CONTEST: Vancouver Queer Film Fest 2018

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival has released its lineup for the 30th Anniversary edition of the festival, taking place August 9-19.  Over the 11-day festival, more than 70 films from 15 countries will be featured, along with 11 visiting filmmakers, 27 local directors and numerous local performing artists, in addition to parties and talkback sessions & seminars. Festival passes and tickets are now on sale online.

“Our 30th year is the perfect time to reflect on how queer cinema has evolved,” says Co-Artistic Director Amber Dawn. “We now see queer, trans, and two-spirit themed films routinely winning awards and gaining wide viewership. Even with this recognition, there are still so many stories to be told and so many innovative possibilities for media-based storytelling. You’ll only get a chance to see groundbreaking stories like these at festivals like Vancouver Queer Film Festival.”

Curated by Co-Artistic Directors Anoushka Ratnarajah and Amber Dawn, Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) 2018 opens at the Vancouver Playhouse with Malaysian-born writer and director Yen Tan’s 1985, featuring an acclaimed cast including Cory Michael Smith, Michael Chiklis, Virginia Madsen, and Jamie Chung.

Alaska Is A Drag

This year’s VQFF Centrepiece Gala Film is from LA-based comedian, writer and actress Vivian Bang, who co-wrote and stars in, White Rabbit. In this comedy that premiered at Sundance Film Festival, Vivian Bang plays a Korean-American performance artist who tries to remain dedicated to her art and struggles to pay the bills by doing odd jobs on “TaskRabbit”.  The 2018 Youth Gala Film is Shaz Bennett’s debut feature film, Alaska Is A Drag, a

fish out of water story about life in a small Alaska cannery town.

Festival favourites The Coast is Queer and Troublemakers return, and new this year is The Coast is Genderqueer – VQFF’s first short film program that showcases local transgender, genderfluid, and non-binary stories. As well, Festival Programmer Justin Ducharme curates Indigiqueer Shorts from Turtle Island and Aotearoa, a collection of two-spirit films that subvert colonial constructs of Indigiqueer bodies and sexual agency.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

VQFF 2018 wraps up August 19th, with the Closing Gala Film The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the sophomore feature from Desiree Akhavan and 2018 Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Drama at Sundance Film Festival.  Based on the novel of the same name and set in the early ‘90s, the film follows high school senior Cameron Post, who is caught in a small-town scandal when she’s discovered having a secret relationship with her best friend. Deemed a sinner, Cameron is sent by her conservative aunt and guardian to a Christian conversion therapy camp called ‘Promises’.

Festival program guides are now available at Festival venues as well as Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium and Black Dog Video. The complete Festival lineup can also be viewed online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca.

Full ticketing details, including pricing, can be found at www.queerfilmfestival.ca/tickets.

CONTEST:
Vancouver Queer Film Festival has graciously offered a lucky reader, a 6 pack of tickets for your oppertunity to attend Vancouver’s second largest film festival

To enter:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who you would take along with you to be your VQFF #Festie  (1 entry)

Tweet the Following & Tag your #Festie (1 entry) :

RT to #Win : Me & my #festie want to win tickets to @QueerFilmFest via @jminter http://ow.ly/hMOk30kPedM #VQFF2018 #contest

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday July 30, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random.

28th Annual Harmony Arts Festival opens August 3rd

As it enters its 28th year, Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver keeps going from strength to strength.  Surrounding the Ambleside Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, the festival fills the calendar from August 3rd to 12th with over 150 music, arts, film and food events, much of it free!

Highlights of the festival events include;

ARTS:

Indigenous Exhibition: A new feature in the festival, the Indigenous Exhibition, celebrates Indigenous artists and communities, while honouring the tradition of gathering and sharing. The exhibition is inspired by West Vancouver’s origins on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish People, in particular, the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam First Nations. Opening at Ambleside Landing August 3rd, with a traditional welcome ceremony, the program invites visitors to learn about Indigenous culture through an exploration of 30 artists in an authentic marketplace and art exhibition.
Indigenous Exhibition runs August 2 – 12, daily until 9pm

ArtSpeaks: Expand your knowledge with over 20 artist talks, demonstrations, workshops, hands-on classes and more. Offered in two waterfront tents near the Ferry Building Gallery. Select artists will also showcase their works as part of the Harmony Showcase Exhibition, held in the Silk Purse Arts Centre. For fashion enthusiasts, the Slow Clothes Fashion Show, takes place on Wednesday, August 8 at 2 p.m. on the John Lawson Stage.
Art Speaks opens August 3–12: 12 – 9p.m.

