; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: March 2013

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Voyage returns

Looking for some theatre this long weekend? Check out Boca Del Lupo's The Voyage, a heart wrenching audio journey of human trafficking. It was a hit last year and they've brought it back, so if you missed out, here's your chance to see it.

I wrote up a review from my experience with it last year.

It runs till March 30 at Granville Island. More information here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Broken Sex Doll

Broken Sex Doll is well ahead of its time. It is a sci fi comedic musical romance now making its world premiere at The Cultch until March 24.

Featuring a sexy cast, the show is a feast for the senses - which itself is one of the many themes that are explored in the story. A technical and visual accomplishment, we are taken into a futuristic world where emotional experiences are uploaded and downloaded like an .mp3 file. Speaking to our addiction to technology, we are forced to question just how dependant we have become on it for feelings and emotions, and how much we feed into our exhibitionistic tendencies. There are also issues of legalized relationships (in this case - robot and human), slavery, sex, and feminism.

The electronic music that makes up most of the score is perfect for this near-future setting, and the songs were decent enough to keep the show going but I didn't leave the theatre humming any memorable tunes. Writer/director/producer Andy Thompson has brought us to a land of misfit femme bots and sex tapes gone wild. Benjamin Elliott and Gili Roskies (above) shine as the leads: stumbling and sexy Daryl, and Ginger the girl with all the right moves and then some. Andy Toth's Lars the Repair Man drew great laughter from the audience, who were in stitches already from the funny script and acting.

(photos by Bettina Strauss )

Staging and choreography were both well done, and this is a show that one would definitely have a good time at!  The Virtual Stage's Broken Sex Doll is an original musical that is innovative and fun! On now at The Cultch!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Film Festival 4 Peace!

I got handed a flyer the other day outside a skytrain station and I thought, Why not? And it turned out to be an ad for this weekend's 10th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival 4 Peace. I had not heard of this festival before, and perhaps you haven't either.

So I thought maybe I'll blog about it to help them spread the word. This is a FREE film festival that takes place March 16 - 18 at the Britannia Community Centre on Commercial Drive.

Check out the website www.filmfest4peace.org for more information!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Grimes nominated for Juno award

A big congratulations to Vancouver musician Grimes for being nominated for a 2013 Juno award in the Breakthrough Artist of the Year category. And if you've checked out her album Visions, you know that she more than deserves to win this!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Four Dogs and a Bone

Within the past 12 months, Vancouver has been host to not one, but two John Patrick Shanley plays. How fortunate are we? First we had Doubt, which is Tony-award winning play about the nun suspecting the priest of molesting a young man, which was subsequently turned into a film starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Then there was Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, which highlights the chance meeting of two very different people in a bar, that becomes a highly charged emotional encounter.

Now, thanks to Egg Theatre Equity Co-Op, we get another high-strung and full of screaming matches production. Four Dogs and a Bone is an apt title for this piece about life in the movie-making business. Directed by Shawn Macdonald, the show features four brazen performances from its four stars: Robert Moloney, Michelle Martin, Andrew Coghlan, and Nadia Blanchfield. The fact that all this talent is just hiding in the back of the Havana Cafe on Commercial Drive is astounding, and you just HAVE to go see it!

(Nadia Blanchfield and Robert Moloney, photo by Gaelan Beatty)

The play centers around the making of a movie, with each of the four stakeholders vying for what's in their own best interest. We get the young starlet, wide-eyed with anticipation and jostling for a spot in the limelight. There's the slimy producer guy, whose sole job is to focus on the money money money. Then there's the ageing actress, still trying to make that big break but is perhaps past her prime and in denial about it. She too wants to manipulate the situation into her own favour, like the rest of the sordid characters. The stubborn and proud writer seems to be the one stuck in the middle, as it's up to him to make or break the movie with the stroke of his pen.

(Michelle Martin and Andrew Coghlan) 

Intense from the get-go, the show grabs you by the balls and doesn't relent for the entire evening. More than that though, the play is funny and had the audience howling in appreciation. Another play that I saw on the Broadway stage that dealt with Hollywood and such was David Mamet's Speed The Plow, and truth be told, there is simply no comparison. Four Dogs and a Bone knocks it out of the ball park and David Mamet can kiss its ass.

