Gastown: Bartenders reveal (almost) all in calendar

Proceeds to benefit prostate and breast cancer research

Move over firemen. Bartenders are taking over.

Fifteen bartenders from the Gastown neighbourhood took a break from pouring drinks to volunteer their time to model for the 2014 Gastown bartender calendar.

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The calendar, which raises money for charity, features bartenders from Keefer Bar, The Portside Pub, Pidgin and more. Some got as risqué as they could — no full-frontal nudity though — while others kept it classy.

“Some of the [dive] bars are much more risqué … then some of the cocktail bars wanted to keep more clothing on,” said Sean Hewlett, Mr. February and bartender for Bambudda at 99 Powell St.

Hewlett came up with the vision for the calendar and enlisted the help of bartenders he knew in the neighbourhood.

“Bartenders don’t necessarily have the best image within the community as a whole. “[This was] a way for us to show that we really care about the area that we work in and we want to support it.”

Hewlett teamed up with Robyn Jenkins, who produced the 2011 and 2013 Vancouver Firemen calendar, and photographer Asher Jones.

Hewlett said that Jones, whose interest is in hip-hop photography, was a perfect fit for the job.

“The majority of hip-hop artists are male, so he really knows how to bring out masculine features,” said Hewlett, who liked Jones’ use of harsh lines and long exposure to create a gritty picture.

Jones said he enjoyed the project, but it was not what he was expecting.

“I had the image of suave bartenders, in a nice suit, slicked-back hair, pouring a drink, lighting a girl’s cigarette over the bar.”

Instead it turned out to be “shooting half-naked dudes being goofy,” Jones laughed.

Hewlett let the bartenders choose their theme. Some chose to come up with a theme relating to their month, while others chose ideas such as copying the cover of a Led Zeppelin album or donning a bearskin rug.

Lenny McLelland, bartender for the Metropole Community Pub, insisted on wearing his Metropole Adidas high tops while posing on top of the bar’s pool table.

“That was my only stipulation for the picture. I’ll do whatever you need me to do as long as I get to wear my high tops,” McLelland said.

The calendars are selling for $20 and are available from each participating bartender. All the money raised will go to the B.C. Yukon Breast Cancer Foundation and B.C. Prostate Cancer Foundation. The bartenders and artists involved volunteered their time, and were sponsored by local businesses.

McLelland and Hewlett said the calendars have been well-received by customers, as well as the larger community. 

“The Gastown businesses and community as a whole, I think everyone recognizes that it’s a good thing for the area,” said Hewlett.

Creative director Robyn Jenkins said she’d like to see the calendar project expand to other areas of the city. “It would be awesome to do a Yaletown bartender’s calendar,” she said.

Hewlett is already thinking ahead.  “We’ve already starting compiling a to-do list for the 2015 calendar,” he said.

“I can’t wait to approach it next year and it’s my hope that it will get bigger and better every year.”

But if you want to get your hands on one of the 2014 calendar, act fast. As bartender turned calendar model McLelland says,

“Nobody really wants to buy a calendar after January.”

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