Carnaval del Sol fills Concord Pacific Place with Festive Family Fun

Returning for an 11th year, Carnaval del Sol, the Pacific Northwest’s largest Latin-themed festival, takes over Concord Pacific Place, Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th. 

Carnaval del Sol photo: Hudson Hipolito

A celebration of the diversity and dynamism of Latin American culture, Carnaval del Sol features a vast array of music, dance, visual arts, fashion, sports, plus food and drink. Concord Pacific Place will be transformed to resemble a vibrant urban Latin American plaza, brimming with sound, colour, tempting aromas, and thousands of smiling faces.

Presented by Latincouver, a non-profit organization working to bring together Latin Americans and those who appreciates Latin culture. “All of us at Latincouver are thrilled to be bringing back Carnaval del Sol for its 11th consecutive year,” says Latincouver’s executive director, Paola Murillo. “This is the time of the year where you’ll feel the vast and exciting Latin American culture right here in Vancouver. We look forward to celebrating with you!”

Carnavel del Sol
photo: Marcos Badra

The 2019 edition of this family-friendly event finds more than 450 artists, who have come from around the world to entertain the masses at the Carnaval’s main stage and plazas, celebrating the festival’s 2019 theme “Sharing our Indigenous and Afro-Latin American roots. Let’s shine together.”

Plaza highlights include the following:

  • TIM HORTONS KIDS PLAZA: Hands-on creative activities for youngsters, including face painting, storytelling, games and music.
  • ARTS PLAZA: From sculpture and fashion to photography and handicrafts (including “live” painting, often accompanied by music), browse hundreds of brilliant artworks from talented Latin American artists.
  • YVR TRAVEL PLAZA: Vancouver International Airport brings you dance, music, games and prizes.
  • EXPERIENCES PLAZA: Witness authentic Latin American fare created before your eyes at a variety of live cooking demos
  • DRIFTWOOD BEER PLAZA: From noon to 9pm, unwind while enjoying delicious food and live music in this 1,000 seat, adults-only zone.
  • FOOD PLAZA: Some of British Columbia’s best Latin American restaurants and food trucks bring the flavours of Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, El Salvador, and Cuba.
  • FAMILY PLAZA: All ages will be captivated by live music and DJs, an exclusive fashion show, and much more to be announced. 
  • JOSE CUERVO LOUNGE PLAZA: An exclusive area for SuperPass holders, media, artists, and government officials.

Carnaval Del Sol takes place at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Boulevard, Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7. Gates open 11am to 10pm. 
Admission is $2 per adult (free admission for kids under 12). The $15 two-day SuperPass offers admittance to the Jose Cuervo Lounge Plaza, front-of-the-line access to the Driftwood Beer Plaza, festival souvenirs, discounts on select vendors, and more.
Find details and tickets at carnavaldelsol.ca

Canada Sevens Early Bird Tickets On Sale Soon

The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has announced the early bird on-sale dates for the 3rd annual Canada Sevens tournament.  If you’ve only witnessed the energy of Canada Sevens fans leaving BC Place the last couple years this is your chance to get in on the excitement.

Canada Sevens 2017 takes place March 11 – 12, 2018, at BC Place in downtown Vancouver.  Fans can sign up now for Early Bird access to tickets going on sale September 12th at 10am PT.   Early Bird members will receive an exclusive ticketmaster code on September 11th authorizing a seven day pre-buy window before tickets go on sale to the general public September 19th.

The sevens rugby tournament includes 192 athletes from 16 nations playing 45 matches over the two days with a global audience from 149 countries.  If you’ve not been to a Sevens Series tournament it’s hard to describe the inexplicable energy that takes over the stadium from the thousands of fans.  Morning until night of thrilling rugby matches, food, drink and fancy dress all build up for an amazing weekend. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series audience has been steadily growing with Canada Sevens only in its third year, the local tournament has surely contributed to the growth.

Don’t miss out on this year’s excitement; book your tickets, get your gang together and start planning your #SoFancy7s costumes. See you at BC Place in March!

