Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Walk for Life Calgary 2007 - record breaking success!On September 23rd, 2007, an estimated 1000 Calgarians - walkers, volunteers, entertainers, sponsors and staff - united in an effort to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and to raise funds to support AIDS Calgary’s education, outreach and prevention programs along with support for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Walk for Life Calgary 2006 raised over $85,000. Thank you to the many volunteers who made the walk happen, as well as our many sponsors, donors, walkers and supporters who helped make this year’s walk a tremendous success. Your hard work and dedication made all the difference.
Unlike many walks, which fundraise for research or international causes, the AIDS Walk directly benefits people in the Lower Mainland. This year 15 community partners participated in the walk. All funds raised support these local organizations, which provide such necessities as subsidized housing for women with HIV/AIDS, prevention programs in First Nations communities, and support groups for youth. All funds raised for BCPWA go to our complimentary health fund, which reimburses members for the HIV/AIDS related treatments and supplements not covered by provincial health care or other resources.
“We are thrilled to have a diverse and enthusiastic crowd out to enjoy the sunshine and celebrate life,” says Glyn Townson, Chair of BCPWA. “It’s great to see community groups and individuals coming together to support people with HIV/AIDS, and to continue to create awareness about AIDS in our community.
The opening ceremonies for the Walk included presentations from Members of Parliament Hedy Fry, Libby Davies and Bill Siksay, as well as presentations from MLAs Lorne Mayencort and Shane Simpson, and Vancouver City Councilor Tim Stevenson. The crowd was entertained throughout the seven kilometer rout by a variety of entertainment. By noon the party was in full swing with live music from SPYGIRL, the Kitchen and Brickhouse.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
American daytime TV has never seen anything like the fan reaction to the Luke and Noah romance on As the World Turns. And yet, although such representations are few and far between, this isn’t the first time America has seen gay teenagers on its television screens. From HBO’s 1986 drama The Truth About Alex to Greek’s Calvin and Heath, gay teenagers have been coming out, growing up, and (sometimes) even falling in love on TV for a long time now. What’s so special about Noah and Luke, and just who are television’s other gay teenaged boys?
Longtime fans of As the World Turns have known Luke Snyder (Van Hansis) since he was born, but most gay men didn’t know him until he came out late last year. He came to the attention of even more gay men this June when Noah Mayer (Jake Silbermann) moved to Oakdale, and half the Queer Nation sat up and took notice, starting a tidal wave of “Nuke” obsession the likes of which the American soap opera has never seen before.
Of course it’s not just gay fans avidly following the Nuke storyline, but there's no missing the buzz generated by the large number of first-time viewers following the show and talking about the relationship online. Since Luke has been out for more than a year, and he’s not even the first gay teen character on a soap, what’s behind the frenzy?
Soap viewers have almost familial relationships with the ongoing characters on their favorite shows. In Luke’s case, they’ve literally known him since he was born. They suffered with him being kidnapped, blown up by a bomb, undergoing a kidney transplant, and accidentally pushing his pregnant mother down the stairs.
They’ve seen him stricken with Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome (since he’s now a senior in high school despite having been born in 1995). They struggled with him as he came to terms with his sexual orientation last year, and may even have shared the consternation of his parents, especially his mom who was trying to get him into ex-gay therapy while he was trying to cope with his feelings for straight friend Kevin.
So old friends and new are rooting for Luke to find happiness and love, debating whether Noah is right for him or just another Kevin, uploading Nuke clips and homages to YouTube and even writing fan fiction and running fan websites for their favorite couple. And they’re also sharing in the process by which a gay teenager became a part of the family for a sizeable hunk of the American public who might not actually have – or know they have – a gay family member.
This is the power of the soap opera: unlike shows that air only 12 to 25 episodes a year, daytime dramas invite you into the daily life of each character, as well as their families, sometimes going back for generations. And by using a teenager whom the audience watched grow up, heterosexual viewers are brought into the painful struggle for identity often experienced by gay youth at that age.
What makes the Luke/Noah dynamic all the more compelling is that fans have seen Luke move through the coming out process and emerge with a level of self-acceptance and even pride rarely seen in gay TV teens. Noah, by contrast, is still at the very beginning of that process, and he’s fighting every step of the way.
Noah’s father is a homophobic career army officer, and not likely to be nominated for dad of the year anytime soon. He’s putting intense pressure on Noah to “straighten up.” The closer Noah and Luke get, the stronger their feelings for each other become, and the more desperately Noah tries to push Luke away as he hides behind girlfriend Maddie.
