PuSh Festival Picks

I’m really excited for PuSh Festival. This is the year that I realized that I’m a full fledged fan of the eclectic programming that this festival brings to Vancouver. My selections are not your typical picks. If I was wealthy or could ride the “I’m-A-Student” discount train then I would definitely be including all of these shows: GobSquad, A Brimful of Asha and Inheritor Album (I’m not really in the loop with the Vancouver dance scene but I have never been disappointed by the dance performances I’ve seen during PuSh festival). Consider this list as PuSh on the cheap!

Here’s some basic guidelines:

– Be prepared to spend some cash, you won’t regret it. Pick 1-2 shows that you think are “expensive”. Sure, you’ll be eating noodles for a week afterward but your brain and spirit will be alive and thriving.
– Find someone who can get you on the guestlist OR volunteer for the festival (the more admirable option of the two).
– Get a GROUP together and buy discounted tickets to your favourite events. There’s nothing like convincing your friends to get off the netflix and into the city. http://pushfestival.ca/tickets-venues/group-sales/

5) Nothing To Lose / The Pixelated Revolution

grunt gallery often collaborates with PuSh in the form of co-presented exhibitions by artists and subsequent artist talks. This year is no different, as Rabih Mroué (Beirut) will be presenting an exhibition at grunt (opening Jan 10) with a number of other events following it. I’m hoping to attend The Pixelated Revolution on Thursday (because it includes a talk back after the performance, bonus!).

4) Haram at Club PuSh

Haram is a band lead by Gord Grdina, it’s a take on Arabic music and utilizes musicians across Vancouver that you might not imagine all together in one place. Full disclosure, my partner JP Carter plays in this group. So I will most definitely be going to their show on Friday, January 17th at Club PuSh (Performance works – Granville Island). But, if you’ve never been to ANY PuSh event let me just recommend the late nights at Performance Works. You get a feel for what the festival is all about for the cost of cover that is generally under $10. I saw the Alberta group, Ghostkeeper, a year or two ago and it was seriously incredible.


3) FUSE at the Vancouver Art Gallery

I attended the last FUSE at the VAG because my friend, Germaine Koh, was invited to present her project “League” at various locations throughout the space (and outside of it, even). I forgot how much fun FUSE is and the performance programming for these nights are really worth checking out. I’m looking forward to this month’s FUSE event, curated by Vanessa Kwan (of course). FUSE is a bargain because not only do you see a number of performances (art, theatre or music-based) but you also get to see the current art exhibitions happening at the VAG. It’s also a fun dress-up party if you like that sort of thing, a rarity in yogapants-MEC-wearin’ Vancouver.


2) Gender Failure

I really want to go to this show featuring Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon. Like, really, really badly. I have a few schedule conflicts that week so am not positive if I can attend but something tells me this is going to be one of those events that is fresh, vibrant and inspiring. Well, in the meantime. Watch this music video of Rae Spoon’s “I’ll be A Ghost For You” directed by Chelsea McMullan. Chelsea also directed the documentary on Rae Spoon entitled, My Prairie Home.

Rae Spoon – I’ll Be A Ghost For You from WHAT MATTERS MOST on Vimeo.

1) Nanook of the North

I’ve already got tickets for this show that will be at the [new] York Theatre on Commercial Drive. I’m a huge fan of music performances playing to films. In the past, I’ve seen Stefan Smulovitz put together a small orchestra to perform to the Passion of Joan of Arc. I’ve seen the Vancouver Bach Choir perform to the Phantom of the Opera. Both B&W silent films. This time, I’ll get to see one of my favourite performers/vocalists, Tanya Tagaq, create music with violinist Jesse Zubot for Nanook of the North.

It’s been almost 5 years since I last saw Tanya Tagaq perform. Her approach to expanding on traditional indigenous culture to make contemporary work has really informed so much of my own personal art practice. I think she’s an incredible artist and I’m sincerely looking forward to seeing this production.

ALSO. I can’t wait to hear her new album. Rumour is that she’ll have a cover of CARIBOU by the Pixies on it.


If you’re looking for more free events, check out the PuSh Assembly: http://pushfestival.ca/festival-events/industry-events/

What events are you planning to attend for PuSh festival?


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