The Challenges and Opportunities of Improvisational Dance

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I have a new review up on VANDOCUMENT.  This one covers a program of largely improvisational dance performances, “inside the lines | the lines inside”, that was on offer at the Edam Dance Theatre in October.

Check it out.

An Autobiography Carved from Biography

Trailer for Moyra Davey’s film, Les Goddesses.

My latest review for VANDOCUMENT is online. This one takes-on Moyra Davey’s challenging 2011 film, Les Goddesses, in which she tells the story of a sad, distant time in her past via the biographies of other women: the 18th Century proto-feminist philosopher and literary figure Mary Wollstonecraft, Ms. Wollstonecraft’s daughters (including the writer Mary Shelley), and Ms. Davey’s own three sisters.

Check it out.

One other thing about the review bears mentioning. I attempt to take Ms. Davey’s project seriously and therefore offer my best effort to dissect whatever-the-hell might be going-on in the film. Without in any way abandoning criticality, I am loathe to write derogatorily about any of the work I cover for VANDOCUMENT. My objective there (unlike the sometimes-harsh things I write on memestream) is to present a fair sense of a project or event contributing to the current local art scene while being supportive of the artists and institutions who are putting themselves on-the-line and bringing value to the community. So, if I have committed to a degree of non-negativity and intellectual engagement with Ms. Davey’s work in my review, please do not be misled into thinking that the film is any good. It is not.

Whoa Nelly!

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The preternaturally brilliant Nelly César performs “Fossil” in “Diffractions of the Local” at Vancouver’s Back Gallery Project.  Photo by Roman and courtesy of VANDOCUMENT.

My latest VANDOCUMENT review is online.  I had the privilege of covering a wonderful show at the Back Gallery Project called “Diffractions of the Local”, celebrating the work of seven Latin American artists who live and work in Vancouver: Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda (Mexico), Nelly César (Mexico), Carlos Colín (Mexico), Guadalupe Martínez (Argentina), Manuel Piña (Cuba), Emilio Rojas (Mexico), and Josema Zamorano (Mexico).

Check it out!

VANDOCUMENT: Creating a Vivid Record of the Thrilling Artistic Present

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I’m always a sucker for a well-conceived project, started by passionate, talented people, which has the aim of building community and supporting the creative work of others.  That’s why I am now contributing to VANDOCUMENT, the six-month-old brain-child of local arts photographer Ash Tanasiychuk.

VANDOCUMENT is a collective of photographers, videographers, and writers who are endeavouring to capture the exciting vibe of Vancouver’s arts scene in images and words.  The aim is both to generate interest, awareness, and support for the art-makers in our midst, and to create a vibrant archive that tells the story, if only anecdotally, of the creative surge Vancouver is now experiencing.

My first contribution to the VANDOCUMENT collection – a review of Nicole DesLauriers’s smart, ambitious take on the fin de sicle absurdist play Ubu Cocu, by Alfred Jarry – is now up on the VANDOCUMENT site, for your reading pleasure.

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Show-Up

The Unplugging

Show-up, people. Just fucking-show-up.

Tonight, Yoo-Mi and I were privileged to attend a performance of Yvette Nolan’s smart, gripping new work, The Unplugging, at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Revue Stage. The play, set in post-apocalyptic Canada, explores the emotional need for community, the compulsion to generosity, and the go-to sustainability of traditional ways of living – and the dangerous ways in which these virtues are challenged by the venality of a culture that has convinced itself that survival is a zero-sum game. The dialogue is tight, the production simple, direct, and effective, and the acting (by Jenn Griffin, Margo Kane, and Anton Lipovetsky) stunningly superb. By all rights, the 198-seat theater should have been packed.

Instead, there were twenty of us comprising the audience.

Continue reading ‘Show-Up’

Visiting the Forest

Awakin.org, home of the ServiceSpace Global Forest Call

On Saturday morning I set an alarm (something I do only rarely), and made the beautiful early-morning drive from Tuolumne Meadows in the Yosemite high country, down Tioga Pass, to the little town of Lee Vining in search of either an internet connection or mobile phone coverage. I had a date. Over my strenuous protest, the ServiceSpace volunteer team known as the Forest Farmers of had scheduled me as the guest on the weekly “Global Forest Call”, an hour-and-a-half of inspirational sharing from the frontlines of generosity.

Those of you who know me will also know that I am an utterly appalling choice for this honor, lacking in both notable accomplishment and the spiritual bonafides most Forest Call participants usually tune-in for. Sure, I can talk a blue-streak; but I even bore myself.

And, in the end, that’s all that was required of me: talk and bore, bore and talk. The session was expertly mediated with questions posed by the always-brilliant (and occasional bane of my existence) Rahul Brown. He asked about the early days of ServiceSpace, my ideas about certain key concepts of service, my staunch atheism, and my feelings about ethics and garbage. When the questions opened-up to the audience, they became more biographical: about my aches and pains, my affection for India, and the like. Talk and bore, bore and talk.

Masochists can find a summary here, written by the irrepressible Audrey Lin, whose optimism and joyful outlook on life certainly color the retelling of the call, as they color so much for all who encounter her.

Meggyleves — Chilled Sour Cherry Soup

Sour cherry season is short, but sweet… or sour… or whatever.  So much to do with these little morsels of yumminess in so little time.  Canning sour cherry compote to serve as a base for sauces to be lovingly spooned over duck and pork throughout the remainder of the year is one priority.  Another is to slurp as much meggyleves — the borscht-like Hungarian chilled sour cherry soup — as humanly possible.

Continue reading ‘Meggyleves — Chilled Sour Cherry Soup’


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the Miami Dolphins NFL bullying episode brings the evergreen topic of the idiocy of manliness back into focus.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the re-election of President Barak Obama has done nothing to turn America away from its recent ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprinted in frustration that a dumbass nonevent brought down David Petraeus, the most brilliant, influential, deeply flawed military strategist since Harry Potter.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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