; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: September 2015

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

VIFF: Room

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

Claustrophobia, Desperation, and then a Slow-Paced Drama


Room is probably one of the only films that I knew anything about before the film fest. I read the book (also called Room) by Emma Donoghue when it came out in 2010. My criticism for the book is carried over into the film and exemplified because of the condescended form.

The first part of Room is sweet with Ma and Jack exploring their extremely small world, a garden shed fitted with a toilet, sink, bath and kitchenette, and exploring their confusing relationship. They fight viciously because of their close space, but they are also all the other one has so they love each other with such extreme devotion that if either were to die it is assumed the other would soon follow. Once their reality is established the movie turns to a quick pace set of plans to escape the room in which they are trapped. The movie until this point is quick and well paced with little superfluous scenes or dialogue. The viewer is given a good sense of the challenges faced by Ma in her sense of duty to protect her son.

The third act however hits a bit of a wall. Once they escape the room the pacing of the film seems to slow to a standstill. Jack and Ma shuffle quickly through the system and are placed in the home of her mother to rehabilitate. William H. Macy comes and goes quickly in a role that almost seems to waste the actor’s immense talent. He shows up long enough to be a naysayer and then disappears for good. Although Ma hits a speed bump halfway through the third act, Jack and Ma seem to progress to normal mental health at a shockingly kick rate.

Herein lies my issue with both Room the movie and Room the novel. It doesn’t totally know what it wants to be. It shows the bleak reality that Ma and Jack face for seven years (five for Jack) and wants a happy ending to give some hope to the story, but in reality the happy ending only last so long. So either Room needs to focus on the escape and call that its happy ending, or focus on the rehabilitation and see the progress towards independence as the happy ending. Where it stands now the happiness of the end seems put upon. Within roughly a month in the film Jack is socializing normally with another child Ma is stable and they are able to move on with their lives. I know I am possibly the only person on the planet that thinks this, but I think that Room is too happy, or at the very least tries too hard to be happy.

That is of course not to say that I didn’t like the movie. It’s still a great story, but my jerk-ish self wants it to be better, or as good as it could be. Brie Larson is so phenomenal in the film that she is barely recognizable as the goofy sexy girl I’ve seen her play before.  Jacob Tremblay is yet another young actor who has astounded me this film festival! He does a great job as the confused and scared Jack.

I recommend this film for those who can handle the darkest corners of society, those who have read the book, or those who are interested in the movie that won this year’s People’s Choice award at TIFF and is a front runner for winning the award again at VIFF! 

Room shows again on October 2nd at 5pm at International Village. 


Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Trick or Treat! Come on down to SHOWTUNES Night for FRIGHT NIGHT! Yes indeed, we've got a slew of horror and Halloween inspired Show Tunes to keep you up all night!

Friday, October 2 at 1181 Davie Street

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VIFF: Very Semi-Serious

Oh my goodness, Very Semi-Serious is SO MUCH FUN. It was definitely the most light-hearted film I've seen yet at VIFF this season. This documentary about cartoonists trying to get published in New Yorker magazine and the people behind the scenes who work to get it done is downright wonderful. The audience were rolling in the aisles laughing so hard. If you need a good break from the drama and the foreign film subtitles and the heavy documentaries, then definitely, definitely, go and see Very Semi-Serious. It will tickle your funny bone and provide thoughtful insight into the world of New Yorker cartoons.

Very Semi-Serious shows again on October 8th at 9:15pm at the Vancity Theatre. Don't Miss It!

VIFF: Frank and the Wondercat

Upon seeing the write-up in the VIFF program, I thought Yay a fun whimsical movie about a cat whose owner likes to dress him up and make him a celebrity! Upon seeing the first few minutes of the film, I thought Yay we're gonna get to watch awesome cat footage on the big screen for about an hour! Upon actually watching the entire film, Frank and the Wondercat, I thought about how sad I felt in the end. This film will not just tug on your heartstrings, it will rip them right out.