In a dramatic turn (is there any other kind on a soap?), Noah recently grew angry at Luke for refusing to lie to Maddie for him. Luke finally blew up and told Noah some harsh truths.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
FROM THE PRODUCERS WHO BROUGHT YOU URINETOWN THE MUSICAL
THE FULL MONTY
LIVE AT THE GRAND
3 WEEKS ONLY! OCTOBER 2 – 20, 2007
LIMITED TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Book by Terrence McNally Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek
Calgary, AB – THE FULL MONTY, the runaway Broadway hit musical based on the internationally popular 1997 British film makes its Calgary debut Live at The Grand (608-1st SW) October 2 through October 20, 2007. Produced by Ground Zero Theatre, Hit & Myth productions and Directed by Kevin McKendrick, limited tickets for THE FULL MONTY are on sale now at The Grand Box Office at (403) 205-2922 or on-line at http://www.atthegrand.ca/
The movie -- about desperate, unemployed steelworkers in Sheffield, England, who bare it all for cash -- became one of the surprise sensations of British film history. And the stage musical version, relocated to Buffalo, N.Y., took both Broadway and London by storm.
The secret of THE FULL MONTY phenomenon is that it is not really about stripping at all. What it reveals is humanity: It's the funny and heart-warming story of a group of down-and-out friends who reclaim their manhood and self-respect by overcoming adversity, working as a team and achieving an unlikely victory.
THE FULL MONTY was re-imagined for the stage by Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally. His musical collaborator, David Yazbek, is not exactly a household name; his pre-"Monty" work is well known: he has written gags for David Letterman, and composed the theme song of the educational TV hit "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego."
The resulting show has attracted some of the most enthusiastic theatrical reviews of the last decade. A critique on Capital Radio concluded, “THE FULL MONTY re-defines and sets the benchmark for musicals in the 21st century. It's as sharp as a razor, witty and contains music and lyrics that put most other musicals straight out to pasture. And here's a rarity for a musical -- the characters are completely three-dimensional. You really DO care what happens to each and every one of them. This show's an absolute sensation."
What's On gushed that the "musical comedy version of the biggest ever box office grossing British movie retains the heart and soul of the film without attempting to copy it. Terrence McNally's excellent book takes six blue-collar workers and their families and friends on a journey from economic scrap heap to self-discovery. David Yazbek's score maps the character-based drama with some stand out numbers."
USA Today called THE FULL MONTY "one of the most entertaining and exhilarating productions you're likely to see." And Jay Reiner, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, called the "Monty" musical "one of the most exhilarating musical comedy treats to be seen in years. David Yazbek's witty songs have an edgy, hip quality. . . And McNally's book is a comic gem. The show has so many highlights and show stoppers, one loses count."
Composer and lyricist Yazbek comments on the thunderous audience reaction that has dependably followed every performance, "I wish I had applause like that after every show I do with my band. I've never seen anything like it in the theater -- in the musical theater. It's like a rock concert. It's got this undeniably strong arc, like a sports story -- a group of guys get together, start a team, have some trouble getting it together -- magnificent seven or seven samurai style -- and then they overcome the odds and win. And you can't deny it's compelling -- you're going to be interested from beginning to end."
The Calgary cast of THE FULL MONTY includes (in order of appearance) Esther Purves-Smith (Georgie Bukatinsky); Mitchell Verigin (Buddy “Keno” Walsh); Joel Cochrane (Reg Willoughby); Carson Nattras (Jerry Lukowski); Martin Murphy (Dave Bukatinsky); Daniel Mallett (Malcolm MacGregor); Tyler Rive (Ethan Girard); Christopher Lorincz (Nathan Lukowski); Ashley Bjorndal (Susan Hershey); Leora Godden (Joanie Lish); Ksenia Thurgood (Estelle Genovese); Jill Belland (Pam Lukowski); Patrick MacEachern (Teddy Slaughter); Valerie Pearson (Molly MacGregor and Jeannette Burmeister); Doug McKeag (Harold Nichols); Elinor Holt (Vicki Nichols); Orville Cameron (Noah “Horse” T. Simmons) and Jesse Wheeler (Minister).
THE FULL MONTY journey is brought to Calgary by Terrence McNally (Book); David Yazbek (Music and Lyrics); Joel Cochrane of Hit & Myth Productions (Producer); Ryan Luhning of Ground Zero Theatre (Artistic Production Manager); Kevin McKendrick (Director); Stacie Harrison (Assistant Director); Darold Roles (Choreographer); Randy Mueller (Musical Director); Douglas McCullough (Set Design); Cimmeron Meyer (Lighting Design); Brian Craik (Costume Design); Tracy Hopper (Costume Assistant); Brian Forlin (Hair Design); Luke Dahlgren (Sound Design); Denise C. Clark (Technical Production Manager); Derek Storbakken (Technical Production Manager); Johanne Deleeuw (Stage Manager); Amy Lippold (Assistant Stage Manager) and Ruby Dawn Eustaquio (Assistant Stage Manager).
THE FULL MONTY will play Tuesday, October 2 through Saturday, October 20 Live at The Grand (608-1st Street SW). Performances are Tuesday - Saturday evenings at 8pm with matinees Saturdays at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $60 to $40 (plus taxes and service charges) and are on sale now at The Grand Theatre Box Office at (403) 205-2922 or on-line at http://www.atthegrand.ca/ Student, Senior and Group Discounts are available.