Arts Seen – week of Jan 30 2014

Cabarets close the Rodeo and The Huron Bride and Harriet Tubman come to Vertigo

One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo wraps up this week and although the box office numbers aren’t final yet so far attendance appears to be up. The final show in the lineup Agokwe (see story on this page) opens on Thursday January 30. This year’s Rodeo has been a lot of fun with a lineup that offered plenty of laughs: Ravi Jain and his mom Asha fighting about his marital status onstage; Blake Brooker’s humorous look at celebrity talk show absurdity in Munich Now ; Bruce McCulloch’s misadventures as a young drunk punk and Hollywood dad; comedian Chris Gibbs’ sidekick schtick in Antoine Feval ; the earnestly hilarious ice-dancing pair Heap and Pebble; the musical one-liners that cracked up the audience at Craigslist Cantata . A good time was had by all.

No need to mourn though as there is no shortage of activity on Calgary stages and another festival is about to begin. For starters this week sees the opening of Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s gothic thriller The Huron Bride on Thursday January 30. The original one-act version of the play opened in 2009 and focused on a bride-to-be who is haunted by the ghost of her fiancé’s former wife. This extended version has been adapted exclusively for Vertigo Theatre by Moscovitch and runs until February 23. Vertigo’s Y Stage series also has a new show opening — The Spirit of Harriet Tubman written and performed by Leslie McCurdy follows the life of the legendary abolitionist from her childhood to rescuing slaves via the Underground Railroad and her later humanitarian work. The play recommended for ages seven and up runs from January 31 to February 2 ( vertigotheatre.com ) and marks the start of Black History Month.

At Calgary Opera The Flying Dutchman by the controversial Richard Wagner opens on Saturday February 1 ( calgaryopera.com ) and the university is holding a free public symposium for opera newbies and enthusiasts the same day (see story in this issue). If you can’t fit that into your schedule plan a weekday lunch break at Lunchbox Theatre ( lunchboxtheatre.com ) where The Surrogate runs from February 3 to 22.

Just as the Rodeo comes to an end Exposure 2014 begins. The annual photography festival which takes place every February in Calgary Banff and Canmore marks its 10th anniversary this year ( exposurephotofestival.com ). There are several exhibitions and special events including the Calgary opening on February 6 at Christine Klassen Gallery featuring work by photographers who have been part of the festival during the past decade. See our coverage in next week’s issue.

Looking further down the road plans are well under way for Nuit Blanche Calgary 2014 so mark your calendar for Saturday September 20 ( nuitblanchecalgary.ca ). The one-night-only arts extravaganza in downtown Calgary debuted in 2012 as part of Calgary’s year as a cultural capital. Wayne Baerwaldt the founding curator and a member of the board of directors says organizers have decided to hold the event every other year which will keep the personal time commitment and the budget feasible. “We are asking artists to produce original commissioned work…. and that’s very intensive and expensive” he explains. Baerwaldt expects the 2014 event will have a similar footprint to the original which extended from Olympic Plaza to the municipal building and so far the plans include 10 to 12 original works. For more details about the event and the artists involved read our story online.