Archive for October, 2012


Monday, October 29th, 2012

The Lizard Man stole my popcorn.

That is how I kicked off my latest Cirque Du Soleil experience.  I went to see “Amaluna” on Friday in the matinee performance.  I have experienced the Cirque many times and anticipated great things from this show.  It it loosely based on the Tempest, is very femme-centric and who can resist all the bendy and boing-y capers the troupe get up to?

I am sad to say I was a little disappointed.  The art direction wasn’t the best I have ever seen, nor was the costuming (with some very notable exceptions).  It seemed like there were times that there was just too much activity on the stage, perhaps to distract from the fact that the performances were not as complicated and mind blowing as I have seen before.  I should temper all of this by saying that the experience was still miles about your average show and there is a good chance that I am prejudiced by the very fact that I have been lucky to have seen as many of their previous efforts as I have.  All theatre troupes, writers and performers have superlative performances and those that don’t quite hit the stratosphere.  This show is amongst the latter.

I will digress at this point to mention some things that I am finding about performances in general. First of all:

Shut.  The Hell. Up.

I will forgive the excited eight year old squirming beside me.  This whole experience was clearly new to her, and her squeals of delight were unsupressable.  But the twenty-somethings sitting behind me that took it upon themselves to do a descriptive video commentary for the whole show (“She’s walking the tight rope in high heels!!!”) and explain to one another the very action unfolding in front of them do not warrant such forgiveness.  Nor do I wish to find out what Kristen (or Krysten, or Chrisyenne, or Xristyn or whatever fancy spelling of a completely acceptable name you may insert here) said after the party to Brandon (or Brendan or Brendyn or Brhendann) while the lights are fully down that the games have begun.  Lights dimming before a performance is the international symbol for shutthefuckupnow, is it not?  So do.  Texting through the performance bathed in the soft blue glow of your smart phone is far more distracting that you think. And while I am glad you have the new iPad mini, turn it off and play with it later when you are in the sanctity of your local hipster coffee saloon.

A I mentioned I was at the matinee, and I should have been prepared for the vast number of children in the audience. I think it is a great thing to introduce children to new experience that will stimulate them intellectually and emotionally but I really wonder about exactly what parents are thinking when they drag small offspring to shows like this.   First of all, clowns are scary.  They just are.  Even the benevolent ones.  (I can prove it. Let’s play a little word association game.  Cat ->Dog.  Black->White.  Clown->Evil.  You said evil didn’t you?  I know you did.)

A savvy seven year old would have enjoyed the performance but there were parts of the narrative that they would miss.  I suspect a two year old would get very little from it, save a possible commitment to a future of long term therapy.  And I can assure the couple that brought their infant (who probably made the earth shattering discovery that he had feet about a week ago) that he is gleaning nothing from the proceedings and it just appearing as a particularly noisy and wiggly sidebar to the actions on stage.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing the Cirque.  It is highly entertaining and visually stunning.  And if you do go, please keep an eye out for this scaly bugger:

And tell him he owes me a snack.


Saturday, October 27th, 2012

There is nothing quite like pairing good food with a good cause and this fact was well illustrated by the first annual SoupStock.

SoupStock featured over a hundred chefs from all over Ontario serving up their best broths & bisques to promote the “Stop The Mega Quarry” movement.  $10 got you three tickets and access to three different bowls of beauty and the variety was remarkable.  I treated myself to an asian noodle number seasoned with ginger and lemongrass, an asian take on lobster bisque and a fantastic roasted pear and celeriac veloute.  (The latter could have been spiked with blue cheese but was not in my case as I find cheese generally repugnant and take blue cheese in particular as a personal insult.)

I love it when people bond over food.  When I first sublet an apartment in Los Angeles I was staying in the heart of the Hollywood strip, an area that starry eyed 18 year olds may find vibrant and all other manners of society need to experience precisely once, take a few snapshots and then get the hell out for time everlasting.  Unless one is in need stripper boots, a Marie Antoinette wig or a terrible open top bus tour of celebrity hedges in which case it is precisely the area you should flock to.   I was excited at the prospect of being in California but a little overwhelmed until someone pointed out there was a farmers market every Sunday but a few blocks away from my rental.  I wandered down and found myself surrounded by stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables, all delivered fresh from farmers within a spitting distance of the city.  There were more kinds of strawberries and avocados than I could count, a fresh fish truck and a purveyor of the best pesto I have ever had.  I took one look around and thought “I can do this”.

SoupStock had much the same effect on my.  It didn’t hurt that it took place on one of those perfect Canadian autumn days where the sky is a cracking blue and the leaves have takes on a vibrancy the rattles the retina.  I shed my coat and wandered through the throng.  There were thousands of people, dogs and children and everyone seemed in a happy mood.  There was good music playing in the background, the line ups were manageable and everyone bonded over happy warm bellies.


I am a Twit

Friday, October 12th, 2012

I have a confession to make.  I joined Twitter yesterday.  And I am mortified.

I must preface this by saying that I did it for work.  I am working on a very large licensing job and have to clear video rights.  Often the source material is from YouTube and Vimeo, and often the identity of the clips’ owner is disguised by a pseudonym.  I have been pulling my very best Sherlock Holmes and in order to track down the owners I have had to resort to searching by any means necessary, be it Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and now, tragically, Twitter. I don’t mean to sound unappreciative that I have access to this information – this job would have been impossible even 10 years ago both for the editor to source the material and for me to track it – but I have an uneasy relationship with social media at the best of times.  I am not an artist, or a musician or an actor who has to manage their career through updates and have to let their fans know of shows or appearances or bowel movements.  I do have a couple of companies on the go and I know I have to spread the word but I am not convinced that a 140 character blast is the way to get myself out there.  I swore I would never send a tweet.  I told several people to immediately kill me if I ever did, so I now await the stealthy pad of footsteps creeping up from behind to end my tweety days.

I broke up with Facebook in the spring . We now have a polite but passing relationship and really only make small talk at parties.  (The irony is not lost on me that this is a blog and I send the links via email and Facebook and am not crimping out my merry tales with a quill and strapping them to a pony for delivery.  I consider the wide armed embracing of my hypocrisy to be one of my charms.)  I know it is old school, but do you remember when having someone “follow” you was kind of creepy?  And actually suggesting that someone “like” you seemed more than slightly sad?  I can honestly say it pains me to live in a world where “you” only has only letter and one buys something nice “4” someone.  But I am growing increasingly anachronistic and I admire those who have the fortitude to soldier on in this ever-changing ethereal landscape.  Perhaps I too will learn to love and live it.

For now:

Joined Twitter.  Hate the very idea.

30 characters to sum up how I feel.  Maybe I will get the hang of this yet.