Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Performance Review: La Tarara Kasandra May 7, 2017 The Act Arts Centre

Stepping out and into a different realm of entertainment is not something new to me, however this particular night's event was indeed. I have never before witnessed first hand the performance of dance that is Flamenco. Ever interested to see and be able to appreciate art of all it's aspects is something I was taught from an early age from my mother who had such a passion for all the arts, being a painter, mentor and teacher as well. It was hard not to get some of that passion as well.
Copyright--Sanka Dee(2017) Used With Permission
From the moment the dancers took  the stage and started dancing I knew myself and the audience were in for a treat. Not having seeing this kind of dance before I know does not really give one a critical approach to the performance, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. Sometimes we just have to let the artist(s) express themselves as freely as the dance allows them to glide-seemingly- effortless across the stage.
Copyright-Sanka Dee(2017)Used With Permission
I can however appreciate what these talented people , dancers , singers , musicians have brought to the stage that night and what a powerhouse group in an almost capacity crowd anxious to witness the next spectacular move from the dancers from across the globe and many from Vancouver and surrounding areas.
Copyright-Sanka Dee(2017)Used With Permission
This was all brought about by the artistic Director and Flamenco dancer Kasandra "La China" whose amazing skill wearing the dress she has on in the picture above ,she dances ever so gracefully across the stage all while wearing heels as well under the train. 
Her male counterparts had what seemed a tiring time, where there was a battle of sorts. Imagine if you will a "dance off" of  two amazingly skilled dancers from separate parts of the globe , that for the first time can dance on the same stage(more on that later in the small interview, later).
Copyright-Sanka Dee(2017)Used With Permission
I felt so privileged to have witnessed this event , to have seen this amazing talent first hand in a very limited performance as you first saw in the poster at the header of this review. There were only 4 performances of this event , so the lucky few had the extreme opportunity of a lifetime to witness such an event.

Now I had reached out to Kasandra and asked if she had some pictures I could use for this review and she kindly sent me the ones you see here, minus the poster. She did ask me to credit Sanka Dee as I have above.
Below I am honored to have words sent to me from Kasandra on how this event came about, thank you Kasandra.

Bringing world class flamenco to Canada a difficult feat financially, but I am seeking inspiration and want to find an interesting chemical mix of artists.   The artists of "La Tarara" come from varied backgrounds and the point of the show is that Flamenco is an individual expression and expresses universal human emotion.  

Ivan Vargas comes from pure Roma lineage from Granada and comes from a long line of famed flamenco dancers from "Los Maya" dynasty.  Usually he performs only with his family and those of Roma origins.  Emilio Ochando is Spanish and resides in the epicentre of all flamenco dance, Madrid.  As such, his training from an early age in the academy and moving onto the national ballet of Spain, his technique is stratospheric and he only usually performs with Spanish artists.  These two artists would never meet in Spain and this show would actually never happen there.  There is some unspoken rule that these lines must not cross.  

I can present this amazing show in Vancouver as we are multicultural and we do not see colour.  It is one of the greatest things that Canada has to offer the world and as such, I can put together a mosaic of artists from Canada, Spain, US, Italy and whose backgrounds vary from Chinese, Mexican, English, Brazilian, Spanish, Gitano, Canadian.  We represent the highest quality of Flamenco that there is in the world, and let the world see what we have to offer when worlds collide. Thank you,  Kasandra

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

Friday, May 5, 2017

Press Release: The ACT Arts Centre presents La Tarara by Kasandra Flamenco April 7 , 2017

Rivalry, Love, Jealousy and Intrigue
The ACT Arts Centre presents La Tarara by Kasandra Flamenco
on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2016-2017 ACT Presents Series.

This performances brings the ACT Presents season to a close with a dazzling show full of drama,intensity and bravado. Alluring dance, Sevillan silk shawls, Spanish bata de cola (long train dress),
castanets, uttering fans and epic footwork all bring the story to life.
Led by master dancer Kasandra “La China”, this explosive Flamenco performance includes dance stars
direct from Spain; Ivan Vargas Heredia --

--and Emilio Ochando. Ochando, is a six-time premio champion
and bailarin from Royal Conservatorio, Ballet Nacional de Espana & Nuevo Ballet Espanol.

