Picks of the Week – April 11, 2018

We’d better see some spectacular May flowers based on these April showers, come in out of the rain and choose from these ample picks of the week to keep you entertained.

Talks: Once again, TED returns to Vancouver. Since most of us don’t have tickets to #TED2018 The Age of Amazement, Vancouver Public Libraries is livestreaming most of the sessions.

Dance: Wednesday, experience the heat and passion of Latin dance sensations, Che Malambo as they bring their powerful rhythms to Queen E Theatre

Scott Bellis, John Ng, Toby Hughes in Nine Dragons. Photo by Tim Nguyen

Mystery: The world premier of Nine Dragons, a 1920’s murder mystery set in Hong Kong opens at Gateway Theatre on Thursday, running until April 21st.

Photos: The 5th Annual Capture Photography Festival continues to bring all things photographic and lens-based to galleries and public spaces around the city throughout April.

Snow: Up the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the Whistler Ski & Snowboard Festival brings 5 days of music, arts, sports and culture to Whistler Blackcomb

Dorrance Dance

Tap:  DanceHouse brings to the stage the acclaimed American tap dance troupe Dorrance Dance for two nights, Friday and Saturday.

Balls: Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping Friday the 13th brings luck against the MLS new kids, LAFC at BC Place.

Sh!t: Boca Del Lupo’s spring micro series brings Niall and Marcus Talk About Sh!t Niall Likes for an intimate show onstage at The Fishbowl on Granville Island April 11-14.

Cuban: The Chan Centre for Performing Arts brings a thrilling double-bill, Afro-Cuban neo-soul singer Daymé Arocena and Havana-born piano virtuoso Roberto Fonseca on Sunday April 15th.

Once On This Island: Michael Gnansounou and Brianna Clark
Photo: Tina Clellan

Island: Fabulist Theatre brings the tropics Granville Island with Once On This Island,  running at RedCard Review Stage until April 14th

Suspense: Stephen King’s thriller Misery brings a fright  to the Arts Club Granville Island Stage until May 5th, while the Tony-Award winning family drama, The Humans is onstage at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until April 22nd and starting April 12th, the sibling rivalry of Me and You is at the Goldcorp Stage.

Cohen: The Firehall Arts Centre continues to celebrate its 35th Anniversary with its award winning Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen on stage until April 21st

Haida:  Museum of Vancouver is presenting, 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, until June 15.

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 exhibition Culture at the Centre, until October 8th

Comedy: Looking for some killer laughs and murderous improv? Check out Murder on the Improv Express – A Killer Comedy at Vancouver TheatreSports League debuting April 12th


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 


Get Outside To The JFL NorthWest Block Party

JFL NorthWest – Vancouver’s Comedy Festival is well underway bringing laughs to our long winter.  Now with spring around the corner JFL NorthWest challenges us to take the comedy outside,  The JFL NorthWest Block Party takes us to the street at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza on Wednesday, March 7 to Friday, March 9 from 5:00pm to 10:00pm each day. 

JFL NorthWest Block Party patrons will be entertained by various Just For Laughs stand-up specials plus Just For Laughs GAGS, presented by Tim Hortons, on the big outdoor screen and will be treated to performances by Coldwater Road’s Patrick Spencer and music by Adrienne featuring Drix. Audiences can expect a few surprise special guests as well as meet and greets with Victor, the Just For Laughs mascot!

In addition to the outdoor entertainment, JFL NorthWest Block Party-goers can look forward to tasty food truck treats from The Reef Runner and Cheese Street Grill along with complimentary beverages from Tim Hortons, and libations from Sleeman Breweries and Hopping Mad Cider in the beer garden. The JFL NorthWest Block Party will also feature an LED Games Tent for anyone wanting to satisfy their ping pong and foosball needs.

JFL NorthWest runs until March 10th, bringing 100+ performances to the stages and venues, as well as the Vancouver Just For Laughs Film Festival running in conjunction with the comedy festival.

