FUSE on April 25 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak on April 17, 2014


The next FUSE night takes on expansive beauty and terrible realities coalesce at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Named the Best Art Party in Vancouver, FUSE offers one-of-a-kind experimental art, cutting edge new music and innovative live performances. Inspired by the striking photography in Edward Burtynsky’s exhibition A Terrible Beauty, guest curator Veda Hille orchestrates a range of poetic attempts, bringing the audiences to the present through operatic dramas, rock and roll extremes and expressions of spectacular.

FUSE: A Terrible Beauty features an eclectic set of programs:

Film in Music is an eight piece musical ensemble led by Vancouver cellist and musical innovator Peggy Lee. Within the framework of a musical suite, each musician represents a character in a story, expressing individual ideas through their instruments. The music implies the arc of a story, but elements of improvisation take the listeners on a journey that is never the same twice.

J.R.R. Tokin’ – Combining the two main themes, Tolkien and Led Zeppelin, in the current exhibitionMyfanwy MacLeod, or There and Back Again, three piece stoner doom metal trio J.R.R. Tokin’ will play loud music with a heavy Tolkien influence in front of artist Myfanwy MacLeod’s work Stack, a large-scale wall-mounted work that resembles the wall of Marshall speaker cabinets used by Led Zeppelin to produce heavily amplified sound for their stadium concerts.

A Terrible Beauty Sketch Class is both a live sketching session and a performance. Allan Zinyk and Billy Marchenski will present an unconventional way to draw from a life model that tests the boundary between beauty and grotesque. Drawing supplies and instructions will be provided for audiences who would like to make their own terrible and beautiful art.

Crying with Elizabeth Milton and company – Vancouver based performance and media artist Elizabeth Milton often explores the construction of individual and collective identity through character-play and collaboration. Crying is an experiment of the influence of “publicly displayed emotion” while a team of professionals weep openly in front of various artworks throughout the Gallery.

Malefactor – Vancouver artist My Name is Scot will slowly build a new sculptural performance work Malefactor throughout the evening. As audiences pass through the first floor rotunda, they will witness a steady reveal of human-size letters, culminating in a completed sentence by the end of the night.

Drag queen diva Maria Toilette will present a selection of original and outrageous compositions that fall in the genre of operatic cabaret songs. The verbatim lyrics will be explicitly about gay sexual experiences as told to Maria online and in conversation.

Chat Attack – The social aspect of FUSE is one of its most alluring charms. Performers Dawn Petten and Paul Anthony will rove through the Gallery and engage with the audiences by asking questions, providing answers, and keeping people on their toes.

In addition to performances, FUSE-goers can see these current exhibitions: Lawren Harris: Canadian VisionaryA Terrible Beauty: Edward BurtynksyScorned: Emily CarrMyfanwy MacLeod, or There and Back AgainArtist’s Choice: Cock and Bull; and Out of Sight: New Acquisitions. For ticket information, please visit:http://vanartgallery.bc.ca/events_and_programs/fuse.html

About FUSE: Since its inception in July 2005, thousands of FUSE–goers have converged at the Gallery for this unique adult event. Live performances and music in the Gallery spaces, DJs, eclectic Gallery tours, contemporary dance and unexpected surprises have made FUSE Vancouver’s favourite art party —a place to see–and–be–seen. FUSE is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the April 25th edition is guest-curated by Veda Hille.


Ballet BC Presents UN/A April 24 – 26

by Richard Wolak on April 5, 2014

Ballet BC-Thibaut Eiferman_ photo by Michael Slobodian

UN/A, Ballet BC’s final production of the 2013/14 season at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from April 24-26, 2014, features three remarkable World Premieres by gifted international choreographers.

“Gioconda, Cayetano and Gustavo are three innovative choreographers, who promise exhilarating works that will captivate our audiences,” says Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar. “They all have had international success, creating and staging works for major dance companies around the world. We are thrilled to include these new works as part of Ballet BC’s repertoire.”

Montreal choreographer Gioconda Barbuto, winner of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award in 1996, returns to Ballet BC with the World Premiere of a full-company commission with music by Gabriel Prokofiev. The success of TOUCH in 2011 for the Company’s 25th Anniversary program showcased her choreographic style, characterized by explosive physicality paired with a sense of wit and theatricality. Her dances are in the repertoire of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Alberta Ballet and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, among others.

The Chicago Sun Times has called Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, a new choreographic voice from Spain, “…highly original, starkly expressionistic…emotionally fierce, sensual…riveting from start to finish.” A rising star in the international dance world, Sansano was Artistic Director of the Chicago-based Luna Negra Dance Theater and has been the recipient of many choreographic awards. He has shared his unique dance vision with Compañia Nacional de Danza, the Hamburg Ballet, Budapest Dance Theater and Netherlands Dance Theatre II. Ballet BC is delighted to be the first dance company in Canada to commission a work by Sansano.

Spanish-born, choreographer Cayetano Soto is another vibrant new voice in 21st century contemporary ballet with “an abundance of originality” according to Dance Europe. Describing his unique dance vocabulary, Soto says, “To make choreography you have to be like an architect. I think you have to have a very strong structure [and know] what you want to talk about … What I feel, more and more, is that whatever is happening in my pieces is related to me … and what is happening in the moment.” His work is in the repertoire of major companies around the world, including Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Ballet Theater Munich.

