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Fiction: A Change of Seasons

Books & Writing, Culture, Short Fictions

October 13, 2017

The old man leaned on the bridge’s railing, watching the end of September be the end of September – melancholy and wet and above all, indecisive.

“Neither one thing nor the other,” his sister Jan would say, “Too cold to swim and too hot to ski, no oomph to it!”

He had always considered this somewhat unfair. After all, September is an equinox month, and you can’t balance two opposite truths without something breaking. Or was that how balancing eggs on the equinox was an urban myth, that is, a lie? Something about truth and lies and breaking eggs anyway; it was getting harder to remember.

He turned away from watching the stream below and caught sight instead of a bus pulling away from a nearby stop. The back of it was taken up by a travel agency ad exhorting him to see the world. He was just reflecting how after thirty or forty times even that gets old when the running girl plowed into him and bounced off.

She fell backward, splayed out, onto the slushy sidewalk; all her things went straight up, and when it came back down – in the slow-motion way disasters pretend to have about them – her coffee splattered into a tragic puddle all around the old man’s feet. She stared up at him in shock; old he was, but not small, easily six foot four with shoulders like a sheltering oak tree and a huge white beard that would be the envy of any streetcorner Santa. He was dressed in a tweed suit and wool coat at the height of fashion for 150 years ago, and despite leaning on a cane had felt as solid as a wall.

“Oh dear me, I am so very sorry. Are you all right, my dear?” he said, reaching a huge hand to help her up.

“My bus!” she said, in tones of deep anguish, then took the hand and climbed to her feet. She stared after the retreating bus for a moment (“Key Largo? Montego? Isn’t it time you go?”) then sighed. “No… look, I’m sorry. I was trying to catch the bus, didn’t look where I was going – hey, are you okay?”

The old man grinned. “Yes, I am fine.” Then he sniffed the air. The spilled coffee was producing non-coffee-like smells he mostly associated with pie at the end of a holiday feast.

“Damn it anyway. Mud. October can’t get here fast enough.”

His eyebrows shot up. “Really?”

“Yeah. Of course. Real fall. Leaves and a chill of winter and Halloween, not just this… wet.”

He paused for a moment. “If you are not still in a hurry, I would very much like to buy you a coffee to replace the one that met its end because of my untimely presence.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t do that! It was my fault anyway!”

“Grant an old man a moment of generosity? At my age, there’s no knowing if it may be the last one.”

“If… if you’re really sure… and there won’t be another bus for almost an hour… well, all right then.” She stuck out her hand. “I’m Sera, by the way.”

He clasped her hand gently in his. “I am pleased to know you, Sera.”

Soon they were seated together in a coffee shop not far from the site of their impactful first encounter, holding identical paper cups with identical beverages inside.

The old man sipped his with something of an air of fascination. “This is a ‘pumpkin spice latte’, you said? But it has no pumpkin…”

Sera smiled. “No, just the spices that get used on pumpkin. There’s a lot of stuff you can get like that now. It’s either a celebration of fall or a desperate fad for nutmeg and allspice, depending who you ask.” She leaned in conspiratorially. “And I’ll tell you a little secret: I love all of them. Even the dollar-store candles. My friends think I lose my mind every year, but… I can’t help it! October especially is my month. Fall just fills me with… with… I don’t know.”

The old man’s eyebrows rose. “Wonder, perhaps?”

“Yeah! Wonder. That’s it.”

He chuckled. “Wonderful! I was like that too, a long long time ago. I suppose my job just drains it out of one.”

“Oh yeah? What do you do?”

“I am… a public servant. Yes, that is the way to put it. I organize and arrange things. Very seasonal work.”

Sera took a sip. “Wow. I can see how that could get monotonous. Almost as bad as my job! Office assistant at a shipping accounting firm. Ugh.”

“Oh, things changed. Things changed a great deal, especially in the last few years.”

“Mm. The Internet can be hard to keep up with.”

“No, no. I have no dealings with that. I mean things like this.” He held up his latte as though it was, personally, the source of all his problems. “Modern things, strange things. I used to know my name meant something, and I suppose it must do still, but I don’t always know what.”

