Front Row Centre – Christmas Queen 2 is a Holiday Delight

I’m not a very Christmas-y person – but I love to laugh. And there are plenty of those to be had at Vancouver Theatre Sports League’s Christmas Queen 2 – You Better Watch Out.

This year’s production is set at the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop, where the final preparations for Christmas Eve are in full swing – until Santa returns from vacation with a new girlfriend  – and all hell breaks loose.

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The happy (?) couple.

What happens? Well, in this improvised fairy tale, it’s largely up to the audience, who determines where the story goes at every performance, which, of course is part of the fun. The rest is up to a stellar cast, including the beautifully evil Pearce Visser as Queenie, who delivers an over-the-top performance and steals the show. And I loved the twists and turns that resulted in Santa (Andrew Barber) and Marty the Elf (Nathan Clark) borrowing heavily from Back to the Future to save the day.

My recommendation – go for the quirky story lines that you can contribute to, go for the laughs, and sit at the tables right next to the stage and become the object of the Christmas Queen’s scorn. I was!

Christmas Queen 2 – You Better Watch Out runs at the Improv Centre on Granville Island Wednesday through Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. now through December 19. Book your tickets here.

And Happy Holidays!

World AIDS Day is Over – Now What?

“The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free”
– Robert Brault

Yesterday was World AIDS Day, a global event designed to increase awareness of HIV, the fight to eradicate the disease, and the people living with it every day. I marked World AIDS Day by attending AIDS Vancouver’s Red Ribbon Awards honouring pioneers in HIV research, and those people who for years have been dedicated to supporting the HIV community.

It was a lovely, moving event. And it’s over.

But the need to help this vulnerable community isn’t.

AIDS Vancouver will be holding its annual Holiday Grocery Day on Tuesday, December 15th from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm, with the goal to provide festive food to 700 people, on this single day.

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How can you help?

Volunteer your time. There’s a need for Holiday Grocery Event Day Volunteers  on December 14th for set-up, and again on the 15th during the event.

Make a donation online, by mail, or in person. Cash donations ensure that the AIDS Vancouver Grocery Program can continue to operate all year round.

Donate in-kind, or become a sponsor. Contact Heidi Morgan, Grocery Coordinator, by email at heidim@aidsvancouver.org, or phone: 604-696-4678.

AIDS Vancouver is located at 803 East Hastings St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 1R8. Hours of operation are 9 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday.

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I plan to be there, camera in hand. Can you spare some time, or give to this cause?

A Nod to the TEDxVancouver Performers

Well, here we are. My first #NaBloPoMo project is at its end, so I thought I’d end with a bang and highlight the awesome performers at this year’s TEDxVancouver.

There will be actual videos of the speakers’ presentations forthcoming, and I’ll be posting them with their awesome backstories – but these people were fantastic!

I wanted to acknowledge them with my camera.

So, here’s a bit of a TEDXVancouver montage. Enjoy. And thank you, as usual for your ongoing support. It’s greatly appreciated.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

I can’t wait to photograph the next TEDxVancouver!

 

#WhatISaw Has Opened Eyes

In addition to my #NaBloPoMo project – trying to post every day for the month of November – I also had another project on the go.

I called it #WhatISaw and I posted iPhone photos on my Instragram account. It was a very interesting, sometimes difficult exercise. Where to shoot, what to shoot, and will it be interesting enough??

As it turns out, I had more then enough interesting photos to shoot, in my own neighbourhood, and anywhere in Vancouver I happened to be.

It’s done something else, though.

I think #WhatISaw really has driven home the point that a legally blind person like me can give the rest of you a real, tangible idea of how we see our world. I’ve shot whatever I felt like, and sometimes it’s been fairly ordinary, sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny. But it’s been straight through my eyes, um, eye.

I’ve enjoyed it so much I plan to keep going. But I think I may change it up. #WhatISaw could be #WhatIAte, or #WhoIMet on some days. But the main thing is that you’ll continue to see me!

And within a few days, they’ll all be linked to my Flickr page as well.

And if you have any ideas on what you’d like me to discover, please let me know. I’d love your input!

And now, I’d better plug my iPhone in. Who knows what awaits me tomorrow?

Thanks for your support. It’s greatly appreciated.

NaBloPoMo – Near the Finish Line

Today is the 25th of November. I’m 25 days into my NaBloPoMo project – essentially, writing a blog post every day for the 30 days of the month. This is my 22nd post, which obviously means I’m a few days behind and won’t make my 30 in 30. It made me stop and take stock, and I wondered out loud if I should be feeling disappointed.

But you know what?

I’m not.  

I’ve accomplished a lot in my first-ever NaBloPoMo. I’m doing better than I thought I ever would. I’ve possibly surprised some of my more proficient blogger friends with what I’ve done so far. I’m happy, not only with the number of posts, but also with the kind of posts I’ve actually written.

I’ve been true to me, I’ve been able to showcase my photography, and I’ve been a lot more courageous, a lot more disciplined than I thought I’d be. I’m also very touched by the feedback and encouragement I’ve received, which I never expected. Thank you.

I still have five days to go. There will be more words, more photos. I just needed today to regroup, screw up my confidence, pat myself on the back and move on. I’m hoping that most of us who sit in front of the computer screen and give our words a voice need to do that once in a while.

And after this NaBloPoMo exercise is over? I am promising me – and you – that you’ll hear more from me. I’m enough of a realist to know that I may never write 20+ posts every month – but I’ve caught enough of the writing bug to feel certain that I will continue.

I hope to cover more of what makes Vancouver the place I love through my words and photos – food, drink, events, arts, non-profits, people – but it doesn’t mean that I’ll lose my passion for or stop writing about advocacy, politics, PR and social media, the people I care for, and every once in a while, my cats!

Someone wrote me after hearing me on CBC Radio last week, and told me that I write like I talk. Good. It means you’re getting the real me. And whether or not I write a dozen posts or 20 every month moving forward, that’s exactly what I want to deliver.

At the end of the day, that’s what will matter to me.

And on I go…