Picks of the Week – June 20, 2018

Summer 2018 is upon us and bringing with it a plethora of entertainment to keep your week moving along with these picks.

Eat: Take a flavourful tour of Vancouver’s West End on Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates West End edition.

Bard: Make your picks between a Beatles themed version of As You Like It or the Scottish Play in the Bard on the Beach 2018

Jazz: The Vancouver and Victoria International Jazz Festivals both get underway June 22 with Macy Gray, Dee Dee Bridgewater & The Memphis Soulphony, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Bonobo, The Jerry Douglas Band and more

Queer Arts Festival: Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax

Arts: The 10th Anniversary Queer Arts Festival is underway until June 28th at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.

Kicks: Get your FIFA World Cup fix and soak up the global vibes at various venues around town

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018. As well, David Milne: Modern Painting  on until September 9th, offers highlights of Milne’s half-century career, which took him from New York City, to the battlefields of Northern  France and Belgium, and back to the wilderness of Canada and the US.

Fest: The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents the Global Soundscape Festival a celebration of Middle Eastern music at venues around town June 16 – 27, 2018

Concert: Saturday night at Vancouver Playhouse, Sweet Bubbling Nights, presented by Soulful Productions is a sizzling celebration of soul, Motown, funk, show tunes and drag in support of LGBTI Pulse Memorial Scholarship.

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

MammaMiaAbba: You’ll have a hard time not singing along at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

Irish: The final show of the 2018 Arts Club Theatre Company season closes with ONCE, at the Granville Island Stage.

Outdoor: DOXA Documentary Film Festival presents, Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, for its annual Outdoor Summer Screening at Robson Square on Saturday at 9:30pm

Resist: Until October 8th at MOA, Arts of Resistance: Politics and the Past in Latin America, invites visitors to take a closer look at the political and social significance of Latin American artistic traditions to express political realities.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Wild: The Museum of Vancouver opens a new exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives, which takes a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city.

Chor Leoni brings Mane Event to the tents at Bard

As Bard On The Beach gets underway, Chor Leoni is also readying for its 25th, and final, season performing under the tents at Vanier Park with a new show Mane Event

Chor Leoni Memories of Bard

Mane Event blends the old with the new, folk songs with Broadway, and funk with power ballads in a program guaranteed to thrill you.  At their very first Bard performance, in 1993, the men’s choir premiered a mash-up arrangement by Miles Ramsay that merged Cole Porter’s So In Love with Leonard Bernstein’s Tonight from Westside Story.  For their 25th anniversary this beloved gem returns, along with other favourites culled from their repertoire from years past, including The Impossible Dream, Canadiana MedleyInto the West, and the tongue-twisting Trinque L’amourette. The production isn’t just about looking back at their past, it will include new arrangements including Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, Try Everything (sung by Shakira in Zootopia), and a high-energy Lady Gaga/Madonna mash up.

Mane Event is the choir’s opportunity to shake out their manes for their 25th and final production at Vancouver’s favourite summer venue. Expect familiar tunes, mind-boggling choreography, over-the-top costumes, and a crackerjack band as the lions close out their season with a wink and a roar.  Add in amazing choreography, fantastic costumes, and a crackerjack band led by Ken Cormier and it’s clear this more than just a concert. 

Chor Leoni Men’s Choir (“choir of lions”) is recognized as one of North America’s premiere ensembles and performs to over 15,000 patrons each year. A local treasure, the choir has been voted Best Local Classical Vocal Ensemble four years in a row by the Georgia Straight readership, and Best Choir in the WestEnder’s Best of City 2017 poll.

MANE EVENT takes place Monday June 25,  and Monday July 2 at 3pm and 8pm in the BMO Mainstage Tent at Bard on the Beach, Vanier Park. Tickets start at $30 online at chorleoni.org

2018 PNE Summer Night Concerts

Once again, each night at 8:30pm the Pacific National Exhibition will come alive with the sounds of music, and this morning is your chance to get tickets to the summer’s best entertainment value, the 2018 PNE Summer Night Concerts series.

