; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: February 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Secrets of a Soccer Mom

Hey! Do you want to win tickets to go see the Western Canadian Premiere of Secrets of a Soccer Mom? It runs March 2nd - 10th at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver, and is brought to you by Laughing Matters Theatre Company.



"Three moms are in the midst of a soccer game against their eight-year-old sons.
What starts out as a friendly Sunday afternoon game turns into something completely
different as the women make surprising discoveries about themselves, each other and
their children."

Starring local professional actors Tammy Bentz, Jessica Heafey and Jenny Mitchell,
directed by Bentz with creative support from Jennifer Clement, this hilarious comedy will make you think twice about the moms on the sidelines!


Fun!Fun!Vancouver! is giving away a pair of tickets! If you want to win them, leave a comment with an email contact, or tweet at me @funfunvancouver! Good luck!

Laughing Matters Theatre Company has proudly donated more than $15,000.00 to various charities. During the run of Secrets of a Soccer Mom, the company will be raising money for Athletics for Kids and Project Limelight.

Monday, 27 February 2012

CB2 in Vancouver



Have you gone to check out CB2 yet, now open at 1277 Robson street? It opened a week ago and I looked in on it the other day during a lunch break, and realized that a lunch break was NOT ENOUGH TIME to go through all the fun things they've got going on there.

If you're not familiar with CB2, it's the "younger, hipper" version of Crate & Barrel, who will be opening its doors at Oakridge Mall sometime - having taken over the old movie theatre space. Fun!

Free Tea Day at David's Tea!

"David's Tea is celebrating the extra day in February by offering free large cups of tea to their customers on February 29. This promotion is running all day on February 29, at all David's Tea locations. There will be two teas on tap for the event. Details for this promotion are scarce, but there will probably be a limit of one free large cup of tea per customer, per location."



I love tea. I'm more tea than I am coffee, to say the least. You can usually find me parked at Murchie's, or sniffing out samples over at Apres-Midi in Gastown. On occasion, you might find me and my friend Susannah having Afternoon Tea around town. I think we've tried every place imaginable, although we are constantly looking for new places to have High Tea.

I was quite distraught when Infuze closed its doors. But with Montreal-based David's Tea opening up shop in Vancouver, I was very excited! They certainly have their marketing down. I own their glass travel thermos, which has beautiful craftsmanship and everyone at work oohs and aahs at it. It kinda fails on the usefulness side, however, and I am better off with a regular teapot. Still, it's fun to have! And David's Tea is a fun place to visit! The staff are super hyped up on tea, and are more than willing to open up their big giant canisters for you to sample and smell.



David's Tea can be found at Oakridge mall, Brentwood mall, and West 4th Avenue.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Baby, You're a Firework

Come on, let your colours burst!


Photo Credit: Jack Lee (ubahn2@hotmail.com)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Weekend Tips

Winterruption

Winterruption has begun over at Granville Island! It runs from Feb 24 - 26 and features a whole load of activities for you to do, from theatre to music to food to activities for kids!

BC Home and Garden Show

Of course if you'd rather stay indoors, there's the BC Home and Garden Show to check it, and that has been going on since Thursday.

ECCW Wrestling Pacific Cup Championship Tournament!



It's one of the biggest events in local wrestling - it's the ECCW Pacific Cup!! It all ends tonight at the Russian Community Centre! Don't miss it!



Hope your weekend is filled with fun!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Hunchback



Edmonton's Catalyst Theatre have certainly put the goth back into gothic with their latest addition to their canon of work. Last night saw the Vancouver opening of their original musical, Hunchback, a newly revisioned telling of the Victor Hugo classic. If you've seen Catalyst Theatre's productions before, you'll know what to expect with their identifiable Edward Scissorhands-esque aesthetic. If you haven't, then imagine a musical done a la Tim Burton and don't expect to leave the theatre humming a catchy pop tune.


The sparse stage reminded me of life-sized Phillipe Starck juicers, with towering spider-like legs (think Louise Bourgeois' "Maman") that pose as the arching cathedrals of Notre Dame, then doubling as the dark and shadowy streets of Paris. We are shepherded through the story by a Cabaret-esque Emcee, who helps hammer down the voluminous work of literature into a manageable 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The vocals were done with intensity, showing off the range of all the actors, at times hauntingly beautiful and other times wrought with emotion. Backed by a pre-recorded soundtrack, there is no live orchestra here busting out an overture of things to come. Rather, you are plunged immediately into the pulsating score that is more concerned with providing a backdrop to the story than it is with creating an Andrew Lloyd Webber one-note riff. This is definitely not your typical Broadway blockbuster, nor should it be.


