Goh For Gold (Cultural) In 2010 OlympicsTuesday, December 30, 2008
An open blog to VANOC's Cultural Olympiad Czar Robert Kerr (left)
In November 2007 I read with interest and some degree of optimistic pleasure this article in my Vancouver Sun. Since then I have begun to feel some anxiety and have felt a tad depressed about it. It was only last week that while talking to someone (an important player in our city's cultural affairs) about who was going to appear in our 2010 Cultural Olympics that I realized I had a good reason to feel that anxiety and depression. This is what she said, "When VANOC announced its plan in 2007 and how cultural organizations could apply for participation many of us saw too many barriers and much bureaucracy. So we just didn't bother to apply." I am not quite sure she is right or that VANOC is as terrible a monolithic organization as some think. I know for a fact that they have been instrumental in helping fund the Pacific Baroque Orchestra's program to bring music to the Vancouver East Side with its free concerts at St James Anglican.
There is a funny word in Spanish, much funier than its English equivalent laughingstock. It is hazmerreír or literally "make me laugh". I am beginning to believe that our cultural Olympics might just make us the hazmerreír of the world.
Consider the following which are not in any special order and probably heavy into dancing since I am heavy into dancing. I saw them all and probably many more that with the fading memory of my age I have ovelooked but many who might read this will point them out. Will any be part of the cultural Olympics?
Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey
Trout Stanley is a play about the Canadian (BC) North produced by our local Ruby Slippers. This play won many awards in spite of being most entertaining and funny. To top it all it had a cast that featured some of our best actors including Jonathon Young and Lois Anderson.
Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge
by Kevin Kerr, Electric Theatre Company
No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, Electric Theatre Company
Both plays directed by Kim Collier would make Vancouver proud. Studies in Motion incorporated choreographer Crystal Pite. I can make the blanket statement that anything by or with Crystal Pite is worth watching.
His Greatness by Daniel MacIvor - Arts Club Theatre Company
His Greatness a play about Tennessee William's days in Vancouver shortly before he died combines stuff that would appeal to an international jet set audienced yet show a bit about our city. This play was produced by the Arts Club.
The Matka King and Bombay Black both by the Arts Club Theatre Company
Both these plays performed by the Arts Club Theatre Company are very Indian yet in many ways very Canadian by an Indian playwright and novelist of note Anosh Irani.
The Magic Flute by Mozart - Vancouver Opera
This Vancouver Opera production with dazzling sets and a setting production centered in the world of the North West coast aboriginal community is an opera that would be acclaimed for its originality anywhere in the world. There are many young Native Canadian singers who can sing the parts including Melody Mercredi.
Naomi's Road- Vancouver Opera
This accessible opera based on Joy Kogawa's internment in a camp in BC during World War II and with music by young local composer Ramona Luengen is an opera that my 9-year old granddaughter loved but also managed to entertain me. I wonder how much of VANOC's cultural olympics will appeal to children?
Game Misconduct - Presented by Festival Vancouver
in association with the
Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
This contemporary hockey opera with music by Leslie Uyeda and librettist Tom Cone with music performed by Standing Wave was a terrific comedy on how Canadians view hockey as an essential part of their lives. The re-mounting of this opera would also show off the musical brilliance of Standing Wave.
The Goldberg by John Alleyne
This 1998 look at Bach's Goldberg Variations as interpreted by a modern ballet company, Ballet BC was a revelation. It's use of recorded music could be improved (see below) to make this John Alleyne ballet a masterpiece.
The Goldberg Variations by a string trio.
Some years ago I attended a concert in which a string trio playing period baroque intstrments played an orchestration of Bach's Goldberg Variations. It was an evening of fun and wonder. The trio was composed of members of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, violinist Paul Luchkow, violist Angela Malmberg and cellist Laura Kramer. I would love to watch Alleyne's The Goldberg with live music by this trio.
The Faerie Queen John Alleyne and Ballet BC
This is another terrific John Alleyne piece for modern ballet that explores Purcell's music as adapted by two of Vancouver's most noted new music composers Michael Bushnell and Owen Underhill.
EDAM with Peter Bingham
Peter Bingham's brand of contact improvisational dance is cutting edge dance that is still accessible and fun. A collaboration by Bingham and Crystal Pite, Vanishing Point is memorable for me as one of the most dazzling displays of theatre/dance I have ever seen.
Brief Encounters & Dances for the Small Stage
Both of these separate dance organizations Brief Encounters and Day Helesic's Dances for a Small Stage offer small stand alone dance performances that mix various media and can be performed in minium space to alll audiences. Many Vancouver choreographers of note have been involved with Dances for a Small Stage.
Anything by Choreographer Jennifer Mascall
But especially a production of her dance The Brutal Telling based on the life of BC artist Emily Carr.
Anything by Karen Jamieson Dance.
More than anybody Karen Jamieson has worked hard to fuse modern dance forms with elements of Canadian aboriginal dance and aboriginal culture.
Blood Alley by Byron Chief-Moon
I have seen Byron Chief-Moon dance with the Karen Jamieson Dance Company but this solo performance of his is dramatic and thrilling.
Fan Dance by the Goh Ballet
Just a few months ago I saw a fan dance at the Goh Ballet that incorporated both Asian and non Asian dancers. It was terrific to hear those large fans open and close. I cannot think of anything more appropriate to show off our multiculturalism.
Anything involving dancer/choreographers Shay Kuebler, Amber Barton Funk and Josh Martin.
These three dancer/choregraphers have fused modern dance to hip-hop and produced an amalgamation that works and is exciting, too.
Slab by choreographer Chick Snipper
This startling dance based on 16th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius incorporated new music with musicians like the internationally renowned local cellist Peggy Lee.
Anything by Bard On The Beach
There is nothing like Christopher Gaze's Bard On the Beach anywhere else in the world that has the setting of Vancouver as a back stage.
The Borealis Quartet
I saw a performance of this quartet of young virtuosi at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden last year. A superb group in a superb setting.
Anything by the Vancouver Symphony and Bramwell Tovey. Anybody who can pass muster with the critical audience of New York City would surely delight the world that is coming to us during the 2010 Olympics.
Blod Mixes Inside My Heart by Kevin Loring -Vancouver Playhouse
This play set in Lytton BC was a wonder to watch and listen to. Kevin Loring's play is a must.
Three Sixty Five by Wen Wai Wang
This modern dance piece by Wen Wai Wang and his company featuring a musically deconstructed score of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and performed with cellist Peggy Lee was Vancouver dance at its most avant-garde.
Anything by Kidd Pivot's Crystal Pite
Vancouver Jazz. I could think of many but these young performers come to mind besides our city's one and only Brad Turner. There is Amanda Tosoff and Cris Derksen.
The Pacific Baroque Orchestra
Some years ago the PBO under the helm of virtuoso violinist Marc Destrubé organized a spectacular concert at the UBC First Nations Longhouse that featured baroque (proto ballet) dancers in juxtaposition to contemporary (17 century) First Nations dance.
Mr. Kerr is it too late to incorporate any of these acts?