The September Arts and Events Flood

Amitai Marmorstein and Celine Stubel in Legoland

Ami­tai Mar­morstein and Celine Stubel
in Legoland
“Mor­mons are creepy.”

I don’t know what it is about Sep­tem­ber. Pam and I have duti­ful­ly tried to keep up, but there’s just so much going on! I’m way behind in post­ings, so here are a few things just to get caught up.

The Fringe
We went to three plays (just a frac­tion of the num­ber pre­sent­ed), includ­ing Dar­ren Barefoot’s charm­ing roman­tic com­e­dy Bul­loxed. Bul­loxed, as you can read from the blog about the play (but I include here so you don’t have to go hunt­ing for the blurb) is:

Set in Dublin, Ire­land, at the height of the dot-com boom, Cana­di­an com­put­er pro­gram­mer Jack is struck by love and a God-awful pain in his ‘bol­locks’ at pre­cise­ly the same moment. While he may have found the woman of his dreams, dis­cov­er­ing the source of tes­ti­cle pain is, well, more sen­si­tive. Will a clash of cul­tures and the nag­ging feel­ing that things just aren’t right kill the romance for good?

Is it pos­si­ble to have a roman­tic com­e­dy about tes­ti­cle pain? As it turns out, it’s not only pos­si­ble, but Pam in par­tic­u­lar (per­haps because she felt less empa­thy?) found it extreme­ly fun­ny. It’s a shame that some sub­jects are so tick­lish that the cen­sors would nev­er let them through for a stan­dard sit­com or even movie, unless it were an inde­pen­dent film. After all, pain in the groin area is some­thing that many of us guys have expe­ri­enced at one time or anoth­er. While the whole tes­tic­u­lar agony thing was the ‘hook’ for the play, the play is more of a dat­ing dance, between a fiery Irish girl and geeky Com­put­er Pro­gram­mer. I felt par­tic­u­lar­ly proud as a new­com­er to Cana­da to get the joke when Jack and Aoife enter into a scene singing the theme song to ‘The Lit­tlest Hobo’, which I learned out about via a “Cor­ner Gas” episode only a few short months ago. While I felt the whole sto­ry could have gone on a bit fur­ther, the fact that I want­ed more was prob­a­bly a good sign. Per­haps Dar­ren will write a big­ger play next year.

A few nights lat­er, we caught short but intense mono­logue called ‘Troia’ about the intern­ment of Ital­ian Cana­di­ans dur­ing World War II (not dis­sim­i­lar to what went on in the US with the Japan­ese dur­ing the same time peri­od). Again, I felt it was too short, and per­haps even could sense a screen­play in there some­where. (My pitch to the pro­duc­ers: Think Snow Falling on Cedars meets Moon­struck and set it in Ontario).

Final­ly, our favourite play(and picked as one of the best of the fes­ti­val and repeat­ed this week­end): Legoland. Legoland was the name giv­en to the out­side world by two home-schooled chil­dren on a BC Com­mune (their par­ents get impris­oned for grow­ing pot, wouldn’t you know), Pen­ny and Ezra Lamb. Their sto­ry was part cau­tion­ary tale (part of Penny’s ‘Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vice’), part kalei­do­scop­ic Amer­i­can Road trip, and part ode to every out­sider kid you’ve ever known (or end­ed up being). It was a scream, and as we left the the­atre, we knew that we’d seen some­thing real­ly extra­or­di­nary. The actors, Ami­tai Mar­morstein as Ezra and Celine Stubel as Pen­ny, were so per­fect for their char­ac­ters that if some­one ever turned the play into a movie, they would have to cast them in the same parts. Next year, per­haps we’ll triple our num­ber of plays attend­ed again. Nine plays in 10 days? Well, some of them real­ly are just 20 min­utes long.