“Your name. I don’t think I caught it?”

He paused a moment, deciding how best to answer this, and went for the blunt truth.

“I am October,” said October.

“Oh, like how The Saint sometimes went by August? I didn’t even know that was ever a people name!”

“To my knowledge, it is not.”

Sera squinted at him, suddenly worried she’d gone to coffee with an escaped asylum inmate. October just regarded her mildly with his inscrutable storm-blue eyes and let her stare at him. A few hairs caught Sera’s eye, and she suddenly knew with certainty that the old man’s white hair and beard had once been the brilliant red-gold of sunlight shining through autumn leaves.

“My dear, It has been my job for two hundred years to make the proper arrangements for my time of the year, to arrange the ripening of the harvest and the first snowflakes of winter yet to come. September is my brother, prim and proper but desperately indecisive and mercurial.”

The girl slowly pushed her chair back. “Oooookay then, I’ve definitely got to get going, thanks for the coffee, see you later, and so on…”

October made no move to get up or bar her way. “Yes, it does sound rather crazy, does it not? I said much the same myself two hundred years ago.”

The sensible part of Sera’s mind, the part that had suggested that stopping for a latte on her way to catch an inconsistent bus might have been a bad idea, watched in horror as the rest of her pulled the chair back in. Something about this old man was tugging at the parts of her that were still six years old and jumping in leaf piles, the parts that still felt, deep down, that ‘magic’ wasn’t just a word for stage men with decks of cards and no fashion sense.

“Only two hundred years? What about before then? There had to have always been a… a tenth month, hadn’t there?” she said.

“The October before me had been a sailor and still looked it, with a great red brocade coat and a huge handlebar mustache you could hang a shovel from. Still red. He told me the one before him was a crusader, both harsh and just, but, of course, I did not meet him.” He chuckled. “There has always been an October, my dear, but surely you can see October of, say, 1965, would be very different from that of 1720, and neither of them at all like the one in 1012. Times change, and time changes with them. To my knowledge, there has been only one thing October has always been: a redhead.”

Sera unconsciously rubbed the back of her head. Her hair was a layering of dark blues and turquoises, but her natural color was indeed dark copper. “Why are you telling me this? You know this sounds ridiculous, right?”

October took a long sip of his coffee. When he met Sera’s gaze again, it was with an expression of deep sadness. “I know. Of course, once upon a time, the notion of the Earth orbiting the sun, or of maladies caused by minuscule creatures also sounded ridiculous. Yes, yes, I know, it is not the same thing. I have not spoken of the work to anyone but my brothers and sisters in ages; I do not care to be looked at like a madman.”

“Your brothers and sisters?” Sera broke in, “As in… May, August… months?”

“Indeed. It is a strange family that comes and goes. My sister May is a gentle soul, older again than me; August is new, and he is a dark, dour boy who I fear thinks too much of the power of the ever hotter sun. As for why I am telling you, surely you must have figured it out. We do not age like mortals, but we age when time begins to pass us by… and I fear I am very much at the end of my days. I used to preside over the great harvest and folk preparing for winter; now the harvests and the feasts are unconnected and the changing climate means I am not entirely certain what October will even be ten years hence. I simply do not understand, and I am too old and tired to learn this much-too-fast world. So I have been looking for a successor.”

“Me?”

He nodded.

“Were you waiting for me? Have you been watching me??”

“Not at all, not at all. I have known you no longer than you have known me, about forty-three minutes. But when we met, without knowing who or what I was, you told me of your love of fall.”

He grinned. “And you told me October was your month.”

Sera stared at him. This had gone well beyond ‘crazy’ and into ‘call the police’, but still she sat. “What… if I say no?”

“I bid you a good day, and continue my search with a heavier heart.”

“Will I remember any of this?”

“I presume so. Perhaps the tale of introducing a crazy old man who thinks he is a month to pumpkin spice lattes will serve to entertain your friends.”

“And what if…” Sera said, ignoring the screaming in the sensible part of her mind, “what if I say yes?”

October smiled and, just for a moment, laid one of his gnarled old hands on hers. “I believe you just did.”

