A platform for experiment.
Mid-January to Early February
Club PuSh is the hub of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, where you’ll find cutting-edge shows in a fun and social cabaret setting. Theatre Conspiracy co-produced Club PuSh from 2009 - 2016.
Theatre Conspiracy commissioned two shows for Club PuSh 2016.
Decoder 2017 [Thursday, February 4th, 2017]
Commissioned by Theatre Conspiracy and Gibney Dance (New York)
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Theater artist Mallory Catlett’s Decoder 2017 uses the prophetic writing of William Burroughs as the basis for a performance installation. The work sets out to test his theory that “when you cut up the present the future leaks in.” Catlett’s title makes reference to the 1984 West German film Decoder, which was inspired by Burroughs’ Electronic Revolution—specifically his instructions on how to use tape recorders to spark social uprising. Performer Jim Findlay and noise artist and analog tape deejay G Lucas Crane use live sound and text cut-ups to generate a simultaneous visual reality. Acting both as characters within a fictional world and real-life systems operators, they infiltrate each other’s bodies in the psychic battle of man and machine.
An Evening with Fond of Tigers [Thursday, January 28th, 2016]
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Behind the Juno Award-winning band Fond of Tigers are seven of Vancouver’s leading musical creatives, led by Stephen Lyons and including members Jesse Zubot and JP Carter. Their avant-garde sound textures and post-rock structures hover defiantly in undefined musical territory. At the Club we’ll be treated to their pick of short music films by Louisville’s Colin Garcia and songs from their forthcoming album.
Conspiracy commissioned and co-presented three fantastic shows at Club PuSh.
Sonic Elder, The Chop Theatre [Jan. 29, 8pm]
Can a song change your life? What is hidden in the music of the past? In this newly commissioned work, six Vancouver music legends come together to form a band, share their greatest hits, deepest heartbreaks and rock Club PuSh. The latest from Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre, Sonic Elder examines the music of the ’50s and ’60s and how it shaped youth culture, spawning a generation of social and political agitators whose words and actions continue to resonate.
Sun Belt: Cabalcor [Feb. 1, 2015]
Sun Belt’s debut collection of surreal, dusty songs and stories gets adapted into a multimedia invented history of a tar sands company town. Through music, image and readings, Sun Belt: Cabalcor charts the rise and fall of Cabalcor, an imaginary region that, within the span of a century, becomes a desert wasteland. This Club PuSh performance is based on Sun Belt’s experimental book/album released in late 2014 by Anvil Press and Offseason Records.
eatingthegame, Hong Kong Exile [Feb. 5, 8pm]
Hong Kong Exile investigates the advancements in foreign property investment, cultural exchange, and policy-making that are changing the face of international trade. Artist-entrepreneur Conor Wylie delivers a keynote speech from and between two worlds: Vancouver and China, West and East, business and culture, ethics and desire.
Read artistic producer Tim Carlson’s curatorial statement about eatingthegame on the PuSh blog.
We kicked off the Club with two powerful performers – writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote and musician Rae Spoon exploring the gender binary in Gender Failure. Next came a beautiful musical pairing: Coastal Sounds Youth Choir with Woodpigeon. Eye of Newt Ensemble, led by composer/violist/musical mad scientist Stefan Smulovitz, accompanied a screening of the ’80s cult classic cyberpunk film, Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Other shows included Tucked & Plucked: Vancouver’s Drag Herstory Live Onstage, a collaboration between performance art collective Norma and Veda Hille, all about cats, called Swan Song (for Cats), Ryeberg Live and the spectacular Huff. The festival closed with a bang with the beautiful live animations of Miwa Matreyek’s Myth & Infrastructure and Theatre Conspiracy’s Duets for One, a rock-based performance adaptation of Tanya Marquardt’s memoir Stray.
Late Nights at Club PuSh featured Gord Grdina’s Haram, Ethiopian band Krar, Vancouver blues rock band Paper Trails, and DJ Jef Leppard with Isolde N. Barron & Peach Cobblah.
Hawksley Workman’s one-man cabaret rock-&-roll show The God that Comesblew the roof off Club PuSh for opening night. There was also a killer music night with country-noir-glassy-eyed-blues hero Herald Nix with Proud Animal and Twin River. Jan Derbyshire ripped our guts apart with her uproariously funny Stood and 64-year-old Belgium theatre artist Vanessa Van Durme told her extraordinary true story of her life that started as a little boy in Look Mummy, I’m Dancing. Daniel Barrow returned with the outrageous and shameless personalities of public access television in Winnipeg Babysitter, followed by raucous rootsy-blues artist Sarah Wheeler. Music, dance, pigeons, cowboys….we got it all at Northern Soul, 30 Cecil Street & A Western, a showcase ofEnglish performance (presented with Caravan). The Road Forwardwas a blues/rock musical, created and directed by Marie Clements of Red Diva Projects. Melancholics and Destroyer fans united at sad sack, by night on the closing night of the festival, an evening dedicated to the expression of West Coast melancholy featuring former CBC radio host of Nightlines, David Wisdom, radical psychoanalyst Andrew Feldmar, a heartbreaker of a set by Hello, Blue Roses (Dan Bejar of Destroyer alongside Sydney Vermont) and songs by Kris Elgstrand from his album Songs of the Sad Sack, Volume 1.
Opener Woody Sed gave musical insight into the life and troubles of Woody Guthrie. Other musical treats included New Zealand singer-songwriter Don McGlashan, the hip hop First Nations show Beat Nation Live and a real coup performance with Mary Margaret O’Hara & Peggy Lee – Beautiful Tool. Theatre Conspiracy commissioned two shows: Trunk, a striking rock’n’roll installation created by our artist-in-residence Jeremy Waller and his company Craning Neck Theatre. Other performances included the curated essay series Trampoline Hall, and comedians Ryan Biel and Charles Demers in Making Art Noises. Closing performer, internationally acclaimed New York drag troubadour Taylor Mac, brought down the house with Comparison is Violence.
The Club opened with ground-breaking Seattle performer Dayna Hanson’s sly rock musical Gloria’s Cause, set during the American Revolution. Veda Hille brought together a local choir for some quirky and ambitious tunes for Vancouver’s 125th anniversary in Happy Birthday Teenage City. Other shows included the genius live animations of Winnipeg’s Daniel Barrow, flip-book animations by German artist Volker Gerling; Rick Maddocks’ rock-gospel musical The Meal – a Theatre Conspiracy commissioned work, and magic by Bro Gilbert.
Late Nights at Club PuSh bands included The British Columbians, Meatdraw and Fine Mist.
Performances included Taylor Mac, Theatre Replacement’s Twenty-Minute Musicals, Trampoline Hall, a Toronto hit, featuring Vancouver characters Andrew Feldmar, Faith Moosang and Kevin Chong. Musical guests included Vancouver jazz-pop band The Beige, hot Vancouver indie band The Awkward Stage, Victoria’s Hank Pine and Lily Fawn, Portland’s Holcombe Waller, plus Hooliganship and Victoria’s Vincat. Club PuSh also presented the Vancouver debut of New York monologue genius Mike Daisey.