; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Crazy For You

Wow. I turned to my friend at intermission and had only one word to say. Wow.

Was I in New York or in Richmond? Who knew that happening RIGHT NOW out in Richmond at the Gateway Theatre, is one of the finest musicals I've ever seen locally! Gershwin's Crazy For You is currently playing, and you will be transported from Broadway to the deserts of Nevada, from the inside of a saloon to backstage at a theater. All of this done by some amazing set work and detail, as well as a highly talented cast of singers, actors, dancers, aka Triple Threats. 

And really, who could ask for anything more? The songs are catchy, the choreography by Julie Tomato is fan-freaking-tastic, and the entire ensemble are superb, led by the excellent tap dancing stylings of Gaelan Beatty as Bobby Child. The calibre of this production rivals anything you'll find on Broadway! 

This show was so damn good, I want to go again, and bring all my musical-loving friends to it. With the holiday season upon us, it is the perfect gift to give! What are you waiting for? Someone to watch over you? 

Crazy For You runs at the Gateway Theatre until December 31st. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Little Women

Thank you to Fighting Chance Productions for bringing Little Women The Musical to town! There are so many shows from Broadway that don't get the national tour treatment, so the only way to see them other than going to New York is to depend on local companies to mount them.

This production of Little Women is the perfect holiday treat to bring the whole family to. The music and songs are good, you'll be "delighted" and as for the lead actress who takes on the central role of Jo, she's simply Astonishing, as is the rest of the cast who make up this treasured tale.

After seeing this, I wanted to go watch the Winona Ryder movie version immediately. There are only a few more dates left in their run, so make sure to get to Little Women The Musical asap!

Little Women is on until December 21 at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Tickets available online. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

It's an iconic story, one of which I was not familiar with. It's true. I haven't read the book nor have I seen the movie. So, what better way to have my Cuckoo cherry popped than by the fine company at Studio 58?

You have one week left to see this show, that has been garnering rave reviews all around town. And well deserved too! The set itself is a wonder to marvel at. The moment you walk into the theatre, you are walking through the famed asylum, with the utmost attention paid to every last detail so big props to Gregory Radzimowski and his Set Crew team who cobbled this wondrous world together.

All of the actors do a tremendous job, with a huge amount of leg work done by lead actor Markian Tarasiuk as the notorious R.P. McMurphy. You know everyone will be comparing him to Jack Nicholson's performance, but I fortunately have the luxury of not having seen it so was able to enjoy Tarasiuk's performance on its own without comparison. He is devilish and charming and heartbreaking in one fell swoop.

For anyone else out there not familiar with the story like me, it's about a new patient who arrives at a psych ward and tries to rally the troops against the evil Nurse Ratched (played by Erin Cassidy) who runs the floor with an iron fist. Even she is somewhat sympathetic, however, because really, she's just trying to do her job and her job is seemingly all she has going for her in life.

Dramatic and emotional,  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is on now until November 30 at Studio 58 at Langara. Tickets available online.

Friday, 21 November 2014


OMG. Like I went to see Flashdance last week which was a national touring show from Broadway Across Canada, and I hated it. Many friends of mine who went also hated it. Tonight however, I went to a local production of Urinetown at the Firehall Arts Centre, and WHOA, this was a million times better than Flashdance could even hope to be.

It helps that this is a Tony award winning musical, but really it has more to do with the cast and this production. I saw this show on Broadway about ten years ago, and I walked out at intermission because I was so bored. This time around, I could not get enough, and I will not stop until I make all my friends go and see it.

Seeing Andrew Wheeler dancing around in the Mr. Cladwell number is worth the cost of admission alone. And I didn't know who was playing the role of Bobby Strong, and after reading the program I found out it was Vancouver's very own Anton Lipovetsky who is a city-wide favourite and who could easily keep up with the likes of Neil Patrick Harris. Narrator Officer Lockstock (played by David Adams) does a great job in keeping the show moving along, while busting out some smooth stylings of his own during one of the numbers.

This is also the hardest working ensemble cast currently on stage in Vancouver. Their costume changes and their dance numbers - choreographed to a tee by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg (seriously, she should have choreographed Flashdance) - all executed brilliantly under the strong direction of Donna Spencer (who does double duty and shows up in the show as Ma Strong). Each scene was so distinct from each other, whether it was a brigade of dancing police officers behaving like bunnies or a gospel-inspired sermon, the entire show was memorable from start to finish.

