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Waldorf operators issue public warning to developers who have purchased hotel site

January 15th, 2013 · 148 Comments

Sorry, I know some of you are sick of this, but I’m fascinated by this train wreck. Here’s the latest.



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148 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Trish French // Jan 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Hmm. What to say? The tone of the Waldorf operators is getting more and more holier-than-thou. Rather distasteful.

  • 2 boohoo // Jan 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I couldn’t get past

    ‘the predominance of condos as a land use,’

    without a nice hearty laugh!

  • 3 Westender1 // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Wow – what a great way to engage (and threaten?) your new landlord – I suspect they will be seeking new space.
    Perhaps the Waldorf team could set up shop at “Maxine’s” on Bidwell Street in the West End?!?
    Ooops….Vision Vancouver voted to grant a “heritage density bonus” and allow the demolition of that heritage-listed building, leaving only an embarrassing shred of the facade to stand next to the lumbering elephant of concrete currently extruding itself into the view from Davie Street…

  • 4 Guest // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Well, a visit to the solterra website shows they are also commercial property developers – scroll down to see images of all the warehouses they own.

    Solterra should just develop the whole block as light industrial space – all within the existing zoning – and keep the hotel and operate it as it sees fit.

    BTW – indication of culture at the Waldorf:

  • 5 Guest // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    In case you missed this:

  • 6 larsgunnerson // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I wonder if this business could be moved to gastown or granville st.

    would it be even more popular there?

  • 7 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Che Guevaras.

    In Guccis.

  • 8 Solomon // Jan 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    The issue is being aggressively AND incorrectly framed as a mutually exclusive “developer” versus “arts” choice for cities. The Contemporay Art Gallery in Vancouver is an example that demonstrates that there can be a win-win found…no matter what size of space is available. On the opposite scale of size and complexity, the Distillery District in Toronto is a great example that demonstrates the power of developers, land owners, arts not-for-profit and the City working together.

    Finally, to the specific type of ‘hub’ the Waldorf aims/aimed to be, perhaps lessons learned from The Drake/Gladstone Hotels in Toronto are worth looking at. No cake-walk in either case in the creation of ‘hip hangouts’ for creative communities. and

  • 9 Alex // Jan 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I know Waldorf operations are supposed to be the “victims”, but I actually really feel bad for Solterra. Poor guys!

  • 10 Claudia // Jan 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Threats? That really endears one’s biz to one’s landlord.! Especially after trying to sell their privately owned property from under them. Got to be kidding. But oh …Not!

    Amazing the arrogance of a money loosing business team who assume the taxpayers would want to subsidize this bad business plan.

    Mayor Gregor? No we really don’t want to do this for this reckless business model. Really!

    Wish I could ask for such a wonderful subsidy from my landlord – I have a really, really creative business. What is wrong with these folks?


  • 11 jesse // Jan 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    C’mon we all know the developer is going to get concessions on some other project in Vancouver in lieu. Considering the number of votes at stake, it’s a small price to pay.

  • 12 tf // Jan 15, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I’m not sure what to think about the information regarding Solterra, the previous owner and Waldorf Productions but reading these letters, I’m skeptical.
    Remembering back to the Pantages – where was this vocal arts community then? The City directly caused the demolition of a historic theatre and a huge loss of social housing that was part of the project due to its moratorium on the heritage density transfer policy.
    Instead, we have the City and BC Housing (!!!) funding a private developer to demolish the heritage building and build market condos. Yes, there are a few token social housing units but the City even allowed the breaking of zoning guidelines to reduce that token by 50%.
    And here’s the kicker – the “arts” are being “used” to sell the Sequel 138 project. You may recall that the development includes an arts space – “look, we have an arts organization that supports us.” It turned out that the arts organization that was listed (I’m not sure the exact detail on which organization) did not support the project and it’s name was being used without permission.
    That arts organization was removed from the details of the project and a new organization was created under advice of the City and was parachuted in. Do you know who is one of the principals of this “arts organization”?
    He has just been reappointed to sit on the City’s Urban Design Panel as representing professional artists.
    Curiouser and curiouser – artists are merely pawns in the game between the City and developers.
    If the Waldorf culture thinks their situation will be any different, I wish them good luck. A couple individuals will probably benefit but the arts and culture scene has its’ own life and it has nothing to do with condo development.

  • 13 waltyss // Jan 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I read their press releases and the only thing that comes to mind is the word “flakes”.
    While I admired Sandy Garossino’s work against the casino at BC Place and voted for her, she has lost me hère.

  • 14 Joe Just Joe // Jan 16, 2013 at 12:47 am

    The Waldorf Production should just move into the CBC building, apparently the city has been paying the rent there for 3yrs w/o a single tenant as no one has had the 800K to pay for the tenant buildout. The city is finally going to pay for the buildout themselves with money from the Telus project. It’s mind boggling how badly run the arts seem to be run in this city and how ironic that they seem dependent on the same real estate money that is killing them.

  • 15 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 16, 2013 at 1:23 am

    +1 @waltyss #9. I agree 100% with you. Garossino looks very, very bad on this.

    @JoeJustJoe. #10 How did that deal get done?! Does City of Van own that building?

    You’d think that with all the rent NOT being paid (Waldorf Productions, W2) that they could support themelves. Ha.

  • 16 IanS // Jan 16, 2013 at 7:09 am

    This line in particular struck me as ironic: “we are hopeful that we will find good space elsewhere.”

    What landlord in his or her right mind would enter into a lease with this people?

  • 17 Roger Kemble // Jan 16, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I know some of you are sick of this, . . .“. Frances, huh not me!

    Exhibit 1: January 14, 2013, open letter to Mayor and council from Trish French, Retired Assistant Director of Planning, City of Vancouver.

    The existing MC-2 mixed use zoning on the Waldorf site, and along the north side of Hastings from Clark to Semlin, does not permit development of condos.” (Does the city have a problem with that?)

    Exhibit 2: January 15, 2013, Vancouver, British Columbia letter to Gerry Nichele, CEO of the Solterra Group (with subsequent repartee) from The Waldorf Creative Team.
    WCT has not exactly enamored itself to its landlord by shopping for alternative arrangements without his knowledge, especially since the landlord has been forgiving on delinquent rent. Are they naïve or inexperienced? Certainly not duplicitous!

    Exhibit 3: Update on the Waldorf Hotel report reference city manager January 15, 2013. To Mayor and Council.
    . . . interim rezoning policy limits consideration of rezoning applications until Plan complete
    •Plan will come to Council in December 2013 for review and approval
    •Plan will inform all future rezoning in area including this site

    I will not regurgitate, in part or in whole, the substance of this missal, suffice it to say most are pretty hard on the WCT.

    What attracts my attention is the contradiction of existing M1 zoning, as described by Trish, and Dr. Ballem’s omit thereof. Wait until December 2013! The Woodlands plan covers a large diverse area incompatible with the usual neighbourhood consultation process that usually devolves into wall-to-wall condos.

    Dr. Ballem came up with a response pretty quickly. Accordingly Solterra abjured intentions to condo-ize the property that, since they are condo developers, not hoteliers, causes my antenna to twitch. So, what exactly are their intentions?

    ON the other hand, WCT seems to be made up of creative people (of which this town would be wise to encourage), inexperienced in the wiles of Vancouver’s business milieu.

    It is not unusual for a start up to experience teething problems for the first two or three years but this Waldorf venture, in the true sense of cultural exploration, has done pretty well so far and, to me, has demonstrated good reason to be given the opportunity to pursue its vision.

    As for the building, IMO this venue is a classic example of modern architecture (i.e. Erich Mendelsohn architect: Einstein Tower, Potsdam, Maimonides Hospital, San Francisco).

    WTC has created a venue enhanced by a unique, creative culture mix the city would be wise to encourage.

    Trish French @ #1Rather distasteful.” Give ‘em a break Trish. They’re obviously not used the usual Vancouver sleeze!

  • 18 Brad // Jan 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

    The only solution to keep the Waldorf alive is for the City to purchase the hotel from its current owner. Gregor has put the city in a difficult position with his comments to the media. Why is Gregor not standing up for the Ridge theatre like he is doing for the Waldorf. This is ridiculous and likely because there are less Vision votes in Arbutus than Commercial Dr. This is politics at its worst but people voted in majority for Vision and now we are dealing with the results. Vancouver is not what is use to be since Gregor and Co. took over.

  • 19 Dan Cooper // Jan 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I don’t know if it’s completely relevant, but this item brings back to me something I noticed this morning while walking to work by a slightly different route than usual: a medium-sized mural/piece of writing on a building at 10th and Main that lists various kinds of cool/hipster stores in the area and finishes up with the statement that there is – presumably as a result – “a spirit” there. The first thing that came to my mind was, “‘Hipsterism is a ‘spirit’? I don’t think ‘spirit’ is the word for what they are describing…”

  • 20 Everyman // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I return from Hawaii only to find our own little slice of Polynesia in danger! Like many others here, I wonder why the difference in treatment between the Waldorf and the Ridge? Both contain classic bits of midcentury design and both enhance their community with cultural options.

    It struck me after hanging out in Honolulu the glorious “ramshackleness” of some of its neighbourhoods outside the tourist areas. Went to a great Himalayan restaurant in Kaimuki that sat perched atop what seemed like two adjacent buildings linked together with at least to restaurants on the bottom floors, an open courtyard with lights strung against the semi-tropical sky. Such quirkiness would never be approved in Vancouver even if it could find spaces interesting enough to thrive, and that is our loss. Also discovered a fantastic restaurant in the downtown Honolulu YWCA of all places!

  • 21 Kenji // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:14 am


    Interesting point but is a cinema as valuable as an art gallery/tiki-show-lounge-performance space/expensive cereal trough?

    I ask that as someone who went to the Ridge a lot, and the Waldorf never (lousy drinker and too old/married to care).

    Now, I love looking at movies on the big screen, and if vinyl records can be cool again, I suppose that single-projection antique movie theatres can and should have their niche.

    However, no one ever says that Vancouverites lack for ways to watch movies, whereas when I was playing in bands there were very few performance spaces. I think a popular and innovative gathering place — all right, booze can — has certain additional merits.

    As for what Vision has done to the city, you’re right it is not the same city because after two terms Gregor has been around for this big gentrifying/building era. But would it have been better under the NPA?

  • 22 ThinkOutsideABox // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I think on one of the final nights before closing, perhaps Douglas Coupland can host a final ‘night of interactive presentations’ to play this youtube video. A sort of ode to how things have played out in the final days of this one week old saga:

    Maybe also a commissioned painting of Fonzie waterskiing from a jump ramp over a Salvador Dali melting clock with the minute hand pointing to the 15 minute mark, to hang in the mayor’s office next to one of Tiko Kerr’s…

  • 23 Raingurl // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

    What is the Western (culture) obsession with tearing down perfectly good buildings and erecting cheap knock offs in their place? Seriously? Does this actually jive with the green model Vancouver is trying to achieve? Why don’t they go to Europe where the buildings are HUNDREDS of years old and still perfectly suited to today’s standards. I visited my mother’s apartment in Europe from her childhood and it’s still there. No condo in it’s place. What is wrong with our continent? I’m so embarrassed.

  • 24 Threadkiller // Jan 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

    @Kenji #17:
    “… is a cinema as valuable as an art gallery/tiki-show-lounge-performance space/expensive cereal trough?”

    I guess it depends on the cinema, but generally, yes, if not more so. Damn right, in fact.

    “However, no one ever says that Vancouverites lack for ways to watch movies…”

    Oh yes they do (unless you feel that widescreen TVs constitute the ultimate movie-viewing experience). I and the other film buffs (whoops, just outed myself) of my acquaintance say it often, since it’s true. And getting truer all the time. And not just in Vancouver, of course, though we’re in more of a hurry to demolish movie theatres (and anything else that’s “old”) than most other cities of comparable size. Always on the cutting edge, that’s us.

    “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”…. attributed to Nelson Mandela

  • 25 Jaketown // Jan 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I am reminded of the adage “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” in the repeated characterization of Solterra as a “condo developer” without giving them their due as hotel owner. If I recall correctly, Solterra owns the Moda Hotel with its much lauded Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar, to which a sports bar and liquor store have been added. Not a hangout favoured by the hipster crowd, but a successful business (anyone remember its prior incarnation, the seedy Dufferin Hotel?) that has very likely been aided…subsidized, perhaps…by Solterra’s condo projects that fill the remainder of the block.

    Starting to sound familiar?

    Much has been written that demonstrates WCT’s naiveté and lack of business acumen, but they were on the ball enough to figure out that some form of densification on the Waldorf site could make the whole thing work. However, they appear to have overlooked the fact that they didn’t own or otherwise have control of the property (going behind the property owner’s back to discuss their notion with developers), particularly since they were in default of their lease agreement for continued non-payment of rent. Now they’re crying big crocodile tears because someone with the insight, experience and resources to create an economically viable venture out of this comes along and acquires the property? Grow up!

    As much fun as it is to “play” at being a boutique hotelier, club owner and property developer, you have to “pay” to play. The original WCT investors did, but Anselmi, Gomez et al failed to make a viable business out of it. Evidently there was no more money to draw from that well, so then the Puharich family paid by forgiving substantial rent arrears. Now Solterra and possibly the Vancouver taxpayers are being expected to pay so Anselmi, Gomez et al can continue to play at what they’ve already demonstrated they don’t have the business acumen to pull off? Outrageous.

    Business is all about risk and reward. Businesses fail all the time and only the very rare few survive, let alone thrive. It takes the convergence of concept, creativity, skill, timing, good fortune, perseverance and money – usually lots of it – to become one of the survivors. The Waldorf as conceived and operated by WCT is a failed business model, but if the concept is truly a viable one then why vilify Solterra when they may very well be the ones who can pull it off?

  • 26 Raingurl // Jan 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Why isn’t this discussion about tearing down the Regent or the Balmoral. Which Sahota brother is sleeping with which polititian? Why is the Waldorf even up for discussion when those two DIVES are crumbling before our feet? I used to support Mayor McGreenJeans but he ain’t so green. He enjoys paving paradise and putting up condos.

