“Til Death” and “No Tweed Too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery”

On at the Evergreen Cultural Centre is the double bill of “Till Death” – The tale of Six Queens.  Six Love stories.  Six Deaths.  One Actress!

It all starts in the afterlife, in a bizarre waiting room of sorts. One by one, the wives of Henry VIII arrive, much to the shock and dismay of each previous wife. What culminates is a heated frenzy of an ex-wives club where these women swap stories, toss Anne Boleyn’s head around, pick on the ugly German one, and, most importantly, fight for the right to be acknowledged as Henry’s true bride and eternal partner.

But when Henry arrives…everything changes.

And then to top off the evening at the Evergreen Cultural Centre there is “No Tweed Too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery”

More belligerent than an orangutan at a monkey shaving contest. More uncaring than a potato salad at a funeral.  As inexplicable as a… you wouldn’t understand.

The year is 1976. Grant Canyon is a perpetually inebriated insurance investigator.  Every scene starts with him coming to consciousness on an airplane with no pilots (or getting buried alive, or on a Russian sub), and every scene ends with him either getting knocked out or drinking himself into oblivion. In his few coherent moments he leaves a wake of dead bodies, satisfied ladies, and empty bottles as he staggers toward a shocking and fiery conclusion.

The performances run from February 25-27 at 8pm in the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam.

For tickets, contact the Evergreen Cultural Centre at 604-927-6555.

Til Death by Ryan Gladstone and No Tweed by Ryan Gladstone with Bruce Horak

Tickets: Adult $30 | Senior $25 | Student $15

The Contenders at The Evergreen Cultural Centre

Don’t ever count them out. The Contenders are rolling back into the Tri-Cities for a new concert of their classic hits. Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard, Canadian folk music legends from the West Coast, will play at Evergreen Cultural Centre on February 21, 2016 at 7:30pm.

The Contenders
The Contenders

After releasing an album of new music together, including the hit song Contenders, Valdy and Fjellgaard are road warriors who tour, tour and tour. Their music draws on all the aspects of life in the West, reflecting the mountains and the sea, the cowboys and the fishermen, the oil well roustabouts and the loggers, and so much more. Now playing together, this duo don’t have any fancy lights or sound equipment: just two guys, two guitars and two dozen songs about where they’ve been and where they’re going.

Part of the Canadian pop and folk music fabric for over 34 years, Valdy is one of Canada’s most influential songwriters. His hits like A Good Song (Just a Man), Play Me a Rock and Roll Song and Simple Life (Ode to L.A.) recall the heyday of Canadian folk music of the 1970s. He also played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers and was a panelist on Front Page Challenge. Now living on Saltspring Island with his wife Kathleen, his fourteen albums sold nearly half a million copies and four were certified gold.

Gary Fjellgaard is an award-winning singer-songwriter who was raised on the Canadian prairies. His western heritage, cattle drives, wagon treks, and working folks with ties to the land inspire the lyrical imagery of his songs. With his finger style acoustic guitar, gentle vocals, colorful stories, Gary takes his western roots music to the people with a rare sincerity. Gary and his wife Lynne make their home on Gabriola Island on Canada’s west coast.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors and $15 for students. Contact the Evergreen box office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca for tickets and more information.

Disney On Ice – Frozen

This morning, along with my wife and two daughters, I attended a Disney on Ice performance of Frozen.

And you know, even though I have seen the movie version of Frozen 193 times and listened to “Let It Go” more times than I can count, today’s performance was actually a pretty heart-warming, and wallet-emptying experience. 

First about the wallet-emptying aspect of the show. I am popcorn munching kind of event-goer. So when I saw a young man with a long pole of bags of popcorn I stopped and asked how much one bag is.

$15.

The funny thing is, he added, “But you get to keep the bag!”

No sale.

When my daughter saw snow-cones in an Olaf shaped cup, I was not so lucky. $20 for a cup of ice flavoured with some weird coloured concoction.

I couldn’t stand the sight of watching my daughter slowly scooping the contents of Olaf’s head out but she seemed to enjoy it.

As for the show itself, well, what can you say. It is Disney On Ice and they do an incredibly good job of entertaining kids and adults alike.

Great costumes and great skating routines. Like seriously, look at Sven in the picture above. That thing was skating around the ice like a champ. All four legs moving in unison and holding the gaze of every kid in the building. Simply awesome costumes and skating.

Of course the stars of the show are supposed to be Elsa and Anna. And while they did a great job of playing their parts and the special effects – real snow falling from the rafters of the Pacific Coliseum! The character who drew the loudest cheers was of course Olaf.