The show is hilarious and satirical and I am begging you to go see it! And bring all your friends with you, I promise you won't regret it! The Firehall is a small intimate venue, but the show it is currently housing is so much larger than life.

Urinetown is on now at the Firehall Arts Centre until November 29th.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Subway Stations of the Cross

Ins Choi's Subway Stations of The Cross is a bold and surprising selection for Pacific Theatre's second show of the season.

The harsh fluorescent lighting that you walk into upon the start of the show helps exemplify the starkness of the mood that Choi is trying to create with his one man show. Part religious sermon, part musical, and part social commentary (and 1/4 part knock knock jokes), the performance is based on an encounter Choi had with a homeless man in Toronto years prior.

I'm not sure the show landed quite right for me, as the message seemed to be a bit lost. Choi's performance was heartfelt and his singing showcased the passion he had for this work. With the stylings of a slam poet to the croonings of a musical storyteller, Choi manages to run the gamut of emotions from anger to sadness with spoken word soliloquies and the strumming of his ukulele.

Subway Stations of the Cross is on now at the Pacific Theatre until November 23.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Art is supposed to raise up humanity, someone once said to me. I believe that with Loon, that is exactly the case. This poetic performance from Portland's Wonderheads tells the solitary tale of a lonely janitor searching for love.

It's more than that however.  It's a love letter to the lonely and broken hearted. It's an affirmation that your story is worth telling. I know because I am one of the many who are out here looking up to the moon for some answers.

Beautifully done with no intermission, this show is great for any age, young, old, in-between. Everyone will get something out of it, whether that be humour or sadness or both. This is easily an instant classic, done with such grace and simple beauty.

Loon is on now at The Cultch until November 23.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Flashdance The Musical

What a feeling, alright. That feeling being total and utter disappointment. WTF Broadway Across Canada? I try to be positive on this blog but if I'm shelling out $80+ for a show, and if neither myself nor anyone else in my party enjoyed it, then I'm gonna rip you a new one.

Everything started out exciting. People showed up in the audience dressed in legwarmers and headbands, shirts falling off one shoulder. Why didn't I think to dress up for the occasion? Sadly, that was the most entertaining part of the night. When the lights dimmed and the first few notes of What a Feeling were teased, everyone went wild.

When the show actually started however, everything went mild. I was wondering why the official CD being sold at the merchandise booth for $25 only had 8 songs on it?!? It's because most of the songs in the show are basically tepid. They pale in comparison to the well-known ones from the original 80s flick, but even those familiar tunes were...watered down and somewhat disappointing. Speaking of water. The whole plug behind this musical was that wow they use real live water!! You know, for the infamous chair scene! It looked more like someone running through a sprinkler followed by a dribble from a broken down shower than a sexy water dance.

And where was the famous strobe-like kabuki inspired dance? Not here. They even managed to mangle up Gloria! And whose bright idea was it to make the character of Hannah look exactly like Tyne Daly? We had to hold our laughter whenever Alex and Hannah had a scene, because we kept thinking, "Does she know she's talking to an angel?"

So it's no wonder that the musical has not made its way to Broadway. The songs suck, the dialogue is meh, and the storyline is muddled.

I appreciate the work that Broadway Across Canada does, because when else would I get to see a production of Flashdance? I wish they would have more shows and possibly include Broadway plays as well. There's stuff like Time Stood Still or Equus that I think people would love to see. I was lucky enough to see those on Broadway, but would happily go again if it were to come to my town. And why am I depending on local theatre companies to see things such as The Drowsy Chaperone (Canadian-made musical!), In The Heights, and Xanadu? Is it because there aren't national tours of this going on? I feel like the way Broadway Across Canada works needs to change up its structure or something. If the calibre of shows is anything like Flashdance, then I'm not sure anyone will be going to any future productions brought to us by Broadway Across Canada.

Let's hope next Spring's Book of Mormon isn't as ghastly a feat.

For those who still are interested in Flashdance, have fun, but you're better off watching the movie.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

GLEE Night At Showtunes!

Attention all Gleeks! This Friday we will be celebrating GLEE Night at Showtunes at 1181! Come on down and bring out your inner Gleek!  Friday, November 7th at 1181 Davie St, from 6-9pm!

