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945

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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526

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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915

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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531

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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631

Review – Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story at the Vancouver Fringe

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

September 11, 2017

From the press kit: “Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story focuses on love, particularly the love that blossoms in the heart of a young school teacher, Katalin, and her suitor(s) in the tiny village of Kerekegyhaza, Hungary, in 1946. This true story is a testament to how love can emerge in the aftermath of the darkest times.

This show was developed when The Grand Salto Theatre‘s Zita Nyarady and Myque Franz (pronounced Mike) interviewed Zita’s grandmother Katalin Szabo on the eve of her 90th birthday. With permission from Katalin and Zita’s family, The Grand Salto Theatre has expertly brought her love story to life. With a mix of storytelling, dance, masks, Hungarian culture, and linguistics, Zita and Myque weave this family story into an engaging theatrical experience.”

Full disclosure, the current iteration of Living Myth Magazine – with the staff of Aaron, Anne, Abbey, Eva, Bree and Jalyn along with the collaborators we have such as Radioactive Nerd, Dark Lake Tarot, Holly McCrae and all of the people who interact with us on a mostly daily basis – wouldn’t exist if this true story hadn’t happened.

And that is because Katalin Szabo is the grandmother of Chris “MooMan” Nyarady, who is the executive producer and host of Geeks versus Nerds Vancouver and how all of us met. So, I would like to thank “Nagymama” for being alive and living her beautiful life and having her beautiful creative children and her beautiful children having their beautiful creative children, which created a space for me to meet the people who would be my chosen family.

With all of that being said, this was the most adorable and sweet and hilarious love story filled with whimsy and puns and hats. This is story of how Katalin met her first love and how she met the man she would marry and it is told by Nyarady and Franz (who met at the Dell’Arte International – School of Physical Theatre), with clowning, dancing, masks, audio clips, music, and audience participation with such enthusiasm and care that you feel like you are part of their family by the end of it. I was craving pierogies.

The emotional core of the story is one of love and you can tell that Zita and Myque love what they do, love what they are telling us and love each other and that is why the show is called Szeretlek which means I Love You in Hungarian.

Please go see this show, it is a treasure and it will make you love clowns.

The remaining shows are:

Monday September 11th 5:00pm
Wednesday September 13th 7:45pm
Saturday September 16th 10:30pm
Sunday September 17th 4:30pm

You can purchase tickets here.

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494

Soul Samurai at the Vancouver Fringe Festival

Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Opinion, Performance, Performance, Reviews

September 11, 2017

Soul Samurai is mad ambitious.

It’s the latest offering from Affair of Honor, a small stage production house that employs fight choreographers and stunt people as actors and reaps the benefits of doing so. They’ve done some incredible fight work in the past and usually put on a visually striking show and this one is no exception.

This play is about a young woman named Dewdrop who is trained as a samurai after a bunch of vampires move into New York and everyone slowly got pseudo-Japanese for reasons that are never adequately explained. The main vampire dude looks Maori maybe? Is he a weeaboo? Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense. Nothing else does, either.

Affair of Honor provides their usual high-quality routines, though, and if you haven’t seen a show by them before Soul Samurai is worth checking out for that alone. These people – Nathania Louise Bernabe, Jackie.T. Hanlin, Lou Ticzon, Jordan Svenkeson, Eryka Alanna, and Jarelle De’Von Hepburn – know what they’re doing and know their way around a sword. The fights are fantastic and sometimes breathtaking, and there’s a number of dance routines that are equal parts elegant and terrifying.

The lighting and sound design are also pretty decent, so far as these go. The music selection is driven by high-energy fight music throughout with some slick hip-hop thrown in for good measure. The crew works with what they have and make it work, and the result is something that is hard to look away from.

Every member of the cast also gives it their all and almost manages to make the dialogue and script work, but… well, this is where it begins to fall apart.

If you are looking for good script work you will not find it here.

There’s a movie called My First Mister where one character explains to another that swear words have a place in language, and that is used for emphasis. That’s the proper fucking way to use vulgarity. Most people get this without being told – it’s a learned skill. Most writers, however…

Everyone swears in this show. A lot. To the point where none of the dialogue sounds like anything real people say. It also doesn’t help that the main romance between lesbians was very clearly written by a cis-gender man who was maybe been in the same room as lesbians in the past but has maybe never spoken with them. Spoken at them, maybe?

There is a metric shit-tonne of casual racism, as well. It’s probably meant to be endearing between the romantic leads the same way that the casual swearing is meant to sound tough, but it just comes across as fake and robs the characters of their dignity and believability.

