; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2018

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Red Birds

"This play is a bittersweet comedy about three generations of dirt-poor women whose lives are thrown into chaos when a birth mother is revealed who is both incredibly wealthy and ready to marry a charming gold-digger. “Red Birds” is a sister piece to the incredibly popular “The Big Blue Bird”, written by Aaron Bushkowsky, then given a workshop reading by Western Gold more than 12 years ago. “The Big Blue Bird” looked at the sad but poignant relationship between three generations of men: a grandfather, father and son. It was subsequently nominated for a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Script."

Red Birds is on now at the PAL Studio until November 17! 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Kill Me Now

You only have one more chance to see Brad Fraser's astonishing and controversial play Kill Me Now, about a father raising his physically disabled son when things take a turn for the worse. This production blew me away, not only with the story, but the acting and the set design.

Touchstone Theatre should be commended on the diversity in the casting of this show. There are scenes that will make you want to look away, but because the writing is so strong and emotional, you won't be able to.

From assisted suicide to a father jerking off his son, there is no stone left unturned here. You don't want to miss the chance to see this play, and you only have one more night to do so!

Kill Me Once ends its run at the Firehall Arts Centre on Saturday Oct 27.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Wolves

There's a slight foreshadowing in the music selection that greets you as you take your seat at Pacific Theatre for a performance of the play The Wolves. Among the chosen tunes are songs by the likes of Kesha, Robyn, and other female pop singers whose music many might find to be fluffy and light. But take a closer listen. Kesha's "Woman" is a feminist rally cry with the refrain, "I'm a motherfucking woman!"  Meanwhile, Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" is a national anthem for heartache.

Like Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves, one might be initially led to believe that you're watching a group of teen girls gabbing on the soccer field for two hours rather than seeing an actual play. But as we witness subject matter that ranges from bloody tampons to bulimia, anxiety to politics, masturbation to death, we realize that this show is much more than just seeing a soccer team do their warm up.

The Wolves is about family, community, and teamwork. It highlights bullying and acceptance, weaving in the mundane with the serious, and forces the talented cast to go through a roller coaster of emotions that one would with any chosen family.

The Wolves is on now at Pacific Theatre until November 10.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Sweeney Todd

The Snapshots Collective's production of Sweeney Todd is just pure genius. If you were lucky enough to nap a ticket to this, then consider yourself one of the chosen few who get to witness one of the best live performances in Vancouver right now.

Setting up house in a bare bones space in Gastown, the location is just one of the many things that make this production so special. "Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop" is the address you're given when you buy a ticket, and fans of this Sondheim classic will know exactly what that means.

Not only that, but ticket purchasers have the option of ordering up a meat pie with their seat. I knew that this was something I NEEDED to do. (There are veggie and vegan options too.)  Anyhow, we are given our pies when we enter and I shamelessly stuffed it into my mouth like a crazed animal. No utensils are given, so everyone just has to eat with their hands, a foreshadowing of things to come as we later see the actors shovelling delicious pies into their mouth not knowing what's really in them...

The acting and singing of this cast was SUPERB. Warren Kimmel as Sweeney Todd is just simply outstanding. Colleen Winton's Mrs. Lovett is played to perfect comedic perfection. The folks sitting in the"splatter zone" were thoroughly entertained with the onslaught of blood.

The tale of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a chilling, terrifying story perfect for Halloween. The Snapshots Collective has really tapped into something unique here with its timing, location, and immersive experience. I'm SO glad I had the chance to see this. Sadly, tickets are all sold out, but keep your eyes on this group and you may find yourself at another inspired piece of theatre in the future.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

VIFF: The Man Who Stole Banksy

This fascinating documentary about a man in Bethlehem who cuts down a concrete wall with an original Banksy on it and then sells it is actually about even more than that. It touches upon the living and political conditions of Israel and Jerusalem, discusses what makes art art, the selling of street art and how context is important for street art.

All in all, a very thought provoking documentary full of Banksy porn that will be sure to titillate any Banksy fan!  The film fest ends tomorrow and there is one more showing of this, so don't miss out!

VIFF: Maria By Callas

If you missed this one, it looks like the Vancity Theatre will be showing several more screenings of Maria By Callas in November.

This is a documentary about famed opera singer diva Maria Callas. I didn't know much about her or her work, which is why I wanted to see this. It's all told through her own interviews and letters. And there is amazing footage of her on the stage and off.

It made me realize that I can't appreciate opera. I did however, get to meet the famous bun lady, who goes to VIFF every year and I have seen her many times. She sat next to me and I said, "I recognize you from other years!" and she said yes, she stood out. She then offered me peppermints as she saw me nodding off during the opera parts, and she said peppermints will help to keep me awake when I'm tired. This was a fun and memorable interaction, which was probably the best part of going to this film for me.

VIFF: Sorry Angel

I should've known better. I picked this film to go see because it features a gay storyline, but I didn't really think about the fact that it's French. And you know the stereotypical French film trope? This one fit it to a tee. I found it quite tedious and slow moving, and must have fallen asleep several times.

Overall it was just mediocre.