Pop, rock, country, disco, soul and R&B all come to the PNE Amphitheatre stage throughout the 15 Summer Night Concerts.  You can take it way back with the likes of Kool & the Gang, Wilson Phillips or Air Supply.  Feel like a kid again with I Love The 90s or Lost 80s ensemble nights. Then rock out with Goo Goo Dolls and Marianas Trench.

The 2018 Summer Night Concerts are included free with admission but be aware that seating is first come-first seated so you’ll want to make sure you arrive early.  Beer Gardens around the PNE also show the concerts on big screens so you can still enjoy the shows even if the Amphitheatre is already at capacity.  If you don’t want to wait, limited reserved seating is available from $25 + admission.  Reserved seats go on sale today, May 25, 2018 at 10am.
In addition you can gather your friends and family to reserve a private party suites  that cater to groups of 12 or 14 including the private suite, gate passes, concert tickets, food & beverage service, plus parking passes.

The 2018 Summer Night Concerts are:

August 18 – Boyz II Men
August 19 – Air Supply
August 21 – Dean Brody
August 22 – Goo Goo Dolls
August 23 – I Love the 90’s ft: Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella, All-4-One, Color Me Bad, and Young MC
August 24 – Wilson Phillips
August 25 – Marianas Trench
August 26 – Lost 80’s Live ft: A Flock Of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, Wang Chung, Farrington & Mann (from When in Rome UK), Animotion, and Nu Shooz
August 28 – 112 ft; Slim
August 29 – Kool & the Gang
August 30 – Jan Arden
August 31 – Burton Cummings and Band
September 1 – Chicago
September 2 – Village People
September 3 – Cyndi Lauper

Get your tickets online at PNE now.

The Fratellis kicked off North American Tour

The Fratellis – Commodore Ballroom – April 26, 2018

Scottish act, The Fratellis flew into Vancouver to kick off their North American tour supporting their latest release, In Your Own Sweet Time. The fifth full length album by the Fratelli trio, brings an alt-country sound to the stage with a relaxed twang mixed with a Scottish burr.

The Commodore Ballroom was filled with a mix of fans from near and far as the opening act, Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes, warmed up the room.  The headliners made their way to the stage the audience was ready to hang on their every note.   Most Vancouver Canucks fans may have a distaste for the Scottish act responsible for the dreaded Chicago Blackhawks goal song, but they’re music is much more than the pop/punk sound of Chelsea Dagger, taken from their first release.

Jon Fratelli

Not ones for a lot of chatter, other than the odd greeting from lead singer/guitar Jon Fratelli, and a laugh at their jetleg caused gaffs.  The band lets the music speak for them, plugging away with song after song from their five albums, for the 90 minute set.  The Commodore fans were left satisfied with the return of The Fratellis and their first taste of what audiences around North America will experience in the month to come.

The Fratellis In Your Own Sweet Time Tour continues with dates around Canada and the US until wrapping May 22nd in Atlanta.

Picks of the Week – April 18, 2018

While we’re waiting for spring to reboot and kick out winter, there’s plenty of entertainment in these April picks of the week.

Tasting: Let’s start the list on a tasty note, Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates visits the East Village tonight to sample what the neighbourhood has to offer.

John Ng as Det Tommy Lam & Toby Hughes as Sean Heany 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 the month.

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

War & Peace : The Tallis Scholars

Honour:  Saturday at the Chan Centre, Early Music Vancouver commemorates the centenary of the end of WWI with War & Peace : The Tallis Scholars with a suite of music to honour those who lost their lives in the war.

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 the sibling rivalry of Me and You is at the Goldcorp Stage until May 6th.

