Help a Rainbow Refugee Resettle in Canada

As we head into Pride Weekend in Vancouver, we reflect on the privileges and freedoms afforded to Canadian citizens. While not perfect, they’re far better than many places around the globe, especially for those identifying as LGBTQ+. Rights have been extended in more and more countries but unfortunately, there are still at least 14 countries where homosexuality is legally punishable by death.

Rainbow Refugee is a Vancouver based community organization supporting people seeking refugee protection in Canada because of persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Since 2011, Rainbow Refugee Society has worked in partnership with the Federal government to direct a blended sponsorship program called the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RRAP). This is a national project and Rainbow Refugee has the responsibility of working with its own Circles of Hope as well as other community organizations across Canada to sponsor LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

The Rainbow Connection is one of the Circles of Hope hoping to supporting Rainbow Refugee. We are a group of friends, lead by Mr. Gay Canada 2019, working together to assist a LGBTQ+ person hoping to resettle in Canada. We are grateful to live in Canada and have the ability to live and love in a safe and supportive community. Supporting a person, presently living in an African refugee camp, whose life is in danger because of who they are is our way of sharing the benefits that we have through our citizenship and friendships.

We have set up a Canada Helps donation page to help raise funds online as well as raising offline funds to support our goal. Along with our knowledge and support, the money we raise will assist this Rainbow Refugee to set up a new life in Canada. It will go towards food, housing, transportation, personal health… anything and everything needed every day to live a full life.
We hope you will support us in this endeavour, any little bit you can contribute is greatly appreciated and if you cannot provide monetary support we ask that you share the donation page with your network.

Thank you!

Chutzpah Festival 2019 Brings Dance, Comedy, Theatre to Fall

The 2019 Chutzpah! Festival returns at a new autumn period from October 24 to November 24, with performances at the Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vogue Theatre, Rickshaw Theatre, and The WISE Hall.

Now in its 19th year of celebrating culturally rich works in comedy, music, theatre and dance, the Chutzpah! Festival has established a reputation for presenting Vancouver audiences with new and exciting, critically acclaimed artists from all over the world. This year’s Festival will also showcase live music with film, and shines a light on artists from the U.K., Israel, Italy, U.S.A., and Canada. 

“I’m overjoyed to be able to showcase such important, illuminating, and multi-disciplinary works at this year’s Festival, and proud to have shared so much with Vancouver audiences over these past 15 years as its Artistic Managing Director,” says Mary-Louise Albert. “2019 will be my final year with Chutzpah! as I move into a new chapter in my creative and personal journey. After a 20-year career as a professional dancer I could not have landed in a better spot than here at Chutzpah! and the JCC working with so many amazing people — which allowed me the space, generosity, trust, and understanding of my ‘no holds bar’ approach to work and life — which ultimately resulted in a second career and artistic vision that I am so proud of. I look forward to sharing my last Festival with you!” 

Some of the shows included in the 2019 Chutzpah! Festival lineup are: 

Guy Mintus Trio – Norman Rothstein Theatre | October 29 | 8:00pm
Mintus is a trained concert pianist with the energy of a rock star and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure who is unafraid to throw into the mix his native Middle Eastern scales and rhythms

Sandra Bernhard: “Quick Sand” – Vogue Theatre | October 31 | 8:00pm
Performing with a three- piece band, the iconic performer will make for a fun and memorable Halloween night. 

The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX – Norman Rothstein Theatre | Nov. 6-8, 8:00pm | Nov. 8, 1:00pm | Nov. 9, 2:00pm
Chutzpah! Festival is proud to present the Canadian premiere of The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX. American-Jewish director, Stan Zimmerman, is adding a modern-day twist to the story of Anne Frank.

MM Contemporary Dance – Norman Rothstein Theatre | Nov. 1 & 4, 8:00pm | Nov. 2, 2:00pm | Nov. 3, 7:00pm
Italy’s MM Contemporary Dance Company returns to Chutzpah! with the Canadian premieres of GERSHWIN SUITES – choreographed by Michele Merola, and SCHUBERT FRAMES – choreographed by Enrico Morelli. 