  • 27 waltyss // Jan 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    It’s true that Vancouver has done little to preserve its past. We seem to like new and redevelopment. It may be that because of our lack of land and the need to go up, that this is inevitable but that doesn’t make it easier.
    However, people on these threads seem to put all of several sites into one pot and then set their hair on fire.
    The Ridge: I like the Ridge and go there often but it is a commercial venture (a movie theatre) in a single theatre format that is no longer economical. The land was zoned for residential development with apparently a small land swap with the city involved.
    I have never gotten what the proposal was to be? The city to operate a movie theatre and/or bowling alley. Other than baying at the moon nostalgically, I have never gotten it.
    Pantages, don’t know the details.
    Playhouse: all those people who complained never went. I went and, ini my view, the product wasn’t very good. The city dumped in a bunch of money forgiving rent. What were they supposed to do.
    Capital 7. It keeps being mentionned and I can’t tell if the site is up for redevelopment or involves rezoning. However, it is apparent that a multiplex wasn’t a viable business at the site. What was the city supposed to do.
    As for it not being the same city, well, city’s change and evolve. I for one have not seen it changing anymore or differently than it did prior to 2008. Is Vision too friendly with developers? Probably. More so than the NPA? No. More so than any city administration is likely to be? No.
    Should be try to preserve areas as they were or so they are more amenable to lower cost housing or artistic endeavours. Probably, but they still have to pay rent (W2?) and I start to worry about the City creating these types of entities.
    I also have little patience with a lot of the “anti-gentrification” when it is seeking to preserve the DTES as the hell hole it is. In my view, at least, a good job has been done in Gastown where gentrification has preserved at least some social housing in its midst while avoiding a ghetto.

  • 28 Raingurl // Jan 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @Waltyss #22

    And I quote……”I also have little patience with a lot of the “anti-gentrification” when it is seeking to preserve the DTES as the hell hole it is. ”

    I say tear the damned stretch down and start over again………..Pantages, from my sources, had a hole in the roof and water leaked in and destroyed some of the structure. I was told that someone threw a parking meter through the roof. The newspapers said it was something else. Things the thugs find lying around the street, eh? Also, the bottle depot “United We Can” is up for rezoning. I saw the sign before the thugs tore it down. It’s nice that I can (NOW) walk from here to Woodward’s and I should be able to keep walking East if I so choose. It’s sad that every three steps someone is asking me if I wanna buy some crack.

  • 29 Mira // Jan 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I’ll be frank. Vancouver Waldorf productions and the four musketbozos are the epitome of the typical Vision Vancouver punk fronted by their chief in charge Gregor Robertson.
    No, really did we have to get this far to realize what a huge mistake was done in 2008 and then again in 2011?
    Overpaid, handpicked hacks in the first two top positions, and whole management … for what? For this?
    And don’t bring the “independent” Sandy Garossino into discussion or I’ll puke. Since she sold out to the Solomons and have become a Vancouver Observer mouth for anything the Hollyhock gang wants to promote, she has become a total laughingstock. She can definitely forget about another independent run for office. LOL
    Strangely enough, I’m with Waltyss on this. :-)

  • 30 Brad // Jan 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I agree the Ridge is no longer economically viable. But Gregor is so emphatic about preserving the arts, his argument for preserving the Waldorf applies to the Ridge. The Waldorf was losing money and could not pay their rent so why is Gregor wanting to preserve this money losing business? Has there ever been a successful artist who owed it to the Waldorf for launching their career? I cannot think of any.

  • 31 Kenji // Jan 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm


    I’s a movie lover too…former film reviewer (not that that means anything, opinions are cheap)… but I am fundamentally of the view that movies are acceptable to be consumed alone, whereas it’s not as acceptable to drink by yourself. You need to go out, meet people, do things. Watching a movie, to me, is not playing, it is watching other people playing.

  • 32 rf // Jan 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Kenji – I think the Ridge thing is more about taking away the bowling alley (of which there are less than a handful of others). This was a major social/recreational spot for the elderly and disabled.

    It’s hard to get to nostalgic about one of 2,532 bars in the city. It’s only cool for a while anyway.

    It’s like Yogi Berra says; “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”

  • 33 spartikus // Jan 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Off-topic: The Waldorf Hotel as it was, from the City of Vancouver Archives

  • 34 Threadkiller // Jan 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    @Kenji #26: If you really think that moviegoing is by its nature a solo practice, it’s obvious you don’t go to a lot of movies (especially opening nights of major films). Trust me, aloneness is a state one does not get to experience in the average multiplex. For someone who claims to have been a film critic, you show shockingly little understanding of the compelling, 120-year-old aesthetic of big-screen cinema, let alone the often uplifting communal experience of being part of a film audience– as opposed to watching a film at home, alone, on your iPad, or whatever the hell it is that you do.

  • 35 ThinkOutsideABox // Jan 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I was cynically fearful that I would inevitably see someone on here try to frame a debate over the value of one cultural pursuit over another in these comments and sadly I see that expectation was met.

    I can barely think of a cultural pondering more subjective, pointless or glib than “… is a cinema as valuable as an art gallery/tiki-show-lounge-performance space/expensive cereal trough?” How would that be measured? Are books more valuable than TV programs? They cost less to make ~ Please.

    On another note, when I was in Atlanta for American Thanksgiving, my GF took me to The Goat Farm Arts Center, an amazing re-purposed former industrial space that houses the studios of 300 artists, where we went to see the live performance of local band Rising Appalachia whose sound fuses their traditional sounds of violin, banjo with funky bongos / percussion:

    In a space like the Salt building but more bare minus the newly reno’d trim, along one wall the food truck, further down the wine and beer truck, on the other wall a welding artist creating a sculpture out of metal, up above aerial cloth performers dance their way up and down from the ceiling, while the sister duo who head up the band belts out the tunes in front to a crowd of hundreds of Atlanta’s adoring hipsters.

    The developer who owns the Goat Farm was originally going to turn it into a mixed use new development with residential and commercial, but instead dedicated the site for a vast variety of uses complimentary to the performing arts. Atlanta, Georgia.

    The Center operates for profit, with no public funding, donations or grants, and they thrive with local support.

    Culture and the physical surroundings they are contained within are not mutually exclusive. Development and culture, like above, are intrinsically linked, and it was so inspiring to get a taste of what another community, their developers and civic leaders are capable of to incubate local culture, beyond myopic, insipid efforts aiming to maximize what can be had with the lowest common denominator.

  • 36 Everyman // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    @ Brad 30
    I don’t recall Leonard Schein ever saying the Ridge Theatre wasn’t viable or the owners of Varsity Lanes saying they weren’t viable.

    However, I do recall Frances report on the Mayor’s chief aide launching an attack on the Vancouver Fair Tax Coalition which Schein co-chairs, when they criticized Visions’ tax policies. Just a coincidence?

  • 37 Bill McCreery // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Waltyss 27. Your “… Lack of land and the need to go up” comment is not factual in the simplistic terms as I read what you’ve said. There are many alternatives to “going up” (as in the typical omnipresent Vancouver tower) to achieve density. Towers may have their place in a neighbourhood plan if the neighbours decide that’s how they want to achieve the densification to achieve a sustainable, walkable neighbourhood. What this current Vision Vancouver created train wreck is making crystal clear to the younger voter is the bankruptcy of VV’s anything goes anywhere anti-planning policies. And that developer donations trump sensible, responsible planning.

  • 38 Glissando Remmy // Jan 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Thought of The Night

    “Brainless Vancouver Council approves a 120 days use of condoms for an already… vasectomized Waldorf. Let the Love-In Games begin!”

    Unanimous decision? Are you kidding me?
    A medical doctor reads them a pamphlet on hypochondria and they jump at it?
    It is pretty clear to me. This council has no balls, no brains, nor bells understanding what-so-ever what their jobs is supposed to be. Period.
    Their decision was stupid… on so many levels, historically, legally, comically.
    I assume they are no Jazz fans.

    Not like these gals, no…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 39 Maude // Jan 16, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    To those who smear everyone interested in art, music and interesting nightlife using the word “hipster” – you need to get out more.

    The problem in Vancouver is that there are not many places to go for an adult looking for music & a glass of beer in an interesting space. (And if you direct me to the Granville Entertainment ‘thug wannabe’ district or some other sterile pub with flatscreen tvs – you do not get it).

    I challenge anyone to suggest where a woman in her early 30s can go for dancing at 1:00am on Saturday. Please.

    Good, interesting, dynamic cities have this type of thing.

    The Waldorf is one of the few places that came close to resembling what you might find with ease in Budapest or Berlin…even Montreal.

    A city like Vancouver needs a dozen places like the Waldorf.

  • 40 Stephanie // Jan 16, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Yup, called it. No lease is forthcoming, so now we get martyrdom and a rage spiral. Awesome.

  • 41 Maude // Jan 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    It is worth a trip to Budapest even if only to visit these:

  • 42 Glissando Remmy // Jan 17, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Thought of The Midnight

    “A city like Vancouver needs a dozen places, rent free, where a woman in her 30s could imbibe or dance at 1.00 AM… hmmm, that would be hard to find…”

    I’m laughing. Let me clear out the obvious. I went to Budapest, a number of times, I worked in Berlin and I attended one festival in Montreal not long ago.

    To compare Vancouver, and the Waldorf dump area to any of this three cities tells me that you are myopic. Need glasses.

    BTW, FWIW, if you do not pay your rent in Budapest, you’ll find yourself in the streets the following morning, kissing the sidewalk if you could get away with no broken bones. Life is cheap in Budapest, prostitution is rampant, their local “Georgia Straight” runs a dozen pages of “art bars” inviting gals like yourself to go dancing till dawn.

    Just curious, what’s that article re. the Jewish quarters in Budapest have to do with after midnight entertainment?
    As for news from Berlin, here’s something that I just remembered:

    T-shirts with the slogan “ICH BIN EIN STUPIDER!” selling like hot potatoes!


    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 43 Roger Kemble // Jan 17, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Hmm. What to say? The tone of the Waldorf operators is getting more and more holier-than-thou. Rather distasteful.” Wow talk about smug!

    So an essential cultural debate sinks to movie going. From John Wayne’s cavalry to Zero Dark thirty . . . errrrr . . . Figures!

    To . . .

    TOAB @ #35


    Maude @ #39 y #41

    Despite Glissie’s rather distasteful meanderings . . . THANQU . . .

    Phew I was beginning to thinq the town was full of Hollywoodie philistines . . .

    PS OBL died of natural causes in 2007!

  • 44 Chris Keam // Jan 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

    “The problem in Vancouver is that there are not many places to go for an adult looking for music & a glass of beer in an interesting space.”

    Hmm, I’m under the impression that the (current) problem in Vancouver is that we are obsessing over the contractual issues of private companies using the public and media as bargaining tools, when far bigger issues are ignored. I’m of the opinion the current Council needs to re-prioritize and get back on track dealing with core issues that are impacting our children and the disadvantaged, instead of worrying about the entertainment options for under-50s. All those involved are ‘business-people’. Let them sort it out. If they can’t there wasn’t a deal there to begin with. Pretty simple, and it lets our civic administration get back to work on the big stuff, instead of worrying about idiotic nonsense like a tiki bar.

  • 45 bablu1 // Jan 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Wow, Glissy an international bon vivant. A demimonde in Budapest or a boulevardier in Berlin? Whooda thunk?
    “Dollink, I must get back to Wancower, zer is no Rowgain or Wiagara here. Zay need me anyway.”

  • 46 Kenji // Jan 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

    @rf – Didn’t think about about the bowling aspect for the local seniors in my commentary. As for the bars being prolific, believe me when I say that I go to about 2 bars a year and that is only because after hockey my friends want to have nachos – I have zero emotional investment in one place over another – however I have been led to believe that this Waldorf is not like the others because it is a cultural hub. What that exactly means, I defer to others!

    @Threadkiller – Passionate defence of seeing movies as they are supposed to be seen: projected through celluloid, in a public space so that the experience is shared. Can’t and don’t disagree with that. But I would stand by the notion that Vancouverites can watch movies with or without a Ridge (whether in mainstream release, or at the Vancity or Cinematheque, or yes occasionally on my phone under the covers so as not to wake up Mrs. Kenji) whereas, apparently, this Waldorf is some sort of a unique deal.

    @Thinkoutsidethebox: Sorry if that offended you, in my defence I don’t think I invented the notion of comparing the Waldorf to other entertainment amenities around here.

  • 47 West End Gal // Jan 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Chris Keam #44
    “Hmm, I’m under the impression that the (current) problem in Vancouver is that we are obsessing over the contractual issues of private companies using the public and media as bargaining tools, when far bigger issues are ignored.”
    Absolutely right!
    Maude #39
    You don’t need to find a place to ‘dance’ at 1AM on a Saturday for a chance to get laid, dear. Don’t tell me you go to those places for the cultural aspect, LOL!
    Roger #43
    Roger… you an… architect, social drinker, tango dancer, patron of the Waldorf arts… what? I couldn’t understand a word you wrote.
    Please explain, I’m confused.
    Gliss #38
    “Brainless Vancouver Council approves a 120 days use of condoms for an already… vasectomized Waldorf. Let the Love-In Games begin!”
    Could not have described the situation better myself!

  • 48 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm



    Waldoof Productions, and the City of Vancouver have managed to further the cause of reconciliation and rapproachment on the Bula Blog with their fumbled handling of “L’affaire Waldorf’

    Never before in the history of this blog have characters as politically disparate and diverse as:
    @Glissando Remmy
    @Chris Keam
    @West End Gal
    @Roger Kemble
    @Trish French
    @boohoo et al

    come together to question and roundly condemn the political masters thinking (and I use that term advisedly) on a civic issue. Truly, my fervent hope that most people can see bs when they see it, has been confirmed. At least in this!

