Picks of the Week – October 16, 2019

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the next occasion, Halloween, brings us plenty of picks to entertain us over the next week.

Alpen#DasOriginal Oktoberfest wraps up another year of fun, this weekend, at Vancouver Alpen Club

Spooks: The most frightful time of the year, Fright Nights at PNE, fills the fair with haunted houses, thrilling rides and ghoulish ghosts until Halloween

Trolley: Get spooked and learn some of the dark side of Vancouver’s history on the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour, from October 11 – 31

North: It’s the last week to, take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure

Improv: Vancouver TheatreSports is hosting a world of laughter until October 20 as the 2019 International Theatresports Institute Conference and Festival comes to Granville Island.

Train: Head into the Rabbit Hole when you follow Alice in Nightmareland at The Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train until Halloween night.

Jivesh Parasram – Take D Milk, Nah?

Diwali: The Cultch partners with Diwali in BC to present Pandemic Theatre and Rumble Theatre’s Take D Milk, Nah? a solo show from Jivesh Parasram about his Indo-Caribbean heritage, running October 16-26, at the Vancity Culture Lab

BigTop: Cirque du Soleil brings their latest show, Luzia to the Big Top at Concorde Pacific Place, continuing through the end of the year

Country: American country star Luke Combs brings his Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour to Rogers Arena on Saturday night

Bedrooms: The Arts Club Granville Island Stage opens The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian bedroom comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys, until October 26

China Doll photo: David Cooper

Opening: Gateway Theatre in Richmond opens its 2019-2020 season with Marjorie Chan’s historical drama, China Doll, running October 17 – 26.

Jazz: Friday Jazz is live at Tyrant Studios, this week featuring Joan Bessie + Raene

Comedy: Saturday Comedy takes the stage at Tyrant Studios, this week’s stand-up finds Katie-Ellen Humphries on stage, supported by Stuart Jones and Randee Neumeyer

Indie: Irish singer/songwriter Hozier returns to Vancouver with his Wasteland Baby! Tour, at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre Friday

Art: Full Circle First Nations Performance and the Vancouver Public Library co-host the art and film installation pîkiskwe-speak: An Invitation to Conversations in Reconciliation from October 16th to December 15th in the Samuel & Frances Belzberg Family Exhibit Space at Vancouver Central Library.

La Traviata

Opera: The Vancouver Opera 2019/20 season gets underway Thursday with the opening of La Traviata at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, also playing October 19, 24 and 27th.

Learn about The Birds & The Bees at The Arts Club

Turkey Semen, Beekeeping, Mothers & Daughters, , One Night Stands, N.S.A. Sex are just some of the unexpected topics found in The Birds & The Bees by Mark Crawford. The Canadian comedy is filling The Arts Club Granville Island Stage with laughter.

The Birds & The Bees is really a story about rolling with the punches. We never know what life is going to throw at you, how people react to expected turns defines their character, and in the case of this play, provide plenty of laughs and heart.

Centred on the strained relationship between, Gail (Susinn McFarlen) and her newly separated daughter Sarah (Dawn Petten), The Birds & The Bees takes place in just two upstairs bedrooms of Gail’s farmhouse as Sarah tries to move home after leaving her Turkey-farmer husband. The sudden change in living arrangements through both ladies’ lives in disarray. Things are complicated further by the arrival of university researcher Ben (Christopher Allen), here to study why Gail’s honey bees are dying, something she blames on the pesticides used by her tenant farmer Earl (Tom McBeath).

The intergenerational cast of The Birds & The Bees also shows that ages is really just a number, as the characters find new life and sexual awakening in their changing circumstances. From the audience’s reaction, who could clearly see themselves in at least one of the characters, it was easy to see that embracing their sexual side, at any age, was a welcome topic. Although the play finds them in plenty of slapstick situations, the four actors brought depth and heart to these roles, showing a great connection with each other as well as, the audience.

As the action, and Sarah, moves out of Gail’s house, the play wraps up but the audience would clearly like a sequel to follow up on the further adventures of Gail, Sarah, Earl and Ben.

The Birds & The Bees runs until October 26, 2019 at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage. For showtimes and tickets visit: artsclub.com

Picks of the Week – October 9, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend is upon us, time for us to give thanks to friends and family (and you readers), along with the plethora of entertainment and activities in the picks of the week.

Oktoberfest at Vancouver Alpen Club

Alpen#DasOriginal Oktoberfest continues the fun this weekend, and the the next at Vancouver Alpen Club

Spooks: The most frightful time of the year, Fright Nights at PNE, fills the fair with haunted houses, thrilling rides and ghoulish ghosts until Halloween

Trolley: Get spooked and learn some of the dark side of Vancouver’s history on the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour, from October 11 – 31

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks home opener brings LA Kings to Rogers Arena tonight, then Saturday night Philadelphia Flyers make a visit.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Virago Nationi

Fest: Transform: A Cabaret Festival continues, through this weekend, to take over the three stages of The Cultch with a multi-disciplinary festival of indigenous, local and international works

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

BigTop: Cirque du Soleil brings their latest show, Luzia to the Big Top at Concorde Pacific Place, continuing through the end of the year

Pop: Friday night the Jonas Brothers : Happiness Begins Tour brings the trio, supported by Bebe Rexha and Jordan McGraw to Rogers Arena.