MM Contemporary Dance – Gershwin Suite photo: Riccardo Panozzo

This year the Chutzpah! Festival is also paying tribute to the Jewish Community Centre and celebrating the 25th anniversary of its long-standing and renowned musical theatre summer camp created by Perry Ehrlich – Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!; present local comedians in a comedy night of Shticks & Giggles; and host multiple workshops and creation residencies.

2019 Chutzpah Festival runs October 24 to November 24, 2019. For the full line up and tickets visit chutzpahfestival.com 

Dance House opens the season with Spirit.

Next week, DanceHouse, opens its 2019/20 season with the Canadian Premier of  Spirit, October 25 & 26, at the Vancouver Playhouse. 

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Presented in partnership with Vancouver-based Indigenous dance company, Dancers of Damelahamid, Spirit is from Australia’s acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre, a leader in the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance.

Choreographed by Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page and former Assistant Artistic Director Bernadette Walong-Sene, the retrospective piece is a fusion of nine of the company’s celebrated Indigenous and contemporary works that bridge past and present. Bangarra Dance Theatre has an authentic style of totemic storytelling reflecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; tracing the unbroken connection between people, the land, and creation itself. Established in 1989, the cutting-edge company has played a critical role in the resurgence of traditional dance expressions.

Bangarra Dance Theatre
photo: Edward Mulvihill

“Through this urgently vital work that celebrates ceremony and tradition, Bangarra Dance Theatre is helping to define identity within a modern global culture,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse. “Since Canada is the ancestral home of a diverse range of cultures and traditions, this performance is especially resonant. Spirit demonstrates the immense power of art to break down geographical barriers, sparking important dialogue on the preservation of the ceremonial rituals and storytelling forged by cultures over millennia.”

The atmospheric score for Spirit was composed by the late David Page, Bangarra’s long-time music director and prolific composer, and Steve Francis, an award-winning composer for film, television, theatre, and dance. A celebration of the sacredness of ritual from dawn’s first light to the setting sun, the lush score’s heady foundation is punctuated by the earthly rhythms and natural vibrations found within cultural customs, including a pulsing drumbeat, droning didgeridoo, and dynamic vocalizations.

DanceHouse, presents the Canadian Premier of Spirit, October 25 & 26, 2019 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse, showtimes and tickets available online at dancehouse.ca

Picks of the Week – October 16, 2019

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the next occasion, Halloween, brings us plenty of picks to entertain us over the next week.

Alpen#DasOriginal Oktoberfest wraps up another year of fun, this weekend, at Vancouver Alpen Club

Spooks: The most frightful time of the year, Fright Nights at PNE, fills the fair with haunted houses, thrilling rides and ghoulish ghosts until Halloween

Trolley: Get spooked and learn some of the dark side of Vancouver’s history on the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour, from October 11 – 31

North: It’s the last week to, take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure

Improv: Vancouver TheatreSports is hosting a world of laughter until October 20 as the 2019 International Theatresports Institute Conference and Festival comes to Granville Island.

Train: Head into the Rabbit Hole when you follow Alice in Nightmareland at The Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train until Halloween night.

Jivesh Parasram – Take D Milk, Nah?

Diwali: The Cultch partners with Diwali in BC to present Pandemic Theatre and Rumble Theatre’s Take D Milk, Nah? a solo show from Jivesh Parasram about his Indo-Caribbean heritage, running October 16-26, at the Vancity Culture Lab

BigTop: Cirque du Soleil brings their latest show, Luzia to the Big Top at Concorde Pacific Place, continuing through the end of the year

Country: American country star Luke Combs brings his Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour to Rogers Arena on Saturday night

Bedrooms: The Arts Club Granville Island Stage opens The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian bedroom comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys, until October 26

China Doll photo: David Cooper

Opening: Gateway Theatre in Richmond opens its 2019-2020 season with Marjorie Chan’s historical drama, China Doll, running October 17 – 26.