Audiences will also revel in the rich music of award-winning, international musical director from Malaga,Gaspar Rodriguez, composer of twelve international flamenco productions. Rodriguez is recognized asone of Spain's most expressive and innovative artists, and many aficionados will recognize him as the
musical director of Nuevo Ballet Espanol. The voice of powerhouse Flamenco singer Vicente Griego “El
Cartucho” resonates the production along with the sonorous tones of cellist “La Sirena”, and rhythmic
groove of flamenco cajon by Italian percussionist, Davide Sampaolo.
Kasandra and her musicians perform with a combustible onstage chemistry and musical energy that
takes the audience on an emotional journey. It’s firey, spirited and delightfully cheeky.

Tickets for La Tarara: Adult $32, Senior $28, Youth $15.
Tickets are available in person at The ACT Arts Centre at 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge, or over the
phone at 604-476-2787 or online at www.theactmapleridge.org.
The 2017/2018 season will launch at the end of August at the Sneak Peek.
To receive an invitation and save on ticket purchases, please contact The
ACT Arts Centre and speak to Tracey Brady about becoming a member.
About The ACT Arts Centre
A not-for-profit society serving the community since 1971, The ACT Arts Centre aims to offer vibrant arts
and cultural opportunities and experiences through excellence in artistic and educational programming,
customer, and member and community service. The ACT Presents Series is supported by The
Department of Canadian Heritage: Canada Arts Presentation Fund and The Province of British Columbia
Gaming Branch, and the BC Arts Council Community Presenter fund. www.theactmapleridge.org

Friday, April 28, 2017

Michael Kaeshammer at The ACT Theater Sunday April 23, 2017

Ever the great musicians that grace a stage and share it with equally talented musicians that can stop on a dime , that shows not only skill but the tightness of the band as a whole , overall.
Michael Kaeshammer brought every ounce of talent this past Sunday night to what seemed to be a sell out crowd that enjoyed the night or great music and some comedy as well, from Michael and company.
The group of talented musicians to join him on stage are as follows:

Sean Cronin-Bass
Roger Travassos-Drums
Steve Hillman- Tenor Sax
Rod Murray - Trombone
William Sperandee- Trumpet

Michael was kind enough to write their names on a piece of paper for me after the show where he was in the lobby of the theater talking to people , signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.
I had the opportunity to talk to him briefly and admire his passion as an artist and his skill as a musician.

I am listening to the CD above as I write this piece always find it easier to write a review with a reminder of the music shared the night of the concert.

Michael has a great presence on stage and is very comfortable with his audience and makes you feel comfortable upon meeting him as well. A great part of the concert he grabbed a tambourine and went and took his horn section with him and started marching through the audience with them. This got people excited and more energized for the rest of the show.

This was my first time seeing Michael and his talented band , was told this concert was different than last years performance by a few people I saw after the show and in passing noticing they were there Sunday evening.This piece below will give you a great idea of what he is all about.Video & also a link --this is from a few years ago this piece but he played it Sunday night.

              Michael Kaeshammer --Boogie Woogie Pianist
In the 2nd part of the video when he plays Sweet Georgia Brown he got into a "drum off" of sorts with his drummer, lots of fun.

Here are some of his upcoming tour dates -if he is in your area look up showtimes and go see him if you like this style of music.

APRIL 29, 2017 Bellingham, WA United States Mount Baker Theatre
MAY 13, 2017 Seattle, WA United States Benaroya Symphony Hall
JUNE 08, 2017 Moisburg Germany Kultur Punkt
JUNE 11, 2017 Hamburg Germany Downtown Bluesclub
JULY 06, 2017 Montreal Canada Theatre Maisonneuve
JULY 26, 2017 Penticton, BC Canada The Dream Cafe
JULY 27, 2017 Penticton, BC Canada The Dream Cafe
JULY 28, 2017 Penticton, BC Canada The Dream Cafe
JULY 29, 2017 Penticton, BC Canada The Dream Cafe
SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 Napa, CA United States Blue Note
SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 Long Beach, CA United States Carpenter Performing Arts Centre
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 Long Beach, CA United States Carpenter Performing Arts Centre
SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 Carlsbad, CA United States Museum of Making Music

NOVEMBER 18, 2017 Bellingham, WA United States Mount Baker Theatre.