If you're a cat lover or a pet owner, you will definitely relate to this documentary about Frank and his beloved cat Pudgie Wudgie, who became an instant celebrity back in the days before Internet cats ruled the scene. I mean, come on, Pudgie Wudgie was on MAURY POVICH.

This intimate portrait of a man and his kitty cat will likely break your heart and leave the pieces scattered in the litter box. Pudgie Wudgie was basically his best friend, and there's no spoiler here, since at the very start of the film, you find out Pudgie Wudgie died in 2001. Frank's home still sits like a shrine to his pet and he carries a pocketbook of photos of him everywhere he goes. It's an unparalleled friendship that is now cemented on celluloid.

Frank and the Wondercat shows again on October 1st at 4pm at the Cinematheque.

Monday, 28 September 2015

VIFF: Homme Less

Homme Less is the documentary about Mark Reay who is a successful fashion photographer in New York City who is also homeless. Yes, that's right. He lives on the rooftop of his friend's apartment building, unbeknownst to his friend, and manages to make his way through the city with lockers at the YMCA and his own shower and bathroom at the public park.

Reay shows his tenacity and his street smarts at how well he's able to live without an actual roof over his head. He also moonlights as an actor and manages to make some income. An ex-model himself, his handsome looks and his fashion style throw people off the trail that he's actually homeless. Some might see him as a squatter or a trespasser, while others may admire his ability to survive in the concrete jungle. There's not much explanation as to why he is in the situation he's in. Is he living beyond his means? Why can't he find a roommate and live somewhere? Why not find a stable job? If he's choosing to live this way, then why should I care about him? Why doesn't he just move back to live with his mom in Jersey?

As part of VIFF's Style In Film series, I was hoping for something more along the lines of Bill Cunningham, Iris, or even Advanced Style. But Bill Cunningham, he is not. Homme Less lacks just that tiny bit of charm to make one feel for the subject. Reay is a well-put together man who seems confident and at times, cocky. The film itself is a love letter to New York City and its darker side.

Homme Less is on again October 4 at 6:30pm at the Centre for Performing Arts and October 7 at 11am at SFU Woodwards.

VIFF: Beeba Boys

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

A Bloody Fast Paced Exploration of Second Generation Canadian Gang Life

The director only pointed out one thing in her opening speech: the reason she focused solely on Punjabi gang life is because she is Punjabi and therefore has an insider knowledge of the culture behind the real life gang members on whom she based her film. I thought that statement was redundant but after reading a few reviews I realize that I was in the minority in assuming that a director who is branching out into action films would want to hold onto some insider knowledge to help understand the motivation of her characters instead of giving a wider portrayal of all second and third generation immigrant gang life.

The film itself was very quick paced and surprisingly funny, although I found the audience laughed at moments that I’m pretty sure were meant to be serious, but I’ve found that with most audiences (as Alan has pointed out in his Peggy Guggenheim review – beat his wife with a baseball bat because she was annoying and then committed suicide is not a hilarious joke but a terrifying tale). Humour is very central to the film as Beeba Boys translates to "Good Boys" which is obviously very far from the truth. 

The acting was phenomenal and the Beeba Boys had such amazing chemistry together. I was worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with who is who in the gang from the quick introductions of roles at the beginning but the characters were so well done and diverse that it was easy to tell which role each member played in every scene. My favourite character in the film was Manny who is always telling overly long jokes to lighten the mood of the grim reality that the boys live, and his quick cutting remarks really made me giggle throughout the film. I always love the character who is allowed to mess with the toughest guy in the room, because that is the bravest guy in the room!

One of the most obvious strengths, and embarrassingly one of the reasons I wanted desperately to see the film, is the impeccable style of the Beeba Boys. I used to joke with my friends that Inception was a two-and-a-half-hour long suit porn, but Beeba Boys takes that to a whole new level. Costume design in this film was impeccable! The boys were always perfectly attired and the mix of Indian and cutting edge Western fashion gave the Beeba Boys a distinct and elegant look.

