; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: March 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Rubbout Fetish Weekend - April 4-6

Hey all you kinksters out there, we are less than a week away from Vancouver's only gay fetish weekend - RUBBOUT!

 In its 23rd year running, "the Vancouver Rubbout party weekend is for men who like rubber and fetish. The theme for 2014 is GEAR UP! We want to encourage all the rubbermen out there to wear their sexiest sports gear to the weekend events; preferably in rubber, though lycra and leather will also conjure up images of hot sweaty muscular men giving their all to win the game...and of course locker room flesh is always welcome!"

Schedule of Events: 

Friday, April 4

- Event Registration at The Pumpjack Pub (5-7pm)

- Opening Night Dance Party - MISTER INTERNATIONAL RUBBER presents the GRAND SLAM GREET THE MEAT Cruise Social Dance with DJ Del Stamp at Heaven's Door (9:30pm) Tickets $10 at Little Sisters, or $15 at the door

Saturday, April 5

- Gear Swap Meet at the Pumpjack Pub (Intake 11am- 1pm; Sale 1-6pm)

- Puppybowl Party (2-5pm at The Junction)

Sunday, April 6 

- Brunch (11am - 2pm at Heaven's Door)

* Not all events have been listed. Please visit Rubbout.Com for more information on other events, and to purchase a Weekend Pass for only $65!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Erato Ensemble at Sonic Boom Festival

Erato Ensemble, Vancouver's professional art-song chamber ensemble, opened this week's Sonic Boom Festival of New Music by B.C. Composers with a juried performance. Last night's bill had a good balance of intellectually stimulating and aesthetically pleasing songs—something for everyone.

The Ensemble, which is also the festival's ensemble-in-residence, capped off the night with its most engaging piece, "The Death of Queen Jane" by Stefan Hintersteininger. Both my guest and I independently found it quite cinematic. Something about it made both of us think how good this would be on a soundtrack. Someone needs to mail a copy of this work to the "Games of Thrones" music producers.

"Ancient Songs" by Nova Pon is inspired by three pieces of ancient poetry which are up to 3400 years old. Pon doesn't merely revive the poetry but also gives it full life. I was absorbed by these pieces. I'm not sure if that's because they're a bridge across the ages or because they're such good music; in fact, I think it was both.

Michael Trew's "Japanese Plums" is inspired by his love of Japanese haiku. I found this piece intellectually rigorous. It has the difficult task of echoing haiku without aping it.

I want to hear a longer version of "An Afternoon Delight" by Brent Chauvin. It has an interesting A-B-A structure—also related to the Type A and Type B personality types, but I was simply lost in the music. That's a good thing.

"Bergère" by Réjean Marois is about the loss of the "ultimate love" and is a bit too modernist for my tastes, but it's good to hear a composer pushing the boundaries with interesting jazz influences. Nicholas Ryan Kelly's "When You Are Old" is inspired by the Yeats poem of the same name. I found it quite beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. Adam Hill deconstructed some folk-style idioms in "This is What Happened" and thereby cleverly breathes new life into a style that desperately needs it.

Whereas the rhythmic "Elephant Stamps" by John Mutter reminds my guest of "Dumbo," Wylie Ferguson's "Conqueror Worm," based on the Poe poem, reminds me of "Dune." Mutter gets the prize for best back story, which playfully describes the differences between stamping and stomping.

Cameron Catalano's "Eighty Years with Luck" turned me off at first but won me over by the end.

Special mention goes to the soprano, Catherine Laub. The piccolo player also deserves special praise.

Considering the overall high quality of this performance, Vancouver and B.C. can be proud of its vibrant local composer scene.

Erato Ensemble's next performance is "Ayre: Early Music Remixed" on Saturday May 24, 2014.