I’ve seen a lot of post-apocalyptic stories lately in everything from comics to movies to the news, consuming dystopia after dystopia. Even when the story doesn’t spell out how the world fell into whatever hell it has become in that narrative, there is a sense that the characters know and that you could piece it together in hindsight. Not so, here.

The mythology is all over the fucking map and doesn’t make a lick of sense. The head samurai is not Japanese and people declaring themselves shoguns in New York implies a certain level of, well, something. We need to know what that something is but it doesn’t feel like either the characters or the world or the writer has any idea of what’s going on outside of the immediate now.

A big part of acting is learning what to do between lines – how to convey and live in a world that isn’t real, but feels like it is. Nothing here feels real because nothing happens outside the script, and no part of this makes any sense because of it. Forgettable caricatures prance about on stage and are given more life than they deserve by a talented cast before fading back into nothing.

It’s infuriating because I fucking want to like this.

For fuck’s sake, it’s a story about a lesbian couple torn apart by vampires as they take over New York and the fall out later, when the survivor pulls herself together enough to seek out revenge by becoming a Samurai and going on a rampage. Everything about that sentence is awesome, so where is that awesome in this story?

The vampires lack any real menace or sense of power here, which is also a problem. Unless given supernatural power, humans fighting vampires tend to end with humans becoming snacks unless they can somehow outwit the vampire. A vampire with Samurai hand-to-hand and sword training should be one of the scariest things wherever they happen to be, but they fall by the dozens here without anyone breaking a sweat and the fucking sidekick takes out the big badass vampire shogun.

It’s frustrating.

You have no idea how badly I want to like this.

The cast is limited because you need people that know their way around combat for this to work. The result here is that almost everyone plays multiple characters with a couple of costume changes to mark them, and they cover these changes by using pre-taped segments to tie the story together or to give us background on characters. This is all fine and good and it’s a good idea that is hamstrung because none of these scenes actually explain anything or evolve anyone; they become a weird disconnect where you hope they’re going somewhere because the cast is so good, but ultimately go nowhere because the writer is not.

Soul Samurai is a big unholy mess of a thing, and yet… it is mad fucking ambitious. It has as intense a car chase as you’re ever going to see on stage and, again, that fight choreography is gorgeous and the acting is so much better than this script deserves. Affair of Honor is capable of doing amazing things and you can see brilliance shine through here and there. While the ideas are great and the performances awesome the script fails the production on every level.

If you want to see a talented cast and crew struggle with a script, this is your show.

Soul Samurai tickets run for $14 a pop and it’s playing at the Cultch (1895 Venables Street in Vancouver) at the following times:

Tuesday, Sept 12, 8:50 pm (Half Price Show)

Friday, Sept 15, 7:00 pm

Sunday, Sept 17, 5:35 pm

You can buy tickets by clicking here.

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764

Review: Go For Opera! – An Encore Gala Concert

Culture, Music, Performance, Performance, Reviews

August 29, 2017

Opera Mariposa and the Heroic Opera Company are combining their talents to produce Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera this November. With such a stellar local and international cast, a fundraiser concert was a great idea. Go For Opera! was set up as a nicely packaged showcase of their talent.

On Sunday, August 20th, I had the opportunity to hear a variety of Opera’s best solos, duets, trios and ensembles sung by a variety of voice types. William Liu’s (baritone) performance was full of emotion, yet you could hear the drama just by listening to his warm colorful voice. Mark Pepe’s (tenor) always-present rich tone supports his ability to sing through his high notes in the most Italian romantic way, with a brilliant and full sound. Melissa Ratcliffe (mezzo-soprano) performed with a voice so pure and clear, I can only describe it as crystalline. In the ensembles, Melissa got me excited about Un Ballo in Maschera, because her tone and presence fits so well, yet shines in a unique way among the other singers.

One of the solo highlights was “Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille” from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Nancy Hasiuk, a Canadian soprano currently studying and working in Germany, brought brilliance and warmth into even the most difficult coloratura high notes. Nancy also has a natural comedic side, which was carried over to the encore piece, “A Word On My Ear” by Flanders & Swann.

This show had a bittersweet side as well. Not only did we see a wonderful connection to Germany, but this was also a goodbye to an integral member of Opera Mariposa: Managing Director and soprano, Robin Hahn. This was her last show before moving to launch her career in Germany.