The girl blinked and looked around. She was alone, with no sign that the old man had ever been there, not even his coffee cup. She rubbed her face. “Oookay, this is a thing that happened? Come on. Get it together. You don’t need to be hallucinating in public. And you do need to catch a bus.”

She grabbed her things and hurried out of the coffee shop. When she brushed against the coffee shop’s corporately-approved bushes, some of the leaves began to turn red, but in her hurry she did not notice this, nor the way a chill in the air began to follow her, nor even how her hair had somehow returned to its natural colors. There would be time enough to notice these things when it was her month.

After all, the one thing October always was, was a redhead.

 

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650

Gentlemen Hecklers present Battle Beyond the Stars

Comedy, Culture, Events, Performance

October 2, 2017

There was a science fiction movie that came out in the late seventies that changed cinema forever.

That movie was Star Wars, and it inspired a host of copy-cats that couldn’t quite get the grandeur of scope of the original. This is one of those failed attempts, but its failure is spectacular – psychic aliens, cowboys in space, an evil empire, re-used shots, and drawing as much from Seven Samurai as Star Wars and somehow managing to miss the point of both. It’s awesomely terrible, one of the best worst movies you’ll ever see, made all the better for the earnest effort that went into its creation.

Check out the trailer:

It’s… it’s beautiful. And three Gentlemen gifted with comedic brilliance are bringing it to the HR Macmillan Space Centre on October 27th.

Oh, yes, it’s true – three of the minds behind the rise of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot are bringing this must-see disaster to a planetarium’s massive dome screen. On Friday, October the 27th, you will have the chance to see Eric Fell, Shaun Stuart, and Patrick Mahlia return to the HR Macmillan Space Centre with one of the greatest sci-fi failures to ever exist.

So come bask in the cold glow of flickering fiction if you happen to be in Vancouver, British Columbia. You can get your tickets for $15 ahead of time by clicking here or simply grab ’em at the door.

Doors open at seven. The movie and laughs begin shortly thereafter.

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548

The Gentlemen Hecklers – Ghost

Comedy, Culture, Events, Performance

September 25, 2017

Ghost. Ghost was a movie that happened. For reasons.

It came out in 1990 and was a huge hit among bored suburbanites and soccer moms. It’s a supernatural thriller with very few thrills – man is murdered and stays behind as a ghost to warn his girlfriend that there’s a killer on the loose, but he can’t talk to her. Instead, Whoopi Goldberg takes a spin as a magical negro who can talk to dead people and wants nothing to do with either Patrick Swayze or Demi Moore, and who can blame her? This is not a movie that has aged well, but it does have that one scene. You know the one.

Anyways, if you want to see the trailer, it’s here:

Looking at that, is it any wonder that a certain trio of Gentlemen what are known to Heckle cackled with glee when announcing that they were going to tackle this film?

Just in time for Halloween, three of the necromancers behind the rise of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot bring another horrifying spooktacular to the big screen. On Monday, October the 16th, you will have the chance to see Eric Fell, Shaun Stuart, and Patrick Mahlia return to the Rio Theater and finally lay this ghost to rest.

So come bask in the cold glow of flickering fiction if you happen to be in Vancouver, British Columbia. Head to that temple of cinema we call the Rio, located by the intersection of Broadway and Commercial. You can get your tickets ahead of time by clicking here or pay $14 at the door.

The temple opens at eight. The laughs, well, they begin about nine.

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904

Fowl Play – Interview and Review

Culture, Events, Interviews, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase, Tech

September 20, 2017

Interactive theatre pieces are amazing. It gives people the chance to be creative and think outside of themselves to get to the final goal. Entertaining others while entertaining yourselves.

Interactive theatre is also hard to do. You have to account for a bunch of variables, those variables have a name, and that name is audiences.

Telling is a story that is compelling enough to entice your audience enough to participate but having a narrative that doesn’t NEED them to do the most important tasks is important. Making sure that what your actors do makes sense in the context of the narrative is paramount. Matchstick Productions did the important things and left room for you to play with the characters in their production of Fowl Play.