Art Beat: Discover more than 40 artists showcasing their works on the Ambleside and Dundarave beat as you local shops and restaurants together with West Vancouver’s vibrant waterfront. A street celebration takes place on August 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ?Art Beat opens August 3–12, store hours

Fresh St. Market Art Market: Argyle Street is filled with a diverse array of juried products including ceramics, glass, jewellery, leather, painting, photography, textiles and wood, the Fresh St. Market Art Market is the place to find incredible gifts and one-of-a-kind artistic treasures. Meet artists and artisans who display awe-inspiring works in a row of white tents.
Fresh St. Market Art Market runs August 3–6 and August 10–12, times vary

A complete list of participating vendors can be found at  harmonyarts.ca/art/art-market

MUSIC:
Four Stages to choose from to suit your musical tastes.

ONNI Group Sunset Concerts evenings at John Lawson Park features Buckman Coe, Sara Jane Scouten, Jane Mortiffee & Friends, The Paperboys and more

Jim Byrnes

Parc Retirement Living Garden Concerts at Millennium Park, feature Jim Byrnes, The Adam Woodall Band, Coco Jafro, plus tribute bands The Hip Show, and Eagle Eyes, to name just a few.

Seniors’ Series
, finds Dal Richards Orchestra (August 5), The Bruce James Orchestra – Vancouver’s Big Band (August 6) and The Beauty Shop Dolls (August 12) playing afternoons at John Lawson Park

Live Music at The Silk Purse
 has live jazz and classic sounds in the afternoons August 8, 9 & 10

FILM:?

Outdoor Cinema

Following the ONNI Group Sunset Concerts John Lawson Park becomes an outdoor cinema, with free nightly screenings of award-winning films starting at 9pm.
This year’s line-up includes award-winning films like The Greatest Showman, Coco, Beatlejuice, My Fair Lady, Rocky, Wonder Woman and more.

FOOD:
Every good festival offers good food and Harmony Arts Festival doesn’t disappoint with a hearty selection of its own.

Artisan Eats
, a collection of food trucks at John Lawson Park.

The Park Royal Beachside Patio
finds a pop-up version of Feast The Neighbourhood Table to Argyle Street.

The RE/MAX Waterfront Lounge
features a pop-up Salt & Earth Oyster Bar offering dining alongside the Parc Retirement Living Garden Stage.

Ambleside Pier

Harmony Arts Festival also offers three special ticketed events:

?Indigenous Feast: at Ambleside Landing August 7th, 6pm is a brand new event with a traditional indigenous menu from Salmon & Bannock, accompanied by a performance by Murray Porter.

8th Annual Best of the West:
on Ambleside Pier August 8th, 7-9pm is a tasty curated evening featuring a dozen local restaurants paired with wineries celebrating the best of BC.

3rd Annual Mixology Night on the Pier
: on the Ambleside Pier August 9, 7:30-9:30pm welcomes eight of Metro Vancouver’s top mixologists competing to create the best cocktail as voted by the attendees.

With so much to keep young and old entertained from day time to evening, it’s not surprising to see why Harmony Arts Festival has kept visitors returning year after year. ?There’s sure to be something for your whole family to enjoy at Harmony Arts Festival.
Visit harmonyarts.ca for a full list of events and times.

Ensemble Theatre Company 2018 Summer Festival

The Ensemble Theatre Company has announced the trio of dramas in the 6th Annual Summer Repertory Festival.  Taking the stage at the Jericho Arts Centre, Ensemble has programmed a dramatic trio of thrilling, entertaining, and challenging plays. 

Aaron Sorkin’s military courtroom drama A Few Good Men, Martin McDonagh’s tragic-comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Dark Road, the first play from Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin, are brought to life by the Ensemble Theatre’s talented group of actors, directors, and designers.

This selection of three highly entertaining plays from three celebrated writers showcases the humour, intricacies, and depths of the darker recesses of our lives. As Tariq Leslie, Artistic Director of the Ensemble Theatre Company explains: “To me, theatre is a means of generating empathy. It gives us a window to understanding each other a little more – our different and diverse hopes, aspirations, dreams, and fears. Join us for our 6th Annual Festival, and for the journeys that A Few Good MenThe Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Dark Road will take you on.”

