By Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight


  For Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL), an artist-run organization in the city, it’s important to honour the parade’s radical roots. Hosting its third annual Alternative Pride festival this week from August 1 to August 6, the collective has created a 15-event celebration that features more than 100 artists, and operates independently from big-budget sponsorship.  

By Matt Troy  on Beatroute


  Vancouver Alternative Pride Festival is a grass-roots artist-led music and art festival celebrating important LGBTQ artists, organized by LGBGT artists on our own terms. Taking place over five days, we present unique and diverse events all over Vancouver, from mystical gardens to breath-taking city vistas to grimy underground after-hours and out-of-this world main events, including sex on site to uncensored radical art, all while raising money for Vancouver queer charities. 

By Tessa Vikander  on StarMetro Vancouver


  As part of the Alternative Pride event series, artist Paul Wong is organizing a Pride in Chinatown show that features traditional Chinese opera singers on stage with local Asian drag artists. The show, Gender Roles Playing on Stage, is a part of Wong’s year-long artist residency at the garden, and it’s the first time the organization has hosted an LGBTQ Pride event.

By Melissa Shaw  on Vancouver is Awesome


   The third annual Alternative Pride features 15 events with performances from over 100 artists over six days in August.

   Alternative Pride is produced by artist collective Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL). Artistic director Matt Troy says they do not work with any corporations and only receive funding from the people.

By Tessa Vikander  on StarMetro Vancouver


   While the Rio works to buy its space and stay put, others are embracing the extreme rental market conditions and taking advantage of the short-term rentals available on the market.

   “We survive on short term rentals, moving from space to space,” said Matt Troy, artistic director of Vancouver Art and Leisure. “There are so many properties in flux in Vancouver that are not being used,” Troy said.

By John Kurucz on Vancouver Courier


   Planning, party pooping and perseverance have been constants in Matt Troy’s life over the last five years.

As artistic director and founder of Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) arts collective, Troy is poised to open his fourth venue is as many years after facing a spate of renovictions, gentrification and even an arson.


   VAL’s return gets the official opening treatment at Manitoba and Sixth Avenue on May 5, in a 6,000 square-foot space that’s billed as part labyrinth, part laboratory.

By Eric Zimmer on UrbanizedVAN


   A Vancouver artists’ collective known as Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) has a new place to call home.

Called “The Lab,” the building is located at 101 West 6th Avenue,


   The 6,000 square-foot space is described as “half-laboratory, half-labyrinth.”

The labyrinth allows people to “transgress through two rooms of sound with dozens of smaller art installation rooms,” said VAL.

This area includes a new lounge and a high ceiling dance floor.

By Janet Smith on Straight


   Grassroots artists want more of a piece of the funding pie. Artists are leaving the city due to skyrocketing housing and studio-space prices. And Vancouver's arts programming does not proportionately reflect the diversity in the city's ethnic makeup.

By Melanie Woods Ho on The thunder Bird


   After a wave of sexual assault allegations posted on social media and the death of a local DJ last month, members of Vancouver’s music scene are calling for community standards for venues and more resources to respond to callouts.

   The Red Gate Arts Society will host a public town hall in mid-December to determine what actions must be taken by Vancouver’s venue operators, promoters and artists, said Red Gate Revue executive director Ana Rose Carrico.

By Selenna Ho on Dope Haus


   Artist collective Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) makes a triumphant return to the underground nightlife scene after being pushed out of their former location. VAL rented a 10,000 square foot warehouse space known as “The Villa” on Railway Street to host their marathon of Pride programming and events known as the “Alternative Pride Festival”.

    DOPE HAUS press correspondent Selenna Ho visited VAL’s Villa on the second night of the festival for their main event “Pride is for Everyone”. The event’s lineup boasted Octo Octa along with many drag performers and artists.

By Emily Blatta on Beatroute


   The Vancouver LGBTQ+ community has a lot to be proud of this year, but what’s cooler and more important than anything is its determination to create safer, more accessible spaces that are equally fun to play in, only more diverse and fresh-faced. Now in its second year, Vancouver Art and Leisure’s Alternative Pride is at the forefront of that movement, and flaunts a list of events that could draw even the homiest of home bodies out of their shell.