Robin brings everything to the stage from her sweet and elegant voice, to her versatile acting. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Robin’s repertoire can be technically demanding, because she makes it look so easy—especially when her character is so engaging. It was heart-warming to watch Robin sing with Heidi Muendel, her first voice teacher.

Heidi Muendel (soprano), Canadian born and working in Germany, will undoubtedly be worth the price of your ticket to Un Ballo in Maschera, just to hear her sing! She is the goddess of resonance, with a deeply rich voice that is both wonderfully dark, with bright overtones at the same time. There’s an Italian word to describe this from the bel canto tradition: chiaroscuro. Heidi has a beautifully balanced sound.

Overall, the concert was a crescendo of beautiful music, including excerpts from Un Ballo in Maschera. To top it all off, everyone joined in to sing the drinking song, “Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici” from La Traviata. It was a reminder of how much this small community is like family. Their wine glasses may have been empty, which was a good thing, since Heidi’s adorable little girl joined her on stage! Yet, their glasses were full of something else: love, joy, and artistry.

More details about the upcoming performance of Un Ballo in Maschera:

In Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball, a secret love triangle and a political conspiracy both come to a head on a single night at a masquerade. This tale of passion, deception, and intrigue features some of the best dramatic music ever written, so you won’t want to miss your chance to see Verdi’s lush score brought to life by a stellar cast from across North America, Europe, and Asia!

Performance Dates:

Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 W. 15th and Burrard, Vancouver

Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 W. 15th and Burrard, Vancouver

Third performance date coming soon!

Staged in Italian with English subtitles

Tickets $18-$28 at http://operamariposa.com/tickets, at 1-800-838-3006 or at the door

Learn more at http://operamariposa.com/


Kathryn grew up in Vancouver as a proud geek & nerd. Her love of sci-fi led to her first big dramatic dream of becoming the blue alien from the Fifth Element. Instead, she graduated with a Bachelors of Music degree as an opera singer. She is also a regular photographer for various performing arts groups and recently has been most interested in fun boudoir & body positive photo shoots. You can contact her here.

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627

Review: The 24 Carrot Show! Fou Fou Ha! Featuring FOU YORK!

Burlesque, Comedy, Culture, Events, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

July 29, 2017

Last night… I gave a lap dance to a clown on stage while 100 people at The Rio cheered me on… because, in this show, audience participation is its own reward!

Let me explain how I got there.

Earlier this week we did an interview with Maya Lane, creator of Fou Fou Ha! It was great! She is great! Then, last night I went to the show. I went with Miss Dee Twenty because we like to go to things like this with each other.  We also sat near other local burlesque performers. The performers went around the audience and would ask weird questions like, “What agenda items would like to add?” and also, they would catch popcorn with their mouths if you threw it at them.

When the show began there was a lot of prepping for the fact that this show relied on our participation. This is usually not the case with most stage shows in Vancouver… and of course, it isn’t like most shows in Vancouver, because this show is unabashedly San Fransico!

After some banter from the host Jamie Dewolf and lovely tightly choreographed dancing from “The Fou’s” the first contest was announced… they didn’t say, hey who wants to give a clown a lap dance… all you got was beautiful clowns coming into the audience and saying hey you there… get on stage! So, there I was, standing next to Miss Dee Twenty, on the stage of The Rio, when the host assigned us numbers and then said, ok, you will go in order and when we tell you to start… give our “sluttiest” clown Fluffer Fou, a lap dance. In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I had to take off my shoes and limber the fuck up.

I was second in line, the first contestant tried really hard but you could tell that he was extra uncomfortable, but the audience whooped and hollered and went OWW! OWW! OWW! Then, my turn.

I gave a clown a lap dance. I apparently gave him a really good lap dance because he was really liking it and people in the audience were even louder than they were for contestant 1. I actually don’t remember what I did in my lap dance… I do remember that someone told me afterwards that they liked my tramp stamp…

Then, Miss Dee Twenty (professional burlesque performer), gave a clown a lap dance… and well she did the splits.

Then contestant 4 gave a clown a lap dance… unlike the rest of us… this dude gave us some full on Magic Mike style male stripper action.

In the end… the whooping and cheering and applause chose the winner… And surprise surprise our local professional burlesque performer Miss Dee Twenty won!

Even their DJ is Fou-lisicous

After that more beautiful dancing and then… something completely different. The members of the troupe would come on stage remove as much of their clowning attire as possible and give monologues about how clowning and burlesque saved them. How performing, how encouraging others to let their freak flag fly, to let the shadows come out, into the light, was transformative. There were performers who were suicidal until they found clowning, performers who didn’t know where they belonged and felt trapped in a world where they had to hide until they found clowning, and even the creator of the show, a therapist, said that clowning is her therapy.

