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Story by Joe Leary

Howard Blank is a self-described ‘modern-day impresario’. A longtime fixture on the local landscape, actively involved in myriad entertainment and charitable ventures, his life is eerily reminiscent of many of the city’s most industrious figures.

“I’ve always wanted to emulate Hugh Pickett as he was an icon to me as a young kid,” notes Blank, who counts the late legendary impresario among other notable influencers, such as former Commodore Ballroom owner Drew Burns and talent manager Bruce Allen.

It’s an impressive list that also includes restaurateurs John Teti and Roger Gibson and serves as a veritable who’s-who of Vancouver’s rich entertainment history. A lifelong love of Hollywood seemingly laid the groundwork to where Blank’s life would lead. “Show business has always been a passion in my life and I got involved with it, even when I was with the Great Canadian Gaming (Entertainment) for many years as Vice President Media, Responsible Gaming and Entertainment.”

It’s an affiliation that has lasted over thirty-five years. Blank’s showbiz path began at The Vogue Theatre as a teen in the role of volunteer usher where, he says, “I got to see all the movies I wanted for free plus all the popcorn and soda I could handle.”

Impresario – noun
1: the promoter, manager, or conductor of an operaor concert company
2: a person who puts on or sponsors an entertainment (such as a television show or sports event)

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In his graduation year something resonated. “In Grade 12 I saw an article about Bruce Allen collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia.

I wanted to work for him out of college so I reached out and wanted him to see my memorabilia. He showed up at my parents place one afternoon with two guys: one was Red Robinson and the other was Bryan Adams”.

Allen encouraged the young Blank and that acknowledgment proved beneficial. “I’ve always believed boldness is greatness and if you can be bold and take that step, great things come of it”.

His life is replete with involvements in some 100 films and TV shows, broadcasting radio feature segments and in various other media capacities. He has rubbed shoulders and often striking friendships with showbiz legends including James Brown, Don Rickles, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart and Olivia Newton-John.

When COVID-19 struck, throwing the entertainment showrooms into the dark, Blank approached Great Canadian Casinos about taking over the River Rock and Hard Rock Show Theaters. “I knew they wouldn’t be putting on the same number of shows so I wanted to come in and run them, and now have the contract to do just that with my company, Point Blank Entertainment.

Coincidentally, Bruce Allen’s son Quinn is a member of our production team.” The plan is to bring back the luster and glamour of earlier days with headline entertainers, but in the post-pandemic world, show business poses a challenge. “It’s hard,” admits Blank. “To break even, your ticket prices need to be higher.

It’s not that we’re gouging – it’s just that everything you do these days cost double.” While spare time is limited, he’s found a niche serving as a board member and an auctioneer, and gives much of his time and talent to various philanthropic events.

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“I’ve always believed boldness is greatness and if you can be bold and take that step, great things come of it”

He was named among the Top 500 Business People within the Charitable Sector by Business in Vancouver. His numerous credits include hosting “The World’s largest 50/50 Draw,” “BC’s Big Bingo,” supporting numerous charities along the way and among them, one near and dear to the Brian Jessel team.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the team through the Brian Jessel Foundation, who donates a car to the Jewish organization Chabad Lubavitch BC. We’ve raised a lot of money and it’s been phenomenal.”

Going forward, the plan is to expand his entertainment services across Canada and perhaps internationally as well. Entertainment courses through his veins and through his years of celebrity encounters, Howard Blank has noted a fairly consistent trend among the rich and famous.

“I’ve found that some of the hottest stars of the time are not the nicest and the stars that we’ve grown up with and loved, know exactly who butters their bread. They care for every fan no matter who they are.

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