Letter from Heather: We need your support!

Dear friend of The Cultch,

We need your support!

This December, The Cultch will open the newly renovated York Theatre. The theatre will be an invaluable community resource that will revitalize the north corridor of Commercial Drive between Venables and Hasting Streets and bring live performance to the Commerical Drive neighbourhood.

A shot from the new York Theatre. Photo taken on May 29, 2013

Following in the tradition of the naming of other heritage buildings such as the “Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,” The Cultch would like to name the stage of the York Theatre and put signage on the exterior of the building that includes the name of its sponsor. The significant funds raised from this naming are essential in ensuring The York and The Cultch are financially healthy, stable, and sustainable both now and in the future.

About the signage:

  • Low-tech and unobtrusive
  • Will progressively dim as it gets darker; by evening the sign will only be at 30% of its brightness
  • No flash; the projecting sign will scroll and will be text
  • Controlled and monitored by The Cultch
  • On the fascia sign, the lighting will come from below the sign and point upward
  • Both signs will be turned off at 11 pm each day

We’re inviting Cultch supporters, neighbours, and artists to join us in showing your support for The Cultch, the York Theatre, and the sustainability of arts in this community!

COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE

When: Wednesday, June 19 from 5 pm – 8 pm

Where: The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables Street)

What: An open house held by the City of Vancouver to review our signage proposal and receive community feedback.There will be pictures of the proposed signs and Cultch representatives and City staff available to answer your questions. There will also be an opportunity to fill out a survey. Please feel free to stop by any time during the course of the open house.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 604.251.1766 or heather@thecultch.com, if you have any questions or would like to chat further.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of The Cultch and the new York Theatre!

Heather Redfern

Executive Director

Mump + Smoot: Hstry f Clwng nd Clwn Fobya (Ummonium, translates to History of Clowning and Clown Phobia)

Mump & Smoot live on the planet Ummo, worship the god Ummo and speak Ummonium – their own brand of gibberish. But as cute and cuddly as Mump & Smoot may sound, you’ll want to think twice about hugging these ‘clowns of horror’. Hailed as the ‘Laurel and Hardy from hell’ (Vancouver Sun), the pair of clowns use comedy to address all types of fears, from embarrassment to death to a visit to the doctor’s office. Says Michael Kennard (Mump), “All the horror stuff came from John and I wanting to examine fear and the fear that exists in human nature and the world.” [In ‘Something’,] “we start with a relatively gentle fear—by going to a café—around the issues of etiquette and manners, making a fool of yourself in public and being looked down upon by those who have a different set of decorum,”  John Turner (Smoot) says. “So we start kind of gently.” Which is great news for people who are curious about the show but perhaps a touch afraid of clowns!

If you are afflicted with coulrophobia (phobia of clowns) you’re not alone. Type ‘fear of clowns’ into Google search and you’ll find page after page dedicated to the subject. Before we look at the why, let’s delve a little in to the history of the clown.

The tradition of clowning goes back quite a ways; to ancient Greece even – one could argue that the pantomimes in Greek plays were the basis of the modern day clown. When we think ‘clown’ most of us think of the typical ‘whiteface’ clown – face and neck painted white, eyes, nose and mouth usually painted in black and red, ruffled collar, terrible jumpsuit situation and over-sized shoes. But there are many different types of clowns: jesters and fools often found in Shakespearean plays, the Tramp or Hobo (think Charlie Chaplin), and the character clown (think Rodeo Clown) to name a few.

Mump & Smoot fall into a sub-category of the ever-so-popular, sometimes funny, sometimes frightening and murderous, Whiteface Clown called the ‘Grotesque Whiteface’. Although the word ‘grotesque’ sounds frightful (and is somewhat fitting for a show like Mump & Smoot in Something), the term actually means odd or unnatural in shape, as are the features of this type of clown. The mouth and eyebrows are exaggerated not only with various colors but also shapes and a bulbous red nose is the cherry on top if you will.

So what’s up with coulrophobia? One theory put forth is something called the ‘uncanny valley effect’. This is when, say, a robot or actual person behaves almost human, but not quite, causing people to become extremely uncomfortable or even repulsed. Think of a clown acting sad or in pain but has a huge smile painted on his face. Frightening, no? It also doesn’t help that film and TV has vilified the poor clown like in Stephen King’s ‘It’ featuring the nightmare-inducing Pennywise. But there are also the awesomely hilarious clowns like Homey the Clown from ‘In Living Color’, Krusty the Clown from ‘The Simpsons,’ and our homegrown Canadian duo, Mump + Smoot.