By Kendell Yan on Inside Vancouver


   Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) may have had to leave their warehouse site on Main street this past June, but the closure hasn’t stopped Matt Troy and the rest of the team from breaking ground by curating the second annual Alternative Pride Festival!


   VAL’s mission is to present and advocate for artistic events in unconventional and non-traditional spaces that transgress barriers artists and organizers may face in developing and putting on shows in Vancouver. Barriers such as venue costs, access to permits, resource allocation, and underrepresentation of visible minorities and local artists in mainstream venues.

By Clara Dubber on DISCORDER


   When conceiving CURRENT: A Pacific Northwest Feminist Electronic Arts Symposium Ashlee Luk, Nancy Lee and Soledad Muñoz knew that it was important for it to be an overtly intersectional feminist space. The organizers put ‘Feminist’ in the title because they felt that without owning their feminism they were inviting erasure. This feminist core drives what CURRENT is: a meeting place for women and non-binary people in the electronic arts to build support and relationships.

By  Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight

   Since women first entered the paid workforce, certain occupations have been designated as “women’s work”. Fancy a job as a nurse, typist, or elementary-school teacher? Here’s your offer letter. A computer programmer? We’ll call you.


   While today more women are embarking on careers in male-dominated professions, female employees are paid 87 cents for every dollar made by men in the same role, they rarely make it to the top positions in the company, and they are more likely to experience discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

By Cate Mcghee on THUMP

   More women and non-binary individuals are making music, booking shows, and running labels in the Canadian Riviera—but it wasn’t always this way.

   Inside a former home electronics store in downtown Vancouver, the 15th edition of New Forms Festival, the city's touchstone event for electronic music and multimedia art took place last October. Concert-goers had gathered in the old A&B Sound building, where Club 560's cavernous main room connects to mezzanines, side lounges, and the Satellite gallery upstairs through a maze of stairwells and hallways.

By Adam Schmidt and Chanel Klein on Dopehaus


   The party is over. 1965 Main Street is vacant. Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) closed their doors on June 6, 2017. Adam Schmidt and Chanel Klein spoke to Matt Troy and visited VAL’s final shows to get a scoop on the gentrification wave wiping out Vancouver’s independent arts and culture spaces.

By Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight   

   For many, local artist-run gallery and music venue Vancouver Art and Leisure is a cultural safe-haven.


   Specializing in alternative events—including film screenings, pop-up markets, art exhibitions, and late-night electronic music shows—the venue defied the encroaching gentrification of Main Street to promote a strong DIY attitude.


   Now, however, the collective has been told it will have to leave its current warehouse space.

   Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom. VPL is hosting a panel discussion to explore the freedom of expression issues faced by writers and artists.


- Hasan Namir, author of God in Pink, and Lambda Literary Award Winner for Gay Fiction
-Matt Troy, artist and executive director of the Vancouver Art and Leisure Society
-Surinder Bhogal, chief librarian of Surrey Public Library

By Andrew Ryce on Resident Advisor

   When you consider how much music James Clements releases as ASC—two LPs and four EPs in 2016 alone—you might expect him to play out more. But a chronic back injury has made DJing, nevermind traveling, difficult for the San Diego-based Brit in recent years. Saturday's gig in Vancouver was his first since December 2015, which is a shame because Clements makes such singular dance music—without him around to represent it, it's not a sound you hear out all that much. If nothing else, Saturday's strong turnout proved that there's still a healthy appetite for it. 

OutlookTv covers the event SPANK at VAL.

By Cameron Frazier on Dance Music Northwest

   Vancouver’s Art and Leisure Society has been home to some of the cities best underground events for years. Staying true to their vision of providing a place for artists and musicians alike to express themselves has certainly help gain their ranking amongst our favorite venues in the city. Promoting the possibilities of all individuals regardless or race, religion or sexual orientation has created a safe space for all to enjoy. 

