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.
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!