; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2019

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Vancouver Christmas Market

It's that time of year again! The annual Vancouver Christmas Market! Tis the season!

I can't wait to visit and get some mulled wine and check out all the wares.

Some deals this year include:
  • $10 Tuesdays on Dec. 3, 10 & 17: In celebration of the 10th anniversary season, every Tuesday will feature admission to the market for just $10.
  • Deluxe Date Nights on Nov. 27, Dec. 4 & 11 (from 5pm): Share magical evenings with your friend or loved one at our Deluxe Date Nights! Guests are invited to enjoy 2-for-1 admission (can be purchased at the gate) and also includes 2-for-1 non-alcoholic drinks and carousel rides.
  • Kids Day on Dec. 1: Join Holly & Jolly for a day of family fun! Youth (12 and under) can enjoy admission and carousel rides by donation to Children's Wish by making a donation to take a photo with Gingerbread Mascots Holly & Jolly, everyone's favourite princesses from Enchanted Events Vancouver and Santa Claus himself!
  • Holly & Jolly Combo:
    They've partnered with friends at FlyOver Canada to create the ultimate festive experience! With the Holly & Jolly Combo, you can fly like Santa and his elves on a magical flight across Canada and on to the North Pole, and then sample the authentic German sweets, treats, and treasures on offer at the Vancouver Christmas Market. To learn more, visit: 

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Flyover Christmas Canada!

Here's a festive thing to do this holiday season! Check out Flyover Canada where you can fly like Santa and his reindeers!

In addition to the magical flight, you can also enter to win a real life getaway!

Win a Weekend in Banff!

Share your experience at FlyOver Canada on Instagram for your chance to win a weekend getaway to Banff.

The prize includes a two-night stay at the Mount Royal Hotel and four passes to the Banff Gondola.

To enter, follow @FlyOverCanada on Instagram and be sure to tag @FlyOverCanada and use #PursuitLife in your caption. We will announce the winner on Monday, December 2.

The Irishman

My friend was super stoked to go see the latest Scorcese film in a theatre, rather than on Netflix.

So we went to the Vancity theatre, where it was being shown. We caught the second last night that it was running after having been on for a few weeks by now. Yet still, it was a sold out crowd and a standby line had started! This is a movie available on Netflix, yet all these people chose to go out to the cinema for it. How wonderful!

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the movie all that much. It wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't that great. At least not enough to justify the over 3+ hour running length! I was trapped in the middle of a row and really didn't want to disturb my fellow theatre-goers, who all seemed to be enjoying the movie. Anyhow, I sat through it all and I'll never get that time back.

The acting was great and it was cool to see how they made actors like Robert DeNiro look young again, but the story wasn't that intriguing to me and didn't really capture my attention.

If you're a Jimmy Hoffa fanatic however, you will probably love it!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

The King

I know this movie is on Netflix currently, but nothing beats the big screen. Timothée Chalamet stars as Henry V in this period piece that focuses on his ascension to the throne. It's an epic filled with battles on the battlefield and sweeping shots of the English countryside that should not be relegated to your home television (though, these days, many home televisions may rival theatre screens in their own right).

But still, the whole theatregoing experience is worth it, and this film is a great opportunity to witness that in action.

The King is playing now at the Vancity Theatre.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Frankenstein: Lost in Darkness

What a fitting play for the Halloween season! More than that though, this is a radio play done on stage. It's fascinating to watch as the actors voice the characters while also creating sound effects to help build the world where Frankenstein inhabits.

Corina Akeson is wonderfully tormented as the tortured Dr. Frankenstein who is ashamed and afraid after creating the creature. We watch as the doctor's world falls apart and delves deep into despair. 

Diana Squires juggles a few hats, with sound effect duty and also playing the roles of Elizabeth, the doctor's betrothed and the sea captain who comes to save the doctor lost at sea. The production has the microphones set up so that you know when an actor is playing a different role, but Squires' performances are nuanced enough to help the audience differentiate. 

Matthew Simmons also juggles a cornucopia of characters and provides much of the sound effects for the show, which was absolutely intriguing to watch. At times, I would close my eyes to just treat this like a radio play I would be listening to at home.

Then of course we have Tariq Leslie, who plays the monster. With his deep baritone voice, he manoeuvres back and forth between the monster's internal dialogue of loneliness and his outward appearance of a monstrous beast.

The show's elevated dialogue is done by Peter Church, while direction is by Chris Lam (who stage managed last year's immersive Sweeney Todd!)

