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My Creative City Cabaret Time-Delayed Live Blog

posted at 1:27 pm
on Nov. 10, 2008

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I dropped by the Roundhouse last night to attend the Creative City Cabaret, a collection of performances by candidates in the upcoming Vancouver elections.  My friends at Left Right Minds asked me to blog the event, and I was happy to help out and to see the potential city leaders in a non-political event that was to showcase some of their creativity and human side.

Started out with a rousing drum number that got the crowd—well, not exactly roused, but you know, going a bit.  There was about 100 people in the audience (though there were a lot fewer 15 minutes before show start, which was a bit of a heart-in-throat moment), and about 30 candidates in total.

Three folks from COPE did a skit followed by a great video presentation, the theme of which was “Vote Beard” in favor of David Cadman, a candidate who had a great beard.  Best line: “You’ve found hope, because you’ve found COPE.”

Each skit was followed by the opportunity for the audience to ask a question. This first question for the candidates: What was the first, and last, theater performance you saw?  Answers: The Nutcracker Suite, and I forgot the rest.  I’m actually realizing my notes from this night are somewhat bad, so please forgive me in advance.

David Cadman came to the microphone and sung “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” in honor of Barack Obama, then a sunshine song whose name I don’t know in honor of global warming, and followed with “You Can’t Eat the Oysters in Vancouver Harbour” which led to a policy position statement about turning sewage system waste into methane and hydrogen.

He’s worried about sustainability and building a secondary treatment center.

Scott Yee, the first mayoral candidate, takes the stage.  A stand-up comedian routine is his attempt… oh dear.  Truly repulsive.  Tasteless and poorly delivered.  Heckling starts.  Horrible sexual humor.  Worst one: Why did the transexual cross the road? To make five bucks.  If women want more men to go down on them, they should come up with a slogan… I tuned him out about then.

Candidate was gonged, and wasn’t given a chance to answer questions.  Thank goodness.  Id he seriously running for office? I guess that’s what makes free speech so terrifying.

Laura MacDiarmid, Park Commissioner candidate, stepped out and sang an a cappella number, “Crazy”.  Had a hard time hitting the high notes.  But full marks for trying.  Question for this candidate: What kind of a tree would you be? She’d be a weeping willow.  She also answered a more serious question: That there should be more parks, that parks are a place for recreation as well as for solace (I think she meant solitude).  She was part of a project to bring art to the parks.

Little interlude promotion for Plank Magazine, the local performing arts magazine and Web site.

Then, the absolutely star of the night, Menard Caissy, who came out wearing a ski jacket and a iPod, doing a cover of a Staind song or something.  I underline the “something” because his singing was sans-words, sort of guttural groaning and incomprehensible.

Questions: Are you running for mayor?  Are you wearing a bullet proof vest?  Is that an original work?  The questions just keep coming.

“My father is god, my brother is jesus, vote for me because I’m going to run the city.”

“Don’t Fence Me In” wafts over the crowd, as the Nude Garden Party candidate steps up—Patrick Britten, after a verse of that, steps over the invisible spotlight barrier, and dives directly into the soliloquy of Hamlet.

“Who would bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?” indeed.

This guy knows a stage, has fairly good positioning, and walks directly to the point of the spotlight.

Yesterday earth, tomorrow the sky. Today, blossoms, you and I.

Question: Are you naked under that robe? (I totally forgot to mention that he was wearing a bathrobe and pyjama bottoms. What does it say that this is so far from the most weird thing tonight that it escaped mention?)

G?l?k Buday now up, starts with a tasteless joke.  Oh, and another tasteless joke.  Luckily, he talks so quietly, no one can hear him. He’s provided a mike, and that was a mistake.  “I’m bissexual.  If I want sex I have to buy it.”  Now he’s forgetting his routine, so he starts over from the beginning.  He begging for heckling, we’re all completely silent.  He did all his jokes over again.  He shouldn’t have.  FInal joke “Why’s a Guiness like a good prostitute?”  Seriously.  I hope I never see him again—what a sicko.

Question: What’s your number one skill? His answer: Was too long and quiet to reproduce here, and I didn’t care.

The moderator is now heckling the event itself.  That’s never a good sign.

Betty Krawczyk, Work Less Party has a lot of fans here—whoops ring out as she takes the stage.  She brought tap dancing shoes and is about to do something amazing.  And she doesn’t disappoint, she does a routine to “Old Time Rock and Roll” that has everyone clapping their hands.  She’s a lady in her (60s?) with plenty of bling on her vest and hat, and the audience is loving having someone actually interesting taking the stage.