When Olaf skated onto the ice at the Coliseum, the cheers from the crowd almost lifted the roof off the building. It was pretty cool.

Of course all the special effects to show him coming apart and melting and then his own little snow flurry all added to the crowd’s love for him. Really well done.

 

And did I mention that they had real snow falling inside the Coliseum?! It was so magical. And quite beautiful.

However, the part of the show that really touches my heart is the fact that at the end when Anna needs a “true love’s kiss” to save her life she realizes that it is not some schmucky guy she needs, it is her sister.

Sure, call me sappy, but I like that Disney has for once strayed from their usual message of the princess being saved by the handsome prince.

I had a great time. And I know that my daughters also had a great time. I’m not sure the people sitting around me enjoyed hearing me belt out “Let it Go” as much as I thought they would, but it was a great time.

Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project at the ECC

On November 19th at 8pm Jayme Stone will bring to the Evergreen Cultural Centre a “collaboratory” of some of North America’s most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle, and reimagine traditional music

The performance will focus on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax.

The “collaboratory” includes Jayme Stone (banjo, voice), Moira Smiley (voice, accordion), Sumaia Jackson (fiddle, voice) and Tristan Clarridge (cello, voice)

The repertoire includes Bahamian sea shanties, African-American a cappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes, and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: sea captains, cowhands, fisherman, prisoners, and homemakers.

For tickets to this event you can visit the Evergreen Cultural Centre’s website or call the box office at 604-927-6555.

I don’t know about you, but I will definitely be attending this event!

Bard On The Beach 2016 Schedule

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has announced a 2016 season that will showcase the genius and popular appeal of the great English playwright, in a year of world-wide celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The 27th Bard season, sponsored by Goldcorp and running from June 3 to September 24, 2016, will bring two proven audience favourites to the BMO Mainstage.

Opening the Festival is Romeo and Juliet, the timeless story of a pair of young star-crossed lovers whose families are bitterly divided; Bard’s powerful and sensuous new production will be directed by Siminovitch Prize winner and past Bard director Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013).

Alternating with Romeo and Juliet is the Jessie Award-winning production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, back by popular demand after a sold-out 2012 Bard run and re-imagined this season for the larger BMO Mainstage. The music-filled production is set in 1968 Windsor, Ontario and will be directed again by Johnna Wright; its production sponsor is Polygon Homes.

On the Howard Family Stage, veteran Bard actor Bob Frazer (Macbeth, 2012) will direct a provocative new staging of Othello, with its action unfolding during the American Civil War.

The production sponsor is Lonetree Cider. Othello will alternate with a new production of Pericles, set in an ancient, mythical pagan kingdom and directed by Lois Anderson, another award-winning veteran of Bard’s acting companies (Kate, The Taming of the Shrew, 2012). Pericles’ production sponsor is BlueShore Financial.

“We go into our 27th season while the world is honouring and celebrating Shakespeare, and this set of plays will showcase his genius,” says Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. “We are fortunate to have engaged such an outstanding team of theatre creators who will bring their visions of these great classics to our Vanier Park stages next season, for what I know will be a memorable year for us.”

Tickets for Bard on the Beach’s 2016 Festival on sale in early April and will be available through the Bard website or by calling Bard’s in-house Box Office at 604-739-0559.

Norman Foote: The Howl A Family Halloween Special

The prettiest little performance space in the Tri-Cities, the Evergreen Cultural Centre, presents Norman Foote: The Howl with the Very Scary Big Voice Orchestra.

Angels sing along with ghosts, zombies and ghouls! Music, costumes and Halloween all come together as Juno-award winning children’s music artist Norman Foote comes to the Evergreen for two performances on October 25 at 2 and 4:30pm.

With millions of fans big and small throughout the world, Norman is an award winning entertainer from Vancouver who has received international acclaim for his song writing, outrageous props and off beat sense of humor. His stage show is uniquely Norman and is innovative both musically and visually.

With finely crafted routines and songs, Norman is one of North America’s most highly regarded entertainers of his kind. His concert is a highly engaging experience featuring “Foote” classics and songs from his Juno award-winning album “Love My New Shirt” and now celebrating his 2013 release Always Be Yourself.

Tickets are only $16 for adults and $12 for children through the Evergreen box office at 604-927-6555 or evergreenculturalcentre.ca.

Gateway Theatre Festival’s – Cook Your Life

Following last year’s ground-breaking inaugural year, Gateway Theatre is thrilled to bring back the Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival, showcasing in Richmond BC the best contemporary theatre Hong Kong has to offer.

