• Oct20

    Tea Sparrow tea

    Our friends at Tea Sparrow are prepping to bring the First Annual Tea Sparrow Tea-Off to Vancouver’s Heritage Hall on Sunday, October 26.
     
    Billed as a “tea party of sorts”, each tea has been jury-approved for quality and taste, specifically chosen for the Tea-Off by its members. Tea lovers will have the opportunity to try each of the teas, learn about Tea Sparrow’s unique scoring system, and score the teas!

    A 40% discount on all memberships will be offered, giving attendees the chance to build their first tea box containing four of their favourite teas from the event. Teas will also be available for individual purchase.
     
    Upon entry, you’ll be presented with your own traditional ceramic teacup and a list describing all teas available for sampling, starting with white teas, then greens, oolongs, blacks, rooibos, and finishing with herbals. At registration, you’ll also receive a score card to track the 20 teas as you go through the sampling.

    At the end of your tea tour, get more information about the teas as well as discount codes on any of the teas you enjoyed. The Tea-Off will also feature a stage of rotating speakers from tea blenders to sommeliers, on hand to answer all things tea.
      
    Tea Sparrow’s First Annual Tea-Off
    Date: October 26, 11 am to 7 pm
    Venue: Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver
    Tickets: Discounted tickets (2 for $5) are currently available via Groupon

    About Tea Sparrow
    A tea-tasting and critiquing club, Tea Sparrow’s founders are a team dedicated to spreading the gospel of loose-leaf tea. Through their monthly delivery service, an eclectic global collection of teas are delivered to discerning sippers, curated by both staff and members. Teas range from Kenyan blacks to orange-blossom jasmine sourced from a secret garden.

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  • Oct17

    Eagle Creek Pack-It Luggage-10 Eagle Creek Pack-It Luggage-9
    [L to R: Eagle Creek's EC Adventure 4-Wheeled Upright 22, Pack-It On Board toiletry kit]

    As airlines continue to crack down on suitcase size, weight, and carry-on allowances, luggage companies are often faced with compensating quality and durability for weight. I’ve seen some of the current suitcases on the market begin to show signs of wear after only a few trips.

    Suitcases that used to be rugged and somewhat heftier have stood the test of time (I still have an Air Canada trolley suitcase that’s withstood numerous global destinations; unfortunately the bag’s no longer made).

    Eagle Creek Pack-It Luggage-22

    I was recently sent a couple of Eagle Creek products to test-drive: the EC Adventure 4-Wheeled Upright 22, and an accompanying Pack-It On Board toiletry kit. Eagle Creek’s known for their lifetime “No Matter What” warranty and stand by their products. They’ve also been in the business of selling durable, innovative luggage since 1975.

    Eagle Creek Pack-It Luggage-1

    Over the years, I’ve done my fair share of globe-trotting, carrying Eagle Creek and Jansport (another outdoor outfitters with a solid history of quality travel products) packs on my back.

    Eagle Creek Pack-It Luggage-18

    The EC Adventure’s loaded with great features, from four multi-directional wheels at the base to padded compression wings to keep your clothes secure and help against wrinkling. The first thing I noticed was its weight: the bag’s a mere 7 lbs. 13 oz. (3.54 kg). Considering the smooth-lifting handle, two-way locking zippers, and integrated wheel system, this is one pretty lightweight bag!
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  • Oct17

    Sean Ling photo by Makoto Hirata courtesy of Peggy Baker Dance Projects
    [Sean Ling photo by Makoto Hirata; courtesy of Peggy Baker Dance Projects]

    Vancouver’s favourite rule-breaker turns 31 with a dramatic new spin for the beloved Small Stage series as MovEnt with Music on Main present Dances for a Small Stage 31 as part of the 2014 Modulus Festival.

    This daringly different arrangement will synergize live dance and music, headlined by Canadian treasures – and sweethearts – composer John Oswald and choreographer Holly Small, in their first-ever joint performance on the West coast stage.

    Vanessa Goodman
    [Vanessa Goodman]

    “In a departure from our usual concept of five to seven-minute dance works, MovEnt has joined with musical counterpart, Music on Main for an evening integrating live music as well as dance,” says MovEnt Artistic Producer Julie-anne Saroyan. “This type of interwoven collaboration has experienced an unfortunate deterioration over the years, resulting from a hyper-reliance on pre- recorded sounds. I can’t think of two stronger leaders for this crucial renaissance than the grandparents of music and dance collaborations, John and Holly. These two inspired minds were mentors to me at York University, and have been a major influence on my philosophy towards movement and music.”