Monday, 3 November 2014

AI WEIWEI: NewYork Photographs 1983 - 1993

On now up at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC, is controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, with an exhibit of photographs taken during his time in New York City from 1983 - 1993.

The exhibit "consists of 227 black-and-white photographs taken by the artist during the decade that he resided in New York City, his first time away from China. The photographs were personally selected by the artist from over 10,000 negatives that are housed at Three Shadows Photography Art Center in Beijing and together represent a single work of art—no one image is more important than another. The exhibition is complemented by a 43-minute video interview with Ai Weiwei by Zheng Shengtian and videographer Don Li-Leger that discusses his growing up during the Cultural Revolution and his time in New York."

The Ai Weiwei New York Photographs exhibit is on now until November 30th at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Stickboy the Opera

I got a chance to go see Stickboy The Opera recently, which is having its world premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse and presented by Vancouver Opera.

I'm not an opera fan in the slightest. I do enjoy musicals, though. Actually, I love musicals. Which is not to say that they are one and the same. In fact, opera is very different. Usually, the lack of hummable Broadway show tunes has me infuriated that I'm wasting my time watching an opera. Also, they are usually in another language so I don't have any idea what's happening, despite the help of subtitles that are normally provided.

However, with Stickboy, comes a VERY accessible opera not only in the modern way that it's presented (animated images on a screen in the background), a very thorough write up of the story and yes it is in English! The story itself was also easy for me to connect with, having been bullied in school during my teenage years. The premise revolves around an overweight boy who is the target of harassment and bullying in his high school. The scenes are simple but effective, and will keep you poised on the edge of your seat as you root for him to find the courage to overcome.

Stickboy would be the perfect introduction for anyone who is looking to get into opera, in its accessibility and relate-able storyline. I can easily see troops of high school classes being taken here for a field trip both as a lesson in opera and the effects of bullying.

Stickboy is on now at the Vancouver Playhouse until November 7th.

Hunter Gatherers

The last time I saw a show from local theatre company Staircase Theatre, it involved a dinner party and a woman named Pam. (See: Cocktails at Pam's) In the company's latest outing, we get director Ryan Gladstone (who was brilliant a few months back in his own show at the Fringe) bringing to life yet another dinner party involving yet another woman named Pam, in the play Hunter Gatherers.

Maryanne Renzetti and Pippa Mackie

Uproariously hilarious, the show had the entire audience in stitches with its quick witted one-liners and absurdist and at times over-the-top scenarios.  You know the evening is going to be a good hot mess when the first scene involves the slaughter of a lamb in hosts Pam and Richard's living room. When their friends Wendy and Tom arrive, things only get more out of control with impromptu wrestling matches, sordid love affairs, reiki, and a good sized serving of murder.

Peter Carlone and Jay Clift

If you're headed to the Havana on Commercial Drive for dinner, don't be surprised to hear rounds of laughter emanating from the back theatre, which is where Hunter Gatherers is playing. Don't miss out on the Canadian premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's play, which embraces the ridiculous with an even undercoat of darkness. It's been awhile since I've had this much fun at the theatre, and leave it to Staircase Theatre for being the ones to make that happen again!

The show runs until November 15th at the Havana Theatre. Buy your tickets online!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Urinetown: The Musical

Coming to the Firehall Arts Centre on November 1 is Broadway smash Urinetown: The Musical! Winner of three Tony awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, Urinetown is a satirical comedy about a town where you have to pay to pee!

Urinetown runs at the Firehall Arts Centre from November 1 - 29 !

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Margaret Cho in Vancouver

Comedienne Margaret Cho hits town to rock the mic on November 1at the River Rock Casino.

Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Vancouver Opera presents: Stickboy

"There's a bully in all of us." So is the tagline for the world premiere of this original piece presented by the Vancouver Opera.

"The inner life of a young boy is at the heart of this moving and meaningful new opera by world-renowned spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan and composer Neil Weisensel. Bravely autobiographical, beautifully poetic, visually innovative and musically memorable, Stickboy confronts the uncomfortable reality of a society struggling with its own fear and insecurity, a society that seeks conformity and uniformity at the expense of those who are different."

