Monday, February 28, 2011

LOTD: MOSAIC Workplace Connections

This week's Live On The Drive focuses on MOSAIC's Workplace Connections, a program that matches skilled newcomers with professionals  experienced in Vancouver's competitive job market.
We spoke with mentor Felica Granger, "mentee"  Tiffy Riel and volunteer coordinater Astarte Sands.   Thursday, January 21st was premiere night. There was no red carpet and the "theatre" was really just a boardroom at MOSAIC's central office at Grant and Commercial but the non-profit's staff and volunteers did their best to create a theatre-like ambience all the same replete with flashlight wielding ushers and a free snackbar serving buttered popcorn and rainbow twirlers. There was even a popcorn cart.

The premiere gave mentors, newcomers, staff and myself a chance to get to know and learn a lot about each other.
A Vancouver institution, MOSAIC plays an indispensable role helping immigrants from all corners of the world.
MOSAIC's Workplace Connections program is one more example of how the non-profit reaches out to serve the needs of its clientele.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Special Event: RC Weslowski Presents --Curious Whimsy--a night of magic and mystery

Cafe Deux Soleils
2096 Commercial Drive

Vancouver, BC
Tuesday, March 8 · 8:30pm - 11:30pm
Come see many strange worlds collide in this 21st century variety show.

I am pleased to announce that we'll have the musical stylings of Hilary Grist at our show...amazing

We'll have magic from master illusionist, Travis Bernhardt

Tales of disgust and irreverance with Gerald, Gerald Geraldson, Horror Comic

Music from musicians too amazing to announce right now

The debut of Police Cops--a Vancouver based crime comedy webisode

And the performance of a full length radio play where YOU, the audience, make all the sound effects. The play is THE HAUNTED CROSS-ROADS

This is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Poetry Slam.
$5-$10 sliding scale.

It'll be wowsy.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Literary: A Legacy of Love - Remembering Muriel Duckworth @ People's Co-0p Books

Muriel Helen Duckworth née BallCMONS (October 31, 1908 – August 22, 2009) was a Canadian pacifistfeminist and social and community activist.She was a practising Quaker, a religious denomination committed to non-violence. Duckworth maintained that war with its systematic violence against women and children is a major obstacle to social justice. She argued that money spent on armaments perpetuates poverty while reinforcing the power of privileged elites She believed that "war is stupid" and she steadfastly refused to accept popular distinctions between "good" and "bad" wars.  More from Wikipedia.

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Theatre: Review - Marion Bridge @ Havana

Rebecca Husain, Jeanie Cloutier and Terri Anne Taylor,
 cast of Daniel MacIvor's poignant Marion Bridge.
Theatre of Infinity’s Marion Bridge is a play by Daniel MacIvor about the complex relationship of a family brought together through loss. We watch three sisters who couldn’t be more different from each other, not only cope with a dying mother, but also start to deal with who they have become themselves. Each search to sort out the loneliness that has come to rule her day-to-day life as well as not-so-forgotten family expectations. Whether through alcohol, religion or soap operas, each sister has found their own way of coping with their broken past and escaping the prisons they feel their lives have become.  
Headstrong failed actress Agnes, played by Terri Anne Taylor, is the black sheep who grudgingly returns home to Cape Breton from the Big Smoke. She holds a deep seated resentment towards her mother for making her put her child up for adoption when she was a teen.
Seeing this homecoming as a chance for a life do-over, Agnes manages to shake the family tree at its roots in the process.  

Taylor's best scene is an intimate card game with her despondent younger sister Louise (played by Rebecca Husain), which felt incredibly authentic and gave her character more wisdom and maturity than MacIvor's script would have led us to believe she possessed to that point.

The self-admittedly strange and boy-like Louise is sincerely and aptly played by Husain, who sustains a precarious balance between humor and tragedy with her character, and like her fellow cast mates, is riveting in her monologue.

Finally, Jeanie Cloutier commands her role as Theresa, or "Sister Theresa", as Agnes calls her. Theresa is actually waiting to enter a convent, asking God to deliver her from her beast of burden life.  The spinsterly elder sister seems to fit the name on the home-front, too, becoming her parent's custodian while trying to hold together a family poised on the brink of disintegration.   