Suns: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Bedrooms: The Arts Club Granville Island Stage opens The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian bedroom comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys.

The Shipment

Stereotypes: Speakeasy Theatre’s production of the provocative work The Shipment by Young Jean Lee moves to Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver until Oct 12th

Jazz: Friday Jazz is live at Tyrant Studios, this week featuring Nick Bracewell Trio.

Comedy: Saturday Comedy takes the stage at Tyrant Studios, this week’s stand-up finds Jacob Samuel and Chris Griffing supporting headliner Simon King

Improv: It’s your last chance to hit the books and laughs at The Improv Centre on Granville Island with Back to School Theatresports  closing October 12.

Rock: Local legends 54-40 make their annual visit to the Commodore Ballroom for two shows, Friday and Saturday night.

Icon: Sunday night, spend An Evening with John Fogerty: My 50 Year Trip, as the legendary musician revisits the sounds of 1969 – Woodstock and his Creedence Clearwater Revival songbook, at Rogers Arena

Picks of the Week – October 2, 2019

We move into the first week of October there’s a fest of activities in the picks.

Indie: Aussie act Boy & Bear play the Commodore Ballroom, supported by Stu Larson on Wednesday October 2

Oktoberfest at Vancouver Alpen Club

Alpen: #DasOriginal Oktoberfest gets underway this weekend, and the following three weekend’s of October at Vancouver Alpen Club

Race: Challenge your perceptions of race and culture as Speakeasy Theatre’s The Shipment wraps up its run at Firehall Arts Centre this weekend.

Pop: Multi-hyphenate pop sensation Charli XCX brings her hits to the stage at Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night

Fest: Transform: A Cabaret Festival takes over the three stages of The Cultch with a multi-disciplinary festival of indigenous, local and international works

Pigskin: BC Lions play host to Toronto Argonauts at BC Place on Saturday evening

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

Skerryvore

Celtic: Multi-award-winning Scottish band SKERRYVORE make their Vancouver debut: Saturday, October 5, at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre.

Balls: Whitecaps FC bring their season to a close playing host to Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Sunday afternoon.

BigTop: Cirque du Soleil brings their latest show, Luzia to the Big Top at Concorde Pacific Place, starting October 3rd.

Suns: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Bedrooms: The Arts Club Granville Island Stage opens The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian bedroom comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys.

Focus Cia de Dança photo: Fernanda Vallois

Dance: Brazil’s Focus Cia de Dança makes its West Coast debut with Still Reich, a program of thrilling contemporary dance at The Scotiabank Dance Centre October 2 – 4

Jazz: Friday Jazz is live at Tyrant Studios, this week featuring Tiny Islands’ NOLA-style classic sounds.

Comedy: Saturday Comedy takes the stage at Tyrant Studios, this week’s stand-up finds headliner Jon Gagnon supported by Byron Bertram  and Gavin Clarkson 

Transform: A Cabaret Festival Takes Over The Cultch

The Cultch 2019/2020 season will kick off next week with a revolutionary new festival co-curated by Corey Payette (Artistic Director of Urban Ink) and Heather Redfern (Executive Director of The Cultch). Transform: A Cabaret Festival will contain performance in a multitude of disciplines—dance, music, comedy, burlesque, theatre, etc.—and include a wide variety of Indigenous, local, and international work.

Raven Transforming – Quelemia Sparrow photo: Emily Cooper

This inaugural year will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more. This varied group of multi-disciplinary performers take over The Cultch’s three theatres, including its lounges and lobbies from October 2-12, 2019.

Around the world, cabaret festivals emerged as a raucous and exhilarating way of expressing uprising during periods of change. “It’s been a platform for political discourse and for engaging in deep conversations all around the world,” says festival co-curator, Corey Payette. “It’s also a space where people can push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream.” Transform: A Cabaret Festival is inspired by a bold new concept to bring radical and lasting change to live performance in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. “I think that reconciliation is a really difficult subject matter, because we are not as far along as we should be,” says Payette. “What I know for sure, is that artists are always the ones to lead the way.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Virago Nationi

“You name it; it’s going to be part of the cabaret festival,” says festival co-curator Heather Redfern.  From Cirque Transforming (a night of circus performance), to Drag Transforming (a night of drag performance), to The Women of Comedy (featuring Martha Chaves, Steph Tisdell, Nour Hadidi, and Erica Sigurdson), The Cultch’s spaces will be alive with every imaginable type of show. Other not-to-be-missed events include Virago Nation: Stripping for Sovereignty (Vancouver’s all Indigenous Burlesque troupe), The Darlings (Vancouver’s multidisciplinary non-binary drag show), Journey to South Asia & Beyond (a collaboration with Diwali in BC), Family Drag Brunch and Dress Up (hosted by Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron), African Village Experience (hosted by Jacky A Yenga), Where the Two-Spirit Lives (Marshall Vielle’s one-person show), and The Flame: Cabaret Edition (Vancouver’s favourite storytelling series).