Pro Musica's Sonic Boom continues until this Sunday March 30.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Innocence Lost

Studio 58 at Langara is currently tackling the infamous story of Steven Truscott, one of Canada's biggest injustices in courtroom history. If you're not familiar, Truscott was only 14 years old when he was wrongly convicted of the murder of fellow classmate Lynn Harper, back in 1959. It wasn't until 2007 that Truscott finally was acquitted.

Innocence Lost, written by Beverly Cooper, aims to show all sides of the event and how it affected the community as a whole, as well as the individuals that were involved. Much like The Laramie Project, the play is told in monologue format, with a dizzying number of characters pontificating on the case and what their thoughts and feelings were. However, unlike The Laramie Project, these monologues are not based on actual interviews, and they come across as a barrage of facts that the audience has to try and keep up with.

The "sceneography" by David Roberts is effectively done, ushering the characters off and on the stage in almost a trance-like dance formation. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the set, though, with its pastel colours which reminded me of a 60s variety show. With a story this bleak, I thought that the set would reflect more of that, but it did have a utilitarian aesthetic to it, being able to transform quickly from a classroom setting to a search party in the woods.

The actual story itself is more interesting than the play, but if you're not familiar with this dark spot of Canadian history, then this is a perfect introduction for you to be educated in an artistic and entertaining fashion.
(photos by Emily Cooper)

Innocence Lost is on now at Studio 58 at Langara College until April 6. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

To Wear a Heart So White

You'll have to forgive me for feeling like Stefon of 'Saturday Night Live' fame but no; this isn't the latest nightclub to open. However, Leaky Heaven's 'To Wear a Heart So White' certainly has everything.

Sometimes this reviewer feels like he's 'Stefon' of SNL.

In a mere 65 minutes, you get group hypnosis, a zombie ghost, little girls with strobe-light sneakers, an aircraft carrier in a storm, Earth-rise from the International Space Station, window washers, talking taxidermy, aurora borealis, David Bowie, slow motion live action, Costco product placement, beautiful live piano and singing, incantations with audience participation, sex that can only be described as boinking, and if you're lucky to get the right seat, free food, wine, and swine—all fit for a king.


All that is wrapped up in a loosely narrative framework of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.' While much of this version of the Scottish play, itself mixed with Canadian, Russian, and First Nation cultural references, is clever and beautiful, it occasionally swings into silliness. However in the last few scenes, this hi-tech, quadrophonic piece of meta-theater redeems itself as an arty, trippy, psychedelic, and ultimately sweet play.

To Wear a Heart So White

March 25-30, 2014 at 8 PM; Saturday matinee at 2 PM
Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Ave., Vancouver
Tickets: $15-$20 at Brown Paper Tickets
More info. at Leaky Heaven

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


If you're not too familiar with the Beat movement, you might find yourself a bit lost like I was at Underbelly, currently playing at The Cultch.

Still, it's a marvel to witness Jayson McDonald's hour-long one man show go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, his stamina never waning and his seamless weaving of characters taking the audience on a trippy ADHD-like journey into a world gone by. The language is hyper poetic and challenges the audience to elevate themselves to a whole other level.

With a sparse stage, it's just McDonald, his numerous characters, and a variety of monologues that I would dare any detractor to try and memorize and perform the way McDonald manages to do effortlessly.  The lighting and sound effects were brilliantly and tightly done, shifting from a police siren to a light coming through an open doorway.

With so little to look at, the audience is left to use their imagination and to focus on the superb language and words of the script that come bursting off McDonald's tongue with a cadence and rhythm to match the period that the show has immersed us in.

Underbelly plays at the Cultch until March 30th.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Lowest Common Denomintator

The folks at Zee Zee Theatre Company have done it again. They've brought us an outstanding original piece that will delight, provoke, and devastate. Dave Deveau's Lowest Common Denominator (directed by Cameron Mackenzie) is a welcome addition to the Canadian drama canon. What happens when a mother brings home a date, only to have her son hit on him? Oh but it's so much more than that. It's a coming out journey for one character, a mid-life crisis of sorts for another, and a mix of humiliation and anger and overbearing motherly love for the other.

