Comedian Graham Clark used to go to Seattle's Bumbershoot festival every Labour Day weekend and think, "This could happen in Vancouver."
He believes his notion has been realized with the Olio Festival, which animates venues across the city with music, film, comedy, art, fashion and skateboarding, Sept. 19 to 23.
"Last year we did shows and a lot of people came out that hadn't necessarily been to a comedy show before," Clark said of the festival, which is now in its fourth year. "It's nice to be able to get across to people who might only be live band people, or people that never go out- I'm glad that we're a part of it."
Clark exhibited his beard paintings-pictures he painted using his beard hairs as a brush-at Little Mountain Gallery and hosted The Laugh Gallery at last year's event.
This year, he and co-host Dave Shumka will present a live taping of their awardwinning comedy podcast Stop Podcasting Yourself on Sept. 21 at Electric Owl.
Guests will be fan favourite and Stop Podcasting Yourself regular Alicia Tobin, The Sunday Service improv team member Kevin Lee, and Juno Award-winning musician Dan Mangan.
The live show's likely to include the popular regular audience Overheards segment, where listeners phone in or post contributions, such as the teacher who saw a kid pretending he was selling chili dogs at a baseball game.
"He was saying, 'Get your chili dogs here,' and then at one point he goes, 'Hey lady, here's a chili dog for your baby's face,'" Graham said.
Shumka was inspired to fill the gap he saw in the podcast landscape with a comedy show in 2008.
"Which doesn't seem that long ago, but in podcast-land, it was like a million years ago," Clark said.
The duo flailed around for ideas in the beginning but some segments, such as Drunk Dials, stuck.
"We get people to put our number in their phone and if they want to call somebody when they're drunk, instead of calling their ex-girlfriend or their old boss or whatever, they can call us," Clark said. "We've played some pretty amazing, rambling drunk messages from listeners."
Listeners interact with Stop Podcasting Yourself by phone, on Facebook and on the website for Maximum Fun, host to a family of podcasts.
Stop Podcasting Yourself has spawned a loyal following. Toronto fans promoted a show earlier this year to get Clark and Shumka to host a podcast there, and last month, Stop Podcasting Yourself garnered the most votes from the public of five nominees to become the Best Podcast at the Canadian Comedy Festival.
Olio-goers who live to get their groove on as well as giggle can check out music acts such as New Zealand's Ladyhawke, local orchestral pop band Brasstronaut, Edmonton electro-rockers Shout Out Out Out Out and Poor Moon, which includes members of Seattle's Fleet Foxes.
Fashion events have been added to the festival for the first time to complement the pop-up gallery exhibits, film premieres and skate jams.
The comedy lineup includes an international sketch comedy showcase, a show that includes Clark and American comedian Kyle Kinane and a live performance of CBC Radio's This is That.
"Those guys are really funny and I haven't had an opportunity to see them live because I think they did it live for the first time in Winnipeg this year and apparently, it just went over huge, just gangbusters," Clark said. "That would be something I would highly recommend."
Full festival passes for the more than 40 Olio events are $60, with single show tickets starting at $5. For more information, visit oliofestival.com or stoppodcastingyourself.blogspot.ca.
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