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August 2011 Archives

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Chantal Hebert on HST, BC Teachers dispute and grey tsunami

Chantal Hebert on the majority parliament, young voters and the HST.
BCTF president Susan Lambert on teachers job action.
UBC professor Steve Morgan who says dire warnings of a grey tsunami swamping BC's healthcare system are unfounded.

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Film industry and HST, future leader of the NDP and ancestral remains

Filmmakers and producers in BC say dumping the HST means tough times ahead for the film industry. Katheen Gilbert heads-up the Greater Victoria Film Commission and explains more.

In the letter Layton wrote in his final days, he urged the NDP to hold a vote for the permanent leader as soon as possible in 2012. For his insight into the leadership contenders and the future of the party, we talk with David McGrane, professor of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

Fifty ancestors of the Heiltsuk First Nation are going home. Their remains were exhumed more than 30 years ago from the village of Namu, near Bella Bella. Roy Carlson, founder Simon Fraser's archaeology department, brought the Heiltsuk ancestors to the university for study and he is now set to accompany them home. He discusses the ancestors return to Namu.

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Kim Speers, Adrian Dix and Norman Ruff react to the HST referendum result

British Columbians voted against keeping the HST. The Minister of Finance, Kevin Falcon, called the result "a bump in the road, "but described it as "manageable." Kim Speers, professor in the school of public administration at the University of Victoria, comments.

The HST has been defeated. BC will now return to a combination of GST and PST. About almost 55 percent of people voted to get rid of the HST compared to 45 percent who wanted to keep it. We hear from Adrian Dix, leader of the Provincial NDP.

Pondering the politics of the PST, political scientist, Norman Ruff, has been with us every step of the way on the HST story. He discusses the results of the referendum.

 

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Blogging the Fringe: My new process

Dave Morris in Photo Booth
Dave Morris in Photo Booth (Intrepid Theatre)

By Dave Morris

This year I'm in the Victoria Fringe with my solo improv show, Photo Booth. It's a simple enough concept, I improvise four characters based on faces/poses made by the audience. There's also some cool flashing light and freezing effects to give the show a photo-booth feel.  I know, perfect in its simplicity. It's less crass then last year's Dave Morris is an Asshole. In that show, I asked for the worst things people have done and wove them together into one story about an asshole (which could have been anyone, really). Both shows are fun in their own way. 

These two shows, though very different in concept,  have one thing in common. Neither started from a place of improv or form, both shows began as concepts, and from their concept a show was formed.  This is a little different then most improvisation you'll see. Most improv is presenting  forms/games/structures, with specific people doing them. A group learns The Harold or a Tap-Out or make up some game called "somegame" and that becomes what their group does. They are defined by the form (or free form) they do, and not the reason, or concept, behind doing it. 

But why do improvisers do this?

It's quite simple really: Improvisation is not a product. It's not a thing to sell to someone. Telling someone to see improv is like telling them to go see "movie" or telling someone they should really check out "book." Improv is a process. It is a way of doing something. So most groups end up treating the form they do as a product, and up until recently, I've always treated myself as the product. "Come see Dave Morris improvise." It's not an improv show, it's a Dave Morris show. Which is why my shows were always called Dave Morris is a BLANK. Well, not anymore. Now the concept is my product. Thus this year's title: Photo Booth.

Having a concept instead of just a form or person as a product opens the show up to a larger audience. Take Photo Booth for instance. It isn't just a show for people who like improv or Dave Morris, it's also for people who love photo booths. For people who love capturing a once- in-a-lifetime moment with friends. People who are sad to see shopping malls adopt the digital photo booth and toss out the old-fashioned film booth. This show is for people who love the you-only-get-one-shot mentality that is the magic of not only photo booths, but improvisation itself. 


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Barkerville to China, salmon research, and the fate of the HST tax

BC's gold rush brought thousands of new immigrants from all corners of the world. In the Caribou, one of the largest sources of workers was China. Now a trove of images documenting the lives of Chinese miners, workers and merchants in and around Barkerville is being assembled into a travelling exhibit bound for China. Judy Campbell, CEO of Barkerville Historic Town, explains.

Searching for the smoking gun. As the Cohen commission heats up, we'll talk to John D. Reynolds, SFU salmon scientist, about how the highly politicized interest in this topic affects researchers.

Counting down to the deadline. Tomorrow we find out the fate of the HST in BC. The results of the referendum will be released. We'll talk about what to expect with CBC reporter, Stephen Smart.

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Blogging the Fringe: SNAFU Summer 2011

Little Orange Man - SNAFU Dance Theatre.jpg


Show: Little Orange Man
Author : Ingrid Hansen - SNAFU

Somehow, a years worth of work and play always gets crammed into two-and-a-half months of summer. 