This audio drama is a unique theatrical experience and Vancouver, you are lucky to be witnessing the world premiere right here in our city! Go check out Frankenstein: Lost in Darkness at Pacific Theatre now until Nov 2.

Saturday, 12 October 2019


This is the best musical in town right now. No question about it.

I've seen Stephen Sondheim's Company before, and quite frankly, hated it. But maybe I've learned to appreciate Sondheim with age. Or maybe again, with age, I've learned to appreciate the stories about marriage and relationships that Company delves into.

Last year at this time, I went and saw Raincity Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd set in a pie shop, and ate meat pies while watching the show about murdering people and cooking them into meat pies!

This year, continuing their mission of "immersive musical theatre" Raincity Theatre brings us Sondheim's Company set at Bobby's birthday party in his apartment! I found my way to an apartment building in East Vancouver and was welcomed to the party, complete with birthday cake and pre-party shenanigans including a game of charades and me getting blindfolded to play "Pin the Bourbon on the Bobby!" 

It was a joyous atmosphere, and a dream production. When the show actually started, the singers' voices were crystal clear in the intimate space, whose acoustics were downright magical.  It really is basically like having a musical being performed in your very own living room. Jonathan Winsby's Robert is a powerhouse performance, and the rest of the cast are equally as brilliant.

I have never enjoyed Company more than I have with this production. You must go, and you will absolutely love it.

Company is on now until October 26.

Sunday, 6 October 2019


I am so glad I managed to catch a performance of this one-person musical happening in New Westminster.

An off-Broadway show, the musical takes us back to old Vaudeville and we are introduced to a myriad of characters, played by one actor. In this production, the nights rotate between a male and a female actor.  On the night I went, I saw the incomparable Luisa Jojic, whose enthralling performance was a downright revelation!

I am not too fussed about the story. Yes, it's disturbing to say the least, especially Act Two.  But as far as musicals go, I wasn't leaving the theatre humming any memorable tunes, although that song about mothers was devastating.

Luisa Jojic however, was worth the ticket admission alone. She knocks the performance right out of the ballpark. I don't know how the other actor compares, as I did not get a chance to see him. But I can only imagine that the talent needed for a show like this is hard to find.

Herringbone ends today at the Anvil Centre! Don't miss out!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Fringe: Rape is Real and Everywhere

I ended my day of Fringe festing with rape jokes, of course! Yes, I attended the Rape is Real & Everywhere comedy hour at the Cultch, and I highly recommend it!

Yes it's heavy material but it's also funny and hilarious and healing and inspiring.

It's stand-up comedy, it's told by survivors of sexual assault, and it's well worth your time.

Rape is Real and Everywhere is on four more times during the Fringe Fest! Don't miss out!

Fringe: Ludwig and the Hammerklavier

I didn't intend on seeing this show, but some friends wanted to go because they like Beethoven and classical music in general. Me not so much. So given that context, I can't say I enjoyed this production.

It felt like watching your drunk uncle discovering pecha kucha presentations and indulging himself on the life of Beethoven. Maybe this would have worked better as a full on lecture rather than under the guise of a "show."  Sure, the actor playing Ludwig could play the piano and that was nice, but unlike the one-woman show Josephine, I was not transported to the time of Beethoven nor did I believe that this actor was him. Yes, he had passion, and yes it's tough to do a one-man show and memorize all those lines and put yourself out there, so definitely kudos for that.

I wouldn't recommend this show to the general public, as I didn't really get much out of it myself. I wanted to learn more about Beethoven, but I found the facts coming at me too fast and furious and all over the place that I couldn't keep up. The folks who did show up for the show enjoyed it and gave him a standing ovation, including my friends. Perhaps those who are familiar with classical music will enjoy this and get the jokes and references and name dropping that uncultured plebs like myself don't.

Ludwig and the Hammerklavier is on four more times during Fringe.

Fringe: LIFT

Immediately following Amelie, I caught another musical which couldn't have been more different.  Lift is an obscure and unmoving British musical about loneliness.  We are introduced to a myriad of characters who wind up taking the same elevator one morning. Told through flashbacks and song, we learn the individual stories each person brings with them.

I have to admit however, I was completely lost and had a hard time following who was who and who was related to what story and basically found the entire thing confusing. There was a main character with a guitar whom I thought was named Gabe, but then he kinda takes the backseat and there's another guy named Gabe who is either gay or bi or closeted? Or is he the same Gabe but just a different side of the same character? Then there was a Sarah/Kate mess, thrown in with some online avatars come to life - I really had no idea who was playing what.