    Aided and abetted by the self decribed leadership of the separate movement called “Vancouver Loves the Waldorf and We Will Foolishly Back the Waldoof Production Guys Even Though We Really Knew Nothing of Their Business Dealings, The Club/Restaurant Business in General, or Their Furtive Outreach to Developers But By God, We’ll Come Up With more Twaddle To Try To Cover Our Asses” the (the lack of ) BUSINESS acumen as well as City Hall’s initial rush to support their voter base has drawn deserved fire.

    Now, perhaps policy and preservation based on that sound, PREDICTABLE policy can now proceed.

    PS JAketown. Interesting info on Solterra background. Not jut condo builders? Gee, maybe they DID know what they were walking into?

    PS ATTN: Habitues of The Mayor’ office. It can’t be good news that people who are usually at each other’s throats here are focused, laser-like, on your next moves.

  • 49 Dan Cooper // Jan 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Maude writes, “To those who smear everyone interested in art, music and interesting nightlife using the word “hipster” – you need to get out more.”

    As someone who used the term “hipster” above to describe a flavour of establishment and particular subculture among the many – all good – that exist (*see also below), I will respond that someone who apparently considers any reference to that specific subculture to be referring to ALL “art, music and … nightlife” needs to *ahem* get out more.

    “The problem in Vancouver is that there are not many places to go for an adult looking for music & a glass of beer in an interesting space.”

    Again, I suspect this is true only if you have a very limited definition of “music.” You like what you like, and I have nothing against what you like, but it is not the only thing out there.

    “I challenge anyone to suggest where a woman in her early 30s can go for dancing at 1:00am on Saturday. Please.”

    I challenge you to make me care whether you can go dancing at that time, the more so if you expect me (through the City) to somehow subsidize the venue.

    “The Waldorf is one of the few places that came close to resembling what you might find with ease in Budapest or Berlin…even Montreal.”

    Sounds like those interested in such things existing need to pungle up more of their own money so the businesses they value can be successful…or find new interests…or move to Budapest, Berlin or Montreal…or lower the cost of doing business in Vancouver generally… Other ideas?

    (* For complex reasons, a couple weeks ago my son and I happened to ride the bus 19 out Kingsway from downtown to Slocan, and then the 33 west to the Cambie area. It was striking to see how just as we passed Fraser St., huge herds of Young, White, Stylishly-Dressed Persons – hipsters, in other words – suddenly joined those of us on the bus (to that point about 50% Elderly Asian Persons – who had been at least 90% of the riders on the 19 – and 50% Random Types), and then disappeared again at the Canada Line to be replaced by Generic Middle Class Persons of Asian and/or European Ancestries such as – I admit – myself. Moral to me: There seems to be a good deal of cultural segregation within the city, sometimes within a few blocks. Just a random observation, I guess, though perhaps not too too surprising or unusual.)

  • 50 Maude // Jan 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    @West En Gal: “You don’t need to find a place to ‘dance’ at 1AM on a Saturday for a chance to get laid, dear.” Hmmm. That is more than slightly offensive. Be it known that I typically deduct IQ points for adults who use “LOL”.

    @Dan Cooper: I was criticizing those – and that is by no means everyone – who use hipster in a pejorative sense.

    My many friends & acquaintances (in their 20s, 30s and 40s) enjoy interesting places and access to music: whether salsa, experimental or your standard-issue jazz. Permanent fixtures with such offerings are a rarity in Vancouver. This is a problem. I hope you agree.

    Further, it is not really a question of subsidizing arts venues however: It is well known that anyone interested in operating a live music venue in the CoV is up against some very onerous, unnecessary permit requirements and building code upgrades. It is next to impossible.

    @GR: I am afraid you have used hyperbole in your description of well, Budapest, at least. The article has everything to do with the very interesting cultural ‘ruin pub’ phenomenon (and not the jewish quarter alone). Dozens and dozens of seemingly useless spaces – in very surprising areas – converted to interesting & lively places.

    Thus: I will post it again so you can read it (side note: the source should appeal to all those contributers with neo-Liberal and business-first sensibilities):

    And finally: … so, aside from many more cultural venues, theirs is not much different than our Georgia Straight (except our pages are much bigger).

  • 51 waltyss // Jan 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Frankenwaldorf (assuming you are not GR in another guise, before we start singing Koombayah, I believe that the current council, all of them Vision and NPA and Green, have behaved abysmally when they unanimously voted to disallow the demolition of the Waldorf for 120 days. It may be political expediency but it is truly offensive when someone in good faith purchases a property and because of a foofooraw by people able to get press attention, get a 120 day freeze and threat of a historic designation after the fact. That is a truly unacceptable way to do things.
    That the controversy may generate a discussion of how to create inexpensive (not free) cultural hubs or artists lofts (whatever happened to suffering in garrets a la Boheme) is probably a good thing, even if it will bring it disparate and silly things like the Ridge, Capital 7, etc (when not go back to the loss of the Varsity, whenever it was and should we start the petition now for the Dunbar?)
    @Bill McCreery. Density and doing up does not necessarily mean towers. It can mean 2-6 storey as well. Clutches of developers? I suggest that Vision is no more in the clutches of developers than your party, NPA, was. Vision is probably less in my view. City hall, a trainwreck? Spare me.
    GR. the more in your cups or your hash you get, the more vulgar and less amusing you become.
    And finally, Frankenwolf, I have never agreed with Mira anything and don’t intend to start, except in the extremely narrow sense as that I think the city badly mishandled the Waldorf and I disagree with Sandy Garossino on her position on this. Contrary to the Mira (Breckenridge’s?) of the world, I can disagree with her on this one but still respect the public work she has done.

  • 52 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    @waltyss #51

    As I said in my post, old stick, my terms of reference on this issue have been narrowly defined as per those things all agree about: the cowardice of political expediency being one of just a few. Tho in fairness—majority party rules.

    Yes, realize that you do not ordinarily agree with some of the other posters. I just felt I had to capture this elusive moment, as one might capture a firely— in a jar. So pretty. So temporary.

    As you were…

    (And as for being GR ‘in another guise’? Naw.
    He should be so lucky! Ha!).

  • 53 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    anybody who thinks pop music is some flavour of “culture” is kidding themselves and trying to put one over on everyone else. Anyone who is eager to be a passive consumer of pop “culture” is suffering from an extreme lack of imagination. Any chimpanzee can crank out a rock song in half an hour while baked. It’s really not that hard and it shows.
    Spend a year or two studying music and practicing on an instrument and you can produce and enjoy some of the world’s greatest music composed by undisputed geniuses. In other words, do it yourself.

  • 54 brilliant // Jan 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    @waltsyss 51-well done, someone on Vision or Solterra’s payroll couldn’t have put it better.

  • 55 Glissando Remmy // Jan 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Thought of The Evening

    “Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses… or in frugal translation… if you’d kept your mouth shut we might have thought you were clever”

    Needles to say that the Latin phrase is for… my dear friend… Waltyss.
    Just when I was about to admit that all his past posts re. Waldorf & Sandy Garossino are right on the money, considering, he comes up with yet another poor ‘hash’ calling.
    Look, I left a message for you regarding this ‘hash’ thingy, a few posts back… and just by chance, I read your reply, which was so obscene and nasty that Frances removed it… for your benefit.
    No, I’m not signing in as Frankenwaldorf!, when I have something to say I say it as GR,
    why would I do it under a different name? Here:

    One last question for you, Comrade Waltyss… How’s your Russian?

    Frankenwaldorf! …
    No pun intended, ok?

    bablu1 #45
    Funny. I really liked that. You really managed to do a Carry Grant speaking German in Notorius. Cheers

    Maude #50
    I read the article the first time. No need for me to do it again. That was not a hyperbole, I wouldn’t use hyperbole to describe pure unadulterated reality. ‘Ruin pubs’ drinking are tourist traps, they do not represent local culture, unless you think that Absolute Vodka is a Latvian writer. Period. BTW, two years equals a lifetime on the streets of Budapest a city in struggle, in the middle of a social, economical, political turmoil, a place where antisemitism is rampant .
    Now, drink up and thank God that…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 56 waltyss // Jan 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    ah, Glissy, my post was neither nasty, obscene nor removed by Frances or otherwise. This is a new record, wrong three times in one short sentence.
    Glissy, as for the “hasch” references, I am one fo those people who believes that if someone writes like a duck, quarks like a duck, then… you know the rest. I can only assume it enhances your other addiction: You tube.

  • 57 Everyman // Jan 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    @Dan Cooper 49
    “I challenge anyone to suggest where a woman in her early 30s can pray at 10:00am on Sunday. Please.”

    I challenge you to make me care whether you can go praying at that time, the more so if you expect me (through the City) to somehow subsidize the venue.”

    I just changed a few words of your statement to show how the City does subsidize “venues”. Why should I care enough to subsidize religious institutions through tax breaks? In my opninion, some are nothing more than hate peddlars. Some take up valuable land drawing far smaller crowds than the Ridge or the Waldorf.

  • 58 Chris Keam // Jan 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    “Any chimpanzee can crank out a rock song in half an hour while baked. It’s really not that hard and it shows.”

    Prove it and do it. I call b.s.

  • 59 Paul // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I got this guys…..

  • 60 Sandy Garossino // Jan 18, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Steve Jordan: Founder Polaris Prize, Canada
    Jim Wright: General Director Vancouver Opera
    Jian Ghomeshi, CBC Q
    Kathleen Bartels, Director, VAG
    Douglas Coupland, writer, artist
    Ian Wallace, artist
    Paul Wong, artist
    Stan Douglas, artist
    Rodney Graham, artist
    Michael Turner, writer
    Skrillex, 3 time Grammy winner
    Grimes, musician

    These are just some of the members of the Vancouver, Canadian and international creative community who have spoken up in support of the Waldorf and the fiery and innovative programming that was done there.

    The Waldorf team were influencers of a rare kind. They were trusted, not only by their large and enthusiastic audience but by the broader cultural media to bring excitement and excellence to Vancouver.

    It’s for this reason that the Canadian Business for the Arts and Aeroplan booked the Waldorf to celebrate the national award for Mo Dhaliwal, prior to him being honoured at a major Toronto gala.

    It’s for this reason that over 18,000 signed a petition within a few short days, begging for the venue to be saved.

    It’s for this reason that the Rolling Stone, New Music Express (Europe’s most influential music magazine), and other major music media covered this story almost as soon as it broke. And it’s why a huge Japanese fashion and music magazine did a photo shoot there today of Grimes.

    If you don’t know who Grimes is, don’t worry, most Canadians don’t. You’ll know tomorrow, but the Waldorf knew yesterday, and that is why it’s trusted.

    Astonishingly, many persist in the claim that the Waldorf was a “dump”, that it had lame audience support, that it was just another bar of the kind that comes and goes. No one familiar with this institution would describe it this way.

    When was the last time a list like the above turned out to implore the city to save a dumpy bar or even a private company of any kind? Not in my memory of living here since the 70’s.

    Experienced businesspeople and entrepreneurs reading here know that it is not at all uncommon for a new startup to take 2 years or more to turn profitable, especially when brand awareness is a key component of success. That RBC joined other investors in financing the $1.6 million in tenant improvements is a significant signal that there may be more to this “lease” agreement than meets the eye.

    Irrespective of any lease arrears, there’s little doubt that this sale was just an outstanding bargain for the seller, who was not only made whole by the deal, but able to turn a tidy profit at the expense of his tenants. It will remain a mystery why he gave such short shrift to those tenants when they brought a well-resourced sympathetic buyer to meet with him.

    It’s an extraordinary seller who’s annoyed at the appearance of more bidders, but none can doubt that Mr. Puharich emerged the biggest winner of all.

    But all of that is, as they say, blood under the bridge.

    Vancouver lost a treasure today.

    I am not sorry that so many of us fought hard in a contest with a short window of opportunity, no leverage and precious little chance of success.

    That there was any chance at all was enough.

  • 61 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 6:14 am

    “The Waldorf team were influencers of a rare kind. They were trusted, not only by their large and enthusiastic audience but by the broader cultural media to bring excitement and excellence to Vancouver.”

    But, sadly, they could not be trusted by their landlord and (from what I’ve read) to meet their contractual obligations. Or to refrain from going behind the landlord’s back to negotiate for the purchase and development of the landlord’s property. If only.

    But here’s an idea. If support for these people is so broad, why not ask all these supporters donate their money to pay the unpaid rent, fulfill all other contractual obligations and secure future rent? I bet that would secure them a new, longer term lease.

    No? Not willing to put up or raise funds to secure this “treasure”?

    “Irrespective of any lease arrears, there’s little doubt that this sale was just an outstanding bargain for the seller, who was not only made whole by the deal, but able to turn a tidy profit at the expense of his tenants?”

    I certainly hope so.

    “It will remain a mystery why he gave such short shrift to those tenants when they brought a well-resourced sympathetic buyer to meet with him.”

    Short shrift? Really? How much unpaid rent did the landlord forgive again?

    Why are you so willing to suggest that the landlord should financially support these people when you and their other supporters are unwilling to do so?

  • 62 Warren // Jan 18, 2013 at 7:21 am

    @Sandy 60

    “If you don’t know who Grimes is, don’t worry, most Canadians don’t. You’ll know tomorrow, but the Waldorf knew yesterday, and that is why it’s trusted.”

    Ahhh, the hipster mantra.

    This quote sums up the situation to me:

    “Puharich also claimed that his family-owned company, Waldorf Hotel Ltd., forgave $311,876.46 in unpaid rent from Waldorf Productions before a lease was renegotiated in September.

    Puharich characterized this as “$311,876.46 that Waldorf Hotel Ltd. and the Puharich family contributed to the arts community in the city of Vancouver”.”

    Time for somebody else to subsidize the arts if they care so much.

  • 63 Warren // Jan 18, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Perhaps if there was a downtown casino/hotel the City would have more money to help the arts? ;)

  • 64 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

    @Chris Keam #58:

    He’s half right. Any idiot with three chords can write a pop song. Writing a good pop song is an entirely different matter.