One of the theatre events in the Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival that is of particular interest to me combines two of my passions: food and live theatre. It’s a show called Cook Your Life and it will be taking place from September 17 – 19, 2015 during the Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival.

May May Chan
May May Chan

In the Cook Your Life show, solo performer May Chan cooks live onstage while she draws funny and insightful parallels between food and relationships.  The show incorporates a 4-D theatre approach where the audience can see, hear, smell, and taste the experience!

The multi-sensory show revolves around a woman whose compromises in the kitchen (her partner’s love for spicy food is one she doesn’t share) extend to her relationships as well.

Cooking live on stage while interacting with the audience, MayMay makes funny and insightful analogies between food and love, inviting us to taste the emotion in her food while challenging us to experience the bitter along with the sweet.

This lighthearted (and mouth-watering) play is a thoughtful reflection on the complications modern women face when it comes to love and relationships.

Cook Your Life!
Cook Your Life!

Cook Your Life is a comedic solo show created, produced, directed and performed by MayMay Chan, who joined Bravo Theatre as Artistic Director in 2003.

May is also a seasoned cook herself, with her own cooking channel in Hong Kong.

Cook Your Life, produced by Bravo Theatre, and co-produced by Take It Easy Theatre can be seen September 17 – 19 at 8pm on the Gateway MainStage. Tickets to the Cook Your Life performance can be obtained by visiting the Gateway Theatre’s website.

Inside Out: Pixar Is Back In Fine Form!

What better place to be on a sweltering hot summer evening than a movie theatre. Our Movie Dude Toth made the right choice and spent an evening in the theatre watching Inside Out; here are his thoughts on Pixar’s latest work.

Hey, it’s the Movie Dude Toth daring Pixar to “hit me with your best shot!”  Anton Ego quoted Pat Benatar in the Pixar classic Ratatouille, and now I’m quoting Anton Ego from that classic master chef rat movie.

In the film, the dry and vampiric critic Ego, is daring the new chef to wow him with a new food item that is still amazing and will garner good reviews. Well Pixar has accomplished something similar to this feat with the movie Inside Out.

I will explain in a minute but let me sum it up by saying that Inside Out is a special film that fits easily among Pixar’s best films including Monsters Inc., Up, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Toy Story and The Incredibles.

Director Pete Docter made the movie Up, and he is once again able to juggle some very funny scenes with scenes that will undoubtedly tug at your heart strings. A well written script, stellar voice cast, inventive/ beautiful animation, and emotional concepts grounded in logic make Inside Out a must see summer film!

Let’s start with the cast, Amy Poehler is excellent as Joy who is kind of the self-appointed emotion who is in the driver’s seat inside 11 year old Riley’s mind.

Lewis Black absolutely kills it as Anger, who is ready to swear up a storm at a moment’s notice. Bill Hader is also very good as Fear, who has enough neuroses for all of the other emotions and then some.

I love The Mindy Project so I was very happy to find out that Mindy Kaling provides the voice of Disgust who keeps Riley safe from broccoli and bad fashion.

Finally Phyllis Smith from the American version of The Office plays Sadness who plays a very important role in the film.

The chemistry between the five emotions is really great and you can tell that the actors spent some quality time together talking and joking around.

The plot is not of great importance in a film like this, but the attention to detail and the intelligent script shows that a lot can be done with very little.

A seemingly everyday circumstance in someone’s life like moving from one city to another is all the plot needed to make a film full of emotion, adventure, and amazing insight.

As usual this will be a spoiler free review, and with Inside Out there are a lot of surprises that deserve to be discovered on your first viewing. I can say that I have revisited this film more than once this summer, and that is a sure sign of a good to great film!

There is something about the way that the Pixar team is able to get to the core emotions felt by people who are about to start a new phase of life that is amazing.

In Up, it was about an older person coming to terms with what life was really about by discovering what his beloved partner valued most in the world. In the Toy Story series, it was about what it means to be a child and then how that slowly changes into adolescence and eventually young adulthood, brilliantly told from the perspective of many toys. Inside Out is also exploring these themes but this time from the unique perspective inside the mind of an 11, soon to be 12 year old girl.

Inside Out’s plot deals with important memories the movie’s characters refer to as core memories. This is a very important idea that some psychologists refer to as long term memory. The long term memories that some believe influence many of the decisions we make later in life are what these “core memories” refer too.

Now there are many different theories on the human psyche and why people act the way they do, but the one offered in the movie is logical and based on some fact. The film’s directors, producers, and actors consulted with neurological experts to make sure that the film’s plot had some basis in reality. Children and adults (at least open minded ones) will be able to learn something from watching this movie.

