; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2020

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Perry Mason in our own backyard!

I recently read the book Hiding In Plain Sight, a biography of closeted gay Hollywood icon Raymond Burr, known famously for his role as Perry Mason.

Who knew that this legend was not only born in New Westminster, BC, but he is also buried in the Fraser Cemetery located in New West too!?

I had to make a pilgrimage to pay my respects to him. His grave is with his family (parents and sister) and is located footsteps from the main office of the cemetery.

It was an absolute honour to go and pay my respects to this icon.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Forget Me Not

I was lucky enough to attend the latest show from puppet master Ronnie Burkett. I've been a huge fan of his since seeing his show 10 Days on Earth back in the day. Since then, he's practically been a staple at The Cultch, but with his latest production, Forget Me Not, Burkett takes us away from his home away from home and brings us to a "secret location" located in the bowels of Vancouver.

At 90 minutes with no intermission, Forget Me Not has all the things we've come to love about Burkett's shows (poetic soliloquies, gorgeously handmade puppets and marionettes, wry and biting humour), but it raises the bar with the stunning secret location as well as allowing every member of the audience to have their very own puppet for the evening!

The show is the usual mix of Burkett's intertwining tales, this time with a magnifying glass set on the state of today's world. There is also a new interactive element to the show, where the audience is not merely seated for the evening, but rather, running around the room chasing the story as it goes along. Some are even tasked with providing lighting for the puppets while others are instructed on when and how to turn on the musical soundtrack for specific scenes.

It's definitely a Ronnie Burkett experience like no other. Unfortunately, as with most of his shows, the rest of the run is completely sold out. This is why it pays to get your tickets early when you see that one of his shows is rolling into town! 

Forget Me Not is presented by the Cultch until March 1.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Noises Off

I've always heard about the play Noises Off, but never got around to seeing it until this past weekend at the Stanley Theatre.

This farce started off pleasantly enough, with Act One laying the groundwork for what was to come. I normally leave a production during intermission if I am not enjoying it and don't want to waste my time. I almost left, not because I didn't enjoy Act One, but I wasn't sure where the show was headed and didn't feel all that engaged to stick around.

Act One introduces us to a group of actors who are working on their final dress rehearsal of a play, with interruptions from the director who floated around in the audience. Slightly amusing, yes? There were a few other funny moments as well, but just not enough to make me want to fully stay 100%. One critique I have is that I wish the actors had changed from their British accents while acting to a normal Westernized accent when they were just playing their actor counterpart. I feel like that would've helped separate them from when they were acting in the play within the play and when they were just being an actor.

Thankfully, I did stay for Act Two, and it seems this is where the punchline awaits. The set spins around to reveal the backstage part of the play within the play, and we get to see all the relationships happening between the actors and the ludicrous interactions they all have with one another. Lots of physical comedy had me guffawing and laughing along with the rest of the crowd.

I'm glad I finally managed to see this classic comic play before it closed this past weekend!

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Talking Sex on Sunday

There is no doubt about it. The Firehall Arts Centre may just be the new breeding ground for new Canadian musicals. Their latest contribution to the genre is the premiere of Talking Sex on Sunday, which begins its run this week until March 8th.

The story centers around a group of ladies at a sex toy party. If that's not enough for ya, there are also secrets revealed, an ode to virginity, and a mother/daughter reconciliation. The show is smart and informative and moving, but most notably, it's pure unadulterated fun. With any good musical, the songs you find here are catchy and you will leave the theatre humming their tune.

Clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, the show goes by in a flash. It's so much fun to watch, whether it's a song about a vibrator or the cast getting into their fantasy role-playing outfits. Talking Sex on Sunday is like going to a party that you never want to end.

Get your tickets now at the Firehall Arts Centre! 

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Just For Laughs !!

The Just For Laughs Northwest festival is now upon us!!

Starting today until February 25, there are copious amounts of comedians to choose from and I wanna go see all of them!

I've actually never been so excited for the Just For Laughs festival before. This year, I'll be going to see Margaret Cho, whom I have seen several times before and know it'll be a good evening. I really wanted to see Ronnie Chieng but alas, both his shows are sold out. There are also several past and present cast members of Saturday Night Live stopping into town. And of course, Hannah Gadsby is another big name I would love to see.

So many choices! Who are you going to go check out at Just For Laughs?

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Gruesome Playground Injuries

When the lights went down and the show began, I immediately realized, Damn I think I've seen this show before? Sure enough, I'd caught the production in 2016 at Pacific Theatre.

Now on at The Cultch is Gruesome Playground Injuries presented by Untold Wants Theatre. This play is a love story told through injuries in various school nurses' offices and hospital rooms.

Perhaps what was most intriguing about this production were the transition scenes that took place, where the two actors change their costumes and make-up right in front of the audience, while soft music plays and we witness the love that the two share for one another through the caring glances and the way they help one another transform for the next scene.

Gruesome Playground Injuries is on at the Cultch's Culture Lab until February 15.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Urinetown The Musical

I've now seen Urinetown the Musical three times in my life.

The first time I saw it was on Broadway back in the early 2000s and I walked out at Intermission because I thought it was absolutely stupid and I was in New York and didn't want to waste my time there watching that shlock.

The second time I saw it was at the Firehall Arts Centre and I stuck it through, though I don't really recall much about the show itself.

Now, taking a turn at this musical comedy satire is the talented group of students over at Studio 58. And I have to say, it's the best production I've seen of it yet. If you're looking for a night out filled with side-splitting fun, then this show is just the barrel of laughs for you. 

The story centers around a town where water is at a shortage and people need to pay in order to pee. It might be easy to say that Gabriel Covarrubias steals every scene that he's in (he does) but you'd also have to give props to the fantastic and hilarious choreography of Julie Tomaino. You'd also have to marvel at all the lines, singing, and dancing that Liam Stewart-Kanigan has under his belt as the narrator and lead cop, Officer Lockstock. Best singer? Hands down it's Caleb Dyks as Bobby Strong. The point is though, everyone in the cast gets a moment to shine and tickle your funny bone.

Urinetown is on at Studio 58 at Langara now until February 16. You can buy tickets here!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Soar Over Taiwan!

Who needs a vacation? Well you don't have to go much further than Canada Place and hop on board the new Soar Over Taiwan ride that is on now just in time for the Lunar New Year!

It's a beautiful journey into this corner of the world, where you'll witness open waters, mountain peaks, endless fields, and big cities. It really did feel like a mini escape from the rainy Vancouver day we were experiencing.

You can check out the newest adventure from the Flyover group now until February 17!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

David Wojnarowicz

I am so excited that the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery up at UBC is currently showing an exhibit on aritst David Wojnarowicz with a focus on his photography and film. For those who don't know him, he was a contemporary of Keith Haring and was also a prominent AIDS activist and artist in New York City during the 80s. He eventually died of AIDS in 1992.

I did manage to pop into the Belkin for a quick walkabout, but I knew I needed to go back and really immerse myself into the works. Fortunately, we have until April 5 to check it out!

The David Wojnarowicz : Photography and Film 1978-1992 is on now at the Belkin Gallery at UBC until April 5.