Four Dogs and a Bone is on now at the Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive) until March 16th. Tickets available online.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Extraction at the Cultch

The winner of the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award in Theatre makes its world premiere this week at the Cultch. EXTRACTION is a multi-language performance that tells the story of three distinct lives - taking you from the oil sands of Fort MacMurray to the streets of Beijing.

Jimmy Mitchell, Jason Wilson, and Sunny Sun (photo by Tim Matheson)

In this docu-theatre performance, we are witness to the true life stories of Sunny Sun, Jimmy Mitchell, and Jason Wilson, whose own personal stories are what make up this piece. The title Extraction may refer to the storyline of the worker in Fort MacMurray, where oil is being extracted from the Earth. Or maybe it has to do with the technological aspect of the show, where audience members are encouraged to keep their cell phones on throughout the performance in order to text answers to questions posed. This could be seen as an extraction of information that helps shape the show. Then we have the story of Sunny, who is extracted from her home country of China and thrown into a new life in Canada.

Accompanying the performers and the multimedia are two live musicians playing music throughout the play. Ron Samworth on electric guitar and banjo, and Randy Raine Reusch on zheng, flutes, and both on various percussion. It's a cornucopia for the senses, feeding the mind with sights, sounds, and perhaps more importantly, debate and discussion.

Theatre Conspiracy's Extraction plays at the Cultch until March 9th.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Broadway Across Canada 2013 Season

Last night I attended the Broadway Across Canada kick off to their 2013 season! I love that they bring touring shows to Vancouver, and this year's line-up has some classic favourites as well as a Tony award winning show that has never been here before!

First off there's the timeless Les Miserables! From June 12-23, you can immerse yourself in France's revolution and re-discover the hardships of Jean Val Jean, Eponine, Marius, and many more! If you saw the movie, then you MUST go see the stage show as it is a million times better than that horrible Hollywood adaptation!

Also coming will be West Side Story, which was recently revamped on Broadway to include more up to date lyrics and Spanish translations. Let's see if that's the version we'll be getting!

Finally and certainly not least is the technically stunning War Horse, which trots into town September 24-29. The horse even made a little guest appearance at last night's soiree!

Thank you to Broadway Across Canada for not only bringing Broadway blockbusters to Vancouver, but also for last night's stupendous evening of free wine and appies and a wonderful gift bag that featured souvenir programs for all three of these shows! 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

My Vancouver International Wine Festival Experience

I had never gone to the Vancouver International Wine Festival before, and this was my first year attending and volunteering. As a volunteer, you get to go for free on one of the tasting nights. It just so happened that they gave me my tasting night first, followed by two volunteeer shifts on the Friday and Saturday.

So on Thursday night I found myself lining up with the well-dressed crowd ready to enter the big ballroom at the Vancouver Convention Centre. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as the doors opened wide, and as we stepped in, we were each handed a gleaming wine glass ready to be filled all evening long.

At first I was a bit nervous as I am not a huge wine connoisseur, but rather more of your everyday wino! So seeing people swishing the wines around in their mouths, taking large inhalations to ready their palettes, was overwhelming and intimidating. It would've been more fun if I had someone I knew there with me to go explore things together with but hey, I'm not going to complain about getting to attend an event that would normally cost $165 a head!

To help break the ice was a little game they had going on, which included a passport of sorts that had 8 wines on it. The goal was to go and find each of the 8 wines, try them, and get your "passport" stamped. Then when complete, you head on over to the Vancouver Sun newspaper booth and give them your passport and in exchange, they gave you a box of Purdy's chocolates! Not bad at all!

Oh and did I mention the food?? There's food!! There's artisan cheeses, Terra Breads, crackers, jams, and all sorts of goodies to help you form that much needed base if you decide to actually drink all the wine you sample rather than pour it into the "spit bucket." 

It was a wonderful evening, and I found myself running up and down the aisles sampling an assortment of wines from all over the world. This year's featured area was California, so there's a huge section on Cali if you go.

My volunteer shift had me emptying out the said "spit buckets" and refilling water. It's not a bad gig at all, and you get to meet all sorts of people - both volunteers and patrons.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is here for one more night before it wraps up until next year!! Check it out tonight if you're looking for something to do!

Postcards: Canada Place

I took this photo of Canada Place from the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, using my iPhone and a nifty Instagram filter! Enjoy!