Cultural Overload!

Well, this long weekend was a weekend of culture! Finally!

(although to be honest it shouldn’t be, because I have much much studying to do!)…

So Friday night was a non-evening, I came home and was asleep by 10:30pm.

But Saturday! Christine and I went to see Vertigo Theatre’s production of “Sheer Madness”, a murder mystery play where the audience participates in attempting to find the killer. The story takes place in a hair salon, and the suspects are a flamboyantly gay male hair dresser, a wealthy high-society woman, another female hairdresser and a business man. Of course the action was tailored to Calgary, so it referenced, and made fun of, a few local haunts/ personalities. My favourite joke of the evening was when the male hairdresser was describing his haircutting scissors – a pair of 3″ trimming shears, a pair of 4″ scissors and his thinning shears which were like Stephen Harper (why?), “because they were dull and pointless”. The one actor who was the male hairdresser kept cracking the cast up, which made it like watching an old Carol Burnett show with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. Very enjoyable! Supposedly it runs until June the 9th. It was well worth it – I haven’t laughed that much in a while.

Next stop: Bob Wiseman at the Marquis Room. Having never been to, or heard of, the Marquis room, I was interested to find out it was on top of the Uptown theatre. A great theatre, but it has seen better days, I was a bit concerned at what the room would be like. Well, it was like walking into a little club-like oasis. Beautiful room, excellent acoustics, great bar. It was very surprising.

So we arrived there just in time to get our gin and tonics and to watch the opening act, Danielle French . This was my second time seeing Danielle in a couple of weeks, so I knew the music would be good. She had with her at this stop an electric violin player, a rogue accordion player, and a tuba player. Her music is carnival-esque, hintings of Tom Waits, with a very familiar tone to it. The tuba provided a wonderful, but not overbearing, accompaniment. She’s one of those ‘up and comers’ who has been working at music for a while, but I think this next album will do her well.

Next up was one member from the Phonemes , Magali Meagher, with a one-person set that seemed at times like there were a lot more people involved… this crazy cat stuck a tambourine on her foot to add a bit more punch to her toe-tapping. She has this amazing voice, able to float up to the highest pitches without even a wince of an incorrect note. I would have loved to see what the rest of the Phoneme crew added to her set, I think it would have been quite grand. As it was, Bob Wiseman played back-up lightbulbsonaboard (seriously, it was light bulbs, on a board, that were turned on when Magali played certain notes). The last song of her set, she gave everyone some sort of tambourine to play, which I was happy not to be part of. Unfortunately, Gary Burns (of the famed waydowntown, A Problem with Fear, and most recently Radiant City) kept bloody well passing off his table’s tambourines to us, so we ended up participating. If you ask me, his well-placed bathroom break was just an excuse. Gary Burns has no rhythm!

Finally, the act we had all been waiting for, was Bob Wiseman .

Now let me back track a little. This evening was to be an evening of musical artists who also produced media pieces in some way. The original ‘opener’ was Jason Trachenburg, who supposedly took slides from the 50’s and 60’s and threw them together, and make quirky songs out of them. I was disappointed not to see him, but not at the expense of the others that I had seen. So, Danielle and Magali both had their own film-based works, but they were less interactive.

Now, Bob Wiseman’s film works were definitely more interactive. Staring with the ‘silent’ movie that Bob played accordion to. The movie looked like it was taken from an old old sci-fi, but the dialogue had been changed to the voice of someone who was going to give Bob a demo CD because he knew Feist, and how you had to go about this giving so he didn’t think you were giving him a CD to give to Feist. Beautiful. The next media piece was about how to bury a dead body, which was also brilliant (and very well shot I have to admit). Another media bit that he had was about the different hand signals that someone can do, again, a wonderful concept for a short film. The music as always showcased Bob’s ability to weave humour with consciousness, without seeming overtly ‘preachy’.

Overall a wonderfully inspiring evening, making me want to either get back into playing piano, or getting my shite together to make my application to get some money so I can do my next film.

So then, Sunday night, we had visitors. Wayward Vancouverites who travelled via Salmon Arm to get to our High River area – GreenTara and her band of Scott and Nino. The back-track to this, is that Tara, along with the other GRRRLs with Guitars, stayed at the B+B back last year, and Tara called up to see about a place to crash – so crash they did. And because I was supposed to be studying, I wasn’t going to go and see their show which was scheduled at the Spot in Black Diamond. Well, at about 9pm I realized that I wasn’t going to be doing anything anyhow, so I may as well go. Well I walk in the door, and the stage is right there, Tara says “Elizabeth!” and then Brendan (who organized the Bob Wiseman show above) says “Liz Hay!”. I felt like Norm walking into Cheers fercryingoutloud. Of course, the opener for Tara’s show was Danielle French, and this time her whole famdamily was in tow. So brother Brendan, Sister Andrea, and Dad were hanging out, which seemed like good fun.

I saw GreenTara’s set, and it was wonderful with the drum and bass accompaniment. Her music is a fused together bunch of reggae, laidback cool groove, Spearhead kind of vibe. It was wonderful, warm music to somewhat combat the torrential downpours that we ordered especially to make the WestCoasters feel at home. Save for a loose G-string (lovely French humour), the set went off without a hitch. The evening ended with a great chat, closing out the “Spot” (at a late 11:30 or so!) and a drive back to High River, and a crash shortly thereafter.

So this morning, filled with gooey oatmeal (“Nino’s special”) and much coffee, I’m still writing to procrastinate. However, Pere Goriot will be done today, or else.

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