BOOM Goes Out: #OperaFest Opera in the Village – The Mikado

BOOM Goes Out: #OperaFest Opera in the Village – The Mikado

I love Opera, I also love camping. So when the Calgary Opera sets up a tent along the banks of the Bow River and puts on an outdoor operatic spectacle for two weeks every August, I kinda feel like its a match made in heaven. Last Thursday, I got invited to the première of the third year of  Opera in the Village, which to me has become a Calgary summertime tradition. I have to say that more than just producing a complex stage show in a built-from-scratch venue, Calgary Opera is creating a cultural summertime destination in the forever evolving East Village. With daily activities, such as free drumming, Arias, workshops, and even a kids matinee it is worth it even to stroll along the beautifully redeveloped river pathway. Dubbed ‘The Big Top On The Bow’, the impressive tent plays host to this year’s main attraction; The Mikado. A satirical comedy set in two acts by the always campy Gilbert and Sullivan. My only concern about Opera in a tent was – How will I know what they are saying if there are no titles? But my fears were allayed once the show began as it was entirely in English and it is meant to be engaging (even pulling audience members on stage at one point). Jokes about current pop culture abound and there is plenty of poking fun at Calgary. Even something of an appearance by the World’s best Mayor. The fun thing about camping is that the rules are a little different. So is the case here. No need for a suit and tie on the banks of the river. Why not grab a...
BOOM Goes Out: 36th Annual Calgary Folk Music Festival

BOOM Goes Out: 36th Annual Calgary Folk Music Festival

It’s four in the morning, downtown Calgary. The sun hasn’t yet begun to warm the tops of the skyscrapers, and even though it’s the dead of summer the air still has a cool chill to it. The whole seems quiet, ordinary, yet lining the Princes Island pathway is a strange sight: about a hundred huddled, snoring, Calgarians, sleeping on fluorescent blue tarps, all waiting for the morning moment when they’ll out-speed-walk one another in an attempt to throw their tarps as close to the island’s main stage as possible. Welcome to the thirty-sixth annual Calgary Folk Music Festival, everyone. Over seventy artists from fourteen different countries spent the weekend this July serenading our downtown island with an eclectic mix of keytars, banjo’s, vinyl DJ sets, and full brass bands- just to name a few. Musicians and guests spent their days traveling between smaller stages dispersed throughout the park, where they would see solo shows, or two to three bands would host themed ‘workshops’, jamming on stage in front of hundreds of eager fest-goers. In the evenings, the main stage lit up the grounds with much-anticipated performances from featured musicians, culminating in an evening headliner and an ever-expected, yet somehow-impromptu dance party. Folk Fest has become a celebration of not only music, but the multiculturalism that binds our nation together. A delicious mix of local and international food options available at the park’s entrance delighted Calgary’s palate, and the pop-up market featured wares and works from artisans hailing from all sorts of nooks and crannies of the world. Of course, there’s the music. Whether it was the fiery, daring syncopation...
BOOM Goes Out: Diner en Blanc

BOOM Goes Out: Diner en Blanc

Runners slow to a walk, and couples strolling along the Bow river come to a full stop, staring, as strains of Edith Piaf’s iconic “La Vie en Rose” drift from a massive white tent, floating along a summer breeze to ruffle a twelve foot, inflated, ivory installation framing the Peace Bridge. Within minutes a small crowd has gathered along the sidewalk, pointing and smiling, quizzical looks on almost all faces as they look out on the sudden spectacle. However, it isn’t the classic French music or the beautiful pop-up décor that has Calgarian’s lining the Princes Island pathway, staring in wonder; it’s the twenty five hundred guests decked head to toe in shimmering, luminescent hues of white, cream, and ivory, elegantly weaving their way through rows of draped, white picnic tables, as Calgary begins it’s third annual Diner en Blanc. An event as equally rich in style and taste as it is in history, Diner en Blanc (quite literally, White Dinner) traces its roots more over twenty five years a go to- of course- Paris, where a young Fracois Pasquier wanted to invite a group of friends out for a picnic. Not having all met, he recommended they come dressed completely in white, so as to recognize other members of their group. It quickly became an annual event, and from these elegant, Parisian beginnings, Diner en blanc was born. Having now spread to multiple countries, the event maintains a strict invite-only guest list, and a mandatory zero-waste policy, where all attendees must bring in all of their picnic materials, and take them back out at the evening’s conclusion. It...