The Vancouver International Film Festival ends tomorrow!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

VIFF: United Skates


United Skates is more than just a documentary about the roller skating culture amongst African Americans. It's the story of racism in America, the tale of globalization and economics and greed, and the impact of roller rink closures across the country. It's a film about community - how it's built and how it's destroyed.

We were lucky enough to have one of the directors, Dyana Winkler, in the audience, along with one of the people featured in the film, Phelicia, both of whom stayed afterwards for a Q&A session.

This film was full of heartbreak and joy and has got to be hands down, one of the best films of the festival! Although there are no further screenings scheduled for this, the film has been bought by HBO and is gearing up for an Academy Award campaign, so hopefully you'll get a chance to see it.

VIFF: Ben Is Back

This is one of the blockbuster mainstream films that I went to see at the Film Festival, only because a friend of mine LOVES Julia Roberts. She stars as the mother of a drug addict, and the events that unfold over Christmas Eve show us how much of an enabler one can be with an addict.

I'm sure they'll be trying to push this for an Academy Award of some sort, but personally, I found Roberts' work to be better in last year's film Wonder. This story of an addict just didn't quite hit the mark for me, though Lucas Hedges gives an outstanding performance. Meanwhile, Courtney B. Vance is completely under utilized.

Ben Is Back shows again this Thursday.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

VIFF: Studio 54

I have always been fascinated with the world of Studio 54. In this new documentary, we get a close up behind the scenes look at the making of the infamous club, its heyday, and the aftermath. With interviews with regulars, co-owner Ian Schraeger, and authorities, this film is a well-rounded depiction of a time that can never be recaptured.

With rare footage of the club, this was probably one of the most thorough documentaries I have ever seen on it. There are limited seats left for the next showing of Studio 54, next Friday Oct 12. 

VIFF: The Happy Prince

This is Rupert Everett's masterpiece. He not only stars in it, but he wrote and directed this stunning film. It is beautifully shot, and smoothly crafted. The Happy Prince is the story of Oscar Wilde during his exile years after being charged with acts of indecency for being gay.

It's a well done and informative biopic of the final years of Oscar Wilde. I can't think of another film that has tackled this subject, so it's about time! Everett's performance is a revelation, especially if like me, you only know his work as the singing gay friend in My Best Friend's Wedding or the gay friend in The Next Best Thing or as the evil villain from Inspector Gadget.

He may have been busy with other projects, but he definitely hasn't been on my radar for the past decade or so. It's nice to see him back in such a empowering role (actor, director, writer) and being wonderful at all three of his pursuits.

There are no more showings of The Happy Prince, but no doubt this will get a wider release just in time for awards season!

Friday, 5 October 2018

We Are The Robots exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery

I renewed my membership at the Vancouver Art Gallery just so I could go over and over again to Kevin Schmidt's We Are The Robots exhibit, which features an audiophile's dream listening room. In this sound-proofed space, visitors are invited to bring in their vinyl records to take a spin on the turntable and be listened to in this custom-made space that includes giant speakers designed for maximum sound detailing, and panelled walls made from reclaimed kitchen countertops to help with the acoustics.

Today I went in and put on some Kylie Minogue and Madonna. I thought I was early enough so that I could avoid having to explain my music taste to strangers, but no such luck. One woman came in with her family and heard the Madonna blasting and said to her husband, "This is my idea of Hell." We ended up chatting and I told her about the exhibit and then asked what vinyl record she would bring in if she could, and she said she would probably bring in The Cure.

This exhibit ends on October 28, so get to the art gallery to see it while you can! And bring your records!!

Saturday, 29 September 2018

VIFF: Giant Little Ones

What a wonderful and beautiful achievement this film is! And it's Canadian!

Giant Little Ones is the story of two teen boys whose close friendship changes drastically after one drunken night. Full of emotion and heart, the actors do a phenomenal job. This film captures all the different mixed-up feelings that go along with adolescence. Definitely one of my favourites of the film fest already!


I had to walk out of this film M/M, unfortunately. It felt tedious and slow-moving and that it was not going anywhere. As it was the third film of the day for me, I didn't feel the need to stick around and see where it went...

So, see it if you want, but consider yourself warned.

VIFF: Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

VIFF is on! It's my favourite time of year! The Vancouver International Film Festival!

My first film was a documentary - Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable. This was a documentary about a photographer from the 60s and 70s. It wasn't as intriguing as say the Vivien Maier documentary from a few years ago, but it was still great to see all the photographs shown on the big screen.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Last night I went to see the Arts Club Theatre's production of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I had already seen it on Broadway, which was amazing, so was curious to see how this local production would fare. And it was very well done!

The New York one had a lot of technology involved, with screens making up most of the stage. This one had several screens and animations and was able to use the actors and lighting to do the more challenging technical aspects.

The actors were fantastic in this, and that was the real strength of the show. They really helped deliver an emotional whallop that punches you deep in the gut. A beautiful show that will surely entertain!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Fringe: Dear Elizabeth

"Together but continents apart, Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop exchanged more than 400 letters from 1947 to 1977, exploring poetry, romance, illness, grief, and the profound affection they had for one another."