By Craig Takeuchi on The Georgia Straight

   Just as the city is gearing up for a holiday season of giving, some individuals have struck a blow against a local grassroots arts organization by stealing from them.

    Vancouver Art and Leisure reported today (December 9) that their venue at 1965 Main Street was broken into and much of their equipment was stolen.

By  David P. Ball on Vancouver Metro

   Members of Vancouver’s arts promoter community say this city is a beacon for the way it supports so-called “alternative” events, as California authorities continue to search for bodies in the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire that claimed at least 36 lives Friday night.

On CBC News

   A Vancouver alternative arts promoter says lives could have been saved in the Oakland warehouse fire if the city used Vancouver's approach to underground events.

   At least 36 people died after the Dec. 2 fire trapped participants at an unsanctioned party in the warehouse. The space was popularly known as the Oakland Ghost Ship and was home to a local artist's collective.

By Kevin Dale McKeown on Daily Xtra

   In a recent piece by my colleague Raziel Reid, we read about Matt Troy, a maestro of today’s party scene, whose business philosophy is right out of John’s playbook. “Partying is an art,” Matt says. “Providing a service, not selling a product — that’s the new art model.”

By Link Magazine

   Objets d’Arc is the result of Sad China’s ambition and courage to help females and femme-identifying individuals who have been abused and neglected in the nightlife scene. We are no stranger to this conversation, as our October issue features an interview with Dope Haus DJ Chanel Klein who shared her own experiences as a female in the local nightlife scene. 

By Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight 

   VAL member, Sunny Chen, talks with CJSF about her upcoming exhibition, Objets d' Arc.VAL member, Sunny Chen, talks with CJSF about her upcoming exhibition, Objets d' Arc.

By  Little Dot Studios and Michael Tait on Theguardian

   Vancouver Art and Leisure has been an important space in the city for a lot of different scenes. For the art scene, for the queer scene, for the electronic music scene, for the DJ scene, it is the most inclusive place, probably, in the city." -Joel West, of Groundwerk Vancouver, tells The Gaurdian News in this new in-depth look into Vancouver's growing world-class music and art scene.

By David Fluharty & Lia Monteferrante on RENDRD Magazine

   Last Friday was Chapel Sound’s 4th year anniversary celebration at Vancouver Art & Leisure. Chapel Sound is a local collective featuring mostly musicians and visual artists, all focused on building a cohesive, local community of creators. Since their beginnings four years ago, they have built a massive local reputation for putting on high quality shows at underground venues, clubs, and DIY events. The collective stands by the mandate to “push creative expression forward without boundaries or prejudice.


   ” Vancouver Art & Leisure, a space dedicated to presenting art in radicle, unconventional ways, was the perfect venue for putting their work into action. VAL promotes their philosophy through a wide range of projects and events, including musical performances, studio shows, guest speakers, and so on.

By Gabriel Klein on Beatrout

   After wowing the B.C. dance music faithful at this year’s Basscoast with one of the festival’s standout sets, Ivy Lab were set for a return to B.C. at one of my favourite venues in town, Vancouver Arts & Leisure. 

By Jesse Gotfrit  on Lotus Land

   Red Gate’s current neighbourhood, between Strathcona and Clark on Hastings St., is already experiencing the same development, and Red Gate is yet again planning a move. “Our whole block has been bought up, and there’s huge condo development going on a block away”. This is a disappointment for Red Gate, since according to Rose, “the new address has worked out really well so far, and is really great in of itself and for shows.”


   However, now that their lease is up, they have to pay rent month to month, which jeopardizes their longevity and impedes their ability to apply for grants or make long term plans. Rose explains that the situation of Red Gate is not exceptional, and that other arts collectives and venues constantly face similar kinds of problem, offering the example of Vancouver Art and Leisure, a venue for LGBTQ+ nightlife, which has faced the same instability due to elevated property values.