Photo Credit – Luke Redmond – Fowl Play

“Fowl Play: a Search for Odd Behaviour and Even Odder People,” is an interactive theatre performance that will be presented at the Anvil centre as a response to the New Westminster New Media Gallery’s current exhibition “Dominion.” Come join us with your smartphones and be on the lookout for some pesky birds in this one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt!

I was invited to participate on an audience level with this production by Judy Hamilton from TerraTap who we spoke to on the Living Myth Magazine Podcast about their app neartuit which was used as a method of quest messaging throughout the interactive art piece. Your quests are to help “The Birds” do things and interact with them on a personal level. The birds you will encounter are actors stylized to look like the birds they are imitating with anthropomorphized behaviours and styling.

All in all, I enjoyed myself, I appreciated the tandem play aspect of some of the tasks and authentic interactions with the rest of the tasks. I appreciated the improv aspect of the interactions too.

Photo Credit – Luke Redmond – Fowl Play – Flirting Peacock

If you are in New Westminster on September 20th and 21st and are near the Anvil Centre at 6:30PM stop by Fowl Play and play! The show is an hour long and definitely a joyful experience and best of all FREE! FREE PUBLIC INTERACTIVE THEATRE! SERIOUSLY! HOW CAN YOU NOT!

Photo Credit – Luke Redmond – Fowl Play – Graceful Swan

Below we have an interview with Matchstick Productions about the show and we will also include a link to our podcast where we talk about neartuit.

_____________________________________________________________________________

LM: Can you give a history of the project?
MP: The show started out as a response to the current exhibit at the New Media Gallery. This exhibit, titled Dominion, explores themes of human domination over nature. It also heavily incorporates birds, with its mainstay piece showing birds of paradise and hummingbirds in a dazzling zoetrope. We have integrated these themes into a game style show.

LM: How long did it take to have the performers ready? 
MP: We started seriously workshopping about 2 months ago, but only took its final form about a week and a half ago. A piece like this evolves constantly and we hope it can adapt to audience needs.
 
LM: Who did the costuming and the writing? 
 
MP: Costuming was a collaboration between Jess Redmond, Emily Matchette, and Zakk Harris. They included birdlike elements and colours into each costume. The writing was a team collaboration mostly but was headed by Isaac Caverzan.
 
LM: Can you tell us on how iBeacon/neartuit was integrated into the piece? 
 
MP: We used the iBeacon technology to help augment the information given to the audience. As they go through the show the neartuit app will help locate and also give additional information on the various birds. It is, however, not mandatory, and the show can be completely navigated using pen and paper!

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488

Meditations For People Who Hate People – Episode 4 – Just Fly Above Them

Comedy, Culture, Lifestyle, Podcast

September 20, 2017

Join your guide Callyn for a guided meditation where you are flying above the haters.

We hope this is a relaxing and cathartic experience for you.

*Background track is Healing by Kevin MacLeod – Royalty Free

Meditations For People Who Hate People – Episode 4 – Just Fly Above Them

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488

Radioactive Nerd’s Etsy Wasteland – Eevee-olve your Style

Culture, Etsy Wasteland, Fashion, Lifestyle

September 18, 2017

Radioactive Nerd’s Etsy Wasteland

In a mass market consumer world, Jackie of Radioactive Nerd scours for unique and handmade pieces for you to stand out in. Hunting across this Etsy wasteland.

With 8 different styles, a little Eevee can evolve into that makes Eevee the most stylish Pokemon by a landslide. Check out these to capture your Eevee look.

CholyKnight – $100+

Easily shines out of the crowd of Etsy sweaters with their unique and good looking fitted hoodie pattern (which is also for sale in their shop).

GeekAndArtsy – $22.88

Carry your own evolutive stone around your neck. A subtle look to bring out your Eeveelution.

KawaiiAtama – $115-150

Super cute rave hoodie, setting them apart from other Eevee hoods was their use of faux fur.

Alexs Misfit Toys – $12 ($90.99 for all)

Handmade clinging earrings you can have your own Eevee’s hanging on to you all day.

