Tag Archives: Music

Encounter Comes To The York Theatre October 17 – 22, 2017

10 Oct

EncounterChristopherJosephThe best in physical theatre comes to the Cultch in conjunction with Diwali. Encounter is a story about an Indigenous woman, Dopdi, and her communities’ struggle to uphold the Indigenous life and her defiance against injustice. Created for the stage by Aparna Sindhoor, S M Raju, and Anil Natyaveda, Encounter is a tribute to the Indigenous people’s history. It is a passionate story of female power that delves into the struggles and challenges of the indigenous communities of India. Aparna Sindhoor, co-writer of Encounter says “The word ‘Encounter’ has a specific meaning in the Indian (South Asian) context. It is a euphemism for the state orchestrated ‘chance meetings,’ to get rid of (kill, or torture and kill) the so-called enemies of the state.” The performance features acrobatics and original music which pays tribute to Indigenous peoples’ history from around the world. The show runs October 17 – 22, 2017 at the York Theatre. Tickets are available at The Cultch.

Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn reviews Encounter:

Encounter is a dance-play that is political, sensual, humorous and informative. There’s a bit of every possible emotion along the way, but, ultimately, it’s also a story about an enormous tragedy.

The dancers portray members of an indigenous group in India who find that their land is being taken for mining, while their water is being diverted for factories. In order to survive at all, they have no choice but to “steal” water from the wells of a wealthy landowner nearby, and so the military is called to put a stop to this crime.

The dancers also portray members of the military who have been sent to break up the “rebellion.” At one point, they tell us stories about why they joined the armed forces, and most of the stories are relatable – one needs to feed his family, one is saving to send her daughter to college, and of course one is in love with his gun, but there’s no distinction among them when their leader asks them to do “the needful” and try to get information from a prisoner.

In the South Asian context, “encounter” refers to times when the army captures suspected rebels and tortures or kills them. The story opens and closes on a scene of one such torture, and yes, it’s told through dance. The troupe are all very talented and they create some visually arresting tableaus out of these scenes. And in a world where a show like 24 asks us to identify with the torturer, why shouldn’t we have art that asks us to identify with both the torturer and those who are tortured?

If you’re looking for a note of hope, a sense of closure, or a call to action that makes you feel like you can make a difference, there isn’t one. It wouldn’t be especially true to the reality of the situation if there was.

Do I recommend seeing it, though? Yes.

Photo Credit: Christopher Joseph

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Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell At The Firehall Arts Centre April 29 – May 20

10 Apr

Circle Game-Joni Mitchell by Asylum Records Public DomainThe Firehall Arts Centre is bringing the music of a Canadian icon and renowned singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell, to the stage with the production of Circle Game: Reimagining The Music of Joni Mitchell.  Artistic Producer and local talent, Donna Spencer, has created an energetic musical experience. Circle Game features six quadruple-threat talents including Rowen Kahn (Superman: Man of Steel), Scott Perrie (Godspell), Adriana Ravalli (Rock of Ages), Kimmy Choi (Avenue Q), Sara Vickruck (Love Bomb), and David Z. Cohen (Heathers: The Musical). Together they play eighteen instruments, creating modern variations on themes by Joni Mitchell.  One of the most influential female recording artists of the late 20th century, Joni Mitchell often featured social and environmental issues in her music. Mitchell’s music stands the test of time and once again she is the voice of a generation. The heartbreak of a failed love affair in “River”, the fear of imminent ecological disaster in “Big Yellow Taxi”, and the promise of a generation gathering to ‘get back to the garden’ in “Woodstock” are topics that resound as heavily today as they did fifty years ago. Donna Spencer states, “As I look back on the powerful impact Joni Mitchell’s songs had on the Baby Boomer generation, I am excited the Firehall will premiere this reimagining of her music in this production conceived and created by Millennials Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman. Issues that Mitchell sang about in the ‘60s and ‘70s are unfortunately still relevant today. Audiences will not only be reminded of this, but given the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful poetic lyrics and masterful melodies.”  Circle Game runs from April 29th to May 20th. Tickets are available online from $23 at The Firehall Centre with several Pay What You Can Performances on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm on May 3, 10, & 17. If you are interested in a post show talk, be sure to grab your tickets for the evenings of May 4, 11, or 18, 2017.

Photo Credit: Tyler Branston

“I have to admit I felt a bit of apprehension attending Circle Game.  It bills itself, essentially, as an exploration of how music written is by and for the baby boom generation but it  speaks loud and clear to millenials. As a Gen Xer, was I going to feel skipped over? Would the dreaded auto-tune make an appearance?

In fact, I had nothing to worry about and it was a terrific show. The re-framing of Joni’s music featured tunes that were still very true to the spirit of the ‘60s – perhaps even more accessible than the originals in some cases, since Joni’s jazz-influenced rhythms were often replaced with a steady classic rock beat.

There’s an attractive set, well-choreographed dance routines, and a lot of emoting to help carry the message of each song. The 6 performers who deliver this material are all amazing triple-threat talents. Quadruple threats, in fact – I think every one of them got a chance to demonstrate their skills at singing, dancing, acting, and playing one or more musical instruments. Even though there’s no spoken lines, the delivery is very emotionally effective. I was wiping away a few tears for Little Green and grinning through Raised on Robbery.

