Outstanding in the Field in Vancouver

by Richard Wolak on July 30, 2016

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It was such an incredible night dining at a long table with many people that I didn’t know, in a spectacular setting at UBC Farm. This was my first Outstanding in the Field dinner, and it was a memorable experience.

Outstanding in the Field, is a pioneering table-to-farm dinner series, that organizes dinners on farms throughout the United States as well as a couple in Canada, both of those were held in Pemberton and Vancouver respectively.

UBC Farm Summer Vegetable & Organic Ocean Dungeness crab cornette

UBC Farm Summer Vegetable & Organic Ocean Dungeness crab cornette

Parkside Brewery

Parkside Brewery

Yarrow Meadows chicken rillete on toast

Yarrow Meadows chicken rillete on toast

Hatch Wines

Hatch Wines

Chef Ryan Reed of Nomad and his crew were the stars of this wonderful dining experience. The event began in the field outside with delicious canapes being passed around for the guests to enjoy along with wines from Hatch Winery along with beer from Parkside Brewery.

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Véronik Campbell who is the Academic Programs Manager at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm led a tour of UBC Farm and this was another incredible experience especially for me. We learned all about the farm and how it is layed out, who farms, who learns and how important the farm is to our food community not only at UBC, it benefits the community throughout the city as well.

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Founded by chef/artist Jim Denevan, Outstanding in the Field is the pioneer of pop-up dining. In the summer of 1999, Denevan came up with the idea of setting a table on a farm and inviting diners to an open-air meal in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land. He called it Outstanding in the Field, and since then Denevan has been the Johnny Appleseed of farm feasts.

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Fermented seed & cracked wheat sourdough with fermented garlic butter and smoked salt was the perfect Segway into the wonderful meal ahead. They also served us some Nomad olives and fermented UBC farm beet, cucumbers and radishes.

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A selection of wines from Hatch Winery (Okanagan, BC) were served alongside the family style multi-course meal which was made by Chef Ryan Reed of Nomad Restaurant.

1st course:

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Char grilled UBC Farm radicchio, herbs with pickled wild mushrooms & Cioffie’s pecorino tartufo

2nd course:

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Barbecued North Thompson Farm, Berkshire pork collar with German potatoes, braised UBC farm collard greens, sweet onions and roasted Hannah Brook Farm zucchini marrow

3rd course:

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Whole-roasted Cioffie’s lamb shoulder, fried UBC farm tomatoes with North Arm Farm honey-glazed carrots and pardon pepper apricot relish

4th course:

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UBC Farm Blueberry Cake with UBC farm lavender buttercream, elderflower syrup & orange blossom

I met many wonderful people sitting around me at this long table, local foodies and many who had travelled to Vancouver, to attend this Outstanding in the Field farm feast on a beautiful summer night.

By: Richard Wolak

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FUSE on April 15 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak on April 8, 2016

The city’s favourite art party FUSE will come back to transform the again on Friday, April 15, 2016, turning the Gallery into a space for live happenings and unexpected encounters. Guest-curated by Joyce Rosario (Associate Curator, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival), this edition of FUSE is in conjunction with the Gallery’s current exhibition MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, taking a look at “mashup” as expressed by the body, through movement, dance and live performance. Enjoy dance by Justine A. Chambers, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Project Soul and RARUFU, experience immersive installations by Milton Lim and Remy Siu, check out the dance and music mashup lounge by Kareem Abdul Jabaastard and Deanna Peters/Mutable Subject, catch a feature-length dance music video by Jacob Krupnick with music by Girl Talk – the evening’s dynamic program will bring your art-viewing experience to another level.

Highlights of the evening:

Back it Up by Justine A. Chambers – In this performance, contemporary dance artist Justine A. Chambers brings the back-up dancer to the forefront by prioritizing individuality using a step, a touch and a snap as a shared movement. Every movement is given equal rhythmic value, and over time, the distinctive movement of each dancer engulfs the initial choreography.

Chinese Vaginies by Natalie Gan (Hong Kong Exile) – Described as “soft and fluffy”, this campy and playful dance performance aims to address the interconnected issues of food, consumption, exotification and violence on the female body.

Dancers from Project Soul will roam the Gallery space and create ciphers in various locations, these dancers bring energetic pop-up hip-hop dance up and close to the audience.

SQUIN by RARUFU– Ralph Escamillan (aka RARUFU) is no stranger to FUSE, having performed with House of Ladouche, Out Innerspace and Company 605. In this collaboration with sound designer Stefan Seslija, RARUFU serves up what it means to be grande, iconic and alluring with sequins, sound and the body.

okay.odd by Milton Lim (Hong Kong Exile) – Based on the tenets of concentration, mindfulness and visualization, okay.odd is a multimedia meditation session that guides participants through a stream of consciousness. Part spiritual retreat and part commentary on our image-inundated affect-obsessed society, this performance/installation invites you to encounter the version of you that you feel, but do not know.

New eyes – study #2 by Remy Siu (Hong Kong Exile) – An audio-visual performance and a generative light sculpture, this piece seeks to subvert the standard relationship between player and instrument by creating consequence and complication for every action.

Girl Walk  // All Day (2011) by Jacob Krupnick – This feature-length dance music video, set to tracks of an entire Girl Talk album, is a tale of urban exploration, following three dancers across New York City as they turn the city’s sidewalks, parks and architecture into an evolving stage. Expanding the boundaries of the single-track music video, this project is an epic musical film about self-discovery and love, about finding community and vitality in shared public space.

Throughout the evening on the Gallery’s 4th floor pavilion, FUSE-goers can relax and get their groove on to a mashup-inspired playlist ranging from Missy Elliott to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, designed by Kareem Abdul Jabaastard, with dance by Deanna Peters/Mutable Subject and guests.