Direction is wonderful, as the audience is taken from reality to dream sequence effortlessly, mixing in humour to lighten up the intensity of the situation. The play brings up important questions, including that of a large age gap between two partners. Does age actually matter when it comes to love? Or is it a restriction put on by society's so-called norms?

The acting was tremendous for all three players involved. Dallas Sauer (whom I recognized from Studio 58's Spring Awakening last year) is charming and funny and whose portrayal of a gay son coming out to his mother made me envy their relationship (until later, when all hell breaks loose). Shawn Macdonald's Peter is the perfect mixture of tenderness and authority and level-headedness, approaching the situation he's embroiled in from all angles and acknowledging that none of this is easy for anybody involved, while still staying true to his own emotions and heartache. Then we have the tour de force of Deborah Williams, whose buoyant personality and blind motherly rage take up the entire room. She has the amazing ability to flip that switch between comedic realness and high drama, without skipping a beat.

The lowest common denominator is this: the play is a wonderful piece of theatre not to be missed.

Lowest Common Denominator is on now until March 30th at the PAL Theatre (581 Cardero). Buy your tickets online here or call 604-684-2787.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Weekend Picks: Sing Along to Grease, Lowest Common Denominator, Visitors

There are a lot of great things going on this weekend! Get out and have fun while I nurse my flu back to health. Here are the ones that caught my eye:

Sing Along to Grease at the Rio

I don't know how I managed, but somehow, I've never seen "Grease." Perhaps, it's because I have this terrible skin condition that makes me break out in hives when I get near a musical. 

But this looks like so much fun it might worth a Benadryl hangover. So down your favorite antihistamine and join in the song this Saturday evening. 

Sing Along to Grease
Saturday 15 March 2014 at 7:30 PM
Rio Theatre, 1660 E. Broadway, Vancouver
Tickets: $6-8 at Rio Theatre Tickets

Lowest Common Denominator at PAL

Honestly, I was first interested in this play to see what Deborah Williams of Flame fame is up to, but now I'm intrigued by the play's cutting-edge story of an intergenerational love triangle. 

Plus, this title appeals to the math and theatre geek in me. (I had a difficult childhood.)

Lowest Common Denominator
March 13-30, 2014
PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $25-32 at Tickets Tonight or 604-684-2787

Visitors at the Rio

One of the many things that endear me to my husband was finding the entrancing "Koyaanisqatsi" on his PVR. This is the latest by Godfrey Reggio, director of that groundbreaking film. 

Once again Reggio presents a "stunning, wordless portrait of modern life." The film includes music by Philip Glass and is presented by Steven Soderbergh in super high-def 4k digital black and white projection. See the trailer here. This could be the perfect, lazy Sunday movie.

March 16, 17 at 9 PM
March 20 at 7 PM
Rio Theatre, 1660 E. Broadway, Vancouver
Tickets: $8-10 at Rio Theatre Tickets

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

The current show at the Cultch is heavy and intense and thought provoking. Whose Life Is It Anyway? is a lengthy play about a paralyzed man who chooses to die and has to fight against the medical system that doesn't want to let him. This hot topic is rich and complex and will definitely get you talking. What would you do in that situation? What if you were the doctor struggling with the ethics versus the wishes of the patient?

Jennifer Lines (Dr. Scott), Bob Frazer (Ken Harrison)

Marci T House (judge), Patti Allan (Sister Anderson), Michael Kopsa (Dr. Emerson)

The actors do a tremendous job, and the multi-award winning play by Brian Clark is fully formed and provides a multitude of perspectives on the matter.  The set by Pam Johnson works wonderfully as a stark hospital brought to life by this powerful debate and conversation.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? will entertain you, but more importantly, challenge you. It will dare you to go beyond the realm of the theatre and into the real world to research and learn more about this issue and make you ponder, what would you do?