6th Annual Summer Repertory Festival features:

Dark Road, by Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson
Directed by Chris Lam 

Featuring Alysson Hall, Paul Herbert, Lindsay Nelson, Christine Reinfort, Anthony Santiago, David Wallace, and Rebecca Walters 

Preview Performance July 9
Opening Night 7:30pm July 12
Special Sunday Brunch Reading 11:30am July 22
Matinée 2:00pm July 22
Closing Night 7:30pm August 16

A Few Good Men, by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Alan Brodie and Tariq Leslie

Featuring Zac Scott, Alexis Kellum-Creer, Yurij Kis, Sean Anthony, James Gill, Alysson Hall, Marc LeBlanc, David Wallace, Francis Winter

Preview Performance July 10
Opening Night 7:30 July 13
Special Sunday Brunch Reading 11:30am July 29
Matinée 2pm July 29
Closing Night 7:30 August 17

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Kathleen Duborg

Featuring Tanja Dixon-Warren, Ashley O’Connell, Kristen Slenning, Francis Winter 

Preview Performance July 8
Opening Night 7:30pm July 14
Special Sunday Brunch Reading 11:30am August 5,
Matinée 2pm August 5
Closing Night 7:30pm August 15

Ensemble Theatre Company’s 6th Annual Summer Repertory Festival, runs July 8 to August 17, at Jericho Art Centre. Single show tickets and Festival Passes are on sale now at ensembletheatrecompany.ca

Go back to the 60s with As You Like It at Bard On The Beach

Bard on the Beach – As You Like It : Lindsey Angell & Nadeem Phillip

FUN, is the best word to describe As You Like It, now playing at Bard on the Beach, alternating nights with Macbeth.  While Macbeth is a brooding, dark, and classic production, As You Like It is the complete opposite; lively, bright and a mash-up Bard-Beatles musical production.

That’s right, the music of The Beatles plays a big role in director Daryl Cloran’s production for the Bard on the Beach stage.  Sure to be a summer hit,  Cloran has seamlessly moved As You Like It from the 1600s in Frances’ Forest of Arden, to the swinging 60s in the Okanagan.  Large parts of Shakespeare’s dialogue has been brilliantly replaced with the word of Lennon & McCartney. With 25 Beatles songs included in this mash-up, it is remarkable how well the music fits the story and doesn’t clash with the Bard’s comedic vision.

The romantic comedy is filled with classic Shakespearean plot devices; mistaken identities & alter-egos, difficult family dynamics, class struggles, romantic triangles, comedic sidekicks plus more to keep you laughing.  Walking into the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach, the audience is greeted by an All-Star Wrestling ring, signalling that this will not be an ordinary evening of Shakespeare.  The hero Orlando, strives to better himself in life (and in the ring) but when the evil promotor, Duke Frederick finds out his parentage Orlando is exiled. In the meantime, young Orlando has fallen for the Duke’s niece Rosalind, who also comes to be banished, like her father Duke Senior, by her power hungry uncle. In the company of her cousin, Frederick’s daughter Celia flee, Rosalind taking the disguise of a young lad, Ganymeade and Celia as his sister, Aliena.  All roads lead to the Okanagan, where Duke Senior and his fellow banished nobles have founded a commune filled with peace and love. Of course nothing is simple on the path to romance, as we are reminded by Rosalind and Celia’s faithful servant, Touchstone, ‘because it’s Shakespeare’.   In the end, we of course are rewarded with the happy ending for most of the characters. 

The setting, costumes and story perfectly fit in The Beatles music, and the cast, most of whom are also the company for Macbeth, bring the music and comedy to life with flair and flares.  Nadeem Phillip brings a exuberant charm and solid vocals to his leading man Orlando. While Lindsey Angell’s Rosalind plots to connect the dots in everyone’s journey to love, her chemistry and voice pairs nicely with Nadeem making us all cheer for our lovebirds.  Harveen Sandhu as Celia standouts with her powerful vocals and charisma.  The comedic timing of Kayvon Khoshkam as the ‘Rod Stewart meets Austin Powers’ modfather, Touchstone, brings a smile and many laughs to As You Like It from start to finish.

The buzz is surely to build for As You Like It as the summer progresses so be sure to book your tickets sooner than later so not to miss out on one of the most fun evenings of theatre this season.

As You Like It runs until September 22nd at the Bard on the Beach BMO Mainstage, alternate nights with Macbeth.

Dancing on the Edge 30th Anniversary opens July 5, 2018

Canada’s longest running festival of contemporary dance, Dancing on the Edge Festival is coming to Vancouver venues July 5 -14, 2018.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Dancing on the Edge Festival’s longevity serves as a powerful reminder of the contributions of dance, to our past and future of the Arts in the community. Building on its 30 years of history the30th annual Dancing on the Edge Festival will bring dance in all shapes and forms to Vancouver audiences.

Festival Founder and Producer Donna Spencer announced that this year’s DOTE showcases over thirty performances involving more than twenty innovative companies and choreographers. Artists from across Canada, from Belgium and South Korea will take to stages and streets during the ten-day festival, performing in full length and mixed bill programs, as well as site-specific works.

