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Theatre Review: Floating

In: Dan, Random Reads, The Arts

Alasdair and I took in the opening night performance of the spectacular theatre production, Floating, presented by the Arts Club Theatre Company, at the Revue Stage on Granville Island in Vancouver. The production is part of the PuSH International Performing Arts Festival. I am happy to report that this was my first PuSH performance EVER, and it was brilliant!

Going into the show I knew absolutely nothing about the production, helping to keep my excitement and surprise maximized as the characters took to the stage and the plot rolled out before us. Two actors; one man and one woman, Shon Dale-Jones, playing Hugh Hughes and Sioned Rowlands playing herself, performed the entire stage show. These two masters of their craft took to the stage from moment one and captured the audience’s attention instantly. They. Were. Fantastic.

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We are a few weeks away from Super Bowl XLV (45) in Texas, and Division Championship games played this past Sunday decided which teams will be competing for the ultimate Football trophy on February 6, 2011.

The NFC (West) Championship saw the Chicago Bears host the Green Bear Packers in one of the coldest play off games this season, with one of the most legendary rivalries in history. The sod at Soldier Field in Chicago was rumored to have a huge effect on the Packers, being one of the muddiest (okay, worst) outdoor turfs, placing the Bears with the at-home advantage. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for the dismal Chicago Bears who failed to show up for this important match up. The first half saw the Green Bay Packers leading the Bears 14-0, stifling the noise of the crowd.

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Documentary: Steam of Life

In: Dan, Movies

Holy culture shock! Over the last three nights I have taken in three different cultural shows and performances, starting with a Hollywood Blockbuster film, followed my a Welsh play in a 150-person live theatre, and last, a documentary film from Finland in a high school theatre. What an adventure these last few days have been on my senses and mindset, specifically referring to the show that just wrapped up, Steam of Life. The film, by Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen, is like nothing else I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

As mentioned, the film is a Finnish documentary following the lives of several men from Finland and their abilities to deal with some of life’s hardest tribulations, and their resorting to the cultural phenomena of saunas as a peace of solitude and cleansing. Throughout the film the audience is continually shown that the saunas are traditionally used for actual bathing, including a 51-year marriage between a man and a women, who have washed each other daily over the course of their relationship. And this was the opening sequence of the film!

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Website: If It Were My Home

In: Dan, Random Reads

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live somewhere else? Maybe a short move to a neighboring country, or traveling all the way around the world to inhabit an even smaller apartment than the one you’re in now, perhaps in China?

Have you ever been held back, worried about the living standards or the complete shell shock of being away from everything you have grown up with? I have often wrestled with the idea of uprooting myself and taking the next step/a HUGE leap and moving to a new country, just to say I’ve experienced a different culture in a non-vacation-like situation. I’ve always fretted about living conditions, being able to find a job and a home that is truly habitable, and whether or not I would even be able to find a salary that would support my needs.

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Movie Review: No Strings Attached

In: Dan, Movies

One of the first romantic comedies of 2011 is hitting theatres this Friday and I got to check it out a few days early. By myself. It was a weird experience seeing a movie solo, in a packed theatre surrounded by strangers. My boisterous laugh definitely has a definitive resonating sound which is much more embarrassing when you have no one to turn and blame! But that’s beside the point.

The movie I checked out was hilar-balls, with a sexual twist! The new-age rom-com, No Strings Attached stars my girl and soon-to-be Academy Award winner, Natalie Portman, and Bruce Willis’ son, Ashton Kutcher.* Natalie plays protagonist, Emma, an emotionally closed girl who refuses to allow any man to get close to her for fear of getting hurt. It’s unrealistic to dream anyone can go through life not feeling or allowing themselves to be loved, but Portman’s character was determined to die trying. Kutcher, naturally, played the male lead, Adam, a desperate and hopeless romantic. The flip-character story line of hard woman and soft man was the perfect switch from your typical rom-com plot.

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Avenue Q in Vancouver!

In: Dan, Random Reads

There are a few shows coming to Vancouver over the next few months but none have me as excited as Avenue Q! The smash-hit musical based on ‘real life’ in New York City, shown through the eyes of people and puppets, is a Sesame Street-esque production not for the little kids in your life. The show is debuting at The Centre of Performing Arts in Vancouver, running from February 1st through the 5th, 2011.

I have listened to people talk about this musical or years, touting it as a ‘must-see’ in the Broadway circuit, and if the show ever comes to an area near me, I just have to go! If you are reading this and have already seen the show, then I am jealous of you. If you haven’t seen Avenue Q, like yours truly, now’s your chance! I grew up watching The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like if one of the puppets slipped up and dropped a swear word on TV, or worse, took part in a kinky skit. It would be blasphemy and brilliant all at the same time!

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There was a lot of action to watch on TV this past weekend, but one of the hottest pieces of action were the four NFL division semi-final matches between a number of unexpected teams following last weekend’s Wild Card race, leading up to Super Bowl XLV in just a few weeks time (Feb. 6 in Texas).

Naturally I was glued to the TV to watch the Seahawks take on the Chicago Bears in the Windy City (much to the BFs liking); but that was only one of the games being played out this weekend to determine which teams will face off next weekend in the division championship matches.

The first game on Saturday saw the Baltimore Ravens battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you are a sports fan and caught this game, then you saw one of THE best play-off comebacks in the last decade, if not history. Heading into halftime Baltimore was leading (or should I say trouncing) the Steelers 21-7, looking confident with a seemingly easy win in their grasps. The tide changed pretty fast during the third quarter as a result of three turnovers! Devastating to watch if you were a Ravens fan, but ridiculously awesome if you were cheering for the Steelers, as they crawled back to life and managed a FANTASTIC 31-24 victory, allowing only 3 points against in the second half of the game. That’s what I call regrouping during half time!

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NFL Play-Offs: Wildcard Weekend

In: Dan, Random Reads, Sports & Health

Holy insane Batman! A weekend of history making marked this year’s NFL Wildcard Weekend as one of the best sporting weekends on TV (and a great way to kick off the 2010/2011 play-off season). To be honest, my following of the NFL season has been spotty at best, as my mind is usually tuned in to the CFL until the end of November. Once the Grey Cup wrapped up (and I got over my devastation for a second year running) I switched gears and started paying more attention to the NFL, and my favorite (underdog) team, the Seattle Seahawks.

Four games were played this weekend, including the Seahawks, and if you paid attention at all you’ll be well aware of just how truly fantastic some of these games were.

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