Katy Perry The Prismatic World Tour

Katy Perry – Rogers Arena – September 9, 2014

Last week, Vancouver was abuzz with excitement as thousands descended upon Rogers Arena for two nights of fun with Katy Perry The Prismatic World Tour.  Mother’s and Daughters dressed up together, Dad’s brought their kids to their first concert, adults young and old were eagerly anticipating the to begin.

Emerging in a blaze of light and burst of smoke from within an onstage prism, Katy Perry got the night off to a roaring start with Roar. For the next two hours the party never stopped as the singer, her dozen backup dancers, and 7 backing musicians energetically filled the stage. Multiple-set and costume changes, including an over-the-top Egyptian with Katy riding in on a life-size man-powered horse puppet and a Cats inspired set complete with scratching post.

Always personable and engaging, Ms Perry knew her audience and kept it age appropriate, providing the boisterous crowd of Katy Kats entertained and dancing, singing and screaming along to the show as she played a selection of her biggest singles and much of the current Prism album.  Wrapping up the show with the effervescent Happy Birthday, complete with birthday cake throne for a lucky audience member, Lisa, celebrating her birthday, while Katy flew around the auditorium suspended a bundle of balloons. The final performance of the night was a kaleidoscope of Prism-Vision for Fireworks, as the whole audience lit up singing to the mega-hit.

Katy Perry The Prismatic World Tour continues across the continent; this week in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.  Follow Katy on Twitter & Instagram @KatyPerry

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour hits Vancouver #D2KTour

Cher – Rogers Arena – June 27, 2014

Last weekend, a full house at Rogers Arena was ready to ‘turn back time’ as Cher brought her Dressed To Kill concert tour to Vancouver in support of her 25th studio album “Closer to the Truth”.  After Cyndi Lauper warmed up the crowd with an energetic opening set, the stage was reset and the anticipation grew.  A rumble of applause went through the arena when a Cher look-a-like appeared to take a seat…prompting a disembodied voice of Cher to “I’m coming…why are you cheering, I haven’t even said anything yet…”.

Then the lights dimmed and a quiet excitement built up as a video montage of her 5 decades in showbiz played on the curtain.  The opening strains of “Woman’s World” began and the curtain dropped to reveal a glittering gold stage topped off by Cher high atop a pedestal in all her shimmering bedazzled glory, the huge production setting the tone for the rest of the evening’s spectacle.  Her over-the-top, jeweled costume and feathered headdress were exactly why the public have put the Diva on a pedestal for nearly 50 years.

This was was certainly the Cher dressed to kill tour as this was  just the first in a dazzling array of costumes to wow the audience, some costumes were as iconic as the singer and the song associated to them, like the Native-American inspired feathered headdress for “Half -Breed” or the revealing body-hugging “Turn Back Time” catsuit, which prompted Cher to make a (scripted) comment of still fitting the costume at her 68 years of age.

While much of her witty banter and comments in between sets was scripted she still managed to make it feel fresh and intimate in spite of being in a room of thousands. The whole performance went off with precision and perfection, showing the attention to detail that Cher says she put into out-doing her last “Farewell Tour”.  After Woman’s World, we were treated to a walk (or dance) down memory lane as segments included tributes to her first solo singles (a carnival themed “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”), her movie career (“Welcome to Burlesque”), her Dance diva days (“Turn Back Time” & “Believe”) and a touching tribute to the Sonny & Cher days which included a duet of “I Got You Babe” with Sonny on video. The show wraps with Cher rising like a phoenix to glide over the audience before disappearing into the night.

While the 90 minute show was a visual feast, the audience itself added to the energy and entertainment as people of all ages and demographics came together to witness the legend in all her glittering glory, each group having their own highlight from a career filled with memorable songs, costumes and performances.

The Dressed To Kill Tour continues around North American until November 3, 2014.