Stickboy runs at the Vancouver Playhouse from October 23 to November 7. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Evil Dead: The Musical

Returning to Vancouver is the cult hit, Evil Dead: The Musical, complete with Splatter Zone in effect!

Down Stage Right Productions brings this Sam
 classic back just in time for Halloween to tell "the age old tale: five college
 kids travel
 an abandoned
 woods, boy meets girl, boy expects
 unleashes evil spirit, girl meets the big bad and boy meets chainsaw instead. Friends into lovers, lovers into
 friends, and friends
 Candarian Demons. Mayhem
 ensues, and don't forget
 the spectacular singing
 and dancing. 
 Now and 

Bigger, badder, and bloodier, Evil Dead The Musical plays at the Norman Rothstein Theatre from October 22 to November 1.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Show Tune Sunday at The Junction

Join us for Show Tunes at The Junction on Davie Street on Sunday October 19 from 3-7pm for some spooky show tunes to get you in the mood for Halloween! There will also be prizes including tickets to Margaret Cho, Stickboy the Opera, Urinetown the Musical, and Evil Dead The Musical!!

Find us on Facebook!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Carrie: The Musical

What better way to get your freak on just in time for Halloween than with one of Broadway's biggest commercial flops? That's right, Carrie: The Musical is now on in Vancouver, at the Jericho Arts Centre!

Fighting Chance Productions brings this cult classic to life for the month of October with this Canadian regional premiere of the musical. The night I attended, the most terrifying part of the evening was the sound system, which had some unfortunate snafus throughout much of the first act. Luckily, things got fixed up in time for people to enjoy the rest of the show.

If you're not familiar with the story of Carrie, it's based on the horror book by Stephen King, about a telekinetic girl who gets picked on and is raised by a super religious mother. Pushed to the edge, Carrie eventually wreaks havoc on those who have done her wrong.

The Jericho Arts Centre is the perfect venue for it, as it adds to the creep factor being isolated all the way out near the edge of the woods as it is. Ranae Miller does a great job as Carrie, both acting and singing-wise. She is meek and cowering, yet bursting to be bold and longing to fit in. Hurt and betrayed, her anger is malleable and fills the room as the show comes to its iconic climax.

A wonderful treat for Halloween! Carrie: The Musical is on now until October 25th at the Jericho Arts Centre. Tickets available online.  (There is even merchandise available for the show from pins and buttons to Carrie t-shirts to a Carrie carrying case!)

The Rainmaker

Pacific Theatre kicks off its 2014/15 season with a classic country tale of faith and lust in N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Robert Salvador, Pippa Johnstone, John Voth  

The story revolves around a family of men who are trying to help the lone female of the group, Lizzie, get married off. Set on a farm in yesteryear, the brothers and father hatch a plan to score the town widower for Lizzie, whose low self-esteem prevents her from believing in herself and fulfilling her dreams.

In fact, the majority of the characters are afflicted with the same feelings of low self-worth. The widower doesn't seem to feel he's worthy of a companion, while one of Lizzie's brothers battles with being regarded as the dumb one.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Kenton Klassen, Pippa Johnstone, Andrew Wheeler, Ryan Scramstad.    
On top of all the family drama, the entire town has to deal with a drought that is slowly but surely killing their crops and farm life. Enter in the Rainmaker, played by Robert Salvador (from last season's Espresso). Here, he easily takes on the persona of a slimy con artist cowboy with a heart of gold. He manages to add layers of mystery and complexity to the show, as he squares off in his cowboy boots against all the other characters, making them question themselves and their beliefs.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Ryan Scramstad, Robert Salvador, Andrew Wheeler. 
Will the Rainmaker save the day? Will he bring rain and end the drought, both in the weather and in Lizzie's love life? This is a lovely production with a cozy set designed brilliantly by John Webber. With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas just around the corner, this is a great kick off to the holiday season with its heartwarming sentimentality and family dynamics.

The Rainmaker is on now until November 1st at The Pacific Theatre.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Mandrake

Based on "the greatest play in the Italian language," (La Mandragola by Machiavelli), The Mandrake makes its debut here in Vancouver at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive. Theatre Pandora introduces us to their new artistic director Tom McLaren who has journeyed over the great oceans from the United Kingdom to be here.

