December 1, 2016

Holiday Shows, Fun for All

Forever Plaid. On the way to their first big gig, a quartet of male singers takes a detour to heaven, where they posthumously take the stage for one final concert in this goofy 1950s nostalgia trip. Think of the Four Preps, The Letterman and The Four Lads with their look-alike suits and close harmonies, and listen to popular hit songs such as Moments to Remember, Heart and Soul and Love is a Many Splendored Thing. A festive treat for the whole family until Dec. 18 at Bernie Legge Theatre.
Charlie Brown's Christmas. Good grief! The cherished holiday classic is on stage in a lively musical adaption that also features a live jazz trio. Join Charlie Brown on his quirky journey as he tries to direct the school Christmas pageant. With some help from his friends and a ragged little tree, Charlie Brown discovers the true meaning of the season. On stage at Carousel Theatre until Dec 31.
Holy Mo! A Christmas Show. Folly, Guff and Buffoona are back for Christmas. An irreverent re-imagining of the Nativity told with gusto and a questionable commitment to accuracy by Pacific Theatre’s three favourite fools. Warning: Side effects of seeing the show may include laughter, merriment and awkward questions about the existence of Santa. At Pacific Theatre until Dec. 31.

November 17, 2016

Not a Kid's Show

Irreverently witty, some might say outrageously funny, Avenue Q is the musical story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who arrives in New York City looking for love, a job and a purpose in life. With limited funds, the only neighborhood he can afford to live in is the multicultural Avenue Q, where Sesame Street-esque characters rub shoulders with humans. Part felt, part flesh, the show features full puppet nudity and other vulgarities. Catch it at the Arts Club.

November 15, 2016

Art in the BAG

See an exhibition of works by one of Canada's celebrated print makers at the Burnaby Art Gallery. H. E. Bergman was a Winnipeg-based commercial wood engraver who later developed a fine art practice. His works are held in several public collections, including the National Gallery and Winnipeg Art Gallery. The BAG exhibit brings together several of Bergman’s best known black-and-white wood engravings from the City of Burnaby's permanent art collection as well as private collections. The exhibition runs until Jan. 17.

November 11, 2016

Films & Food at Nikkei Centre

See a trio of films Nov. 19 at Nikkei Centre in Burnaby. The mini film fest kicks off with Cape No.7, a romantic comedy about the lead singer of a band from Taiwan who searches for the intended recipient of 7 lost love letters. Two documentary films round out the day. Wansei Back Home follows the personal stories of Japanese people born in Taiwan as they trace their roots. Kano tells the tale of a 1930s ragtag baseball team made up of farm boys from southern Taiwan who made it to the finals of Japan’s national high-school baseball championship. Along with the films, pop-up food booths will serve Japanese and Taiwanese treats. Tickets are $10 per screening or $25 Day for the three films. Visit nikkeiplace.org for more info. 

November 8, 2016

Embrace the Bard's Daughter

Miss Shakespeare is a story inspired by the Bard’s daughter, whose own creative aspirations come alive as she leads a group of women in the secret, subversive and illegal staging of a musical play. The time period is the 17th century and women are banned from the stage. Yet, the female mind is difficult to suppress. Behind the dingy walls of The Cage Tavern, six women explore the seductive power of the theatre. With a musical score influenced by underground European cabaret, the women embrace their creativity, find their voices and exert their freedom. However, the law is not on their side. If these artists are to truly have a voice, they must find the courage to get beyond the walls and in front of an audience. The show runs until Nov. 26 at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.

October 31, 2016

Old Guys Delight in Ages of the Moon

Sam Shepard's morosely funny play Ages of the Moon traverses familiar territory: bickering pals, lots of whiskey and, of course, women troubles. Ames (John Bryden) has been banished to his remote fishing cabin for a 'minor' infidelity he can't recall. Byron (Alec Willows) has traveled many miles by Greyhound to be with his exiled childhood friend. They while away the afternoon, sipping Woodford bourbon on the porch, starting and stumbling, staring blankly into the woods, searching for pleasant memories, only to find disagreement and anger. Playwright Shepard serves up the sort of dialogue that prompts outbursts of laughter from men, while women simply roll their eyes. From the outset, women are a constant theme. Women they know, women they can't remember, and some they will never know, all mired in mystery and ritual, like the shadowy lunar eclipse they hope to see. Watching and listening as the two accomplished actors define their roles is a delight. Byrden portrays Ames as a robust, outdoorsy sort of fellow, salt of the earth gone adrift in a sea of existential uncertainty and despair. Willows as Byron, listens and observes with authentic geezer-like observation and wonderment. There is plenty of verbal sparring as they try and work their way to a comfortable place. Yet, despite the disagreements and judgments, accusations and confrontations, a late stage dramatic twist brings harmony and understanding to what surely is an admirable and enduring friendship. Ages of the Moon plays until Nov. 6 at Presentation House.

October 26, 2016

Multi Event Fetival Showcases DTES

The Heart of the City Festival begins today with an opening ceremonty which includes the unveiling of a mural banner by acclaimed Downtown Eastside artist Richard Tetrault. The 11 x 18 foot banner illustrates the festival's theme of Living on Shared Territory, and celebrates the artists, activists, art forms and people of the DTES community. Now in its 13th year, the Heart of the City Festival brings together more than 100 events at some 40 locations, from storytelling and poetry to theatre and history walks. Most are free or by donation. Highlights include an evening of music and improvisation with the Carnegie Jazz Band, a walking tour of Chinatown, performances of hidden stories told through song and dance, the premiere of Metamorphose by the Carnegie Dance Troupe, and an evening of flamenco music and dance with Barrio Flamenco.  The festival wraps on Nov. 6 with a concert and supper at the historic Ukranian Hall. Get details of this extraordinary community festival here.