Sarah Brightman, Dreamchaser

Sarah Brightman – Rogers Arena – October 25, 2013

Sarah BrightmanLike the true diva that she is, Sarah Brightman appeared, at Rogers Arena, elevated above the stage amidst a great burst of light projected behind her.  A series of floor length, flowing gowns and over the top glittering headpieces followed as did a spectacular array of vocal and stage theatrics.  The singer’s fascination with space is clear on this tour in support of her latest album Dreamchaser, as the massive stage projections went through all the elements; fire, water, wind, earth and moonscapes, during the show. While the background was dramatic, onstage the simplicity of the 4 backing musicians and occasional addition of 2 dancers, meant that the vocals and Ms Brightman were the main focus.Sarah Brightman_La Luna
Beginning the set with the single Angel from Dreamchaser, the 2 hour set, in two acts, included simple melodic pop tracks as “One Day Like This”, popular popera “A Question Of Honour” or straight forward opera “Canto Della Terra” performed with vocalist Erkan Aki.  The set, performed in 2 acts with a short intermission between, was a build up to the songs that everyone was waiting to hear, Ms Brightman’s signature “The Phantom Of The Opera”. also performed with Erkan Aki, and “Time To Say Goodbye”.
The Dreamchaser World Tour continues down the West Coast of North America throughout this month before moving into Mexico & South American to close out the year.

Sarah Brightman_Erkan AkiFor more on Sarah Brightman follow her online at sarahbrightman.com, Twitter @SarahBrightman, or Facebook.com/SarahBrightmanMusic

Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical

Currently in previews at The Palace Theater on Broadway, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical is based on the 1994 movie of the same name.
The a rousing tale of three drag queens discovering themselves as they take a road trip across the Australian outback in the title character…a big pink bus.
While camping is a part of their journey across the country, CAMP is a big part of the show! While not in the traditional Broadway musical style, the show highlights some great choreography and vocals to some of everyone’s favourite pop songs.  Starting off with a rousing rendition of “It’s Raining Men” sung by ‘The Divas’, a threesome of ladies who sing the numbers when drag queens perform & lipsync; “Sempre Libre”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” “MacArthur Park” or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.  A number of these big production numbers are ‘drag shows’ within the show and feature over the top costumes, in fact there are 320 costumes used in this production. From a movie that won the Oscar for Best Costumes, the musical has a lot to live up to and indeed it does.
Other smaller numbers, like “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Always On My Mind” and “We Belong” help the story along, featuring the vocal talents of the very capable casts.  Leads Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams have spent the last 12 weeks in Toronto before bringing the production

Leads: Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, Nick Adams

to Broadway. This trial has given Swenson and Adams time to grow into their roles and I’m sure it helped them get used to the small costumes and very high-heels, Sheldon has played Bernadette in every production since the show debuted in Sydney in 2006 so was already ‘wearing’ the role like a dress.
Familiar music, outstanding sets and costumes along with a good story make Priscilla Queen Of The Desert a feel good, dancing in your seat, sing-along (but please don’t) rousing good time!
If you get the chance to see it when it in previews or when opens on Broadway March 20th, or even in London’s West End, you will have a smile across your face when you leave.

Don Quixote – Arts Club Theatre Company

Opening Nights at the theatre are full of anticipation; will you like it, will it be boring, will it be… Even more so when you’re seeing a new work as we did last night at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage. 
Don Quixote is a collarboration between The Arts Club, Centaur and Axis Theatre Companies. This comedic adaptation by Colin Heath and Peter Anderson of Cervantes classic tome also stars Peter Anderson as the title character.
With inventive sets and costumes, especially the masks by Melody Anderson, take us from a simple stage out into the Spanish countryside or within a castle walls.
Having not read the orginal work I can’t say how true to the story this play followed but it obviously took some liberties as they began to play the dialogue for laughs.  Colin Heath told us, at the Artistic Directors Circle, he found his ‘angle’ in the second volume of the original work, written after the exploits told in the first book have made ‘Don Quixote’ famous throughout Spain, taking the point of view of a story within a story or play within a play in this case.  
The writing, unfortunately, left me a bit wanting, I felt unsure exactly what this play was trying to be, as it wandered from a period drama to buddy/road trip comedy to pantomime, never quite resonating on any level. There seemed to be plenty of laughs from the audience but some of them came very cheaply via out of place toilet humour. Maybe I’m being overly critical but I don’t think I was completely alone in feeling unsatisfied.  
The producers have developed a good structure for this play but still could use a bit more time refining the writing to have a hit.  Afterall, not all plays begin life as an instant ‘classic’ and thanksfully we have companies like The Arts Club Theatre that allow playwrites and producers a place to nurture new works and new ideas.