The British or Christmas Pantomime is a very strange holiday musical theatre tradition that basically mashes together Monty Pythonesque humorous sketches with musical numbers, risque jokes, lots of pop culture references and an overall good versus evil story mashed into the story line of a popular fairy tale. Every theatre does it their own way, but as a general rule the principle boy is played by a young woman in fishnets and that boys mother, the dame, is played by a middle aged man. The rules and traditions just get more and more esoteric from there, the dame must make a mess involving food (often a pie in the face gag), there is always audience participation, animal costumes and much, much more. Basically it rarely makes too much sense, which is the point, it’s just entertainment for the whole family.
This year the Metro Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia did Jack and the Beanstalk which won the first ever Ovation Award for Pantomime. As for my part in all of this? This was my seventh straight year volunteering as a technician for Metro’s annual Pantomime and my fourth time photographing the show from backstage.
Metro Theatre http://www.metrotheatre.com
Ovation Awards http://www.applausemusicals.com/2013-ovation-awards.html
Giraffe Aftermath at the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver, BC. August 9th, 2013
More at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluetoes591/sets/72157623819464347
Not often you get a good view of some brave and very talented men and women whose hard work largely occurs far from the eyes of the general public. Flying aircraft in such limited visibility so close to the ground is the work of some very talented pilots. Large up and downdrafts caused by the flames no doubt make flying a helicopter in these conditions particularly difficult. Also take note of the size of the Lockheed L-188 Electra and it’s proximity to the ground as it drops it’s load of fire retardant along the leading edge of flame and on top of the house. Timing is everything as the cloud of fire retardant moves a long way before settling to earth. If you look carefully at the third to last photo there is a man on an ATV in the field trying to help the horses, very close to the fire.
Spotted Lake/Richter Pass Fire, August 19th, 2013
A handful more on flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluetoes591/sets/72157635184550382/
More parrots at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Rosie the African Grey
Art the Blue and Gold Macaw
Casey the Yellow Crowned Amazon Parrot
1918 Gibson K-2 Mandocello
In the early 1900s, before the guitar became one of the more common stringed instruments as it is today, the western world was instead obsessed with mandolin orchestras. Of course this meant not just mandolins, but also mandolas, mandocellos and mando-basses, mirroring the violin family of instruments.
This mandocello is nearing the end of of an extensive reconditioning, having arrived heavily cracked, with a hole in the top from a fall and suffering from a poor previous repair intended to reinforce its thin top. Its restoration is nearly complete and it is a fantastically cool instrument to try and play.
Monty the Princess Parrot at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The Nemo tank at the Vancouver Aquarium.
I’m unsure how to feel about pop culture embracing something specific like Clown Fish and Blue Tangs. On the one hand lesser known animals get exposure, but on the other hand the animals in question aren’t appreciated for what they are, they’re appreciated as the fictional characters they aren’t. In the case of Finding Nemo they did a fairly good job of giving the characters personalities and behaviors that mimic the real thing, but they can just as easily end up as flying elephants.