    Since its inception in 2002, Dances for a Small Stage has wowed audiences by tearing down formalities and creating intimate, raw scenarios in which to experience dance. The popular series is renowned for bringing unique and innovative contemporary dance, inclusive of all disciplines, to a rough–and–tumble cabaret setting.

    Karissa Barry photo by Yvonne Chew
    [Karissa Barry photo by Yvonne Chew]

    Oswald, who will be presenting a selection of his original compositions, will be joined by Small in an unprecedented opportunity to see these celebrated partners perform side by side. Sharing the signature Small Stage are dance artists Makaila Wallace (in a work choreographed by Karissa Barry), Vanessa Goodman, Stewart Iguidez, in addition to visiting Toronto dancers Sean Ling and Jessica Runge.

    Also on loan from Toronto is multi award-winning Cecilia String Quartet, internationally renowned for their innovative programming and expressive interplay. These dynamic young female musicians will perform two works – a Tchaikovsky score, String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11, and preLieu, a masterful composition by Oswald created in 1991 for the renowned Kronos Quartet.

    This three-show performance, curated by Saroyan, will feature the ever-endearing Billy Marchenski as emcee and maestro for the evening.

    Dances for a Small Stage 31
    Dates: October 23 to 25; doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm
    Venue: Ukrainian Centre, 154 East 10th Avenue at Main Street, Vancouver
    Tickets: In advance online; limited cash-only tickets available at the door on performance nights.

    About MovEnt
    Founded in 2001, MovEnt is a Vancouver-based charitable non-profit dance society devoted to producing new contemporary dance work, supporting dance artists and developing an audience for contemporary dance. MovEnt produces dance that encourages high expectations and produces accessible, engaging art.

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  • Oct16

    Steel Toad Brewpub Interior

    Highly-anticipated False Creek area brewpub Steel Toad is now open, its gleaming tanks comprising a space with over 300 seats while pouring up to 10 on-tap craft brews. Housed in the iconic red Opsal building on East 2nd Avenue, the revamped space historically housed heavy machinery, but is now home to live music, modern bistro fare, and a showpiece craft brewery.

    Chef Robbie Robinson leads the kitchen, while head brewer Chris Charron oversees the grain-to-glass process in the brewery.

    Steel Toad crowd on main floor

    A Certified Cicerone, Chris has trained in all aspects of service, beer styles, culture, tasting, and food pairing. For Steel Toad’s taps, he’s fashioned a collection of traditional European and American beers, and will flex his creative prowess with a continuously rotating beer list. Thirsty guests will want to watch for unique new brews as Steel Toad proudly pours forgotten treasures while experimenting with traditional classics.

    Chef Robbie Robinson trained at West under Chef David Hawksworth and Le Crocodile under Chef Michel Jacob. Chef Robbie also worked in some of London’s finest kitchens, among them Claridge’s, a Gordon Ramsay establishment boasting Michelin stars. At Steel Toad, Chef Robbie serves casual bistro favourites with locally-sourced ingredients, prepared with classic French technique. Each dish is thoughtfully created to complement Steel Toad’s roster of exclusive in-house brews.

    Steel Toad Brewpub sampler

    Built in 1918 by Dominion Construction, the heritage building was originally a manufacturing site for Columbia Block and Tool Company, where craftsmen dubbed Steel Toads handled heavy machinery and worked blazing forges. For nearly a century, the building has been a neighbourhood landmark and a steadfast reminder of the city’s industrial history.

    Sitting empty and inactive for over a decade, the Opsal structure was given new life when Steel Toad Brew Pub & Dining Hall founding partners Tim Charron, Hart Price, and John Saunders made it their mission to revitalize the building.

    Over the course of five years, the building underwent a painstaking conservation effort. It was carefully disassembled; salvageable materials such as windows and the original lumber beams were restored off-site. When the restoration process was complete, the historic pieces were reassembled and reinforced with modern structural elements and design.

    Steel Toad beer taps

    To fill Steel Toad’s 10 taps, head brewer Chris Charron relies heavily on his own experience and palate, leaving room for creative whims and seasonal inspiration. British pub classics and farmhouse ales are created true to tradition, and familiar styles are reinvented with modern updates. Future plans include barred aging, experimentation with wild yeasts, and herbal bittering outside the normal hop spectrum.

