; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: January 2012

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade 2012

I didn't make it out to the Chinese New Year Parade on Sunday, but my friends Chris and Calvin braved the rain and sent me these photos! Thanks for the photos, Chris!

Enjoy! Happy Year of the Dragon!!

Look it's my favourite Vancouver newsanchor, Global TV's Chris Gailus!

And if you still haven't partied enough for the new year, check out CIBC's Lunar New Year Lantern Aquarium, taking place Feb 1 - 5 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This free event runs from 12pm - 8pm!

Do you have photos from an event? Send them my way if you like!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Saraswati Puja

On Saturday, I woke up to a freak snow/slush storm! Did you? It was gross out. But I had plans to head over to Burnaby to attend a celebration of the Hindu goddess Saraswati. The weather wasn't bad enough to deter me, thankfully. And thank goddess I went! It was a wonderful time, a joyous celebration, and there was amazing Indian food to be had!

Seriously, that chutney was AMAZING.

Here's some information from a handout they passed to me:

As "Diwali" - the festival of light - is to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, "Vasant Panchami" is to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, intelligence, and arts. Celebrating the festival of Saraswati Puja is known to bless individuals with intelligence, wisdom and knowledge. Goddess Saraswati is the mother of wisdom and music. The festival has much importance for students and people in intellectual fields.

Mata Saraswati is worshipped with yellow flowers, sindoor, water offerings, incense, lamp, etc.

Hindus regard Vasant Panchami as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. "Vasant" comes from the word "spring" as this festival signifies the beginning of Vasant Ritu (spring season) and "Panchami" from the 5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha, when it is observed. Hindus celebrate it with great fervor int emples, homes and even schools and colleges as students utter the Saraswati Mantra prayer before the idol of the goddess of knowledge and arts.

Thank you to Smita for inviting me to this amazing event!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

It was a jocular crowd on Friday night when I went to check out Pacific Theatre's production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Written by John Patrick Shanley, the same playwright who brought the Tony-award winning and Pulitzer Prize winning Doubt to the stage, this was a huge undertaking for the little theatre that could.

As the first part of their "Shanley Series", Pacific Theatre will be doing two of Shanley's plays this season, the other being Doubt (March 2 - 31). I'm so excited about this duel programming; thank you Pacific Theatre for helping to bring more great works to Vancouver's arts scene!

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea has no intermission, and is a two-person powerhouse play about two strangers who meet in a bar and reveal their deepest darkest secrets, fears, and hopes to one another. It's a one night stand to the extreme. Full of swearing, violence, and sexuality, this isn't the type of show you'd expect to find in a church basement. This only goes to prove Pacific Theatre's daring to push the envelope within its community. And the audience is all the better for it!

I didn't start this blog so I could rave about everything I saw. But the past three plays I've seen in this city, including Danny, have all been exceptional and worthy of a Broadway stage. The two actors in this show, Lori Triolo and Aleks Paunovic, are directed by Jason Goode and give amazing and emotionally draining performances. The intimate theatre made me feel like I really was in some dingy bar and feeling the pain of these two characters.

The show has been on since January 20th, but it doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Friday night's attendance was quite high, considering the production ends this week. So if you haven't seen it, and you get a chance for a night out, you don't want to miss out on Danny and the Deep Blue Sea! On now until February 4 at the Pacific Theatre.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Weekend Tips

Shri Shri Saraswati Puja - Saturday, January 28

A friend of mine invited me to this event, celebrating the Hindu Goddess Saraswati - the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology! Takes place at "The Arya Samaj Centre", 6884 Jubilee Avenue, Burnaby 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Here's some more info on the Goddess!

Chinese New Year Parade - Sunday, January 29

Happy Year of the Dragon to everyone! Come out to celebrate at noon on Sunday in Chinatown with the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade! It's supposed to rain this weekend, so put on your wellies and bring out the umbrella!

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, hope you have fun!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Colourful World

I met composer Rodney Sharman years ago, and have been in touch with him ever since. It's been amazing to watch his progress over the years and see all the different projects he gets involved in. Whether he's the Composer-in-Residence at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, or creating a chamber opera with director Atom Egoyan, Sharman continues to create and will be premiering brand new work this Sunday as part of the Turning Point Ensemble's Colourful World.

"What a pleasure after years as a Composer-in-Residence to be asked by Turning Point to write a longer abstract work! My chamber symphony is about form as an organic process, not a narrative. The first movement is both slow movement and first movement form simultaneously and (like traditional sonata form) concerns the interplay of two musical ideas and their variations. The second movement is a commentary on the traditional scherzo and finale without reference to dance forms. In these respects the work is in dialogue with Classical form, but the musical surface honours the sensitive orchestration of the accompanying works on the programme by Takemitsu, Debussy and my dear teacher, Morton Feldman."