Despite fear being a major component of the show people are coming back in droves and loving it. But don’t take our word for it and check out these rave reviews from Jo Ledingham and Colin Thomas!

Mump & Smoot runs at The Cultch until June 2. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

IGNITE! Design Mentorship Goes Goth

IGNITE! Youth Mentorship Participant Nina Sky Robertson in 'Garbage Girl'

This week we’d like to spotlight one of the mentees from The Cultch’s

IGNITE! Mentorship Program — Nina Sky Robertson. Robertson was selected for a mentorship in Stage Design and has been learning the ropes from accomplished artist/designer, Alice Mansell. This brand new mentorship program in costume and set design is intended for aspiring young stage designers wishing to pursue a career in the arts. In the inaugural year of this program the assignment was to transform The Cultch lobby into a veritable Victorian gothic funeral parlor,  for the world premiere of Tara Cheyenne Friendenberg’s Highgate (exciting, no?)

With the show opening this week, we managed to do a little Q&A with Robertson and her experience in working on the set of Highgate.

A: Can you tell us a bit about your design background?

N: I am a life long ‘odd’ schooler. I have attended an assortment of public programs and schools ranging from a democratic free-school to an academically driven philosophy and english program. The most relevant educational experience to this mentorship has been a series of apprenticeships with world renowned artists from Vancouver, Toronto, and Mexico. I truly believe in life-long learning.

A sneek peek at The Cultch lobby for Highgate. Photo courtesy of Christine Quintana

A: Why The Cultch Mentorship Program?

N: I came to the mentorship through a conversation with Robert (Youth Program Manager). I had mentioned wanting to expand my textile arts practice into theatre design and two days later an incredibly lovely email arrived from him mentioning the program and asking me to apply.

A: Tell us a little bit about what the mentorship has entailed.

N: It has entailed – at least for Highgate and with Alice – a considerable amount of draping (predominantly Gothic, Victorian objects) some pattern drafting, not to mention the chance to create a relationship with Alice and gain insight into her process and history.

Highgate creator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg (Dance/Choreography) and Alice Mansell (Stage Design)

A: What are your plans for the future?

N: I intend to continue to expand my textile arts practice, hopefully moving further into the theatre community in the next few years and continue with a broad smattering of other arts, travel and academic projects.

If you want to see Robertson and Mansell’s creation firsthand, you’ll have to swing by The Cultch and get your tickets to Highgate which runs May 1 –  4 and invites you for ‘a morbid romp through Victorian funerary culture. Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a good morbid romp?

A conversation with Isa Szeto, Web and Design coordinator for The Cultch

Isa Szeto, Design and Web Coordinator for The Cultch, on top of Cypress Mountain

The bicycle serves not only as inspiration but also as instrument in our new show  SPIN running until

April 20. Through a series of songs played live on a vintage bicycle, SPIN recounts a theatrical cycle of stories about women, cycling, and liberation.

In honour of Evalyn Parry’s SPIN, we feature one of our very own, Isa Szeto from The Cultch’s marketing team!  We were delighted to catch up with Isa – an avid bike enthusiast – to discuss her love for biking and to find out a little bit more about the Cultch’s talented designer.

Do you bike to work every day?  Rain or shine?

Yes, I bike every day, 27 kilometres roundtrip to and from work every day. The Cultch has showers and lockers for which I’m very thankful for. I ride in the rain or shine or snow (-8°c is my record).  I guess you might wonder why I would bike in such terrible conditions.  Personally, there is something appealing about prevailing against the odds and arriving at the end destination with your blood pumping in your veins. Getting to work by bus or by car is just not the same.

How did you get into biking?

I grew up in the suburbs and while in high school, I did a lot of standing around, waiting for the bus.  It dawned on me one day that the actual distance travelled was very short. So I saved up and bought myself a yellow Norco 10 speed and just started self-propelling myself to high school in Grade 11.  I was hooked: the feeling of exhilaration and self-sufficiency has never left me. I ended up trying a few cycling clubs in Vancouver to learn how to ride in a pack and now ride with Glotman Simpson. I even rode when I was eight months pregnant. My husband Michael was quite wigged out by that!

How does biking make you feel?

Biking makes me feel strong and alive! It is a part of my life. This month, Michael and I will cycle up Mount Haleakalā Maui, a 10,000 foot ascent which is one of the few paved 10,000 foot ascents that you can safely cycle up in the world.  Again, there is something about prevailing against the odds that’s very appealing to me. Biking has opened up so many worlds for me, geographically, socially, physically and mentally. I recently got the Strava app on my phone. Reading the tallies of the calculations of speed, distance, elevation gain, etc. after each ride (and my friends’ rides) is fascinating! Highly recommended for any person on two wheels.

