And what a day it was. A “Sonic Art Playground”, a flash-mob pillow fight, a taste of a legendary Montreal deli, then a capella musical delights. I had to share it. Read on for videos, photos, and some great links!
First stop was the Western Front, for “Sonic Playground”, an installation and event celebrating music, sound, and noise. Interactive art lured viewers into the act of sound creation in unusual ways, including a “sound holder” jar: you pry the lid off and hear the last sound “left behind”, then make your own.
Meanwhile, an interactive workshop was in progress where both grownups and little ones were encouraged to create sound textures and rhythms by an engaging fellow whose enthusiasm and sense of fun were contagious.
Below is a video sampling of the Sonic Playground!
But now it was time to move on – specifically, to the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery for a “flash mob” event: PILLOW FIGHT CLUB! First I stumbled across the Hula Hoopers’ Club, who had moved their weekly session down to the lower, covered section of Robson Square. I limbered up with a few minutes of hip-wiggling hoop action, then it was up the steps to the Robson Street side of the VAG, where the throngs awaited the official 3:00 start time.
Although the idea was for pillows to be concealed, the participants to linger unnoticed in the general vicinity, and the pillow fight to materialize suddenly out of nowhere, startling passersby, things didn’t quite play out that way. At a minute to three, the square in front of the VAG steps was packed wall-to-wall with shuffling, keyed-up pillowfighters – some blatantly wielding their fluffy weapons in plain sight – with nary a space for an “innocent passerby” to even get close. The air was thick with anticipation. Then the battle cry rose up, and the pummeling began!
It soon became clear that this was no fluffy, lighthearted, giggly-schoolgirl pillow fight. No sirree, a feathery bloodlust was unleashed! Turns out the garden-variety bed-pillow can effect great force when wound up and flung with force toward the chest, face, or back of the head. I was trapped in a maelstrom of pillowy pillaging!
One thing I hadn’t counted on was that in their enthusiasm, several pillows exploded in a burst of feathers and/or fluffy white stuff – which made me resemble a giant coconut-dusted pastry. (It would be several hours before I got all the fuzz out.) A tip for next year: wear a sheer-fabric poncho, bring a hard case to stash your glasses in, and avoid crushable headgear like a fedora.
The event was supposed to go on for 15 minutes, but at the five-minute mark, I was beat. I retreated to the sidelines to capture some photos and video. The result can be seen below.
Dazed, yet strangely exhilarated, I returned to my car and headed for the Ridge Theatre to see “Chez Shwartz’s” – a new documentary about the legendary Montreal deli. The Ridge was packed to the rafters with expat Montrealers, and a good cross-section of the local Jewish community. The film was charming, and afterwards came the best part: actual Schwartz’s smoked-meat sandwiches were served to one and all!
Now it was nearly time to head back over to Main Street and the Purple Crab, to see Verve Collective perform their a capella harmonies to an appreciative crowd. This group of performers consists entirely of people I have sung with in The Broadway Chorus or APPLAUSE! Musicals. Sweet harmonies filled the air and I caught up with some old friends. A fine way to wrap up a day of fun and frolic on the streets of Vancouver!