  • 65 Dan Cooper // Jan 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Maude writes, “It is well known that anyone interested in operating a live music venue in the CoV is up against some very onerous, unnecessary permit requirements and building code upgrades. It is next to impossible.”


    Southern Rooster Boy writes, “Anybody who thinks pop music is some flavour of “culture” is kidding themselves and trying to put one over on everyone else.”

    My father has an interesting take on this question. Waaay back in the ’60s he came out of the conservatory and into a small town, high school music teaching job. At some point during the year he ended up chaperoning a school dance, where a rock band from a nearby larger city had been hired to play. Much to his surprise and against his biases he found that – based on his own criteria and those of “the academy” – the musicians were, indeed, clearly capable professionals, playing real music.

    Well, that’s the oh very serious response. Actually, it’s more to the point to just say, “Hah, you’re funny!”

    Everyman is perturbed about churches being subsidized.

    And I’m not arguing with him, at least on the topic of religion and taxes.

    On the other hand, just to be clear, I am not against – in fact am in favour of – subsidizing various venues/organizations/events for all kinds of reasons. I think it’s completely appropriate, for example, to support the arts (including everything from pop to barbershop to hip hop to opera…and beyond), and likewise to support or provide all-night drop in services/safe places for vulnerable people such as the homeless, sex workers, and at-risk youth.

    1:00 a.m. dancing and drinking for middle-class 30 somethings, or places to pray and proselytize? Not so much. But many other things? Certainly.

  • 66 rf // Jan 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Sandy, I get the impression that you take whatever your kids say to be gospel. If you’re kids say they can’t afford a house, it’s an injustice.
    If your kids say the Waldorf is an institution, it’s demise is an injustice.

    CBGB in New York is now a high end clothing store. If you’re argument is that a currently hipster cool up and coming musician/dj like Grimes liking the Waldorf is reason to stop the presses…….frankly, you need to get a little bit of real world perspective.

    An entire genre of music evolved out of CBGB. Cool counter culture acts that the entire world eventually embraced.

    In the end, they didn’t pay the rent either.

  • 67 waltyss // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Was is particularly sad about your post, Sandy, is the attempt to blame the landlord with no fault in your flakey heros acknowledged whatsoever.
    The landlord forgave over $300,000 in rent. This is an incredible subsidy. What has your list of hipster/artists/Otherwise subsidized folks contributed? Anything except their voice? Certainly have no heard.
    The landlord sold the property so as to maximize the family’s profit. Good on them. They had done much more than their fair share for the hipsters and your attempt to make them the villains is pathetic. They have no obligation whatsoever to sell or even consider selling to purchasers pre-approved by the tenant.
    And one more thing, no-one (well, no-one except Foghorn Leghorn) is denigrating their artistic, hipster cool credentials. Folks are questioning their business acumen and whether the city should subsidize them or worse and what the city appears to be doing, force someone else to subsidize them. The response of most people on this thread or elsewhere is a hearty “No!”.

  • 68 Mira // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Waltyss #51
    For some unknown reason I was nice to you, not that I expected anything class from you but, still … live and learn.
    It’s like “Douchbag meet… owner!”

    Sandy Gee #60
    Thanks for that middle aged hipsters list. Juuuust great. Me wonders if when they do their jobs, they expect to be paid, or are they doing it for FREE or selling their art it for food tokens?
    Last week I read this from Higgins, he asked you a fair question:

    “Higgins // Jan 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Sandy #37
    Are you for real? You teh same want hoping to sit in council?
    So… in your own opinion as a former Taxi business owner, if I ask one of your drivers to take me to the airport, and by the time I am on the Oak street bridge I tell the driver, ‘you know what … I can’t pay you’, he’ll say to me ‘Don’t worry bud, my boss will call the mayor Gregor and, he’ll petition and he’ll shout out on your behalf and the taxpayers of Vancouver will cover the fare for you’ , am I reading this right Sandy? This is what I should be doing?”

    Same idea. BTW Do we know of Grimes? Well you made sure to spread the great news around in the past year. Mama bear promoting her bear cub. I get that. As for talent or music, oh well, if I want to hear that type of DJ-ing on high notes for half an hour… I could stay at Main & 2nd streets and listen to the big trailers applying their brakes as they come to a full stop. See? We know about Grimes, ahem, musician!

  • 69 Threadkiller // Jan 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

    This is the other part of the hipster mantra regarding you’re-totally-uncool-if-you-haven’t-heard-of-them folks like the mysterious Grimes: “No one’s heard of them here, but they’re huge in ___”. Usually it’s “Japan”, although in these cybernetic days it could as easily be “Terre Haute, Indiana”.

    I’ve got my own Grimesian scale of coolness. Here’s another Grimes, who to me personally is of immensely greater significance than Waldorf Grimes, and if you can name an album or two he played on, you can be admitted (temporarily, there will be other tests) to my exalted inner circle:

    This whole discussion is all so bloody subjective.

  • 70 Chris Keam // Jan 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

    @ Ian:

    I’ll give you a D, a G, and a C. Easiest chords ever. Now come up with a song, or be branded an ‘idiot’.

    Like all things arty… looks dead easy when all you have to go by is a finished product.

  • 71 Roger Kemble // Jan 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Well said Sandy Garossino @ #60.

    For those of you who have it in for Vision obviously you did not spent a lifetime watching the NPA.

    The WCT tried to put together a multi-dimensional media culture centre that may not be unique in the world but it sure as hell was unique to Vancouver. There was a multi-dimensional audience too, that given time, would have supported the Waldorf venture.

    Experienced businesspeople and entrepreneurs reading here know that it is not at all uncommon for a new startup to take 2 years or more to turn profitable, especially when brand awareness is a key component of success.” . . . of course!

    As it is the current Bula-crowd seems to be infested with a one-movie-one-tub-o’-pop-corn-and-pin-bowls-after state od mind: sorta like Dunbar 1960’s.

    Waltyss, passim, you disappoint me!

  • 72 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Many years ago I took my classical piano training out onto the marketplace. The only time I made any money at it was while playing in bands. Playing to a room full of drunks and stoners is, how shall I put it, soul-destroying. I might even say embarrassing. Rock is the beer of the music industry. It’s tediously repetitive (kind of like waltyss) formulaic, an industrial product aimed at the lowest common denominator. Most of the expressive range of music is left out, especially virtuosity. There are no compositional geniuses, only technicians. Hip is nothing more than a niche market.

  • 73 Higgins // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Wow, Roger Kemble @71 have joined forces with the Garossinos and the ‘hipsters’ world. Why would anyone listen to you on this subject, Roger? Because you frequented the place lately and drank on credit? Like everyone else there, hence the money ‘misunderstandings?
    Sandy, what’s with that list? Was it necessary? Look, I could put my name on that. So? Some are joining the most sought after limelight attention, like yourself? I see that Mira @68 beat me to the punch or I would have asked you the same question. If you leave a taxicab and not pay the fee does not that qualify as ‘theft’? Or the taxi driver must take it upon himself because the hipster in the back seat doesn’t care about money, and pay the fare himself?
    Interesting philosophy you have when it comes to ‘other people’s’ money, in this case, thanks to Vision Vancouver and Gregor Robertson, taxpayer’s money.
    I say no to subsidizing a bunch of arrogant, impertinent jerks like those Waldorf Prodoofuses.
    As for Grimes… good you brought that up, a simple search on twitter and this is what your little treasure wrote:

    “9 Jan
    Grimes Grimes ‏@Grimezsz
    wow vancouver is so fucked if they shut down the waldorf. fuck this city. you’ve destroyed nearly every piece of culture that you had ”

    That’s class Sandy, it makes the inner artist come out!
    And two days later:

    “11 Jan
    Grimes Grimes ‏@Grimezsz
    now that i have over 100K followers my powers to troll have reached a new level”

    Which explains it!
    Any comments?

  • 74 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    @Chris #70:

    I’ve written and recorded lots of bad songs and I’m happy to send one along to you, if you like. In fact, I’m just finishing up one this weekend (though it doesn’t use those three chords, exactly). Will mp3 be ok?

  • 75 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    @Chris #70:

    I’ve written and recorded lots of bad songs and I’m happy to send one along to you, if you like. In fact, I’m just finishing up one this weekend (though it doesn’t use those three chords, exactly). Will mp3 be ok?

  • 76 teririch // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    “Experienced businesspeople and entrepreneurs reading here know that it is not at all uncommon for a new startup to take 2 years or more to turn profitable, especially when brand awareness is a key component of success.” . . . of course!

    Yes, but experienced (or unexperienced) business people and entrepreneurs ( and in gneral, regular folk) know that you have to PAY YOUR RENT.

    Not rocket science.

    How many landlords are out there that would forgive $370+K rent?

    How many would forgive $2,000?

    For heavens sake, you don’t pay your Strata fees for 3 months and they can foreclose on your property.

  • 77 rf // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Holy Crap…..
    Sandy is Grimes’ mommy.
    Now her odd-bias on this one makes more sense.

    And the tacky plug without mention you are mommy dearest… ewwwwww

    If you were on council, Sandy, would you have recused yourself.

  • 78 A Dave // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    “a 120 day freeze and threat of a historic designation after the fact”

    Hmm, since when has a heritage designation ever saved a building in Vancouver? Our civic and provincial heritage protection policies are toothless at best, and the bodies that advise Council on this, like Heritage Vancouver, rarely make a stand. In many cases, they have given assent to policies that threaten heritage (ie. the HAHR). I guess they choose their battles, but they seem to be losing the war with developers and city planners who prefer new DP money to long-term preservation benefits anyway.

    The Pantages was a Class A heritage building and was listed on Heritage Canada’s Top Ten list of sites needing to be preserved for a number of years leading up to its final demolition. It was granted several stays of execution, but ultimately, the City caved.

    If one of Canada’s Top Ten heritage buildings needing preservation was mercilessly demolished by market forces and a spineless Council, and then the Waldorf (not even designated) were to get spared, it would be a cruel irony indeed.

    As Trish French notes, however, Council doesn’t need to do any of this, they just need to direct the Planning Department to respect the zoning by-laws already in place: something that a Council with spine could have done in the case of the Rize (and many other developments that caused community outrage) too.

    The problem in Vancouver is, when a property is zoned “x”, the purchasing developer automatically assumes that a rezoning to “y” will get passed. Even where there’s modifications requested, the developers in Vancouver start kicking and screaming like entitled babies and threatening to pull out and take their DP money with them.

    Why does the City (and neighbourhoods) get stuck assuming all the risk on rezonings, when it is the developer who is the one taking the speculative risk on rezoning in the first place?

    This is the legacy of Beasley’s game of “let’s make an amenity contribution deal for rezonings”. Unfortunately, as many have been warning for several years now, it is way out of control now, to the point where developers don’t seem to think it’s a risk at all to propose rezoning ANY property in Vancouver, heritage protected buildings included.

  • 79 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm


    I respect the fact that @waltyss takes the analytical versus the lyrical viewpoint here. There has already been much muddying of the waters between private business, the property rights of an individual, and culture. Sometime—and especially when seemingly not at all well planned, all those twain cannot possibly meet. They are all separate issues, that have been clumsily strung together to try to make a myriad of confused (and confusing) arguments.

    There is nothing to show us that the Waldorf Production guys were any closer to self sustainablity now than they were before. To claim otherwise is just gulding an already over-gilded lily. 2 years to make a business work?! Where the hell did that number come from? The fact that RBC loaned these guys ome money only means that they will be first in line to claim their creditor due, if they are owed any money.

    Having been in the food and bev business myself (though not in the new paradigm that includes, gulp, “cultural incubation”) I can tell you that just making that end work is a long, hard haul. This city nightlifers-as many others– are quite fickle as to what is ‘in” and what is “out”. What’s in today is outre tomorrow.

    You need sharp operators, who not only undertand their customer but who have a sharp eye for the bottom line. This sounds like a very simple case of too much up front money put into “the feel” of the place, without due consideration of other factors (like expenses and revenues). Add to this the fact that there is likely cash loss involved (a sad fact of restaurant/pub life) and people not paying for rooms (noble to put artists up for nothing, but something has to pay for the space) and you run into cash flow problems soon enough.

    The operators couldn’t seem to explain exactly what kind of business they were running–whether they were a for profit–or a non-profit—enterprise. That to me is the fatal flaw in all this. They ran out of money, time, and ultimately, their petulance cost them the business at this particular site. I would say this was a trifecta of disasterous business decisions. The reputational loss may also affect them in the future a they look for a new site.

    Now, I read that the City has a new operator for a significant amount of new artist space (on 1st?). Art is important. Creativity is important. The City should provide SOME budget for it–and then the operator must damn well be responsible for making it work—however that has been defined.

    Now, if someone who has a private enterprise—and especially one that wants to profit in any way from sponoring the arts– wants to support the arts, great. Just know that it is their responsibility to pay for it.

  • 80 Chris Keam // Jan 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm


    Just send me the ones that only took a half-hour.

  • 81 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    @Chris Keam #79:

    Heh. I’m not that quick. The one I’m finishing up probably took an hour or two, on and off.

  • 82 Chris Keam // Jan 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    So then they would be twice as good, right? ;-)

    I think this meme that art (even bad art) is easy, is too widely promulgated. I suspect I wouldn’t waste $0.00 in iTunes for your amateur work, anymore than someone would pay me for my amateure legal opinion. So, while I think the current issues surrounding this venue are being given too much import (re: the closure ending good music in the city) I also believe this ‘anyone can write a half-decent song’ meme largely unsupportable by real world examples.

  • 83 Raingurl // Jan 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I’ll get my guitar and bellbottoms out of storage for the sing along……….in the meantime……..I’m quite put off by the current operators of the Waldorf. The more I read about them, the more I would like to see them vacate the property. They seem like a bunch of whiny guys in my eyes. And what is up with charging $20.00 to get in this weekend? The Waldorf needs managers with character, grace and style………This city needs the same. :)

  • 84 Bill McCreery // Jan 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    @ /Waltyss 67.
    “The response of most people on this thread or elsewhere is a hearty “No!”.”