KeiraCosplay – $70.34

Skater dresses are a staple for most girly geeks. They’re everywhere and come in countless designs. Keira Cosplay’s Eevee looks are unique and can transform you easily.


Kawaiieek – $18.96

Not necessarily a wearable but they were so cute and well thought out how could I not include them!

Fan Heart Store – $145-189

A sleeveless hoodie that anyone could rock in summer without overheating.

KatsOutOfTheBag4 – $12.64 ($31.59 for all 3)

As an artist I fell in love with these, the design of these bows are perfect! The fabric print and matching ribbon, but the touch of fur is what really sold me on this unique piece.

Chibisilverwings – $15.16

I know there must be something morbid with having Eevee tails hanging from your ears. But these are so cute and handcrafted!

Yotsubanoclover – $170+

I actually own one of her designs! They are as comfy as they are cute!

Check out the full list of Eevee looks here

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493

Blood Countess at the Vancouver Fringe Festival – Review and Interview

Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Interviews, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

September 13, 2017

Western culture is obsessed with gore and violence and torture. We love it in our media, we love it in our history and we love it in our folklore. I have a deep love of  Gothic literature from man made monsters to the romantic nobility that seduces women and then drains them of their blood and their mortal souls.

Vampires are the most popular mythical beings. They are more popular than fairies, unicorns, and leprechauns. There are good ones and there are bad ones. Misunderstood and completely feared.

The most famous vampire ever is and will always be Dracula, but if we were to root around into history you would find that Dracula was based on a Romanian nobleman Vlad the Impaler. The facts around his life are absolutely horrific, however, he didn’t drink blood and wasn’t a serial killer.

The second most famous “vampire” is a woman and her name is Erzebet (Elizabeth) Bathory, a pure blooded aristocrat from Hungary. Her family was the Kennedys of the time. Rich, educated, attractive and powerful. She married a well respected nobel who was also the head of the Hungarian Army and with that much power and responsibility one will always have a target on your back and that is where Blood Countess lives.

Written, directed and performed by Sharon Nowlan, this one woman show dives deep into the misogyny and misinformation surrounding “The Blood Countess” and the circumstances around her life of torment and eventual death.

It is gripping and intimate and visually striking. Employing minimal set but historic costumes and impressive poi and whip skills Nowlan will make you feel the betrayal and pain that one feels when you are centre of scandal and rumor.

It is not for everyone, you have to love history and you have love vampire to really get this show at its core. If you are thinking you are going to see torture porn at the Fringe you are going to be gravely mistaken. If you think that you are going to get Twilight or Interview With A Vampire, you should go to Netflix. This show is meant for us folks who are folk lore nerds.

You can see Blood Countess Friday September 15th at 8:40pm and Saturday September 16th at 4:15pm and tickets are available here.

_________________________________________________________________________

We were able to have a quick talk with Sharon about the project and her goals for Blood Countess and her future plans.

LM: Can you give us the history of the project?

SN: About 9 years ago I was working on a production of Dracula. At a party, the lead actor told me that I should play Elizabeth Bathory. I was unfamiliar with her, so I began looking into her story. Over the years I became more interested in the story, ordering every book I could find on the subject. Most portrayals of her supported the accepted legend: She was a prolific murderess, obsessed with her looks, who would kill young virgin girls in order to bathe in their blood.


Yet, when I focused my research on facts, and what could be proven with documentation, another portrayal emerged. She was educated and intelligent, spoke 5 languages (including the language of her peasants). A mother. A woman who managed a large amount of properties, worked in her community, started a school for young women, and supported war widows.

 

It was this contrast that kept compelling me to come back to the story.
Of course, it would have been quite easy (and fun!) to portray the legend in a bloody horror show. But it was after last year’s US election when I realized that I could not do that. I would not use a sensationalized story to portray this powerful and intelligent woman as a monster.

LM: What are your plans for the show in the future?

SN: That’s a tough questions to answer, at the end of a six city tour! It’s been challenging.
But, I think after I integrate my experiences of this summer, the Countess will rise again. I believe the subject matter, and the esthetic of the show, might appeal to a European audience. I would love to continue to tour it.