SPIN runs at The Cultch until April 20. Tickets are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St.

The Cultch Preview: FESTA!

On Saturday, April 27, The Cultch will celebrate the tradition and culture of Barcelona with FESTA, a special fundraising gala. Set around El dia de la Rosa, or the day of the Rose, FESTA promises an evening of passion, food and revelry. A tribute to Sant Jordi (St. George to anglophones), protector of Catalania and of lovers, the festival is a staple of Spanish culture and is the inspiration behind this year’s event.

Hosted by the CBC’s Margaret Gallagher and actor Jay Brazeau, arriving guests can linger, mix and mingle and enjoy sangria and tapas right off the Historic Theatre! Here’s an exclusive preview of the festivities:

Highlights:

  • FESTA will kick off the evening with a Cava Cabaret (CLab) where the Christina Barcelona Quartet will play until 8 pm.
  • There will be roving entertainment throughout the Lobby Bar & Founders Lounge. Over 60 bottles of beautiful cava is on stock so there will be copious amounts of bubbles.
  • At 8 pm guests will move to the Historic Stage for a fantastic dinner served “en familia” catered by Merchants and Cork & Fin. Long tables of 6 or 12 will fill the stage while guests quaff amazing red and white Spanish wines (or more cava).
  • While guests eat and drink – they can sit back and enjoy “pop-up” entertainment from the balcony and special stage!

Live and silent Spanish-themed auction:

  • Art by internationally known painters Jamie Evrard and Vicky Marshall,
  • Private dinner for 10 (with cocktails and wine) at the legendary Penthouse Nightclub with hosts Aaron Chapman (author of Liquor, Lust & the Law),  A burlesque show, lots of stories, an autographed copy of the book and a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • Tickets and a meet and greet with Diana Krall
  • Airfare and accommodation at a festival in Barcelona this July
  • Private dinner for 10 with Espana executive chef Neil Taylor at Barbara-Jo’s Books for Cooks

More!

Following the live auction and dessert, guests can sit back and relax with friends or head back to the Cava Cabaret for mingling, dancing or further revellry with music by one of Vancouver’s best dance bands – The Enablers.

Tickets are $200 ($150 tax receipt) or $150 ($110 tax receipt) and are available now through The Cultch Box Office by phone at 604.251.1363, in person at 1895 Venables Street or online at tickets.thecultch.com. Group tables and sponsorships are also available.

An exclusive Q+A with Tim Carlson, creator of Extraction

Tim Carlson, Theatre Conspiracy's artistic producer and show creator

There’s only one week left until the highly anticipated premiere of the bilingual, documentary-style theatre show, Extraction. Tim Carlson, Theatre Conspiracy artistic producer and show creator, is deep into rehearsals but took time to chat with us about how his childhood impacted the show, The Cultch’s involvement in making the concept a reality, and the importance of gaining a different perspective.

OH: Can you talk me through the creation of Extraction?

TC: Growing up in Alberta, I was surrounded by relatives in the oil industry. My grandfather, father, cousins and uncles were constantly exchanging tales of their experiences out in the field since the 1940s. This influenced me greatly and from then on, I always wanted to make some sort of play that spoke to my family’s heritage in the industry. The actual conceptualization for the play started in 2009, when one of my best friends from high school (Jimmy Mitchell) moved back to Vancouver after almost three decades in China and Taiwan as a teacher, journalist and diplomat.  As I listened to recollections of his time in Asia, it became apparent that there was an evolving story to tell and Jimmy’s insight became much of the starting point for Extraction. At around the same time, there was a growing interest from China in Canada’s oil sands. The two nations, which had little in common just over 30 years ago, now had a common thread in the form of oil trade. Much like the way crude oil is refined into products such as jet fuel and petroleum, we look at the way cultural nuances, history and language become intertwined and connected when people come together. There’s a symbolic and overarching theme of refinement throughout the performance.

From left: Cultch executive director Heather Redfern, Theatre Conspiracy artistic producer Tim Carlson, and Rio Tinto Alcan representative Richard Prokopanko.

OH: From concept to reality – what happened next?