The dying mother is never seen yet is ever-present. Because of her disease, she communicates by way of cryptic post-it notes, and as the story unfolds, it becomes evident she still manages to hold a great deal of sway over her daughters and their fortunes.  

While the play doesn't break new ground, this version comes at a fitting time for many people experiencing the same process of watching their parents age and die and taking notice of the growth and even rebirth it can bring.

Under veteran actress Susan Hogan's direction, the show moves steadily and makes good use of its talented cast.

As an odd aside, there are a set of keys which, though never talked about, somehow become like a character in the play itself. This is a play with umpteen entrances and exits by all actors through the set's front door and every time they did, the keys were removed or replaced. I had to wonder and marvel at the coordination of this continual persistent detail, having been backstage enough times to be fully aware of the chaos which can ensue because of a misplaced prop. It can be a real focus-breaker for actors.

This production does its best to make good use of Havana's shallow stage, its limited Technical capabilities and an obviously minuscule budget. But what the play lacks in production values, it makes up for in heart and spirit - quintessential small theatre.

Marion Bridge runs until February 19 at Havana Theatre @  1212 Commercial Drive.

Tickets can be purchased online at

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Special Event: Car-Free Day Planning Session

Plans for the next Car-Free day ate under way and you are invited tO be a part of it. The first organizing meeting takes place on Monday, February 21 at 7 pm in the room below the library at Britannia community centre.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Literary: Salish Seas Reading at The Pond

Talking Stick Festival and The Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast present an evening of readings featuring:
Lee Maracle, Russell Wallace, Janet Rogers, Wil George, Joanne Arnott, Greg Coyes, Wanda John, Gunargie O'Sullivan

Mon Feb 7th, 7pm @ The Pond, 1441 Commercial Dr

Salish Seas is an exhibition of works by prominent and emerging Aboriginal artists in conjunction with the upcoming anthology, Salish Seas: An anthology of text + image. This project offers perspective to urban Aboriginal peoples living within these Coast Salish lands who are influenced and inspired by the Salish Sea and its associated rivers.

Salish languages are a grouping of indigenous languages of the Pacific NorthWest (BC and adjacent American states). The power of our words, either in our original languages or in English is manifest in the new and powerful works by the The Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, a collective of Aboriginal writers and multidisciplinary artists.

Curated by Tania Willard and featuring work by artists Sonny Assu, Janice Toulouse, Charlene Vickers, Merritt Johnson, Kevin McKenzie, Duncan Murdoch, Dionne Paul, joAnne Noble, Cease Wyss, Kelly Roulette, Kamala Todd and Michelle Sylliboy.

Artist works featured in the publication and exhibition include installation, painting, digital illustration and video. From Sonny Assu's culture jamming Coke Salish print to expressive paintings by Janice Toulouse dealing with Aboriginal relationship to land, this exhibition examines ideas of home, origin, identity and 
honouring the land we come from, the sea and the rivers that connect us.

Kamala Todd's film, Indigenous Plant Diva documents the urban aboriginal and plant based knowledge of Coast Salish artist Cease Wyss. Wyss's work in the exhibition showcases three generations of Coast Salish women in vibrant digital illustrations from the book, Squamish People of the Sunset Coast. joAnne Noble's powerful crow mandala image and Kelly Roulette's portrait painting of a Native woman offer a strong aesthetic experience of the West Coast. Dionne Paul's Coast Salish borders offers an abstract approach to representing West Coast territories; while Michelle Sylliboy's close up images of the sea makes you feel like you are standing on a beach. All works are united in an exploration of living on the Coast surrounded by and connected to the Salish Sea and all the rivers that connect to it.

The Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast publication, Salish Seas: An Anthology of Text + Image will be launched at the exhibition closing, Sat Feb. 26th at 6pm at Gallery Gachet featuring a number of writers form the collective including Garry Gottfriedson and Michelle Sylliboy. Presented by the Talking Stick festival authors from the book including, Janet Rogers, Wil George, Russell Wallace, Greg Coyes, Wanda John and Joanne Arnott, will read at The Pond on Commercial drive. Mon Feb.7th at 7pm.

media contacts:

Tania Willard, curator. t: 250 299 5835
Lara Fitzgerald,Programming Director, gallerygachet t: 604 687 2468

Joanne Arnott @ 604-277-7940

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