There were a few microphone mishaps which rattled the audience since the volume was so loud, so that also didn't help better things for me. I wanted to like this show because it's got LGBTQ content and I love a good musical, but I just can't get behind it completely.

For musical buffs however, they do get five more chances to see Lift during Fringe Fest! 

Fringe: Amelie

Today I took in four Fringe shows. I know there are others out there who do more of a marathon but I am exhausted, and I am not holding back on my reviews.

First up, Amelie.

Wow, this was a lovely way for me to begin my day! This musical holds a sweet charming innocence to it.

Set against a starry sky background, the cast turned the set into a cafe and then to a busy subway station and then to some popular neighbourhoods in Paris, all by moving a few set pieces around and letting the audience use their imagination - fitting since Amelie's imagination is one of her key characteristics.

I wish some of the actors had projected a bit more, but there was definitely some beautiful singing in this production. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, or haven't seen the movie, they may feel a bit lost at times. It's been more than a decade since I watched the movie so I had a hard time remembering some of the details, and I couldn't depend on this production to fill in those story holes for me. Perhaps some more elaborate set pieces would have worked well, i.e. a photo booth?

Overall, the musical fills your heart with love. It's the story of a charismatic but introverted woman and her good deeds she does for her friends and neighbours. In the end, there is a love story as well. Who even falls in love like this anymore these days? It was a wonderful little throwback to less digital times. And with the kindness and heart in this production, it's exactly the type of show that our world needs right now.

Amelie has five more shows left during the Fringe!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Fringe: Two Modern Noh Plays by Yukio Mishima

Last night's Fringe outing for me was Two Modern Noh Plays by Yukio Mishima. I was intrigued to see this because I was curious about the traditional Japanese art form of Noh theatre, and I knew of Mishima from his autobiographical Confessions of a Mask and wanted to see more work by this pioneering gay Asian writer.

I later learned that originally this piece contained Five plays and that Noh theatre normally has little comedic scenes in between the plays The two works chosen for the Fringe included a story about a poet who encounters an old woman in a park and realizes she is beautiful after being transported to the past through her stories. The other work involved a woman waiting for a man to return to her, while being held captive by another woman who enjoys the unrequited love of her prisoner.

I also found out that Mishima's work isn't completely traditional Noh theatre, though it does use elements of it, i.e. the masks and some dancing, a supernatural element. Overall though, it put the No into Noh for me. With so many picks at the Fringe, there will always be hits and misses, and unfortunately to me, this was not one I would tell people to rush out to see, unless they were avid fans of Mishima.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Fringe Festival: Josephine

I believe I have just witnessed something magical. Truly. 

Tymisha Harris stars in this one woman show about the life of Josephine Baker.

It is full of heart, and breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity, which includes the undeniable talent of Harris and her absolutely joyous performance.

I can't believe this was the first show I went to see at the Fringe. How can anything else even measure up after this? It's going to be a tough act to follow, that's for sure. In fact, I may just abandon all other plans and just go back again and again to see Josephine, if only to watch Harris deliver her devastating rendition of The Times They Are a-Changing.

The show has humour as well, with just enough interactiveness to bring laughter and an all around feel good mood without the awkwardness or embarrassment that usually accompanies shows that break down that fourth wall.

Right now, I have nothing else to compare it to, but I do know that if you only get to see one show this Fringe season, I am placing all of my bets on Josephine.

Josephine runs for five more shows, so get your tickets now before they're all gone.

Monday, 2 September 2019

FRINGE season is upon us!

It's September and that means it's the start of Festival season, and we love to begin it with THE FRINGE FESTIVAL!

From September 5-15, check out some unique theatre performances around town! Stay tuned here for some reviews! What will you be watching?

Monday, 26 August 2019

Deep Into Darkness

Last night I went to see the final performance of Deep Into Darkness at The Cultch. It's based on the life/work of Edgar Allan Poe and is an immersive theatre experience.

I have been to New York and seen the show Sleep No More twice, and this is basically the same idea, if not a complete knock off. Except with Sleep No More, the inspiration is Macbeth.  I wonder if that company has sold the rights to do shows like this but with the freedom to choose what inspiration to use?

Like Sleep No More, Deep Into Darkness splits up your group with cards (tarot cards vs playing cards), and you start off in a public area where everyone can talk and drink and enjoy some musical performances. It was really hard for me to not compare the show to Sleep No More as most of the elements were the exact same. 

Once you are allowed into the rest of the show, you wander around silently wearing a white mask along with the other audience members. Actors flit to and fro from room to room, and you can follow them to watch the action, or you can rummage through the sets and read more of the story via notes and books left out for people to peruse.