    On the main floor dining hall, guests will experience Steel Toad’s lively bar atmosphere while enjoying a modern take on brewpub classics such as burgers, steak frites, mussels, and sandwiches. Original, signature thin crust pizzas fresh out of the forno oven are available late at night for eat-in or take-out.

    Steel Toad pizza

    In the upstairs dining room, guests can socialize in the comfortable space while enjoying an elevated dining menu.

    Steel Toad is located at 97 East 2nd Avenue and is open seven days a week, with brunch on weekends, and live music every evening.

    Photos from Steel Toad’s Instagram account. Interior photo courtesy of Steel Toad Brewpub.

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  • Oct16

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-4

    We boarded a two and a half-hour Halloween-themed Vancouver Trolley Tour last night as The Black Widow and our chauffeur The Gypsy Pirate took our group around the city, retelling tales of murder, mystery, and unexplainable phenomena.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-1

    Although a relatively new city, Vancouver has its share of murders, mysteries, and ghosts. The Black Widow is a member of the Afterlife, and with a thick European accent, is a fantastic storyteller. As the decorated trolley winds its way around Vancouver, we pass by reputedly haunted buildings.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-2

    The tour begins and ends at Canada Place, where four tours per evening are offered. A scenic drive through Stanley Park reveals the story of Dead Man’s Island. In 1892, smallpox arrived in Vancouver via big ships. The sick were taken there to die. People sometimes claim to see a man in the fog on the island. 

    Hotel Vancouver has a tale of the lady in the red gown, who’s been known to inhabit the hotel’s 14th floor. Once outside the downtown core, you’ll also discover Vancouver’s most haunted house.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-3

    Other tales feature Joey and the Burrard Bridge, UBC, a World War One pilot who disappeared into English Bay, Leg-in-Boot Square in False Creek, Pacific Railway Station, Hycroft Mansion, and CKNW’s Rene Castellani. Rene’s story and creepy evidence of poisoning his wife with arsenic is included in the Vancouver Police Museum.

    We also learned about West Broadway’s Toys ‘r’ Us building’s connection to the story, and wouldn’t you know it, spiked White Spot vanilla milkshakes also played a key role in the crime committed against Rene’s wife, Esther. As the milkshake thickens, so does the plot involving Rene, his wife, his mistress, and what ultimately led to his arrest.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-8 Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-9

    One of the evening’s highlights is a visit to the Police Museum, formerly the city morgue, where a live autopsy is about to get underway. Dark comedy coupled with a candlelit museum add to the atmosphere of the experience.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-7 Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-6 Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-5

    Another stop is at the Mountain View Cemetery, owned and operated by the City of Vancouver since 1886. Our trolley dropped us off at one end, and we walked with the Black Widow to discover the gravestones of Joe Fortes, John Stanley Chisholm, and Janet Smith, their stories also revealed while aboard the tour. The trolley awaited us at the exit, dark and ominous all on its own.

    Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-10

    The Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour definitely got us into the Halloween spirit. Visit the website for reservations and tour times. Note that this tour is for 13+ only and continues through October 31 (excluding Sundays and Mondays).

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  • Oct15

    Wantable curated goods delivery

    Love shopping online? I recently discovered Wantable, a monthly shopping service that delivers the goods to your door.

    I normally know what I’m going to order online ahead of time, but this is a fun way to receive pieces handpicked based on a series of personal preferences. The site leads you through various screens so you can love, like, or dislike various categories.

    Once you’ve gone through the selections and indicate your sizes (ring, necklace, bracelet), you’re set to go with a subscription (or one-time shipment) of goods, choosing from makeup, intimates, or accessory collections.
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  • Oct14

    Ryan Scramstad, Robert Salvador, Andrew Wheeler
    [Ryan Scramstad, Robert Salvador, Andrew Wheeler]

    A drought has gripped the town where H.C. Curry, sons Noah and Jim, and daughter Lizzie reside. Threatened with financial ruin, Curry is nonetheless more worried about his daughter’s dry spell as she approaches the threat of “spinsterhood”. In one day, their luck and hopes are revived with the arrival of a stranger, brandishing a flashy name (Starbuck) and promising of all things, rain.
     
