VQFF Opens August 15

The 31st Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) opens this Thursday, August 15th at the Vancouver Playhouse with the Canadian Premiere of Leon Le’s Song Lang (Vietnam/U.S.A.), Le’s first feature is set in the richly imagined and dilapidated streets of 1990’s Saigon. Song Lang is a tribute to the golden age of c?i l??ng (a form of modern Vietnamese folk opera), a queer romance and gangster film that stars Vietnamese popstar, Isaac.

VQFF’s Closing Gala Film is the Canadian Premiere of a positive, feel-good LGBTQ comedy from Italy, An Almost Ordinary Summer (Italy) by Simone Godano. The film pays homage to the entertaining romantic comedies of Nancy Meyers, about two aging patriarchs who bring their two very different families together on vacation to announce their engagement. 

An Almost Ordinary Summer

In between, VQFF welcomes more than 100 films from 27 countries, plus a series of Festival Spotlights including Coming Into Our Own: Youth Spotlight, Queer Kinship, A Higher Power, and projecting brilliance: a two-spirit showcase. 

Curated by Artistic Director, Anoushka Ratnarajah, VQFF is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada.  Presented by Out On Screen, the Festival runs August 15-25, 2019 at various venues throughout the city, for more information and tickets visit queerfilmfestival.ca

Vancouver Bach Festival Wraps In Tribute to Saint Cecilia

After 11 days of beautiful music, the Vancouver Bach Festival came to a close last week with a celebration of the patron saint of musicians. Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presented Purcell Hail! Bright Cecilia at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC.

Composed by English Composer Henry Purcell in 1692 to a text by Nicholas Brady, in honour of the feast of Saint Cecilia, it seems appropriate to wrap the festival and celebrate EMV 50th Anniversary with the work.

Pacific Baroque Orchestra photo: Jan Gates

The evening’s program was lead off by the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, led my music director Alexander Weiman, performing excerpts from “The Tempest” by Matthew Locke and John Blow’s “Welcome, Every Guest” featuring sopranos Dorothee Mields and Suzie LeBlanc.

After an interval, for the title performance, the Orchestra was joined again by sopranos Mields and Leblanc, as well as altos Alex Potter and Nicholas Burns, tenors Samuel Boden and Jonathan Quick, baritone Sumner Thompson, bass-baritone Matthew Brook. Backed by the 20 piece orchestra the singers performed in a variety of solos, duos and troupe through the work’s 13 movements. Hail! Bright Cecilia is a lively entertaining work, even after more than 3 centuries. The ever changing movements, varying singers and instruments makes Purcell’s work an accessible, engaging work for audience members new to the genre and Vancouver Bach Festival as a whole.

As a work created to celebrate the patron saint of musician makes Hail! Bright Cecilia the perfect cap on the 2019 Vancouver Bach Festival, which itself celebrates one of the greatest Baroque composers and musicians, as well as the beginning of EMVs 50th season.

If you missed the Vancouver Bach Festival, watch for Early Music Vancouver’s next presentation; Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites featuring Jeanne Lamon, Saturday September 29, 2019.

Harmony Arts Festival mixes a great Night On The Pier

Sebastian & Co. Fine Meats
(and vegetables)

A sunny, summer evening on the waterfront, cocktails, nibbles and a few hundred revellers roaming Ambleside Pier, is the recipe for another great Night On The Pier. Part of West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival, Night On The Pier brought together seven of Vancouver’s top bartenders and mixologists to complete with each other for the superior sip.

Visitors were able to stroll Ambleside Pier and sample each of the libations created with a featured spirit. Amongst the cocktail stations were light bites from Sebastian & Co. Fine Meats, Las Margaritas, Cocoa Progressive Latin Restaurant.

Scroll through the participating bartenders’ beautiful cocktails to find the #1:

Skye Hanuel Kim from Ambersand Bistro & Bar
Cocktail: Sassy Secret
Featured Spirit: Cascadian Dry Gin
Souhail Rostainajad from Pourhouse
Cocktail: Amble Breeze
Featured Spirit: Bulldog Gin
Gareth Jones from Juniper Kitchen & Bar
Cocktail: Surely Seaside
Featured Spirit: Sheringham Distillery Seaside Gin
Katie Ingram from Elisa Wood-Fired Grill
Cocktail: Wannabe
Featured Spirit: Tanquery No. Ten Gin + Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach
Sabrine Dhaliwal from Pourhouse
Cocktail: Summer Sunsets
Featured Spirit: Belvedere Vodka

And voted number 1 cocktail for the 4th Annual Night On The Pier…

Robyn Gray from Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Cocktail: Ambleside Punch
Featured Spirit: Santa Teresa Rum

If you missed out on sipping these cocktails at Night On The Pier, you can see what these bartenders are mixing by visiting their bars.