I witnessed someone being pulled into a house in the forest and I can only assume the actors who pulled the audience member in told her a story or did a private scene in the house. This exact experience happened to me at Sleep No More where I was pulled into a cottage in the woods and the woman inside told me a story about the loneliest boy in the world. It was an amazing experience.

Everything culminates in the Cultch's main theatre as we watch a dining scene featuring Poe and his pals, which mirrored the Macbeth dinner death scene at Sleep No More.

Overall, the Cultch did a top notch job at bringing this type of experience and theatre to Vancouver. For those who don't have the luxury to go to New York and see Sleep No More, then this was a perfect substitute.

Sunday, 25 August 2019


Still one of the best kept secrets in the lower mainland is the New Media Gallery out in New Westminster.

It may be small but it always has an intriguing exhibit going on, including the current one, titled WINDS.

Each piece that is showcased has something to do with the wind, whether it's livestream mirroring the speed of wind at a lake out East, or recreating a windy day from yesteryear.

The WINDS exhibit is on now until September 29.

Saturday, 24 August 2019


Nothing tops off the summer like a visit to the annual PNE fairgrounds. This year's summer concert line-up is pretty decent, though there aren't any acts I MUST go and see. I noticed Billy Idol's already sold out, but there are still seats available for the MC Hammer/Bobby Brown night, as well as for the closing night's TLC concert

If you're not a music lover, or none of the acts interest you, there is still plenty to do at the PNE. From rides and games to touring the dream home and Super Dogs, and of course the show mart. These are all classic things that I like to do every year just for the sake of doing them.

There are a few new attractions this year, including the Instagram exhibit where you can go and take selfies with fun backgrounds and props. There's also the magic of Reveen (not the original Reveen, but his son.) To be honest, I found the show a bit disappointing, as Tyrone Reveen fumbled through his words and seemed completely disengaged from the show, like he was on autopilot.

When all else fails however, there's the food. And this year boasts creative concoctions such as the Butterbeer smokin' soft serve (for all those Harry Potter fans out there), a pickle dog, super long french fries, deep fried coffee, a Cheetos encrusted corndog, and my pick of the fair, a Pickle Pizza! It was very good, actually!! Don't believe me? Go to the PNE and try it for yourself!! 

Friday, 23 August 2019

A Queer Century, 1869-1969

On now until September 11 at the UBC Rare Books and Special Collections is a wonderful little exhibit featuring LGBTQ literature and art to celebrate several milestones including the 50th anniversary of the gay rights movement and the de-criminalization of homosexuality in Canada.

Monday, 12 August 2019

The Queen

On now at the Vancity Theatre is an excellent documentary on drag queens filmed back in 1967, predating Stonewall! Extraordinary that this exists and is accessible to us today. It follows a weekend where a drag beauty pageant takes place in New York City.

It was just so amazing to witness and see these gay men from the 60s, before gay rights was even a thing. Their attitudes, their fashion, their unapologetic abandon as to who they were. Truly an inspiring film that everyone should rush out to see.

You have one last chance this week to see The Queen, on Tuesday at 5pm!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Matilda The Musical

I was reluctant to go see Matilda the Musical because I don't normally enjoy children singing in shows. However, the current production at the Stanley Theatre is just ridiculous and fun! Based on the Roald Dahl novel, the show centers around a strong willed little girl named Matilda who is out battling terrible parents and an evil headmistress at her school.

The actors and the production value are splendid here. Standouts for me included Alison MacDonald as Miss Honey, bringing a warmth and wisdom to the role, and John Ullyatt as Miss Trunchbull, wowing the crowd with his brilliant comedic performance.

I would say that the show is definitely geared towards kids, but adults who are young at heart will enjoy this show as well.

Matilda is on at the Stanley until July 14th!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Bernadette Peters and Len Cariou

For Broadway buffs like myself, it was a magical musical weekend here in Vancouver!

It began on Thursday night when Bernadette Peters was the featured guest at a Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert. She was downright magical. The concert was a good 90 mins but it simply flew by. She did a lot of Sondheim and some surprises too, including Peggy Lee's Fever. At 71 years of age, Ms. Peters was superb and sublime.

She was also performing again on Saturday night at Deer Lake Park in a FREE concert! She stepped in for Queen Latifah at the last minute when Latifah came down with strep throat. Her show isn't really designed for a free concert in the park in Burnaby. There were families there, dogs running around, picnics taking place. If everyone there were Broadway babies, then sure it would've been perfect. But it was a mishmash of an audience that may or may not have appreciated the legendary Bernadette performing for them.

