; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2016

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Surrey Tree Lighting

Haul out the holly... !

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And to get a jumpstart on things, Surrey will be holding their Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony THIS SATURDAY !

At City Hall Plaza (just off the Surrey Central skytrain station) from Noon - 7pm.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Eastside Culture Crawl

I went to my very first Vancouver Eastside Culture Crawl just last year, and now I am addicted!! I cannot wait for this event, which starts up this Thursday and goes on until Sunday! So many artists and so much art and goodies and things to look at and buy! Perfect place to do some Christmas Shopping!

Happy 20th Anniversary to the Eastside Culture Crawl! Check out their website for maps and a list of artists/exhibitors!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Now Or Later

This play couldn't be more timely. With the American election one day away, why not infuse your theatre night out with a dose of politics with Fighting Chance Productions' Canadian premiere of Now Or Later, written by Pulitzer prize nominee Christopher Shinn.

The story revolves around the eve of a Presidential election, in which the winning candidate has to deal with his gay son's public faux pas, bringing up issues of intolerance and hypocrisy. It's a thought provoking show full of grey areas. 

Nicole G. Leier, who portrays Tracy, one of the many aides who file into the pressure cooker of a hotel room to discuss the unraveling events, was the highlight of the show for me. It wasn't just because she guzzled down a minibar bottle of vodka, but her poised presence and emotional speech about being a person of colour really hits home.  

Fighting Chance further adds to the diversity by casting Winson Won  as Marc, another one of the President Elet's aides. Paula Spurr's Jessica is the perfect First Lady to Be, assertive and glamorous. Brian Hinson channels his best Martin Sheen as the newly elected leader of the country. Justin Anthony's Matt brings a welcome dose of humour to the show, while Jake Sheardown tackles the lead role of John, the gay and privileged son who makes an irreversible public mistake. Sheardown easily has the most lines to get through during the show as he is in just about every scene, so kudos to him. 

Thank you again to Fighting Chance Productions and Ryan Mooney for continuing to bless our city with opportunities to see theatre and shows that we may not otherwise get to see. 

Go now, rather than later, to see Now Or Later at the PAL Theatre, on till November 13. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Suitcase Stories

On now at Pacific Theatre is a tremendous and inspiring performance by Maki Yi, in her one-woman show that she wrote and stars in - Suitcase Stories.

Yi spends an hour and 40 minutes non-stop, no intermission, on the stage transfixing the audience with her tale of immigrating to Canada from Korea. That is downright impressive. Her immigration story is full of frustration and bureaucracy, perhaps familiar to many people out there.

With a barebones stage, it's just Yi and her suitcase. But armed with a piece of chalk, Yi transforms the space into a world map. With the help of a simple streamer, she manages to convey a long bus ride through the forests of Ontario followed by the flat Prairies. 

It's a story about being torn between two worlds, not belonging in either, the loss of hope, and rediscovering faith. Everything is simple yet complicated but ultimately effective. Yi brims with energy, sadness, and childlike love for the theatre. Come get inspired and revel in the Korean melody that Yi serenades the audience with.

Suitcase Stories is on now at the Pacific Theatre until November 12.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Frankenstein, 1945

Are you in the mood for some live theatre to get you into the Halloween spirit? On now at Studio 1398 is Mily Mumford's Frankenstein, 1945 presented by Nebula Company Theatre.

Dripping in film noir, this take on the classic monster tale resettles in post-World War II Berlin, Germany. The creature Frankenstein is none other than a pet project done by a doctor who worked in the concentration camps doing experiments on humans.

It's a slick production with smoke machines, strobe lights, and black and white film projection. My big thing when it comes to plays are the number of scene changes, and there definitely are quite a bit in this, making the switch from one to another interrupting the flow of the play. It's disguised however with voiceovers and background music.

Frankenstein, 1945 is on now until October 30th at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Love, The Sea

I feel sorry for you. I also feel guilty. Why? Because you probably didn't get to go see Studio 58 and Risky Nights' production of Love, The Sea - An Underwater Play. And I would've told you about it sooner had I not gone on the very last day.