By Robert Mangelsdorf  on Westender

  ''We’re 100 per cent self-funded, we haven’t taken any grant money and were supported only by the strength of our members,” says Troy.  We provide an opportunity for artists that is not based on rank, discipline or intent. We provide a social context for a space where people can express themselves politically, artistically, and sexually, and express their gender''

   ''These types of places are rapidly disappearing in Mount Pleasant, so we’re happy that we can provide this,” says Troy. “We have an excellent landlord who’s really supportive. But the same reasons we moved in will be the same reasons we move out.''

By Vanessa Tam on Beatroute

   VANCOUVER — Celebrating years of live streaming on the Internet, music production workshops, artist collaborations and the infamous Chapel house parties, Chapel Sound is officially turning four years old.

A Vancouver-based artist collective, Chapel Sound is home to a variety of creative types including producers, rappers, DJs, visual and interactive artists who support one another in the creation of their art. “My initial motivation was to build a venue that showcases the dope artists that no one else wants to showcase because they’re too ‘difficult’ or ‘uncomfortable,’” explains Sean Oh, the founder or “collage artist” of Chapel, as he prefers to reference to himself. “I feel like we have created this little wild backyard; chaotic, full of potential and sexy.”

By Staff on The Georgia Straight

   My favourite thing about our fine city is the constant ingenuity of artists to make a mark upon this city. Despite the many challenges of creating art in this city you will find art everywhere, from bus stops to murals to pop-ups. A friend of mine once described the Vancouver art scene as “Venue Whac-A-Mole”. Numerous art venues have disappeared, but despite this there are always new and interesting spaces appearing where artists can present work on their own terms.

By  Amanda Siebert on The Georgia Straight

   As part of this Saturday’s first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival, a series of three panels featuring muralists, musicians, curators, and other thought leaders will be held at the Fox Cabaret. With so many events taking place as part of the fest—everything from live art and street parties to concerts and gallery presentations—these speaker panels will provide a platform for art enthusiasts and academics alike to discuss the culture surrounding street art in Vancouver.

By Daily VICE

    Vancouver Pride has no official party to celebrate the transgender community so best friends Julie Vu and Quanah Style took matters into their own hands to help organise the first Trans Pride Artist Showcase. They took us in a limo on their night out to show how important (and seriously fun) events like this are for the trans community.

By Andrew Ryce on Resident Advisor


  The first Vancouver Alternative Pride will go down around the city starting on Friday, July 29th. 

   Matt Troy, the promoter behind Backdoor and the Vancouver Art & Leisure venue, has gathered a host of queer events together for Alternative Pride, meant as a counterpoint to the more mainstream choices that take up the event schedule on Pride weekend. For a few events, he's also brought in out-of-town talent. 

By Kendell Yan on Inside Vancouver


  Queers, straights, and allies rejoice! Vancouver Pride week is about to experience an expansion of the festivities offered in the city by a team of over 100 artists working to make this season as inclusive as ever with the Alternative Pride Festival.

By Brian Webb on HOMOCULTURE


  Feeling like you haven’t quite found your tribe or space within the pride community? Perhaps you’re a seasoned veteran and just want something a little different this year. Vancouver Art & Leisure has unveiled the Alternative Pride Festival, July 29-31. The most anticipated weekend of the entire weekend is Backdoor Pride Edition.

By Taylor Jordan on Dope Haus

  Shimmering with gold, Vancouver is still feeling the magic of Bass Coast all around the city. Summertingswent down at Vancouver Art and Leisure on Friday July 16, 2016 with a stacked line up that included some fine acts from this year and last years’ Bass Coast lineup. The floor was packed before 11 PM, which is not always the easiest task during the summer time. That being said, VAL has been up and running since September 2014 and is a great spot in the city to catch quality electronic music deep into the night.

By Queer FM


Prancehall organizer, Marcus Marshall, discusses Alternative Pride Festival. 

By Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight


    It’s time to dust off your rainbow flags: Pride Week is nearly upon us. Hundreds of thousands of participants took to the streets for last year’s official parade—and with events scheduled to celebrate everything from spirituality and homosexuality, being a queer senior, and different facets of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and gay culture, the official festival allows different groups to honour their identity.