The play itself is a comedic farce revolving around con artists, lust, and a quick paced rapport between the two actors who, in this new take on the story, take on 8 different characters and even rotate characters between one another throughout the play! It's not as confusing as it might sound, as both Valerie Pauwels and Trent Red do a tight job juggling all the roles, and occasionally breaking down that fourth wall to make sure the audience is still on the same page.

It's that breaking of the fourth wall that really pulls together what the shows seeks to convey. In a epilogue of sorts, the actors discuss the role of identity and acting and how in this world we call a stage, we are all but actors taking on whichever identity fits us at the time. By donning different costumes and accents, the actors have managed to showcase that lesson in this vehicle, leaving us to wonder if we truly are who we say we are.

The Mandrake is on now until October 11th at the Havana Theatre.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My Rabbi

Kicking off the 2014/2015 season for the Firehall Arts Centre is a timely, politically-infused portrait of friendship, hate, and religion. My Rabbi is the story of two friends, Arya (who is Muslim) and Jacob (who is Jewish).

Told through a jumping timeline, we are introduced to the characters in present day Toronto, years after their friendship has dissipated, while traveling back to see how two buddies came to grow so far apart. The religious backgrounds of both play a vital role in their separation, slowly building a wall up between them.

Both Kayvon Kelly and Joel Bernbaum weave back and forth between the past and the present, swapping out their hats and yamakas to take on auxiliary characters such as distant fathers, racist border guards, radical relatives, and more. With creative (yet simple) staging and lighting, we are transported from pub to pub, into a Jewish synagogue, and even bear witness to an exchange of letters/emails eloquently depicted between the two characters. This 65 minute show has enough complexity in its subject matter to encourage dialogue (at times, a bit too forcefully) which is the mark of a thought-provoking button-pushing piece of work.

My Rabbi plays at the Firehall Arts Centre until October 18th.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Kosmic Mambo at Studio 58

Kosmic Mambo is a hypnotizing, time-traveling, space race fantasia with a sense of humour.

The story adapts The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Coleridge poem, into a compelling story of a dangerous journey, a shipwreck, and a condemned captain, whose spirit is forced to wander the Earth telling the cautionary tale of his wrathful actions, death, and damnation.

Cosmonauts + scientists, photo by David Cooper

The Coleridge poem from 1798 is remixed into a sci-fi story set during the end of the U.S./Soviet Union space race in the late 1960's. It tells a fictitious story of the USSR's failed attempt to send six cosmonauts to Mars in response to America's successful moon landing.

In honour of the real space race, the play debuted October 4, the anniversary of the launching of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik in 1957.

This play is the latest in a series of physical theatre pieces that started 25 years ago at Studio 58. Physical theatre means that the story is told—for the most part—non-verbally. The storyline is communicated through the body—and in this case, quite well. I never lost track of the story.

However, there were times I found myself wishing the physical movements had been more refined. Some of the actors' movements were a bit heavy in some of the dancing or when simulating zero gravity. (It looked more like 20% gravity at times.) To their credit, I will say those zero-gravity scenes look like they take a lot of strength and flexibility! The lab-coated scientists who manned gorgeous, high-production-value sets, had some of the best choreography of the play.

The music, which co-creator David Mackay, aptly describes as, "hallucinogenic," samples from Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the soundtrack to "2001," and Queen (which accompanies a delightful Busby-Berkeley-inspired dance number). And if you're not into classic rock, don't worry the music is short and they do play some Goldfrapp to cleanse your palate.

This play really pleased and entertained my inner geek. The bad part is that it reminds you how long ago the space race seems now.

Kosmic Mambo

October 02 - October 19, 2014
Studio 58/Langara College
100 West 49th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 2Z6

Tickets are $12-$25 at TicketsTonight.com.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

VIFF: 52 Tuesdays

This Australian feature focuses on the lives of a transgendered Female To Male who is going through transition and the impact it has on his 16 year old daughter. The daughter is the main focus of the movie, and perhaps it's because actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey does such a precise job at being a self-involved teenager that I was completely annoyed by her. Her transitioning parent however, is played delicately by Del Herbert-Jane and I quite enjoyed her performance.

It's a tough topic that's done with tenderness and openness, showcasing how a family can get through change together.

