PuSh Festival 2015: Awkward capitalization; genre-bending festival programming

Wednesday 14th, January 2015 / 16:07
By Chelsey Stuyt

PuSh2015-Christeene-Machine1VANCOUVER — Have some boundaries in need of a nudge? The PuSh festival guarantees at least a nuzzle with this year’s eclectic line-up of performers.

“We do what excites us and what we think will be exciting for people to come and see,” says Joyce Rosario, associate curator of this year’s PuSh festival. “But sometimes it’s really hard for people to get their head around genre. Is it theatre? Is it music? What is this form? For us, the issue of genre is not important, it’s about contemporary performance.”

This is no more evident than in Club PuSh, as genre-bending performance is the lifeblood of this year’s festival. “Club PuSh is our more club-like, experimental, intimate venue,” says Rosario. Housed in the cavernous Performance Works arts space on Granville Island, the festival will kick off with The Christeene Machine, described as “a gender-blending, booty-pounding queer perversion of punk dragged through a musical theatre gutter,” followed by Sun Belt: Cabalcor playing “desert-themed roots music with a surreal edge and an environmental bent,” and Las Cafeteras an East L.A.-meets-Mexico mashup of “fresh and edgy urban-Cali sound inspired by son jarocho, a musical style popularized by Richie Valens’ 1958 hit ‘La Bamba.’”

However, for the brave, the theatre on offer is killer. Tim Watts’ The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik uses little more than a glove and a foam ball to break your heart. “I’m playing ukulele with my hands while puppeteering with my feet and nudging things into the right place with my knees,” says St John Cowcher, the hand inside the glove. While Cineastas, a live split-screen “film” by Argentinian director Mariano Pensotti, explores the relationship between creators, content, and time. “One of the ideas I wanted to develop was the contrast between experiences that are supposed to last, and things that are going to be lost in time,” says Pensotti. “We are talking on stage about how to preserve experience, how to preserve time, but we are doing that with theatre, an ephemeral material.”

“For the time of year that PuSh takes place, in the dreariest of dreary months of Vancouver, it’s nice to go to see something different.” says Rosario. “See something that inspires you.”

The 2015 PuSh Festival runs January 20th-February 8th. Information and tickets can be found at http://pushfestival.ca.

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