By Lauren Sundstrom on Daily Hive

   If you’ve ever felt that Pride Week lacks options, you’re in luck. A grassroots organization has popped up aiming to supply alternative events to the traditional Pride festivities normally offered in Vancouver.


   The aptly named “Alternative Pride Festival” is putting on a myriad of music and art events at small venues over a four-day period during Pride week.

By David P. Ball on Metro

   A Vancouver LGBTQ events organizer says his community isn’t intimidated by hate-inspired vandalism that appeared on Vancouver Arts and Leisure Centre’s door in the wake of the Orlando gay bar massacre last week.


   But Matt Troy, creative director of the centre on Main Street, said the swastika graffiti that defaced the organization’s front door last Tuesday has sparked outpourings of support and solidarity over the past week — and opened some people’s eyes.

By Taran Parmar on The Roundhouse Radio

   Nearly a week later, the Orlando nightclub attack weighs heavily on the minds of Vancouverites.

Now we are hearing of attacks on members of the LGBTQ community, right here at home.

   On Sunday morning, just a few hours after news of the attack began flooding in, a hate symbol was found painted on the doors of Vancouver Art and Leisure Centre.

By Stacey Forrester and Kimberly Girling on The Georgia Straight

   We aimed to create information that stakeholders, agencies, insurance providers, security teams, and patrons might find useful to help maximize opportunities for event safety and to benefit harm-reduction organizers and educators looking to address gaps in young peoples’ knowledge of drug use.

By Chanel Klein on DOPE HAUS

   Prancehall is the queer dancehall experience from the minds of organizers Marcus Marshall and Camille Heron. The very first Prancehall event was held at Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) on Friday May 27, 2016.  “Vancouver Art and Leisure is a queer based art and event studio,” says Marcus. “[VAL] makes it comfortable for gays in the community to know they aren’t just segregated to the West End or Davie St.”

By Kate Wilson on Georgia Straight

   “Gay men, lesbians and queers must be assassinated”, Vybz Kartel announces in Jamaican patois on the huge 2003 dancehall hit “Bedroom Slaughteration.”

Dancehall might be one of the world’s hottest sounds right now—just ask Drake, whose explosive new album Views showcases three dancehall-inspired “riddims”—but shocking homophobic lyrics like these are far from uncommon in the traditional Caribbean genre.

May 24, 2016

By Austin Grabish on DailyXtra

   The Vancouver locals are partnering with Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL) to produce PranceHall, a queer-friendly reggae night that’s raising awareness about homophobia in dancehall music.

“It’s kind of like taking back the music and making it more accessible,” Heron says.

“So with our night we’re kind of flipping the script.”


May 20, 2016

By Liam Britten, CBC News


    A Vancouver promoter has decided to offer free consultations on how to get around city red tape after police shut down a party thrown by Emily Carr University students, deploying multiple police cars and even a helicopter.

May 18, 2016



    Matt Troy says parties and events in unconventional spaces are a staple of the alternative arts scene, but between City Council, fire officials and the police, it's tough to know how to make sure such events go off without a hitch.

May 18, 2016

By Brenda Grunau on Discorder Magazine


    It is impossible to attend Austin’s music industry festival, SXSW, without comparing the streets to your hometown of Vancouver and imagining all the possibilities. Every cafe, cupcake shop and patio is turned into a venue, sound is inescapable and you find a new stage installed in the alley behind your hotel while roaming for your morning coffee. The City of Austin is the real star of SXSW, with the desire to host 70,000 people and the regulatory flexibility to do it. 


May 11, 2016

By y Kate Wilson on The Georgia Straight


Electronic music often happens at a distance. With the rise of the Internet, producers can swap sounds over a global network without meeting face to face. Dissatisfied with how this remote production eclipses the joy of “record-store run-ins”, one Vancouver event is putting the personal back into dance music.


April 12, 2016

By Nathaniel Christopher on Daily Xtra


   VAL director accepts apology but calls it a crude business tactic.


