2018 JUNO Week In Vancouver Begins

This week, music fills the streets and venues of Vancouver as the 2018 JUNO Awards come to the city.  Returning to Vancouver for the first time since the 2009 Junos, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) brings a week of music and celebrations back to the city. Starting with the JUNO Cup Jam at The Imperial, the week caps off with Michael Bublé hosting the 2018 JUNO Awards, broadcast on CBC Sunday evening.

Events will appeal to all ages and budgets as CARAS makes the JUNOS accessible for all members of the family.

Events taking place during JUNO Week include:

March 22: JUNO Cup Jam – local faves, The Odds lead an all-star hootenanny at The Imperial in support of MusiCounts.

March 23: JUNO Cup celebrity hockey game supporting MusiCounts at Bill Copeland Sport Centre, Burnaby

March 23 – 24: JUNOfest  presented by CBC Music offers nearly 100 acts performing in over a dozen venues around Vancouver for two nights of unparalleled entertainment from the nominees and local performers. 

March 23- 24: Let’s Hear It! Live at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza is a free all-ages event to let everyone get the opportunity to take in the music of the JUNOS

March 23 – 25: Let’s Hear It! @ The Carnegie free lunchtime performances at The Carnegie Community Centre brings free music to the Downtown Eastside.

March 25: JUNO Songwriters Circle is a unique opportunity for fans to hear stories behind the song of JUNO nominated performers; Iskwe, Jim Cuddy, Rose Cousins, Ruth B, Scott Helman. Joined by hosts Jann Arden, Bob Rock, Sunday afternoon at The Orpheum.

March 25: The 2018 JUNO Awards, Micheal Bublé hosts the awards show on Sunday at 5pm at Rogers Arena with performances schedule by Arkells, Arcade Fire, Lights, City & Colour and more.

Realwheels Theatre presents Sequence

As luck would have it, Realwheels Theatre is presenting Sequence by Arun Lakra at the Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver, until March 24th.

It’s not uncommon for a piece of theatre to be inquisitive, Sequence asks many and leaves us with even more questions.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is our luck and destiny predetermined by our genes? Is there such a thing as coincidence?

Sequence is a face-paced combination of science and comedy, that leaves you thinking.  The play is told in two parallel and possibly intersecting scenes.  On one side, the “Luckiest Man Alive” (Byron Noble) questions his luck when he is met by a young lady (Krista Skwarok) who think she’s figured out his secret.  In the opposite scene, a scientist (Amy Amantea) attempts to determine if she has found the “luck” gene when she confronts possibly the unluckiest student (Jake Anthony), who believes in God’s plan.  In both stories, the debate leads us to question what we think we understand.  The final twist in the show leaves us the conclusion of Sequence up to the audience to determine, like choose your own ending theatre.  Your interpretation of the ending may change with each viewing, with Arun Lakra’s  script having so many intricacies and each question offering multiple points of view.

Reel Wheels
L-R: Jake Anthony, Amy Amantea, Krista Skwarok, Byron Noble
Photo: Tim Matheson

Reelwheels Theatre is a inclusive, non-profit Vancouver theatre company that offers opportunities and integrates disabilities on and off the stage. Disabilities are an important thread of the script that weaves seamlessly into the DNA of the play,  Amy Amantea, a legally blind actor playing a character losing her eyesight, and Jake Anthony, who is on the autism spectrum, plays a wheelchair-bound student,  the actors lending added authenticity to their characters and in the process, deepening the audience’s understanding of the disability experience.

You’ll be lucky, or will you, if you can catch Sequence, playing at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver until March 24, 2018.  For more information and to purchase tickets visit realwheels.ca 


SKOOKUM Festival 2018 Announces Line-up & Tickets.

A multi-day music festival in the heart of the city, SKOOKUM Festival, has released its inaugural line-up and tickets go on sale tomorrow.  Four stages will fill Vancouver’s beloved Stanley Park with music from September 7th to 9th, 2018.

Headliners The Killers and Florence + The Machine will be joined by Metric, Arkells, The War On Drugs, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Blue Rodeo,
Mother Mother, Chromeo, Bahamas, Stereophonics, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and dozens of more acts.

In addition to 50 plus contemporary music acts, live and multimedia art installations; pop-up and roaming entertainment as well as gourmet food from some of city’s top restaurants; tasting areas showcasing some of the best BC wines, locally brewed craft beer as well as select offerings from local area craft distilleries will round out the weekend.   Festival organizers BrandLIVE are also working with the local First Nations to provide opportunities for Indigenous musicians, chefs, and visual artists as well as an opportunity to inform and educate attendees on aspects of the their historical connections to the land.