The Blog­ger Meet­up
Last week was the Sep­tem­ber Van­cou­ver Blog­gers Meet­up. Sev­er­al of us spent a few hours on a rainy evening chat­ting, eat­ing and drink­ing, in about that order. While we talked about a range of sub­jects, includ­ing how to blog about your some­one with­out them know­ing about it, are reli­gious peo­ple actu­al­ly dan­ger­ous (in these days of sui­cide bombers and Chris­t­ian theocrats, not a triv­ial ques­tion), how to make a liv­ing dri­ving traf­fic to web sites, and how we all make deci­sions about our lives. I think that Isabel­la Mori, our Meet­up Leader, found a real­ly nice meet­ing place in Cen­tu­ry, an old bank that is now con­vert­ed to a restau­rant and bar on Richards (about 2 blocks from where I work). The place is both cozy and impres­sive . That may be hard to imag­ine from the sound of it, but the high ceil­ings, leather fur­ni­ture and dim light­ing, along with friend­ly staff, a well-stocked bar and tasty food (I had crepes filled with BBQ Duck, Oax­a­can cheese and herbs — a lot of fresh tar­ragon, I think) all made it a win­ner in my book. It was a lit­tle noisy, but I’m hap­py to have found a new place to meet and take refuge on those dark and wet nights that will be on their way here soon.

Speak­ing of the sea­sons, fel­low blog­ger MJ men­tioned that she had read and part­ly agreed with my char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Vancouver’s pen­du­lum-like swing between the city of the mind (fall,winter) and city of the body (spring,summer). She did point out, how­ev­er that not every­one can com­plete­ly go all-mind in win­ter and all-body in sum­mer, par­tic­u­lar­ly those like she who are fans of win­ter sports like ski­ing and snow­board­ing (how could I for­get that stuff?). So I guess the city does not split the year so neat­ly. Nev­er­the­less, this last week­end we got to…yet anoth­er Arts Event:

The Word on the Street
On Sun­day late morn­ing we head­ed over to the Library, for ‘The Word on the Street’, their annu­al book and mag­a­zine fair. Booths around the library (and in that sort of mini-mall on the inside) as well as ‘The Word Under the Street’ in the base­ment host­ed all sorts of lit­er­ary and lit­er­a­cy orga­ni­za­tions, writ­ers, poets, and oth­er speak­ers. Pam and I were lucky enough to hear ‘The Hock­ey Sweater’ (a sto­ry that is so cen­tral to Cana­di­an cul­ture that an excerpt of it is actu­al­ly print­ed on the 5 dol­lar bill!) read by the warm and fun­ny author of the tale, Roch Car­ri­er, who is also one of the most cel­e­brat­ed Que­bec writ­ers in Cana­da. It was made into an ani­mat­ed short in 1980 (with M. Car­ri­er nar­rat­ing) and is now con­sid­ered a clas­sic of Cana­di­an lit­er­a­ture. Pam was very touched by this cute sto­ry (no spoil­ers here — go and read it your­self!), and we both felt like we had got­ten one step clos­er to being Cana­di­ans. We also col­lect­ed a ton of stuff, includ­ing books, pads, free mag­a­zines and var­i­ous tchochkes.

In a few days, Pam and I are going to take a lit­tle break, via a trip up to Whistler to take in some more of those BC vis­tas that put us (and our now more active minds) more in per­spec­tive. Man does not live by plays, con­ver­sa­tions and books alone.

PS: One of the rea­sons this post is real­ly 3 is the fact that I’m spend­ing a fair amount of time get­ting ready to move this blog. Yes, I man­aged to get the domain ‘loudmurmurs.com’, and am think­ing about mak­ing the leap to Word­Press, which I installed and worked to cus­tomize a lit­tle ear­li­er today at that domain. It seems none too soon, as I’ve been hav­ing a real­ly hard time post­ing this — Blog­ger has been incred­i­bly flakey and slow late­ly.

If all goes well, I’ll be mov­ing to the new URL and blog­ging plat­form in Octo­ber. Stay tuned for a new look and new loca­tion!