5 Picks for PuSh Festival 2019

Every winter the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings together the world of Arts and Performance. This year’s 15th Annual PuSh Festival runs January 17th – February 3rd, 2019 and tickets are selling fast.  Don’t wait, check out the line-up and book your shows now.

The 15th Anniversary festival kicks off January 17th at The Beaumont Studios with a performance by D’BI, the free Opening Night Party, features djs, dancing and pop-up performances by Vancouver’s Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons.

“We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

The opening performance Attractor by DanceNorth Australia,  January 18th & 19th at Vancouver Playhouse
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers onstage. Indonesian duo Senyawa plays music spiced with ritual and folk idioms from their native country while choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek work with Dancenorth Australia and the band to create a wild experience: as the music builds in power, the dancers increase their abandon and pre-selected members of the audience join in.

Some other highlighted picks for PuSh Festival 2019 include:

Marginal Consort by Marginal Consort (Japan) : January 20 at Performance Works
Four musicians, play a multitude of instruments, create ambient, heavily manipulated music, far apart and fully independent of each other.

PALMYRA by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (France/UK) : January 22–24 at Performance Works
Named after a Syrian city that has changed hands several times during the current fighting, this show slowly builds to the level of violence, creating and sustaining moral ambiguity along the way.

salt. by Selina Thompson photo: Bryony Jackson

salt. by Selina Thompson (UK) : January 24–26 at Roundhouse Community Centre
In this performance Selina Thompson recounts her journey along one stretch of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle route by cargo ship.

Bicycle Thieves by Joelysa Pankanea (Canada) : January 26 & 27 at Performance Works
A special commission for Push Festival, composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea guides a group of six musicians and four actors as they provide live musical and voice accompaniment to director Vittorio De Sica’s landmark 1948 neorealist film Bicycle Thieves.

These are but a few of the international performances scheduled for the 2019 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Visit pushfestival.ca to find the full festival schedule and book your tickets and Push Passes now.

 

Joshua Redman brings Jazz to Chan Centre Tomorrow

Still Dreaming
photo: Jon Brown

Tomorrow night, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents jazz superstar Joshua Redman with the critically acclaimed band Still Dreaming. Joshua Redman is one of the world’s most renowned saxophonists, in this show he pays tribute to the highly revered quartet Old and New Dreams, of which his father Dewey Redman was a member. Joined by three other star of contemporary jazz — Ron Miles on trumpet, Scott Colley on bass, and Brian Blade on drums — the bandleader embarks on an uninhibited, unpredictable exploration of the free jazz of the 1970s and ’80s. 

“Back in 2015 I had the pleasure of seeing Still Dreaming at the legendary Jazz Standard in New York City,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “I was struck not only by the talent and artistry of these performers, but also by how they were able to connect and communicate with the audience through this beautiful and time-honoured music — music that is wonderfully approachable in spite of its nuance and complexity. Truly, it is the kind of show that engages both the heart and the mind.”

Josh Redman
photo: Jay Blakesberg

Redman was born in Berkeley, California, to an artistic family: a father who was a jazz legend and a mother who had a rich passion for South Asian dance. Despite a musical upbringing, Redman initially eschewed the professional musician path and graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in social studies. He was on his way to Yale Law School when he decided to defer for a year to join friends in Brooklyn. A few jam sessions with some of his generation’s best musicians soon led to full immersion in the local jazz scene. Five months after moving to New York, Redman won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. Within another 18 months, he was signed by Warner Bros. and released his debut studio album, Joshua Redman, which earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1993. 

In tribute to his father’s legacy, Still Dreaming will perform predominantly original compositions from their self-titled debut album released in May 2018, such as Redman’s mesmerizing “Unanimity” and Colley’s invigorating “New Year.” The concert will also showcase contemporary takes on well-loved Old and New Dreams standards: Haden’s “Playing” and Coleman’s “Comme II Faut.”

Joshua Redman’s Still Dreaming performs tomorrow night, November 13, at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC, almost sold out but some tickets are still available from the Chan Centre Box Office or chancentre.com

Get a taste of what you’ll hear below

 

Chan Centre opens the season Aida Cuevas

photo: Aida Cuevas

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC opens its season by welcoming Grammy Award-winning Mexican superstar Aida Cuevas along with the band Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán on September 22, 2018, at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall.

Hailed as ‘The Queen of Mariachi’ and renowned for her elegance, charisma, and stunning vocal range, Cuevas will sing traditional Mexican songs by the late singer-songwriter and musical icon Juan Gabriel in this hotly anticipated season opener.