TC: The Cultch’s support from early on was instrumental in our ability to receive grants from different organisations such as the BC Arts Council and Vancouver Foundation to conduct much-needed research for the play right from the start. Having The Cultch on your side means a lot – it’s well-respected and has a great reputation. With the funding we received, we were able to make a trip to Beijing in 2010 to do casting calls and conduct interviews with people such as professional interpreters and translators to form some of the content for Extraction. We were also able to make two trips to Fort McMurray to talk to a number of individuals, from new Chinese employees to union members to immigrant services.

Jimmy Mitchel, Sunny Sun and Jason Wilson play themselves in Extraction

OH: How did your background in journalism influence the style of this play?

TC: My background in journalism plays a big role in the research that I do for my productions and I wanted the play to be a documentary-style production right from the start.  Having real people on stage engages the audience in a different way. To find the cast for the play, we used social media and internet sites such as Facebook and Craigslist, Vancouver-based immigrant services S.U.C.C.E.S.S and word of mouth, through personal connections.

OH: You mentioned that having real people on stage engages the audience in a different way – what else does it achieve?

With a lot of art, there’s a heavy-handed point of view, which has its place and importance. With Extraction, however, the goal is to present the audience with a different point of view, which is to get beneath the stuff we hear in the news. What we usually see in the media is government and industry promoting the industry or conservationists protesting it. Most of us are somewhat caught in the middle. By bringing an alternate angle of real stories from people’s personal experiences, I hope to foster and encourage thought and discussion.

Extraction runs at The Cultch Mar 5 – 9, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St. Part of the DocuAsia Forum co-presented by Cinevolution Media Arts Society and David Lam Centre of SFU. Free DocuAsia Forum discussion: March 6 & 7. For other DocuAsia Forum events, please check www.cinevolutionmedia.com.

Part 1: Choreographer Victor Quijada shares the story behind his unique style of dance

Choreographer Victor Quijada. Photo by Roland Lorente.

Are you the type of person who likes to rock out in your bedroom to your favourite song? Or, would you rather tap your foot to a good groove?. There’s something about moving to music that just feels good.

Victor Quijada, Montreal choreographer and artistic director of RUBBERBANDance group, knows what we’re talking about. In fact, Victor’s regarded as a pioneer in the world of dance—not only has he created beautiful and inspiring dance pieces, he’s created an entirely original movement vocabulary as well! We caught up with Victor to hear more about his original style of movement and his thoughts on bringing his newest dance piece Gravity of Center, to The Cultch.

SC: Your choreography is recognized for being a fusion of hip hop, contemporary and classical styles. In your own words, how do you describe your movement vocabulary?

VQ: Actually, that description is probably the most basic, most rudimentary way to describe the movement vocabulary I use with RBDG. Why it doesn’t really work as a good description, is because it asks you to imagine these three styles—hip hop, contemporary, classical—and it forces you to think of the stereotypes that help these genres keep their labels.  Then, it demands that you imagine a fusion of these stereotypical aspects in some kind of a choreographic context.

Victor Quijada working with Company dancers. Photo by Lindsay Thomas

To be more accurate, I would say that as a choreographer, my voice and vision have been shaped by my history. At one end of the spectrum, this starts with growing up in the freestyle hip hop dance ciphers of Los Angeles, and on the other end it includes a professional career of working with postmodern, contemporary, and neo-classical choreographers in the ranks of high caliber dance companies.

I think this paragraph from my bio says it well:

A wide range of early performance experiences, from the hip hop clubs of his native Los Angeles to a performance career with internationally-acclaimed postmodern and ballet dance companies such as THARP!, Ballet Tech and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, led Victor Quijada to Montreal, a city he now calls home. By age 26, Victor had gained a rare perspective on a large spectrum of dance, possessing knowledge and experience that spanned from the street corner to the concert hall.

But even before you imagine motion or gestures or choreography, the RBDG movement vocabulary begins with the manner in which the dancer acknowledges the space and their own physical reaction to inhabiting it. RBDG movement vocabulary is actuated by the manner of muscularity the dancer adopts at the contact points with the environment. Furthermore, the RBDG movement vocabulary gains its aesthetic through the manner in which the dancer perceives his or her experience.

SC: How did you come to develop this movement style and quality?

VC: It was thanks to the different experiences I had, the different spheres I was exposed to, and to the fact that I was determined to become the best I could be in the different milieus that I found myself in. The “developing the style” part came through many years of practice, but the seeds were planted when I was still very young.

Jessica Tong, right, with Quijada in rehearsal. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

I remember that from a very young age, I already proclaimed, “I am a hip-hop artist,” except that I really didn’t know what “art” was.