The unique costumes and props are what impressed me the most, this being the first Catalyst Theatre production I've seen. From the ominous police chariot that glides out of the shadows to Quasimodo's crustacean-like hunchback, the level of detail for the costumes and props were immaculate. Even La Esmeralda's water bottle was a stunning one-of-a-kind piece of art!

Vancouver is currently blessed with a multitude of musicals on the scene (The Marvelous Wonderettes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, last month's Gunmetal Blues, and the recently finished I Love You Because), each one bringing something different to the table. Step into a dark wonderland of love and despair, desperation and hope, at Hunchback, which runs at the Vancouver Playhouse now until March 10! Presented in collaboration by the Vancouver Playhouse and The Cultch.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen

Another catchy pop tune that's been out for awhile now that has most likely landed on your secret playlist is Call Me Maybe, by Canadian Idol cast-off Carly Rae Jepsen. Don't deny that you love this song and listen to it at least once a day.



The video for it is pretty fun, and we here on this blog like fun!



However, it's probably not as fun as the star-studded lipsynch going on in this video that features Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, and many more...!



You may also recognize one of her earlier songs, Tug of War.

Jepsen hails from Mission, BC, which is about an hour or so outside of Vancouver. Congratulations to Carly Rae for getting signed on to the same label as Justin Bieber, Schoolboy Records. Bieber even tweeted about her yesterday:

@justinbieber wrote:
my first impression of @carlyraejepsen - kind, talented, and the real deal. this is going to be fun. welcome to the team.


Looks like a sign of more good things to come!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Ryan Steele and Amy Gee Show!

I love Ryan Steele and Amy Gee! Have you seen their shows or videos before? If not, you MUST go to their live show at the Rio Theatre on Thursday night!


I first caught Ryan stripping to his skivvies and singing a parody of Michael Jackson's "Jam" back in the day over at the Biltmore. Since then, my girl friends and I have stalked him relentlessly, tracking him down at whatever bar he might be working at, locating him on Grindr to see photos of his cats. Amazingness.

Then of course there's Amy. I've only met her once or twice and she probably has a line-up of fans rushing to greet her, so she probably won't remember me telling her how awesome she was one night at the Cobalt.

But don't take my word for it, here are some videos you need to brief yourself on to get to know these two better:







And here is their entry for the Virgin 95.3 FM "Fake Film Fest" contest, in which people were asked to submit a remake of a famous movie done in one minute. They do a hilarious version of Ghost, check it out! And Vote for them here if you like! (Internet Explorer or Firefox recommended.)



Anyhow, catch the Ryan Steele and Amy Gee show Thursday night at the Rio Theatre!

Thursday Feb 23rd, Join Friends of Dorothy and Host "Isolde N. Barron" in Welcoming "The Ryan Steele and Amy Gee Show" LIVE onstage at the Rio Theatre. Enjoy a Cabaret Style Evening with Drinks and Laughs at The Rio Theatre. Licensed Event (19+) Doors/Cocktails at 7:00, Show begins at 8:00pm

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Florence and the Machine back in Vancouver!

Woo hoo! The dog days are over and Florence and the Machine will be heading back to Vancouver this summer, to perform at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, on July 20th. Who's all going!?



I saw them at the Commodore when they were promoting the album Lungs, and Florence was magnificent; a forceful and powerful performance. Definitely looking forward to this!

Presales begin tomorrow, and tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday! Don't miss out!

Museum of Anthropology


So I went to visit the Museum of Anthropology last month for the Hiroshima exhibit, but I forget how truly breathtaking this museum can be. Housed up at UBC, the building itself is gorgeous - designed by Arthur Erickson. There are some new wings added on, which allows them to display more of their artifacts as well as be home to traveling exhibits.


I would highly recommend taking the free guided tour, as you will learn quite a bit about the artifacts on display there. I learned the differences between the types of carvings and totem poles done by three different tribes. The tour is informative, interesting, and educational.


This is a definite stop for you if you are a visitor to Vancouver and interested in museums and history. For Vancouverites, if you haven't come out here in awhile or at all, then do yourself a favour and visit!


While you're up at UBC, why not walk around the campus and take in the energy and atmosphere of this institution? There's also the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, only a ten minute walk away from the Museum of Anthropology. Housed there is a huge skeleton of a Blue Whale that washed up on the shores of Eastern Canada in the 80s. Well worth checking that out too!