After more crazy contests including telling embarrassing sex stories that were then reinterpreted in the art of dance! and pretending to make love to a carrot the show ended with everyone being asked on stage to take pictures with “The Fous” and have a big dance party and hug fest.

And this is the type of show The 24 Carrot Show! is.

It is so much more than pretty people taking off clothes and encouraging audience members to give a clown a lap dance, the theme of the night is own your celebrate your mistakes and your weirdness.

They will be in town for one more night! So! Please! Go! To! The! Show! and support them. 

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1956

Review: Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret

Books & Writing, Burlesque, Comedy, Culture, Events, Music, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

July 20, 2017

Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret was the tonic the bi/pan/polysexual community of Vancouver needed. In a city where the LGBTQIA+ community is fractured and siloed this magical night showed us that there are in fact a lot of very artistic and interesting bi/pan/polysexual performers in the community.

I was there as a guest of Producer and Host Katie Sly, who was a gem. Such a funny, real, charming vision on stage. I went with a local bisexual burlesque performer and activist Miss Dee Twenty (full disclosure, she is one of my besties) and we spent most of the night in mouth open awe of what we were witnessing.

Joining us from LA, international multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and LGBT activist Honeybird gave the night such a wonderful call and response experience where the crowd was encouraged to be part of the music. Her songs are rhythmic and reminded me so much of being 13 and listening to Ani DiFranco that I had to look at my ID to remind myself that I can legally drink alcohol. It was bliss. Honeybird will be the featured musical guest for the August Living Myth Magazine Podcast.

Bad ass deaf Asian warrior Jessica Leung showed what it is like to be deaf with a cochlear implant.

Doctor Ray showing us his super brain swipe skills Photo Credit By Raven John

The incomparable poet whose work now looks at the intersection of art and technology, Doctor Ray gave us a look inside of his mind while he wore a brain wave reading machine as he swiped on Tindr.

Manda Stroyer of Virago Nation – a collective of burlesque performers on a mission to reclaim Indigenous sexuality from the toxic effects of colonization. Photo Credit by Raven John

 

RainbowGlitz, Manda Stroyer, and Shane Sable of Virago Nation, a collective of burlesque performers on a mission to reclaim Indigenous sexuality from the toxic effects of colonization gave us a series of burlesque performances that were out of this world! Each of them a raw and strong example of what it means to be empowered in a world that wants to disenfranchise.

Shane Sable of Virago Nation, a collective of burlesque performers on a mission to reclaim Indigenous sexuality from the toxic effects of colonization Photo Credit By Raven John

Keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse, pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa played a series of etudes that were based on emotions.

Dominique Wakeland, Alexa Fraser, and Matt Winter of Devil’s Threesome, a devised theatre performance ensemble emerging out of Simon Fraser University gave us possibly the most strangely erotic and entertaining piece of the night in which they blew up inflatable pool toys/furniture and then undulated while they deflated them later on in the piece.

Alexa Fraser, Dominique Wakeland, and Matt Winter of Devil’s Threesome, a devised theatre performance ensemble emerging out of Simon Fraser University Photo Credit By Raven John

Queer and trans solo multi-instrumentalist Rory Jade Grey wowed us with beautifully powerful blues guitar and spoken word pieces about their life struggles and how society treats what they are scared of.

There was a beautiful art piece during intermission where mixed-media artist Caitlynn Fairbarns had taken bisexual characters from movies and television and removed the background to show just that character in a moment of themselves being them.

The night was magical. I bonded with one of my nearest and dearest over this moment of solidarity and being witnessed. I made great friends. I felt love.

If you want to read more about Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret you can click here for the interview we did with show creator Katie Sly. Katie will also be featured in the August episode of the Living Myth Magazine Podcast.

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Review: Content Warning: Erotic Fanfiction Deathmatch – Superheroes!

Books & Writing, Comedy, Culture, Events, Performance, Reviews, Short Fictions

July 19, 2017

Seven Dining Lounge is fast becoming a regular geek hangout with many recurring monthly shows known in the community. The night of Friday, July 7th was no exception with Content Warning: Erotic Fanfiction Deathmatch. For those not in the know, fanfiction is a written piece of fiction about a popular culture franchise usually by a fan of said franchise. A famous example of fanfic I’m sure many have heard of is Fifty Shades of Grey, originally based on the Twilight series. Content Warning is a lot like that, but without the Hollywood budget movies and with a bit more consent.