But as a student at the L.A. Arts High School, I remember learning about “art” and coming upon the notion that through “art” it was possible to change the world. As a teenager, hip hop was my life, and art would change my life. I started to expand my ideas about my hip-hop. The knowledge and formal dance training I was receiving at that arts high school would mutate my relationship with hip hop forever.

And of course the professional experience that I would acquire over the next decade would further transform me. It’s not just my physical capabilities that would grow, but my mind was also growing. I was watching, learning, changing.

Once the style had developed in my body, the real challenge came in the transmission of the movement to new dancers—how to get them to understand and recreate the specific qualities I was asking for. That’s why identifying the style and developing a technique was important and necessary. And that took time. Lots of time. Lots of sweat. Lots of writing, testing, experimenting, practicing, and teaching. Lots of trial and error.

But finally, the method is all there, compact and airtight. And now we can pass the knowledge on very well, very clearly. No guesswork. Simply. Directly.

Gravity of Center runs at The Cultch February 19 – 23, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

Tim Crouch shines a light on bullying in I, Malvolio

On January 30, as part of the 2013 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, UK playwright and performer Tim Crouch brings his latest production, I, Malvolio, to The Cultch. A celebrated international performer, Crouch has developed a large following here in Vancouver, thanks to past visits performing My Arm and An Oak Tree in 2007, and ENGLAND in 2009.

I, Malvolio opens at The Cultch Jan 30

For I, Malvolio, Crouch uses humour as a means of exposing the harm caused in bullying and practical jokes in a re-imagined version of Shakespeare’s famous play Twelfth Night. In this version of the classic tale, the story is told through the eyes of the pompous steward Malvolio, a perspective rarely seen and explored in theatre.

Tim Crouch re-imagines Twelfth Night in a brilliant one-man show that unlocks Shakespeare’s play for new audiences

In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Malvolio is bullied and picked on by the other characters, ultimately winding up as the crux of a hurtful joke. In the end, poor Malvolio meets a pitiful demise when he’s written off as insane, and locked away in a dark chamber. In his final words he pledges revenge on the other characters for treating him so poorly.

I, Malvolio is a charged, hilarious and sometimes unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience

In this version of the play, Crouch’s clever script gives audiences a unique position from which to view the issue of bullying – from the eyes of the bully. As Crouch explains in the video below, “It’s a very funny piece. He is a clown and we often enjoy laughing at people who are going through terrible situations and circumstances. Malvolio is really at the bottom of the pile and he encourages you laughing at him, and then he challenges you for laughing at him.”

It’s a performance that makes you wonder: what’s acceptable about laughing at someone who’s been broken down and humiliated? As Crouch puts it in this interview with journalist Mark Fisher, “It [the play] is about how far one is prepared to take pleasure in somebody’s cruelty to other people.”

I, Malvolio is an entertaining production that reinforces valuable lessons along the way. Don’t miss your chance to see this contemporary spin on a classic play!

I, Malvolio runs at The Cultch January 30 – February 10, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

The Cultch Gallery: Preview Jan – Mar 2013

By Alana Husband

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the gallery at The Cultch yet, get on it.  This spring, we’ve got a full schedule of exhibitions by acclaimed artists for your viewing pleasure. From quirky action figures by Niklas Bergman in Action Figure Expo to the arresting portraits set during the Holocaust by Hinda Avery in The Rozen Sisterr’, to the thought provoking pieces of Transactions of the Eye & Sound Memories by Harold Coego, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the work of these, and the other talented artists we’ve got lined up. So get out your calendar and take note of the following…

Hinda Avery – Scenes From a Resistanze
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23, 6 – 8pm

“What does it mean to confront an atrocity with a revenge fantasy? I argue that by depicting Holocaust subject matter in an absurd, humorous way, my work becomes satire. However, unlike most satire, my paintings do not solely aim to relieve tension. I aim to unnerve.” – Hinda Avery

Hinda Avery is a Vancouver-born artist and teacher. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, and Saint Martins School of Art, in London, England. She holds a BFA, a Teaching Certificate in Art Education, and an MFA. She later gained a PhD in Architecture and Planning Education and has taught Art Education and Women’s Studies for several years. Her paintings integrate political and social issues; the feminist movement of the 1970s giving her work a particular focus – that of portraying women in a non-stereotypical way.

