FUSE on August 15 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak on August 13, 2015


FUSE will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the biggest FUSE event in its history with FUSE: DISRUPTION, joining forces with the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2015), one of the world’s most prestigious global festivals presenting work at the intersection of art and technology, to bring you the works of 50 top local and international artists. Expect to experience intriguing ways in which these artists synthesize art and technology: the first global online protest software, a robot made of mud, a remotely controlled graffiti drone, a 24-hour James Franco TV channel, 3D-printed masks that protect identity, a compass for mountains and water, a software that trades human emotions as stocks, glitched Kindles, death metal music made from the sound of car chases, and many more. Altogether, these artworks investigate the contemporary moment through the lens of political, social, environmental, technological and aesthetic disruption.

Additionally, FUSE: DISRUPTION will take over the Robson Street plaza and the Robson Square Ice Rink with music performances and video projections programmed by New Forms Media Society, as well as art installations and dance activities, offering the extraordinary summer FUSEexperience both inside and outside the Gallery space.

Some highlights that are not to be missed:

The Electronic Disturbance Theater, a renowned pioneering group of art activists, presentsFloodNet—the first global online political protest software that successfully implemented electronic civil disobedience, launching a new era of hacktivism since 1998.

TZ’IJK is a blind, deaf, and speechless autonomous robot made from mud by Paula Gaetano Adi and Gustavo Crembil. Motivated by Latin America’s cannibalistic and hybrid nature, TZ’IJKproposes an alternative and disruptive approach to the development of embodied artificial life forms and advocates for the integration of high and low technological materials and cultures.

URME Surveillance is an interactive project that creates photorealistic, 3D-printed masks of artistLeonardo Selvaggio’s face, transforming his identity into a defense technology that protects the public from facial recognition software. When these masks are worn by the public, they trick the surveillance cameras into identifying the wearers as the artist.

Marisa Olson’s Blue Sky, a video sculpture housed in the gilded carcass of an obsolete Mac computer tower, offers a feminist critique of disruption as a corporate meme, in which disruption connects equally to rupture and faux-utopian progress. In the video the artist is shown working in a studio environment to create a handmade blue sky.

Kubrick or Korine™ (Alex Munt and Justin Harvey) launches a TV channel conceived for cultural producer, icon and visual artist James Franco. Part project and part product, 24 Hour Francoencases the Hollywood image-flow within avant-garde form and speaks to the comingling of art and celebrity in the global image economy.

Amelia Marzec’s New American Sweatshop is an installation that models a manufacturing plant where people hand-build semi-functioning prototypes out of post-consumer waste, investigating what our technology could look like in a future where the American dollar is worthless.

Created by Winnie Soon, gif project How to get the Mao experience through Internet… runs on a computer screen through a browser. With its specific characteristics of grainy texture, continuous looping and cinematic sequences, the artwork questions how the digital format might reconfigure the experience of a public space and the public figure of Mao Zedong.

Scott Kildall’s internet art and sculpture EquityBot treats twenty-four states of human affect as tradable commodities, “investing” in emotions such as anger, joy, disgust and amazement. It then links these emotions with actual stocks to make investments using a simulated brokerage account.

Andres Wanner’s Signature Strokes is a series of performative interventions in which a remotely controlled drone paints ephemeral graffiti in public space. The title is a play on signature strikes—drone killings based on suspicious behavioural patterns thought to be signatures of terrorists.

Taking up notions of fragments and nostalgia, By the Road is a sound sculpture created by Bjørn Erik Haugen. The soundtracks consist of the sound from car chases in famous movies translated into death metal music.

During the evening, FUSE-goers can also see the following exhibitions:
Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums
Material Future: The Architecture of Herzog & de Meuron and the Vancouver Art Gallery
How Do I Fit This Ghost in My Mouth? An exhibition by Geoffrey Farmer
Residue: The Persistence of the Real
Beyond the Trees: Wallpapers in Dialogue with Emily Carr (In conjunction with ISEA2015)

Tickets: $20 (+tax) | Free for Gallery members
Website: http://vanartgallery.bc.ca/events_and_programs/fuse.html


The Comedy of Errors at Bard thru September 26

by Richard Wolak on July 3, 2015

The Comedy of Errors

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens its 26th season with The Comedy of Errors. Directed by Bard on the Beach Artistic Associate Scott Bellis, this steampunk rendition of Shakespeare’s lively comedy runs June 4 to September 26 on the BMO Mainstage. Double trouble has never been more delightful! Two sets of long-lost twins meet up unexpectedly, creating hilarious confusion for their friends, loved ones – and most of all themselves.

After a shipwreck that split his family apart many years ago, Egeon (Scott Bellis), a merchant from Syracuse, finds himself facing the death penalty for illegally being in the rival city of Ephesus. Duke Solinus (Jeff Gladstone), moved by Egeon’s story, suspends the death penalty for just one day to give him time to raise the money to pay a fine, setting the plot in motion.

Meanwhile Egeon’s son, Antipholus of Syracuse (Ben Elliott), along with his servant, Dromio of Syracuse (Luisa Jojic), have also just arrived in town with the same family-seeking mission in mind. Things become complicated when they stumble upon the home of their identical twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus (Jay Hindle) and Dromio of Ephesus (Dawn Petten). Of course the locals of Ephesus all mistake the twins for their counterparts, from Antipholus’ wife Adriana (Sereana Malani) and her sister Luciana (Lindsey Angell), to Angelo the goldsmith (Andrew Cownden), Balthasar the merchant (Andrew McNee) and a Courtesan (Lili Beaudoin), turning the town upside down. When it seems like things could not get any stranger, we meet the mysterious Abbess (Anna Galvin), who has a secret of her own. Adding to the entertaining twists and turns along the way are Daniel Doheny (Maud, The Collections Officer) and Josh Epstein (The Smuggler).

Audiences will be transported into an alternate reality with the help of Malcolm Dow’s imaginative sound design and Gerald King’s lighting, adding to the eye-popping steampunk world that set designer Pam Johnson has created on stage. Costume designer Mara Gottler gives the classical Shakespearean play a full-blown visual makeover, using references to steampunk culture and colour to heighten the confusion, also showcased through choreography by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Alexandra Shewan (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for The Comedy of Errors is Amanda Lockitch.

The play runs June 4 through September 26 on the BMO Mainstage and is directed by Bard Artistic Associate, Scott Bellis. Tickets: 604-739-0559 or http://bardonthebeach.org/.


The Lion King

by Richard Wolak on June 25, 2015

From June 18-July 12, 2015, Broadway Across Canada brings the Tony-Award-winning musical, Disney’s The Lion King, to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

From the start, The Lion King promises to be a spectacle for the senses. From the opening lines sung by Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, to the entrance of the animals through the aisles onto the stage, the opening act takes the audience to the African plain and promises us an adventure. The production does not disappoint. The costumes are a visual wonder. Director and costume designer Julie Taymore radically reimagined the cartoon on which the musical is based, so that, rather than a cartoonish interpretation of the movie, all we see are beautiful animals interacting with the landscape. What was also wonderful was how they elevated the role of the lionesses to add a new dimension to the movie.

The beloved songs from the movie, including “The Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” are there, but they are richly interwoven with new music produced for the stage by Mark Mancina and Lebo M, allowing the audience transportation into Africa to be made even more real.

The actors perform their roles with such conviction that it is difficult to imagine them as humans. In particular, Nick Cordileone and Ben Lipitz as Simba’s buddies Timon and Pumbaa steal the show with their slick comic timing and impressive puppeteering. Kudos as well to Patrick R Brown as Scar, who plays the role with such menace that one shudders to meet him in a dark alley. The child actors Tre Jones and Mikari Tarpley bring boundless joy and energy to their roles as the young Simba and young Nala.

There is much to love about Disney’s The Lion King, that one can see why almost 110 million people have seen in over its 18 year history. Now it’s Vancouver’s turn, again, and I encourage you all to go and get your tickets to go on your journey to Pride Rock. You won’t be disappointed. Purchase tickets here.

By: Anna Wolak


BEST of the WEST August 5th

by Richard Wolak on May 29, 2015

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The 5th annual BEST of the WEST is a unique evening that pairs 12 of the Lower Mainland’s best restaurants with 12 BC wineries for a culinary arts event and competition. Sponsored by Grosvenor Americas and hosted by house wine, BEST of the WEST guests are encouraged to vote on their favourite pairing, with the winning team crowned BEST of the WEST.
Participating Restaurants:
Bene Sushi
Cactus Club Cafe
Feast Dining
Finch and Barley Restaurant
Mangia E Bevi
PARC Retirement Living
Pier 7 Restaurant + Bar
The Beach House Restaurant
The Observatory Restaurant
Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
Zen Japanese Restaurant
Participating Wineries:
Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
BURROWING OWL estate winery
Laughing Stock Vineyards
Nichol Painted Rock Estate Winery
Poplar Grove
Quails’ Gate
Road 13
Stag’s Hollow
Stoneboat Vineyards
Tantalus Vineyards
BEST of the WEST is an event you’ll not want to miss. Tickets sell out quickly each year! Tickets will be on sale Tuesday, May 19 for $105 each and can be purchased through Select Your Tickets by phone at 1-866-514-5050 or online.


Ballet BC Presents Rite May 7-9

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Ballet BC closes its 2014-15 season with a program of two extraordinary World Premieres in RITE at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 7-9, 2015. This program in two parts is inspired by The Rite of Spring, the ballet and orchestral concert work that premiered in 1913 and is widely considered one of the most […]

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FUSE on April 24 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak Art

Tweet Vancouver’s best art party returns on Friday, April 24, 2015 with a new ensemble of inspiring art, cutting-edge performance and experimental music at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Guest curated by David Pay, one of today’s leading classical and contemporary music programmers and Artistic Director of Music on Main in Vancouver, FUSE: The Noise of Silence […]

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, was a hilarious play with a refreshing script, playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre. Christopher Durang’s witty mash-up of Chekhov characters and smartphones is a delightful new farce for our hyperconnected era. Middle-aged siblings Vanya (Jay Brazeau) and Sonia (Susinn McFarlen) live an angst-ridden, melancholic existence […]

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KÄFIG BRASIL at DanceHouse on April 10 & 11

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet DanceHouse presents Kafig Brasil at the Vancouver Playhouse April 10 & 11, 2015, 8pm.  What do you get when you combine a French/Algerian choreographer steeped in hip-hop and circus arts, and eleven male dancers from Rio de Janiero’s notorious favelas? The answer is  CCN Créteil et Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig, which combines the energy and […]

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Mike Shum and his Chan Chan Cocktail

by Richard Wolak Drink

Tweet Local bartender Mike Shum has won a spot in the Bacardi Legacy global cocktail competition, he will be representing Vancouver when he competes against 7 other bartenders from across Canada. The Canadian competition will be held in Toronto on March 23rd where he will have a chance to present his cocktail to the judges. […]

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BC Distilled Spirits Festival April 18

by Richard Wolak Drink

Tweet Artisan distillers from twenty-three of the province’s leading small-batch distilleries, including eleven new to this year’s festival, will showcase their ingenuity through distinctive gins, vodkas, and other fine spirits and liqueurs. Aficionados and curious seekers alike will have the opportunity to sip and taste their way through these unique spirits complemented by locally-made beverages from Bittered Sling Extracts, Walter All-Natural Craft Caesar […]

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