"Now in its 17th season, the Risky Nights Series is designed as a bridge between classroom work and main stage productions. At the conclusion of their second year of training, students have an invaluable opportunity to create every aspect of an original theatre piece from start to finish with a professional director, and perform it for an intimate audience."

Knowing that, it is even more amazing to have witnessed what Directors Tim Carlson and Daniel Doheny and the fourth term students of Studio 58 have created and delivered. Love, The Sea takes place beneath the water and it revolves around letters written by Virginia Woolf, who killed herself by walking into a river with stones in her pockets.

This experience immerses you into a magical and mystical world, held in a dark room and lit by lights adorning the actors (in diving helmets, glowing jellyfish and giant turtles, and glass bottle containing a white light, i.e. Woolf's soul). 

It was astounding and probably the coolest show I've seen all year. I wish it could have been on for longer than a week. I would've returned to see it again and again and brought everyone I know with me.

Dear Studio 58 and Risky Nights, please bring this back as soon as you can.
Love, Fun Fun Vancouver.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Angels In America: Part One - Millennium Approaches

I finally had the privilege to go see the much talked about Studio 58 production of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. It was well worth the wait! It's a highly ambitious play to mount, in terms of the dialogue and the sets, but Studio 58 pulls everything off flawlessly.

The amazing set design by Drew Facey is stunningly original and effective, as the scenes change and flow, we are instantly carried away from a NewYork apartment into a mens' bathroom and then over to a hillside in Salt Lake City. It's simple, but it works extremely well.

Then there's the acting. Studio 58 continues to keep up their reputation as being one of the most talented powerhouse theatres in town. All the actors did a stupendous job but the one breakout performance of the night for me had to have been Julien Galipeau's portrayal of  Prior. He turns on a dime from campy to heartbreak. Just when you think the scene is going to be light and fluffy, Galipeau will deliver a line or a look that will sucker punch you right in the gut.

Tony Kushner's award-winning and iconic play is done justice here at Studio 58. Everything culminates into a cliffhanging reveal that is well worth the 3 hour journey it takes to get there.

You only have one last chance to go see this production, as it ends today with one final matinee performance! It's raining out, so why not go take in some top notch theatre?

Angels in America Part One : Millennium Approaches is on at Studio 58 at Langara College.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Vancouver Art/Book Fair

This weekend is the 5th annual Vancouver Art/Book Fair happening at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I missed out on this last year, but it sounds like a great event to attend, and it's Free! It promises books, magazines, zines, ephemera, talks, performances, and artists' projects!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Psycho at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

I'm so excited to go see Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho tonight at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as they play the score live, as part of their VSO At The Movies series!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Concierge of Vancouver

With Vancouver's housing crisis on the front page these days, the world premiere of the play The Concierge of Vancouver couldn't be more timely. The story follows a quirky up and coming reporter trying to bring in the scoop on a big time bank scandal and a shady condo building in Vancouver. At the heart of the drama is a goofy concierge who also appears to be the mastermind behind a faux charity organization. 

At times predictable, I found that the show didn't live up to its promise of being a "satire about the housing market in Vancouver" but rather became a lesson in money laundering. Also, the use of Justin Timberlake's annoying song Can't Stop the Feeling didn't help me like the play any further. 

It is however, a refreshing take on what might be happening here in the Lower Mainland when it comes to the cost of living and housing prices. Rather than the usual racist chatter that gets bantered about so easily, this play offers up a different, though at times far-fetched, perspective on what perhaps is really behind Vancouver's hot real estate market. 

The Concierge of Vancouver is on until November 16th at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Comfort Cottages

Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of PAL Studios is the world premiere of the play Comfort Cottages!

This is a delightful story of four retired women who inherit a roadside motel, which turns out to be a psuedo-brothel in its heyday. The owner of the motel may now be gone, but her patrons are still stopping by, and it's up to these four ladies to set them straight! Or will these lonely truckers have more of an effect on them than they expect?