Combining classical integrity with a contemporary sensibility, Ballet BC is a company of 18 talented dancers from Canada and around the world that is committed to the ballet of today. Solidly grounded in the rigour and artistry of classical ballet, with an emphasis on innovation and the immediacy of the 21st century, the company presents a distinct and diverse repertoire of the most sought-after Canadian and international contemporary ballet choreography.

Tickets for UN/A can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) or online at  ticketmaster.ca and range in price from $22.25 to $70.00 (plus service charges).


Lowest Common Denominator thru March 30

by Richard Wolak on March 25, 2014

lowest common denominator

With standout performances, this new play by  Zee Zee Theatre explores the world of inter-generational relationships and unleashes the darkness that exists just underneath a thin skin. It was a coming out story of such by Trevor (Dallas Sauer) as a slip of the tongue telling his mother Harmony (Deborah Williams), the story moved on as Harmony was going on the first date in ages with a man named Peter (an insurance salesman) who turned out to spill the beans on his own sexuality that he (Shawn Macdonald) was gay. After enjoying Peter’s company, Harmony invites him back for a drink, the evening goes on and when Harmony goes to bed, Trevor and Peter end up falling for each other. When Harmony walks in on her seventeen year old son Trevor kissing Peter it unleashes something powerful and sacred in her. Their three lives are set in motion – perpetually intertwined. Lowest Common Denominator explores the often-controversial world of intergenerational relationships and unleashes the darkness that exists just underneath a thin skin.

The play is directed by Cameron MacKenzie. Tickets are available at ticketstonight.ca or 604-684-2787 and the show is on until March 30 at PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero Street,



Dance and Music Shined in this years Chutzpah Festival

by Richard Wolak on March 25, 2014

I saw three wonderful shows in this years Chutzpah Festival which was their 14th year of showcasing world-renowned artists in a vibrant celebration of the performing arts.

Bodytraffic Bodytraffic

The first featured LA-based BODYTRAFFIC who presented 3 different works, that featured a World Premiere by Hofesh Shector and a Canadian Premiere by Richard Siegal and Barak Marshall. I enjoyed each of the works as each was so different, this was an accomplished dance company with skilled dancers, great costuming and astounding energy.

Uri Gurvitch

The only musician that I was able to see during this years festival was the Internationally-celebrated  saxophone virtuoso Uri Gurvich and his Ensemble BabEl (Israel/US). His group performed a couple of stellar sets at the Vancouver Fanclub filling the club with brass infused beats.

ImPerfect Dancers

Lastly I enjoyed seeing ImPerfect Dancers (Italy) on stage at the Rothstein Theatre where they presented one world premiere “The Unseen Garden” as well as two Canadian premieres, “Makom” and “Istante” again each of the works was beautifully orchestrated.


Grupo Corpo

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Seeing the Brazilian dance sensation Grupo Corpo at DanceHouse was quite the treat. They presented two new works in a two night run on February 7 & 8th.. The first was playful, fun, with vibrant music, colourful coordinated of stage backgrounds and costumes. Called the work,Ímã, which means magnet, takes inspiration from the law […]

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Tasting Oltrepo’ Pavese Wines

by Richard Wolak Wine

Tweet Wines from the Oltrepo’ Pavese (in the Lombardy Region) were poured in Vancouver at a tasting at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel on February 18 as part of a trade mission to Western Canada sponsored by the Italian Chamber of Commerce. Oltrepo Pavese is the third largest grape growing area in Italy, often called “the […]

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Shifting Geography February 18-22

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet   The Cultch presents the world premiere of Shifting Geography: a new international ensemble dance creation under the collaborative work of Vancouver choreographer of Co.ERASGA, Alvin Erasga Tolentino and from Bonn, Germany of CocoonDance, Rafaële Giovanola.  A dazzling trans-continental dance creation, Shifting Geography features the choreography of Vancouver’s critically acclaimed Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Bonn-based RafaÎle Giovanola. Using those […]

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Chutzpah Festival February 22 – March 9

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet In their 14th 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, riveting theatre and breath-taking dance scheduled for presentation from February 22 – March 9, 2014. The Festival’s popular multi-faceted dance programming kicks off with a full […]

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Ballet BC Presents Grace Symmetry February 20-22

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Ballet BC in collaboration with Turning Point Ensemble (TPE) presents Grace Symmetry at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for three performances from February 20-22, 2014. Featuring live music by Turning Point Ensemble, Grace Symmetry includesWorld Premieres by Kevin O’Day and Medhi Walerski, plus the return of In Motion by Wen Wei Wang, an audience favourite from the 2010/11 dance season. Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar says, “We are thrilled to […]

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Grupo Corpo on February 7 & 8

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet An audience favourite, the Brazilian dance sensation Grupo Corpo returns to DanceHouse with two new works. In Sem Mim, meaning without me, “tattooed” dancers merge the rhythm of the sea with the music of medieval Portuguese-Galician chants. The second work,Ímã, which means magnet, takes inspiration from the law of magnetism. Dancers passionately entwine and separate […]

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