The film is understandably quite bloody and gruesome. Gang life has been portrayed many times in film so most people know what to expect, but I was shocked at the extent of the bloodiness and the unrelenting violence. No one in the film was safe. By the end I was starting to get oversaturated with violence when the final statement appeared (which I can’t quote because I am dumb and didn’t write it down quickly enough so I shall paraphrase): We did not make this gratuitous violence up. There have been more than 170 gang related deaths in BC in the past ten years. The extent of gang related death and mayhem in BC astounded me. The movie has a strong “gang life = death” moral at the centre, but the film itself is highly enjoyable around it.

I would recommend this film for action junkies, people who wonder about gang life, and those who enjoy well-crafted film and don’t mind a little bloodshed. 

Beeba Boys is on again on September 29th at 3pm at the Centre for Performing Arts. 

VIFF: Cop Car

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

A Hilarious Romp in the Most Cringe-Inducing Way

I don't know what I was expecting from Cop Car, but definitely not 90 minutes of near constant laughter. The movie with the simple premise of two ten(ish) year old boys find and steal an abandon cop car escalates and derails into car chases, drugs and shoot outs. 

Kevin Bacon is amazing as the crooked sheriff with a secret in his trunk, but the two leads James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford steal the show as innocent runaways who find themselves in the most adult situation imaginable. 

The dialogue of innocence from the boys was perfectly crafted and delivered. The movie doesn't have much of a plot and as disappointed people behind me pointed out, not much exposition or backstory, but that's what I enjoyed the most from this film. The movie is centred on the boys instead of another film about crooked cops who will do anything to not get caught. 

I recommend this film for any with a dark sense of humour or enjoy a bit of cringing as there are multiple scenes where the kids test out the guns and bullet proof vest. Maybe not suited for the woman behind me who openly stated she doesn't like 'dark films' before the movie. It took everything in me not to turn around and stare while the kids threw the gun about haha. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

VIFF: Sleeping Giant (review #2)

My VIFF buddy Meaghan loved Sleeping Giant so much that I told her she could submit a review for it if she wanted, even though it was one of my picks! I did want to say a few things about the film however, which I also enjoyed.

If you took summertime, teenage angst, coming out, boys and bullies, and family drama and shook it all up in a jar of fireflies, this is the film you would get. Remember when everyone was going crazy for that movie Boyhood? I hated Boyhood. I thought it was gimmicky. Sleeping Giant, however? So much better than Boyhood!!

I was very pleasantly surprised with this film because it kept taking these twists and turns that you don't really expect, but that aren't totally out of the realm of possibility either. At first I was annoyed with the kid actors who play Riley and Nate, but then realized they were actually portraying their roles as annoying teenagers to a tee. Then enters Adam, played by Jackson Martin, who delivers such a beautiful, tender, and subtle performance of a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality, crushing on the boy next door, and dealing with family issues at the same time.

Even though Adam's sexuality comes into play, it isn't the main focus of the film. Rather, it's a combination of all that craziness one feels during this time of growing up that the film successfully manages to capture.

Sleeping Giant is on today (September 27) at 4pm at International Village and again on September 30th at SFU Woodwards at 1:15pm.

VIFF: Sleeping Giant (Review # 1)

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

An Unexpected Delight

I will admit that I did not choose Sleeping Giant as part of my film festival schedule. I have spent enough years around smart-ass fifteen-year-old pot-smoking hooligans in my time while living with my brother.  I was pleasantly surprised however to find that I loved this film and it is my favourite of the festival so far (although it is the second day). This film had authentic writing mixed with amazing acting by the three lead teenage boys. I was happy to watch a teen movie that stars actual teenagers who sound like the kids you roll your eyes at on the bus. Teenage relationships and their sense of justice are the centre pieces of this film.

The always-beautiful lake superior was the backdrop of this film, but the social dynamic of the film could have placed it in quite a few different areas. I went back and forth between Northern Ontario and the Maritimes a few times before I was able to check the setting on my phone (the movie takes place outside of Thunder Bay, ON).    

The most impressive part of this film for me was the inclusion of a young queer character whose storyline was not centred on the fact that he is gay. The topic is not openly broached during the film and he is the first gay character that I’ve seen in film whose sexuality was not an active plot point.