    Aren’t we having a discussion here? Why are you keeping score. The above statement appears to be an intimidation, bully tactic designed to shut people up with opinions contrary to your own. Is this correct Waltyss/Mike/Geoff?

  • 85 Bill McCreery // Jan 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @ A Dave 77.

    “As Trish French notes, however, Council doesn’t need to do any of this, they just need to direct the Planning Department to respect the zoning by-laws already in place: something that a Council with spine could have done in the case of the Rize (and many other developments that caused community outrage) too.”

    Well said. That’s one of the hearts of this matter. Why is Council allowed to continually ignore Council approved by-laws and policies to respond to the whim of the day?

  • 86 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    @Chris Keam #81:

    “So then they would be twice as good, right? ;-)”

    I’d like to think that, yes. :) But, sadly…

    “I think this meme that art (even bad art) is easy, is too widely promulgated.”

    I wasn’t aware I was promulgating a meme. And, in any event, I wasn’t talking about art. I was talking about pop music.

    “I suspect I wouldn’t waste $0.00 in iTunes for your amateur work”

    I suspect you’re correct. But that doesn’t mean it was difficult for me to write it.

    “So, while I think the current issues surrounding this venue are being given too much import (re: the closure ending good music in the city) ”


    “I also believe this ‘anyone can write a half-decent song’ meme largely unsupportable by real world examples.”

    Not sure it’s a meme, but I disagree. It really isn’t that hard at all. If I can do it, anyone can.

  • 87 Chris Keam // Jan 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    “If I can do it, anyone can.”

    That’s a dumb generalization Ian and certainly doesn’t apply to the programming I’ve experienced the few times I’ve been to the Waldorf, which, as a rule, has been more accomplished than the work of non-professionals.

  • 88 waltyss // Jan 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @Bill McCreery:
    Sorry, you are suggesting that observing that there is little support for public subsidy of the Waldorf is “intimidating” or “bullying”? Are you serious?
    I have a lot of time for Ms. Garassino even though I believe she is completely wrong on this one. Saying there is not a lot of support is trying to state what I believe to be a fact. If I am wrong, or it is irrelevant or you are going to show that that public opinion can be changed, bring it on. I welcome any discussion.
    I reserve the right to say that someone’s comments are full of it (as they are free to say, and do, of my comments). And with regard to your post #83, I do call bullshit!

  • 89 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    @Chris Keam #86:

    I think you’re now shifting the goal posts around. My proposition is that it’s easy to write pop music (although difficult to write good pop music).

    You challenged me to come up with a song.

    I said ok and offered to send you one I was just finishing.

    You declined my offer, but maintained your position that writing “half decent” songs was difficult and cited a lack of real world examples. (Ironic, given my offer to provide you with one, but whatever.)

    I maintained my position that it isn’t difficult to write “half decent” songs and suggested that, if I could do it, anyone could.

    Now you’re discussing programming at the Waldorf and how its more accomplished than the work of non-professionals? That’s a bit of a non-sequitur in the context of our discussion. Even if your statement is correct concerning the quality of programming at the Waldorf (and I don’t suggest it isn’t), it in no way detracts from my assertion that its not difficult to write pop songs.

  • 90 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    (As an aside, I feel compelled to nominate Chris and I for the “Off Topic Discussion” award for this thread.)

    In our defence, though, we are keeping it civil. :)

  • 91 Chris Keam // Jan 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm


    Actually you said it’s easy to write bad songs. No argument there. And then you changed the deal, wouldn’t use the chords I asked for. So those goal posts moved too. No worries. We’re just mucking about. I get that.

    The original premise was that a stoned chimp can write a rock song in half an hour. I called b.s. and stick by my position.

    I think the programming at the Waldorf is relevant to the discussion in that it’s the genesis of the conversation. Mr Leghorn was also equating the programming there with his stoned-simian product unless I’m mistaken.

    The bottom line is that making music isn’t just a matter of a year or two of training, or knowledge of three chords. Apparently Leghorn’s training and experience wasn’t even enough to make any money. Or maybe he/she just sucked. Who knows? The reality is that creating original music (such as that peformed at the Waldorf) is challenging if you want to produce something original. Even more difficult to get up on stage and put it out there for arm-chair Lennon and MacCartney’s to render judgement that it’s easy, and very difficult to build an audience.

  • 92 Bill Lee // Jan 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Long piece in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun

  • 93 Bill Lee // Jan 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Waldorf Productions to move to Eastern Townships and learn French?
    Not likely

  • 94 Bill Lee // Jan 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    And now Toronto becoming No-Fun city….–unsocial-toronto-and-our-war-on-fun-micallef

  • 95 IanS // Jan 18, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    @Chris Keam #90:

    “Actually you said it’s easy to write bad songs”

    Actually, I said “Any idiot with three chords can write a pop song. Writing a good pop song is an entirely different matter.” I stand by that. I didn’t say that I would do so with any particular chords. The thrust of my comment, of course, was that it wasn’t difficult to write pop music. And it really isn’t.

    “The original premise was that a stoned chimp can write a rock song in half an hour. I called b.s. and stick by my position.”

    Not my premise. However, if the statement is taken literally, then I am forced to agree with you. It is indeed unlikely that a real stoned chimpanzee could write pop music. I will concede that.

    “I think the programming at the Waldorf is relevant to the discussion in that it’s the genesis of the conversation.”

    It may well be. But it remains unrelated to the point we were discussing.

    “Mr Leghorn was also equating the programming there with his stoned-simian product unless I’m mistaken.”

    I can’t speak for him.

    “The bottom line is that making music isn’t just a matter of a year or two of training, or knowledge of three chords.”

    Indeed. I would argue that neither are really necessary, though I would agree both would help.

    “The reality is that creating original music (such as that peformed at the Waldorf) is challenging if you want to produce something original. ”

    I can’t speak to what is being performed at the Waldorf, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as hard as you think it is to create original music. I don’t know if you have any musical training, but I think you think it’s a lot more complicated or esoteric than it really is.

    “Even more difficult to get up on stage and put it out there for arm-chair Lennon and MacCartney’s to render judgement that it’s easy, and very difficult to build an audience.”

    Those, of course, are quite different issues, unrelated to the point I was making.

  • 96 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    CK says:”…creating original music (such as that peformed at the Waldorf) is challenging if you want to produce something original”. It may be a challenge to someone who knows nothing about composition or arranging. In most cases “original” = no commercial potential, as the Dorfers have demonstrated.
    The sheer volume of pop songs is an indication of how easy it really is. Gracenote’s media database shows 97,206,484 songs (most of them truly awful). All that’s needed is a garage and a guitar. If your parents buy you an amp, you’re in business.
    Finally, I don’t wish to belabour the point about homind musical talent but

  • 97 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Q. How to you get a bass player off your porch?
    A. Pay for the pizza.

  • 98 gman // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    It really doesn’t look that hard,I guess its really a matter of taste.

  • 99 Catfish // Jan 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    It’s hilarious watching this thread by a lot of people who look like they are pretty sick of Vision but obviously don’t have a clue how to beat them. You should get George Steinbrenner to run your political team. Oh wait, you did (Armstrong/MacDonald).

    You’re a bunch of out of touch old fogeys. Last I checked, the OFP (Old Fogey Party) got laughed off the stage in their chicken suits.

    Anybody who wanted to beat Vision would be high-tailing it over to the Waldorf sendoff party and making friends there. Because this disaster is on Vision’s hands and their base is mad as a hornet’s nest.

    Not that you’d understand political opportunity if you tripped over it. In your chicken suit.

    Every time you hate on things like the Waldorf you alienate a ton of smart young working taxpayers in this town. People in the film industry, the tech and gaming industry, the publishing industry, and the tourism and service industry. Young people who pay their bills and pay their rent and wanted the Waldorf to have a chance and loved what it was doing.

    If you want Vision to be re-elected, keep this thread going exactly like you are.

  • 100 Roger Kemble // Jan 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Since veering way off topic is no longer verboten on Bula-blog I’d just like to make a correction heritage-wise.

    I just read the Vancouver article mentioning the Pantages Theatre . . . Bill Lee @ #92. . . Atkin says he’s still very angry at the loss of the Pantages Theatre, one of the most important theatres in Vancouver’s early history.

    My point is, which Pantages Theatre is he talking about?
    The Pantages Theatre Mr. Atkins is referring to was always called The State Theatre: that is until some meddlesome heritage planner decided it lacked a convincing pedigree.
    When I was a kid working in the bush we’d come into town for R&R and head straight for Chinatown’s udon then walk over to watch Joy-le-Joy (a well preserved 40-ish) writhing, taking it all off-not-quite, and coming up covered in dust.
    The real Pantages Theatre was further West on Hasting. It had a magnificent white, fluted calumniated, façade demolished in the early sixties to make way for an Army Navy parking lot (so much for heritage).
    The Pantages Theatre was most certainly not “one of the most important theatres in Vancouver’s early history” back then.
    I mention this just to clear up another example of the, ever present, bullshitting that emanates from those who claim to know everything: i.e. what happened to Goaler’s Mews and Blood Alley behind Gassy Jack Square?
    Did someone, way back in this conversation, mention Larry Beasley? Is that the same Larry who’s simplistic vision of Sir Ka-shing Li, GBM, KBE, JP’s honey pot (errr . . . ummmm . . . see how money talks) was to extend West End streets down to the water terminating in, well, a dead end. Some simpleton: this is the problem when architects thinq they know every thing about planning and urban design (take note Trish and Frank).
    IMO the planning department is little more than an ATM for a voracious development approval process, which makes me fearful for a future Waldorf!

  • 101 babalu1 // Jan 19, 2013 at 8:43 am

    @F.H. Leghorn

    Being the Southern gentleman that you are, can I saflee assume, suh, that your favourite music is Countree and Western? As an amatoor composer in that genree mahself, I have composed a few on The Waldorf.
    Such as: “The Old Waldorf Don’t Look The Same, as I walked in from the rain and there to meet me was you and Glissy……….”
    Or, ” As I Walked Down the Street of East Hastings, Walked down East Hastings one day, an Old beer parlour I happened to spy….”
    Or, ” Stand By Your Planner…Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Planner, Giving all your love to just one plan…

    Ah, suggest, suh, you akwire more culture. Why just last Christmas a took little Chicken Hawk to see Hamlet’s Messiah.

    @Glissy. Cheers to you. But I wasn’t doing Carry Grant in Notorius (sic) – I vas dooink Peter Lore.

  • 102 Sandy Garossino // Jan 19, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Small point of correction. I do not advocate subsidies for the Waldorf.

    Rather, the only lever available here appears to be city’s zoning discretion.

    Solterra’s investment is predicated on an expectation that re-zoning of the property is a mere formality.

    The land is zoned industrial–a zoning classification that on its own needs protection, and anyway (as Trish French points out) the Poultry District is inherently problematic for residential development.

    And as we’ve seen, this parcel has also become a cultural asset of importance to the city. The skeptics on this thread might not be our foremost experts on what constitutes a cultural asset.

    Community supporters of the Waldorf hoped that the City might impress upon the buyers that, absent some kind of terms with Waldorf Productions, there is no compelling public interest in re-zoning the parcel.

    This isn’t just a bargaining ploy, it’s actually true.

    It appears that Solterra decided to push through with its initial plan and not bend to pressure or consider other options that might meet everyone’s objectives without incurring extra cost. There was a win-win here, but Solterra didn’t think so.

    They are entitled to make that call. They have bet that Vancouver’s memory is short.

    Time will tell if they’re right about that.

  • 103 Chris Keam // Jan 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

    You guys know the ‘pop’ in pop music stands for popular right?

    No fans, not pop.

    I don’t think it’s particular ‘esoteric’ but I do know that it’s a craft, and these claims of half hour pop songs are the outliers of the talented and inspired out in the real world, and simplistic over generalizations here in Fabulastan. The number of songs out there is a strange measure. How many books are there in the world. Think that it’s easy to write a book too?

  • 104 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Books? I’ve written a few. Just finished editing a 500 pager that will be read by maybe six professors and a dozen grad students, and it’s free. Is that esotric enough for you?
    If you add up all the posts on this list you’d be pushing a couple thousand pages. I’m guessing if you had to pay to post here we’d see a whole lot less opinion. And if you had to pay to read it there would be even fewer patrons than the Waldorf attracted.
    @babalu: Heehee. Where’d I put that banjo?

  • 105 Chris Keam // Jan 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I have no idea what you are jabbering about now. You got busted trying to make a dumb-ass over-generalization. Walk away.

  • 106 IanS // Jan 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    @Chris Keam #102:

    “You guys know the ‘pop’ in pop music stands for popular right?

    No fans, not pop.”

    Ooo.. a clever definitional argument. Sooo.. pop music which isn’t successful isn’t pop music? Nice. So, I guess we’re really talking about unpop music then?

    “I don’t think it’s particular ‘esoteric’ but I do know that it’s a craft”

    Yes, it is a craft. Just not a particularly difficult one to undertake, in my experience.

    @Sandy Garossino #101:

    “Small point of correction. I do not advocate subsidies for the Waldorf.”

    I thought you were being critical of the landlord for not subsidizing them enough?

    Besides, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong about subsidies. I just think that the cultural gurus who are so expert in identifying “cultural assets” should be the ones doing the subsidizing.

  • 107 Bill McCreery // Jan 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    @ Waltyss/Mike/Geoff 88.

    Sandy has clarified her position re: subsidies in 101. It appears we agree, the subsidies are not justifiable for the Waldorf based on the information available at this point in the discussion.

    My concern with respect to your comments here and in general are that they are aggressive in style and tone and they do have the effect of “intimidating” and “bullying”. With respect to style and tone, the English language is a rich toll that enables the writer to express him/herself articulately without resorting to the language you employed in 88. Thank you for continuing to validate my ‘belief’ of your motivation.