To start off the night’s festivities, host and co-producer Jesse Inocalla takes the stage to announce, well… content warning and general conduct. Each piece has a word count limit of 2,000 words and the content must be enthusiastically consensual. And to the audience, “Don’t be creeps.” A logical rule welcomed by all those attending. This is when the logic ends and wtf begins, as Jesse launches into the first 4 chapters of the ever infamous “My Immortal”. To get the full impact of My Immortal, Google is your friend. It was the only piece of the night not featuring a local writer and set the tone of painful hilarity for the rest of the evening.

The first actual feature story of the night was “Maximum Effort” by Lisa Simon as read by Seth Little’s soothing voice. It began with in-story Deadpool sitting by a fireplace, telling us a bedtime smutty tale about himself and Wolverine, and later joined by Lady Deadpool and Headpool. Also a B story of Dogpool and a white, squeaky unicorn plush somewhere in the background. The words “Snikt me!” and “frothy man syrup” happened. To say more would likely violate content rating rules.

Next up was Katie Kieran Browner’s “Batman v. Catwoman!” narrated by the lovely Minnie Perón. Set in Gotham City on July 4th of a nondescript year, Catwoman slinks around and encounters a stray Batman. A steamy encounter happens between the two and “I’m Batman” was uttered five times. And then – Plot Twist! – it was actually imposter Deadpool. But also it’s just a fantasy as imagined by Deadpool because Deadpool respects women and would never do such a thing.

The third story of the night had the ever talented Abbey St. Brendan reading Jenna Sokalski’s “One Pump Man”. This tale of Saitama (titular character of One Punch Man) has him in the loving embrace of Kal-El himself. It features active consent, as one would expect of classic Superman and was ground-shakingly funny. Abbey’s expressive voice lent well to Saitama’s baritone and 50s radio play style Superman, which adds another layer to the story telling and had the audience roaring with laughter.

Before intermission, we have “Batman vs. Superman” by Topher Andrew Graham, as delivered by the charming Nhi Do. A better version of Batman v Superman where Batman helps out a bro doused in Zod’s Kryptonian pheromones. There’s a Wonder Woman cameo which involved “mathematically impossible poses”. Also “giant dick shaped holes” in significant cultural monuments such as the Eiffel Tower. Kryptonite was used, candles were lit, baddies were ultimately defeated.

Right after the break, we have David Aboussafy’s “Birds of Prey”, once again read by Nhi Do. It features Harley Quinn domming Nightwing and lots of laughing, as one would expect with Harley. Also CBT (NOT cognitive behavioural therapy). As they say, “Once you had Dick…”

The outstanding story of the night is “Kibble War” by Zachary Taylor voiced by Abbey St. Brendan. It truly lived up to the shows name. It sees Garfield’s AU (alternate universe for those not well versed in fanfic lingo) superhero persona, Garzooka and the Pet Force, and the Super Buddies. One must be there to fully absorb the impact this story leaves, made all the more captivating by Abbey’s sound effects. To go into more details will surely violate content rating rules.

To recover from Kibble War, there is Minnie Perón reading Mikail Korst’s “INFINITY FIST”. Thanos lost his Infinity Gauntlet in Galactus’ anal cavity, granting the World Eater unlimited power. Dr. Manhattan arrives with a White Lantern ring where one does not usually find a Lantern ring and attempts to retrieve said gauntlet and to punish Galactus by unconventional means. The tale ends in them forever entwined in passion… or as the audience coined, a “f*ckpocalypse”.

Last but not least is “The Batgirl” by Lauren Wallace, narrated once again by Seth Little. The audience saw Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) giving Batgirls (Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain) a lesson in seduction. The story features Batgirls, many bat similes, more bat facts, and SO MANY bat sex facts. And at the end of it all, Batwoman.

At the end of the night, audience members were encouraged to vote on an online poll to choose the night’s, Smut Master. Lauren Wallace’s “The Batgirl” won fan favourite. Spanning 3 hours, 4 local performers, and 8 stories, Content Warning definitely gives the ticket price worth of entertainment and then some. If adult bedtime stories with a heavy dose of trashy smut and questionable logic sounds like a good time, absolutely do check out future shows. Next Content Warning is on August 11th and the theme is Fantasy.

 


Eva Mak is a local producer, artist and lady about town. You can tweet at her @originalevamak 

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