    Set in the Dustbowl-dirty 30’s, Rainmaker was written in pre-feminist 1950’s and is laden with ideas from both eras. During the 1930’s, Pluto was discovered, Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and Superman first appeared in comic books.

    Extending well into the next 20 years were uncomfortable notions about charismatic strangers, strong-willed women, American youth wasting as delinquents, and unlikely miracles. 
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  • Oct11

    Fright Nights at Playland-1

    Hollywood Horrors, Fear, Asylum, Haunted Mansion, Car-n-Evil, Darkness, Keepers Doll Factory.

    Fright Nights at Playland-8

    What goes on in those seven haunted houses? Well, we wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, but here’s some of the creepy characters whom you’ll likely come across (more likely, they’ll find YOU) at Fright Nights, on now through November 1 at Playland at the PNE.

    Fright Nights at Playland-3 Fright Nights at Playland-6

    Keepers Doll Factory is a new haunted house added to the lineup for 2014. Gate admission gets you 13 rides, The Monsters of Schlock, the Kinshire Fire Performers, and other terrifying attractions guaranteed to send a chill or two down your spine.

    Fright Nights at Playland-2 Fright Nights at Playland-4

    Passes are now on sale for regular admission and Fast Track. Discounted Fright Nights tickets are available online and at Lower Mainland 7-Eleven stores. Save $3 on regular passes (regularly $25) and $6 on a Fast Pass (starting at $55). Fast Track passes will get you into a speedier lineup for the haunted houses.

    Fright Nights at Playland-9

    We attended Fright Nights last night and really dug the atmosphere. Lots of fog and lighting effects to get Halloween fans into the spirit!

    Fright Nights at Playland-5

    Fright Nights at Playland schedule:
    October 10 to 12: 7 pm to 11 pm
    October 16, 19, 22, 26, 28-31, November 1: 7 pm to midnight
    October 17, 18, 23 to 25: 7 pm to 1 am

    Monsters of Schlock performs nightly at 8:30, 9:45, and 11 pm (no shows October 10 to 12)
    Kinshira Fire Troupe performs nightly at 9 pm, 10:15, and 11:30 pm (no shows October 10 to 12)

    Fright Nights at Playland-7

    Visit the Fright Nights website for more info.

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  • Oct10

    Free People Granville Street opening-18

    This morning, Free People opened its fourth Canadian store following this summer’s Park Royal shop. With shops in Calgary and Toronto, US-based Free People is excited to see two new stores arriving in BC. The majority of the stories are located in the US, with a few in Japan.

    Free People Granville Street opening-1

    The Granville Street space was easy to transition into a Free People location, with speciality denim the focus here. There’s a wealth of styles in the current collection, with Indian, Far East, and North American detailing throughout.
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  • Oct10

    Earl's Fall Menu-Yaletown-3

    A group of media were invited to settle in for cocktails, conversation, and a Fall menu tasting earlier this week at Loft at Earl’s Yaletown as chefs Dawn Doucette and David Wong gave us the lowdown on the inspiration and preparation behind our multi-course dinner.

    Earl's Fall Menu-Yaletown-8
    [Tuna sushi cones]

    Gorgeous renovations have turned Earl’s Yaletown into a sleek, yet cozy lounge with an adjacent dining room.

    Earl's Fall Menu-Yaletown-7

    Clean white brick, exposed wood beams, leather banquettes, Dutch design firm du jour Moooi’s black horse in corner, simple wall lighting, neon sign at entrance, all evoking a warm, welcome atmosphere with the bar as focal point of the room, dividing lounge and dining spaces.

    Bees Knees: Hendricks gin, Cointreau, honey, fresh lemon, Angostura bitters
    [Bees Knees: Hendricks gin, Cointreau, honey, fresh lemon, Angostura bitters] 

    Earl’s Signature Caesar: Smirnoff vodka, clamato, signature spices
    [Earl’s Signature Caesar: Smirnoff vodka, clamato, signature spices]

    Cabin Fever: Crown Royal, tawny port, ginger, pineapple, fresh lemon, spiced bitters
    [Cabin Fever: Crown Royal, tawny port, ginger, pineapple, fresh lemon, spiced bitters]

    We began with tuna sushi cones and tuna tostadas, both on Earl’s appetizer menu. Lots of flavour and fresh ingredients packed into both dishes, perfect for sipping with a glass of white wine or one of several hand-crafted cocktails on the drinks menu.