First Nations art isn't the only thing you can find here at the Museum of Anthropology. There's also an entire wing dedicated to what the tour guide told us was North America's finest collection of ceramics.


If you don't live in Vancouver and won't be visiting Vancouver anytime soon, you can always check out their online catalogue. In fact, the tour guide told us that this gives you an even closer look at their objects, as the website allows you to zoom right in for a more intimate exploration.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Musical theatre is alive and well in Vancouver. In fact, it's thriving. With a span of a few weeks, I have been able to see at least 4 different musicals that are currently showing in our city. Who says we have to wait for those touring Broadway productions to make it out West? Sure, we'll finally be getting Jersey Boys (7 years later!) in September, but why wait for that, when there are plenty of choices for Vancouverites?


Last night I had the opportunity to see The Mystery of Edwin Drood, presented by Fighting Chance Productions. I've seen several of their shows before, including Forbidden Broadway and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum, and they do a wonderful job!



Last night was no different. It was my first time even being at the Metro Theatre, and I was amazed to discover this place, located in Marpole, just by the airport. Apparently, it's been there running shows since 1963! Inside, is a great space and theatre perfect for bringing people together for live shows! Where has it been all my life?

Okay, so the show. First off, you need to know it's based on Charles Dickens' unfinished novel of the same name. It's also in the style of British pantomime. If you're not familiar with British pantomime, then here are some key things you should know:

- there's a narrator
- it's wild and chaotic and noisy
- it's comedic (in a slapstick type of way)
- sometimes women play men, and men play women
- there is AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION!!



Knowing that, you should be in for a good time at Edwin Drood. This "mystery" enables the audience to choose how they want the storyline to go. There was booing and hissing, clapping and cheering, actors were running up and down the aisles, and the audience was all over it. Judging by the noise, crowd favourites last night had to be Alexander McMorran's charismatic lead role of John Jasper, Linda Leong Sum as the Opium den matriarch, the shunted yet talented Chris Lam, and the drunken stonemason Durdles played by James Walker.

The thing is however, each night will be a different ending - it all depends on the audience!



A huge thank you to director Ryan Mooney, who not only is busy at box office sorting out the will call tickets, but is also bagging up a line-up of more musicals to hit the Vancouver scene. This Spring, he'll be bringing the Canadian premiere of Grey Gardens to the stage, a re-visit of Rent, and just announced last night, the spectacular Side Show, which I've been wanting to see since the late 90s and now I finally have my chance. Little Shop of Horrors will also be coming to us, just in time for Halloween! Thank you Ryan for dusting off musicals that may never have seen the light of day again, if it weren't for you! I want to be his BFF, but I know he'd never hang out with me because he's too busy directing musicals and living the dream!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood plays at Vancouver's Metro Theatre until March 3. You can buy your tickets here through Tickets Tonight! This is a mystery worth going back to again and again!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Fun. - Some Nights

This has nothing to do with Vancouver, but everything to do with Fun! The band Fun. that is. (And yes, the period is part of the name.)



Their debut album, Some Nights, drops next week but they've given you a chance to stream the whole thing online first! Try before you buy, I guess! I quite like the sound of it!

You can stream it online here.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Weekend Tips

TGIF!

What do you all have planned for the weekend? There are lots of things going on, but here are just two ideas for ya:

Trout Lake Community Centre Opening!


The new Trout Lake Community Centre is ready for its official opening on Saturday, Feb 18! From 11am - 3pm, this free event will feature live music, theatre, storytelling, figure skating demos, historical multimedia displays, bbq, cake, prizes and more! For more info, check it out here!

The Vagina Monlogues at UBC



Ok, so last weekend on the Grammys, musician/woman beater Chris Brown performed not once, but twice, and was also the recipient of an award. Since he beat the hell out of Rihanna, has he shown any remorse, other than whining about how people hate him? And did you see the tweet he went and put up?



Real classy, huh? Then we have the stupid idiots who tweet things like this:



Sorry. This blog is supposed to be about fun, but I can't help but get angry over how people are! If you care, and you want to do something, I suggest signing this petition against the Grammys for their decision to honour a person like this. Have your voice heard!

To tie this in to the Weekend Tips, you can go enjoy UBC's production of The Vagina Monologues, showing today and tomorrow night. All proceeds will go towards local and international women's charities!

On that note, I hope everyone out there has a fun weekend!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Silicone Diaries

Who was your Valentine last night? Mine was Nina Arsenault, star of The Silicone Diaries, which had its Western Canada premiere on Valentine's at The Cultch.