For tickets, schedules and more information visit jflnorthwest.com

Pss Pss Grabs Attention at The Cultch

For theatre without dialogue, Compagnia Baccalà’s Pss Pss certainly creates a lot of buzz, on stage at The Cultch York Theatre.

Him and Her
photo: Geri Born

The award winning show stars Camilla Pessi and Simone Fassari, her and him, as they take the audience on an adventure in physical-comedy.  The two performers formed Compagnia Baccalà combining careers in circus and cabaret, which both shine through in Pss Pss.  Their mostly silent performance echos comedy greats like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and even Lucille Ball, their clown-like faces able to express so much with just a raised eyebrow, or curl of the lips.  Where their facial expressions bring laughter, their physical acrobatics and gymnastics skills bring awe.

Like a circus show, Pss Pss is a series of set pieces combining all of their skills into a hilarious and breathtaking hour long performance.  While their acrobatics are awe-inspiring the moments that are perhaps the most risky are incorporating the audience.

photo: Pipo Gialluisi

As with any audience interaction the performer hopes their instincts are sharp and they choose an able and game player. On opening night the audience members really got into the spirit of the show and the man they singled out to bring onstage perfectly fit the bill, incorporating into their balancing act with ease.  Even though not part of the direct interaction, hearing the large number of children in the audience vocalize their wonder and amazement add an extra bit of joy to the experience.

Compagnia Baccalà’s Pss Pss is an hour of theatre that is sure to put a smile on your face, and a thrill in your heart.

The York Theatre plays host to Pss Pss until March 4, 2018. Visit thecultch.com for tickets and showtimes.

JFL NorthWest shares laughs with Vancouver

In just one month, JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s comedy festival returns, for a third year of laughter, starting Thursday, March 1st until Saturday, March 10th, 2018, and you could enter to win your way to one of the festival’s hilarious live comedy shows. Once again the festival features the best and brightest of live comedy, podcasts and sketch shows. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah returns for the 3rd year, Comedy Award winning Debra DiGiovanni, Saturday Night Live alums Jay Pharoah and Sasheer Zamata, GLAAD Media Award winners and comedic couple Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher to name a few.  The laughter plays out at venues across Vancouver, including the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vogue Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Rio Theatre, Fox Cabaret, The Comedy Mix and other spots.

New this year, JFL NorthWest introduces a new comedy film festival. The first edition of the “Vancouver Just For Laughs Film Festival” will run March 1-10. The Film Festival will include short and feature film screenings under the categories; Comedy Short Shorts, World-Wide Shorts, and Feature This! as well as industry speakers, panels, and more. The line-up for the films will be released in February.

The 2018 JFL NorthWest lineup includes:

Bill Burr, Trevor Noah (The Daily Show), Jo Koy, Brian Regan, Maria Bamford, Jay Pharaoh (SNL), Sasheer Zamata (SNL), Anthony Jeselnick, Todd Barry (Flight of the Conchords), Debra DiGiovanni (Last Comic Standing/Match Game), Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher (Take My Wife) to name just a few of the performers taking part in 100 plus shows during the festival.

JFL Northwest is also supporting local talent in the “Best of the West Series” with local faves like; Little Mountain Improv, Fox Hole Comedy,  Tinder Tales, The Ryan and Amy Show and many more. Visit jflnorthwest.com for full line-up, show details and schedule and tickets. 

Enter to Win:
Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher “Back to Back

JFL NorthWest, presented in association with SiriusXM runs March 1 – 10, 2018 in venues around Vancouver. 

This contest is now closed, thank you to all who entered. 

CONTEST: We are pleased that JFL Northwest is giving a reader & a friend the opportunity to come out to experience some live laughter, with two tickets to see the March 9th performance by Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher at the Rio Theatre.

