Technology is a wonderful thing. We no longer have to worry about "big brother" watching us. We are way past that concept with the proliferation of smartphones. Snap, you're on Facebook. Tag, you're it. All this accessibility of information (whether we want it or not) is astounding, confounding and sometimes confusing. We have come to rely on our electronic wizards (I kinda enjoy it as I challenge myself to outwit my smartphone). We are making progress, but we will probably never be friends, especially since it just ate a bunch of emails I was going to use for this week's column.
Tap dancing changed my life. Even though I started lessons at a time in life when most people are heading into retirement (and slip into the "thank-you-very-much-but I-have-learned-everything-I-need-to-know" attitude), I can only say that I wish I had started my tap dance career sooner. There are so many benefits: social recreation, calorie-burning physical activity, learning performance skills and, of course, the mental challenge involved in mastering new skills and memorizing choreography.
Celebrate! That's the message I am hearing. The first celebration belongs to Theatre BC's Greater Vancouver Zone Festival Gala opening night. On Sunday night, White Rock's Coast Capital Playhouse was nearly packed with celebrants to welcome the beginning of the week-long theatre event. Festival adjudicator Fran Gebhard set the tone with her comments, declaring the festival to be more of a celebration of community theatre rather than a competition. "I thank you for your energy, passion and devotion," she stated. The festival culminates Saturday in another celebration, with awards and food. Great combo.
Dream big. Work hard. Follow your passion, develop and share your talent. This is a great formula for anyone wanting to succeed in the performing arts. And sometimes it is also realizing that success isn't always spelled out by a big-paying professional career. It's time to recognize the unsung heroes who are singing out big time in our community. Move over Justin and Michael, Patricia and George are in town.
We are different - all of us. All different. The differences are at once amazing, challenging, interesting, ethnic, cultural, religious and intellectual. Of all the people on this planet, or even just in B.C., no two of us are exactly alike, not even identical twins. Genetically, of course, we are all human - homo sapien. Astounding.
The Times of India Film Awards made a big splash in Vancouver with enthusiastic crowds cheering their favourite Bollywood stars. It was certainly colourful and exciting. The provincial government ponied up millions of sponsorship dollars and told us it would be good for tourism. Vancouver would get mentioned in the media coverage of the event. But then someone forgot to tell the media to mention that TOIFA was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Oops.
I have a little adage I like to adopt when I am running behind and seemingly overwhelmed with the rapid passage of time and events contained therein: "I was so far behind that I thought I was in first place." It works for me.
Government grants are very important to artists and cultural organizations. When the glorious grants from gaming were curtailed a few years ago, the cultural sector felt the impact. It has been a tough go for many cultural-type groups to keep running. Of course, on a global scale, we are OK. I try to keep that in mind, and also to compliment the government of the day for what they are doing to support the arts.
It is officially spring. We can see sure signs of spring in Surrey - the daffodils and tulips are beginning to bloom and, starting April 2, Surrey Festival of Dance begins its month-long tenancy at Surrey Arts Centre. Dancers of all ages compete in varied dance styles in this festival, which is still one of the largest amateur dance competitions held in North America.
The English language has more than 200,000 words in common usage. Sure, there are some in common usage we may like to edit and consign them to the not-so-commonly used words. Whatever. Add in scientific terms, technology idioms (trending, tweeting, facebook) and our multiculturally influenced language has more than one million words. It's a flexible language - we keep adding more words, and don't really care where they originate.
Ambition. Inspiration. Passion. Motivation. Training. Opportunity. Support. All good words I could apply to the reason for the success of Anna Theodosakis and Brodie Marples in the highly competitive world of performing arts. Both of these (local) young adults have created already impressive careers in a world filled with talented young people. Their work ethic, opportunities for extensive training and solid family support just might make the difference.
Mark Twain once wrote: "Humour is mankind's greatest blessing." And it is no secret that a good laugh, sharing a smile with a stranger or just being entertained by a good bit of comedy does make us feel better - more human. Laugh at ourselves, or at others; it doesn't matter.
February is a very short month, comparatively, but wow! This year it just sailed by on the wings of a dragon and is slithering as swiftly as a snake to its end. There. Got the Chinese Year of the Dragon and the new Year of the Snake all recognized. So many things to do - just takes time and money. Brilliant philosophy.
I had some very deep thoughts about the meaning of art and culture. Don't worry, I am not going to bore you with those thoughts by putting them on paper. Besides, you already have your own ideas on that subject - good for you. I just like the way a cultural arts performance, like ballet for instance, can become a unique combination of all the meanings of arts and or culture that you can imagine. Here is your example for the week.
It's a week away from Valentine's Day - you know, the holiday that was designed for selling greeting cards. Never mind. It never hurts to dedicate one day in a whole year to appreciate the people - and things - we love.
Are we tired of winter weather yet? Yep. Looking forward to warmer days and a bit of sunshine. In the meantime, we still have a couple months of winter left and can still focus on "indoor" activities. No, that doesn't mean hunkering down in front of the television and watching the return of hockey. You can do that, too, but give yourself an energy boost by trying something new. Socialize a bit. Explore the possibilities. Just might help wash away some of the winter blahs.
If we are lucky enough to stay healthy, we can be assured of reaching a "certain age," too often defined by a mid-life crisis. It used to be that when men reached the age of 50-something, they would buy a sports car or find a "younger" woman to recapture youth. Women suffer hormonal changes with menopause, and anything can happen. Today, however, these mid-life crises reflect the downturn in the economy with resultant job loss for the over-50 person. Life changes.
Red Chamber: Concert presented by Peninsula Productions 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 at First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave.,White Rock. "Red Chamber straddles traditional and contemporary, whether it be ancient Chinese string-band music seldom heard in the west, bluegrass or jazz fusion." Tickets $25 advance, $30 at door, available at Tapestry Music 1335 Johnston Rd., White Rock, also tickets.surrey.ca.
Congratulations, we have made it through the most depressing day of the year - the second Monday in January. So they say. And "they" are rarely wrong.