- Runs Aug 22nd to Sept 2
- Various venues in Downtown Victoria
Victoria, BC’s Annual Fringe Festival is not only a terrific way to cap off the summer but also it’s a place to watch performers simply experiment with new ideas. In those that are runaway successes, they will return to stage as regular shows.
I have been attending the events for close to a decade now, and have seen a huge gambit. I naturally gravitate towards comedy, musicals and anything nerdy. However, I do not limit myself to them either. In those that I have seen outside my favourites, they are surprising. Of course, I never tire of the endless bounty of delights. The limitation is only with the imagination, and the journey to the Twilight Zone.
The following are my picks of this season. Please visit http://intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/fringe-festival for showtimes and to buy tickets.
After experiencing the 4th annual Car Free YYJ, I’m looking forward to Year Five. Can more of Douglas Street be used? Can carnival rides get offered at Centennial Square? That’s the feeling I got while thinking about what will draw me back. This event has music which I enjoyed, food to snack on, shopping local and seeing exhibits to highlight the best of what Victoria, BC can offer. I know more is possible. The Downtown Victoria Business Association has a good plan to revitalize the city core, and I can only hop on my soapbox to offer my suggestions.
The groups behind organizing Capital City Comic Con is confident folks far and wide will come to the Garden city of British Columbia to get their geek on. It takes place at the Victoria Convention Center and Crystal Garden on March 16-18th, 2018 and passes are on sale through Ticket Rocket.
Cherry Bomb Toys, The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) and Tourism Victoria are not resting over the holidays. Announced Friday morning is Patrick Warburton. He’s done many cartoon voices like Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove and played The Tick (2001) and the narrator, Lemony Snicket in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. To hear him talk about his career will be fascinating. Most will remember him from Senfield but how many people will remember him in Quantum Leap?
Guests announced in previous month include Graham McTavish (Aquaman movie, Preacher) and James Marsters (Buffy). Both are great draws for those people who love their works. More names will be revealed in the coming months, and the plan is to make the star around this city brighter. It is known for Nerd Row where the corner of Broad and Johnson has a high concentration of shops to buy goodies from and the municipality of Oak Bay is recognized as where Gracepoint was filmed. On other parts of Vancouver Island, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla came to town and so did parts of the western beachscape became the battlefront for War for the Planet of the Apes.
Biago Woodward is one of the convention producers. He said he would love to get more people from Hollywood to take notice in everything this city, if not the entire island, can offer. It’s been used in many a cheery Hallmark movie like A Heavenly Christmas and independent production like Nick Simon’s masterful horror flick The Girl in the Photographs. Disney and Fox sent a crew to this island to make use of Hatley Castle to film Descendants (both movies) and X-Men 2. Deadpool knocked at the door of this historic building to find Professor Xavier. Only time will tell when the second movie comes out if he answered it or not.
“This city has its own tastes, its own feel … we’re going to do what’s best for the city to highlight the tourism and what the downtown core offers,” revealed Woodward.
Post-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.
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.
The Two Hungry Blokes is not gone. I just have to be more devious in my approach to record and later reveal content from James. We still head out to have a random bite from time to time. For a guy who claims he’s leaving the scene, he’s not doing a good job. He still wants to express what he thinks about a restaurant, its service, its decor or the food to me. He simply no longer wants to write about it, which is fine, and I do not have to put my fingers into my ears and say, “la la la,” to ignore him. Instead, I’ll might as well take notes of his thoughts and report it. Yes, I can find workarounds.
In this Halloween guide, he never said I can not repost his list from our other blog otakunoculture.com here. I present our picks for this year’s local island festivities. Most, I have acquire tickets to, others, I don’t know if I want to take James along anyways. He was a buzzkill (see my report here) when he wanted to join me for the first event on my list. I also have to note for James picks, I went to one and he was nowhere. Did he go phantom on me?