Also doing a show this past weekend was Len Cariou, the actor who originated the role of Sweeney Todd! He was performing in the Annex theatre which is a cute hidden little spot on Seymour street. Len's show, combined Shakespeare soliloquies with show tunes. For Len, it was the perfect marriage, and the space was so intimate, it was a great way to witness his talents.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Bare the Musical

I barely was able to make it through Bare.

Spoiler alert:

This angst-ridden tale of two gay Catholic school boys who are in love ends in tragedy. Perhaps it's because the show was written back in the 90s when all the gay community got to see of themselves were stories with tragic endings. But in 2019, I'm not sure if this is the show that we need right now. I definitely give thanks to the Eternal Theatre Collective for reviving this, as it's a show I had been wanting to see for a long time now and am glad I finally had the chance to do so.

The production itself had some snafus on the night I was there, mainly to do with sound. Set in the Unitarian Church on 49th and Oak, the space itself is a neat venue to go see a show. I don't know much about acoustics but I do know that I was lost most of the time because I couldn't quite hear what the actors were saying or singing.

Plus, the direction of the show had the actors all over the space, which sometimes made it difficult to follow who was saying what and where should our focus be? Should it be on the soloist singing about something important, or should we be watching the two people having sex on the bench beside us? Or do we look out the window at the teens who are partying? I didn't find that having those extra tidbits really added much to the show, and rather, found it all quite distracting.

Performance wise, there are definite gems here worthy of mention. Caleb Lagayan as Peter shows off his powerhouse potential. He brings it all to his performance even when his microphone slips off and dangles from his ear for a good 20 minutes. He remains dedicated to his character and his voice is likely the best out of the entire group. Katrina Teitz and Ashlyn Tegos also bring depth and devotion to their roles as Ivy and Nadia, respectively.

Bare is on now until Saturday June 8th. Tickets available here.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Come From Away

Dear Evan Who? It is beyond me why that show won the Tony for Best New Musical over Canada's very own Come From Away. This musical is full of heart and is probably more poignant for our times than a show about a boy who lies and that also celebrates toxic masculinity. (I saw Dear Evan Hansen earlier this year down in Seattle and was quite unimpressed and in fact, disturbed.)

Come From Away however, was heartwarming and provides a piece of Canadian history to the world. It celebrates kindness and helping out your fellow human. There's charm and wit, humour and sadness. It's a portrait of the day that the world changed for the darker, but manages to capture the light that helps illuminate the goodness that still exists.

Come From Away is on for one more showing, today at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Cabaret at Studio 58

Beautiful, haunting, and hell of a lot of fun. That's what Langara's theatre school Studio 58 has created with their stellar production of the musical Cabaret.

In these troubled times that we live in, this show is exactly what the world needs. A reminder of our dark history that we are on the verge of repeating. In the show, the Kit Kat Club is where people go to forget their troubles and leave their worries behind. Cabaret is the show you can escape to for an evening of stunning choreography, seamless set changes, and an eerie poignancy.

From the moment you step into the theatre, you are immersed into the world of pre-WW2 Berlin with performers roaming around the audience, offering candies and drinks. The fun doesn't end as the show begins with its iconic Wilkommen number and into Don't Tell Mama.

Led by a gender-bending emcee, the show barrels headfirst towards a heart-plummeting intermission and all the way to its beautifully tragic end scene.

Cabaret is on now at Studio 58 at Langara until Feb 24.

Sunday, 20 January 2019


This is going to be an unpopular opinion perhaps, but I just have to say that the film V6A is a mess. It has heart and its intention is good, but as a documentary, I wanted more of a narrative to it. Instead, we get clips of people from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that seems to be all shot in one day. Yes, they are characters and they deserve the on screen time, but I just wanted some more substance and direction to what the filmmaker was aiming to do. Showcase the folks in the Downtown Eastside? Make a statement about poverty in Vancouver? Or was he putting mental illness on display? Or did he exploit these people just so he could make a film? I don't know the answers to this because it isn't really clear. The filmmaker is not even from Vancouver, so is that also something to take into consideration?

With all that being said however, it's just my opinion and judging from the sold-out showings of the film, V6A is doing just fine and my humble review here won't really make much impact. It's just my thoughts and maybe the film wasn't for me, but could be for you. (Though the friend who went with me had similar thoughts on the film.)

One storyline I really wished the filmmaker had explored more was the homeless gay man that gets interviewed for a mere 5 minutes. I wanted to know his story, how he got to where he was, etc.

If you want to catch V6A, there are several more times scheduled at the Vancity Theatre with tickets going fast.