I'm usually quite leary about world premiere plays, because you are quite literally the guinea pig! And I've seen and read my share of plays to know which ones I like and which ones I find to be amateur. Comfort Cottages I am happy to report is one that does an excellent job of bringing a story to life without the use of gimmicks or endless multiple scene changes, and the ability to stage the play on a stationary set. Bravo, everyone!

In attendance were friends and family and media, but also William B. Davis of The X-Files fame, so if The Smoking Man supports this play, then why shouldn't you?! Plus, there's lots of talk about older actresses getting and creating work. Ryan Murphy loves to embrace legends like Jessica Lange, Angela Bassset, and Kathy Bates in his television shows, so it's nice to see that here in Vancouver, the landscape is also as embracing.

Comfort Cottages is charming and funny and may just inspire you to realize it's never too late to start something new. It runs at the PAL Studios now until Oct 23. Get your tickets online.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Angels in America: Part One : Millennium Approaches

One of the most iconic plays in recent memory will be on stage here in Vancouver. In fact, it will be on two stages! This year, Angels In America will be performed by the critically acclaimed company of Studio 58 at Langara College. Next Spring, taking a crack at it will be the Arts Club Theatre.

Now, I've been to productions at both places. Studio 58 is fairly consistent with its calibre of theatre productions that it puts on. Arts Club Theatre though, can be hit or miss. Arts Club Theatre however, may have more budget and therefore may be able to bring the grandiose that this play calls for.

With that said, the production I am most looking forward to out of the two is the one at Studio 58, which starts its run THIS WEEK!!

If you're not familiar with this play, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and deals with the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 80s. Ground breaking and provocative, we are truly blessed to have the chance to see this live this year!

Get tickets to Studio 58's Angels In America: Millennium Approaches online!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Good Way Out

The new season at Pacific Theatre began last night with Cara Norrish's A Good Way Out.

This drama centers around Joe, a mechanic with a storied past trying to make a better life for himself - by joining a biker gang. The gang provides family, though he has blood family of his own in the shape of sister Lynette, an ex-stripper girlfriend named Carla, and two kids.

Andrew Wheeler, Carl Kennedy, Chad Ellis.

Joe finds himself torn between loyalties to Larry, the gang leader who has given Joe a new life but who has also kept him under his thumb, and the desire to move onwards and upwards and be able to be independent and provide for his loved ones. Enter his buddy Sean, who has a not-so-wise plan to help Joe gain that independence. Will this be Joe's downfall?

Carl Kennedy, Evelyn Chew, Corina Akeson, and Chad Ellis.

A Good Way Out is a story about choices. In life, we all have them and sometimes we make bad choices. It's a reminder that no matter how hard life can be, if we just take a look around, there may just be a better way, a better choice. And if not, we need to look for it, before we end up making a bad one.

A Good Way Out is on now until October 15th at Pacific Theatre. 

(Photos by Matt Reznek.)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


It's going to be quite the literary weekend! Literasian is also kicking off tomorrow, and will also be found on Sunday at the Word Vancouver event at Library Square.

This festival celebrates Pacific Rim Asian Canadian writers! For more info, check out the literAsian website!

Word Vancouver

The Word Vancouver festival kicks off tomorrow night culminating with the big free public event on Sunday at Library Square. Word Vancouver is "Western Canada's largest celebration of literacy and reading!"

For more information, check out the Word Vancouver website!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Vancouver Fringe: Dying City

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is now upon us!!

I went to my first Fringe show of the season last night at The Cultch. My guest blogger, Meaghan, will be covering more Fringe shows in the coming days. I found it hard to get down to Granville Island all the time, so I'm so happy to see that the festival has spread itself out into the city more, with shows at The Cultch, The Firehall, Havana Cafe, etc.

Aenigma Theatre's production of Dying City is a heavy drama about a man who has died in the war in Iraq. It centers mainly on those that he left behind, including a grief-stricken widow and a gay identical twin brother. The twin and the widow meet a year after the death of Craig, tethered by loss and a balance that shifts when secrets unravel quick and dirty.