Jazz: Friday Jazz is live at Tyrant Studios, this week featuring Joan Bessie + Raene

Comedy: Saturday Comedy takes the stage at Tyrant Studios, this week’s stand-up finds Katie-Ellen Humphries on stage, supported by Stuart Jones and Randee Neumeyer

Indie: Irish singer/songwriter Hozier returns to Vancouver with his Wasteland Baby! Tour, at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre Friday

Art: Full Circle First Nations Performance and the Vancouver Public Library co-host the art and film installation pîkiskwe-speak: An Invitation to Conversations in Reconciliation from October 16th to December 15th in the Samuel & Frances Belzberg Family Exhibit Space at Vancouver Central Library.

La Traviata

Opera: The Vancouver Opera 2019/20 season gets underway Thursday with the opening of La Traviata at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, also playing October 19, 24 and 27th.

Learn about The Birds & The Bees at The Arts Club

Turkey Semen, Beekeeping, Mothers & Daughters, , One Night Stands, N.S.A. Sex are just some of the unexpected topics found in The Birds & The Bees by Mark Crawford. The Canadian comedy is filling The Arts Club Granville Island Stage with laughter.

The Birds & The Bees is really a story about rolling with the punches. We never know what life is going to throw at you, how people react to expected turns defines their character, and in the case of this play, provide plenty of laughs and heart.

Centred on the strained relationship between, Gail (Susinn McFarlen) and her newly separated daughter Sarah (Dawn Petten), The Birds & The Bees takes place in just two upstairs bedrooms of Gail’s farmhouse as Sarah tries to move home after leaving her Turkey-farmer husband. The sudden change in living arrangements through both ladies’ lives in disarray. Things are complicated further by the arrival of university researcher Ben (Christopher Allen), here to study why Gail’s honey bees are dying, something she blames on the pesticides used by her tenant farmer Earl (Tom McBeath).

The intergenerational cast of The Birds & The Bees also shows that ages is really just a number, as the characters find new life and sexual awakening in their changing circumstances. From the audience’s reaction, who could clearly see themselves in at least one of the characters, it was easy to see that embracing their sexual side, at any age, was a welcome topic. Although the play finds them in plenty of slapstick situations, the four actors brought depth and heart to these roles, showing a great connection with each other as well as, the audience.

As the action, and Sarah, moves out of Gail’s house, the play wraps up but the audience would clearly like a sequel to follow up on the further adventures of Gail, Sarah, Earl and Ben.

The Birds & The Bees runs until October 26, 2019 at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage. For showtimes and tickets visit: artsclub.com

Tasting Plates visits Gastown and Chinatown

Tasting Plates Gastown and Chinatown invites you to find out what’s new in the oldest neighbourhoods. October 23, at 6pm, join other food fans to explore the restaurants and cafés in the downtown Vancouver food scene.

As with all Tasting Plates, participants will get to explore the neighbourhood with their friends, and family meet fellow foodies, while sampling the fare that Gastown and Chinatown’s chefs have prepared for the evening.  Vancouver Foodster has invited the chefs to create a tasting plate unique to the evening or bites curated from their existing menus. 

Tasting Platers will check in at the check-in location to collect their Tasting Plates maps, get their assigned first stop and then they’re off an running to taste the world of flavours.

Tasting Plates Gastown and Chinatown on October 23rd, includes the following restaurants in the line-up…so far;

Moltaqa Restaurant, 51 W Hastings Street
Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee, 321 Water Street
Wara Thai Eatery, 509 Main Street
Buttermere Patisserie Café, 636 Main Street
The Praguery Gastown, 221 Abbott Street

Watch for more restaurants to be added as the event gets closer.

