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Calgary theatre company One Yellow Rabbit’s fantastic creation, the High Performance Rodeo hits the city for its 23rd annual festival this year, January 5th to January 31st. A serious piece of work, the festival is what Calgary should be celebrating. Independent artists from Calgary, Alberta and worldwide showcase their creations and release a breathe of encouragement into the Calgary arts scene. Curated by Michael Green, co-artistic director of One Yellow Rabbit, this year’s feast of creativity is truly something Calgary has never seen before. In Green’s own words “To engage ones imagination is a positive action that builds the character needed to support the “high performance” identity Calgarians are known for.”

An optimistic look at Calgary’s arts scene, Green clearly reflects the passion and love held within this strong community. In a town this oil rich, something good has to come from it right? Despite recent changes to art support policy and funding models, severely impacting locally based arts scenes all across Canada, Calgary artists remain strong and hopeful. Green address this in his welcoming remarks with a typically witty remark “Credit markets seem more speculative then science fiction.” By supporting independent artists and local theater, you can invest your money in something that is a lot more sustainable, then, say, the price of oil?

This year HPR is top notch, largely and with my personal pronounced bias, due to the current artist in residence, Philip Glass. Glass makes several appearances this festival playing alongside the Kronos Quartet as well as solo, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra plays some of Glass’s best works. As well, some of the best music coming out of the Calgary independent scene has a significant role to play in this year’s festival. Woodpigeon and Clinton St.John playing Bjork and Godspeed You!Black Emperor alongside Jay Crocker and Simon Fisk paying homage to the Brown Album. This isn’t to say that the line up all around isn’t amazing, it’s just fantastic to see the music and theater community’s coming together like this. Last year’s One Yellow Rabbit and Summerlad collaboration brought down the house and I cannot wait to see what happens with these bands this year. Take bringing in Sage theatre’s Brendan McGuigan who will be performing his side project entitled “Synthosaurus”, a giant green synth playing dinosaur who rip your heart open with synthy dancy goodness on the 10th during the Midway. This is just one act featured in the HPR’s Midway show where local creativity such as this is encouraged to flourish.

Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th has the Midway and Freak Show showcasing the best of what Calgary’s independent music and arts scene has to offer. On the 9th A night of Weezer with Consonant C, Günther and Pinkerton as well as the always amazing Midway and Freak show which is unexplainable in its tasty offering’s. The Midway, Freakshow and Grandstand are your most cost effective options and will be showcasing different acts the 8th to the 10th. Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall shows up all the other Canadian talent with his hilarious antics in Scottastrophe, and with the press quote “This may have been the best use of power point ever” you know it will even appeal to that management friend of yours.

The Lands End Chamber Ensemble brings back the old glamor of pre-war Germany and celebrates Bertold Brecht musical numbers while paying homage to the works of Krasa and Schuloff, two revolutionary composers who were silenced all too soon by the Nazi concentration camps. This goes down at the BeatNiq café, January 13th to the 17th. Alberta dancer Peggy Baker brings home the reality and crazy trials of aging and “getting a real job”. January 14th to 18th see this amazing local performer blur the lines between dance and theater, proving the true nature of Calgary theater. A mashed up mess of creativity and imagination which truly proves anything can be possible.

This is my City a 12 month project which brought together artists and the homeless community of Calgary to create a medium for the multitude of voices that get ignored all too often. Don’t miss out on this performance, held in the City Hall atrium, a true Calgary experience.

A true feast for all five senses, don’t miss your oppunurunity to see the best of independent arts and amazing new creations unseen anywhere else. Truly, HPR has always provided me an amazing and mind opening experience and no matter what you are interested in, there is truly something for everyone. For tickets and more information go to or contact them at 403 264 3224.


One Comment

  1. i think it is the 23rd year…

    maybe u could post on this event as well…

    great blog, on my feed now!

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  1. […] to January 31st 2009, HPR bring the best of Canadian and world performance to Calgary. Read more here or go to the […]

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