; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2007

Sunday, 2 December 2007


YES we were THAT close!! I just got back from the Spice Girls and OMFG I absolutely had an AMAZING TIME!!! Opening night in Vancouver!!! SOOOOOOOOO F'N GOOD!!!!! Will write more later, but right now, I am 20 again!!! Stop right now, thank you very much!!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Kathy Griffin and Special Guests...

Kathy Griffin rocked the house last night here in Vancouver at the RiverRock Casino!

She was downright hilarious and had everyone rolling in the aisles!

Before heading in, we spotted Dan Ackroyd outside the casino getting out of his car. Looking a bit pudgy, it was still him though. He is in town with John Belushi doing their Blues Brothers act tonight.

However, what may have stolen the show was when she started talking about meeting strong women who have survived so much in their lifetimes... "And in Season One, we tried to meet this lady. I was thrilled to have finally met her last night, and this evening she is here in the audience and I just want to say hi. Please put the spotlight on her... everybody, an amazing lady... Miss... LIZA MINELLI!!!"

The spotlight beamed down, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! Liza Minelli was sitting one row directly in front of us!!! I could have leaned over and touched her if I wanted to! OMG!! And she looked great. She's lost a bunch of weight, and was smiling and laughing throughout the rest of the show. She did look a bit frail though, and people had to help her up and down the stairs. However, that was truly shocking and amazing.

Liza was at the casino doing 3 performances this past week, so it was awesome she stuck around for Kathy Griffin. With the number of feygellahs in the crowd, you can't even imagine how distracted we all were once we realized she was there. It was definitely, definitely, a special night to remember!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Writer's Festival

The Vancouver International Writer's Festival begins today.

Of interest is the attendance of author Neil Smith (Bang Crunch) and Giller award winning author/doctor Vincent Lam (Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures).

Unfortunately, a lot of the events I want to attend take place during the daytime while I'm at work.

Monday, 1 October 2007


I took in a Sunday matinee of the Stanley Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's Company yesterday.

I hate Sondheim musicals. With the exception of the work he did for the Dick Tracy movie, I can't stand his songs, let alone his musicals. Or maybe it's because the only other Sondheim show I've seen was also put on by the Stanley Theatre, who have been known to have a stinker or two.

Company is the story of a 35 year old single man living in a world of couples. Gee, talk about working out your issues through art! It was modernized and the story was relative to today's world, but overall I was a bit bored and completely annoyed by the music/songs.

The other Sondheim musical I saw, Sweeney Todd, comes to movie theatres this December. I hated it on stage, but I also hated Chicago on stage - at the movies however, I went to see Chicago a personal record of 6 times. So, let's hope that Sweeney Todd the Movie will be worth going to this Christmas! I'm sure with director Tim Burton at the helm and Johnny Depp starring as the "demon barber of Fleet Street," it'll be decent enough!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Catch some FISH!!

Assaulted Fish, that is!

Vancouver's Fringe Festival is in full swing and it was actually my very first year attending it! There looks to be a slew of exciting shows going on, and Assaulted Fish is definitely one of them. Even Lost's Daniel Dae Kim was in the audience this past weekend.

Their show features the "best of" their material from this past year, and it will have you rolling in the aisles! Shows: Wed. Sept. 12 – 8:45pm, Fri. Sept. 14 – 5:30pm
and Sat. Sept. 15 – 1:30pm, at the Pacific Theatre on 12th and Hemlock.

Definitely a recommended show from this year's Fringe!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Under The Bridge Downtown

Friday night was the preview of Boca Del Lupo's latest summer extravaganza, Quasimodo, a retelling of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you've never been to their annual free summer show, then this is NOT to be missed! Usually done in the wild woods of Stanley Park, the troupe had to move locations this year due to the wind storm damage that was done to the park earlier this year.

Instead, they found themselves a home right underneath the Burrard Street Bridge. It's actually a perfect locale - dark shadows, gloomy corners, and concrete pillars make it the ideal set for a hunchbacked bellringer. While most of the Boca summer shows have simple storylines that are relatively easy to follow, as it is a family affair, Quasimodo is much more complex and at times a little complicated. Take into account of course that they had to face the daunting task of adapting Hugo's epic tale into a family-friendly 90 minute show. However, the sets and the location are enough to make this a must-do this summer.

That is, if you can get tickets. Apparently, the show - although free, the public had to reserve tickets in advance - sold out in a matter of 23 minutes. However, you can try placing your bets on cancellations and show up hoping that you'll get in, which you most likely will. More about the show here.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


Another cool Vancouver event is the Illuminaires festival, which takes place this Saturday evening at Trout Lake. It involves hundreds of people getting together to show off their homemade lanterns. Some are just tin cans with holes in it hanging off the end of a stick (i.e. mine), and some are super extravagant with amazing designs and papier mache and blinking lights and steam coming out... Whatever your lantern may or may not be, it's definitely an event not to be missed!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Symphony of Fire

It's Fireworks time again!

Perhaps one of the few good tourist attractions for Vancouver, the annual Symphony of Fire begins this Wednesday, July 25th. For four dates, the Lower Mainland will be besieged not only by lights in the sky but also by hordes of people camping out on the beach to get a good seat for the show. I haven't gone to a full Symphony of Fire (i.e. all four dates) for a long time, as I'm not really into braving the big crowds. Now that I live closer to downtown however and can literally just walk home afterwards, it may not be too bad. Competing this year are Spain, Canada, and China.

The Symphony of Fire takes place July 25, 28, and August 1 & 4.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Everything's Coming Up Roses...Almost

Went to the Stanley Theatre to catch their production of Gypsy, which I have never seen. It's always a hit and miss with the Stanley. My Fair Lady was well, fair. But their versions of Evita, Sweeny Todd, and Hamlet left much to be desired. To leave at intermission or not to leave at intermission, that is the question. Sadly, that night really was a tragedy.