- Rodney Sharman

Rodney Sharman lives in Vancouver, BC. He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Victoria Symphony, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In addition to concert music, Rodney Sharman writes music for cabaret, opera and dance. He works regularly with choreographer James Kudelka, for whom he has written scores for Oregon Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. Recent premieres include Notes on "Beautiful", a transformation of music by Stephen Sondheim for New York pianist Anthony de Mare, and Violin Concerto, for Jonathan Crow and the Victoria Symphony conducted by Tania Miller. Sharman was awarded First Prize in the 1984 CBC Competition for Young Composers and the 1990 Kranichsteiner Prize in Music, Darmstadt, Germany. His chamber opera, Elsewhereless, with libretto and direction by Atom Egoyan, was performed in concert in Amsterdam, and staged thirty-five times in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Colourful World
Claude Debussy, Rodney Sharman, Toru Takemitsu
Sunday, January 29, 2012 8pm
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU Woodward’s
Adult $38 Senior $35 Student $10

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Gunmetal Blues at the Vancouver Playhouse - Jan 23 - Feb 4

It's a late night out at the Red Eye Lounge, the fictitious setting for the musical Gunmetal Blues, which I had the good fortune to see at last night's premiere. Adding to the feel of the show is the 9:30pm start time, so that by the time you leave, it really is a red eye lounge! That said, however, if you are looking for a unique late night theatre event in Vancouver, then look no further than this!

Hidden beneath the Vancouver Playhouse is the Recital Hall, closed for over 20 years until recently with a production of David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre and a reading series. Gunmetal Blues marks the Playhouse's first real production here in decades, and boy was it worth the wait! The intimate locale lends itself to the cozy bar setting, with your piano man Buddy Toupee, our evening's narrator played exceedingly well by Tom Arntzen, who throws on multiple hats (literally) as various other characters in the show and manages to tickle the ivory throughout the entire production. Audience members are encouraged to drink throughout the show, as though they really were at the Red Eye Lounge. Think Cabaret or Hedwig, minus the grit factor.

With private eyes, femme fatales, mobsters, drunken cops, bag ladies, and lounge singers, this show is a film noir classic come to life. And did I mention it's also a comedy? Andrew Wheeler's manly detective leads us through the story as we watch him try to figure out the Case of the Missing Blonde. Meghan Gardiner dons multiple shades of blonde as the only female in the show, her much needed feminine energy completing this trifecta of talent.

I love musicals, and am a musical buff. I travel to Broadway every year to catch the latest and greatest. So when a musical pops up in Vancouver, especially a local production, I do get a bit weary. That said, this small little show proves there is nothing small about it. It's the perfect bookend for the Vancouver Playhouse's current double whammy of performance gold. With the extraordinary Tony award winning play Red showing upstairs, we now have this marvelous gem tucked away in the basement for all to see.

Don't miss your chance to see this! And let's hope the Playhouse continues to hold productions down in the Recital Hall, where the acoustics are perfect for a show like this one. Gunmetal Blues is on until February 4! Get your tickets now!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Yesterday I hit up the Vancouver Motorcycle Show, which is held out in Abbotsford, about 45 minutes out of Vancouver. I'd never been to anything like this, but it was basically a trade show for motorcycle enthusiasts. Whether you're a Harley hog person, or more of a sports bike racer, they had it all. From bikes to boots to helmets to motocross suits, everything! Two large buildings full of vendors. It's like the PNE, but for motorcyclists.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Weekend Tips

It looks like it's gonna be a rainy one this weekend! But that doesn't mean you have to stay in and mope! So if you are looking for fun stuff this weekend in Vancouver, there is lots happening! Here are a few choice selections:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Celebrate some Scottish and Chinese culture at this unique Vancouver event! On January 22, this annual party brings together the festivities of Robbie Burns Day and the Chinese New Year. I've been to this event, and you'll be treated to amazing local performances, hob knobbing opportunities with some of the city's elite (the Mayor, local celebs, etc), and of course a chance to try out some haggis! I quite enjoyed my plate of haggis, so if it's something you've always wanted to try, then this weekend is your best bet!

Dine Out Vancouver

If you don't feel like cooking, and haggis just ain't your thing, then there's a multitude of restaurants to choose from at the Dine Out Vancouver event which is taking place all across town starting today! How many spots will you be dining out at in the following weeks? For newbies or visitors, Dine Out Vancouver is an annual event that gives folks the opportunity to try out restaurants old and new, high end and casual, with set menus at affordable prices!

Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Do you ride? I don't ride. But I'm intrigued and might make my way out to Abbotsford this weekend to check out the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. I'll also be blogging soon about my visit to the Trev Deeley exhibit over at Harley Davidson on Boundary Road!

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

And if the Arts is more your thing, the PuSh festival is currently in full throttle! On until February 4, this annual winter event brings out performances in dance, drama, comedy, music, you name it! This year, I might head out to the Legion on the Drive for some Dances on a Small Stage. Otherwise, there's a plethora of choices!

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

SFU LipDub needs you!

Think you can do better than the UBC LipDub?

There's a casting call this weekend:

SFU LipDub 2012 is asking for actors, dancers, people with other amazing talents (sports, stunts, performances), and anyone with a passion for fun and awesomeness to come show us if you think you can dub! This is the chance to become a viral celebrity so don't miss out!

Join us this Saturday/Sunday, Jan 21 & 22 from 10:00am to 3:00pm at Saywell Hall 10041 and be a part of one of the greatest LipDub on the world wide web!

There is another audition at the Surrey campus next weekend, and you can submit a Video audition as well. Find out more information on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Just opening this week at the Vancouver playhouse is the Tony award winning play, Red.

I caught a preview show the other night, and was excited to see it after hearing so much about it on Broadway. I am so glad that the Vancouver Playhouse is bringing this calibre of production to our city. The moment you walk into the theatre, you can already tell by the outstanding unique stage design that this is gonna be good! And it did not disappoint!

It did start off a bit slow and I wasn't sure I was in the mood for a two-person show. However, the last show I saw at the Vancouver Playhouse that wowed me was a two-person production, A Life in the Theatre, from two summers back. So, this still held promise, and it lived up to it. By the time Jim Mezon, who plays famed artist Mark Rothko, blows up in the second scene at his co-star, I was captivated and couldn't wait to see how this teacher/student father figure/son relationship was going to play out. Both Mezon and co-star David Coomber do a startling job with their characters, just having to memorize 100 minutes of dialogue alone (with no intermission)!

Paintings come alive on the stage in this production, and the canvas painting scene mid-way brought out giddy applause from the audience, excited to see the choreographed interlude amidst the witty and biting banter. The play itself brings up issues that I myself have been asking as of late. Things like, what is art? How does one look at art? What does art mean to different people?

So glad I got to see this, and if you are a fan of theatre, this is definitely a must-see of the season! RED plays from January 14 - February 4 at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Read Dating at the Vancouver Public Library

So back in December, I went to a speed dating event geared towards the queer community.

I've always wanted to go to a Speed Dating thing, so I figure why not? It was held in a library and we were all told to bring our favourite book that we could talk about, should conversation become stilted. There was a mixed crowd. The age limit was 19 - 35, and I'd say the average age was mid-20s. There were women as well as men, so we got to meet everybody which was nice. That took the pressure off a bit, turning what could've been a full on meat market into something more community-focused and where we all got to meet a bunch of possible new friends. At the very least, I picked up some book recommendations from others.

We were all given a temporary email address, so if anyone emails me, that'll be cool. Otherwise, I might try to email a few people, I don't know. It's all terrifying because of the whole "rejection" factor. In fact, I almost bailed at the very last moment when I saw a group of guys go in together. They looked young and they all went as a group, so that was a bit intimidating. But, I figured, I can't live life based on fear, so just go for it.

I'm glad I did it, and if anything comes of it, great!


The Vancouver Public Library saw such success with this event and the heterosexual Read Dating night, that they're bringing it back for 2012!! AND this time they're changing the age ranges! On February 13, they will have the heterosexual night for women and men ages 35-55, and on February 15, they're doing another straight night for women and men aged 55 and over! Head over to the VPL to sign up or visit the website for more info!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Contingency Plan

This past Saturday night I caught the closing show of dance trio The Contingency Plan, at the Firehall Arts Centre. I'm not sure how to go about watching dance, so the first act, titled "Las Tres Marias" was something I just didn't really...get. People were laughing at it, and I thought, Is this supposed to be funny? I mean, I guess it was humorous, but to me, I always thought dance was something to be taken seriously and that there was no laughing allowed.

However, I was there with a seasoned dancer, and she told me that she definitely picked up on the humour. I asked her how she goes about watching a dance performance, what she gets from it, and she said that she just goes with whatever feelings arise in her when watching something. Sometimes she'll marvel at the technicality, other times she'll get a sense or a feeling that is being conveyed.

With that in mind, I watched the second part with a more open outlook. Titled "Adhere," it was supposed to represent what it's like to be alone. Each of the dancers brought forth their own interpretation of what it meant to be alone. One was frantic, another was isolated, and the other was content. At least, that's the feeling that I got from it. The three women danced the entire performance, so kudos to them for a job well done!