Friday, 11 April 2014

Karoshi:Bringing 'Death by Overwork' to Life...

When I lived in Vancouver, many moons ago,  I worked for The Georgia Straight (Vancouver's weekly entertainment paper) at a time when guest lists and free tickets to various things were still very much a perk of the job. 

Because of this I was able to attend some really wonderful events, and also to broaden my cultural horizons, trying things I might not normally have done had I had to pay for the privilege of doing so. One of the new things I was turned on to during this time period was modern dance. I was lucky enough to see 'La-la-la Human Steps' perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and that was it.  The physicality of their movement, and the emotional charge that was created by it, introduced me to a new art form and I have been hooked ever since.

Tonight, another (last minute) set of free tickets found me at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, at a performance of 'Karoshi', by a Vancouver dance company led by Shay Kuebler, choreographer/director and performer of the work.

Karoshi is a Japanese word meaning, quite literally, 'death by overwork'. The piece examines this cultural phenomenon - completely unique to Japan - whereby death is caused from illness, stroke or heart attack brought on by extreme working conditions (giving new meaning to the term 24/7) or from suicide brought on by depression caused by overwork. "What I found was the necessity to speak about the conflict between societal need and human need as well as the conflict of traditional and modern values" says Kuebler, of his creation.

The performance mixes martial arts, modern dance, physical movement, music, sound, lighting and Budo drumming to create a piece that is both provocative and evocative, sad and funny, emotionally charged and cathartic. Even better, after the performance the company came out to talk to the audience and answer questions about the piece; it is always wonderful to be able to peek behind the scenes of creation. 

Well done RCA, for bringing Karoshi to Kelowna. It really was quite wonderful. 


PS: After the opening sequence of this performance, I swear that I will never interact with my computer in quite the same way again. ;-)

Rotary Centre for the Arts: 421 Cawston Ave, Kelowna, V1Y 6Z1. Ph: (250) 717-5304. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Designer Digs: Another Fashion Friday...

If my previous Friday was all about photographing fashion, this past Friday was all about looking at fashion. Well... make that Fashion and Interior Design. April 4th saw the event 'Designer Digs' giving people a chance to get a sneaky peek at three of Kelowna's most beautifully designed homes followed by a fashion show and after party, all in the name of charity.

The houses ranged from modern and minimal, to 1200 square feet of cozy white bliss, to utter decadence and luxury, in tones of black purple and metallics - and all were to die for. I came away with so many great interiors ideas, my poor husband may well be doing DIY every weekend for the next ten years. And, as if the home tours weren't enough, it was followed by a fabulous fashion show featuring clothes from locally raised/Vancouver based designer Jason Matlo and local boutique La Bonne Vie.

The event was conceived and organised by La Bonne Vie's owner Tracey Wikenheiser to raise money for the 'Wish Come True Society', which is raising money to open a Respite/Hospice House for children here in the Okanagan.

So... great interior design, fabulous fashion, yummy wine from Ex Nihilo and canapes from Cabana, a silent auction of lovely luxury items, tons of beautifully dressed people having a wonderful time... all for a good cause. At the risk of repeating myself, really, what better way to spend a Friday night?!

Spring Forward...

With spring comes sunshine, daffodils and a whole new fashion season. What better way to celebrate the latter than by shooting some of the best that Kelowna has to offer, with some of the best that Kelowna has to offer, for some of the best Kelowna has to offer.

I love a good fashion shoot, and when it is promoting local talent and products, even better. The clothes came from local boutiques koLu, La Bonne Vie, Justin Paul Fashions, Jigsaw, and MacDermott's Men's Wear, topped off with some great eyewear from Wink i Wear; we also sourced a great new wooden handbag line being distributed locally called Nussbags.

Then we got together local talent like photographer Caitlyn Chapman, make up artist Sheleah Jay Bradley from SJB Make-up, hair stylist Alyssa from AMP Hairstyling, and models Emilee and Dayton from local agency Deja Vu Model Management. And all of this in aid of creating the spring fashion pages for the next issue of Kelowna-based lifestyle magazine 'Icon Okanagan'.

How great is it that the Okanagan has this kind of talent pool, and these kind of resources to pull from. The results were fabulous and the photos will be featured in the next issue of Icon, which will be out around town (and towns up and down the Okanagan) in mid-August.

Really... What better way to spend a Friday night?!