52 Tuesdays plays at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct 7 at 1:30pm at the SFU Woodwards theatre.

Friday, 3 October 2014

VIFF: Advanced Style

This joyous and celebratory documentary brought tears of happiness to my eyes! With both screenings already sold out, Advanced Style seems to be one of the Must Sees of the Film Fest this year!

The film features several older women of New York who dress to the nines on a daily basis, and are captured on camera by Ari Seth Cohen, who started documenting fashionable older ladies on his blog of the same name, Advanced Style.

Directed by Lina Plioplyte, who was there in attendance, this remarkable and brilliant film will give everyone hope through fashion and the lives of these fantastic people! (I got to thank Lina personally for making such a wonderful film! Yay!)

The next sold out screening of Advanced Style takes place Sunday October 5 at 7pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. News has it that the film will be making a return during the VIFF Repeats series, at the Vancity Theatre, so keep your eyes and ears open!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Show Tunes Night at 1181

Something WICKED this way comes... It's a Wicked-ly inspired Show Tunes night on October 3 at 1181 Davie Street, as we celebrate the start of October in all its witchy glory! Come on by for the happiest happy hour of the month!  Check out the Facebook page for more information!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

VIFF: Everything Will Be

Julia Kwan's Everything Will Be is a strikingly moving and beautifully shot documentary about Vancouver's changing Chinatown.

Perhaps I was moved by it because of my own connection with the neighbourhood, recalling my childhood when I would go down there with my parents every Sunday to grocery shop and get a haircut at the corner shop barber. The film showcases the very many stories that are thriving right now in the area, from an upstart artist trying to make his way to a club of senior citizens coming together daily to form a singing group.

There is no one narrator, as the film suggests that Chinatown is more about the parts that make the whole. Even real estate guru Bob Rennie is featured talking about the changing neighbourhood and what he's tried to do to preserve what he can. It's a gorgeous film that will guide you through all the hidden nooks and crannies of Vancouver's historic Chinatown - perfect for any local who wants to rediscover its lost magic.

Poignant, touching, and charming, Everything Will Be plays on Sept 29, Oct 1, and Oct 3 at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

VIFF: Foxcatcher

There is Oscar buzz surrounding this film about the true life story of US Olympian wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), and their relationship to John E. Dupont played by a very creepy Steve Carrell.

The performances are great in this film, especially Carrell, who will likely be giving me nightmares for weeks to come. It's an intense experience, dramatic but with points of humour. I had no idea who any of these people were before this film, nor had I heard of the famous Dupont family before either. However, isn't that one of the marks of a good movie going experience? That you want to find out more about these characters after it's done? Especially since it is a true story. Ruffalo delivers as always, and Tatum once again proves he's more than a rom-com/action hero/StepUpMagicMike trick pony.

Catch Foxcatcher at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct 2 (3:15pm) and Oct 10 (9:30pm) at the Centre For Performing Arts.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

VIFF: The Vancouver Asahi

This one is gonna be a sell-out, so get your tickets quick! I was lucky enough to attend the media screening and even that was a full house. Perhaps it's because of the local interest - the film is set in and about Vancouver! Or perhaps it's because it's the powerful true story of a local Japanese-Canadian baseball team that bridged communities, fought against all odds, and provided hope amongst a backdrop of racism, World War II, and an impending black mark on Canadian history - the internment camps.

Gorgeously shot, this film is a joint effort from Japan/Canada and is heartbreaking as much as it is heartwarming. With anti-Asian sentiment at a high these days in Vancouver, perhaps this film is timely and relevant and a good reminder about the ugliness of humanity and the strength and fortitude of individuals and community.

The Vancouver Asahi shows on Sept 29 (6:30pm) and Oct 4 (2:30pm) at the Centre for Performing Arts, and on Oct 10 at 1pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. Don't miss this extraordinary feature!

Find out more information about the real life Vancouver Asahi here at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

VIFF: Trespassing Bergman

I don't really know who Ingmar Bergman is. Apparently he's a famous film director, that a lot of the greats look up to, including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Lars Von Trier, and many more who are all featured in this documentary about Bergman's secluded life in Sweden.

If you are a film buff and know who he is, you might have caught Liv & Ingmar which showed at last year's film festival. This provides a good bookend to that, which I also saw and also didn't quite understand having no previous knowledge of his backstory.