    Since our discussion is of little relevance to the discussion at hand I will not comment further, however, because I know it’s important to you, you cam have the last word.

  • 108 Bill McCreery // Jan 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Sorry, “toll” should read “tool” in 106 and “cam” is “can”.

  • 109 Jaketown // Jan 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    @ Sandy Garossino #101

    “Solterra’s investment is predicated on an expectation that re-zoning of the property is a mere formality.”

    Assumptions continue to be made about Solterra’s intention for the property without any basis in fact. Solterra has not made a rezoning application and have made no public statements about its intention. As stated elsewhere, the owner’s business interests extend beyond being a developer of condominiums exclusively and may include the Moda Hotel downtown.

    Perhaps Solterra will propose a redevelopment scheme that introduces some form of densification of the site while retaining the best elements of the existing hotel. It has been reported that the Waldorf Creative Team was exploring this notion with third party developers (without the knowledge of the property owner), but they haven’t been vilified for being opportunistic and potentially seeking to redevelop the property while Solterra has. This strikes me as a particularly egregious double standard.

  • 110 Tiktaalik // Jan 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    @Jaketown That’s a good point to bring up that Solterra is also a hotel operator and most people didn’t know this when they made their initial reactions to the news of the Waldorf closing.

    I think people continue to be suspicious of Solterra’s motives given their lack of interest in working with the existing Waldorf Productions group and their desire to have them move to an unsustainable week to week rental contract.

    Solterra has recently said they have no intention of demolishing the site and so even if their plan is simply to bring on their own hotel management group then they will still be a villain in the eyes of many. The Waldorf is not the Waldorf without the creativity and daring of the Waldorf Productions group. Even in this best case scenario of the heritage hotel building being entirely preserved, there is still the disturbing Vancouver trend that it is seemingly impossible for venues and spaces to exist in Vancouver without being part of the monoculture of large, established chain restaurant/pubs.

  • 111 Threadkiller // Jan 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @ Roger Kemble #99:
    You get no points for splitting hairs on heritage preservation. Yes, you are correct: The big Pantages Theatre was indeed where the A&N parking lot was located. But the smaller Pantages, built by Alexander Pantages in 1907, was equally important in its own way. For a useful (though now sadly outdated) historical backgrounder, see:

    I can barely remember the facade of the larger Pantages from my youth. I never saw a movie there. But the theatre you would dismiss as the “pretender” Pantages was eminently worth preserving. Prior to its final incarnation as the Chinese-operated Sun Sing, in the mid-70s, when hastings was still a viable street for businesses, it was operated for several years by a group of longhairs as the City Nights and in that incarnation it was Vancouver’s premier second-run house (they also presented occasional live-music gigs and similar events– but mostly movies). I saw movies there many times; it was, for a while, one of *the* places to go in town, in the sense of when talking to friends, a frequent phrase to be heard would be something like “Hey, the City Nights is showing “Casablanca” at midnight on Friday– ya wanna go??” Or: “Whaddya wanna do this weekend?” “I dunno– what’s on at the City Nights?”. It was a lovely little jewel box of a theatre, with loges and brass-railed boxes and an atmosphere of elegant decay.

    Side note: In the early 50s the Pantages, then the Avon, played a leading role in one of Vancouver’s most famous censorship battles. You can find the story here, recounted by the son of one of the main participants:

    It’s not at all helpful to, as I say, split hairs in preservation struggles. I lament the closing of the Granville 7 because, as a long time Film Festival devotee, I now fear for the festival’s future. My sense of loss re the G7 is not mitigated one whit by the fact that one block up Granville, where the hideous Eaton’s/Sears/soon-to-be-Nordstrom store now evilly squats, once stood the old Vancouver Opera House, a theatre grander than any of the others we’ve been discussing. The Opera House ended its days as the Lyric, where, up until its criminally-stupid destruction in 1969, you could go to a Saturday matinee double bill of second-run films for $1.50 and view them in the baroque splendour of a gorgeous, grand old theatre that rivalled the Orpheum. (see: As far as I’m concerned, the destruction of any of these theatres represented, and still represents, a catastrophic loss to Vancouver’s never-large and now-rapidly-dwindling cultural-DNA pool. Who the hell cares which Pantages was bigger or better than the other? They’re both gone now, and that’s a goddamned tragedy, not least because it was wholly avoidable.

  • 112 Chris Keam // Jan 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    “pop music which isn’t successful isn’t pop music?”

    Pretty much. After all, ‘pop’ music can run the gamut of pretty much any genre, if people take a liking to it. Unless you can point to a particular musical style a la punk, country, classical or similar and call it pop, then I have to go by the definition through which the original meaning came about.

    But, you know what? If you guys want to hold up your hands as proof that any ‘idiot’ can write a pop song, who am I to question your self-assessment? :-)

    Cheers and Rock On


  • 113 IanS // Jan 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @CK #110:

    “Pretty much.”

    I hope that you are as amused by your clever redefinition as I am. :)

    “But, you know what? If you guys want to hold up your hands as proof that any ‘idiot’ can write a pop song, who am I to question your self-assessment?”

    At long last, common ground. As I said, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

    “Cheers and Rock On”

    You too. :)

    (And with that, we’ll bring this little thread hijack to an end.)

  • 114 IanS // Jan 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    @Tiktaalik #109:

    “I think people continue to be suspicious of Solterra’s motives given their lack of interest in working with the existing Waldorf Productions group…”

    I’m not aware of Solterra’s intentions myself, but I think Waldorf Productions (apparent) repeated failure to meet its financial obligations (if nothing else) might explain Solterra’s reluctance to deal with them.

  • 115 Jaketown // Jan 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    @Tiktaalik #109 and IanS #113

    From the Moda Hotel website:

    “Moda Hotel Vancouver’s owner, a self-made Italian entrepreneur and Vancouver real-estate developer envisioned a better future for the property—something Italian-inspired with elements of fresh design and style, but still connected to its historical roots; something unique to Vancouver – something people from all the world could enjoy. And so, the restoration process began.”

    I believe this reference is to Gerry Nichele, owner of Solterra. Solterra developed the two towers across Smithe to the north “Dolce” and “Vita”, as well as the parking garage directly across from the Orpheum. Evidently not just a “condo developer”. He has other construction related businesses as well.

    The short term lease commitment offered to WCT was by its landlord, the owner of the Waldorf, reflecting what the vast majority of commercial landlords would do if faced with a breached lease and $370K in rental arrears that they ultimately forgave. Apparently the idea of continuing to give control of a valuable real estate asset to a tenant that had not demonstrated the ability to create a sustainable business lost its appeal – imagine that.

    The entertainment business, including food and beverage, is one of the riskiest business ventures out there. Clubs and restaurants fail all the time, leaving breached leases, unpaid bills and bankrupt investors behind them. However, many of these failed locations are in operation today – different owner/new investors, new name, change the paint, etc. – because someone else came along and made something work there that their predecessors couldn’t.

    Creativity is not the exclusive domain of WCT. They obviously weren’t able to create a sustainable business model out of their concept, but what’s to say that with the right operator in place Solterra couldn’t?

  • 116 brilliant // Jan 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @Bill McCreery 106-well said. waltsyss’ promise to be civil in 2013 lasted all of a week or two.

  • 117 babalu1 // Jan 20, 2013 at 8:22 am

    We digress?

  • 118 Cheezwiz // Jan 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    @Threadkiller thanks for post #110. I was going to attempt something similar, but you phrased it much better than I could have.

    BOTH Pantages theatres were beautiful and historically significant. Sometimes I wish the buildings we have lost could reappear magically like something out of Brigadoon, so we experience them temporarily.

    Among the most bone-headed demolitions in Vancouver History:
    Original Pantages Theatre
    2nd Pantages Theatre (later called the Beacon – was a spectacular show-palace inside and out).
    2nd Hotel Vancouver
    Vancouver Opera House
    Birks Building
    Georgia Medical Dental Building

    There are probably many more. Most of these were demolished before my time. Imagine how much more interesting our city-scape would be if even a couple of these were still standing.

  • 119 Frank Ducote // Jan 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Thread killer – thanks for the very informative links. I now know something about Marcus Priteca, who designed all of the original Pantages theatres over 2 decades. A wonderful digression.

  • 120 waltyss // Jan 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    McCreery @#106. I make no apologies for using the word I did in #88. It is common partance and milder than words used in yesterday’s G&M éditorial. Your comments on this and other threads have hardly been objective and polite, so I am having trouble with your objection to mild vulgarities.
    I also stand by my comments in #88 which was far from a personal attack but simply a statement that did not accept that my comments were either intimidating or bullying.
    I also stand by saying that I have gréât respect for Ms Garossino. However, I also disagree profoundly with the position she has taken in the Waldorf issue. I particularly was disappointed with her most recent posts which appeared to blame the landlord or the purchaser while absolving her homeboys of any responsibility for their fate.
    There have been a lot of so called “facts” being thrown around. We have tons of opinion pieces either about the Waldorf or the need for cultural space; we are lacking a good objective investigative article about what actually happened.
    Did Waldorf productions have a 15 year lease?
    If so, why did they surrender it? Because they failed to pay their rent? Because the lease had an escape clause for demolition or the like?
    Was Waldorf Productions trying to shop the property or at least the hotel behind the owner’s back? What role did this play in the owners decision to sell?
    Did the present owner forgive over $300,000 in rent?
    Was part of the sale from the present owners to Solterra that Solterra obtain vacant possession.
    Did Solterra want vacant possession because it intended to demolish the building or because they thought Waldorf Productions were untrustworthy flakes who didn’t pay their rent?
    What representations did anyone from the city (formal or otherwise) make to Solterra about rezoning that site? At or about the time the property was sold? Since this fooforaw exploded?
    I could go on but it would make for a fascinating article if one get past each sides fervor for its own position.

  • 121 Bill Lee // Jan 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    @Threadkiller // Jan 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    and @ Roger Kemble #99:

    I was searching the VPL collection of city directories online for another topic, (How many Japanese noted in the area around Peter Wall’s dreadful 900 East Hastings monstrosity in 1940, before the shameful 1942 exclusion, explusion), and turned to Hastings Street.

    The Royal Theatre listed in 1940 is the ex-Avon, City Nights, Sung Song etc. at 144 Hastings East in those days, with the Royal Theatre Barbershop at 146, and next to Nordic News at 142

    The Beacon Theatre (later the Majestic) was a 20 West Hastings, Rex Theatre across the street at 25 West, with the Rex Cafe at 16 and Army and Navy listed as 25-27 West Hastings.

    And for the bicycle frothers, at 38 West Hastings, Haskin and Elliott bicycles.

    The 20 West (Pantages) Beacon was mentioned in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun, by an anonymous by-lined (Probably John Mackie) article on a 1943 appearance by Sally Rand there.

    See;rad for a photo from the Vancouuver Herald (anyone remember the last days of that and Vancouver Newspaper Row along Pender?)
    [ ( frozen acetate ) another reason not to move archives but give it a few more million ]

    This day in history: January 19, 1939
    Sally Rand was only 5-foot-1, but she made every inch count.
    By Vancouver Sun January 19, 2013

    Sally Rand was only 5-foot-1, but she made every inch count.
    Rand was one of the great burlesque dancers of the 20th century, wowing audiences with her infamous “fan dance” and “bubble dance” from the 1930s to the 1970s.
    She brought them both to town 74 years ago, when she arrived in Vancouver for a weeklong booking at the Beacon Theatre on Hastings Street.
    The Sun dubbed her the “stormy petrol of the stage, acclaimed by thousands for her creative dancing, condemned by other thousands for alleged immodesty.”
    An anonymous reporter visited Rand in her dressing room at the Beacon, where they found her stylishly clad in a blue hat and suit, “with a checkered tweed coat to set off her golden hair.” The reporter seemed rather taken with the dancer, noting that she “talks about current events as intelligently and as interestingly as any student of modern affairs.”
    “I like your Baron Tweedsmuir,” Rand said. “I met him in Toronto, and he seems to be a man not only highly intellectual, but one who sticks to his principles.” The reporter added Rand wore her hair “long with a few curls on top,” that her fingernails were “innocent of colour,” and that “she wears no jewelry.”
    Born Helen Gould Beck in Elkton, Mo., she left home to dance in the carnival in her teens. By the mid-1920s she was in Hollywood, where the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille gave her a stage name inspired by the Rand McNally atlas.
    She appeared in several silent movies, but found her forte in Chicago in 1932, when she purchased a pair of large ostrich feather “fans” and introduced it into her stage act.
    She was wearing a sheer body stocking behind the fans, but looked nude from a distance, and her male admirers were smitten.
    The ostrich feathers didn’t work so well when it was windy outdoors, so she came up with her other shtick, a giant see-though bubble she danced behind and tossed in the air. You can find clips of her performing both dances on YouTube.”
    The 144 Hastings East (Pantages) Avon etc. tried Burlesque as did the Star (crushed under the Vancouver Police Station on Main St.)

  • 122 Bill Lee // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Another recent story resulting from the Waldorf Arts mess and confusion, was Kerry Gold’s

    “Vancouver builders follow the lure of culture ”
    Special to The Globe and Mail
    Published Monday, Jan. 21 2013, 10:16 AM EST
    Last updated Monday, Jan. 21 2013, 10:22 AM EST
    [ which was in Saturday's (Jan 19) print copy despite the online date stamps with large colour pictures of the Waldorf, and the 144 East Hastings (Avon/Pantages) when the core was torn out but the front still existed. ]
    Vancouver is suffering growing pains as the landmarks and small beloved icons come down to make way for condo and mixed-use developments.