In short, whether you listen to the oldies station without a second thought or whether it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this show. If you’re a fan of musicals or enjoy watching Glee, you’ll LOVE this show, which is a lot like a musical without all that  plot getting in the way.”

Review By Tiva Quinn

CircleGameTylerBranston

4th Annual LAUNCH! Festival Looking For Emerging Artists

3 Mar

LAUNCH!FestivalThe 149 Arts Society is proud to announce its 4th Annual LAUNCH! Festival. LAUNCH! is looking for innovative works that push conventional boundaries by emerging artists.  Artists in the areas of performance (dance, music, spoken word, theatre, or new forms) and media/film (fiction, documentary, experimental) are encouraged to apply with their original submissions of 8 minutes or less. Artists experimenting in new forms are strongly encouraged to apply.

Winners are given critical exposure to new audiences and professional mentorship which is intended to help artists in their careers. Selected applicants will perform or present their work in a talent showcase on festival night in the state-of-the-art facilities at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.  They will receive live feedback from a panel of top industry experts and will be awarded a professional performance fee. All applicants (even if not selected for the festival) will also be invited to attend a day-long career building workshop the next day.  The workshop will be led by industry mentors with a focus on: how to survive in the arts, developing a “plan B’ strategy, financial planning, marketing and building your resume as well as online profile. Past mentors have included Max Wyman, a Vancouver writer and arts policy consultant, and one of Canada’s leading cultural commentators,  Jim Smith, producer of DanceHouse Vancouver; award-winning independent film director Mina Shum; and award-winning musician, songwriter and composer Veda Hille.

Application deadline is May 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm. LAUNCH! Festival takes place June 17 and 18, 2016 at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.  If interested in applying check out their submission guidelines and application form. You will also find regular updates on their Facebook page. For further information, contact the Festival Co-ordinator Simon ThistlewoLAUNCHFestival2od at  vanfestivallaunch@gmail.com.

The Chelsea Hotel – Songs By Leonard Cohen Returns To Firehall Arts Centre

3 Dec

Chelsea-hotel-web1New York’s infamous hotel, The Chelsea Hotel, makes a return to the Firehall Arts Centre December 15th to January 9th. Leonard Cohen’s powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat of Chelsea Hotel, as six performers play seventeen different instruments in a rollicking tribute to the remarkable writer. Through Cohen’s transcendent songs and the honesty of his lyrics, you will be transfixed by this eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost.  Opening night for Chelsea Hotel is December 15th and the show runs till  January 9th with Pay What You Can shows on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm.  Tickets are available online and anyone under 30, gets in for $23 any day.  You also have the opportunity to ring in the New Year with the Chelsea Hotel. The Firehall Arts Centre will be throwing a bohemian New Year’s bash which includes champagne, hors d’oeuvres, a DJ and, of course, lots of Leonard Cohen songs. Tickets are available for $75 which includes entry to the Chelsea Hotel show, appetizers and a glass of champagne.

Carnival For The Festival Thursday May 8th Fox Cabaret

4 May

CarnivalForTheFestival

You are invited to Carnival For the Festival being held on Thursday, May 8th at the Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street. The In-House Festival is an organization that creates intimate cultural spaces where all genres of music, dance, theatre, circus, magic, puppets, storytelling, spoken word, cabaret, burlesque and more are featured. They produce several shows throughout the year including dinner theatre events, a haunted house and others, but their signature event is the In the House Festival. On the weekend of June 6th – 8th, 2014, which will be their 11th year, they will host 3 days of  unique and captivating events AND it all takes place in the intimacy of someone’s home! 13 houses open up their doors and their yards to the 20 spectacular shows.

On May 8th, In House Festival is hosting a fundraiser “Carnival For The Festival” which is a New Orlean’s themed Carnival. You should expect to shake your booty to some amazing music, shop at the fantastic silent auction and support one of Vancouver’s treasures. You are encouraged to wear your carnival mask, as there will be a dance your face off for those that are so inclined. The most beautiful and creative mask will have a chance to win a full In the House prize pack which includes a weekend pass to the festival in June, a t-shirt, and an In the House CD.

The night inclues a line up of many great performers including:

Razzmajazz: RazzMaJazz is dedicated to performing traditional jazz in the New Orleans style. They are known as a fun and upbeat swinging band.

Sambata:  Based in Vancouver, Sambata is a percussion school and musical ensemble that plays a powerful and unique blend of music drawing on the rich traditions of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian popular and folkloric music.

Samba Fusion:  Samba Fusion International Dance Group performs several styles of dance and dance fusion including: Brazilian Samba, Samba, Reggae, Afro- Brazilian, Belly Dance, Gypsy, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Salsa/Latin/Reggae-ton, African, Polynesian, Bollywood andVegas Show Showgirls Cabaret.

The Soft Wind Quartet: The Soft Winds Quartet will delight you with their authentic New Orleans sound, excite you with their hot improvisation and get you dancing to the sounds of Bourbon street and Frenchman street.

Doors open at 6:00 pm for Carnival For The Festival and the show gets under way at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $40.00 and available through Brown Paper Tickets. Come out and support this great event.

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