five-transition-suite Surrey facility, Dunn said. The expansion should please delegates at the organization’s international conference here in May.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Trackside bettors might discount the pleas of jockeys whose horses ran second and third past the post.