    Each Earl’s restaurant works with a local craft brewer; in this neck of the woods, that honour goes to Whistler Brewing.

    Earl's Fall Menu-Yaletown-9
    [Salmon salad, Szechuan lime glaze, with soba noodles, zucchini, carrots, red pearl onions]

    Earl’s salmon salad has a moist, delicate, slow-baked salmon portion containing a Szechuan lime glaze, served with soba noodles, zucchini, carrots, and red pearl onions tossed in a tamarind dressing, with a cilantro yogurt swirl perfect for dipping. The crust is divine as is the glaze.

    Earl's Chef Dawn Doucette

    Chef Dawn Doucette came to our table to describe our next dish: Spatchcock chicken. The chicken is brined, then marinated in fish sauce, herbed, and cooked to order, seasoned in a lemongrass glaze.

    Spatchcock chicken, lemongrass glaze, Thai peanut sauce, julienne vegetables
    [Spatchcock chicken, lemongrass glaze, Thai peanut sauce, julienne vegetables]

    On the side is a spicy, aromatically-seasoned julienne salad with some thick, gorgeous Thai peanut sauce, and house-made naan bread.

    Earl's Gourmet burger: mushroom jam, tomato, shaved lettuce, onions, bacon, in-house smoked cheddar cheese Falafel burger with baba ganoush, homemade hummus, feta cheese
    [Earl's gourmet burger, falafel burger with baba ganoush, homemade hummus, feta cheese]

    A couple of burgers are also part of Earl’s fall menu, one for vegetarians, another for meat lovers. The falafel burger comes with baba ganoush, homemade hummus, and feta cheese, while the hefty gourmet burger is packed with mushroom jam, tomato, shaved lettuce, onions, bacon, and in-house smoked cheddar cheese.

    Spring Creek Ranch Sirloin Earl's asparagus, frites
    [Spring Creek Ranch Sirloin, asparagus, peppered frites]

    Northern Alberta’s Spring Creek Ranch provides a tender sirloin cut to pair with grated-cheese topped asparagus. Frites are a side option and complete the trio together with the tender beef and al dente asparagus.

    Earl's Chef David Wong

    Chef David Wong’s the new kid at Earl’s Test Kitchen: he’s been at Earl’s for six months, worked previously as chef at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and taught at Vancouver Community College’s culinary department.

    Our bountiful meal was capped off with a hazelnut bar with feuilletine bottom, finished with Maldon salt, dehydrated oranges, salted caramel sauce, and a small scoop of vanilla bean gelato.

    Hazelnut bar, salted caramel sauce, dehydrated orange, Maldon salt, vanilla bean gelato
    [Hazelnut bar, salted caramel sauce, dehydrated orange, Maldon salt, vanilla bean gelato]

    As Chef Wong says, a dark chocolate dessert doesn’t seem complete without Maldon salt. Agreed.

    Earl's Test Kitchen chefs Nick, David Wong, Andrew Hounlsow, Bowen Lansdell
    [Earl's Test Kitchen chefs Nick, David Wong, Andrew Hounlsow, Bowen Lansdell]

    Earl’s offers globally-inspired and seasoned dishes for all tastes. I can see coming here and having all my fellow diners at the table finding an entrée to suit what they’re after in a meal, from Asian to Mediterranean.  

    And according to their marketing team, each Earl’s highlights their region’s best products throughout the year. 

    Earl's Fall Menu-Yaletown-2

    Dining at Earl’s Loft Yaletown is a beautiful thing, even though things Can Get Messy. The Loft at Earl’s Yaletown is located upstairs from Earl’s at 1095 Mainland Street. The space is available for private events as well as being open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights. Earl’s Yaletown is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

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  • Oct9

    Carmen Aguirre
    [Carmen Aguirre; photo by Andrew Alexander]

    Based on writer and performer Carmen Aguirre’s remarkable life, Blue Box is a story of terror and romance that takes you from the Chilean resistance movement during Pinochet’s dictatorship to a passionate affair with a Hollywood TV star to present-day Vancouver.

    Funny, sensual, and moving, Blue Box reveals a woman committed to a cause for which she would have sacrificed everything, yet committed to a man who refused to sacrifice anything for anyone.
     