(Please note there was a request for no photos to be taken at the show, have to respect the artists wishes. I have used only publicity photos)

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Press Release: The ACT Art Centre presents Michael Kaeshammer on Sunday, April 23, 2017

The ACT Arts Centre presents Michael Kaeshammer on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2016-2017 ACT Presents Series.

Michael Kaeshammer has been called Canada’s triple-threat combo of piano virtuosity, vocal ability and charisma. Kaeshammer's performances are pure delight and his energy knows no bounds. Audiences at The ACT Arts Centre know this first hand. Performing during The ACT Arts Centre’s inaugural season over a decade ago and again in 2014, Michael Kaeshammer has received standing ovations each time.

The prolific Vancouver Island-based singer/songwriter/pianist/producer has earned a loyal local and international following as a triple threat. He’s a piano virtuoso with a technical mastery of many different styles, an eloquent singer/songwriter, and a charming and engaging performer. Kaeshammer is well known in Canada but has toured extensively in the United States and Europe and five times in China.
                Below is a cover Micheal did of
                      "People Get Ready"

Released in 2016, No Filter, the eleventh album from Michael Kaeshammer, shares the sound of an artist following his muse completely unhindered by thoughts of commercial imperatives or genre constraints. He has an acrobatic way with a grand piano. When Kaeshammer performs, it’s obvious he’s having a ball, playing superlative boogie-woogie, blues, jazz, and pop cross-over material, drawn mostly from an impressive list of standards and his catalogue of studio recordings. No wonder he is a six-time JUNO Award nominee, a three-time West Coast Music Award winner, and the winner of the Canadian Smooth Jazz award for Keyboardist/Pianist of the Year, 2010 and Best Original composition for “Isabelle”.

 In the video below you can see his talent first hand(pun intended)he also speaks of the history of his music and inspirations as well

Kaeshammer is an excellent role model for young music students, as he first made his own mark as a young piano prodigy. Growing up in Offenburg, Germany, he studied classical piano for seven years prior to falling in love at 13 with the boogie-woogie and stride piano stylings of such greats as Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, and Meade Lux Lewis. Today, Many piano students find inspiration from seeing Michael perform live.
Tickets: Adult $40, Senior $36, Youth $15.
Tickets are available in person at The ACT Arts Centre at 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge, or over the phone at 604-476-2787 or online at 

About The ACT Arts Centre

A not-for-profit society serving the community since 1971, The ACT Arts Centre aims to offer vibrant arts and cultural opportunities and experiences through excellence in artistic and educational programming, customer, and member and community service. The ACT Presents Series is supported by The Department of Canadian Heritage: Canada Arts Presentation Fund and The Province of British Columbia Gaming Branch, and the BC Arts Council Community Presenter fund. www.theactmapleridge.org

I have been given the honor and pleasure of being able to cover some of the events for The ACT Theatre I am very thankful for Karen Pighin Communications Manager of the Theatre for giving me the opportunity to do so.This will be my first event attending with the compliments of The ACT.

Thank you for reading this 
Anthony Nadeau

Sunday, April 9, 2017

First Inaugural Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film March 17, 18 & 19, 2017

I was given the privilege of attending the first ever Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film. Why was it a privilege? Because I was given entry into the Festival by the connections I have made over the years doing this blog and loving every minute of it as well.
I had approached the festival as I have every other one that I have covered in the past. This being the first ever for Maple Ridge I was more than eager to try my luck at this one. 
This was put on not only by The Act Theater but also The Ridge Studios and The City of Maple Ridge.
The night opened with a welcoming song from the local Katzie Nation. 

A speech from the Executive & Artistic Director of The Act Lindy Sisson(below left), also from Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.(below right)

John Wittmayer CEO of The Ridge Film Studios also had some words to say about the film community in Maple Ridge and the history of film here. Joining him is Nikki Brando Assistant General Manager of the studio.

The evening started out with a mix and mingle , tables of appetizer's were set up for the guests of the evening and the bar was open for many different beverages. There also was a red carpet for the guests to get their pictures taken if they liked , pictures can be seen on the Act Theater's website.