Tickets are available now via Eventbrite (fees may apply)
Advance Tickets $45 per person after October 11, 2019
Regular Tickets $60 per person after October 20, 2019

Victoria Prepares for Beautiful: The Carol King Musical

Presented by Broadway In Victoria Beautiful—The Carole King Musical is the Tony & Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, premieres at the Royal Theatre, Victoria for 5 performances, January 31 – February 2, 2020. 

“Carole King might be a native New Yorker, but her story of struggle and triumph is as universal as they come – and her music is loved the world over,” producer Paul Blake said, “I am thrilled that Beautiful continues to delight and entertain audiences around the globe, in England, Japan and Australia and that we are entering our fifth amazing year of touring the U.S and CANADA. We are so grateful that over five million audience members have been entertained by our celebration of Carole’s story and her timeless music.”

Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.   Beautiful features an array of the greatest hits from the American songbook, written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” as well as the title song.

Tickets for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical are on sale now. Visit rmts.bc.ca, call 250-386-6121 or visit The Royal or McPherson Theatre Box Offices in person.  Broadway In Victoria presents the show for 5 performances only: Friday 8pm (Jan. 31st), Saturday 2pm & 8pm; Sunday 2pm & 7:30pm.

For more information and a video sneak peek, please visit BeautifulOnBroadway.com

Vancouver TheatreSports Welcomes the World of Improv

A world of laughter is coming to Vancouver from October 14 to 20 as Vancouver TheatreSports (VTS) hosts the 2019 International Theatresports Institute Conference and Festival

The International Theatresports Institute (ITI) is the largest improv network in the world, representing 90 improv companies, schools and universities from 22 countries on six continents. Every two years, ITI convenes a conference and festival that brings together improvisers from around the globe.

In addition to delegate-only workshops, the week includes more than 50 public performances in an International Theatresports Festival across three Granville Island venues – VTS’ home theatre The Improv Centre, The Waterfront Theatre, and intimate studio space The Nest. 

Currently, improvisers from as far away as India, Norway, Japan, Brazil, and New Zealand have signed up to attend the week-long Vancouver conference and perform in the Festival.

The Festival celebrates how the improv art form has evolved around the world to reflect the influences it receives from different cultural terroirs, showcasing signature shows/formats by some of the world’s leading improvisers and improv companies. 

The Toys Strike Back

One of the signature shows, The Toys Strike Back, by Norway’s Det Andre Teatret – a matinee show for families with children – creates its content from the toys that the kids bring with them to the performance. Another show, Lugares (Places), originally created by an international team of improvisers, will be directed in Vancouver by Patti Stiles (Australia) and Felipe Ortiz (Colombia).  Lugares invites members of the audience to describe a special setting and the cast creates exciting new stories and parallel worlds that will change the way we see the special places around us. For the El Jaguar Fiesta Tour of Vancouver, the audience jumps on a bus with masked Mexican luchador El Jaguar (Derek Flores, New Zealand) for a hilarious tour of the city where the focus is on fiesta, not facts. OK Tinder brings together a cast made up of VTS ensemble members and international delegates for a global take on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of dating in the digital age. The Theatresports Summit explores the Theatresports format in the ‘four pillar’ companies – from Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre, to variations as performed at Vancouver TheatreSports (Vancouver), Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton), and Unexpected Productions (Seattle). 

El Jaguar Fiesta Tour of Vancouver

“Vancouver TheatreSports turns 40 in early 2020 and we are excited to kick off our anniversary celebrations by sharing so much laughter with the people of Vancouver,” says Artistic & Executive Director Jay Ono. “It will be a fabulous opportunity for the public to see the different styles of improv as performed by the visiting delegates. Many Vancouverites do not realize that VTS is renowned globally as being a leader in the improv art form, with some of the best improvisers in the world being part of our company. It will be inspiring and instructive for all the improvisers, our own as well as the international delegates, to perform together and explore new formats and ways of playing. At the same time, the public will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see companies and improvisers who do not normally perform outside of their home country.”

For the full lineup of all the Festival shows; descriptions, locations, dates, and times visit vtsl.com/iti-conference/overview