Jan 06

High Performance Rodeo – preview and picks

by Wil Knoll · 1 comment

Surprisingly, not as much leather and chaps as you would think

Starting Thursday (Tomorrow!), and running through the end of this month, One Yellow Rabbit is once again firing up the core with the High Performance Rodeo. It’s just under four weeks of cutting edge performance art under the frozen sky. The program is filled with theatre, music, dance and other events spread out across 22 venues in the downtown area. It’s diversity is unparalleled in the city. One night, you’ll be attending a free concert at Olympic plaza while members of Alberta’s Thermal Shock Mafia (part of the Fire Conclave last year at the Burning Man festival) play with fire, next you’ll be challenged to replace a performer and try to deal with having no home to call your own.

It’s no surprise that many theatre goers in Calgary look to the HPR to break up the bleakness of the winter months. But what does surprise is how long it’s legs really are. At 24 years old, the HPR is just a year younger than my last girlfriend, with One Yellow Rabbit themselves celebrating their 27th anniversary this year. In celebration of my 28th year, and my 2nd with a small cameo at the HPR, here are my picks, sans shameless plug.

At a Glance
High Performance Rodeo [link]
Presented by: One Yellow Rabbit [link]
Runs: Jan 7 through 31, 2010
Twitter accounts: @hprcalgary @oneyellowrabbit
Hashtag: #hprodeo

Kawasaki Exit [Jan 19-23]

I’ve previously previewed this number, but still excited to see the final project.

No Exit [Jan 27-31]

Out of Vancouver, Electric Company Theatre made a name with locals last year, for stunning work in movement theatre. This year, they are going to do an adaptation of Sartre’s No Exit, on camera, live infront of you. This is one of the Premier shows at the Rodeo, from a company known for doing movement and performance work that stands out from the crowd. Kind of like Calgary’s OYR in that sense.

Buzz Job! The True Story of Cal Cavendish [Jan 13-16]

Although Kris Demeanor’s bio would have you believe he is only a singer/songwriter, his charisma and presence in Buzz Job makes you wish he would take a stab at more acting gigs. Demeanor and David van Belle have staged Cavendish’s last show for you. Part one man show, part small venue country/rock gig, it’s a great piece of Calgary’s history. If you’re unfamiliar, all you need to know is that SPAM and Nigerian princes have nothing on this guys advertising acumen.

Blind Date [Jan 19-23]

Improv theatre at it’s finest. I can’t quite tell you what’s going to happen at your viewing of this as it won’t be the same as mine. Rebecca Northan’s Blind Date ended up on more than a handful of Best-of-the-Year lists in ’09 for it’s ballsy setup. Northan’s show takes one audience member a night and sits them down with Northan for a unforgettable 90 minute date. Unscripted. Unknown. Improv to the wall.

This is My City [Jan 20 and 23]

This is My City is a collection of events and showings created by the homeless citizens of Calgary. Over the course of a year, This is My City helped get the tools of discourse through art into the  hands of the homeless and help them create, as opposed to observing and making claims. There are six events at the HPR from This is My City, of which Homelessness stands out to me the most. Created by individuals struggling with the issues addressed, the show is run twice. The second time, the audience is challenged to replace a character and change the end result. It’s a way to engage and to start to understand and issue that we so often ignore. I will be profiling this project more indepth as the Rodeo continues.

Snowblower [Jan 16 only]

Tickets to the Burning Man festival go on sale online shortly, which means I’ve been useless at work and my mind keeps drifting to thoughts of the desert and fire. Snowblower will deliver enough of a dose of beats, lights, and people that I will freely exchange desert and fire for ice and snow. Olympic Plaza will be transformed by progressive sounds from international DJs and musicians (Beats Antique!!!) and local hotness Bruno, who can drop a downtempo ethno beat in at the right moment to make any room explode with flowing movement. Lights will be provided by Wrong Electron, and the Thermal Shock Mafia will be out in full force to make my Burn surrogate complete.

I’ll let you in on my little secret about the HPR in a bit. Until then, drink lots of water and get some rest. It all starts tomorrow.

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