Live: Come on down! to the Hard Rock Vancouver for Price Is Right Live on stage at the Molson Canadian Theatre this Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Comedy: Looking for some killer laughs and murderous improv? Check out Murder on the Improv Express – A Killer Comedy at Vancouver TheatreSports League in repertoire with the VTSL’s other hilarious games and shows

Double:The Cultch has a pair of shows running April 17 – 29; The Explanation at the Culture Lab and World Without Us at the Historic Theatre

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

Colour: It may not feel like spring but a visit to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival will brighten up your mood with 10 acres covered in millions of blooms until May 3rd.

Take 6 In Concert at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Take 6
photo: John Shyloski

An otherwise dreary Vancouver Friday night was brightened by the sweet sounds of the renowned a cappella group, Take 6.  The award winning sextet made their Vancouver debut at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre before a mostly full house.  Presented by Chor Leoni as part of their VanMan Male Choral Summit the audience included a number of fellow singers who seemed right at home singing along with Take 6.

With their twelfth studio album, Iconic, coming out this spring, the vocalists call upon their 30+ years of making music to fill the theatre with only the sounds of their voices.  Taking songs from all genres into their repertoire, the audience was treated to 90 minutes of gospel, jazz, pop, R&B and soul.  Ben E. King’s Stand By Me, The Beatles’ Got To Get You Into My Life, Pharrel’s Happy to name just a few of the most familiar tunes.

Founding member Claude Mcknight – elder brother to the famed solo artist Brian Mcknight, along with fellow artists Alvin Chea, Khristian Dentley, Joey Kibble, Mark Kibble, David Thomas are the most award recognized a cappella group in history; multiple GRAMMY, DOVE and Soul Train Music awards, Top Ten lists aplenty and a 2014 induction into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

Their affable stage presence and camaraderie with each other and the audience made the show a more than enjoyable evening of music and interaction.  If you have a chance to see Take 6 in person, I strongly recommend you take the opportunity.

Katy Perry wraps up The Witness Tour in Vancouver

Katy Perry – Rogers Arena – February 6, 2018

Last week, Katy Perry brought her Canada/US leg of The Witness Tour to a close in Vancouver.  Supported by local songstress, Carly Rae Jepsen, the finale of the tour was an added night, used to film the tour for future use.

After 52 tour dates, the pop star showed little signs of tiring, pumping through the 20 song set with high energy throughout the 2 hours.  First up, Carly Rae Jepsen sparkled as she got the audience on their feet with some of her lively tunes.  Her half hour warm up set had the crowd, especially those in the VIP pit bouncing to her effervescent pop. Rounded out by her hits, Cut To The Feeling, Really Like You and Call Me Maybe which had everyone singing along.


Once the arena filled up, the lights went down except for the hundreds of illuminated Katy Kat ears adorning many of her fans. Then the all eyes were on the all-seeing eye on screen, as it parted to welcome Katy Perry with a roar from the audience.  The youngest fans, in particular, went wild as the star made her way on stage singing “Witness” to kick off The Witness Tour show.

For the next hours, the singing along, dancing and cheering continued with great joy.  If the onstage show isn’t enough, watching the happiness of the little fans is contagious and can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face.  The keyword for any Katy Perry show, is fun, as the star and her dancers make it seem like they’re enjoying every moment of the set. The multimedia, the dancers, stage sets and costumes really make a point that Katy knows her beloved Katy Kats but makes sure that the show doesn’t includes enough for the grown ups to enjoy the staging and music.  From “Witness”, to the encore of “Fireworks” all her top hits plus a few numbers from the Witness album  were included in the setlist. As is the norm for a Katy Perry show, fans were included, bringing up a sparkling little star to wish upon a star then a dad to help swish swish some giant basketballs on his birthday. As the end of the show neared and 11pm came around, some of the youngest fans tired and were seen being carried out of Rogers Arena, and home to dream about seeing their pop hero live.  For many, their first overall concert experience or for others their first Katy Perry concert was one they won’t soon forget.