Trespassing Bergman did provide more of a background on his film work and life, so I found that helpful in getting to know who he was and why he was so famous. After seeing this, I'm now more intrigued to see some of his work, including Persona, The Seventh Seal, and Fanny and Alexander.

Trespassing Bergman shows on September 25, Oct 1, and Oct 5 at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vancouver International Film Festival !!

Are you ready for it?? It's that time of year again! Nothing says Autumn better than the Vancouver International Film Festival! VIFF opens its doors this week, September 25 and runs to October 10, so pick up a free program (yes it's totally free this year!) or head over to their website online and click around to browse through the films you want to go see! Fun Fun Vancouver will be dedicating the next two weeks to VIFF, so stay tuned...!! Happy Film Festing!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Word Vancouver

Sept 24 - 28

"This is Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. Held during the last week of September at various venues throughout the city, our festival promotes books and authors with free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and interests."

Check out WordVancouver.Ca for more!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The 39 Steps

Opening up its 52nd season (!) last night was the Metro Theatre, bringing its 486th show to audiences with the classic play The 39 Steps, by Patrick Barlow. If you've never seen this Hitchcock meets Monty Python theatre noir farce, it's wonderfully done here at the Metro, with Tom Parkinson, Jenny McLaren, Trevor Roberts, and David Wallace pulling off a multitude of characters as they charge through the revolving door of victims, police officers, villains, and heroes.

The 39 Steps is on now until October 11th at the Metro Theatre.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Haven't been able to make it out on a Friday night to the Show Tunes event? Fear not, Broadway buffs, for this weekend we'll be doing SHOW TUNE SUNDAY at the JUNCTION ON Davie Street!!

The Queer Arts Festival will be on hand to raffle off some awesome prizes, including tickets to Carrie The Musical! Come on by for drinks and food and Show Tunes!! 3-7pm at the Junction on Davie!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

SWARM 2014 !!!

Who's ready to go SWARMing!!!?

We interrupt this Fringe love fest to bring you a quick reminder that SWARM happens this Thursday and Friday! If you've never done SWARM before, it's an art gallery hop around Vancouver.  On Thursday, you can check out galleries around Mount Pleasant. And on Friday, the galleries in the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown will be open for you to come visit! Check out the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres' website for more information about SWARM!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Vancouver Fringe Festival: Cannibal The Musical

It was a packed house tonight at the Firehall Arts Centre for the 3rd showing of Trey Parker's Cannibal: The Musical. Its popularity is just the tip of the iceberg as the hit Broadway musical Book of Mormon rolls into town next Spring. With Cannibal: The Musical, South Park co-creator Trey Parker cuts his teeth on writing a full length musical before graduating to the likes of Team America and Book of Mormon.

This based-on-true-events stage show is a breath of fresh air at the Fringe, clocking in at 90 minutes and featuring a cast of 12. With no actual stage script available, anyone who obtains the rights to the show will have to adapt it themselves. Director Corwin Ferguson manages to seamlessly translate the cult film into a stage production that is both raucous and rollicking.

With several nods and winks to some of Parker's other material, as well as several current references, the show is fun and slapstick and absurd in all the right places.

Cannibal: The Musical plays at the Firehall Arts Centre on Sept 9 (6:15pm), Sept 10 (6:45pm), Sept 11 (5pm), Sept 13 (1:30pm), and Sept 14 (3:15pm).

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Vancouver Fringe Festival: No Tweed Too Tight - Grant Canyon Mystery

Look here, see? We got a good ol' fashioned mystery for ya, in the vein of classic private detective movies. But Grant Canyon is no PI, no Sir, but rather, an Insurance Investigator! No Tweed Too Tight - Grant Canyon Mystery is a silly slapstick comedic genius of a show, with zingers and one liners that will fly by you if you aren't paying attention.

Back by popular demand, Ryan Gladstone's hilarious one-man show about a perpetually drunk insurance investigator will have you laughing in no time.

No Tweed  Too Tight: Grant Canyon Mystery plays at the Waterfront Theatre on Sept 8 (6:45pm), Sept 11 (8:40pm), and Sept 13 (7:50pm).

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Vancouver Fringe Festival: Little One

Holy smokes. I need to sit down. No, I need a drink. Wow.