    The new managers of the Odyssey Bar and Nightclub have an issued an apology to the gay community for its private investigation into a competing queer event. “We would like to extend an apology to all in the gay community that have been hurt, burdened, singled out, or negatively effected by the events of the past specifically the events surrounding, and including,Vancouver Art and Leisure, Matt Troy, and the drag community,” reads an April 12, 2016 Facebook post attributed to the Odyssey’s new managers, Sebastian Ankiel and Brandon Patrick Folkes.


April 06, 2016

By Mark Yuen on Vancouver Sun


   Finding alternative culture in Vancouver may appear to be an act of desperation. However digging deeper than the generic vibe of the Granville strip you see an emerging scene that is pulsing – literally – with creativity.


March 22, 2016

By Jessica Linnay on Inside Vancouver


   In days mostly gone by, the record store was a world revolving on its own: secrets were swapped about samples, album drops anticipated by faithful fans who stood by with sweaty bills always ready in their palms, hours upon hours were spent flipping fingers over the tops of record covers, digging through crates like they contained the Holy Grail – sometimes, they did.

March 07, 2016

By Andrew Ryce on Resident Advisor


  A quick scan of the room at Mighty, the venue for Honey Soundsystem's New Year's Eve party, showed a decadent scene: drag queens, guys in leather gear, people engaging in various sex acts in the club's nooks and crannies (or just out in the open), a few straight couples happily dancing. It was overwhelming, sexually charged and permissive, with the almost utopian vibe you get from a really good queer party.

January 26, 2016

By Hollie McGowan on THUMP


   Strict by-laws for nightlife, high cost of living, and little support for arts and culture have all factored prominently into Vancouver's prickly reputation for artists of all varieties. Its music scene in particular has had to maintain a largely underground presence, constantly dodging the watchful eye of the city's law enforcement. Today, however, that's beginning to change, thanks to a new pilot program designed to bring DIY events to the surface.

December 31, 2015

By On the Coast, CBC News  


   An electronic dance music promoter says he is pleased that the City of Vancouver now offers a license allowing three EDM shows per month, per venue in the city.

The new license, voted into law earlier this month, effectively makes so-called warehouse raves legal in Vancouver.


   Previously, such activities, though a mainstay of the underground electronic music scene, were unsanctioned and often shut down. But all that is now a thing of the past, says Matt Troy of the Vancouver Art and Leisure Society.

EDM promoter welcomes City of Vancouver’s efforts to accommodate EDM events On The Coast

December 30, 2015

Aired  on CBC radio



December 24, 2015

Posted by Kevin Griffin on The Vancouver Sun


   The next time anyone describes Vancouver as a “no fun city,” just mention the city’s new licencing program for arts events. That should shut them up.


   Not only does it open up the city’s nightlife to electronic dance and art-related events, it does so in way that welcomes them as part of what it means to have a vibrant, dynamic city.

December 24, 2015

Posted by Kevin Griffin on The Vancouver Sun


   One of the reasons VAL events have attracted such a diverse crowd of gay, straight and queer people is that everyone knows you can party and express yourself without having to worry about embarrassing photos turning up on Facebook later that night. In fact, abiding by the no photography rule has become one of the most important rules at VAL which is also in operation at fetish events in Vancouver.

December 20, 2015

Posted by Jeffrey Yau on Round House Radio


   It looks like City Hall is doing what it can to fight the "No Fun City" label.

Council has granted licences for some late-night activities in industrial spaces, which is especially beneficial for electronic dance music shows.


   Councillor Heather Deal says the city heard loud and clear from people upset over underground music shows getting constantly shut down by bylaw officers.

She says this licensing comes from a successful pilot program that started two years ago.

December 17, 2015

Posted by Jeffrey Yau on YourEDM


   Two years ago, Vancouver’s city council launched a pilot program for artistic events which offered licenses for late-night activities in industrial spaces – read warehouse raves. Events ranged from your typical underground rave in a warehouse somewhere to downright bizarre ones, including a supposed clown showcase. Recognizing such raves as artistic ventures, city hall ended up licensing three shows per month per venue. As of today the Vancouver city council has turned that into a law.