With the Stanley Park festival site just steps from downtown Vancouver, and the addition of shuttle buses SKOOKUM is one of the most easily accessible festivals in the region.

Vancouver’s BRANDLIVE, producers of the Squamish Valley Music Festival, are known for putting on exceptional fan experiences and working in collaboration with Virgin Mobile on SKOOKUM Festival, this is sure to be another.  Paul Runnals, Festival Director says “This is the result of a conversation that began five years ago to create a more accessible, inclusive, and sustainable Festival.  We feel this first year lineup reflects the spirit of what are trying to achieve in a way that also acknowledges the significant history of the location”.

SKOOKUM Festival passes go on sale tomorrow, Friday March 16, 2018 and many Pre-Sales launch this morning. Visit skookumfestival.com for more festival information, the full line up and tickets.

SKOOKUM Music, Food, Art from Skookum Festival on Vimeo.


Picks of the Week – March 14, 2018

You won’t have time to beware of the Ides of March this week, there’s too much entertainment in these picks of the week.

Taste: Tonight, foodies and friends descend on Coquitlam for a Tasting Plates explores the suburbs flavours

Ceilidh: The 2018 Celtic Fest Ceilidh invites you to kick up your heels on Friday night as some of Vancouver’s finest Celtic performers keep the party going all night at Scottish Cultural Centre

Shamrocks: What would St Paddy’s Day be without some laughter? To make sure, you get your belly full, Vancouver Theatresports League’s Shamrocks and Shenanigans, brings us a night of Irish themed fun starting with Classic Theatresports plus a late night Celtic inspired OK Tinder.

Photo: Rebecca Blissett
Basketry Hat, Haida
Date unknown
Spruce root, paint
AA 546

Haida: Friday, Museum of Vancouver debuts a new exhibition, Haida Now. A collaboration with The Haida Gwaii Museum bring 450 works together in a one of a kind collection of Haida arts and culture.

Culture: Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Haida are collaborating for the first time so you can learn more about the cultures of these First Nations and the importance of their cultural centres at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s new exhibition Culture at the Centre, opening Sunday March 18

Comedy: The Gateway Theatre presents the romantic comedy I Lost My Husband, March 15th to 24th

Cohen: The Firehall Arts Centre celebrates its 35th Anniversary with its award winning Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen playing until April 21st.

Rock: Comic Glam Metal comes to the Commodore Ballroom when Steel Panther returns for a trio of shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

DanceVancouver International Dance Festival keeps bringing the world of dance to the stages around the city until March 24th

Family: The Arts Club presents an emotional new family drama, Forget About Tomorrow, from a creator of Mom’s The Word, onstage at Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until March 25

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks try to triumph over San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at Rogers Arena

Paws: If you’ve got little ones, Queen Elizabeth Theatre might be the place for you this weekend as Paw Patrol Live takes the stage.




Forget About Tomorrow at The Arts Club is Unforgettable.

The new play, Forget About Tomorrow, is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.  The new and personal work from Jill Daum, one of the Mom’s The Word Collective, takes the audience through the journey of a family’s trials as the patriarch is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.  Playwright Jill Daum understands this journey all too well, going through a similar experience with her husband, singer/actor John Mann (Spirit of the West), who also has the disease.  Mann provides some of the music sung by characters in the play.

Forget About Tomorrow, centres on empty-nesters Jane and Tom, played by the captivating Jennifer Lines and Craig Erickson.  The couple live comfortably while facing everyday stresses like keeping their daughter (Aleita Northey) in university in Toronto, and concern for son (Aren Okemaysim) who’s just moved to Montreal to pursue a music career with few prospects of income.  The family’s comfortable existence is shattered when a scan confirms the diagnosis, at the end of the first act.

As they deal with the thought of Tom slowly forgetting their lives,the emotional toil wears on the couple as well as their distant children and the characters evolve.   Tom is angry and Jane spends more time at work, a retail shop The Nest.  Her boss and friend Lori, played in broad-style by Colleen Wheeler, provides much needed comic-relief.   Also at work, she meets customer Wayne (Hrothgar Mathews), at first a kindly and flirtatious grandfather but as the play progresses as he aggressively pursues her romantically becoming almost predatory.

Unfortunately, the lack of chemistry between Mathews and Lines makes Wayne a hard character to invest in, no matter how much we care about Jane.  The children mainly appear by webcam calls but Northey and Okemaysim make the most of their two-dimensional characters.  Knowing that this is semi-autobiographical brings added depth and intrigue to the play, the audience is left to imagine how much is real and how much is fiction, the truth is probably somewhere in-between but the emotions generated are 100% genuine.  The play will no doubt serve as support to those who have experienced a similar journey, knowing another family has gone through this as well.