I begin summer working 10-hour days as a puppeteer. I sit in a dark warehouse on the set for a children's TV Series called Tiga Talk.  There are three puppets - a wolf, a goose and a gopher. I'm the gopher. I'm a gopher with a Miss Piggy complex: chubby, fuzzy, but damned if I don't look good in a tiara, tutu and a moustache.  On the set I eat free catered food, hang out with adorable children and laugh with the other puppeteers. These guys bring Nerd up to a whole new level of Amazing. I speak all day in the voice of a gopher, and I rarely see the sun.   This is July. 

After four weeks in puppet-world I hop on a red-eye flight to Toronto.  I rehearse, remix, and rebuild the show Pretty Little Instincts for the SummerWorks Festival. We dance outdoors in the grassy moat on the walls of an old Historic Fort tucked away in downtown Toronto, sharing stage space with the bats and the gophers and the...skunks. They frolic around the dancers in their matching black and white. Performing in the show, I'm a white-painted red-maned woman at a post-apocalyptic mad-hatter's tea party. We dance barefoot in the grass, tip-toeing around mothballs we've left in corners to keep away the skunks. This is Early August.

I fly back to the Island. Kathleen Greenfield and I begin building Little Orange Man for the Victoria Fringe.  I'm now twelve years old.   I play Kitt the Kinder-Whisperer. Kitt's world view is formed as much out of her grandfather's gruesome folktales as of Google and quantum theory. "Kitt's not someone you'd want your kid to have a playdate with," wrote the Calgary Herald, "she's the sort of girl that director Terry Gilliam might have dreamed up."  As Kitt, I am beginning a massive dream experiment -- which requires access to the audience's subconscious.  I'm looking for strangers online to take part in this experiment.  I'm losing the one I love most and I'm fighting. Hard. I sing. I'm playing with my food as the epic battle unfolds between celery and romaine. This is Late August.  

We open this Friday if you want to join the experiment.  

Little Orange Man - Opening Friday August 26th









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Blogging the Fringe: Phone sex and the intersection of art and commerce


phonewhore.jpg
For the 2011 Victoria Fringe Fest, All Points West and On The Island are featuring blog posts by several Fringe performers.

By Cameryn Moore

I've been touring Phone Whore around North America for close to a year and a half--the tally is well over 100 shows by now--and the most common question audience members ask me, after "do you ever get any calls from girls?" (not yet) and "do you ever get turned on while working" (once or twice) is "when did you stop doing phone sex?" 

Note the past tense, as if I must have thrown it over a long time ago for the glamorous and high-paying field of solo Fringe performance. Or maybe it's that people imagine Phone Whore to be a confessional, a sort of semi-repentant "look at the crazy stuff I said for money, can you believe it?!" Everybody knows that confessional tales are most effective when the things one is confessing are over and done with.

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BC Ferries, Rick Hansen's relay, and Victoria's Fringe Festival

BC Ferries is sailing into a rising tide of red ink. President David Hahn presented a grim picture at the ferry corporation's annual general meeting this morning. Falling passenger numbers and rising costs have pushed a projected operating deficit for this year to 35 million dollars. To try to stem the losses, BC Ferries is asking the province to let it cut up to 400 sailings a year on major routes. But that could be just the start of the decisions the government may have to make. Les Leyne, legislative columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist, explains.

One journey, seven thousand people, nine months, twelve thousand kilometres. Those are the numbers behind a cross-Canada relay to mark the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen's man in motion tour. The relay began this morning in Newfoundland. Sonny Davis is an endurance wheelchair athlete who lives in Kelowna. He explains his own involvement.

It is an understatement to say John Threlfall is a frequent fringer. He has been reviewing shows for the Victoria Fringe Festival for a decade now. He gives advice on how to get the most out of this year's 25th Annual Victoria Fringe Festival.

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Earthquake, Layton and youth, and Landon Colvin's novel

One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on the east coast shook buildings from South Carolina to New England today. And unlike B.C. this isn't a place where earthquakes are expected on a regular basis. Garry Rogers explains the data coming out of today's shaker. He's an earthquake scientist with the Geogological Survey of Canada at the Pacific Geoscience Centre in Sidney.

Before he passed away Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton wrote a last letter to Canadians. Part of that letter is dedicated to young people. Tria Donaldson speaks for Lead Now, a non-partisan group that campaigns for democratic engagement.

Most parents are pretty pleased if their kids like to read. Landon Colvin is a ten year old who has taken a love for literature one step further. The young boy from Vernon BC has written a novel called "Spirit Wolf."

