January 17, 2012 was just as exciting as January 17, 2011, in that I was invited back to the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Opening Gala, which was held this year in the swanky-as-hell Waldorf Hotel on Hastings Street in East Vancouver. The PuSh Gala is one of the few events that I have been invited to as “media” and with my trusty Georgette von iPhone and a swipe of red lipstick I was ready to paint the town and tweet my heart out. Attending an event as “social media media” is much much easier, it just so happens, when you are carrying a smartphone in your little purse instead of a laptop in a big ol’ satchel (as I learned last year before I had Georgette). It makes dancing easier too. For those committed bloggers who did bring their laptops, however, reserved tables in the “Hideaway” room were available for them to do their thing and, pretty much, be awesome.
For those of you who don’t know, 2012 marks the 8th annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver. My very first PuSh experience was seeing the Electric Company Theatre‘s Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge in 2006 and I have tried, as much as possible, to see at least one PuSh show a year since then. There have always been new pieces and new experiences on offer from all around the world and this year is no exception. No matter what you choose to see it will be innovative, interesting, and deftly executed. I think my favourite PuSh show so far is Welshman Hugh Hughes‘ Floating, which I fell in love with and blogged about last year. This year, I am very excited to see Taylor Mac‘s Comparison is Violence at Club PuSh (February 3 and 4, 2012).
But enough about all the fun I will be having watching the shockingly beautiful Taylor Mac. With the trusty Georgette in my hand and my TC on my arm (and a glass of wine in my other hand) I set out to the have the gala-est gala I possibly could. And we have a lovely night. We made buttons at the Vancouver is Awesome button making station in the Hideaway, took some silly pics as the Waldorf hula dancer, took more silly pics in the PixStar photobooth in the Tiki Lounge upstairs, ate some of the amazing food that was on offer–for FREE (I had duck on toasted baguette, and beef and chicken kebabs), shouted along as Vancouver’s only accordion rock band, Fang, played their hit Hipsters Playing Sports (“Hold on to my cardigan/ So I can play some badminton”), and slowed it down to dance to the incredibly-amazing-and-I-can’t-believe-I-hadn’t-heard-of-them-before Vancouver band, e.s.l.in the Cabaret (yeah, um, the Waldorf is really big).
Besides the fun fun times to be had, PuSh Galas are also a great place to network, or, if you’re too shy, to observe Vancouver’s cultural VIPs off the stage and drinking or eating kebabs like the rest of us schlubs (though to be frank, I don’t know any theatre artist who would turn down free food). I even caught sight of my favourite Vancouver musician Dan Mangan, though since I’d already fabricated an excuse to meet him at a theatre event before Christmas I decided not to bother him this time (though he doubt he would have minded–he is the nicest man in the world). I was a little disappointed that Mayor Gregor was unable to attend this year because seeing him in the flesh is like seeing the Batman of Vancouver but my night was altogether too pleasant for me to mind overmuch.
If you haven’t gathered yet, I had a great time, and tweeted like crazy (PuSh volunteers even took a photo of TC and me tweeting!). The Waldorf is really a fantastic venue and PuSh makes a huge effort to make their Gala fun and interesting every year. Many thanks to the awesome Tara Travis, Outreach Coordinator for PuSh, for inviting me and for showing us all such a great time.
The 2012 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival runs from now to February 4, 2012. With so many different shows and events (from the Main Shows to Club PuSh to the Aboriginal Performance Series), it would be embarrassing for any arts-loving, lower mainland dweller to miss out on seeing a PuSh show. So many venues are participating, you’d almost have to making a point of NOT attending any PuSh shows to avoid seeing one. So do yourself a favour, give in, and see some amazing performing art already. Information about events, venues, artists, and buying tickets can all be found on the PuSh website.