Both Christine Bortolin and Garland Chang weave in and out of past and present seamlessly, with Chang donning the dual role of the deceased Craig and his twin, Peter. If you're looking for serious drama with good acting and a thought-provoking script, then make your way to The Cultch and catch Dying City (nominated for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Drama).

Dying City is on today at 5:15, Sept 11th at 12:30pm, the 12th at 8:45pm, the 15th at 9:30pm, and Sept 17th at 7pm.

Friday, 9 September 2016


SWARM, the Art-Gallery hop in Vancouver is on RIGHT NOW.

Are you SWARMing???

Monday, 5 September 2016

Madonna: Truth or Dare 25th Anniversary Screening at The Rio


When I was 13 years old, I was GAGGING to go see Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary. She was my idol. Of course, nobody would take me to the theatre to see it. I tried to sneak in with a friend, but that also got squashed by the theatre workers. So I had to wait months after it was out of the theatre to see it via rental on VHS video.

Still, I watched it completely enamored. I bought the video, then years later the DVD, and have watched it countless times. Alek Keshiashan's filming of Madonna's Blond Ambition tour remains the most cinematic I've ever seen of her concerts. I've been wanting to see the concert in full from his footage, but alas only a select number of songs make it into the film. Maybe one day, we'll get the full Blond Ambition tour released.

But  up until now, I had never seen Truth or Dare on the big screen. Turning 25 this year, it's finally coming back in vogue (pardon the pun). New York City screened the film for a whole week, with Madonna herself appearing at the MoMA screening of it to surprise her fans. Can you imagine? I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't in NYC for that - not just to have her in the theatre, but even just to see the movie on the silver screen the way it was intended.

Now, thanks to the Rio Theatre, I will FINALLY get my chance! I've only been waiting 25 years for this moment!! Thank you RIO Theatere for making a lifelong dream of mine come true. I can't wait to cozy up in one of your seats with a bucket of popcorn and finally get to watch Truth or Dare in all its glory, on the big screen with surround sound, amongst other fellow Madonna fans.

Truth or Dare screens at The Rio on Tuesday September 6 at 845pm.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Picasso: The Artist and his Muses

I may have been a bit quick to dismiss the current Picasso exhibit on at the Vancouver  Art Gallery. I first attended the opening night event, which of course, was stupidly busy. That meant I had very little time to look at all the artwork being displayed. It was a "let's just get this over with" kind of evening. And Picasso's work has never fully appealed to me before.

I went back mid-summer with a friend and got to see a bit more of the show, but even then I found myself bored and not really engaging. Perhaps it's because we were more focused on catching up with one another than we were the exhibit.

Finally, I went back for a third round and it's like they say, third time's the charm. This time I read all the descriptions and realized that Oh, Wait a Minute, this exhibit centers around Picasso and all of his lovers that he'd had and how they inspired and informed his work! Whoa. That's kinda cool. And he's also kind of a player. And he's DEFINITELY a jerk. I mean, on one of his so-called "muses" he went and burned her face with a cigarette butt! W T F ??

So in the end, yes, this is an interesting exhibit and you should go check it out and give it a chance.

Picasso: The Artist and His Muses is on until October 2 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

i-Exit Escape Room Games

Last night I went to my third Escape Room game! I've done two previously, both at Exit Canada. For this round, I decided to check out something new, so a few friends and I headed downtown. Did you know there was an Escape Room game right on Granville and Davie?

i-Exit is located there, and they have theme rooms that include The Matrix, Vegas, Party at the Studio, and the one that we ventured into: PIRATES ON THE ROCKS!

Comparing it to No Exit, I found this one to be a lot less stressful to do - mainly because we were given ample time (65 minutes) and a guarantee that we can retry with no additional cost. The game itself was very fun, where things weren't always as it seemed. I don't want to give anything away so won't go into the details. There were only 3 of us and we managed to successfully escape, with about 6 minutes left on the clock! Not bad!