LM: Given that history is written by the winners do you think that women’s stories in history usually need to be retold later on in years to add context and nuance?

SN: I love the saying, “don’t believe everything that you think”. It’s so easy to except historical record as fact. But if you’ve ever been a subject of gossip, you know how quickly stories can get muddied. Women have not fared well in history. If we are to learn from it, it is worth re-examining.

The ‘facts’ behind the legend of Elizabeth Bathory–650 girls murdered, bathing in blood–didn’t come into documentation until 100 years after her death. But that is the story that many people prefer to stick to.
If you don’t find my interpretation plausible, you aren’t paying attention.

LM: Can you tell us if you learned any skills for the show or how you incorporated skills you had into the show?

SN: I have used whips and LED poi in most of my shows. When I saw that there was a new LED whip product, I immediately ordered it. I was excited to be able to integrate this very modern product into my 16th century world, in a way that I think is very effective.

LM: Do you have other projects that are in the works?

SN: Not at the moment. But I see as many Fringe shows as I can while I can. I am always inspired by the work of my fellow artists.

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375

Fiction: Eyes of Green, Wings of Black

Books & Writing, Culture, Short Fictions

September 13, 2017

As the dusk slowly stole its way across the sky, the woman who called herself Nellie Vincent waved goodbye to the last of the schoolchildren and locked the door of her curio shop. For the ninth year running, she had made arrangements with the deli and bookstore on either side of her to sponsor a Lunch-and-Learn for the children from the horribly underfunded elementary school one district over.

Nellie dragged herself slowly upstairs to her apartment. She was tired, but a good tired. Tomorrow, she would be helping with the blood drive at St. Catharine’s Hospital, and then on Saturday her weekly visit to the children’s ICU with her storybooks –

“Envy,” said a man’s voice from the top of the dark stairs. She froze. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else here. There certainly hadn’t been last night, and no men had come in today.

“What?” Nellie called, “Who’s there? What are you doing in my home?”

“I was Sent,” said the voice, and suddenly all the upstairs lights flared on at once.

The light, oddly tinged with sickly green instead of the usual cheery yellow, revealed a man. He had corpse-pale skin that hung loosely on his skinny frame, as though he had recently lost a lot of weight. He was mostly bald, though a few remaining tufts of hair were wiry black, and he was dressed in nothing but a pair of stained grey sweatpants.

Nellie was sure she had never seen him before. “Who are you? What do you want?”

The man had started coming downstairs, but at this his grim expression flickered into exasperation and he goggled at her. “This? This is what I’m talking about. You’ve been away so long, you’ve forgotten your brothers and sisters.”

She had reflexively backed down the stairs away from him, but by the time she reached the bottom, he drew level and glared at her. “I am Sloth!”

Nellie blinked in confusion. “That… that poor man from ‘The Goonies’?”

Sloth rolled his eyes and pushed past her, into the shop. “No! I’m not a movie character! I am Fourth of The Seven! Letalis Sopor!” He sat down at an ornate table clearly labelled “$1999” in Nellie’s careful handwriting. “I am the Sin of Sloth. I am one of Hell’s bishops. And so are you!”

“Sir, I do not know who you think you are–” Nellie began, but he cut her off.

“I just TOLD you! Oh, damnation, I’m tired of this. See for yourself.”

Sloth snapped his fingers. The click seemed to echo a long distance, as all the light in the shop flickered a deep, black-tinged red for a moment. When the light returned to normal, Sloth was carrying on his back a pair of huge feathery wings, as black as Sin – and so was Nellie.

“Now will you please, for the love of Beelzebub, sit down? I’ve been sent to give you a warning, and I’ve wasted too much time on it already.” He slouched in his chair and tried to look as unfairly put upon as a Sin could.

Nellie’s eyes, which had always been a striking rich green, flickered with verdant light and she frowned. “As if you would do anything other than waste time. You are the living embodiment of ‘wasting time’.”