December 16, 2015

Posted by Kate Wilson on The Georgia STRAIGHT


   There are many things you don’t want to hear when dancing at 4 a.m. in a sweaty warehouse: “I hope the DJ plays Calvin Harris!” “Can I get on your shoulders?” “Watch me wring out my shirt!” But these words are still the worst: “Shut it down.”

December 09, 2015

Posted by Brian Webb on Thehomoculture


   It could be a complete breach of trust and infringement of the rights and the privacy of Vancouver’s LGBT community as former lawyer and now nightclub owner, Bijan Ahmadian, hired an undercover private investigation company to film and photograph at a private event in late October in Vancouver, B.C

December 09, 2015

Posted by Andrew Ryce on Resident Advisor


   Vancouver Art And Leisure's Matt Troy has released a new statement about the aftermath of the private investigation into one of his events in October. 


December 03, 2015

Posted by Brian Hutchinson on National Post


  The manager of a prominent Vancouver gay nightclub admits he hired private investigators to infiltrate a crowded sex party organized by a rival and leaked their findings — including shadowy images of participants — to a local newspaper, in an attempt to publicize what he says is an “inconsistent enforcement of liquor regulations and capacity laws in the city.”

November 27, 2015

Posted by Mike Miksche on Daily Xtra


  The owner of Odyssey nightclub in Vancouver, Bijan Ahmadian, recently took it upon himself to launch a private investigation into the Vancouver Arts and Leisure’s sex-positive Halloween party.Apparently, he was concerned about “out of control mixing of alcohol” (is that even possible?), drug use and overcrowding. But he still had his investigators secretly shoot video of sexual activity in a photo-free play space.

November 25, 2015

Posted by Manisha Krishnan on Vice


   Having grown up in Vancouver, I know its No Fun City reputation intimately. Frankly, it's well deserved. Clubs close early, you're not allowed to smoke anywhere, all the cool indie venues get shut down only to be replaced by lame glass towers. There are places where you're legally obliged to buy a burger if you want to have a drink.

November 25, 2015

Posted by Andrew Ryce on Resident Advisor


   Vancouver Art & Leisure has been the target of a private investigation ordered by local nightclub operator Bijan Ahmadian.

   The VAL, a licensed arts space in East Vancouver, regularly holds art parties, dance events and queer gatherings, including Backdoor, a gay event series organized by venue operator Matt Troy. 


November 25, 2015

Posted by Nathaniel Christopher on DailyXtra


   The owner of a gay club in Vancouver says his concern about safety, not sex, prompted him to fund an investigation into a competing gay event hosted Oct 30 by Vancouver’s Art and Leisure Society (VAL).

   “We received calls and were aware of grave concerns from our artists and members of the queer community,” Odyssey owner-operator Bijan Ahmadian tells Daily Xtra. “I called the liquor inspector in charge of that area and let him know. But in my experience in Vancouver it’s difficult to get a taxi or the police then because a lot of events that are happening.”


November 24, 2015

Posted by on CTV Vancouver


   A prominent Vancouver nightclub owner says safety concerns drove him to send private investigators into a city-licensed party to expose alleged drug use, overcrowding and over-serving.

November 24, 2015

Posted by on DailyXtra


   Almost since its inception, Vancouver’s Art and Leisure Society (VAL) has faced challenges to the art it presents and the spaces of free expression that it strives to foster.

Complaints about the sex-positive nature of the queer society’s events triggered several City of Vancouver inspections in early 2015, says VAL’s executive director Matt Troy.


   Daily Xtra asked city officials about the inspections in March 2015. Officials at the time raised some concerns about allegations of over-capacity parties, but said “city and partner agencies will continue working with VALS to help them comply with regulations for any future events they organize.”

November 23, 2015

Posted by on News 1130


  An event promoter says his organization is being targeted with a private investigation that alleges a licensed, East Vancouver Halloween party involved drug use, over serving, sex acts and was over capacity.