Bonus: We used a Groupon to go to it, so that was a sweet deal!

I'd definitely go back to i-Exit again, but am also keen to check out some other Escape Room games around town. Any suggestions out there on which ones are good?

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is currently in town and you have a few more days to catch this uproariously hilarious musical from the twisted minds of the creators of South Park. I've seen it three times already (once on Broadway, once in Seattle, and once here in Vancouver the last time it came to town).

But I couldn't RESIST the Student Rush Ticket deal they have going on right now. Every show, two hours before curtain time, the box office will open with 20 Student Rush Tickets priced at $25 each. Since I am a student, I had to make use of my student card, amirite?

Each student is allowed to purchase a maximum of 2 tickets, to be paid in Cash Only. I caught Sunday evening's performance, which began at 7:30pm, which meant the Student Rush tickets went on sale promptly at 5:30pm. A friend and I snagged FRONT ROW seats to this spectacular show!

If you've never seen the Book of Mormon musical, what are you waiting for? Go do it now! It's only here for a few more days!

The Vancouver run closes on September 4th. Check out Broadway Across Canada for more info!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Vancouver Mural Festival

I checked out the gorgeous offerings of the Vancouver Mural Festival the other day in Mount Pleasant. If you're in the area, this is a must do! And if you're not nearby, then make it a destination. Check out the website for a map of all the mural locations. Here are some photos I snapped of some of the murals!


Monday, 29 August 2016

In Order of Disappearance

Fans of Stellen Skarsgaard can rejoice!  He is starring in the film that's currently playing at the Vancity Theatre, In Order of Disapperance.

Set in Norway, this thriller suspense revolves around a man whose son has been murdered by a drug lord. This revenge film doubles as a black comedy with Skarsgaard as a Liam Neeson-type protagonist out to avenge his son's death. Throw in a neurotic drug kingpin, a goofy Serbian gang, and a precocious little boy and you've got a recipe for hijinx and shenanigans.

With gorgeous shots of Norway, you'll marvel at the wonder of the majestic snowy landscape (and for me, appreciate not having to live in a climate that looks completely bone-chillingly cold!)

In Order of Apperance is on at the Vancity Theatre on: August 30 at 4pm,  August 31 at 8:20m, and September 1 at 3:45pm.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

VQFF: Strike a Pose

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival is currently on, and I had the pleasure of attending one of their gala screenings last night, of the documentary Strike a Pose!

I was super excited to see this, as I was a huge Madonna fan growing up and saw Truth or Dare countless times. Now, 25 years later, a new documentary follows up on her backup dancers, who truly made up the heart and soul of Truth or Dare.

In Strike a Pose, we see how being Madonna's back up dancer for her Blond Ambition tour influenced and impacted these young men, mostly gay and of colour, in 1990, and how their lives have evolved since then. It's a testament to the true impact that Truth or Dare and these dancers had on the world, as we heard from numerous audience members during the Q&A session about how much influence it had on us as young queer people dealing with sexuality and coming out in the early 90s.

I cried through the entire film, I must admit. It was absolutely touching and so nice to see all these dancers back together again, and the impact they had on each other. I was lucky enough to meet both Jose and Kevin, who were both in attendance and took a photo with them. They were both so gracious and so sweet, I'm so glad I got to meet them. If you get a chance to see it, do yourself a favour and get your tickets now!

Strike a Pose is being shown again this Friday at 2:30pm.

Sunday, 14 August 2016


If you're trying to escape the heat, might I suggest going to the movies? That's what I've been doing. And I just went and saw WEINER at the Vancity Theatre the other night, and it was thoroughly entertaining!

Yes, this is the documentary about American Democrat politician Anthony Weiner, who got in trouble for sexting and sending photos of his dick to women. This film follows him after the scandal and his rise back up out of the ashes to run for the mayor of NYC. It's a story about a husband and wife dealing with modern day infidelity, as much as it is a story about public shaming and the will to keep going. It's inspirational, funny, and touching.