Brian Clark's Whose Life Is It Anyway? plays at The Cultch now until March 22nd.

(Photos by Tim Matheson)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

"Galaxies' Greatest Hits" Showcases Space Centre's New Capabilities

Space is way, way out there. But sometimes it gets spacey right here on Earth. "Galaxies' Greatest Hits," is a music show, which showcases the planetarium's brand new, full-dome, digital projection capabilities to spectacular effect.

The team at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre had a lot of fun putting this together, and it shows. "Seeing what the new, full-dome arena can do has been both experimental and entertaining for staff,” says Lisa McIntosh, Director of Learning at the Centre. The new, digital projector has been in place since July 2013.

The show is inspired by the music from classic and recent science fiction movies. The music is enhanced by surreal, fantastical imagery thereby transporting visitors to transformative, mood-provoking environments.

The music choices are taken from a wide range of movies including The Day the Earth Stood Still to the beautiful and serene Blue Danube waltz that was prominent in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Other selections include music from Return of the Jedi, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the more recent, Gravity.

“It’s our homage to the science fiction movie experience,” explains McIntosh. “We take the audience on a journey through time and space.”

The best part is that this show has a lot of heart and, if you pay attention, a sweet sense of humour: After a dark and ominous music selection from 2001, the show lightens the mood with "Don't Worry; Be Happy—" something one wouldn't necessarily expect at a science fiction show.

Don't worry science geeks; our needs are also met. The show flowed seemlessly from a musical show into an entertaining, scientific examination of the universe. Of course, non-lovers of science could leave whenever they wanted (or, ahem, got a little space sick). It really was two shows in one—an excellent entertainment value.

The next time this show is at the Space Centre be sure to take a buddy!

Galaxies' Greatest Hits
Saturday 1 March 2014 at 7:30 PM
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9
(604) 738-7827

Monday, 10 March 2014

Fighting Chance Productions announces new season!

I was very excited to hear that Fighting Chance Productions' next season consists of four musicals!! How awesome and fun is that!? Here's what we have to look forward to:

Finishing off their current season will be the Tony-award winning musical Spring Awakening (April 25 - May 17 at Jericho Arts Centre)

In their upcoming season, the theatre company starts off with their now annual Halloween-inspired show. They've done Little Shop of Horrors and Rocky Horror Picture Show in recent memory, but wow, am I absolutely THRILLED and totally looking forward to this October, when Fighting Chance Productions presents the off-Broadway cult hit, CARRIE: THE MUSICAL!!

This infamous show made its Broadway debut back in the early 1980s and was a complete flop. It wasn't until recently that it got revived off-Broadway and has now since become a mega cult smash! I can't WAIT to see this!! Thank you Ryan Mooney and Fighting Chance Productions for bringing this to Vancouver!!

Following up that will be their holiday-time show, the very aptly chosen, Little Women

And just before the release of the big Hollywood movie version to be released in 2015, FCP has decided to take on Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods. This is like the equivalent of reading the book before seeing the movie. So, you simply must go see the live version before you see Meryl Streep tackle the role of the evil witch on the big screen. 

Finally, founding out their season will be Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. And judging from all the vocal performances that we were honoured to see at the season announcement event on Friday night, it's gonna be a great season for musical theatre in Vancouver! 

For more information, keep your eye on the Fighting Chance Productions Facebook page and get a season subscription!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Guerilla Gay Bar Vancouver

It's an exciting time right now for the gay scene in Vancouver! There's tons of different events and nights to attend, including the totally awesome Show Tunes night at 1181! Now, there is also Guerilla Gay Bar Vancouver coming at ya!!

The concept is simple: a bunch of queers get together at a non-gay establishment and kind of "take over" for the night! They've done this in other cities, so it's great that some folks have decided to start it up here in Vancouver!

Check out their Facebook Page for more info and come to the Inaugural Take Over happening this Friday, March 7th! (Destination to be announced on the day of.)