Have you ever gone to a show and left it feeling extremely satisfied? Like you've gambled and won? Like you know you made the very best out of your evening? Yes. That's what happened tonight to me. And thank goodness for the Vancouver Fringe Festival, because if not for that, when would I have ever been able to witness such a compelling and boldly intense show such as Alley Theatre's Little One, written by Hannah Moscovitch and directed by Amiel Gladstone.

Daniel Arnold and Marisa Smith give off brilliantly riveting performances as a brother and sister duo whose layers of secrets slowly become unraveled in this 60 minute edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller. To say it's intense is putting it mildly. The off-stage characters are equally as fleshed out as the ones that appear before you. These people and their stories and even the family cat will continue to haunt you, long after the show has ended.

If you think you can handle it, then this is so far the Must-See show of the Fringe. It's tightly written, completely absorbing, and deserves its moment in the spotlight.

Little One still has performances on Sept 7 (3:25pm), Sept 10 (7pm), Sept 12 (6pm), and Sept 13 (3pm) at The Cultch - Culture Lab.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Vancouver Fringe Festival: The Zoo Story

Aenigma Theatre joins the Vancouver Fringe Festival to bring us Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. The first Albee play I ever saw was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and I was blown away by it. So imagine my excitement at the thought of getting the opportunity to see another one of his works.

You walk in to be greeted with the musical stylings of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. which is noteworthy since the play itself is of that time. However, Albee continued to update the play to make it more current as time went on, with this version being the most recent one (last updated/published in 2008).

Scott Button stars as Peter, the bookish patron of a park bench. Stumbling into his orbit is Jerry, played by Tom Stevens who is utterly a revelation. With the majority of the show on his shoulders, Stevens draws in the audience as Jerry, with his tales and stories about attempted dog murders and other mad ramblings. He is mesmerizing to see, and it will be well worth your time to check this show out at this year's Fringe!

Could this play be seen as depicting the need for human connection? Why is Jerry so insistent on talking with this total stranger, Peter? And why would anyone in their right mind sit and listen to him? Perhaps both are longing for something more in their lives, a connection with another individual. In this day and age, aren't we all just longing for that everytime we log into Facebook, send out a text message, take a photo on Instagram?

The Zoo Story plays on Sept 7 (7:35pm), Sept 8 (7pm), Sept 10 (8:45pm), Sept 13 (9:25pm), & Sept 14 (4:10pm) at The Cultch - Culture Lab.

Vancouver Fringe Festival: The Dark Fantastic

"An incredible feat of storytelling." - CBC

I don't disagree. Martin Dockery works his butt off in this one-man show. As if slam poetry wasn't theatrical enough, Dockery takes that genre to a whole new level with his performance of several tales that weave the mystic and mysterious with the mundane realities of everyday life together into a live jigsaw puzzle of words that will have you losing your way and then finding it again. The twists and turns he takes you on with his words is a journey that is sometimes dark, and occasionally fantastic.

The Dark Fantastic is on Sept 6 (1pm), Sept 7 (9:25pm), Sept 11 (6:45pm), Sept 13 (5:55pm), and Sept 14 (3pm) at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Remember when TV shows had theme songs that you could actually sing along to? Well, SHOW TUNES night takes a left-turn into TV land this month and brings back all the TV themes you can think of as we celebrate the best in TV Theme Songs and Show Tunes!!

Come on down to the Happiest Happy Hour of the month, Friday Sept 5 from 6-9:30pm at 1181!

Like us on Facebook to keep yourself up to date on upcoming Show Tunes events!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Vancouver Fringe Festival

It's less than a week away until the Vancouver Fringe Festival opens! Are you ready for it? I have gone to some Fringe shows in the past, but I've never fully DONE the Fringe, do you know what I mean? So this year, I already have about 13 shows lined up! There are so many choices to choose from. What are some of your picks? I'll be dedicating the next two weeks of this blog to Fringe Show reviews, so be sure to check back often!!

Check out the official website for more info about the Vancouver Fringe Festival and the plethora of shows it will be offering!!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Museum of Anthropology

I'm heading back to school in the Fall and will be on campus up at UBC, which means I can't wait to go visit the Museum of Anthropology while I'm up there. They currently have some intriguing exhibits going on, including

Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art:

Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth:

and Spotlight Taiwan:

Find out more about the Museum of Anthropology at their website!