 

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Paying tribute to Jack Layton

This morning the leader of the federal NDP party and leader of the official opposition Jack Layton died. We speak with Mike Harcourt, the former NDP premier of BC about Jack.

Randall Garrison was one of the NDP MP's who gained a seat for the first time in the last election. He was part of the orange wave that made Jack Layton's party the official opposition in parliament. Garrison, who became the MP for Esquimalt- Juan de Fuca, remembers Layton as both a colleague and a friend.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen from Skeena, Bulkley Valley, shares some of his favourite memories of Mr. Layton.

 

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Berry pickers' plight, review of still born birth, and anti-seagull devices

Thousands of Canadians find work harvesting fruit at this time of year...many of them here in BC. But an hourly wage isn't that common. Instead most workers are paid by the pound. Those per pound rates are regulated by the BC Ministry of Labour. Those rates are being reviewed to make sure they are high enough. Lucy Luna, with the Agricultural Workers Alliance in Abbotsford explains.
 
Concerns continue about the events leading to a still born birth at Victoria General Hospital last week. The CBC has heard from the family involved. They are upset over how the case was handled. Today the Vancouver Island Health Authority announced there will be an independent external review. Martin Wale, the acting chief medical officer for VIHA, explains.
 
Sunshine may have been in short supply this summer in Victoria. But something else that comes from the sky apparently isn't. Seagull droppings have been marking streets, cars, and people alike. CBC reporter Khalil Akhtar takes us on a roof top tour with Victoria naturalist George Sirk.

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Syria's regime, gang war in novel, gangs and girls in B.C.

The pressure is on for Syrian President Bashar al-Assadto step down. Since the unrest began in March, it's estimated nearly 2,000 people have been killed in the crackdown...tens of thousands arrested. Bessma Momani is a Senior Fellow at the Centre For International Governance and Innovation and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. She discusses the political solutions now being proposed to help people in Syria.

Writing fiction based on fact. The latest Jack Taggart Mystery involves drive-by shootings and a gang turf war. Author and former undercover RCMP officer Don Easton explains what we can learn from a crime novel. Look up his novels at 

www.jacktaggart.wordpress.com

A young woman has been left a quadriplegic after last Sunday's gang shooting in Kelowna. She has family connections to the Hell's Angels. But regardless of this kind of tragic event ... girls are still drawn into the gang lifestyle. Michelle Hoogland is the primary author of the report "Gangs, Girls and Sexual Exploitation." She discusses the dangers for girls. 

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A new weather textbook, letting teens sleep and books that changed the world

Watching the weather. A new version of a classic weather textbook brings a Canadian perspective this time. We'll hear from the Prince George residents who wrote the book.

Letting teenagers sleep in. A new study says a later school start means better grades. We'll talk to it's author.

Harnessing the power of the pen. Today on West Coast Words Jenn Sook Fung Lee talks about books that have changed the world

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The Sakya Trizin, tree planting and banning body checking

High ranking buddhist the Sakya Trizin is in the province this week. We find out why

Looking for tree planters. Fewer workers are signing up for the tough summer job in B.C.  We'll look at the reasons why.

We'll look at a decision to reduce violence in the Vancouver Island Amateur hockey association  and ask if it's the best move for kids.

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Island Artisans:

Island Artisans - The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria

We meet a chef  goes from slaving over a hot stove to 'curing'  a different kind of hunger.

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Bookclub:

Teen Books - Bonds between friends

Nikki Tate looks at a couple of novels that explore the bonds between friends.

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A Kootenay Bay ferry webcam, Helen Slinger and Ryan Cochrane

A new Kootenay Bay ferry webcam, gang documentary film maker Helen Slinger and champion swimmer  Ryan Cochrane.

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A back to school picnic, bike helmuts and Don Genova

Loading up their backpacks. There is a massive picnic going on this weekend in Victoria to get local aboriginal kids ready for a new school year.

Peddling through a proposal to quash the B.C. helmet law. One cyclist says helmets don't improve safety, but our next guest has a different perspective.

Switching gears. Ahead on Island Artisans, a chef  goes from slaving over a hot stove to 'curing'  a different kind of hunger.

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Parker Schmidt, Guy Dean of Albion Fisheries and the Western Canada Games

Singing sensation. A pre-teen from Duncan is competing in YTV's The Next Star Competition. We'll find out how he's doing.

Slimming down the list to focus on sustainability. There are changes coming to Albion fisheries,  we'll tell you what you will and won't find on their seafood shopping list in the future.