    The recent selling of the Waldorf Hotel to a condo developer felt like the nail in the coffin for many Vancouverites, after the recent loss of the old Pantages theatre on Hastings and the Ridge movie theatre on Arbutus Street. Before them, we saw music venues Richard’s on Richards and the Starfish Room get razed for condos. If I were to go further back, the list would take up this entire column.
    The Waldorf isn’t just one of North America’s original, lovingly restored tiki lounges, but a unique cultural complex that is the antithesis of generic.
    “We were smote by the sword we forged,” says Waldorf Productions operator Tom Anselmi, who’ll be forced out Jan. 20. “Isn’t that the typical Vancouver story?”
    Lately, it has been.
    Looking ahead, it’s not difficult to see the next targets. The popularity of the east side’s Main Street has placed that neighbourhood in the crosshairs of redevelopment. The location of hipster hangout the Rumpus Room, at 2689 Main St., has been approved for development of a four-storey commercial residential building with three retail stores on the ground floor and 15 dwelling units above. Nobody has applied for the building permit yet. Kingsgate Mall is also potentially slated for redevelopment that would include condos, and the developer-leaseholder has said he’d like to start the process this year, if possible.
    Like the Waldorf, the cool hangouts along Main Street are the victims of their own success. It’s nothing new, and Vancouver is certainly not the worst for it. The most famous case might be the former artist neighbourhood of Soho, in Manhattan, in the 1970s. The starving artists are long gone.
    Most developers know that where potential development is concerned, it’s safe to follow the creative types. They brought life to neighbourhoods such as Main Street, the downtown eastside, Gastown, Railtown, Commercial Drive – all of which have become draws for redevelopment. Chinatown is next in line, with a condo project slated for the heart of Chinatown at Main and Keefer. It’s a Solterra Group project, the same developer that purchased the Waldorf.
    However, it’s too simplistic to blame developers and marketers for the transformation. Everyone had long complained that the area around the Woodward’s Building was a ghost town, with its boarded-up storefronts and empty sidewalks at night. Now that it’s thriving with home décor shops and restored heritage facades, some are complaining that it’s become too pricey, too elitist, too gentrified. In order to infuse life into a neighbourhood that’s bleak or forgotten, it requires people not being scared to go out at night. That means more people, and more residential development.
    And it can be done in a way without pushing out existing residents and small businesses that give the neighbourhood its characteristic charm – the very charm that made it enticing to begin with.
    “You suddenly bring lots of people into the area who have purchasing power and you can predict with certainty the desirability of the area is going to go up, and we kept saying we wanted the area to be more vital,” says city planning consultant, Michael Goldberg. “Well, we’ve done that with the downtown eastside, and now people are saying, ‘we didn’t really mean it.’
    “The Waldorf is similar … No question. Some of the city’s biggest developers have bought property at least that far east of Main Street.”
    Mr. Goldberg is a former University of B.C. business professor who’s now a consultant and board member of the Surrey City Council Corporation. He’s also from New York, so he knows about city transformation.
    “In my view, Main Street is the most interesting street in the city right now. And it has all kinds of funky restaurants and shops, and different ones. You walk down there and you don’t see chains.”
    That’s the thing about the Waldorf, as it exists. If developer Solterra were to convert the building into a place for a chain restaurant, for example, all charm would go out the window.
    As far as solutions go, it’s probably too late to save the Waldorf as the thriving cultural hub it’s been the last two years. But the city could look ahead to preserve other such icons, says former city planning director, Brent Toderian, who now runs UrbanWorks. They could institute something similar to the city’s “rate of change” policy that protects old rental housing stock, he says. “It would be a proactive approach, rather than reacting to crises when a theatre, hotel, or any cultural asset is threatened,” he says. “It wouldn’t be easy, but as a city that wants to expand our ‘cultural infrastructure,’ we need to do a better job identifying and protecting what we already have.”
    and see also her first torch (1200 words) for the Waldorf area to the Astoria further west at:
    “Paint store sale heralds major East Hastings redevelopment ”
    by Kerry Gold
    Vancouver — Special to The Globe and Mail
    Published Friday, Jan. 13 2012, 11:14 AM EST
    Last updated Thursday, Sep. 06 2012, 12:01 PM EDT

  • 123 Threadkiller // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:04 am

    @ Cheezwiz #118: Thanks for your comments (and thanx to Frank Ducote as well). I could make a number of additions to your short though well-chosen list, but in the interest of brevity, fro the moment I will restrict it to just one. As a film buff for more than 40 years, I admit to a soft spot for movie theatres. Hence I would add the Strand Theatre, which once stood where the Scotiabank tower is now located. The Strand’s exterior wasn’t especially distinctive, and its lobby was surprisingly small for its size, but at nearly 2,000 seats it was one of the largest of the downtown theatres and its prominent location made it one of the most important. Probably every long-time Vancouverite of a certain age remembers the Strand fondly, as it was the theatre that always hosted the newest Disney feature, both live-action and animated. This was big stuff to kids back in the day. Like a lot of kids, for a few years my mother would take me and a small group of select little friends to the Strand as a special treat on my birthday if a Disney film was playing. No wonder I feel nostalgic about the venue. And almost everyone who was taking English Literature in high school in Greater Vancouver in 1968 probably remembers being taken on a field trip to the Strand to see Franco Zefferelli’s teenage eye-candy version of “Romeo and Juliet”.

    Here is a link to an absolutely stunning photo, taken in 1924, that, amazingly, shows three of the buildings mentioned in our discussion (the Strand, the Birks building, and the second Hotel Vancouver): Note that the Vancouver Block, somewhat miraculously still with us and one of the supreme architectural gems of this city, is also visible. Note also that the Birks building’s beautiful terracotta facade only faced Georgia and Granville Streets– its back side was rather mundane by comparison.

    Side note: I suppose I must have been among the last people to enter the Birks Building. From 1974 to 1980 I worked on and off in the local construction industry (Labourers’ union, local 602). The work was often brutal but the money was good. One of the early jobs I worked on, for a couple of months in the Fall of 1974, was the massive project that saw the erection of the Scotia tower and what is now the London Drugs location (the latter, of course, is on the site of the Birks building). One day the foreman dispatched a group of us to remove some equipment from the basement of the Birks building, which was still standing although it had been stripped of its contents and was being prepped for demolition. We had to access the basement through a stairway leading down from the main floor. The basement itself was the site of a large excavation; the floor had been removed and was now dirt (this is done to give the building something to collapse into upon implosion, a fairly standard procedure). The combination of the dirt floor, now at a level well below the support walls, the spooky lighting, and the various workmen at their jobs gave one the impression of being present at an archaeological dig; perhaps the excavation of an ancient tomb. Like a lot of Vancouverites at the time, I was deeply saddened by the building’s imminent destruction and I found just being in that vast, tragic room to be emotionally challenging (God forbid one should shed tears in front of a gang of brawny construction workers). Just a few weeks later, the tomb-like nature of that space reached an apotheosis of sorts, when it was filled with the rubble of one of the most beautiful buildings this city has ever known. (I had been laid off by then– I was never very good at construction work– so I didn’t have to watch.) The preservationist movement in Vancouver, never strong (and still not), was in its infancy in those days, and the outcry to save the Birks building fell on stone-deaf ears (as it likely would today as well). But at least the Birks demolition acted as a catalyst to give it momentum. The struggle continues, despite having endured many defeats over the years.

    While we’re on the subject of theatres, here is a group of photos that may interest you, assembled by a local blogger. There were so many wonderful theatres in this city at one time, and so few of them are left. Here are a few that used to grace our streets (a couple still do):

  • 124 teririch // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Wow. I didn’t know the Rumpus Room is also on the chopping block.

    I’ve had some great ‘non-hipster’ times there.


  • 125 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    …and Frances thought we were sick of this subject. Ha!

    First, @waltyss +1!

    @Bill McCreery I think you need to be a little more circumpect about the exact issue you are supporting here. And with whom you toss in your lot. BTW, I think your attack on @waltyss on this was unwarranted.

    @Bill Lee #122 Re: Kerry Gold column

    Ah, the proverbial ‘chicken/egg question: which comes first. The ‘scene’ or the condo developers?

    While it may seem like development happens only in ‘happenin” places, let’s face it: developers will grab any land they can get their hands on that is in proximity to downtown and/or public transit. East Hastings and Chinatown meet both those criteria.

    Now, as for saving buildings like the Waldorf for ANY proscribed endeavour, that remains up to community groups and politician to hammer out. As I, Toderian and jut about everyone else on this thread understand is that the City has not committed to ANY real preervation policy for cultural places. Just paid lip service to reports and suggetions about policy—perhaps there is already too much payout on land that has already been banked—and not used for these purposes?

    As to the Waldorf building itself being an “incubator” or even ‘responsible’ for the flourishing of neo-artistic or renaiissance endeavours I say: bushwah. IT WAS A DILAPIDATED HOTEL SERVING BEER JUST 2 YEAR AGO! NOW, IT’S AN UPGRADED HOTEL, SERVING BEER!

    Does this mean that there was no art/artists in Vancouver before the Waldorf undertook its metamorphasis? Hardly. In fact, here’s an artist who persuaively argues that it’s not a building that inspires art:

    Art’s community hardly needs the Waldorf to thrive

    Read more:

    I do hope that we look at real preservation of ‘older building in this city. The current lack of logical planning is stripping the personality from many of our neighbourhoods.

  • 126 Frankenwaldorf! // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Sorry, this is the artist Katherine MacDonald’s letter in full. As she rightly points out, the ‘new’ Waldorf patrons happily pushed out the ‘old’ Waldorf patrons.

    Plus ca change…

    SUNDAY OP-ED Multidisciplinary Canadian artist, Kate MacDonald, is a New Brunswick transplant to Vancouver. She has exhibited her paintings, digital collages and video art throughout North America and Europe, and has recently appeared in exhibitions in Fredericton, Venice and Massachusetts. Her paintings have been featured in international editions of Wired and GQ magazine.

    A press release last Tuesday was the last straw – or the last cocktail umbrella, as it were.

    Waldorf Productions’ inflammatory letter to Solterra CEO Gerry Nichele is just one more in a series of self-serving announcements that exhort Vancouver’s arts community and elected officials to act on its behalf. Vancouver’s media and city council have been hijacked over what is effectively a landlord-tenant dispute.

    The Waldorf is not a cultural institution so much as a media machine of its own making. The near constant dissemination of its press releases is only a measure of how many tweeters and micro-bloggers are desperate for shareable content.

    It is by no way testament to the hotel’s lasting venerability as an icon of the arts.

    I’ve been a patron of the Waldorf since moving to Vancouver in 1989. In that time, I’ve continued to support its bars, restaurant and beer store, but let’s put this in perspective: nobody cared in 2010 when the new operators took over and drove out the regular users of the space.

    Was it as hip or as cool? Not by a long shot, but there were bums in seats, events were still booked, and they made a mean curried sole – a signature dish readily discarded.

    I’m a member of the Vancouver arts community and to suggest that we are all standing behind the Waldorf ready to “carefully and rigorously scrutinize” Solterra’s development application is wrong. The artists and musicians that I know are too busy busting their humps to make a living to care about what happens to the Waldorf. It’s been reported that the venue’s latest incarnation of has done a great deal for emerging artists in this city. I challenge them to tell us exactly what those benefits have been.

    The majority of their events appear to be food-truck festivals, Hollywood movie nights and out-of-town musical acts. Fun? Sure. Supportive of Vancouver’s emerging artists? How? Its actual existence nurtures and supports fewer of the city’s working artists than the artists support it.

    When – and if – Solterra tenders its development application, the majority of Vancouver’s arts community will be too busy creating and promoting their own work to pay attention. As individuals, we understand that rent has to be paid or we risk losing our homes. The lip service paid by “cultural creators” like the Waldorf operators is opportunistic and condescending.

    As a community, we have seen multiple venues close – The Town Pump, Starfish Room and Silver-tone Tavern, to name a few. As one space closes, another opens to take its place. The culture of a city is determined by its artists, writers and performers, wherever they choose to perform or create.

    Guess what, Vancouver? The Waldorf as a cultural hub doesn’t matter one whit. Art and shows and culture existed in this city prior to 2010 and will continue to exist and thrive after today. Arts spaces and their bookers come and go, but the arts live on.

    Now give me back my curried sole.

  • 127 Guest // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Downtown South was stripped of its nightclubs to avoid noise complaints from residents. i.e. Graceland, Starfish Room, Luv-a-Fair, Richards on Richards and the latest being Mars (or whatever its latest name was). Now they are all on Granville, which creates it own set of problems, but I suppose that’s better than noise complaints from throughout Downtown South. People complain about the slightest noise these days – even restaurant patios.

  • 128 Threadkiller // Jan 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    @Guest (and others):
    My memory fails me when it comes to Graceland, but The Starfish Room, the Luv-a-Fair, and Dick’s on Dicks (as it was fondly known) were all lost to developers. They didn’t shut down due to noise complaints. Further, the Luv etc. and the Starfish closed– what, 15 years ago? Yet the closure of the Starfish in particular has been repeatedly lamented in the ongoing Waldorf discussions in assorted local media as though it went under only last week. Personally, I miss the Retinal Circus, the Afterthought, the Village Bistro, the Soft Rock Cafe, and the Classical Joint, along with many other vanished local institutions, but I’ve had many years to get past it. There have been repeated losses to this city’s increasingly pathetic cultural sector in the past decade and a half. This is a city that has long made a practice of eagerly destroying as many vestiges of its past as possible, as though that past was something to be ashamed of. I’m not denying anyone the right to mourn the Starfish if it was that important to them, but it was merely another soldier in a long and vicious war, fallen in battle, a long time ago. How about namechecking some of the more recent honoured dead instead of reaching back into what’s already ancient history? You could start with the Yale…

  • 129 Glissando Remmy // Jan 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Thought of The Day

    “Believing that Waldoofus Productions cared about the Art Community, is like believing some Hootsuite employees care about their former DTES neighborhood.”

    Frankenwaldorf! #124 #125
    Liked your comments. A lot!
    Kate MacDonald’s too. Good idea for posting it.