However, she seems to have tired herself out so much from the dance that she can’t answer questions.  Alas.

Now Marc Emery is here.  He says he was going to do some Monty Python, but he says he was afraid, of economic collapse, and that things are going to get so bad, he can’t bring himself to do something entertaining.  And his policy talk is a vehement and heartfelt, but not entertaining.

Question: What are you going to actually do, your policies? 

Question: What do you think of the city giving $100 million to property developers? She says “I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s just such an outrageous attitude.”

Next up: Sean Bickerton. He’d been living in New York with his partner, and then moved back to Vancouver where he’s from. “We decided to come to this country where we could be free, and live and love the person we wanted to.”

He’s reading poetry he wrote: “Where oh where is osama bin laden, have they looked in baden baden?”

Question: What do you think of the privitization of community centers? He’s opposed to it. If you were a Dr. Seuss book, which one would you be? Green Eggs and Ham.  Ahhhhh.

Now, Leon Kaplan. Independent.  His mom thinks he’s funny and will be the only one voting for him. Ha!  He’s got an out-RAG-eous French accent. He also thinks we shoudl take tasers away from cops and give them to street ambassadors.  He’s got a nice clown nose, and he’s going to bottle vancouver water.

Moderator cut him short but he was doing very fine. Someone asked him a question: Is this your first time running for mayor? Answer: Yes, and thank you for giving me a chance to finish my act!

Park Commissioner candidate Jamie Lee Hamilton in a sparkly dress: My father will kick my ass if he sees me wearing—it’s his!  15 lesbians and 15 candidates in the audience: 30 people who don’t do dick.  Her standup is pretty good, actually. Oh wait, no it isn’t.  Her platform seems to be in getting people to vote: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, we want to get municipal participation way up.”

Question: Top three skills? Other than her mouth (her words, not mine!): Compassion, ability to bridge communities, working for the public good.

And now, Bill Ritchie.  He comes out and immediately goes into a dramatic monologue—pretending that he’s various characters at various social levels talking on the phone. 

Questions: What makes you want to run? He says it was mostly because he wanted to show someone else how easy it was to run.  How are you on crime?  First of all you want to work on the sources of crime: food, shelter, spending city money on some of these support programs.

AND NOW: A group from Vision Vancouver. Heather Deal, Geoff Meggs, Gregor Robertson (he’s the mayoral candidate).  They play a little Tom Lehrer overtop, and are going to play guitar along with it.  It’s the element song.  It’s stupendously poorly executed.  Have they ever practiced? They hand out sheets with the lyrics—but no one gets them.  They redo the song several times, slower each time.

“Ok, we’ve beaten that horse.”

Geoff says, “It’s very difficult with the at-large system to remember who to vote for. Here’s how:”

Question: Someone shouts out: “Skills?” Watering plants, flipping pancakes, playing the tuba (Gregor) Hiking, cycling (Meggs) Doing the splits, wearing a tutu, and performing requiems (Deal).

Vamping: There will be a meet and greet in the lobby, ask your questions then.

Final performer of the evening: Peter Ladner, NPA, I think.  He’s doing a song he wrote himself after spending an evening out in Vancouver with another activist.

He’s stopping in the middle of his song to explain it.  Now he’s starting again.

He’s actually not too bad, though his guitar needs tuning. 

“A chocolate, a cigarette, a crack in the gloom, and maybe if you’re lucky, she’ll find you a room.”

His voice is getting better and better.  He’s truly good—better singer than performer. He just tuned his own guitar.  Now he’s doing, what’s this, a SECOND SONG!  It’s called “Because of You,” dedicated to all potential candidates and current politicians.  He says his son blames everything on him, and this song’s all about that:

“Because of you, SUVs are everywhere, because of you, housing prices so unfair, because of you.”

Questions: Attack question from Betty about the $100 million: “Why did you do such a stupid thing?”  We loaned money to get the development going, and we’re going to get that money back, plus interest, along with 200 units of social housing. Question: Can you identify a mistake in your career that you acknowledge and how you reacted to it?

Peter says: A story about when he was 19 and ended up getting fired from the newspaper he worked at because he talked in public about something he shouldn’t have.

At the end of the performance, all the candidates came up and took a bow together - that was a real wonderful moment and made me feel like Vancouver was a small town, not a big city.

Was it a success?  I think so.  Truly some bad performances, and yet a kernel of heart-felt wonderfulness, and a chance to see the human side of the people who will, some of them at least, be running Vancouver.  Thanks, Left Right Minds.



Previous entry:
My Day

Next entry:
Party, Birthday Party


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