Friday, September 14, 2007

SOUL FOOD: Angries, Fringe, Galleries, Flicks

Fall has fell, arts-wise anyhow, and it's time to start raking some leaves. Here's a quick clear plastic recycling bag full of early autmnal debris.

Pacific Theatre opens its 24th season with a staged reading of 12 ANGRY MEN this coming week! Five shows only, Wed through Sat. Check out the cool graphics and order tickets at the PT website. I really want to encourage you to come experience this one: it's a grand experiment, no ad budget (no way we could pay a professional cast of 12 for a regular rehearsal period and full run), and I'd love to fill the place. It's such a terrific script from such a well-loved film classic - I notice the movie is featured in a stupendous book I just picked up, "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" - and we've gathered an all-star PT cast spanning right back to the founding of Pacific Theatre in 1984 (I'll post more later at the PT blog. I'm in the cast, along with Michael Kopsa (HOSPITALITY SUITE), Tim Dixon (COTTON PATCH GOSPEL, HOWARD BUYS A MOTORHOME, many more), Allen des Noyers (CPG, FISH TALES, DREAMS OF KINGS & CARPENTERS, you name it), Francis Boyle (NAVY WIFE, THE FOREIGNER, etc, etc), Adam Bergquist, and so many more. (Well, seven, actually, if you're counting...)

Speaking of Adam Bergquist, he's in a powerful production of CRACKWALKER in the Vancouver Fringe, that closes this Sunday. En route to that show I'll be checking out Timothy Clayton's art show at The Havana: as well as spinning tunes at the PT Gala this past February, Timothy's PT connection is his wife Gina Chiarelli (THE FEVER, AGNES OF GOD, SEE GRACE FLY, etc). There's another soul-nourishing art show on the North Shore, Hope Abundant at the Bellevue Gallery, another compassionate, artful look at Africa.

There's a nifty keen Bruce Cockburn concert on CBC Radio Two tonight at 8pm, which you can also listen to online: follow the links from the Soul Food Vancouver posting.

At the movies, it's all about the Vancouver International Film Festival, which kicks off Sep 27: I've started previewing the more Soul Foody servings at the movie blog, and will have more when the official program is in my hands tomorrow noon. As for what's onscreen now, THIS IS ENGLAND is really something, autobiographically inspired, 1983 setting, about a 12 year old working class English boy who falls in with a gang of skinheads after his dad's killed in the Falklands: you'll be on edge, and yes there's some violence that's tough to watch - not so much because it's grisly or gratuitous, but because you believe it, and it happens among characters you care about - but it's loaded with brilliant unexpected turns, heart-breakingly true characters. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE opens today, Julie Taymor's eye-candy musical that uses Beatle songs musical-theatre-style to tell a love story set against the backdrop of the late Sixties: I wish it had gone darker (I'm thinking TITUS, here), and must admit some of the stuff is definitely on the nose, but by and large it's wildly creative, and I'll take anything Julie is dishes out. 3:10 TO YUMA riffs on all the classic western motifs, has strong performances, is shot full of Bible quoting, prayers, and crosses on sixgun handles, but goes wildly stupid in its final half hour: how come bad guys who never miss can't land a single shot once they're within range of the closing credits? Darn, that bugs me. And let's just say the psychology of that home stretch is, well, a stretch. Rent UNFORGIVEN or OPEN RANGE or THE BIG COUNTRY instead, or maybe even SHANE.

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