Immerse Yourself, ‘Deep Into Darkness’ at The Cultch

Third Wheel Productions, an experiential production company, brings the world premiere of “Deep Into Darkness”, an immersive theatrical experience at The Cultch Theatre. 

 From August 13th to 25th, “Deep Into Darkness” is sure to be one of the season’s most elaborate theatre experiences. Unlike traditional theatre shows, Third Wheel Productions invites audiences to roam and follow characters through different worlds as all 3 floors, 20 rooms, and 30,000 square feet of The Cultch will be transformed into a 19th-century Victorian world inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

The ambitious effort to bring large-scale immersive theatre to Vancouver is led by local creative duo Laura Carly Miller and Sydney Doberstein, who co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed the show.

Deep Into Darkness
l-r: Sydney Doberstein, Laura Carly Miller, Leah Beaudry
Photo: Taylor Kare

“We wanted to bring a ground-breaking and multi-sensory artistic experience to Vancouver that could simultaneously challenge, provoke, and inspire people in a way that traditional theatre could not. ‘Deep Into Darkness’ achieves just that,” says Miller.

After a year of development with a seasoned artistic team, the final product is an enchanting 150-minute, 15-character odyssey chronicling the elusive last moments of Poe’s life.

As he is stuck in a fever dream for his very survival, “Deep Into Darkness” follows the author’s descent into his own tortured mind in a desperate search for his love, Lenore. Each room of the theatre induces a darker dream from his past, while each experience – disguised as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – shows the raw emotions and thoughts from his classic writings like “The Raven and “A Tell-tale Heart”. Through it all, he must come to terms with his own life.

Deep Into Darkness Fraser Larock Photo: Danie Easton

As Doberstein explains, “We were drawn to Poe because the themes of his work and his life – like love, tragedy, loss, death – are universal and will resonate with modern-day audiences through a story that is texturally rich, timeless, and wholly mysterious.”

For audience members who are willing to follow their impulses and chase their own curiosity, the experience will find them fully immersed within a Victorian dream world and eager to return.

Producers remind that “Deep Into Darkness” is an immersive theatre show, the audience is advised to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand/walk for the duration of the show.

“Deep Into Darkness” runs from August 13th to 25th at The Cultch Theatre in Vancouver. for tickets and show details visit DeepIntoDarkness.com or TheCultch.com. The production is an 18+ performance with adult themes, nudity and violence.

Picks of the Week : August 7, 2019

BC Day long week may be gone, but the energy and activities of summer continue in this week’s picks.

Cinema: Vancouver Civic Theatres are presenting free outdoor Wednesday evening cinema at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza) outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tonight the blockbuster Captain Marvel starts at dusk.

Movie: Downtown Vancouver presents free movies Wednesday nights throughout the summer, tonight a special presentation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in conjunction with Kung Fu/Hip Hop hybrid Can I Kick It? is on at at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (formerly, Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza)

Vancouver Bach Festival : Les Boreades de Montreal

Bach: Early Music Vancouver’s  Vancouver Bach Festival continues at Christ Church Cathedral and Chan Centre for Performing Arts until August 9th. This week featured performances include; Before Bach: 17th Century Music for Early Strings and Winds today August 7th at 1pm, followed by Handel Early Cantatas featuring Amanda Forsythe, soprano
August 7 at 7:30pm. Tomorrow August 8 finds; Shostakovich Preludes  featuring David Jalbert, piano, at 1pm then Strozzi – 17th Century Divas featuring Suzie LeBlanc and Dorothee Mields, sopranos, at 7:30pm. Finally Purcell Hail Bright Cecilia, August 9, 2019 at 7:30pm at Chan Centre

Rock: BC Place will be buzzing as Mumford & Sons, with special guests Portugal the Man, bring the Delta Tour to the stage.