I hear that Unique Lives and Experiences will be coming to town again, but for a truly unique life and experience, you better get your ticket to The Silicone Diaries and fast!

Walking into the theatre, you are greeted with a moving image of a silicone implant on a screen, as smoke creeps into the room like an oncoming mist. On stage is a single chair, a table, and a bottle of water. Once the lights go out, emerging out of the darkness is a beautiful powerful woman named Nina - the perfect entrance to illustrate her own journey from awkward male to life-size Barbie doll.


Arsenault slithers onto the stage and for a full hour and 45 minutes, regales the audience with stories of her past lives - as a young boy captured by the beauty of department store mannequins, as a struggling porn star connecting with clients, and as a transitioning transsexual making her way to Mexico for countless surgeries. The stories are interspersed with film footage of her life, including scenes from the hospital during her operations which may make some audience members queasy if you can't handle that sort of thing.

In fishnets and PVC, Arsenault does seem to stumble a few times over her lines, but you try putting on heels and getting up in front of strangers to tell your life story! She powers through, however - again, the perfect parallel to her having overcome obstacles in her life. Her performance is honest and frank, powerful and moving, inspiring, and downright mesmerizing! The show brings up questions around beauty and how far one would go to achieve it vs being comfortable in one's own body. It also serves as a warning for those interested in plastic surgery and tells the dangers of black market silicone. Arsenault works from the outside in, chiseling her torso, her face, into a living work of art and in the end realizes there's still more work to be done - on the inside.


I can't begin to imagine what life would be like as a transgendered person. This is just one of many stories out there, and we are fortunate enough to have Nina around to tell it to us. The standing ovation at the end of the show was a testament to her life and her ability to share that story with all of us.

The Silicone Diaries plays at The Cultch until February 25.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Read Dating at the VPL for 55+

Are you single and aged 55 or older? Do you enjoy reading? Want to meet others who are interested in the same thing? Come to our fun and casual Read Dating event for up to 17 dates in one night.



Wednesday February 15
Vancouver Public Library
6:30 pm-8:30 pm
Free. Registration required (in person at the Central branch in downtown Vancouver)

Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
Central Library
350 West Georgia Street

Bachelor Canada Casting Call

Ok so it's Valentine's Day and you're in need of a date. Well this might help you out for next year. Coming to Vancouver on February 19th is The Bachelor Canada's casting call! Sign up now to be part of it! That's right, the American TV program where women go on group dates, and fight for the affections of one man is now hitting Canada! Perhaps you too can find "the one" on network television in front of millions of viewers and between commercial breaks!

Click here for the Bachelor Canada website and for more information!




Vancouver's casting call: Sunday, February 19
11:00 am – 8:00 pm: Open casting call – Loden Hotel, 1177 Melville Street

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Awkward Date Night!


The Firehall Arts Centre is presenting a very special Valentine's day deal: Awkward Date Night! Get 3 tickets for the price of 2 to attend their show Chelsea Hotel, a musical based on the songs of Leonard Cohen. I haven't yet seen the show, but I'm all for more musicals in Vancouver! And what a great deal this is! So bring along that 3rd Wheel and you can all have a threeway at the Firehall!



Afterwards, you can hit up London Pub and get 10% off your bill just by showing them your ticket stub.


Look for the Awkward Date Night cards all around Gastown, The Firehall Arts Centre, and London Pub.

Chelsea Hotel runs until March 3 at the Firehall.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I Love You Because

Intimate Theatre Productions' inaugural show is the comedy musical I Love You Because, now playing at The Studio at 1398 Cartwright (on Granville Island). This off-Broadway show centers around 20-somethings trying to figure out their love lives in New York City. How much more timely could this be, given that Valentine's is this week?



There is a lot going on up on stage. Although the material is lacking, the production values look promising for Intimate Theatre's first outing, and I look forward to seeing more of their shows in the future. With a six person cast, and a constantly changing set, the business reflects the hustle and bustle of NYC. However, it's the women who steal the show here, most notably Erin Palm. With the male lead occasionally getting drowned out by the music, it falls upon Erin Palm to carry the show with her ready-for-Broadway vocals and delivery. I just wanted to paint her green and call her Elphaba, already!


Another highlight of the program had to be the tongue-in-cheek (there's a lot of it!) song about being "friends with benefits." Definitely looking forward to having more musical theatre in Vancouver, and hopefully Erin Palm will be part of that!

I Love You Because plays until February 25!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Weekend Tips

What's going on this weekend, kids?!

