Tag Archives: vancouver

Singing With Strangers

Some days a moment can feel miraculous.
To truly find yourself in the present tense, feeling, seeing, interacting with a quiet abandon most think reserved for children is such a gift.
Such curiousity.
So much compassion.
Last night, after a day filled with beautiful conversations, delicious food, and many works of art (I went to MAKE it Vancouver – the handmade revolution) I grabbed a few groceries and headed out into the brisk night to catch the bus home.
At the bus stop I was reminded by my fellow transit users posture and averted eyes just how unfriendly this beautiful place can be. Perhaps we can blame the rain and the low hanging clouds. Perhaps, they force us to gaze downward and raise our shoulders up to our ears as we flit from awning to awning, trying to keep dry. But last night, yesterday was sunny; not a cloud in the sky. I suppose a habit is made.
Each time I return home from another city I notice it a little more and so I have made efforts to combat it in myself. I sing as I stroll, smiling at strangers and randomly saying hello, giggling at the confused expressions I encounter and feeling elated when someone returns my gaze warmly.

Every smile is a little revelation that no one is truly alone.

The bus came and we all piled on; most remembering to move to the back, taking care to leave the courtesy seats for those in need.
I sat in the middle of a crowded bus as a familiar face appeared. An indigenous man who spends most of his days carving works of art on the street corners got on the bus carrying a bag and his crutches. The woman beside me offered him her seat but he refused and kept on strolling back to the open seat within view. He sat down, I smiled at him, he gave a smile and a wave in return. An elderly man of African descent a seat away from me uttered something about the poisons of alcohol and listerine addiction being the end of us, our eyes met and we each nodded as the woman between us got off the bus. An empty seat remained for several stops. I hummed quietly, singing my observations out into the din under enunciated and melodic. The man a seat away began to sing too. We sat with our ears leaning into the empty seat between us quietly in song as people hustled about all around us seemingly unaware of the music moving from our breath.
When I got off the bus we shared a smile so true and warm, so human that my heart filled with light.
I was in awe at the grace a moment offered me.
My appreciation for the diversity of mankind suddenly even more enormous than before.

We are each a thing of beauty and every moment is capable of affirming that. To live aware and artfully in your senses can bring small magic with great and uplifting consequence into the mundane.

We sat, we sang, we smiled, we shared.


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The Princess Haus will be host to a kingdom of inspiration November 16th -18th when we host the innagural Princess Haus Arts Symposium!

Brutally Beautiful and We Will Tell You All of our Secrets will be showing their inspiring creations in the dinging room and parlour all weekend long as a part of the Eastside Culture Crawl. Saturday night Jess HillLee Hutzulak of dixies death pool and Selina Koop will take turns filling the living room with song. Sunday night there will be a Dining Room Table Dialogue on the state of the arts in Vancouver with a schmoozing session to follow.

Seats for the Saturday and Sunday evening events are limited (this is our house after all) so don’t delay!








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Thundering word….

The invocation has begun, thundering word is in session. My strings are tuned, the lights are low. There is the sound of cutlery and glasses clinking in amongst the hush of listening ears. Soon my chest will heave and my heart will push its dreams up through my throat and I will sing.

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…and we sing…

Where little winged creatures spin the tales of all that sings…we will be found in the…

Songs for the darkened corners of your smile and heart…the places you hide your secrets, and your sweet, sly tendencies.
In the songs for the epic wailing of the sirens heart ache and the jaded aftermath that is the object of her affections.
In the songs for the magic that goes unnoticed in all that is around us.
In the songs for your tapping toes, your beating heart, your swaying hips and your rib cage’s precious fruit.

August 9th 9:30pm Lanalous 362 Powell st.




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Straight Music reviews Orchard!

Exactly a year to the release date ORCHARD gets some hometown love.

“as warm and achingly intimate as the best work of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.”
John Lucas, The Georgia Straight

Jess Hill is clearly in no rush. She released her second album, Orchard, five years after her debut, Road. Her songs are equally unhurried affairs. They unfold slowly, deliberately, with Hill’s strong but vulnerable voice crystal-clear. On a couple of tracks—“Stagger” and “Orchard”—Hill kicks things up to mid-tempo, but she tends to favour slow, sad songs.

And sad they are: Hill often uses natural imagery (of birds and flowers, mostly) as metaphors for human relationships. That may be an obvious device, but she does it well, crafting lyrics that are evocative, if not exactly uplifting. “Clouds full of secrets dropping hints through the air/Loosening the sky’s tight grip on despair,” she sings on “Precariously”.

With the Hive’s Jesse Gander * in the producer’s chair, and boasting an all-star supporting cast (including former Black Rice drummer Juli Steemson and cellist Cris Derksen), the album’s sound matches its subject matter. Based largely around acoustic instruments, including Hill’s own guitar, the songs feel back-porch rustic and natural. A few numbers, such as the string-accompanied “In the Evening”, stretch out into orchestral-folk territory, but the sparer cuts are as warm and achingly intimate as the best work of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

*edited by me to chime in and remind the world that the record was masterminded and arranged by the incomparable Aaron Joyce who wore the badge of Producer for every song on the record. Jesse Gander engineered, mixed, and co-produced.
Post Toronto stories to come…soon. But first I gotta move!

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preparation princess

Oh, Vancouver you are just brimming with life!
The pink lips of flowers just barely peeking out of soil and branch to kiss the rain.

Spring…growing light.

The shadows softening….our gaze gossamer, dreamy and romantic.

Befitting the pacts we’ve made with our hearts.


In the spirit of the season I am growing too.
...when she was bad she was horrid.
Bangs are longer…encouraging my curls to reach for my shoulders with the waning and waxing of the moon.
Studying seeds…dreaming of the life they keep inside their tiny pockets.
Appreciating the sounds of all the elements and the distances they travel…growing my gratitude for melody.


there’s a princess in the future…a castle to inhabit
beautiful things are about to take shape
steady your gaze…don’t turn away
this is the place.

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Western Front

Here are some photos from Fridays show at The Western Front.









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moth wing eyes

so there’s this:


last night, over tea with Ms. Emily from Tousled Dolly and Amanda from Brutally Beautiful, her royal radness Rad Juli informed me of the above photograph. Martha, or shall I say Mothra Stewart has really outdone herself here. I am definitely going to have to try this one out for some wonderfully whimsical event in the near future.

also a dear friend sent me this. a treat for the eyes…but don’t stare too long.

moth mania!


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Solo Study

When the terrain of my heart is altered by something seismic, I tend to put my palms to the sky and seek grounding experiences that fortify and illuminate.
I openly wander and embrace spontaneity. Finding it pushing me towards deep breathing and delight.

My chest, for days now, has been heavy and tight. Constricting as my love changes shape. The love is ever present – never waning but it is in an altered state….somewhere mid-mutation.
I am on a dinner date with myself.
In a setting of dim lights and aromas and exotic tastes aplenty. My heart beat, here in this deep cozy becoming more recognizable.

I am somehow compelled to share this with you. Whomever you are.





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The National

Things I learned at The National:

-It is still possible for me to become a teenage girl while watching a band and experience the “oo he’s looking at me!” giddiness that was once so common with striking lead singers.

-this doubles when said lead singer climbs all over the audience and touches my shoulder as he goes by, still singing.

It’s good to feel giddy about a band and go home with post concert buzz.

Sigh…dreamy sigh.


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