“Aida is a star in every sense of the word — a singer with a gorgeously emotive voice and dynamic stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “When I first found out about her project honouring the music of Juan Gabriel, I knew it would be a significant event for fans of Mexican music and culture. It is fitting as well that the concert falls just six days after Mexican Independence Day. Ranchera music sung by women is incredibly special, and I’m so honoured to have this trailblazing female artist kick off our series performing in a genre that historically has been dominated by male musicians.”

photo: Aida Cuevas

A ranchera music legend, Cuevas has been celebrated both in her home country and on the world stage for more than four decades. Her unique voice and style have left a significant imprint in the history of Mexican music, with 39 albums selling more than eight million copies worldwide. This year, Cuevas broke new ground as the first female singer in the mariachi category, a normally male-dominated genre, to win a Grammy Award.

The concert at Chan Centre will pay homage to Gabriel, who passed away in 2016. The influential musician was not only Cuevas’ personal mentor, he was also Mexico’s best-selling recording artist of all time, a Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee, and six-time Grammy award nominee. Cuevas is the only artist authorized by Gabriel’s estate to tour his music, and she will perform a selection of his beloved classics, including “Te Lo Pido Por Favor,” “La Diferencia,” and “Te Sigo Amando.” She will be backed by Mexico City-based Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán, alongside special guest musicians on requinto guitar, accordion, percussion, and keyboard.

Related to the concert, fans of Aida Cuevas may also enjoy the following events; 

Film Screening: Dos Tipos de Cuidado (Two Careful Fellows) — Thursday, September 13, 7pm, at The Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.).
Indulge in nostalgia for the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema with this beloved black and white film that follows the trials and tribulations of two best friends turned enemies. 

Pre-Show Talk with Ricardo García — Saturday, September 22, 7:15pm in the Royal Bank Cinema at the Chan Centre.
Ricardo García, a UBC graduate student 
from the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, will be discussing the way in which female identity and empowerment is negotiated within Mexican music, with a special focus on mariachi and the legacy of Aida Cuevas.

Tickets for events are available online at chancentre.com

Some Hope For The Bastards opens PuSh Festival 2018

This week, the 14th Push International Performing Arts Festival opened at Vancouver Playhouse with a performance of Some Hope For The Bastards.

Montreal choreographer, dancer, musician Frédérick Gravel returns to PuSh Festival with another unique dance spectacle.  A music-dance hybrid, Some Hope For The Bastards is the kind of unexpected show you expect from PuSh Festival.  In Frédérick’s witty introduction, we learn that the awkward, yet mesmerizing opening number we’d just watched before the lights dimmed was one of two. A second opening followed his dialogue, and the movement didn’t stop from there, sometimes accompanied by Frédérick along with fellow musicians Phillippe Brault and José Major and some pieces had no music  at all.  The heartbeating bass ran through much of the show, like a ribbon tying the erratic contemporary movements together. Even when the dance was synchronized the choreography felt natural and instinctive, flowing from the dancers as though improvised on the spot.  At 90 minutes (no intermission) the show is long, and a session of repetitive movements and sounds in the later half creating an almost hypnotic lull in the action before bouncing back with the music and tempo change.  Holding our attention through the nearly non-stop dance over the hour and half is a testament to the skill, stamina and talent of the 9 dancers on stage.

Some Hope The The Bastards was a one night only performance at PuSh Festival 2018 but watch for Frédérick Gravel to return again in the future and check the PuSh program for other great shows that bring the cutting edge, unique performances to the stage we have come to expect each winter during the Festival.

 

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival kicks off 2018

The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is fast approaching. Opening January 16, 2018, the festival brings three weeks of cutting edge, creative performing arts to stages around Vancouver.

The PuSh program is packed with artistic experiences from around the world. Take a look through the listings to find what you’re interested in, here’s a sampling of what you’ll find;

Some Hope for the Bastards – Frédérick Gravel (Canada), the renowned Quebecois dance artist is creator & director of a musical-dance spectacle for the musically adventurous and visually attuned.
Opening Night January 17 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.

The Events – Pi Theatre (Canada) present the English Canadian premiere of David Greig’s daring play inspired by the 2011 killing of 69 people at a summer camp in Utøya, Norway.  Featuring a different Metro Vancouver choir each night sharing the stage with the two actors.
January 17 – 18 at Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Ave.