Highlights of this year’s lineup include performances by visiting companies including;
Montreal’s Paul-André Fortier/Fortier Danse-Création
Belgium’s Liz Kinoshita,
South Korea’s Dab Dance Company
Montreal’s Lara Kramer Danse

MascallDance

BC choreographers are well represented too, performing a mix of new works and audience favourites include; Wen Wei Dance, Company 605, Lesley Telford/Inverso Productions, Co.ERASGA/Kasandra Lea, Kokoro Dance, Mascall Dance, Noam Gagnon/Vision Impure, and many more performances for the 30th anniversary. 

Outdoor site-specific work includes;

Gail Lotenberg of LINK Dance Foundation’s choreography Crosswalk Hustle, a new installation in “The Intersections Series” where pedestrians and vehicle traffic meet in a choreographed routine (performances at Davie & Bute and Commercial Drive &1st Ave),

Dances for a Small Stages Summer Series brings four short works to Granville Island ranging from tap to hip hop, from contemporary to flamenco.

Dancing on the Edge Festival kicks up its heels with a opening 30th Anniversary Party by-donation, community celebration on July 5th at Firehall Arts Centre.

For a full line-up and schedule of events, plus ticket information visit dancingontheedge.org

Macbeth opens Bard on the Beach 2018

Macbeth

This week, the 2018 season of Bard on the Beach opened with Macbeth on the BMO Mainstage.

The famed Scottish Play, starts with the General being forewarned by a trio of witches, who prophesy that he is destined to be the King of Scots, creating a tale of ambition, treachery and murder that turns to madness and tragedy.

Directed by Chris Abraham of Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre, this production of Bard on the Beach Macbeth stars Shaw Theatre Festival veteran Ben Carlson, making his Bard debut, as Macbeth.  His Lady Macbeth is played by Moya O’Connell making a return to Bard, along with a host of other Bard veterans; Andrew Wheeler as MacDuff, Craig Erickson as Banquo, Jeff Gladstone as Malcolm and many more rounding out the able cast.

Director Abraham notes that he had in mind how this beloved play was staged in the open-air, daylight theatre in 1600s.  In contrast to the daylight of old, Abraham has created a dark production, with Carlson and O’Connell bringing must angst and madness to their roles.  Most of the main characters have a cloud of darkness and tragedy hanging over them, which does make the lighter moments of the comedy relief characters slightly jarring in their abrupt change in tempo.

The themes of loss, ambition, jealousy, suspicion, even the mysticism of the weird sisters, are treated differently in today’s society, all things that affect the production and the audiences viewpoint allowing even the most historically authentic of stagings to take on its own life.  The set, designed by Pam Johnson, plays on the open air of the BMO Mainstage to recreate the feeling of Shakespeare’s historic Globe Theatre.  With Christine Reimer’s Shakespearean costumes bringing another touch of 17th century authenticity the production tries to transport the audience to how it would have been originally staged, albeit with women playing the female roles, not men, as was required in Elizabethan London.  Running at nearly three hours, including intermission, Bard on the Beach’s Macbeth is a long but worthy show, and probably as close to an authentic Shakespearean experience as we’ll get in Vancouver.

For full cast and crew details, showtimes and special performances, please visit bardonthebeach.org/2018/macbeth

Honda Celebration of Light 2018 Park Stage Line-Up

Honda Celebration of Light organizers recently announced the line-up of acts taking to the Park Stage at Second Beach during the three days of music during the fireworks festival.

The Park Stage at Second Beach performers offer enjoyment for all ages and offer a full-day of entertainment leading up to the 28th annual fireworks show above English Bay on July 28th, August 1st and August 4th. The line-up features a diverse list of musical acts including Jully Black, Five Alarm Funk and Busty and the Bass.

Other acts joining taking Stage include Bend Sinister, DiRTY RADiO, Missy D & Friends, Ashleigh Ball, Schwey, The X Presidents, Sister Says, The Hairfarmers, Luca Fogale, Alex Maher and Niska Napoleon. 

The free festival at Second Beach will also features food trucks, the REMAX Family Zone, and other sponsor activations. Licensed from 2pm – 9pm the festival is the perfect place for friends and  family to enjoy the friendly and entertaining atmosphere with an afternoon of music, beverages, food, and (hopefully) sunshine.  

Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof

If the Park Stage at Second Beach isn’t your scene, Honda Celebration of Light offers plenty of ways to make the most of all that the longest-running offshore fireworks competition in the world has to offer, from the prime viewing at The Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof, the Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk or with guaranteed family friendly seating at the YVR Observation Deck. 

For a full schedule, event details and tickets visit hondacelebrationoflight.com