I strongly suggest checking out this movie for a taste of what teenagers are actually like and well laid out drama that had our audience gasping.  


(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

High Intensity Parade of Questionable Ideas

I can confidently say that I am not the intended audience of Meru. I spent most of the film somewhere between astounded and appalled at many of the decisions that the main characters made.

Meru is a never-before climbed peak that the three main subjects of the documentary are obsessed with climbing. The film follows their first failed attempt at the climb as well as the years the follow to gear up to the “feel good” finale of the film. Of course between the first and third attempt many horrors befall the main subjects which just makes their triumph that much sweeter, or if you are like me that much crazier.

If you are an adventure junkie, or a mountain climber you may be better equipped to accept the decisions of Jimmy, Conrad and Renan, but as a logical non-thrill-seeker I spent most of the film thinking about the impact of their decisions. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the women and children that these three men left at home in their mission to do the impossible.

This is of course a film with spectacular visuals, though it seemed at times some landscapes were enhanced through photo editing which I found to be a little crazy considering how grand the shots would have been otherwise.

I suggest this film for high-octane people, or those like me who are just trying to understand what it is that drives a person to do such dangerous things. 

Meru is on again on September 29th at 9pm at the Rio. 

VIFF: The Last Hammer Blow

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

The Last Hammer Blow – Disjointed but Charming

I am a huge fan of French cinema. I find I have a soft spot in my heart for any Francophone film as I enjoy listening to the language and sharing a special bond with the other French speakers in the audience who laugh at silly jokes that can’t be translated by subtitles.

This movie was a bit of a let down for me. The film flickers through four storylines never truly giving actual attention to any of them. It took quite awhile to get the gist of what was happening in the film because the opening scenes were so quickly intercut together with little connection other than Victor, the main character.

Victor struggles with his mother’s illness (which is never named, though her baldness implies cancer), the return of his never before met father, his crush on his next-door neighbour, and the pressure of getting into an elite soccer program, all through the lens of classical music. If that sounds like a lot packed into a single movie it’s because it is.

I was most impressed by the film’s exploration of rural French poverty. Much of the French cinema that makes its way to North America tends to focus on either urban centres or more chic sections of France. The Last Hammer Blow does not pull any punches. The film not only looks at poverty but also immigration into France and the ways in which those who do not speak French suffer when first entering the country.

I would recommend this film for fellow francophiles, those who love classical music, or those looking to see a new perspective on France. 

The Last Hammer Blow is on again today (September 27) at 5pm at the Vancity Theatre.  

Saturday, 26 September 2015

VIFF: I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced – A Harsh Examination of Yemen’s Rural Customs

            I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to go see this movie, but watching a child abused because she is a girl is never an easy thing to do no matter how much you’ve prepared yourself.  Thankfully, Nojoom’s story starts with her escape, which gives the viewer a glimmer of hope to get them through the next 60 minutes of increasing sadness. Reham Mohammed does an exemplary job as Nojoom and brings spunkiness and an adorable face to this horrifying story. She stands out as one of the best actors in the film and is one of the best child actors I’ve seen in a long time, especially in such a serious role. 

Although the subject matter is tense and difficult to sit through, the film is beautifully shot featuring some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen on film in a long time. The use of time-lapse photography was done amazingly and helped present the natural beauty of Yemen’s rural areas. Use of symbolism added weight to scenes that could not be shown directly for obvious reasons such as Nojoom’s wedding night. 

The film is built around two major contrasts: the contrasts between city and country (or “tribal”) life and the differences between the lives of men and women. Tribal life in the film is focused on family honour, revenge and justice. Nojoom’s family must flee the village where she grew up because her father’s honour is besmirched when his eldest daughter is raped. It was difficult for me to sympathize with a man who discusses his daughter’s rape in terms of his own sadness instead of realizing how devastating that act would have been for her. Nojoom’s husband similarly seems to care a few times throughout the film when she’s trying to harm herself, but it’s hard to see it as anything more than protecting a commodity after the multiple rape scenes. These two men along with the Sheikh of Nojoom’s new tribe are the main antagonists of the film. Their villainy completely stems from the misogynistic way that they treat the women of the film. Additionally, one of the saddest factors of the film is the way that the elder women in her community treated Nojoom. She looks towards her elders for help on a number of occasions and is met with “this is the way it is” type responses. They choose to tear down of Nojoom and other young women for not being as “strong” or “hardworking” as they should be based on customs instead of trying to improve the lives of young girls so that they don’t need to live the same hardships that the elder women already have. 

