Aeriosa Dance Company

AeriosaHelping to celebrate the Scotiabank Dance Centre’s tenth anniversary, the Aeriosa Dance Company performs a visually stunning piece on the exterior of the seven story building.
Nightly from September 15-17 at 8:30pm grab a spot on the sidewalk and watch as the troupe combines the athleticism of rappelling and rock climbing and the grace and beauty of dance.  Swinging high above the audience, duos, trios and the entire troupe fly through the air like super heroes of dance.
AeriosaIn addition to Aeriosa’s performance, free events will take place at the Centre throughout the weekend, September 17th and 18th.  Participating artists and companies include: Ballet BC, Barbara Bourget, DancAeriosae 4U (salsa), Kinesis Dance, Mandala Arts and Culture, Raven Spirit Dance and Shiamak’s Bollywood Jazz. Visit the Dance Centre’s website for a full list of events.

What’s On Weekend September 15-18, 2011

Is it the weekend already? Where did the week go?
Oh well, let’s see what’s happening?

Thursday Sept 15
next to normal– running until September 30th is the Friends For Life Society Toonie Drive. Help the society help raise funds by donating a toonie and the FFL board and staff will match it.
– continuing to Sunday is the final weekend of Vancouver Fringe Festival
– The Arts Club’s production of Next to Normal – the “feel everything” musical runs at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Friday Sept 16
– Hungry? Head out to the TRADEX in Abbotsford for EAT! Fraser Valley. Appearances by Iron Chef Rob Feenie, Food Network’s Chuck Hughes & the Original, Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr.

Saturday Sept 17
– electro-pop Junior Boys take over the Commodore Ballroom stage
– get your dancing shoes and head to Five-Sixty for MIX: An Evening of Art, Music, Video and Performance presented by Satellite Gallery and Blanket Contemporary Art Inc.

Sunday Sept 18
– Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! Everyone needs to see Devo at least once in their life. Tonight’s your chance at the Vogue Theatre

What’s on Weekends – August 18-21, 2011

Lots of summer still left in the tank, time to take advantage of , head out and check out some of these events this weekend!

Thursday Aug 18
– Vancouver Queer Film Festival continues with the Centrepiece Gala , after watching “Grown Up Movie Star” head to The Helm for an evening of fun. If you don’t want to party it’s your last chance to catch “Judas Kiss“, which made its international premier early in the festival.  VQFF continues until Sunday.

Friday Aug 19
Mr Heavenly (featuring members Modest Mouse, ManMan, Islands & Unicorns) are on stage at The Biltmore Cabaret
– Girl from Oz, Sia brings her pop/jazz stylings to the Commodore Ballroom
– at Lulu’s Lounge at the River Rock Resort it’s The Tabloids, covering all your fave UK hits, playing the first of a two night stand.

Saturday Aug 20
– it’s a sure sign of summer coming close to an end as the 101st edition of the PNE opens, included with the gates entry are some great nightly concerts including Chris Isaak, Serena Ryder, Kenny Rogers, Donny Osmond and more.
– a new summer tradition kicks off it’s second year today as well. In a beautiful setting, Live at Squamish Music Festival presented by Virgin Mobile features Weezer, Metric, Black Mountain, John Butler Trio and many more acts over the
two day fest.
– Grad your honey and head down to Canada Place and get  your smooch on! Look in the comments section for details about the Kissing Flash Mob aka Smooch Mob set for noon sharp! Sounds like fun!

Sunday Aug 21
– it’s time for another edition of Big Gay Rodeo at Bourbon Country Bar, Bull Riding, Pork & Bean Wrestling, Meat Pie Eating…it’s all here plus raising some cash for Friends For Life, HIM (Health Initiative for Men) QMUNITY, and Keep a Breast Canada
– it’s closing night of Mamma Mia at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, if you haven’t already this is your last chance to see this fun musical comedy based on the music of Abba

Mamma Mia – Broadway Across Canada

Mamma Mia – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – August 16, 2011