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Peach Cobblah & Isolde N Barron photo: Shimon

A cabaret festival would not be complete without plenty of great music and Transform: A Cabaret Festival will spotlight musicians such as Leela Gilday, Silla and Rise, JB the First Lady, M’Girl, Sandy Scofield, Veda Hille, and Corey Payette. In addition, festival participants are invited to join artists and VIPs each night at a festival club night, a creative space for festival artists to collaborate and test out exciting new and developing material, while enjoying the beats of DJ Kookum and DJ Skylar Love.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival takes over The Cultch Historic Theatre, York Theatre and Vancity Culture Lab October 2 to 12, 2019. Full line-up details and tickets are available online at transformcabaret.com

The Shipment opens Firehall Art Centre’s Season

The Firehall Art Centre kicked off its 37th season with Speakeasy Theatre’s production of the provocative work The Shipment by Young Jean Lee.

Omari Newton opens The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

The play takes a look at black cultural stereotypes and makes us examine our ingrained assumptions and perceptions of race. Starting off, the first half of the show firmly places the 5 black actors in stereotypical roles; brash comedian, wannabe rapper, drug dealer, crackhead, video vixen, and more in a variety show format.

The cast of The Shipment
photo: Ryan McDonald

The opening stand-up set by Omari Newton sets the audience up for the show that’s to follow, crass, graphic, offensive and uncomfortable, his set is equally amusing and thought-provoking. Amongst the spontaneous laughs, some of the audience’s laughter sounded awkward and forced, as though they felt like they needed to laugh along to prove they were ‘woke’. Following the stand-up set the cast; Omari Newton, Kiomi Pyke, Chris Francisque, Adrian Neblett & Andrew Creightney, whip through the previously mentioned roles in a choreographed minstrel-style review. Throughout the rest of the 75 minute play, laughter mixed with uncomfortable silence, actions, setting and dialogue designed to test our preconceptions of race, even if we didn’t think we had any.

The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

The simplicity of the direction by Kayvon Khoshkam and Omari Newton, plus staging keeps the focus on the actors and their actions, and of course, leaves us thinking.

Challenge your own notions about race, as The Shipment continues at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E Cordova, until October 5, 2019. Visit firehallartscentre.ca for more information

Picks of the Week – September 25, 2019

Summer has officially come to a close, autumn is upon us bringing cooler, wet weather and pumpkin spice…everything. Let’s see what entertainment picks the first week of fall offers us.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Jens Kristian Balle

Opening: Firehall Arts Centre opens their season with a presentation of SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment

Park: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park is filled with the sounds of Vampire Weekend on Wednesday night

Culture: The 10th Annual BC Culture Days celebrate arts & culture from September 27 to 29, in venues in every corner of the province.

Hub: This weekend, BC Culture Days CBC Culture Hub kicks off with Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning followed by dozens of free events Saturday and Sunday

Plaza: Haida-Tsimshian siblings Gillian and Robert Thomson are Sister Says, a pop/indie group performing outdoors at Jack Poole Plaza on Friday September 27th, at 1130, for BC Culture Days

Date: Explore a variety of artistic endeavours when you go on a Date with Culture, a free BC Culture Day event at Chain & Forge at Granville Island.

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

Dance: The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival continues to bring rhythm to Vancouver’s stages until Sunday September 29.

Doll: Celebrate BC Culture Days & Gateway Theatre’s upcoming production, China Doll, with a Chinese Arts & Culture Celebration at Gateway Saturday and Sunday

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Orange: BC Lions play host to Montreal Allouettes at BC Place on Saturday September 28th.

Away With Home:
L to R: Zefanya Hardhian (in front), Lucy Luo, Kevin Nguyen, Arjun Panesar and Lennox Johnston-Yu pic: Amanda Skuse Photography

Home: For two nights only, MISCELLANEOUS Productions, presents their 2018/19 new work, Away with Home at The Scotiabank Dance Centre

Film: Celebrate Culture Days and the 100th anniversary of Korean Film with four popular recently released Korean films, presented by the Korean Cultural Centre of Canada, at the Coquitlam Library Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Gallery: Transits and Returns, is an exhibition of twenty-one Indigenous artists from around the Pacific at the Vancouver Art Gallery, from September 28, 2019 until February 23, 2020.

Music: Explore the Feel-good Factor of Music at Polygon Gallery on Sunday during BC Culture Days, students and teachers will present a short informal performance featuring different styles and instruments.

VTS Back to School

Improv: Hit the books and laughs as Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays until October 12.