A play told through letters? I was about to pass on this one but a friend told me no you HAVE to see it, because it's beautifully done. And wow was she right! Not only was the script intelligently woven, but the two actors in this are absolutely sublime. A sparse stage, but with enough to hold your attention and with minimal props to bring tears to your eyes, the direction, the lighting, everything about this production is top notch. 

You only have one more chance to see this before the Fringe comes to an end. Dear Elizabeth plays this afternoon, so get your tickets now!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Fringe: The Lady Show

The hilarious Lady Show has been selling out all over the place at the Fringe Festival this season. Have you seen it yet? It's four feminist comediennes who will bring you sketch comedy, stand-up, and more!

One of the hottest shows at the Fringe, not to be missed! You only have two more chances to see it and tickets are going fast!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

90s Rewind Tour

Last night in Abbotsford....

I never thought I'd start a sentence that way, but last night in Abbotsford, I went to the 90s Rewind Tour starring Whigfield, Prozzak, and Aqua.  Remember them? Throw in a Muchmusic Video Dance Party and it was the ultimate time machine back to my 20s. 

I know this blog is Fun Fun Vancouver, but there are definitely awesome things to do outside of Vancouver proper. Case in point was this event.

The place was sold out, and everyone was dressed up in their best rave outfits. Someone please pass me some ecstasy. People were dancing ALL NIGHT, whether it was to Whigfield singing her signature Saturday Night, or to an S Club 7 video on the big screen. People danced in the aisles, on their seats, and even while WALKING back and forth to the bar. It was just the FUNNEST atmosphere! Abbotsford, you really brought it.

Then on came Prozzak, and if you don't know who this Canadian 90s cartoon band is, then, it sucks 2 B U (I know, I know). 

Of course, the headliner of the evening was AQUA!! They did all their hits and then some, and yes they have more than that one Barbie Girl song, which they pulled out HALFWAY through their set! I was like, ALREADY? I'm NOT READY!!

Doctor Jones was my favourite, but when the song was being performed, the performers were nowhere to be found! My friend and I, with our floor seats, were standing there staring at the stage wondering WHERE ARE THEY? Then my friend gets a poke in the ribs, and he turns and sees none other than RENE from AQUA standing there grinning. He laughs his hearty AQUA laugh and then takes off down the aisle to surprise another unsuspecting fan.

All in all, it was a terrific evening. I have to go and create an ultimate 90s playlist now, inspired by all the nostalgic and dancey music from last night.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Fringe: SELF-ish

I'm a huge fan of Diana Bang, and if you know her work from the comedy group Assaulted Fish or her movie The Interview, then you will not be disappointed in this one-woman show written by Assaulted Fish cohort Kuan Foo.

Armed with nothing more than a pile of cardboard boxes, Bang takes the stage as Esther, a 35 year-old Korean woman who is trying to find her identity and come to terms with the death of her father and dealing with an overbearing mother.  These are exactly the types of stories that we should be seeing in this day and age of diversity and Crazy Rich Asians.

Get on out and see Bang's dramatic turn in SELF-ish, and then go and catch her other Fringe appearance as part of the stand-up comedy group The Lady Show.

Fringe: Forget Me Not

I wandered into this show because a friend of mine was going to it, so I joined her. And boy am I glad I did!

Forget Me Not is a one-man show where Rob Gee performs a multitude of characters, taking us into a hospital ward for patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. Then a murder happens, and the play becomes a whodunnit mystery.

Gee's performance is brilliant, with each distinct character finding a way into your heart.

Can you figure out who the killer is in this killer Fringe show? Tickets are still available!

Fringe: Jasper in Deadland

YES. So much YES for this Fringe show. Presented by Awkward Stage Productions, we get a STELLAR production of this off-Broadway musical about "love, death and never letting go."

Jasper In Deadland is the tale of Jasper who is trying to rescue the love of her life, Agnes, from the underworld. Originally written as a hetero relationship, the roles are switched up for this Fringe production.

The music is wonderful, the singing is great, and the acting is good. This is a definite must-see at this year's Fringe, especially if you're into musicals. The simple set convincingly transports you to the world of Deadland, where souls roam aimlessly while forgetting the lives they left behind. Will Jasper be able to save Agnes and bring her back to the real world?

You have FIVE more chances to find out! Buy your tickets now!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Fringe: The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Have you ever fallen in love instantly and then spiralled down into quick obsession? I know I have! I was able to relate to the lead character of this Rainier Werner Fassbinder play, put on by the Midtwenties Theatre Society.

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant is melodramatic in every way. From the antsy teen to the infatuated lead, we are presented with characters who are caricatures of themselves. A highlight of this show is the Baroness, whose comedic timing is greatly appreciated amidst all the tears and bemoaning.

This is the story of a fashion designer who falls head over heels for an ingenue who can barely give her the time of day.

The show runs again tomorrow and next week at the Fringe.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Fringe Festival 2018

I've been away for awhile.

But now I'm back. And what better time to come back than Autumn in Vancouver and the Vancouver Fringe Festival!?

It starts in just TWO days and runs until the 16th!

What shows will you be checking out!?