Well there's Illuminate Yaletown taking place tonight and Saturday.


This is "a free Vancouver event & winter festival, bringing contemporary light art installations throughout the streets of Yaletown. Once the sun sets, the Vancouver city-scape will feature interactive, innovative, and interesting light art exhibits. All easily accessible by Canada-Line (Yaletown-Roundhouse Station)."

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We've got Chutzpah! Yes we do! We've got Chutzpah! How 'bout you!?


If you're having arts withdrawal now that the PuSh festival has come to an end, fear not! The Chutzpah! Festival begins this Saturday until March 4 with a variety of music, dance, and theatre performances all over town! Check out the Chutzpah! Festival site for your guide to where to go and when to do it!

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And if you're up for some 80s Canadian Content, catch The Northern Pikes live tonight at the Cascades Casino out in Langley! Remember them?





and my personal favourite, Teenland!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Nine O'Clock Gun



What to do when bored on a lovely Sunday evening, at quarter to nine? Rush down to Stanley Park to check out the Nine O'Clock Gun of course!!

Every night without fail, Vancouver's Nine O'Clock Gun sounds off, letting out a blast that is heard throughout much of the lower mainland. I often heard it growing up, a sonic boom kind of sound echoing in the air a few seconds past nine from my bedroom where I lay on the bed doing my homework and gabbing on the telephone. Having grown up here all my life, it's funny that I had never actually gone down to the gun to see it in action until quite recently! And let me tell you, that shit is loud!!

I didn't want to look like a total ninny with my hands over my ears, but the anticipation of when the cannon was going to go off was killing me. The only warning you get is a flashing of red lights to prep you for the oncoming blast. But there's no counter, no clock to count the seconds down... just a flashing of lights, and then, BOOM! My ears are still ringing from it.

Currently, there's a year-long exhibit going on that's appropriating the meaning of the nine o'clock gun. Once used to signify the end of the fishing day, or to help in navigation, the nightly shot doesn't hold much meaning any more to Vancouverites, other than being a tourist destination. Artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber have designated a different meaning for each day for a year that the gun goes off as a public art project called A Sign For the City.

Look for this month's nightly meaning on posters at bus stops or in full page pullouts in The Georgia Straight.

And if you can't get to Vancouver to check it out, there's always the magic of YouTube:

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Duet for One

Last week I went to see the United Players of Vancouver's production of Duet for One.


It has been running since January 20th, and the audience was fully packed! Just another sign that people in Vancouver are thirsty for theatre! Additional seating has been set up for this production as well, with audience members literally spilling onto the set.

This two person play centers around a violinist who has lost her ability to play due to MS, and we find her wheelchair-bound in her therapist's office trying to come to terms with her new life. Alison Raine sparkles as the reluctant patient, unwilling to deal with how she truly feels, while her shrink prods and pokes at her to get her to open up. We drown in uncomfortable silences as we wait for the therapy to evolve, and are treated to violin music and famous quotes that flash onto the wall during scene changes.


With Raine getting most of the lines, the play ultimately becomes a one-woman show as her character is the one who is going through the catharsis, with a side of questioning and advice from her therapist, played by a strong-but-silent Graham Bullen. Director John Murphy hopes that "audiences will leave the theatre equipped with a deeper understanding of the life of an artist."

Duet For One plays Thursday through Sunday at the Jericho Arts Centre, until February 12. Tickets are $16-$20. More info here.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Postcards: Narnia

Inspired by Inside Vancouver's Photo Essays, Vancouver Is Awesome's Unplugged Flickr Pickr, and Miss604's Flickr Pool, I hereby bring you a new section of my blog called Postcards From Vancouver.

Basically, the same idea. Snapshots of Vancouver to share with the world! If you've got some, send them in. Maybe I ought to follow in my predecessor's footsteps and set up a Flickr account for this too? Anyhow, I don't have a fancy camera or anything, but maybe you do and you want to share some of your talent with everyone? Feel free to send them my way with a photo credit!

I'll think about doing the Flickr group thing, but right now I'll start things off with a photo I took in Mount Pleasant last summer.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Madonna Returns to Vancouver - Sept 29

Billboard has just reported that Madonna will be touring later this year, and one of those dates includes our lovely town of Vancouver!!!


The last time she was here was for the Sticky and Sweet Tour, played at BC Place. This time around, she's hitting up Rogers Arena on September 29th. The following date is Oct 2 in Seattle, so let's hope she adds a few extra dates on to her Vancouver stop!! Tickets go on sale Feb 13!



Welcome back, Madonna!!!