Nojoom’s salvation lies in the city with the judge she petitions and his more Western ideologies. The entire third act of the film is a scathing rejection of “out-dated” customs that allow for grown men to marry children. The film doesn’t push past the subject of child brides in its final speech, but the issues faced by women in Arab countries are shown throughout the film including rape, abuse, and general sexism which treats women as lesser in a plethora of ways.    

            The film is definitely worth seeing. I am a firm believer that people should inform themselves on what is happening around the world (with that in mind most of the films I will be reviewing for VIFF will be documentaries), and this dramatization of a true story is a great place to look for if you prefer to have a happy ending. Unfortunately real life rarely ends happily and if you don’t want the happiness of the films final moments to wear off I suggest not looking up what has happened to Nujood Ali (the author of the book that this film is based on) since her book was published. 

I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced plays on Sept 26 at 6pm at International Village and again on Oct 7 at 10:30am at International Village.


VIFF: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

So today I went to see my first film of this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. I chose Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict because I thought it would be fun and informative and inspiring and quirky. Alas, it was none of those things.

I was hoping for something along the lines of last year's Advanced Style or Iris or Vivian Maier, but I did not find myself engaged. In fact, my friend and I both left the movie before it was even halfway done.

My first beef with the film was that it showed a lot of stock footage. I understand that they had to do this because Peggy is no longer alive and the film focuses around lost audio interviews that have now been uncovered. So if you're going to do that then, it might be wise to maybe clean up those audio interviews so that the sound is clearer? Or better yet, supply subtitles so we know what she's saying? Otherwise, it's just stock footage of random shots of whatever with an inaudible voiceover.

My VIFF viewing partner Meaghan (who will also be doing reviews on here) was extremely disturbed by the audience's reaction to parts of the film where domestic abuse was being discussed. Was it that funny to hear about a man trying to kills his wife with a baseball bat or attempting to drown her in a lake? Neither of us were quite sure WHY the audience found this all so amusing and laughter inducing. Perhaps it was the age of the audience (an older crowd) who didn't see these things as being...DOMESTIC ABUSE? Or perhaps it was the way the film addressed the issues and presented it in such a light manner that it just comes across as comedic rather than as... DOMESTIC ABUSE.

Anyhow, in the end, we found this film to be a lot about problems of a rich white woman (even though she considered herself poor with ONLY $450,000 to her name in the 1920s)...

Not really a hit out of the park for me, but if you're a fan of Peggy Guggenheim (I had no clue who she was) then maybe this will peak your interest. Otherwise, I'd say you're better off checking out some of the other films that VIFF has to offer during the festival.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict plays on September 30 at 6:30pm at the Vancouver Playhouse and again on October 9 at 6:15pm at SFU Woodwards.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Madonna is Coming to Vancouver

Madonna is coming! Madonna is coming!

Maybe that's not as much of a novelty anymore to Vancouverites since she's been here for her last two tours - Sticky & Sweet and MDNA. However, her current Rebel Heart tour is garnering RAVE reviews. And this is from someone (me) who has tried his best at avoiding all spoilers. I haven't even seen the set list.

Of course, in this day and age, it's hard to not come across a detail here and there on social media or through friends who are obsessing about the tour online and just want to share everything they learn with you. Most of my friends have been super respectful of my wishes and have refrained, so big ups to them. I do know she's doing a whole bunch of her classics!! That's very exciting! And yes, I do know what some of them are thanks to the likes of Facebook, big-mouthed friends, and even Madonna's own Instagram account! (I try to scroll past as quickly as I can to avoid spoilers.)