Harold Ceogo – Transaction of the Eye & Sound Memories
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23rd, 6 – 8pm

“I consider myself to be an outsider of a modern panorama…images are representations of ‘reality’ through an abstract cinematographic kaleidoscope. They are visible like music to the eye telling us a story – a twisted photocopy of ourselves, or perhaps more like a dream where something is always out of place.” – Harold Coego

Harold Coego was born in Havana, Cuba in 1973 to an enthusiastic artistic family. Before moving to Vancouver in 2002, he worked as an archaeologist assistant, light designer, and scenographic co-designer at the Obstacle Theatre with Victor Varela (an internationally recognized Cuban theatre director). It was while working with Varela that Coego learned about artistic discipline, dedication, light, and composition but most importantly, about human emotions and the many ways to represent it.

Niklas Bergman – Action Figure Expo
February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20th, 6 – 8pm

From Niklas Bergman’s long-running comic book Sproing! comes a handful of its population immortalized in this limited action figure collection by Hepkid Toys. He states, “I find that we meet the same characters no matter where we’re from. And these characters, whether they be friendly, a nuisance, or simply familiar, bring us back to the place we grew up in, places we hated and eventually loved.”

Niklas Bergman is a native of Gredeby, Sweden. His comics have been published by Rollins Comics for over 10 years. He is also the founder of Sensible Studios and other works include Smalltown Ramblings, Hobo Sports, and No, Not There!


Robin Ripley – Book Bytes

February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

“The focus of my art practice has often included the re-examination of mundane objects, as they function as signifiers for sensory information, knowledge and memory. These objects also highlight the interwoven nature of our perception and the interplay between art and life.” – Robin Ripley

Robin Ripley holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. During her time working in libraries, she began collecting covers from old books as they were re-bound and has been a keen observer of how technology has informed the way we read – from books to eBooks to QR codes. The language of objects and the way people connect with the common materials that surround them have been recurring themes in her work. Her working processes are often laborious, questioning current economic models of speed and “efficiency” while suggesting that transformation is still possible through small gestures if we make time to notice the details of the world.

Alan Robbins – Making It
February 19 – March 17 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

Alan Robbins firmly believes that his work is better appreciated in book form. He wants viewers to have something on hand to study and manipulate. “It’s better than a gallery setting where people strain to see an image or the computer where it can easily be magnified.” Making It will feature works from across Robbins’ career. Several of his books, talking about his beginnings as an artist to his eventual disappearance from the art scene, will also be on hand for perusal.

The Christmas Carol Project: a holiday production for indie-folk fans

The cast of The Christmas Carol Project

Bah Humbug! If you’ve been out shopping for Christmas presents lately you might have noticed the Christmas jingles that stores like to impose upon us at this festive time of year. Alas, although it may prove difficult to escape these aural invasions, The Cultch is here to offer some relief with the ever-charming Christmas Carol Project.

The project, conceived in 1996 by John Armstrong and a host of talented Edmonton-based musicians, intricately interprets Dickens’ classic tale by harmonizing lyrics with narration amongst a cocktail of folk, flamenco, bluegrass, rock, blues, Celtic folk and jazz. Bill Bourne leads the cast with his award-winning talent as the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. Bill is a one-man show himself having performed at many internationally renowned music events from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the New York City Folk Festival not to mention collecting several Juno nods along the way.

Accompanying him on his transformational journey is bluegrass-Celtic-folk-country artist Maria Dunn. Originally taking the role of Scrooge’s maid, cast changes allowed Maria to step up to the challenge of playing Tiny Tim the seriously ill son of Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit. Maria, a classically trained pianist, born in Scotland, immersed herself in Celtic folk and has also gained award recognition along her artistic journey both in Canada and abroad. Maria brings her enchanting vocals and accordion accompaniment to the performance and charms everyone with the show’s centerpiece ‘God Bless Us, Everyone’.

Adding to the talent pool is Albertan finger-pickin’ guitarist Kevin Cook, foot-stomping drummer Bill Hobson, soothing songstress Terry Morrison, rockabilly front-man Tom Roschkov, soulful songwriter Al Brant and Chapman Stick player Dale Ladouceur. What’s a Chapman Stick? Take a look here:

Theatre actor and producer Dave Clarke narrates us through Dickens’ dark and delightful fable. The combination of these technically skilled and creative artists, with their diverse musical influences, filtering through the lens of Dickens’ timeless prose, makes for a scrumptious evening for the entire family.

The Christmas Carol Project will run at The Cultch December 16, 17 & 18 at 8 PM. Tickets for The Christmas Carol Project start at $17 and are on sale now at tickets.thecultch.com, or by phone at 604.251.1363 and also, in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.