Red Carpet Pictures(click here)

For the record the films presented here were all films that were shot on location somewhere in the beautiful Province of British Columbia.
Then the night started off and we had our first films of the Festival:

Friday March 17, 2017
Anxious Oswald Green  would be the first short of the Festival , one of six short films to each be grouped with a Feature Film. 
Poor anxious Oswald seems to be in a dream state and we are right there beside him. However this is not a dream but a different reality. An amazing trip and also in a Q&A after the showing it was learned that they had to shoot at three different locations over the course of filming as some of the locations just did not work out.

This would be the opening feature film of the weekend. What we have here is a story of a young couple heading back to Vancouver, along their way they pick up another couple who's vehicle has broken down. Along the way they find out the other couple is up in the area to find some long lost gold and invite our couple to join them on their  quest.

This would of course not work out as planned the group gets lost agitated and fearful of each other, freezing in the cold. The pure survival mode comes into full effect for the lead in the film and decides to head back when all hope seems lost.
The amount of scenes with the actors out in the snow and cold was great--found out later from the Director of the film some of the tricks that were used. However I am not going to spoil that for those of you that may want to see the film.

                                 Trailer for Numb:

Saturday March 18, 2017

The Timekeeper
This wonderful short would go onto win the Audience Award for Short film of the weekend.
This tells the story of a timekeeper that has watches, etc set for certain people throughout the short and what they decide to do with that time is up to them.
Another Q&A followed this film and the writer of the short explained he had passed one of those money loans places and thought what if there was a place you could get a loan on time, to have more time to do what you wanted? In short make the most of your time with what you have.
Black Fly
What can be said about this little gem of a film? This had the reaction from a good majority of the audience that I think the filmmakers were hoping to get. I thoroughly enjoyed this film very much. I am going to get a copy of it as the writing and the acting were top notch. A young man is having difficulties living at home we find early on in the film. He goes to stay with his over abusive older brother and his girlfriend, where he is brought into a much darker and violent world. His morals as a human being and his loyalty to his brother is often questioned.
The tension that builds slowly over the time of the film is that very much like waiting for  a volcano to erupt, you know it's coming but sometimes happens slightly faster than you expected. It does not give you time enough to react as you may have liked , but it is a force to be reckoned with.

The entire film is so tightly played and not much is left to the imagination for some in the audience that seemed to be too much from the people I spoke to after the showing. Oddly it was my favorite film of the festival that I had the pleasure of viewing.
This has a raw emotional edge to it, has some great scenes and is a great little gem of a thriller in my opinion.

                                            Black Fly Trailer:

Thank you to Teresa Travoto PR for the festival and Karen Pighin for both allowing me to attend this great festival.
Thank you to The Ridge Film Studios , The Act Theater & The City of Maple Ridge for putting this event on.

Also the main sponsor of the Event.

Thank you for reading 
Anthony Nadeau

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Counter Act --1960's Civil Right's Protest Sit In's Powerfully Portrayed in Short Film

                                        Story Synopsis:
When Alice, a naive young woman having lunch in a diner circa 1960, joins Mary and Ray in their "sit-in" protest, the ire of the racist patrons boils over and Alice learns what it truly takes to stand up for what you believe in.

This powerful short film will be showing this evening March 18, 2017 at the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film starting at 5 pm followed by the documentary Fractured Land.

I was given the chance to email some questions to the makers of the film, below is the Q&A:

I watched your powerful movie and have seen some interviews with you all regarding the film, what were your main goals in getting across when starting the film? 
Thank you so much for watching! Originally, our goal was just to make a film that honoured and brought awareness to the Sit-In Movement of the 1960's. We were actually unaware of the movement until we saw an incredible documentary called "Soundtrack For a Revolution", a small potion of which focused on the Sit-In Movement. When we found out more details about it and started doing more research, it became obvious that this was an incredible story and learned that, like us, many people of our generation had no idea that it had even taken place. But as we did more research and dove deeper into the subject matter, we found a way to make the film more personal for us - As Caucasian, Canadian filmmakers, we weren't blind to the fact that we were definitely outsiders looking in at these events in history and really of racial persecution in general. That's why we decided to tell the story through Alice's eyes, because it was a perspective we could understand and relate to; somebody who's not personally involved, but feels a duty and responsibility to support the cause anyway. In that regard the film grew from just being a film that shined a light on a too-unknown social movement, into being a film that tried to make a bigger statement - just because you're not a part of the victimized minority, does not exonerate you from doing what's right. 

