Well, wasn’t that a party: GOtoGAL hits the stage with S.T.A.G.E. Vancouver

Either I am doing something very right or very wrong, because it seems that I am being invited to much classier parties than those to which I am accustomed these days. Most recently, last Thursday to be exact, I was invited out to the premier party for CHEK TV’s newest sitcom, GOtoGAL. The show features Adera Angelucci in what she described as a cross between “a lifestyle show and a sitcom.” S.T.A.G.E. Vancouver threw the party at The Waterfall Building, 1540 W. 2nd Ave.

The “wine & canapés” started at 7pm. As per usual, I found myself downtown about two hours early and waiting for someone. She sent me message to let me know she’d meet me in about half an hour. Standing at the corner of Granville and Georgia with time to kill means only one thing: The Lennox Pub. It’s only ever one or two beers and I almost never sit, but many an urban adventure has begun exactly the same way.

I put back a quick pint and retake the corner. My “date” arrives about the same time the VPD are proving what a green city Vancouver is trying to be by making a traffic stop on foot. We try to decide which bus to take, made more difficult now that advertising seems to have replaced all transit maps at the bus stops. We figure the one that says “Granville” is probably a pretty safe bet.

After a quick stroll down Fir St. and a related discussion about what Venice smells like in August heat, we arrive at The Waterfall Building. It’s a block or so west from Granville Island and a charming locale. Central enough to be easily found, yet secluded enough that the sounds of the city don’t drown out your thoughts. They have a waterfall for that.

The crew from AVEDA are giving quick touch ups to the hosts and, later on, arriving guests. My friend heads in to see if her help is required, appearing again only to make off with my lighter. Not one to stand around aimlessly, I head across the street to take pictures of a charming, community garden nestled in a long decommissioned rail bed.

I return just before 7, and tuck myself into the line-up to sign in. My friend expresses concern that I may not be on the list. I assured her that I’ve RSVP’d. I say this with a grin, because this same friend was supposed to put my name of the list for VIP access to a Serena Ryder show during the Olympics… Supposed to… Anyway…

I skip the AVEDA hair treatment, though I must say the guests that did partake of a quick fix seemed to be enjoying the attention. All the grooming was needed for the red carpet entrance complete with event photo by Christa Madison Photography. I’m usually happy with a beer and a place to nip off for a smoke but the ladies at S.T.A.G.E. Vancouver (Kylie Mattu and Cait McDonald) had obviously put some thought into how to give all their guests the star treatment that night.

I went off in search of the bar. Inside the room BLENZ had set up to supply the non-alcoholic fare. To say that “wasn’t my cup of tea” would be a horrible pun but what is done is done. Let us move on. They had five wines to choose from (3 red, 2 white) and I managed to sample a couple as drink tickets kept magically appearing in my jacket pocket.

Four tables for people to stand at and a small stage were set up. Other tables ringed the room but one was for the DJ (DJ Emenes from MiB Roadshow), one was for a Qoola frozen yogurt display, one for BLENZ, and one for some items being silently auctioned. I almost put my name down for the tutu and the dog training. One of which I need; the other would make a great souvenir of the evening.

The room wasn’t cluttered but the room itself seemed small. It may have been the white walls and dull floor; the postmodern “blah” was broken by the several charming, flower displays (by Garlands Florist), but oddly enough, when the room filled it was actually a near perfect size to accommodate every guest.

The food started making its rounds. The following day, I emailed Heather Wright of Louis Gervais Fine Foods and Catering for the menu:

Caprese Crostinis: heirloom tomatoes, bocconcini, and fresh pesto served on a baguette crostinis and drizzled with balsamic crema
Prawn Brochettes: in a soy, sesame marinade
Nugget Potato Bites: steamed nugget potatoes filled with a crisp bacon & fresh herb aioli
Smoked Paprika Popcorn: displayed in Chinese to go boxes to be placed on each table

The food kicked ass. I even got my very own box of popcorn. There was also a great plate of organic, low-fat cheese from Energy Essentials making the rounds and I found myself strategically placing my cheese-lovin’ butt in its path a few times.

Outside having a smoke, a couple of the guys from KIA, also an event sponsor, wanted to know why I was taking pictures of my food. We ended up discussing why Rick Perry won’t be the next President of the United States. Go figure.

A little, red scooter from Cycle BC and two KIAs also sat in the courtyard and I was leaning on one when introduced to Daniel Sabina of Showmax Event Services. They’d supplied the lighting for the evening. He was impressed to hear that I’d once worked for Westsun Lighting (decades ago) and had almost been killed by one of Bryan Adam’s road cases.

Local singer/songwriter, Laurell, woos the crowd with a short set. Her CD, "Can't Stop Falling", was in our gift bags.

Star of GOtoGAL and Guest of Honour, Adera Angelucci, thanks the crowd and introduces the premier episode.

While out in the courtyard, either Kylie or Cait (and sometimes both) would go whizzing past in that speedy non-run only women in heels seem to be able to pull off. I think if I were ever to hire an event planner, I’d want them running about making sure that everything was perfect. Having your event planner go running past with a first aid kit or a fire hose would be slightly disconcerting, but as it happens, the only issue of the evening was a tripped fuse.

While the crowd was watching the premier episode of GOtoGAL (I admit, I wasn’t), I was outside chatting with Harv Puni, “Hollywood Harv”, the event’s MC. Kylie walked past, smiled, then cocked her head to the sound of silence coming from the main room. She poked her head inside for a moment, popped back out, then threw a beckoning finger towards Hollywood Harv. “Come with me.” They both disappeared inside. Cait waltzed past in the other direction with a power bar and moments later the show was up and running again. Kylie re-emerged, a little frazzled. This was S.T.A.G.E. Vancouver’s first event and she was stressed. I explained to her that I thought it was going well and that from experience, most of the event planners I knew (one in particular) would have gone into cardiac arrest by now, so she was doing just fine. She didn’t need anyone to tell her that though. One look at the face of any of person in attendance would have been enough to know that people were enjoying themselves.  I do think she appreciated the kind words though. Event planners, by the very nature of their job, are the only people guaranteed to never relax and enjoy the parties they throw. I had a great time even though I had to leave somewhat early…

I told her I had to make my way elsewhere. She thanked me for coming and gave me a gift bag. I said goodnight to my friend and got into a short, but animated, conversation about Romanticism.

So, to S.T.A.G.E. Vancouver I say this:

If the leaving words spoken by one of your guests are, “And now my fair friends, I must off into the evening in a would-be tuxedo, with a gift bag and a camera in search of strippers and an Arabian princess” you probably threw one hell of a party.

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