Still, I have no idea the order of the songs, what songs from Rebel Heart she's doing, what her costumes really look like, or what the stage is going to be like. I do know that the New York City Times and Rolling Stone recently gave her the thumbs up, calling her show "genius" and even her ex Sean Penn was at a show and wrote her a letter about her "art." So, that's enough buzz and hype I need to look forward to the tour!

The last time she was here with the MDNA tour, I got to see her TWICE in the Golden Triangle! My seats this time are near the runway but nothing will ever top that MDNA experience (other than actually getting to meet the Queen, that is!) Thank you again to Guy Oseary for all that he's done!

There are still tickets left on Ticketmaster if you are thinking about going! Madonna's Rebel Heart tour comes to Vancouver on October 14th!

VIFF: Vancouver International Film Festival 2015

Ah yes, my favourite time of year! I think VIFF is the main reason why Autumn is my favourite season. Yes it's time for the Vancouver International Film Festival, which kickstarted things last night! Are you ready to camp out at movie theatres around town with the best of them? What films will you be seeing? Stay tuned here for reviews and recommendations from myself and my new partner in crime, Meaghan Smith, who will be helping me out this year with VIFF coverage. Happy VIFF!

VIFF is on now until October 9!

Tuesdays With Morrie

So the final show of Gateway Theatre's groundbreaking Pacific Festival is now underway. It's a Cantonese version of the famous story Tuesdays With Morrie. Starring Chan Kwok Pong and Chung King Fai, these actors may be familiar to those who watch Chinese television regularly.

I ended up giving my ticket to my niece, who accompanied my mom to the show. When they got back, my niece reported that my mom cried during the show. What a testament to the show's ability to move and inspire! My mom grew up in the villages of old China and going to a theatre to watch a play is something completely out of her realm. The fact that she could do that here thanks to this Pacific Festival is such a wonderful thing. And the fact that my niece, who speaks even less Cantonese than me, was able to go with her and enjoy the show too thanks to the trusty subtitles provided makes this even more of an achievement. Congratulations Gateway Theatre on a job well done.

The room was packed with people and if you're wanting to catch Tuesdays With Morrie, you have tonight and tomorrow to do so!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Exit Canada: Illusions

I was lucky enough to be invited back to try out the Illusions Room at Exit Canada on West Broadway! (Thanks Patricia!)

This was my second time at one of their escape rooms and boy was it fun!! I would say the Illusions Room is the perfect entry level room for anyone who hasn't done an escape room game before. It's challenging, but definitely within the realm of being solvable! We managed to escape the room with about 2 minutes left on the board! It came down to the wire!

The staff there are super friendly and were very helpful this time around with their hints that we called upon a few times. They've recently revamped their Illusions Room, so if you have done it before, it's time to return and check out the changes!

Find them on Facebook here!

I can't wait to go back and check out their other rooms such as: Butcher Shop and Circus! And then there are the other locations to visit, too! Not to mention the handful of other escape room games that are popping up in our awesome city! Yay! Thanks Exit Canada for adding more FUN to Vancouver!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Cook Your Life

This weekend the Pacific Festival continues at Richmond's Gateway theatre. I bought myself and my mom a pass for this, as I felt it was an underserved community - theatre for Cantonese speakers! Given Vancouver's population, why hasn't anyone done anything like this before? (Or maybe they have and I just wasn't aware?)

Anyhow, another show in this month long festival is Cook Your Life / MeChat.  This is actually comprised of two separate one-person shows. The first one is Cook Your Life, starring (and written by) MayMay Chan as a hilariously over-the-top woman who dishes to the audience about life, love, sex, and food. At first it feels like you're in a campy interactive cooking show, but it quickly evolves into a live-action melodramatic TVB Hong Kong-style soap opera. Chan eases easily from one character to another, making this my very first one-woman show I've seen in another language!

We didn't stay for MeChat, because I didn't think my mom would really understand its content, as it has to do with more modern day living (computers, ipads, online dating, etc.)  but Cook Your Life alone was worth the price of admission.

You only have one more chance to see if it you're not going tonight, and that's Saturday evening!