How was the atmosphere on set , seeing as this is a racially motivated film was there any tension among the actors or crew? To be honest, the atmosphere on set was incredibly professional, and while there were definitely some heavy moments, the amazing actors we hired did a great job of making it feel light and fun in between takes. We made sure to address the issues with the cast and crew before we started shooting each day - that what we were going to be shooting that day would be incredibly intense, and there would be some awful language being said and horrific acts taking place, and just asked everyone to try to be respectful of the performers and of the subject matter, and everyone did just that. They treated the material with honour and respect, and kept in mind the bigger picture of what we were trying to say with the film, and everyone managed to keep a positive, friendly attitude on set and  felt like a real team with a mission, which was wonderful. 
For me the most powerful part of it was when they pick themselves back up and go back to the counter , then the entrance door chimed --chosing not to cut  away to see Alice come back in, but instead you just ended the film. Powerful and yet so small. The reasoning behind that choice of ending? 

(Spoilers abound in the following answer). Thank you, we're so glad that came across. The main reason behind that choice was that we were consciously trying to avoid the idea that this was a "white savior" type of film. We had told everyone involved with the film from the get-go that although Alice was the protagonist of the film, she was not our hero, the heroes were Mary and Ray, and we wanted to make sure that came across. In all honesty, when we shot the ending, Alice actually did return and sit back down at the counter with Mary and Ray, but in editing we just felt like that was too clean, too happy of an ending. It felt like it was saying, "racism has been beaten" and it was really important to us for it to feel like this hadn't been resolved, that it was an ongoing issue that is just as much a problem today as it was in 1960, and rather than try to wrap up the story cleanly, we wanted to put the onus back on the audience, and ask them what they would do in that situation.   
My mother was a part of the civil rights movement and was there anyone in your family etc that was?
We did not have any family members directly involved with the civil rights movement,  . I will say though that it was important to us for it to feel authentic, and in our research we found out that there was a couple named Jack O'Dell and Jane Power who had participated in the civil rights movement that were living in Vancouver. In fact, Mr. O'Dell used to be a personal advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Mrs. Power had picketed outside of segregated lunch counters in the 60's, so we reached out to them and asked if they would read our script and give us some guidance and just get their opinions in general. They were incredibly supportive of us, they gave us notes on the script, as well as the rough cut after we had shot, and we were honoured that they even came to our cast and crew screening. They're both wonderful people, and with Mr. O'Dell being African-American and Mrs. Power being Caucasian, they were supportive of the idea that people of all colour had a responsibility to stand up against persecution. 
Is there anything you are working on for future projects and how much of a group effort is put into the making of each film, seeing as there are four of you what are each of your parts as a group member? 
We do have a number of things on the go. We have several projects in development, we just finished shooting a western called "The Undertaker's Son" for the Crazy8's contest, and we're just a couple of weeks away from shooting a stop-motion animated short called "Soggy Flakes", about a group of breakfast cereal mascots who have lost their jobs due to the low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-intolerant society we're living in. As far as the group effort goes, everything we do is a huge group effort. It starts with the four of us crafting the story together, and it just grows and grows from there as we add more crew members. Between the four of us, we do have different roles depending on what the project is (we work in both live-action and animation), but overall work as a collaborative team throughout the whole process. Thomas and I (Heath) aretrained in live-action 



Jon and Nathan were 
trained in animation. 

On the set of a live-action project like Counter Act, Nathan and Jon spent more time at video village because of their highly visual nature, and Thomas and I would spend most of our time on the set working a bit more closely with the actors. Stop-motion is a good medium for us because it utilizes both Jon and Nathan's stellar animation skills and Thomas and my ability to work with lighting and cameras. But honestly, we communicate like mad and collaborate on all aspects (particularly when creating the story), and it really is a team effort through and through. 

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau