Craiglist Cantata - Selling Cheap - Vintage Bill Richardson PhotosTuesday, January 24, 2012
For many years I could not figure out who Bill Richardson was. In fact I simply did not like him when I heard him on the radio. Then the CBC hired me to photograph him at a Tupperware party that included a baby called Hayley Turner who was 16 months old. I have no recollection of the date. But Richardson had quite a time attempting to make Hayley react for my camera. My guess is that you can know your Lucias, Manricos, Brunhildes, handle dogs, write wonderful plays, write books about beds and breakfasts, create one of the best ever CBC radio shows in my memory, Bunny Watson, but he cannot handle babies.
It happened at a Western Magazine Awards function in which he was master of ceremonies. One particular writer whose name I will simply say was D kept winning all the awards. After each award the writer would make a speech. When it came to get the big award of the night D won it and spoke for a long time acknowledging both mother and, Martin Heidegger several times. At that point if my rubber chicken dinner had included stuffed eggs or ripe tomatoes I would have thrown them at D.
Richardson gave D the envelope and said very clearly and quite loudly, “Congratulations D and I hope your butt falls off.” From then on Bill Richardson was my hero.
My wife Rosemary and I knew that we would have a great time tonight at the opening of Bill Richardson and Veda Hille’s Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craiglist Cantata. Hille, is a wonderful composer, singer who can play a mean piano while standing and write music for a carpenter’s saw.
The musical play opened at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage on Granville Island and is the Arts Club’s participation in this year’s Push Festival.
I knew we were in for a pleasant evening because I was able to count with the fingers of one hand the times Push Festival’s dour Executive Director, Norman Armour smiled while making his shortish speech.
Of the musical I can assure you that the six performers, J. Cameron Barnett (he plays a mean tenor sax and meows a mean cat), Dmitry Chepovetsky (can grow twice the size at will), Bree Greig (plays a mean flute, can alternately use a hair brush as a mike or as a hairbrush, and enjoys smelling young men in buses), Veda Hille (plays a mean piano even sitting down) Selina Martin (a cat lady, and hat lady, to end all cat ladies and hat ladies, plays a mean saw) and Barry Mirochnick (whose beautiful hair made me ponder my now firmly established sexual proclivity) can all sing, dance, act and do just about anything else with aplomb.
But this man, who was born south down Argentine way and can dance a reputable tango noticed the extreme pathos of Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craiglist Cantata.
I am sure that the presence tonight of those just about extinct newspaper editors (the Vancouver Sun has not had one for a while) or managing editors (the Vancouver Sun has not had one for a long while) would have found nothing to laugh about, particularly anything connected with Craig Newmark.
But for me there was much more in this musical. It seemed that all the lively songs were about lonely people, living in abject anonymity that wanted to be noticed and perceived as human beings. They were the ones wearing the pink hat, jogging sans shirt at the lakeshore or tapping with angst at their laptops at Starbucks. In a world of fame, instant fame, viral blogs and viral Youtube, they wanted to seen, not just virtually, in a world of mediocre and gutless thumb up facebook tags.
Rachel Ditor, who must have made countless journeys as a go-between Richardson and Hille and the director Amiel Gladstone. Ditor enthusiastically informed me this was a play not to be missed. She was right. But she didn’t warn me to bring a hanky. This is a funny musical that made me want to cry.
If at this point you ask yourself, what the heck is a dramaturg you are in good company. I happened to see Vicki Gabereau with Fanny Kieffer before the show started. I asked Kiefer if she knew what a dramaturg was or did. She answered, " I don't know and consider that I studied drama in ...." I told her to ask Gabareau whose intial reply started with an obscenity, " .... if I know," but then did reveal a good idea of what a dramaturge (Gabareau inserted that optional and usually more common e) does and is. If you want to find out what a dramaturg is and does, you might find out soon. I suggested to Kieffer that she might want to invite Ditor to her Shaw TV show and get the definition from the horse's mouth.
This daily blog which I began in January 1996 is based on Bill Richardson's concept for his CBC Radio show Bunny Watson.
Do You Want What I have Got? A Craiglist Cantata - January 19 until February 11, 2012 at the Granville Island Review Stage.