Check out more of the Pacific Festival at Gateway Theatre.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Fringe: The Flame

I haven't been able to do much of the Fringe this year unfortunately, having caught whatever bug it is that's been going around. I am feeling better now though and definitely hope to catch The Flame tonight ! If you're a fan of the podcast The Moth or live storytelling in general, then The Flame is definitely for you.

The Flame is tonight at 10pm at the False Creek Gym and is FREE!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Fringe: Blackbird

One of the shows at this year's Fringe Festival is David Harrow's Blackbird, put on by Aenigma Theatre, who previously did The Zoo Story this past Spring and which I really enjoyed.

I've seen the play Blackbird before, and it is intense. It's the story of a young woman who goes to confront the man with whom she had a sexual relationship when she was 12 and he was 40. Awkward!

But seriously though, this is an excellent piece of theatre, so make sure you don't miss out! Blackbird will be on at the Culture Lab at the Cultch on the following dates:

Friday, September 11th-       10:05pm
Saturday, September 12th-   5:15pm
Sunday, September 13th-    12:30pm
Monday, September 14th-     9:20pm
Thursday, September 17th-   9:30pm
Saturday, September 19th-    7:05pm.

The shows runs for approximately 90 minutes, without intermission.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Swarm 16

September is always chock full of things to do, so I always go out of my way to make sure I don't forget about SWARM which manages to sneak its way in and before you even know it, is over!

The annual art gallery hop takes place this  year on September 10 and 11th! For more information, check out their website!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Last PNE Weekend!

It's Labour Day weekend and what are you gonna do with it, Vancouver?!

Why not visit the PNE? It's the last 3 days for your chance to go see the fantastically modern Dream Home that's up for grabs, maybe catch in a showing of SuperDogs or watch the evening's performance of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby?

I went last night to try to get into the Hall & Oates concert, but alas, it was jam packed! We ended up across the way at the beer garden watching them on the screen. Let's just say, we were... Out Of Touch.

Your choices for headliners this weekend include Canadian favourite Loverboy, country star Brett Kissel, and Platinum Blonde. There's also an EDM (electronic dance music) festival happening. More info on the concerts here.

There's also the Show Mart if you want a Sham-Wow or a mop to bring home. We wandered through Playland and I took a photo of the swings because they used to scare me at one point, but now that the new ride The Beast is there, it's been completely dwarfed and I thought I would capture it on camera as a reminder of how simple things used to be. Did I go on The Beast? Hells NO. But you can, and you can tell me all about it.

I ate my mandatory PNE Corn Dog, then visited the barn and looked at all the animals including the pigs who made me feel bad about eating a corn dog, but then all was good when we came upon a bunch of BABY BUNNIES!!!

There's also a Beatles memorabilia exhibit and a comic book superhero exhibit to check out!

(these pics taken from The Vancouver Sun and The Province)

Ah yes, the PNE. If you're in town, then head on down there!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Pacific Festival at Gateway Theatre

I was very excited when I was at one of the Richmond Night Markets last month and saw a huge banner promoting the Pacific Festival at Richmond's Gateway Theatre. This was a theatre festival of plays conducted in Cantonese with English subtitles! That meant I could bring my mother out to catch some local theatre and she would be able to understand it! Wow!

The Pacific Festival has several events taking place, including a few FREE performances. It also has two full length plays coming up, including a Cantonese version of Tuesdays With Morrie!

So tonight we went to the opening night event, a free performance of The Will To Build, on only today and Friday. This dual Cantonese/English performance piece touches on the evolution of Hong Kong from being a neglected British colony of farmers and peasants into a bustling metropolis and all the struggles that come along with it, climaxing with the recent student protest movement that took place.

I need to commend Theatre Du Pif for creating a show that bridges these two languages, intertwining them into a story full of physical movement and poetic monologue. Originally set to be performed outdoors, today's rain storm dashed those hopes and brought the show inside, which everyone rolled along with. Great job!

Be sure to check out all the happenings at the Pacific Festival and get your pass so you can see all the shows!