Set Designer Pam Johnson has built a creatively simple turntable stage that easily serves as both The Nest and the family home, and as the cloud descend over the family, Brian Kenney’s Light Design turns the bright and neutral blonde-wood set into a grey.

The Arts Club Theatre Company production of Forget About Tomorrow runs at the Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until March 25, 2018.  Purchase tickets online at artsclub.com


Canada Sevens 2018 brings out a record crowd

The 2018 edition of HSBC Canada Sevens Vancouver wrapped up with a record attendance of 77,096 coming through the gates at BC Place this weekend.   If you haven’t attended Canada Sevens or any other stop on the Sevens Series, it’s hard to imagine just how much fun the fans have at the stadium.  Fancy Dress, costumed groups of supporters fill the stadium (and the city) from 8:30am until after 7pm for two days to watch two days of quick, high scoring, action-packed matches of Rugby Sevens.  With sixteen teams from around the globe competing, it feels like the world comes to BC Place for the tournament, even Marvel hero Thor got into the spirit and dressed up as Chris Hemsworth when he stopped by the stadium on Sunday.

Chris Hemsworth starts the countdown for the final

After 45 exciting matches over the two days, Fiji came away with their second win of then 2018 HSBC Seven Series.  The crowd packed in all 39,000 seats on a sold out Saturday, not an empty seat was had for the home team’s debut against Australia. A thrilling match that Canada pull even with Oz on the final play.  A hard fought match against the USA ended in a loss on a last minute turn over before wrapping up the day on a convincing 47-5 win over Uruguay.  Combined with an Australian win over USA on Day 1’s final match meant Canada finished 3rd in Pool A and wouldn’t advance to play for the Cup on Day 2.

A sunny Sunday brought more fancy dress wearing crowds and more action-packed matches.  A Canadian loss to Scotland early on Day 2 meant the home team wouldn’t challenge for the Challenger Trophy and at the end of the day one more win and loss meant 14th place for Canada.
The audience was far from disappointed with Canada’s good play over all their matches but Rugby Sevens moves so quickly one play can change the outcome in a snap.  The final set up to between Kenya and Fiji, both teams with large contingents of cheering fans.  Team Fiji has so many supporters in BC Place that it felt like a home match for them.

The 2019 Canada Sevens men’s tournament is set for next spring but this year Vancouver is bidding to bring 4 more years of Canada Sevens to the city from 2020 – 2023.  If you missed out this year make sure to get your tickets for next year’s HSBC Canada Sevens Vancouver.  For more great Sevens action,  catch Canada’s Olympic Bronze medal winning Women’s team at HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens at Westhills Stadium in Langford (Greater Victoria) May 12-13, 2018 and catch the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco July 20-22, 2018.

7 Minutes In Heaven with Eternal Theatre Collective

Playwright Steven Levenson is Broadway’s hot writer, the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Book of a Musical, but before Dear Evan Hansen,  Levenson cut his teeth on 7 Minutes In Heaven.

Eternal Theatre Collective, brings 7 Minutes In Heaven to Vancouver with a run at Studio 16, until March 10th.  The youth run theatre organization is dedicated to providing young actors experience in live theatre.  Seven Minutes In Heaven is a perfect production for this type of troupe, the play, set in the early 90s, centres around 6 teens at a basement party. What follows is a series of random vignettes spanning their evening’s activities. Filled with non sequiturs as the teens, each filled with their own angst and insecurities, try to amuse themselves with games of Candyland, Truth Or Dare, Wink Murder, Spin The Bottle and of course Seven Minutes In Heaven.  Moments of maturity compete with the adolescent insecurities, peer pressure, hormones and awkwardness.

The awkwardness played well with the varying experience of the cast, the play allows any fumbles and slips to seem like natural social stumbles that we all remember from our youth, no matter when you grew up.  The script is filled with cringeworthy moments of mocking, bitchiness, scandal and emotions. Some of the characters break the fourth wall with the awareness of where they’re going in life or what brought them to this time, just to remind us in hindsight that what was so important at 15 years of age, is just a blimp in our road of life.
Director Allyson Fournier and the cast have created a world that will feel familiar to most of us, the realistic basement set and 90s era pop soundtrack take us back to a time before the internet, cell phones, selfies and social media. While we like to think of those times as simpler and more innocent, 7 Minutes In Heaven reminds us that the trials and tribulations faced by teens is the same through every generation, only amplified in our globally connected times.

Now let’s use that social connection for good and share the word about Eternal Theatre Collective’s production of 7 Minutes In Heaven, at Studio 16 until March 10, 2018, tickets are on sale online at eternaltheatre.com