; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: September 2013

Friday, 27 September 2013

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013!

And so it begins! My favourite time of year! It's the Vancouver International Film Festival, which kicked off last night at its new venues now that the main Granville Cinemas have shut down. This year, films will be shown at a bunch of different locations including International Village (Tinseltown), The Centre for Performing Arts, Pacific Cinematheque, Rio Theatre, Vancity Theatre, SFU Woodwards, and the Vancouver Playhouse!! Fun!!

I'll be spotlighting films over the next two weeks, and will focus primarily on VIFF posts!

Here's the first film I'd like to feature: My Prairie Home

"A true Canadian iconoclast, acclaimed transgender country/electro-pop artist Rae Spoon revisits the stretches of rural Alberta that once constituted “home” and confronts memories of growing up queer in an abusive, evangelical household. Part travelogue, part character study, Chelsea McMullan’s singular film unfolds in coffee shops, bus stations, bars and recreation centres, with her camera finding odd angles from which to examine these communities that have arisen in the middle of nowhere.

The vérité vignettes and emotional reminiscences frequently cede to fantastical performance sequences in which Spoon gives voice to an impeccably crafted, disarmingly confessional song cycle that represents the culmination of years of rumination and writing (and has been collected on the gorgeous My Prairie Home album released by Saved By Radio). For these reflective compositions, Spoon—who explored more electric avenues on the recent I Can’t Keep All of Our Secrets—fittingly returns to the country/folk influences found on earlier records.

Lyrical and alluring, McMullan’s documentary-musical hybrid calls into question our traditional definition of “home,” and celebrates the places in between, be they in music, geography or gender."

MY PRAIRIE HOME shows at the RIO THEATRE on September 29 (9:15pm) and Oct 1 (4pm)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

You Should Have Stayed Home

The Firehall Arts Centre opens up their new season with Tommy Taylor's You Should Have Stayed Home, subtitled "a G20 Romp!" It recounts the real life story of when writer and performer Tommy Taylor found himself amidst the G20 protests in Toronto and the resulting consequences of him being there, namely getting arrested and being held over the weekend at a pop-up detention centre.

Told in one Act and in multiple "parts," the show took its time for me to get going. I didn't get fully engaged until Part Seven of the story, which is around the time when something actually happens on the stage. For the most part, we find Tommy sitting down at a desk and speaking to the audience as though in a lecture hall. For this I blame director Michael Wheeler for choosing this way to go. When I was in play-writing classes at UBC, one of our assignments was to work with a director on getting one of our works performed. I received a Fail for my collaboration because I basically let the director pull all the strings, and she made the decision to make all the characters sit down. My instructor at the time told me that making your actors sit really takes the energy away from a scene. That has always stuck with me, and so when I watch shows where characters are sitting, I often ask myself if it added to the scene or took away from it. In the case of You Should Have Stayed Home, I found that because there was already such little action going on, having our lead sit for the majority of the piece made me somewhat bored to be there.

I do understand that it's the story and the words that are the main focus. I kept thinking that this would have been a great podcast to listen to. Visually, it wasn't until halfway into the show that I perked up when a group of actors filed in to join Taylor on stage, as fellow detainees. (Audience members are asked if they want to come back and volunteer to be a detainee in future performances, which is a fun idea!)

The friend I took with me to the show had major problems with the subject matter. As a Caucasian female, she had trouble feeling any sort of sympathy for Taylor and his experience. She was infuriated by references to Auschwitz,  Guantanamo Bay, and calling the experience the worst compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history. "What about residential schools, racism against Chinese railroad workers, the Japanese internment camps? Wow I'm so sorry that as a straight White Canadian male, you had to go through this moment of suffering and that your cheese sandwich had soy butter on it and not real butter." She was more than appalled.

I can kinda see her point, but I can also see that this was definitely an injustice and a dark event for Canada, and continues to be. When the show began, I felt like it was going to be the Big Bad Cops vs poor innocent Tommy, but he does manage to find a balance between the two. It was definitely an eye opener and an insight into the events of that infamous weekend. It's exciting when theatre pushes buttons and creates dialogue and gets audience members leaving the theatre thinking and debating. You Should Have Stayed Home manages to deliver on that scale.