He glared at her as she sat across from him. “You remember. That’s something, I suppose. You’re not the only one who thinks that; frankly, it’s why they sent me to talk to you. Pride couldn’t bear stooping to be a messenger; Greed and Gluttony kept demanding payment, and Wrath just yelled constantly at everyone to shut up. I agreed to come mostly because it was the easiest way to get away from them.”

“What precisely do you want?” Envy asked.

Sloth snorted a laugh. “It’s so weird to hear that from you. Wanting is your job.”

She glared and said nothing.

Sloth sighed. “Fine. Look, it’s like this. You’ve been away too long. We have a duty to perform, and a very irate Master to please. You have to come back Down with me, right away, or there will be terrible consequences. Which, I am pleased to say, I will not have to carry out. They sounded like a lot of work, all that drawing and quartering and so on.”

“Sounds rather serious.”

“It is.”

They stared at each other. Seconds passed by, marked by various timepieces on the shop walls that almost, but not quite, ticked in unison.

Finally, Envy broke the silence. “I’m not going.”

Sloth blinked and sat upright. “What? But… but you have to! This is an order straight from the Throne!”

“No. I am staying here.” With a rustle too quiet for human ears, a few black feathers dropped from Envy’s wings.

“You can’t! I’m not even certain you can escape punishment if you come back now! They know what you’ve been doing!”

She met his shocked gaze with stony resolve. “Oh, do they? What precisely do they think they know?”

“You’ve been –” Sloth stopped himself, then looked around furtively and lowered his voice. “You’ve been doing charity work! Helping people, smoothing out conflict, generally being an extremely good citizen. I hear you haven’t even unloaded a single cursed knick-knack on the locals in the last three towns – Lucifer’s toenails, what do you think they even gave you this shop for?”

“I don’t care. I’m done with all of that. You can have the shop back if you want it. I don’t find it very needful any more.” Feathers fell all around her, in a nearly-silent deluge.

“You… what? You can’t just quit! This isn’t some volunteer job at the soup kitchen – which I note you’ve been doing, too – this is forever! Sin is Forever!”

“I can, and I do. I’m done. You can tell them that for me – including the Throne.”

Sloth turned, somehow, even paler at the idea of carrying this news to the Prince of Lies. “I really don’t think I can. Damn everything! Who do you think you are!?”

“You tell me, my ‘brother’. Who am I?”

“Envy! Sixth of The Seven! Invidia Totalis!”

All the black feathers had fallen now. For the first time since her unwelcome visitor had arrived, Nellie Vincent – Envy – smiled at him, as behind her spread wings of purest white.

“Yes. I am Envy, who craves the joys others have.” Her smile widened and her eyes glistened, hinting at a kind of love never found in Hell. “Did you really think I would never meet an angel?”

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862

Fifty Shades Of Dave at The Vancouver Fringe Festival – Review and Interview

Books & Writing, Comedy, Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Interviews, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

September 13, 2017

I am going to clue you into a loosely kept secret around here… I am an American. I was raised by NPR listening hippies. I watched Public Television a lot and I was brought up with the voice of Garrison Keillor lulling me into a peaceful amusement about the people and crazy antics of the fictional town of Lake Wobegon via the very popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion. There was even a movie about the radio show itself starring Keillor as the romantic interest of Meryl Streep, and Lindsay Lohan who was just starting to tip over the precipice of highly successful child star to a tragic train wreck of a young adult who used to be a child star.

Now, we had a family cherished Christmas album, even though we were Pagans who celebrated Yule, and on this CD was one story. This story was Polly Anderson’s Christmas Party and it was cooed to me annually by Stuart McLean and his beloved story telling experience The Vinyl Cafe.

So, now that there is context and nostalgia we shall begin to talk about Fifty Shades of Dave the delightful and sexy show written by Happysad Theatre‘s Nico Dicecco and Kyle Carpenter and performed by Nico Dicecco.

Dicecco, sounds so amazingly accurately like Stuart McLean that I would find myself closing my eyes and pretending that I was wrapped up in a blanket, sipping hot chocolate and smelling our Christmas Tree/Yule Bush… but then our host would say phrases like, “The ice cream is a metaphor FOR EATING PUSSY” or “Put your hands up and spread your legs… Officer Morley was naked” or “I came four times that night” and I was immediately snapped out of my warm, safe, innocent childhood to my lurid and sex positive adulthood and I sat at the edge of my seat falling in love with Dave and Morely’s very amazing and heartwarming adventure into spicing up their sex life.