    Going back to the current ‘hipsterism’ emanating from the likes of Waldorfs.
    Last Friday was last day for Hootsuite aka the newest “Rent To Own” Vancouver City Hall, Giftee, in their old DTES location.
    You may think that corporate welfare would put some humility and respect for this city in the brains of this select group.
    Well you be the judge, the following is the message posted last Friday, as a farewell message to their host neighborhood… for how many years?

    Needless to say that the tweet was deleted pronto, after a tide of tweeting displeasure, and subsequently the digital fingerprint was sanitized less, ahem… one.
    Long live the screen shots!

    Why am I posting this? Because neither the poster or Hootsuite had the decency to offer an apology for the condescending, arrogant comment, re. their former host neighborhood. They are people you know!

    Oh well, for shame, and good luck Mt. Pleasant!
    At least now, they know who’s coming for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    I’m curious what they’ll have to say when they move to, say… The Next Best Thing. Till then though…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 130 Cheezwiz // Jan 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Apologies for being way off-topic: Threadkiller thanks for your wonderful links & memories! Some of those photos are amazing.

    The Strand was before my time, but my Dad spoke fondly of going there to weekend matinees when he was a kid. From what I understand the original Capitol Theatre was quite impressive as well. I’ve never been able to find interior photos of it.

    I worked in the Capitol 6 multiplex during university, and although it was only about 15 years old at that time, it was already seedy & run-down looking. It was probably dated the moment it was banged up. Can’t say I was sorry to see that incarnation get demolished.

    Being in the Birks building as it was coming down must have been heartbreaking.

  • 131 Chris Keam // Jan 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    One club closes, another one opens.

    No Starfish Room, (crap sight lines to the stage IIRC) but we have the Biltmore.

    No Luvafair, but there’s the Electric Owl

    No Dick’s, but there’s Bar None.

    No Town Pump, but there’s…. at least a half dozen other places downtown where you can catch live, local bands.

    Live music fans complaining there’s a lack of entertainment options. Deja vu from 1950/60/70/80/90 or last week?

    Honestly people, this city has real issues to deal with and the reality of the entertainment business is that there’s always an oversupply of bands, actors, authors, venues, etc. A contraction in entertainment options is arguably a great way to help ensure the viability of the operations that remain. Further, there are lots of places you can rent and put on a show if you so desire.

    I think people such as the intelligentsia that frequent this blog are under the misapprehension that their tastes represent the mainstream.

    There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that the largest cohort of people aren’t quite happy with predictable and unchallenging fare such as they can find at the Megaplex or McDonalds. Let them eat Big Macs and listen to Carly Rae I say, and who is anyone to judge another’s taste? I like music that sounds like robots fighting over the last slice of dilithium crystal pizza, but I don’t expect the City or the market to accommodate my tastes or the artists who satiate it. Instead I keep my eyes open for shows I know that I’ll like, and I do my best to attend and spend. The reality is that there’s a lot of talk about how people are just dying to get out and see a show, but when push comes to shove, they don’t vote with their feet (is that a three-mix metaphor?)

  • 132 Bill Lee // Jan 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    @Cheezwiz // Jan 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm #130
    One source (better indexed than others; Ron Keillor’s collection is more contemporary) is the Vancouver City Archives (before the 2013 almagamation)
    See back door (not much changed until it became the Capitol 6;rad

    Front door;rad
    Pipe organ;rad

  • 133 Cheezwiz // Jan 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Bill Lee #132 thanks for the links! Didn’t realize the original Capitol also had a backdoor on to Seymour!

    And lo and behold, here’s a faded photo of the interior:;rad

    Beautiful! Protestors didn’t manage to save the original Capitol, but public outcry (just barely) saved the Orpheum, and look how much we treasure it today.

  • 134 Bill Lee // Jan 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    @Cheezwiz // Jan 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm #133
    Fire rules. And the theatre (see back view) is mainly on Seymour Street as was the Orpheum down the block. The Granville (main tram line) entrance was a bridge over the lane to the theatre.

    Which they could have d0ne for the old Pantages/Avon/Sung Sing) at 144 Hastings St. East, a bridge over the lane to Chinatown and to Pender Street to save the ‘right people’ from having to sully themselves on that part of East Hastings.
    Though it is good enough for 6 artists’ studios at street level now.

    Gives a whole other view if you would enter via Pender Street instead of from Hastings.

  • 135 Threadkiller // Jan 23, 2013 at 12:47 am

    The pre-multiplexed Capitol reached some kind of peak in its career when it was transformed into a Cinerama theatre for the premiere run of Kubrick’s “2001” in 1968. Every “head” (doper, to you, as in “acidhead”– excuse the vintage idiom) in town attended as many screenings as he or she could afford. The view of that huge screen from the seats down toward center front was truly breathtaking, especially during the Stargate sequence… people who are too young to have experienced large single-screen theatres and question why the few remaining ones should be preserved simply have no idea what they’re talking about. They missed the golden age of film exhibition.

  • 136 teririch // Jan 23, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I had the pleasure of visiting the Pantages Threatre in Tacoma during a trip last year. It was beautiful. Too bad our city council doesn’t have the ability to think forward and hold onto these historic buildings – they add so much flavor to the cookie cutter condo buldings and head to toe class retail building being banged up at every chance.

    You have to admit, the new buildings being built down and around the Olympic Village are ugly. They look cheap and generic. Here is a fabulous piece of land for development and this is the best they can come up with?

  • 137 Chris Keam // Jan 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

    “You have to admit”

    This is the point. ‘You’ don’t have to admit anything. It’s a matter of taste and municipal gov’t shouldn’t be trying to preserve one taste over another.

  • 138 Chris Keam // Jan 23, 2013 at 7:54 am

    “They missed the golden age of film exhibition.”

    They missed the golden age of lysergic acid making everything seem profound. Have you ever really looked at your hand man?

  • 139 teririch // Jan 23, 2013 at 8:00 am

    @Glissy #129:

    I saw that highly offensive andutterly rude Tweet. And if that wasn’t offensive enough, she, didn’t have the balls to make an attempt of any sort at an apology.

    As I remarked, evidentially Hootsuite isn’t big on hiring the best, or the BRIGHTEST.

    I am happy you saved the screen shot. The woman who posted the Tweet deserves alesson in humility. (And humanity, but I think she is a lost cause)

  • 140 waltyss // Jan 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

    “she, didn’t have the balls to make an attempt of any sort”????????????????? I like this, well, because it is so weird. The rest is just judgmental.

  • 141 Bill Lee // Jan 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

    @Threadkiller // Jan 23, 2013 at 12:47 am #135

    The Strand, now crushed under the Scotia Bank tower on Georgia Street had Cinerama earlier.
    But that was a single screen and therefore could show fewer movies.
    The cineplex complex idea is that as a movie had fewer viewers they could moved it to another one of the closet-sized cinemas.
    Remember the dreadful Royal Centre cineplex where you could hear all the other movies throug the walls.
    I recommend to you “Four aspects of the film” by James L. Limbacher New York : Arno Press, 1978, Brussel and Brussel c1969. [ Sound, Colour, 3-d, screen ratios such as Cinerama ]
    Not at VPL

  • 142 West End Gal // Jan 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

    teririch #139
    +1 on your comment. I heard about that Hootsuite’s employee insensitive comment on Monday, from a friend of mine (I do not follow twitter). What can I say, infantile and with lots of ‘i am way better than you’ yuppie attitude.
    No apology, makes it even worse. It’s a confirmation of sorts. Terrible.
    And Glissy #129, hats off to you for bringing this to our attention.
    Also sad to see that none of those community activists and politicos caught on this. Asleep?

  • 143 Bill McCreery // Jan 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    @ Frankenwaldorf 125

    “I think you need to be a little more circumpect about the exact issue you are supporting here. And with whom you toss in your lot. BTW, I think your attack on @waltyss on this was unwarranted.”

    Fair comment. I withdraw my concerns about what at times seems to be waltyss’ defensiveness about Vision Van. Rather, perhaps I should ask that he/she (it would be helpful to know who as well) deal with me as a citizen concerned with how our City is evolving, and not as a member of the NPA. Please also do not consider everything I say to be playing politics.

    My comments and criticisms are from the perspective of the above “concerned citizen”. On the other hand politics for me is a means by to make meaningful change. I do not believe it is acceptable to just sit back and say: “ain’t it awful” in a democratic society. You have a responsibility to get involved in, God forbid, politics and do your best to do it better. Politics for me is one of the means, not the end.

    to better understand my concerns with respect to the Waldorf please refer to the Straight interview:

    My principle concern here is that Vision Vancouver’s reckless use of spot rezoning’s here and anywhere and everywhere else is indeed creating a ‘train wreck’ (sorry waltyss) of major proportions with respect to ignoring Council bylaws, neighbourhood plans, confusing, inappropriate, out of scale built forms, a chaotic and consequently over priced real estate market, unnecessary future congestion problems, and more that will ultimately create the opposite of the energy conserving, walkable, affordable neighbourhoods that Vision Vancouver say they want to achieve.

    As information has come forth it appears the Waldorf operators did not have a viable operation, and based on that its difficult to support their attempt to hang on. However, I do know some young people who love the stimulating venue and musicians. Both the musicians and the audience need to be encouraged and have viable venues, but not subsidized.

    I also happen to like the building (especially inside, the exterior could be improved), and believe its post War late art deco style is perhaps worthy of saving, but not by giving away copious quantities of density ( a form of subsidy). There are few good examples from this period, and the best should be retained.

    I’m glad you questioned the issues I am supporting Frank. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify briefly what I am and not supporting.

  • 144 Bill Lee // Jan 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Yet more…
    Waldorf directors may have to sell homes
    Club debt will become personal
    By Cheryl Rossi, Staff writer January 22, 2013 Vancouver Courier

    Two of the four people behind a bold but failed attempt to revive the Waldorf Hotel as a cultural hub may have to sell their homes.
    “May is an understatement,” said restaurateur Ernesto Gomez, who said Monday he and Waldorf Productions partner Thomas Anselmi face selling their homes to cover company debt.
    “I’m actually luckier than some of my partners because I do have Nuba, which is a solid business,” said Gomez, referring to the popular Vancouver restaurant chain. “But my partners are not as lucky as I am.”
    Anselmi said debt accumulated in the first year by the company was being paid out of profits on a payment plan. “So at this point, with no profit coming in, that debt will not be able to be serviced and some of it will become personal debt,” he said.
    The two directors of Waldorf Productions are repaying Canada Revenue Agency, a bank and a union, according to Gomez. Anselmi said neither of them was on the payroll of the company, which leased space from the Waldorf Hotel.
    Waldorf Productions was moving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of equipment from the hotel Monday morning, including gear from music instrument and equipment dealer Long and McQuade.
    “It’s stuff that’s actually sort of three-quarters paid off, so it’s kind of sad,” Anselmi said.
    Waldorf Productions announced Jan. 9 that it would vacate the Waldorf Hotel this month because the property is being sold to developer Solterra Group and the production company couldn’t operate on the offered week-to-week lease.
    City council voted to place a 120-day protection order on the hotel property Jan. 15 to determine the heritage and cultural value of the site before any possibility of demolition.
    Waldorf Productions reopened the hotel on Halloween in 2010. The company claims $1.6 million was sunk into creating a cultural hub.
    Anselmi said the money came from investors, a bank and savings he and Gomez had built up. He wouldn’t say who invested how much.
    “The investors have lost their money, as we all have,” Anselmi said.
    Anselmi returned to Vancouver from Los Angeles when he and his wife wanted to have a child.
    He said a mutual friend introduced him to hotel owner Marko Puharich, who sold the Waldorf to Solterra.
    “From day one, it was sort of a partnership,” Anselmi said. “The hotel had been losing money for a long time and it had been financed by the beer store. So the basic feeling of the whole thing was if the hotel could stop costing money, then the family would be much better off than they were at the moment.”
    He added: “It’s hard to describe the familial warmth that existed before all this money got involved.”
    Courier columnist Allen Garr wrote sources at city hall told him Solterra paid $15.4 million for the property, which is almost double the 2013 assessed value of $7.9 million.
    Anselmi says scarce and costly liquor primary licences make starting a new venue prohibitive.
    He said liquor licenses are sold for $1,000 a seat.
    “[For 200 seats], that’s $200,000 before you do anything, before a hammer has been lifted,” he said. “Plus you need a fixer to get [the licence] and move it and figure that out, so let’s add $20,000 on top of that, $25,000, maybe, who knows. And this is, again, before any investment has been made in anything the public will enjoy.”
    He said switching the liquor and food primary licences between floors cost Waldorf Productions $25,000.
    He added Waldorf Productions received a one-day suspension on its food primary license last fall because people danced in the restaurant on Halloween.

  • 145 Terry M // Jan 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    WEG, teririch, Gliss…
    Any response from Hootsuite? Yay, nay, sorry?
    That was very low brain matter from a “progressive” tech. Comp. Sheesh…

  • 146 teririch // Jan 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    @Terry M #144

    From what I can tell, aside from deleting the Tweet, nothing.


    Here is their blog on the move…. interesting choices of words, here and there:

  • 147 Higgins // Jan 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I thought this thread is dead… then I read that insufferable “tweet” posted by Glissy @129 with complimentary info. from teririch @146.
    Are you kidding me?
    No reaction? Not even from Frances Bula… ? If that message was left by a “male” and also not a Vision Vancouver/ Robertson “friendly” partner… there would have been a ruckus!
    Go figure. Then again, coming from a woman, it’s really depressing. Phew!

  • 148 Bill Lee // Mar 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    So what’s happening, man?

    Without the Waldorf is Vancouver without “Culture”?

    “The data confirms that theatre remains vibrant in major cities. New York has 420 theatres, while Paris has 353 and Tokyo has 230. London follows these three, with 214. The number of theatrical performances is considerable. The total in New York is estimated at 43,000, with 32,000 in London and more than 20,000 each in Paris and Tokyo. However, theatre attendance is highest in New York at over 28 million, although London reports 14 million a year just for theatres that are members of SOLT (Society of London Theatres), which are mostly the West End commercial theatres. ”

    Is Vancouver a World City?

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