You Should Have Stayed Home runs at the Firehall Arts Centre until October 5.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Foreigner - at Pacific Theatre

Yes, yes, and more yes! Please more shows like this in Vancouver!

First of all, I saw a production of The Foreigner years ago in New York starring Matthew Broderick. I absolutely adored the show and  its ingenius storyline and messaging. When I heard that the Pacific Theatre was doing it, I was pretty surprised! But according to the program, this is their second time mounting the show!

So I went in hoping that this was going to be a good production. My first impression was the amazing set design done by Lauchlin Johnston. Kudos to him for creating such a warmth feel with his wooden lodge and cozy decor. It fit the show to a tee.

Then there were all the actors - each one of them bringing something special to the stage, not one weak link amongst them. This is one solid show that is not to be missed! The story revolves around a visitor to the southern United States who ends up posing as a "foreigner" and pretending he doesn't know English. This leads to unbridled confessions and secrets revealed amongst a slapstick comedy that will have you laughing all night and pondering the way we treat outsiders.

The Foreigner is fantastic, and you simply must go see it! It runs at the Pacific Theatre now until October 12.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Happy HapaPalooza!

The HapaPalooza Festival begins today! HapaPalooza takes place Sept 18 - 21 and is "a cultural festival that celebrates the city’s identity as a place of hybridity, synergy and acceptance. A vibrant fusion of literary, film, music and dance performances amongst others, Hapa-Palooza places prominence on celebrating and stimulating awareness of mixed-roots identity, especially amongst youth."

Monday, 16 September 2013

Extreme Air Park!

This past weekend I checked out the Extreme Air indoor trampoline park out in Richmond! What a fun place!

There is a basketball area, a "foam pit" that you can dive into, and of course, trampoline dodge ball! Or you can just bounce around, which turned out to be an amazing way to exercise! Do you know about the health benefits of trampolining? It's good for your lymph nodes and helps with toning and they equate it to going for a run for 33 minutes, without the harsh impact it can have on your knees and joints! I think I'm going to take up the trampoline as my exercise regime! Perhaps even attend their "Airobics" classes!!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rockabilly Roundup!

If you feel like jivin' tonight, then head on down to the Fairview Pub at 898 West Broadway for Rockabilly Roundup, featuring a record release party for  Hank Angel and the Island Devils!

Curious Flea Market!

This weekend out in New West is the Curious Flea Market! What makes it so curious? The Battle of the Curious encourages folks to bring out their weirdest item that they can find and the most curious object will be immortalized forever in the Curious Hall of Fame, and the winner will receive a lovely prize!

The Curious Flea Market runs today from 10-5 and on Sunday 11-4! Check it out!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Assaulted Fish at the Fringe!

I love love love comedy group Assaulted Fish! And so will you. And so did the SOLD OUT crowd last night at their 10 year anniversary show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. They've received rave reviews for their intellectual, slapstick, political, thought provoking, and most importantly, side splittingly funny show. Get your tickets while you still can!

Assaulted Fish: Sacred and Profane has one more show to go. Saturday Sept 14 at 8pm at Studio 16! Tickets here!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A False Face at the Fringe

The Fringe Festival can be hit and miss, which is part of its charm. Last night I checked out A False Face, which was was a bit of a Before Sunrise piece, First Nations styles.

Here's how the official website describes it:
It's an Aboriginal take on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But where that film was about the folly of erasing memory, A False Face is about the folly of twisting memory. Two fucked up Aboriginal social workers bend truth to create masks to hide behind, and good people pay.

The Fringe Festival ends this weekend, and A False Face has two more shows: Saturday September 14 at 8:35pm and Sunday September 15 at 530pm, at the False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright Street) on Granville Island. Buy your tickets here.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

SWARM 2013

Autumn, my favourite time of year!! And what better way to kick it all off than with the annual SWARM art gallery hop?!

It runs September 12 & 13th, check out the website for a full map of all the participating venues!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013