    Blue Box is a no-holds-barred examination of two core stories that live within me. They both explore the theme of unconditional love in completely different realms: the romantic and the revolutionary, and the tension between the two, ultimately asking where self-love fits in,” said Carmen Aguirre. “I invite you to jump off the cliff with me and go on this wild ride of abandon and absolute surrender to that mighty force called love.”
     
    Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning playwright and actor who has written and co-written over 20 plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Trigger, and The Refugee Hotel. Her first book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, is a CBC Canada Reads 2012 recipient as well as a national bestseller.
     
    Written and performed by Carmen Aguirre, the Arts Club production of Blue Box is directed by Brian Quirt and will perform at the intimate Revue Stage through November 1.

    Arts Club Theatre Presents Blue Box
    Dates: October 9 to November 1; Mondays and Tuesdays, 7:30 pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 8 pm; Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2 pm
    Venue: Revue Stage Theatre, 1601 Johnston Street (Granville Island), Vancouver
    Tickets: $25 to $35 (including tax and fees); available online or via phoning 604.687.1644

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  • Oct8

    No.29 Ballet BC dancer Scott Fowler
    [No.29 Ballet BC dancer Scott Fowler]

    Ballet BC will launch its 2014–15 season with No. 29 – a program marking the company’s 29th season and 29th new creation under the artistic leadership of Emily Molnar.

    No. 29 features the world premiere of White Act by Spanish-born choreographer Fernando Hernando Magadan, the Ballet BC premiere of An Instant by Vancouver-born choreographer Lesley Telford, and the reprisal of the explosive audience favourite A.U.R.A. by Italy’s Jacopo Godani.
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  • Oct7

    Hunters Gatherers promo cast photo

    Vancouver’s Staircase Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s wickedly funny play, Hunter Gatherers, directed by Vancouver theatre veteran Ryan Gladstone. Hunter Gatherers makes for a darkly comic evening where the line between the civilized and the primal is blurred and where not everyone will survive long enough to enjoy the brownies for dessert. 

    Lord of the Flies meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe in this sexy, meaty farce. Timid homemaker Pam and macho hubby Richard prepare the ultimate bloody feast for their childhood pals, unfulfilled and quick-witted Wendy and her husband, brow-beaten Tom. Now in their mid-30’s, they’ve grown apart over the years but reunite annually, on this particular occasion with an orgy of devolution. Sex, horror, and hilarity intertwine in Hunter Gatherers—the ideal antidote to the sterility of modern civilization.
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  • Oct7

    Halloween at Hotel Vancouver poster

    On October 31, Arrival Agency will present one of their legendary, multi-room Halloween parties at the iconic Hotel Vancouver. The event will be held in six of the hotel’s ballrooms featuring party DJs, an erotic Vegas-style floorshow, mind-boggling illusions, a massive costume contest, a tequila-fueled Day of the Dead fiesta, and a comedic conjuring of the hotel’s famous ghost, the Lady in Red. The entertainment lineup is expansive and includes something for all tastes.

    “Everyone who has attended any of our previous Halloween parties knows that all bets are off. In the past we’ve erected 16-storey amusement park rides and constructed haunted mazes to help create a fun, carnivalesque atmosphere. This year is going to be our biggest one yet,” according to Arrival Agency’s Daniel Fazio.
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  • Oct6

    Cosmonauts and scientists; photo by David Cooper
    [Cosmonauts and scientists; photo by David Cooper]

    It is not for nothing that Langara College’s Studio 58 theatre training program has earned a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to moving the Vancouver theatre scene forward. Their latest project, Kosmic Mambo, fits in nicely with the best of their staged work.

    Reimagining (but following quite closely) the plot of Samuel Coleridge’s 1798 poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a secret Mars-bound Soviet spaceship replaces the original tale’s becalmed ship at sea. A synopsis of the Rime is included in the show’s program and is well worth a quick read in order to follow the story more easily.

    There are a few instances where the tale reboots, most notably when our “mariner” drifts off into space. No, not everything seems logical (nor believable) but if you can get past that, you’re in for a very enjoyable ride.

    Less than 10 words are uttered throughout the one-act performance as the ensemble of 23 student actors weave in and out of multiple parts and situations. From a bare black box to a near fully-realized space ship, we see the actors exercise just about every acting muscle they individually possess to create a solid group piece. I was particularly taken by the tightly choreographed movements the audience is presented with when the actors are made weightless as they “float” about the cabin. Truly impressive.
    Continue reading »

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