FUSE-goers can also see MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, the Gallery’s largest exhibition to date, featuring 371 artworks by 156 artists from around the world.

Tickets: $24 at the door | Free for Gallery Members
Website: http://vanartgallery.bc.ca/events_and_programs/fuse.html

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Companhia Urbana de Dança at DanceHouse April 1 & 2

by Richard Wolak on March 18, 2016

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Team up eight extraordinary dancers from the Brazil’s notorious favelas, with of one of the dance world’s most innovative choreographers and you get the wild, brilliant Companhia Urbana de Dança.

Audacious and dynamic, Companhia Urbana de Dança unleashes stamina-testing solos and jaw-dropping group movement in a rarely seen combination of styles. Drawing on urban and Brazilian dance, artistic director and choreographer Sonia Destri Lie has created a new genre – a high-­energy fusion of hip-hop, samba, capoeira, and contemporary dance that has stunned audiences and critics alike.
For this special, two-night only engagement, Companhia Urbana de Dança will perform two pieces. Signature work ID: Entidades was inspired by the life stories of the company’s dancers, and Na Pista explores the joyful influence of pop culture and sizzling social dance. Both are set to pulsating scores by Brazilian composer Rodrigo Marçal.

Alternately mesmerizing and rippling with adrenaline and raw energy, these two works promise to bring DanceHouse’s 2015–16 season to a stunning close.

Purchase your tickets online or call us at 604-801-6225 (Monday to Friday, 10AM to 4PM).

Purchase tickets here 

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Ballet BC Presents Program 2 March 17-19

by Richard Wolak on March 8, 2016

Ballet BC Dancer Tara Williamson. Program 2  Photo by Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC continues its dynamic 30th Anniversary season at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, March 17-19. Under the artistic leadership of Ballet BC Artistic Director Emily Molnar, PROGRAM 2 features a world premiere by rising French choreographer Medhi Walerski. Walerski’s work (Petite Cérémonie, Prelude) has wowed dance lovers throughout Europe and North America. So, in this 30th anniversary season, it seemed fitting to commission a new work – his first full-length – from a choreographer who has had tremendous impact on both our artists and our audiences.

“Dance as a natural expression of the human being is liberating,” says Walerski. “It is with a sense of happiness and excitement that I embrace this new chapter of my career and this commission for Ballet BC that celebrates the creative and collaborative spirit of art and our humanity.”

This world premiere builds on the themes Walerski established with Prelude, seen on our stage in 2014, and celebrated for its poetic, complex, imaginative, and unpredictable choreographic language. It begins with the question of how to balance order and chaos; the individual and the collective. In explosive and dynamic contrast, the work will also look at the human need for celebration—be it a birth, a death, a change in history, or a reunion. Celebrations, and the energy they create through dance, life, and art, will permeate the theatre with sublime poetry, blurring the lines between the audience and the stage.

For this special commission, Ballet BC is joined by artists of the Arts Umbrella Graduate Dance Program to expand the cast of dancers to more than 25. Award winning Canadian designers, including Nancy Bryant (costumes) and James Proudfoot (lighting), will help Walerski realize his vision. “Each time I visit Vancouver I marvel at the beauty of the city and its wonderful artists,” says Walerski. “With this new work I want to create an experience beyond a traditional dance show, one where the audience enters a new world, all senses stimulated, to celebrate together.”

PROGRAM 2 plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at 8:00pm March 17-19, 2015. Tickets range from $30.00 to $90.00 (including service charges) and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) or online at ticketmaster.ca.

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Chutzpah Festival February 18 – March 13

by Richard Wolak Dance

In their 16th year of showcasing world-renowned artists in a vibrant celebration of the performing arts, the Chutzpah! Festival has unveiled another amazing the line-up of electrifying music, theatre, film and breath-taking dance scheduled for presentation at various venues around Vancouver. An eagerly anticipated highlight of Vancouver’s dance season is the Chutzpah! Festival’s Dance Series. The […]

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Over The River and Through the Woods

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Such a great cast sees Nick, a young single man from New Jersey, is the only member of his family who’s still geographically convenient to his two sets of Italian-American grandparents. He loves them and sees them every Sunday for dinner, but they drive him a little crazy. When Nick announces that he wants to […]

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Arts Club Theatre presents In a Blue Moon on Tour

by Richard Wolak Theatre

A visually beautiful tale about creating a new life in a new landscape. When Ava (Anita Wittenberg) and her daughter, Frankie (Emma Tow), move to an inherited cottage near Kamloops, they discover that Ava’s late husband’s brother (Brett Christopher) is already living there. What starts as a tense relationship develops in unexpected ways as Frankie finds […]

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Vancouver Opera and PuSh present Macbeth in 2017

by Richard Wolak Music

Vancouver Opera and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival are excited to announce they will together present the Canadian premiere of a stunning take on Verdi’s Macbeth by one of South Africa’s most exciting producing companies. Macbeth will open the 2017 PuSh Festival on January 16, 2017 for five performances at the Vancouver Playhouse and will […]

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VSO Kicks off 2016 with Exciting Concerts

by Richard Wolak Music

The New Year, 2016, begins with a favourite tradition:  A Salute to Vienna, with members of the VSO in the company of the Strauss Symphony of Canada, vocal soloists and ballroom dancers for an enchanting selection of waltzes and operetta highlights. Take a trip down the Danube right here at home, New Year’s Day at […]

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SnapShots: A Musical Scrapbook

by Richard Wolak Theatre

SnapShots is one of the musicals that will have you humming along throughout the show as I did during opening night last night. It’s funny, well played out and has a great cast. Starring Stephen Aberle, Annabel Kershaw, Steve Maddock, Jocelyn Gauthier, Daniel Johnston and Georgia Swinton; each actor complements the other so graciously and […]

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