Weiner is on at the Vancity Theatre tonight at 8:20pm, as well as on Aug 15 (3pm), Aug 20 (4pm), and Aug 21 (4pm). 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Summer exhibit at Rennie Collection

The current summer exhibit at the Rennie Collection is a bit underwhelming, I found. A photography exhibit featuring several different artists. I like photography, but I can't seem to appreciate photography where it's "artsy" such as a photo of a basketball hoop in the middle of a forest, as is the case in Richard Prince's "The Girl Next Door." I liked the photo, but I prefer things such as street photography a la Vivian Maier or Fred Herzog, or photos that capture moments that are newsworthy or something you might find in National Geographic. Call me basic.

If you've never been to the Rennie Collection, know that it's 1) Free and 2) comes with a guided tour by an art student, which in this case was very helpful in terms of understanding and appreciating the art more. And the building itself is a piece of art in its own right. If you're a tourist and you're visiting Vancouver and like your art galleries, then yes try to make it to the Rennie Collection!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Life, Animated

I went to check out the film Life, Animated the other day at the Vancity Theatre. This is a documentary about an autistic guy who used Disney movies to communicate and make sense of the world around him. It's a touching and heartwarming portrait of how pop culture can have such an important effect on someone.

Life, Animated is on at the Vancity Theatre August 11 and 14.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Heathers The Musical

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I've been struggling with a bit of depression. Even last night, I was considering just staying in, laying in bed, and staring at the wall. However, I knew that wasn't going to be productive so I forced myself to find a show playing in town and to invite someone to go see it with me.

So, I chose the trusty folks at Fighting Chance Productions, who are churning out two musicals this summer: Green Day's American Idiot, and Heathers: The Musical. I had seen both of these shows in New York. On Broadway, I saw American Idiot and wasn't overly impressed with the show's thin storyline. I also caught the off-Broadway premiere of Heathers, and it was fantastic! It came complete with  blue "drainer fluid shots" in the lobby! How VERY!

So of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Heathers again, and thank goodness for Fighting Chance Productions for putting on these amazing shows for us Vancouverites that we may not otherwise get a chance to see! (They put on CARRIE THE MUSICAL a few years back! I mean, amirite?!)

Anyhow, Heathers was great! They did a wonderful job of it. I felt it could have used a bit more camp but I think they went more for the dark comedy, which they did really well. The whole ensemble cast were great, but the two that stood out for me were Annastasia Unger as Martha Dumptruck, whose BRILLIANT voice just soared during her solo performance of Kindergarten Boyfriend, and David Z Cohen's portrayal of J.D who came across more manic than broody, with a voice that exposes his vulnerability.

If you've never seen the movie, what's your damage?? And if you have seen the movie and loved it and haven't gone to see the musical yet, well then fuck me gently with a chainsaw! GO already! The guest I brought with me had seen the movie but had never heard the music from the musical and absolutely adored it, her favourite song being Blue. Afterwards, she immediately thought of a crew of her friends that she wanted to bring to the show.

In this world we currently live in of school violence, bullying, and homophobia, this musical based on the 80s cult favourite could not be more timely.

Heathers: The Musical is on now until August 26 at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island, in rotation with Greenday's American Idiot. For more info, check out Fighting Chance Productions!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Theatre Under The Stars

This year at Stanley Park's Theatre Under the Stars we are gifted with two classic musicals: Beauty and the Beast and West Side Story! Both shows are on now until August 20th! Don't miss out!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


Wow it's been a long time since I've posted! I have been under a bit of depression the past while, so please bear with me.

I did manage to go out to the Vancouver Art Gallery the other day though, and checked out their latest exhibit. I'm not a huge Picasso fan, so sped through that rather quickly. Upstairs however is BHARTI KHER Matter, which is "the artist's first major North American survey. It features the diversity of Bharti Kher's practice, incorporating elements of painting, photography and sculpture that have been the hallmarks of her international career over the past two decades."

In other words, it's a pretty wonderful exhibit. Here are a few pictures from it. Go see it now! It's on until October 10!