Town Talk: Wine flowed freely at gala

 

Bacchanalia: Fine vintages served at five-course banquet at event with Italy as theme nation

 
 
 
 
What could be more bountiful than the nine-litre bottle from wine-festival feature nation Italy embraced by Bacchanalia gala chair Jana Maclagan?
 
 

What could be more bountiful than the nine-litre bottle from wine-festival feature nation Italy embraced by Bacchanalia gala chair Jana Maclagan?

Photograph by: Malcolm Parry

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BACCHUS CAME BACK: The food-and-drink equation tumbled toward the latter when Jana Maclagan chaired the Vancouver International Wine festival’s traditional Bacchanalia kickoff gala recently. As Hotel Vancouver executive chef Cameron Ballendine began sending out five courses, including an entrée of venison with beets and liquorice oats, stemware-laden tables warned that 10 wines would accompany the growlies. Lashings of festival-theme-nation Italy’s Valdo Numero 10 Brut Metodo Classico NV got attendees bubbling. Taylor Fladgate’s 20-year-old Portuguese tawny port eventually settled their tummies. In between, they swigged on vintages from Australia, Croatia and Spain, two from France and three more from Italy. Thus encouraged, they bid on the record $180,000 worth of red and white wines Howard Blank auctioned from a podium surrounded by all-white hydrangeas, orchids and roses.

FACE FACTS: There were “yeah-yeah” mutterings in 2009, when Kasondra Cohen launched her Face of Today charity gala as a younger version of mother Jacqui’s Face The World fundraiser. Then again, others were equally leery in 1991, when singer Tom Jones, Cohen mère and members of her sometimes “fast” set (less so today) began raising and distributing what is now closing on $20 million to local charities, many of them serving disadvantaged women and children. That fundraiser will go again May 14 in the Cohen home. Meanwhile, the Alice In Wonderland-themed Face of Today gala will return tonight to the Hotel Georgia where it is expected to add $300,000 to the $250,000 reportedly disbursed to date.

ALICE AND FORETHOUGHT: For an exhaustive and entertaining account of how Lewis Carroll amused contemporaries in his favourite children’s story, it may be impossible to top David Day’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded. It took well over a decade and the authorship of several more of his 40-plus books for Victoria-born Day to unravel the 19th-century academics, artists, classical-era myths, ancient and modern religions, mathematical allusions and the back-biting politics of long-delayed university reform that colour almost every sentence of Carroll’s 150-year-old story. Despite Day’s local provenance and his fall-released work’s alluring scholarship and illustrations, we have still to read much about it here. That’s probably to the good for those who turn to the book itself, which you are hereby urged to do.

LIFE WITH BRIAN: As he did last year, 30-year BMW car dealer Brian Jessel will leave his Cabo San Lucas winter hangout, his General Motors SUV and his half-owned restaurant just in time to greet $200- and $500-ticket guests at the 11th-annual Cabriolet gala March 5. It benefits Pancreas Centre BC and the BC Cancer Foundation and will occupy the larger of the Boundary Road showrooms where he and managing partner Jim Murray sold 3,880 new and used BMWs in 2015. Gala-goers will bid on a Roll-Royce ride and Grouse Grind climb with former lululemonist Chip Wilson. Jay Leno and the Barenaked Ladies have entertained guests at earlier events. This year, it’ll be Nelson-born Shawn Hook (Hlookoff), whose 2012 song, Every Red Light, seems a natural for BMW drivers everywhere.

WHAT FRUIT IT BEARS: Local singer Jaclyn Guillou is readying to release her third album, a Dinah Washington tribute titled This Bitter Earth, with a concert at the Broadway-off-Commercial Rio Theatre on March 5. One month later, she’ll be in Calgary’s Saddledome for the 45th-annual Juno Awards, where Bitter Earth has a Vocal Jazz Album of the Year nomination.

OSCAR HOPEFULS: Cross your fingers for local Academy Award nominees Chris Duesterdiek, Robert Pandini, Hamish Purdy and Cameron Waldbauer who had technical and design roles in city-shot The Revenant.

HIGH AND LOW: Producing reality television can be akin to rolling rocks in search of something valuable. Or it can be literally that, as city-based Omnifilm Entertainment found with Jade Fever. That series has Jade City residents Claudia and Robin Bunce and others debouch from that tiny Highway 37 community into the Cassiar Mountains where 90 per cent of the world’s known jade awaits. The Discovery Channel series’ second season launched recently at Mahony & Sons Stamps Landing pub, where green is a respected colour. Omnifilm is also developing a series about SlackLifeBC.com (do look) principals Spencer Seabrooke, Brent Plumley and Michael Neururer. The former set a slackline world record recently by crossing a 300-metre-deep gorge near Squamish on a saggy, oscillating rope without plunge-protecting safety equipment. “That’s not as crazy as sitting in an office all day,” he said at the Omnifilm wingding. Seabrook hopes to do a similar traverse between Georgia Street’s Shangri-La and Trump towers. If only the latter structure’s eponym would do so, too.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: A recent obituary for former antiques dealer Alan Lever noted “his dry wit.” He’s the chap who fitted wife Barbara’s sedan with a vanity plate that read EMILY. “I wanted a painting by her favourite artist,” he said. “But they got too expensive, so this is her Emily car.”

malcolmparry@shaw.ca

604-929-8456

 
 
 
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What could be more bountiful than the nine-litre bottle from wine-festival feature nation Italy embraced by Bacchanalia gala chair Jana Maclagan?
 

What could be more bountiful than the nine-litre bottle from wine-festival feature nation Italy embraced by Bacchanalia gala chair Jana Maclagan?

Photograph by: Malcolm Parry

 
What could be more bountiful than the nine-litre bottle from wine-festival feature nation Italy embraced by Bacchanalia gala chair Jana Maclagan?
Victoria-raised author David Day’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded studies that famed book in entertaining forensic form.
Slackline walkers Spencer Seabrook, Michael Neururer and Brent Plumley may become the subjects of an Omnifilm reality-TV series.
With her This Bitter Earth album releasing March 5, jazz singer Jaclyn Guillou has her fingers crossed for a Juno Award one month later in Calgary.
As Jacqui Cohen’s Face The World gala total nears $20 million, daughter Kasondra’s Face of Today version may pass $500,000 tonight.
At one Cabriolet event, Jay Leno gave a nod to Carey Smith’s two stints chairing the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Heart of Gold fundraiser.
Barenaked Ladies Ed Robertson, Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn backed Brian Jessel at a precursor to March 5’s Cabriolet gala.
Wine festival chief Harry Hertscheg and beneficiary Bar on The Beach’s Claire Sakaki touted an auctioned bottle of Chateau Latour 1906.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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