However, they redeemed themselves with Singin' In The Rain. And now, with Gypsy starting its run, I found myself mildly entertained. In terms of older musicals, it didn't blow me away in a Fiddler On The Roof kinda way, yet it didn't suck as much as The Music Man. I would watch Gypsy over Bye Bye Birdie, South Pacific, The King and I, and Guys and Dolls anyday.

I found the true life story of Gypsy Rose Lee fascinating, and who knew that her at-first more famous sibling, Baby June, was born right here in the city of Vancouver!!

The actress who played the lead, Mama Rose, was a bit over the top, but I understand that this is who the character was: loud, brassy, and bossy. She seemed to growl and scream her way through most of the songs and I would have been annoyed had it not been for the lovely girl who played Gypsy, as well as the cute guy tap dancing as Tulsa. A decent production for the Stanley. Musical enthusiasts will be entertained.

Now I want to go watch the movie version of this! But do I go for the Natalie Wood original or the Bette Midler remake?

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Oracles, Herzog, and Acting

You can't tell, but in that giant lampshade is housed a giant tarantula. And so we have one of the excellent exhibits currently being shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Last night was donation night, so we went to check it out and by golly, I would go back and pay full price to see these exhibits! As should you!

First up was a photography exhibit titled Acting The Part. It was all about photography being a form of theatre, telling a story, etc. It was aight, nothing great, but not boring. It was the least favourite of the 3 exhibits I saw.

On the second floor was the fantastic and controversial House of Oracles, A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective. It caused a ruckus because it contains living creatures, insects to be exact. Animal rights groups are protesting the exhibit, but I for one found it fascinating. Creepy crawly, but fascinating. It is only one part out of the whole show, but it is probably by far the most thrilling and definitely the centerpiece of it all.

Titled "Theatre of the World", it features a cage of sorts, made of wood and mesh, and inside are placed live lizards, toads, scorpions, tarantulas, cockroaches, millipedes, and crickets to see how they all interact. It's to showcase power dynamics, representing a microcosm of the world. It also alludes to the old Chinese story of Gu:

The name of a specific kind of poison said to have been produced in South China. This poison was prepared by putting in the same pot five venomous creatures—a centipede, a snake, a scorpion, a toad, and a lizard—and leaving them for a year. The animals gradually ate one another, and the final corpse found in a year was supposed to possess a powerful, “magical” poison that combines all five. The five animals are called “the five noxious creatures” (wu du, literally “five poisons”).

Granville and Robson, circa 1960s by Fred Herzog

Finally, the third floor was home to the Fred Herzog exhibit which features photos from the 50s and 60s of Vancouver. My favourite decades of my own hometown caught on film? Sign me up! It was very interesting to see how much the city has changed, but moreso to see the 50s and 60s culture of real life people set in familliar territory. For more Herzog, check out his website.

All in all, the art gallery right now is a must-see! If you're in a time crunch, start up on the 3rd floor to check the Fred Herzog stuff first and then work your way down. We got booted out before seeing all his photos so I definitely need to go back.

The Fred Herzog show runs until May 13, and the House of Oracles runs to September 16.

Monday, 26 February 2007

The Number 14

I had never heard of this play/musical before, but apparently it has been running for decades. Granville Island's Winterupption festival this past weekend was host to a special condensed one hour free performance of The Number 14, a show about riding the bus. During my time as a Creative Writing student, I had always been told by my PlayWriting Instructor that setting a play on a bus is pretty much the lamest and most cliche thing one can do. Yet, this show proves that theory wrong! Not only was it a highly technical production, but it was very musical in a non-musical kind of way and quite physical as well. It had the audience laughing till they cried, and people of all ages are sure to enjoy this. Very creative and unique, yet capturing the essence of what it's like to take the Loser Cruiser perfectly to a tee. The show runs down at the Waterfront Theatre till March 24, before heading out to New York City!

Banana Boys

Friday night, I was at the preview of the play Banana Boys, based on the book by Terry Woo. As I walked into the theatre, I bumped into someone I knew from RicePaper Magazine. "Hey, how's it going!?" he greeted. "Have you met Terry?" I turn to be introduced to his friend, until it dawns on me, "OMG you're Terry Woo! Author of the book that the play is based on!" Nerdy of me? Yes. But so cool! I love meeting writers, especially those whose works I have actually read! We chatted a bit, I congratulated him on the play. He was just in town for vacation and it turns out he was here in time for the play's opening. He is currently not working on anything and I believe has turned back to being an engineer, a career he held previously prior to writing. "It's kinda depressing, actually," he said. Hmmm...

The play itself was quite enjoyable! There are a lot of hits and misses when one ventures out to see local theatre. Move To This was with me and he liked it too. The cast was a strong group, for the most part. The only criticism I could see was that the lead character, who is supposed to be this stud who has bedded many women, came across as, how do you say, a bit on the gay side? So, we really had to suspend our disbelief there. Maybe they should have reworked the script so that there weren't so many "S's" Is that bad of us?

The play was good, and I would recommend it to others! I would definitely recommend it to other Canadian born Chinese, especially straight guys. I think they would appreciate it the most, as the story focusses on a group of friends - all straight, Canadian born Chinese guys, looking for their place in this world, dealing with racism, relationships, and work in their own special way. A very simple set that was utilized to its fullest also helped to make this an enjoyable evening out. And also, the Firehall Theatre is a fantastic theatre! Mostly because it's set in an old fire station. Tickets are decently priced ($16) so go check this play out! Banana Boys runs until March 17th at the Firehall Theatre.