King Arthur’s Night – Neworld Theatre (Canada) presented with UBC Theatre & Film brings us the tale of King Arthur with the added entertainment of a live band and 20 member chorus
January 31 – February 4 at Frederic Wood Theatre 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC

Dickie Beau: Unplugged – Dickie Beau (England), innovative, drag performer discusses his love of drag and how his lip-sync performances have updated the art of drag.
January 19 at The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main St
January 20 at Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., New Westminster

Reassembled, Slightly Askew – Shannon Yee (Northern Ireland), a survivor of a medically induced coma and brain injury, brings an audio experience like no other. Melding art and science, this multidisciplinary adventure is a head-trip in the literal sense.
January 17 – February 4 at The Cultch, Culture Lab, 1895 Venables Ave.

Blind Cinema – Britt Hatzius (England/Germany) gives the audience a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes.  The blindfolded audience are blindfolded and seated in front of children who describe the audio-less film in hushed whispers.
January 24 – 25 / January 31 – February 1 at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St.

Birdman : Live – Antonio Sanchez (USA/Mexico), one of the world’s greatest drummers, provides a live accompaniment to the Academy Award-winning film Birdman onstage at the Vogue Theatre.
February 1 at The Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St.

The Eternal Tides – Legend Lin Dance Theatre (Taiwan) and choreographer Lin Lee-Chen intertwines intricate age-old rituals, customs and ceremonies with song and dance to create a tribute to the waters that surround the island of Taiwan.
February 3 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St.

Amongst all these amazing artistic performance a collection of workshops, talkbacks and panels add to the PuSh Festival experience.
Passes and individual performance tickets are available online now, some shows are already selling fast and will sell out so make your selections soon.

 

2018 PuSh Festival Program Launches

This week, 2018 PuSh Festival debuted its program guide with a party at The Fox Cabaret, home of Club PuSh during the festival.

Since 2003, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival has become one of Vancouver’s premier events, bringing life to our stages and venue through  three dreary weeks each winter.  From January 16 to February 4, 2018, PuSh Festival brings world class performing arts to Vancouver.  Local performers and companies take the stages along with those from 11 other countries around the globe who are scheduled for PuSh 2018, including acts from Taiwan, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, USA, and Canada.  Theatre, dance, multimedia, film, talkbacks, conversations and workshops are all on deck for this year’s festival, in venues all around Vancouver.

Check out this year’s Festival trailer to see what’s in store for the 2018 Festival.

Visit pushfestival.ca to purchase passes and explore all that PuSh Festival has to offer during the three weeks or pick up a PuSh Festival Guide and start planning your Festival experience now.

The Ridiculous Darkness descends on Annex Theatre

Until November 19th, the Annex Theatre is home of The Ridiculous Darkness, an ambitious work adapted from an award-winning German radio-play.  A mash up of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocolypse Now and in turn its source material The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.  Now set in Afghanistan, the satirical outline takes on modern racial and social stereotypes.

photo: Wendy D Photography

Being a radio script leaves producers Alley Theatre and partners Neworld Theatre open season to create the world in which this off-beat satire exists on paper, the result is Ridiculous by name and ridiculous by nature.  Although the storyline follows the actions of German Military Officer Pellnerin and his boat pilot Stefan Dorsch secret mission to find the rogue Colonel Deutinger in the depths of the Afghan wilderness,  the production often veers off course to tackle local social issues and breaks the 4th wall to introduce other local cultural collaborators.

photo: Wendy D Photography

The production comes off as a random collection of thoughts loosely strung together by the Afghan adventure.  Envisioning it like a old-school radio serial; each episode includes a brief tale of action-adventure, a cultural interlude and a social commentary, helps to makes some sense of the eclectic 2 hours.  And like a radio play, the 6 core actors play all the characters, interchanging parts like a game of musical chairs.

photo: Wendy D Photography

Like its collaboration of thoughts, The Ridiculous Darkness co-producers Alley Theatre and Neworld Theatre and the core 6 players bring together an impressive collaboration of other local arts and cultural groups; Theatre Terrific, Tetsu Taiko, RealWheels Theatre, Richmond Youth Honour Choir, Downtown East Side Street Market Society, Downtown East Side Vendors Collective, Afghan Benevolent Association of BC, and East Van Powwow all contribute to the show at times packing 40+ people onstage.

The Ridiculous Darkness opened to a sold out audience at Annex Theatre on Remembrance Day, and closes on November 19th.  Visit Alley Theatre and Neworld Theatre online for more information and tickets.  Note: November 17th will be ASL interpreted