Gig: Friday, the Vancouver Convention Centre Summer Sounds on Jack Poole Plaza, presents the music of Ten Souljers, taking place from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM, with more performancer schedule each Friday, August

Front Row L-R: Daniel Curalli as “Davey Jacobs,” Adam Charles as “Jack Kelly,” Caitlin McMaster as Ensemble Member, plus the cast of Disney’s Newsies photo: Lindsay Elliott

Stars: Now extended until August 24th, the 2019 season of Theatre Under The Stars presents the entertaining musicals Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights

Repertory: The Ensemble Theatre Company’s 7th Annual Repertory Festival continues with a trio of plays in repertoire at the Jericho Art Centre until August 16th.

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Harmony Arts Festival – Night On The Pier

ArtsHarmony Arts Festival fills the West Vancouver Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, with a line-up of entertainment from August 2nd to 11th with scores of music, arts, film and food events, much of it free. Ticketed events include the 9th Annual Best of the West tonight, and Thursday’s Night On The Pier.

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

Chinatown: Saturday, August 10, from 11am – 9pm, the streets of Vancouver’s Chinatown will be filled with food, shopping, music, dance as the neighbourhood celebrates the 2019 Chinatown Festival.

Blues: The annual Burnaby Roots & Blues Festival takes over Deer Lake Park on Saturday featuring Dan Mangan, Lord Huron and Feist

Waste to Wonder – Caribou

FlipFlops: Opening tomorrow, August 8th, The Waste to Wonder exhibit at the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, until September 8th, consists of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each made from more than 6,500 recycled flip flops by Ocean Sole Africa.

Pitch: The Vancouver Canadians host Everett for a 3 game home stand on Thursday including by a fireworks extravaganza on Saturday

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs until September 15th, with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage. All’s Well That Ends Well wraps its run this week, August 11, at the Howard Family Stage.

Parks: The Vines Art Festival, opening tonight at Jericho Beach Park, is a free, all-ages, multidisciplinary eco-arts festival, featuring over 80 performing and visual and performing artists at parks throughout Vancouver, August 7th-18th

16th New West Cultural Crawl

Now in its 16th year, the New West Cultural Crawl is an annual arts & culture festival that celebrates and exhibits the vast creative talents across New Westminster. For two days, August 10th and 11th, New West artist studios and venues open their doors to welcome thousands of visitors from across Metro Vancouver.

This family-friendly event invites young and old to explore the city’s neighbourhoods; Downtown, Uptown, West End, Sapperton and Queensborough. Map guides allow visitors to explore at their leisure while checking out works by the city’s professional and emerging artists. Sixty + venues, from Galleries, and Community Centres, to Theatres and even a Brewery open the doors to welcome the exploration of the Arts. 

In 2018, the Cultural Crawl welcomed over 4000 visitors, learning about 150 artists. Find out what’s new and up coming in 2019 by exploring New West Cultural Crawl August 10 – 11, 2019. Visit newwestculturalcrawl.com to download the weekend’s brochure and map guides to the five neighbourhoods. 

Get Early Bird Tickets For Tasting Plates Commercial Drive

East Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood is a dining destination with a diverse restaurant scene, that welcomes exploration. Explore it for yourself on September 4, 2019 with Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates  Commercial Drive.   

As with all Tasting Plates, visitors will get to explore the neighbourhood with their friends and fellow foodies, while sampling the fare that Commercial Drive chefs have prepared for the evening.  Vancouver Foodster invites chefs to create a tasting plate of bites unique for the evening or curated from their menu. 

Tasting Platers will check in at the welcome desk to collect their Tasting Plates cards and maps then hit the streets with their taste buds at the ready.

Tasting Plates Commercial Drive on September 4th has so far included the following restaurants in the line-up;

Federico’s Supper Club: 1728 Commercial Drive
Grounds for Coffee: 2088 Commercial Drive
Fratelli Bakery: 1795 Commercial Drive

Watch for more restaurants to be added as the date nears.

Tickets are available now via Eventbrite (fees may apply)
Ultra Early-Bird tickets: $30 per person until August 9, 2019
Early-Bird Tickets: $36 per person after August 9, 2019
Advance Tickets $45 per person after August 23, 2019
Regular $60 per person after September 1, 2019