I believe that Inside Out is one of Pixar’s best movies and it has obviously connected with many people based on the box office numbers. My only wish is that movies like this could connect with as many folks as more typical big summer fare like Jurassic World.

Is it too much too ask for escapist entertainment to be a bit more thought provoking? I think not and believe that movies aimed at the whole family need to be held to higher standards.

Inside Out meets the higher standards with an intelligent script that has something to say about our human condition. It also manages to be very entertaining for children and adults.

The humour in the script and the perfect delivery of the lines by the cast had me laughing aloud many times during the film. The strong emotional connection established by Riley’s emotions, in this case, also made the film surprisingly deep and had me choked up several times especially during the movie’s final 30 minutes.

If you don’t get a chance to see this at the theatres (it is still playing I believe), make sure you see it when it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD/On Demand/Download. Inside Out is a wonderful film to experience and should not be missed!

Jurassic World: A Worthy Sequel?

Hello everybody, it’s the Movie Dude Toth laughing and scratching at ya once again, and surprise, surprise…there is no two month gap in between my reviews this time! 🙂

Anyhow, on to the matter at hand which is the film Jurassic World. The big question is can the movie re-capture some of magic of the original Jurassic Park? Also, can Chris Pratt continue to carry a movie on his own? The answer to both those questions is….almost and perhaps yes, if he had a better script to work with.

Jurassic World is not a bad movie, although there are some parts of it where it clearly is a bad movie.

If you are a fan of dinosaurs and Chris Pratt you will probably like this movie. If you are not a fan of explosions, dinosaurs screeching, and humans acting stupid then you will not like this movie.

Personally, I thought it was a fun popcorn flick but if you have the choice between this and Mad Max….well the answer should be obvious but if you need more of a hint I’d go with the one that focuses on blood and chrome!

Let’s talk seriously here, most people are going to this movie to see thunder lizards wreak havoc with frail humans who to these creatures are basically annoying insects.

The plot is a secondary consideration and people want to see dinos attacking humans and other dinos. Well on this note the movie delivers and goes gangbusters with the dinotific mayhem!

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for smart dialogue (and a smart story) and a tense thrill ride, the movie does not deliver. No one is more upset about this than me.

The Movie Dude Toth wants every movie that comes out to be awesome, especially ones that centre around human/dinosaur conflict. Alas, except for a few cool action sequences this is not to be with Jurassic World.

How’s the acting you ask? OK to good. If you’re looking for a Starlord encore from Pratt, you will not get it. Bryce Dallas Howard is good, but she doesn’t have a great story or great lines to work with. The two children in the film are typical children characters in this type of movie. They need rescuing and they scream here and there. Oh yes, they also have some emotional conflict to overcome involving their family.

In conclusion, if you are a die hard dinosaur fan then you will like this movie so you should see it.

However, if you liked the original film’s near perfect blend of slightly corny sci-fi, great acting, humour, and amazing special effects then you will be disappointed.

Hey it’s your money, I’m just trying to give you a basic rating based on my not so humble opinion based on years of watching and analyzing movies.

This is the MOvie DUde TOth signing off till later this week when I’ll be tackling the new Pixar film Inside Out.

Toth out!

Movie Night at the Evergreen Cultural Centre

If you are anything like me or Toth The Movie Dude, it is likely you too can’t always find the films you’re itching to see in the local movie theatre. If you are looking for more than the same old Hollywood Blockbusters, you can join the crowds at the Evergreen Cultural Centre throughout this season to experience the best in Independent and World cinema.

Twice a month, the Evergreen will present a curated selection of outstanding and award-winning films not being shown in larger theatres.

The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game

 

On Monday, July 13 (7pm showing) the first movie to play in this series will be The Imitation Game.

One of the greatest stories of our time began back in the darkest days of the Second World War. Alan Turing was a brilliant Cambridge mathematician hired by the British military to break Nazi codes. His work leading a group of misfit geniuses didn’t only shorten the war, it pushed technology to the point where computers could be imagined. But Turing paid a price.

Turing and his colleagues race against time to devise a machine that can crack Germany’s Enigma codes, while Turing himself must work out how to be a gay man at a time when such men are routinely crushed by the law.

Two weeks after The Imitation Game screening The Second Best Marigold Hotel will be shown (that’s on Monday July 27th).

The best part of this movie series? It is FREE for members of the Evergreen Cultural Centre. If you are not yet a member, please join up now!!