June, 2014

  1. Nathan Fielder: Deadpan and Awkward Silences

    June 18, 2014 by Tessa Bousfield

    Is he a prankster, an Andy Kaufman-esque deadpan performance artist or a comedian? Or all of the above?

    It’s hard to describe exactly what UVic grad Nathan Fielder does, but his comedy of “deadpan and awkward silences” is getting to be very popular. In fact, this former Victoria resident has just been written up in the New York Times.

    He was born in Vancouver, where he attended Point Grey Secondary School. Fielder was a member of the school’s improv comedy group, which also included comedian Seth Rogen.

    Fielder graduated in 2005 with a Commerce degree from the University of Victoria. In short time he had snagged a spot on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. His “Nathan On Your Side” segments from that show are the basis for his new Comedy Central Show Nathan For You.

    Dumb Starbucks

    Fast-forward to 2014: earlier this year Fielder received plenty of fame and notoriety for “Dumb Starbucks” a prank or (depending how you want to look at it) performance art piece which saw him set up an outdoor replica of a Starbucks outlet in the middle of Los Angeles.

    Everything, from the menu to the look and feel of the servers (Fielder put out a Craigslist ad for former Starbucks baristas) was identical to Starbucks. The catch? Fielder inserted the word “dumb” into everything.

    The word “dumb” alone provided the legal cover Fielder needed for the stunt to qualify as parody. His parody popup also had people lining up around the block.

    Dumb Starbucks cups hit eBay for as much as $500, and a guy began hawking bootleg Dumb Starbucks trucker caps in the parking lot, alongside indie bands giving impromptu performances and a group opposed to plastic waste, which organized a protest.

    Pig Saves Dog Viral Video

    In another strange, hilarious sketch, Fielder tried to figure out how to create a viral video for a petting zoo.

    His idea was to persuade a pig to rescue a goat that had fallen into a duck pond. Fielder uploaded the obviously fake rescue attempt to YouTube, and, overnight the obviously fake video went viral, being picked up by major television networks all over the world.

    His most recent concept is to attempt to free himself from handcuffs before a robot can pull down his pants… while he stands in front of a “live studio audience” of children.

    Comedians as Entrepreneurs

    “Being a comedian is like being an entrepreneur — you have to develop something that people will value,” says Brocks Smith one of Fielder’s former teacher at UVic’s business school.

    Smith continues:

    Nathan starts his show, in part, with a visual of “his” University transcript, complete with C level grades, the subtext of which is that people should by wary of his advice. Nathan was actually a very strong student. In our entrepreneurship program, his innovation project team set a new record (by quite a lot) for profit made in 10 days with $5 of capital. His team sold product placement in a student’s guide of Victoria DVD, featuring funny vignettes that Nathan wrote.

    We’re hoping Nathan Fielder can somehow make it back to Victoria to show us whatever new trick he has up his sleeve next.

  2. Dead Beetz Food Truck

    June 11, 2014 by Tessa Bousfield

    Professional chef Karrie Hill combined twenty of experience in the kitchen with her love of both zombies and beets to launch one of Victoria’s most popular food trucks so far.

    “I decided to go for my dream and start building my very own food truck,” she said in December 2012. By spring 2013, she had achieved her goal, and then some.

    Hill successfully executed an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to upgrade her converted Grumman postal delivery van with a hood vent and a fire suppression system.

    Hill even had enough budget left over to paint the outside of the van with a cool zombie theme.

    Just six months after she launched her Indiegogo campaign, Hill and her tiny truck were serving up food at Victoria’s massive Rock the Shores and Rifflandia summer concerts.

    Kicking off the summer 2014 concert season, Dead Beetz plays centre stage this weekend at VICFest.

    When not satisfying the appetites of hungry concert-goers, Hill and her purple food truck are usually located in the parking lot behind Save-On-Foods arena.

    What to eat

    The menu features all sorts of good eats (it’s not just vegetarian offerings), with beet and yam chips served as a popular side dish.


    Lunch should cost you $10 max, a good deal since the ingredients are fresh, unique, tasty, and locally-sourced.

    Seafood roll

    The seafood roll (cousin to the classic East Coast lobster roll) is stuffed with scallops, spot prawns and lemon tarragon aioli.

    Butter paneer masala

    The butter paneer masala is served over basmati rice. Paneer is a cheese common in India, and replaces the chicken commonly served with masala to make this a vegetarian dish.

    Grilled steak sandwich

    The grilled steak sandwich is served with chimichurri sauce (made with parsley, cilantro and garlic), plus provolone cheese and crispy onions.


    Food Truck Culture in Victoria

    Mobile eateries serving up fresh, local, tasty cuisine have taken Victoria by storm over the past few years.

    Indeed, more than 20 food trucks around Victoria are listed on this handy online map of Victoria curated by the Times Colonist, with more being added all the time.

    There’s even an annual Food Truck Festival on July 18th & 25th, and on August 1st, from 11am to 9pm.

    As Hill’s successful Indiegogo campaign demonstrates, there is strong community support for food trucks in Victoria.

    The City of Victoria, the provincial government, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority all deserve some credit for making it easier to set up these mobile “pop up” eateries in civic space.

    Notably, Victoria’s, Late Night, Great Night program and Victoria Community Micro Lending have been involved; Community Micro Lending provided Karrie Hill with a small loan to serve as startup capital.

    The Dead Beetz community of Zombeet lovers did the rest.

    Food truck culture makes life in Victoria a little richer, a little more vibrant, and a lot more tasty.

    Bring on the zombie beets.

  3. HoogeStudios

    June 3, 2014 by Tessa Bousfield

    Image courtesy Vic42 and Al Smith Studios


    HoogeStudios is the passion of Todd Hooge, better known (by some) as the co-founder of local technology company Metamend. To other people, Todd is known as one of Victoria’s most accomplished drummers.

    Rumour has it Todd Hooge, during his time in Dublin, rubbed shoulders with fellow drummer Larry Mullen Jr. but any musician right here in Victoria will tell you that Todd is a go-to-guy for drumming and more.

    Somewhere along Todd’s musical journey HoogeStudios has quietly become a key part of Victoria’s thriving music scene.

    Todd is passionate about music. Besides equipping his studio with the latest recording technology, he also has an awesome collection of older, classic analog equipment and more, waiting for musicians to discover in his otherwordly mountaintop studio in Metchoshin.

    While HoogeStudios alumni Robbie Aylesworth was recently named the Zone’s Band of the Month (Todd Hooge plays drums in Aylesworth’s combom and Todd reliably records live “bootlegs” of the Zone’s Band of the Month), several local acts that have recorded at HoogeStudios will also be playing the upcoming VICFest on June 14.

    The Roper Show and Scotty Hill, both key draws at VICFest, recorded at HoogeStudios.

    Todd Hooge will also be on stage at VICFest as part of Robbie Aylesworth’s band. He’s also practicing for an upcoming gig playing the VIATeC Awards.

    Back at HoogeStudios, there’s rumours of something new from another hot Victoria band, Towers and Trees.

    There’s a lot to look forward to this summer.