Review of Hare Band cabaret Starring Bridget Ryan

Come Sail Away, Living on a Prayer and Orionco Flow were just some of the songs that could be heard opening night of Year of the Rabbit/Hare Band cabaret and art show. Sail away is just what the audience did; they sailed away down a musical memory lane to the 1980s.
The performance was held in the Catalyst Theatre on Gateway Boulevard in Old Strathcona. The show is a mix of 80s music, and canvas and stone artworks expressing the elements of fire, water, earth and metal in the year of the rabbit. Rabbit inspired artwork was the starting point,since this is the year of the rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. The title of Edmonton based artist Jason Carter’s art show seems fitting for this part of the show. And it’s not just a show, but an experience.

From start to finish Bridget Ryan along with her four piece band; comprised of Jennifer McMillan (keyboard and vocals), John McMillan (vocals) Andrew Miller (drums), and Connor Walsh on bass guitar were, to cite an old 80s adage, totally radical!

Ryan, a 30 year veteran of the stage, (who can also be seen Monday to Friday on CityTv’s BreakfastTelevision). enthralled audience members with her powerful alto voice. Ryan seemed quite at home on stage and it showed. So did the band’s keyboardist/vocalist and other band members.

McMillan, an active member of Edmonton’s musical theatre community, held her own displaying her soprano capabilities and range for all to hear. With at least one solo, McMillan proved herself a tour de force. McMillan also proves her knowledge and talent in music by having arranged the songs to suit the band’s unique,unfettered sound. Including arranging one song to be an original bluegrass sounding rendition.

Carter, created beautiful “rabbit” works of art. Embracing the simplicity and beauty of rabbits, his canvas painting and stone carvings are telling of a talented artist. The rabbits on canvas for instance, lay stationary but seemed to show the spirit of rabbits nonetheless. The stone rabbit sculptures showed rabbits in various forms. Some were at rest, content to sit on their laurels while other pieces showed rabbits standing at alert replete with ears perked upward as if sensing impending danger. Carter works alongside Ryan Monday to Friday as a cameraman for Breakfast Television.

Throughout the course of the evening’s performance, the audience learned just what each of the four elements meant, as they stand within the Chinese zodiac. The elements are listed as fire, earth, water and metal. Currently we are half way through the year of the metal rabbit. As the show progressed, each group of songs were likened to one of the four elements. For example, Orionco Flow by pop star Enya was said to symbolize water.

With music of the 80s, band members’ hair plastered in hair sprayed giving them all a rebel style look, canvas painted and stone carved rabbits in the stage’s background; Year of the Rabbit/Hare Band cabaret and art show proves a must see for “bunnies 13 years and older,” as the website for the cabaret says.

Part of the proceeds for each performance of the Hare Band cabaret is slated to go to the Youth Emergency Shelter Society, which works with at risk youth.

Parental advisory on the humour however as it is really rather adult throughout the show.


Interview “Bucket List”

I had two great interviews this past week. Two interviews, of which I enjoyed acquiring, preparing questions for and executing (though it should be noted, my interview skills are still lacking at this point).

In thinking back on these most recent interviews, I am reminded of a school assignment I had in junior high English class. We were to choose someone to interview and devise questions for them. This was essentially my first stint into creating questions for an interview. After that first part of the assignment was complete, we were then told to interview our persons of interest and then compose a small write up about them using the answers we were given to our questions. Again, first foray into interviewing and then proceeding to write something with the answers I had been given.

Although my interviewing skills still need considerable improvement (you have to start somewhere though, right?) I feel as if I have really grown since that first foray into interviewing and profiling.

Now taking this all into consideration, I am left wondering…. who would I most want to interview and why? Well I’m going to try and answer that question here in this blog post. Not a complete list but a summary of who I would be interested in interviewing and writing about one day.

1. Dawna Friesen – First woman to anchor a national newscast in Canada. As an aspiring journalist, and as a woman, I find this pretty darn cool and impressive. I’d love to delve  into Ms. Friesen’s beginnings as a girl growing up on the prairie.

2. Lloyd Roberston – Okay I realize, aspiring journalist, probably should not just be wanting to interview journalists. Trust me, I really don’t want to only interview journalists. Mr. Roberston is a living journalist legend here in Canada, as far as I’m concerned however. For that reason, I’d be interested in interviewing him one day. I’d love to get his insight into the changing face of journalism.

3. Rick Hansen- Mr. Hansen has been such an inspiration to so many with his work raising money and awareness for people living with spinal cord injuries.

4. A Holocaust survivor-I can’t imagine the horrors faced during the Holocaust. It is truly inspiring, to me, that there are survivors of this horrible time in history.

5. Brian McKeever-Mr. McKeever is, to me, such an inspirational person. I think an interview with Brian McKeever would prove very eye opening and riveting. (Full disclosure here….. Brian McKeever is a distant relative of mine).

6. The parent of a child who has a disability – I know what my experience has been, having a disability but I would love to gain some perspective and insight into what a parent experiences, when their child has a disability.


Beyond those six interviews I’d like to do some day, I would like to interview…. a police officer, an ambulance worker (paramedic or emt) a city councillor, the mayor, and someone who works in a woman’s shelter aiding women who have fled domestic violence.

There you have it. Here is a small list of some of the people, I would love to one day interview.

Rain Rain, Go Away or Come and Stay?

Have you ever noticed, some people are natural born complainers? Specifically I’m thinking about those who almost never seem quite satisfied with the weather. I admit, I am a complainer too. If it’s too hot, I people complain; too cold? You guessed it, more complaints. It’s not any better when it’s windy or snowing either. It seems people will complain no matter what the weather. If they want to complain, they will. Weather is just the easiest target for complainers.

Why is it that people complain? Well for one, I think it’s a societal issue. It boils down to the old adage “You can’t please everyone.” Yet, people expect others to do just that. It can’t be done! There are so many people on this Earth and each with his or her own view on things. That undoubtedly will lead to complaints from others. The weather; how their government is run, where landfills are put, etc. Yes, you most certainly cannot win everyone’s favour.

As for the rain, we’ve had scorching heat, rain for days on end and heck; this past winter didn’t seem to ever want to end. Sure enough, the vast majority of us are born complainers. Somehow, I don’t think that’s due to be changing anytime soon either. We might as well get used to it. Just like we might as well get used to this heat when it comes, and this rain too. (Though no one says we have to like it!).

Medical Marvel or Complete Lunacy?

Others may disagree with me but I feel like a loon. Even as I type this, it’s taking a good bit of restraint not to bend down and rip the skin off my right foot. I am so itchy!!!!! I am not used to feeling itchy; not in my feet at the very least!

It’s been at least a month since I’ve been out of the hospital. At least a month of enduring having new found feeling in my legs and feet. I am going stir crazy! Yes, I do hear the words of friends and my mother, telling me “Maybe it’s nerve damage repairing itself.” I love you all, but honestly the chances of that happening are exceedingly slim to nil. Yet, I do concede it might be nice, if this were to be the cause.

As of today’s tests at the University hospital this morning, I am still mystifying doctors. It has been confirmed that I am indeed, experiencing new found feeling in the lower half of my body. Doctors have no explanation as to how this is suddenly the case, or what could be causing this sudden change. So wait, I will. Both my neurosurgeon and the neurologist he referred me to, will be trying to figure out the answers to this puzzle.

Though, as I mentioned to the doctor this morning; “When have docs ever been able to figure me out?” I’m a medical mystery pure and simple. For better or for worse. Right now all I can do is wait. That and try to keep from scratching these itchy feet and legs laden with mosquito bites!