Mamma Mia : The MusicalFor one week only Mamma Mia returns to Vancouver.
Opening night brought a full house to see the musical comedy inspired by the music of Abba.  Mamma Mia is set in a small Greek Island and tell the tale of Sophie, well performed by Chloe Tucker, a young woman about to be married. Having never known her father, finds her mother, Donna’s diary and invites three possible men to her wedding to find out which one is her father and have him walk her down the aisle.  The ensuing drama of Donna seeing the three former suitors for the first time in 20 years is played out in Abba songs, like S.O.S., Our Last Summer and The Winner Takes It All.
Donna’s longtime friends and former backup singers from her days in the girl group, Donna & the Dynamos, provide her a shoulder to cry on as well as much of the comic relief thoughout the play.  Played by Alison Ewing as thrice divorced (and seeking more) Tanya and Mary Callanan as the rubenesque, “free woman” author Rosie, the duo are a power house when performing together and completely grab the spotlight in their solo numbers, Does Your Mother Know and Take A Chance On Me, respectively.  Add in Kaye Tuckerman’s Donna and the trio truly make a great girl group, perfectly playing off  each other for their ‘one night only reunion” to Super Trouper.  However, at time’s I felt, Tuckerman’s hugely powerful voice and intensity on her own seemed to overpower the more intimate songs feeling like she was just angry than mixed of emotions and melancholy the character.  The three potential fathers were well acted by James Michael Lambert, John-Michael Zuerlein and Tony Clements but were definitely out-sung by the female cast.
As a whole the company was a good match, unlike a previous performance I’d seen of Mamma Mia with a noticeably weaker cast member standing out for the wrong reason.  Here everyone held their own, making for a good ensemble and displaying good chemistry.  The chemistry seem even more noticeable during the finale as the actors break character slightly.  After the wedding and story of Sophie and Donna concludes the entire cast break into rousing renditions of Dancing Queen as they take their bows.  Part way through the song “Donna & The Dynamos” appear in their Abba inspired costumes to be followed on the next verse by the ‘Fathers’ in their own versions of the costumes.  The Super Group then lead the cast into the songs Mamma Mia and Waterloo, wrapping up the production on a feel good mood with the audience on their feet clapping and dancing (and in some cases singing) along as they leave the theatre.  Leaving on such a fun musical high, make the tiny criticisms of the production insignificant.  Grab your friends and “take a chance” on Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia plays at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver until August 21, 2011.  Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.ca 

9 to 5:The Musical – What a way to make a living!

9 to 5 : The MusicalRecently wrapping up the national tour, 9 to 5:The Musical is the adaptation of the 1980 workplace comedy of the same name.  With music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by original co-screenwriter Patricia Resnick.  The movie was Dolly’s first and screen roles, this musical continues her tie to the iconic role of Doralee Rhodes.  Via video, Dolly introduces and sets up the premise then wraps up and delivers the epilogue at the curtain call.
Tony nominees Dee Hoty as hard working middle manager, Violet Newstead, Mamie Parris as newly divorced Judy Bernly star alongside American Idol alumni Diana DeGramo as sexy secretary Doralee Rhodes.  The three leading ladies come together to battle and outsmart their misogynistic, abrasive boss Franklin Hart Jr portrayed by Joseph Mahowald.  Hoty and Parris do a very good job turning their roles, portrayed in the film by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, into their own.  They demonstrate the turmoil women faced as there roles changed in the workplace coming into the 80’s.  Diana DeGarmo has the more difficult task in her role, the movie and play are so associated with Dolly Parton that her portrayal of Doralee feels like Diana as Dolly as Doralee than her own direct interpretation of Doralee.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either as she completely lives up to the icon’s character and singing ability.
Fun, familiar songs, retro fashions, good comedic moments and quality acting keep the musical on a good pace and wraps up before the fairly simple story gets stale. 9 to 5: The Musical makes for a good few hours diversion, hopefully a new tour will begin again soon.

Billy Elliot The Musical

Based on the 2000 movie of the same name, Billy Elliot the Musical tells the tale of a young boy who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes and the personal trials and tribulations surrounding his decision.  Set against the Miner’s strikes of Northern England in the mid 80’s, the impact the strife has on motherless Billy and his family if woven throughout the story.
With music by Sir Elton John and book and lyrics by the original films screenwriter Lee Hall, the songs fit in perfectly to advance the story and set the stage for the rest of the book.  Simple sets, eighties costumes and very well done County Durham accents transport the audience to another time and place.  The current Toronto cast is exceptionally lead by Kate Hennig at Mrs Wilkinson, Billy’s dance teacher, confidant and mentor and, in the performance I saw, by Julian Elia as Billy.  With Billy in every nearly every scene there is a revolving four actors playing Billy from day to day.  The entire cast maintains the feeling and atmosphere of the eighties while keeping their accents and emotions throughout the songs.  A good dose of laughs balances the tears and emotion to keep the musical uplifting so everyone leaves on a feel good note.
Billy Elliot The Musical is currently on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre and in Toronto, held over until September 3, 2011, at the Canon Theatre

The Distillery Historic District Toronto

Amongst the renovated century old Victorian buildings of Toronto’s former Gooderham and Worts Distillery lay a National Historic Site with the charm and energy of relaxed European cafe culture and the hipness and vibe of New York’s SOHO or Chelsea neighbourhoods.
In the late 1800’s Gooderham and Worts was the largest distillery in the world, producing over 2 million gallons of whiskey and spirits annually. After 150 years of operations, changing times and economies meant the closure of the distillery but a new life soon followed as the site became one of the largest film locations in North America.  In 2001, restoration of the site began and within two years the present Distillery Historic District opened, becoming one of the top tourist attractions in the City.  In addition to the Victorian distillery and industrial buildings a growing collection of modern city homes and condominium building are bring more ‘life’ to the District as people live/work nearby.
Strolling through the pedestrian-only cobblestone lanes and into the restored heritage buildings one finds an eclectic array of offices, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, galleries and entertainment venues.  The public plazas often play host to varied events such as Toronto International Jazz Fest or Mountain Bike Festival.  It’s the perfect way to spend a day shopping, eating, learning and being entertained.