I really could not love this show any more than I do and I really feel so much pleasant joy and amazing gratitude to have seen it.

Please go see it, you have two more chances Sat Sept 16 at 6:25pm and Sun Sept 17 at 3:00 pm. You can purchase tickets and your membership to the Fringe here.


We also got the chance to have a few words with Nico Dicecco who plays Stuart in the play and who is also a co-writer of this gem.

LM: Can you give us the history of the project?

ND: It started as a party trick that my co-writer Kyle Carpenter and I would do years and years ago to make friends laugh, just saying the dirtiest things we could think of in Stuart McLean’s voice. Eventually, we decided it would be funny to write a full story and record it as a podcast. As we were writing that, we discovered that the whole thing worked best if we pulled back on the really dirty humour and tried as hard as possible to capture what it would actually be like if Stuart McLean revealed the intricacies of Dave and Morley’s sex life. We managed to record one story, but then we decided that the project was strong enough to work as an hour long live theatre performance. We applied for a few fringes and got into Vancouver and started writing more stories to fill out our time. By January of this year, we had a full draft. Then, in February, Stuart McLean passed away. We were heartbroken. We took a bit of time to think about whether or not we still wanted to go ahead with the show. We reread the script, and it was chock full of love and admiration for The Vinyl Cafe, so we were confident that audiences would receive it as the tribute that it is.

LM: Can you tell us more about your love of either Vinyl Cafe or Fifty Shades of Grey or both?

ND: Hearing The Vinyl Cafe on the radio is the earliest memory I have of realizing how incredible storytelling can be. I was listening in the car and when we got home I refused to let my mom turn off the radio until the story finished. I was enraptured. Since then, I’ve been a fan of Stuart McLean, usually listening to his CDs on road trips. There’s a way that The Vinyl Cafe has of weaving itself into really great family memories.

As for Fifty Shades of Grey… I really don’t know much of anything about it. I read two pages once and didn’t care for the writing. We just liked the title.

LM: How long did it take you to get Stuart McLean’s voice down?

ND: I’ve been doing a Stuart McLean impression since at least 2008, but it kind of started out as more Jimmy Stewart than anything. We first started crafting material for this show in 2013, and that’s when I got more serious about perfecting the voice and the rhythm of his storytelling.

LM: What are your plans for the show in the future?

ND: We’re booked to take it to the Montreal Fringe in May, and I’ll be applying to a ton of other festivals for the 2018 season.

LM: Do you have other projects that are in the works?

ND: I’ve had a lot of people come up to me after shows and comment that I look a fair bit like Justin Trudeau, so I’m starting to work on my impression of him, and Kyle Carpenter and I are brainstorming ideas for what kind of Trudeau show we might want to do.

LM: Have you thought about touring this to sex positivity conferences?

ND: I haven’t, but that’s a great idea! Our top priority, next to honouring the spirit of The Vinyl Cafe, was to offer a sex-positive portrait of Dave and Morley. We worked really hard to shape the stories so that they are celebrations of sexuality and human connection, even when Dave is causing calamity in the bedroom.

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Review – Scientist Turned Comedian at Vancouver Fringe Festival

Comedy, Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

September 11, 2017

 

Above is a brilliant example of what Tim Lee does. He shows you the hard data of things. The hard science of why your spouse steals the covers at night. The hard data on how we go from sober to “Scottish” when drinking and mad to Scottish when faced with the geopolitical climate of North America. In other words, this show is funny and informative.

Tim is an engaging comic and thoughtful commentator on the world around us blending observations with Demitri Martin style delivery with George Carlin frankness but with actual science!

You can read more about Tim and his point of view in our interview here.

His upcoming fringe show times are:

Mon 9/11 8:15PM
Thur 9/14 6:40PM
Sat 9/16 5:25 PM
Sun 9/17 2:45 PM

and you can get tickets here!

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