   Matt Troy, director of Vancouver Art and Leisure, said there is a long history of their events being targeted and believes the Backdoor Halloween event on October 30th may have been one of them.

November 23, 2015

Posted by Nick England on The Province


   Booze inspectors are looking into a Vancouver arts group after a private investigator’s report emerged detailing alleged drug use, sex acts, overcrowding and overserving at one of its parties.


   The B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has told The Province it is “aware of the concerns regarding the Vancouver Art and Leisure Society, and is currently looking into the matter.”

October 23, 2015

Arts Event License Pilot Program  


Watch the full video on the Vancouver Art and Leisure youtube page here.

June 05, 2015

Written by Matt Troy on Vancity Buzz


   Dear Gregor Robertson, City Council and Vancouver Police Department,

We are reaching out to you concerning the new policy of the Vancouver Police Department to fine local cultural organizers for having a police presence at their event. This letter is written on behalf of Vancouver Art and Leisure, a non-profit artist-run group that advocates for art and leisure in the city. We hope to shed light on the important changes that need to be made to make alternative events safer. We are also hope to share our knowledge on how this new measure will make events less safe and damage our growing local arts ecology.


May 31, 2015

Posted by Ria Renouf on CKNW


   Vancouver Police recently said it wants party promoters to pick up the tab for policing at unsanctioned events.


   But one group it’s a step in the wrong direction.

Matt Troy is the Director for not-for-profit group Vancouver Art and Leisure. He understands there are safety concerns – such as the ones brought up after the death of a 23 year old during a late-night party in Stanley Park last week, but  says officials need to reassess the situation.


March 13, 2015

Posted by Raziel Reid on DailyXtra


   The head of a local arts group says the sex-positive nature of his events has generated overzealous scrutiny from City of Vancouver officials and BC liquor inspectors.

Vancouver’s Indoor Arts & Culture pilot program is supposed to make it easier for smaller organizations, like the Art and Leisure Society, to host occasional arts and culture events for up to 250 people in unconventional spaces such as warehouses, galleries, factories and shops.


January 12, 2015

Posted by Derek Bedry on VancityBuzz


   Being able to party how you want is an art form – one that’s restricted by a lot of red tape in Vancouver that mediates what you can do, where, and if there will be booze, according to DIY event producers.


   But the City of Vancouver wants to relax its no-fun reputation, and with the Vancouver Art and Leisure Centre re-opening this month in a new location, it’s clear some of those underground nightlife mavens are “going straight,” if you will, to lead the way.

October 03, 2014

Posted by Kevin Griffin on Vancouver Sun


VAL is the shortened acronym for Vancouver Art and Leisure Society, a new non-profit group headed by Matt Troy, the organization’s executive director.

Troy and his team have found a big, 700 square metre (7,500 sq ft) space near Main and 3rd in an industrial area. Not too far from downtown, it has the benefit of not having any residential neighbors close enough to be upset by people coming and going at all hours of the night.

September 24, 2014

Posted by Raziel Reid on DailyXtra


   Partying is an art. Or at least it should be, according to Vancouver promoter Matt Troy.

“Providing a service, not selling a product — that’s the new art model,” he says. “Creating a wonderful, interactive mind and body experience. This type of art doesn’t really have a name yet, but I think that it’s the future.”


   The change Vancouver has been waiting for has arrived. We've launched a new organization, The Vancouver Art and Leisure Society - to challenge everything you thought you knew about events, happenings, and art in the public realm. Join our mission to make Vancouver a world leader in art and leisure by helping fund a new space for art, leisure, music and creativity.

August 04, 2014

Posted by Alexandra Posadzki on The Globe and Mail


   Event promoters say restrictive liquor laws and residential creep are stifling Vancouver’s alternative arts and music scene by making it virtually impossible to find venues to host concerts, art shows, dance parties and live performances.


   New housing developments are transforming formerly industrial zones such as the Hastings and Clark corridors, once home to a bustling underground art scene, into quiet, residential neighbourhoods.


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