Victoria Fringe Festival 2019 and 12 Picks!

August 21 to Sept 1
Victoria, BC

The last days of Summer are almost here, and it’ll soon be time to do the Victoria Fringe Festival! This event has been defining the local arts scene for the past 34 or so years now with its unjuried selection of local and travelling acts. To see fond favourite performers return is always a joy.

However, to end the month, this party is one way to lounge around in the garden city (located on the tip of Vancouver Island). I try to grab a snack between shows and next up will be an updated list of where to get quick bites. On Labour Day—the busiest time of the 12 day event—the fuel runs are needed to keep anyone going. Some theatre-goers like to Fringe Binge.

Personally, I like to space my thrills out.

This year, my list of must see shows include (to buy tickets, please click on link): Continue reading

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Come Aboard for Feast! Food+Film June 13-15, 2019

FEAST-Logo-design-website-4-02Feast Food+Film is the Victoria Film Festival‘s love letter to all things culinary and it will be spotlighting the best treats that the Capital Region can offer. This event runs June 13-15, 2019 and the movies featured has Ed endorsing the search for Shangri-La with Himalayan Gold Rush. There’s a reason: variations of this fungus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Does it work? Ed says some of it does, if you can stomach the taste. A lot of manufactured medications work the same way as those harvested in the wilds. The only difference is in purity and concentration, and the belief that it does the body good than the gross out factor of, say, consuming bugs.

The film line-up features five documentaries and one feature film that explores the flavours, stories, and people behind a particular cuisine. The line-up and menus include:

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The Post-Halloween Blues? Thoughts on RBCM’s Night Shift Series and Nov 3 & 4th in #YYJ

IMG_20171028_201614920Post-Halloween, I’m not sure what I want to do next. Thankfully, the season is not over with Last Chance Productions bringing Evil Dead the Musical to town November 3rd and 4th to the Metro Theatre! You can click here to buy tickets. I mentioned them in an article last year about them finally coming to town, and this show is worth revisiting since it’s bloodier than Rocky Horror. As with live theatre, there will always be refinement. It’s not often audiences get sprayed than toss stuff in celebration of a scene in the latter.

Honestly, I should not have to leave my hometown of Victoria, BC to have some spooky fun. Usually, I’m tempted to go to Vancouver so I can enjoy Fright Nights at Playland. With this island community, a few events are more or less going to be the same year-after-year. Sadly, Rocky Horror Show fits under this bill as with slightly different Corn Mazes and variations of the Haunted House to navigate through. To get the route you want on Ghostly Walks requires getting a specific tour guide. What I want to experience are the special one-off’s. This garden city is home to an annual theatre production at Craigdarroch Castle which Launch Pad Theatre Company is doing a great job.

About four years ago, the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) experimented with the idea of making a Night at the Museum style fun and having a party like none other — perhaps inspired the film of the same name. Other museums around the world offer something similar, and they are usually geared for the whole family than adults to enjoy. There are even a few which get a touch academic. The articles I read online about these events often makes me think I should travel to check these other options but I always hold back, hoping my town’s museum can offer something similar. In what I’ve experienced at RBCM’s Night Shift, the organizers do a great job. They also touch up a few of their permanent exhibits to get into the spirit.

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What’s Next after Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 18th Annual Autumn Fair?

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The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS) is active year-round, and in October, their annual fair from last weekend brings the community together — and the curious to learn about the elements of what makes traditional Japan cool. Now in its 18th year, their success lies in how they enrich and entertain the public who do not know much about the Land of the Rising Sun.

For spoiled folks like me who desire more of an academic edge, I’m craving the experience from the University of Victoria’s Pacific and Asian Studies CAPI Conference on Japanese Popular Culture. Two events were held on campus back in the late 90’s and they set the bar. Plus, I visited Japan and experienced the life on the streets that some festivals from afar have no plans to replicate. To sample the unique food from stalls at either a theme park like Fuji-Q Highland Park or at a seasonal event requires travelling back there.

VNCS’ version is quaint. It is worth going to at least once. I’ve been to this event years ago and saw no reason to come back in any regular basis. After James Shaw told me about 2016’s event perhaps offering Ikayaki (squid on a stick), I took a chance at returning. Was he wrong about what he heard? Most likely. This mouth-watering reason was the only reason I trekked out to the Municipality of Esquimalt.

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Esquimalt’s Ribfest 2017, Five Years and How to Grow It

IMG_7060Now in its fifth year, Esquimalt Ribfest is growing in popularity and it may well be exceeding the capacity of how many people can be at Bullen park. I finally made it back to this show. For once, I was not ill or down with a sprained ankle. Three years have passed since I was here last, and while nothing much has changed — especially when it’s moreorless the same group of ribbers — I feel changes are needed if it’s to accommodate an ever increasing crowd and be versatile. Grizzly BBQ is a new entrant, but their scents were not enticing as I was letting my nose be my guide for which ribber to hit.

James went on Saturday with a date (he’ll argue otherwise and I was amazed). When he told me, of course I had to ask him for his thoughts so I can provide a summary about this event. He too thought it needs changing. He hoped to get his drinks and meat side-by-side than to hop across the field. I told him that’s how this event has always been, and it’s his fault for not getting his alcohol first and meal second. He arrived during the mad dinnertime hours and lucked out getting in. People were entering in small numbers, equaling those who left. Once inside, he looked at the scary lineups of everyone craving protein and was thankful the time it took to get to the till was not long. He enjoyed the food and wasn’t here to review since he was with his girlfriend. But I grilled him for opinion anyway and he had a lot to say in how space was used. He did give high marks for Gator BBQ‘s beans tho’. He thought it included either honey or molasses.

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Day One Musings from the 2017 Victoria Film Festival

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The 2017 Victoria Film Festival‘s Gala film certainly painted the night a pretty shade of pink with its opening film Window Horses to kick off the night. I thought the heroine Rosie Ming was wearing this event’s colours before putting on the black chādor, before arriving in Persia. Intentional or not, the first day was certainly fun, bright and cheerful. The morning and afternoon were wrought with continuous snowfall, and some of the organizers worried that it might cause problems since social media was on fire with reports of icy conditions and accidents already happening.

Thankfully, the troublesome weather faded away by evening so filmgoers can safely drive instead of slide to and fro from home. But for those who want an early start, Fort Tectoria is running virtual reality demos during this 10-day event to show off this technology as the coming thing. Eventually, some futurists predict it will integrate with cinema to create enhanced experiences. By the time I arrived downtown, I had a tough call to make: to go see Journey to the West 2: The Demons Strike Back at Cineplex Odeon or play video games. Very rarely, does a film festival offer this kind of opportunity for nerds like me!

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