To enter:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who would share the laughs with on your JFL NorthWest evening (1 entry)

Tweet the Following & Tag a comedy colleague (1 entry) :

RT to #Win a @JFLNorthWest experience @RioTheatre via @jminter http://ow.ly/BprZ30i6xwM #contest #JFLNW2018

Like & Comment on Facebook tagging the person you’d bring on your JFL NorthWest evening (1 entry)

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday, February 26, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random. Please note, you must be 19 years or older to enter; Rio Theatre will require photo ID to enter the theatre and bar service.

Picks of the Week – November 1, 2017

How did it get to be November already?! Halloween is behind us but these picks of the week are here to keep us entertained

URP – Jesus Christ Superstar

Star: See what’s the buzz as URP Productions presents Jesus Christ Superstar at Centennial Theatre until Sunday.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks play host to New Jersey Devils tonight then on Saturday Pittsburgh comes to Rogers Arena

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company sets the table for Thanks For Giving wraps up at the Granville Island Stage on November 4th and King Charles III runs at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until November 19th

Girls: What happens when you become the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons, find out when Shameless Hussey Productions presents Girls Like That at Templeton Secondary School November 3, 7, 8, 9, & 10

Jedi: Laugh yourself to another world at Vancouver Theatresports League with Improv Wars: The Laugh Jedi, sharing the Improv Centre stage until November 18.

Try: Friday night, international rugby comes to BC Place as Team Canada host the Maori All-Blacks

Baritone – Clarence Logan
Mezzo – Rose-Ellen Nichols
Soprano-Melody Courage
Photo : Emily Coopper

Opera: Friday, City Opera Vancouver with Pacific Opera Victoria presents the world premiere of Missing, telling the tale of missing & murdered women in the downtown Eastside & Highway of Tears, at The Cultch November 3, 7,9 & 11

Orange:  Show your BC Lions support as they take on the Toronto Argonauts at BC Place on Saturday.

Laughs: Comedian Gad Elmaleh, known as the Seinfeld of France, brings his stand-up to the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on Sunday

Vancouver’s Stop Podcasting Yourself celebrates 500 Episodes

Next Monday, October 16th, the Vancouver-based comedy podcast, “Stop Podcasting Yourself” (SPY) celebrates its 500th episode.

The three-time Canadian Comedy Award-winning podcast hosted by comedians Graham Clark and Dave Shumka.  “Stop Podcasting Yourself” is a weekly comedy podcast that features a different guest each week and has fans from around the world. The only Canadian podcast featured on L.A.-based network, Maximum Fun, which is run by Jesse Thorn and features shows by other comedy luminaries like John Hodgman (“Judge John Hodgman”), the McElroy Brothers (“My Brother, My Brother and Me”), and Adam Conover (“Adam Ruins Everything”).

Dave Shumka & Graham Clark

“Stop Podcasting Yourself” started in 2008 when Dave, who met Graham at a comedy show, asked if they should do a podcast together. Since then, SPY has regularly appeared on numerous ‘Best Of’ lists and has garnered three Canadian Comedy Awards: two for Best Podcast and one for Best Audio Series. As well the duo’s podcast has gained the admiration of other comedians who not only listen but also turn up as featured on-air guests such as; Paul F. Tompkins, Brent Butt, Nikki Glaser, Debra DiGiovanni, Dana Gould, Jon Dore, Jimmy Pardo, Jen Kirkman, Cynthia Hopkins, Rory Scovel, Matt Braunger, Scott Thompson, Todd Glass, Alicia Tobin, Charlie Demers, Ivan Decker, and many others.

Brent Butt says “SPY is the only podcast I listen to regularly. Graham and Dave are hilarious and genuinely spontaneous. They also manage to come across as truly pleasant young chaps, even when they’re eviscerating some shallow showbiz bonehead.”

Besides the listening to Stop Podcasting Yourself, keep your eyes open for live shows which have sold out all over the country.  Dave Shumka is a frequent collaborator with the creative team at CBC Radio’s “This Is That”, and Graham Clark appears regularly onstage at the Monday night Laugh Gallery at Havana