Getting the gold! Team B.C. tops the rankings at the2011 Western Canada Games in Kamloops. We talk to general manager Doug Smith.

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Trent Maynard, Stephanie Smith and Jaeger Mah

Former Vancouver resident Trent Maynard from London.

Calling it "big box daycare", the BCGEU comes out swinging against the arrival of for-profit child-care.

YVR contest winner Jaeger Mah


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Calvert Island, for-profit day cares and the Trans Canada Trail

It was a Heiltsuk village that was wiped out by small pox two-hundred years ago. Now anthropologists from UNBC think they may have found it. We find out what that means for the First Nation.

Mom and Pop daycares dominate B.C., but with most business models thinking bigger is better. Could for-profit daycares be the next big thing? We'll talk to the CEO of Canada's largest daycare company about their move out west.

Traversing the Trans Canada Trail. We'll speak to a Prince George man who's taking it on right now.

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Bookclub:

Teen Books - Looking for enlightenment

Finding your inner Zen. This week our teen book reviewer Nikki Tate-Stratton brings us two books that explore the path to enlightenment.

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Garth Weins inducted into "Q Hall of Fame," unstable financial markets, new names in Oliver, B.C.

Garth Weins has been inducted into the Canadian Q Hall of Fame. He's a drag queen from Prince George. He's receiving this honour for his work in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual community.

Andrey Pavlov, SFU Professor of Finance at Simon Fraser University, comments as the stock market continues a rocky ride... all around the Globe. This B.C. economist explains what's happening and how people can protect their investments.

The town of Oliver is turfing a numbered naming system for streets. And bringing in normal names. Tom Szalay is the town's manager and he explains why the changes are being made.

 

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Gabriola Island manhunt, Polygamist convicted, new crime "Flash Robs"

A man has been arrested on Gabriola Island in connection to a stabbing. Jason Cramer was taken into custody after a 16-hour search. Police say Cramer is a "person of interest" in the fatal stabbing of a 50-year-old woman. Her 18-year-old son was also stabbed. Derek Kilbourn, editor with the Gabriola Sounder, a weekly newspaper on the Gulf Island, gives more details about the manhunt.

A Texas jury has ruled on the fate of a religious leader, and with him, perhaps the fate of the town of Bountiful. Warren Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The church practices polygamy, often allegedly marrying older men to underage girls. Though there has been a split in community of Bountiful, about half of the people there are believed to remain loyal to Jeff's FLDS church. Jeffs was convicted this week on sexual assault charges.

A new criminal phenomenon could be taking root in Canada. They've been coined "flash robs" ... store lootings that have been organized using social media. In Ottawa recently, more than 40 young men met to loot a convenience store...and have so far eluded police. Christopher Schneider, a criminologist and expert in social media at the University of British Columbia, explains.

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Bookclub:

Teen Books - Frankenstein

Our youth book reviewer Nikki Tate-Stratton will tell us about a new novel that delves into Dr. Frankenstein's teen years.

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Island Artisans:

Island Artisans - Bruce's Kitchen

Tasting a home-cooked meal. Today on Island Artisans, a visit to Bruce's Kitchen on Salt Spring. It's a restaurant, but it feels, and tastes, just like home.

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Assisted suicide in Washington State, background checks and new TSO choirmaster Jonathan Crow

Leaning from others. We'll go to Washington State, to see how their doctor assisted suicide laws are working, since being passed two years ago.

The B.C. government has announced that it will start running background checks on previously unscreened families in the Children in the Home Relative Program. We'll hear why from Minister Mary McNeill.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has been without a concert master for three years, but today, a Prince George boy steps into the job and onto the stage. We meet Jonathan Crow.

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Brewing for charity, farming in Cuba and assisted suicide

Downing a cold one for a cause. We hear about how one local brewery is teaming up with charities to create what they're calling a 'benefit brew'.

Growing our own, food that is. We'll hear from a B.C. filmmaker who thinks Canada could learn a lot from Cuba when it comes to growing more of the food we eat.

Vancouver's Farewell Foundation is heading to the B.C. Supreme Court today to try to legalize 'self-chosen death'. We speak with a lawyer behind the movement.

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Learning Na'vi, a teenage composer and the saddest movie


The Champ (1979) Photo Credit: MGM

Picking up a new language and not just any old Earth language. We meet  an anthropologist who is studying the growing horde of  Na'vi speakers. 

At this year's annual Symphony Splash there will be the debut of a a piece of music written by 17-year-old Jared Richardson. We'll hear from him, as well as Maestra Tania Miller.

In need of a good cry? We'll chat with our pop culture critic Lisha Hassanali on what scientific research has called the saddest movie ever.

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