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Novelty Sodas to Rule Them All?

10 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Strangely named sodas have been around for some time, perhaps dating as far back as 2005. Whether they come from globally recognized brand names like Pepsi’s Salty Watermelon and have limited distribution, how can I not resist the staple of my summer fiesta with Phillip’s Soda Works Smarkmouth Ginger Ale? This drink is tame when compared to the strange brews, namely Rocket Fizz’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda, there’s plenty more to discover on websites like the Vintage Soda Company.

My co-writer James Shaw (yes, he’s alive and living in a cave these days) and I were up in Sidney, BC over the Summer and one place we regularly visit is the Lilly Gobble Sweet Shop. They started carrying these novelty drinks early this year and when we discovered them, we were like kids in a candy store. I bought a couple to try out, and James … well, we were supposed to write this piece together. Sadly, he’s slipped into a sugar coma. Also, ever since the seasons changed, he’s put himself in hibernation mode and I believe he will never awaken.

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[Victoria, BC] All I want are Zombies for Christmas!

8 Dec

MET_2014_TEMPLATE_POSTERLocation:
Intrepid Studio Theatre
1609 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC

Dates:
Dec 6th – Sat Dec 9th,
Dec 14th – Sat Dec 16th, 2017
Starts 8pm | $15 at the door

Tickets also available through Eventbrite

In Victoria, British Columbia the Paper Street Theatre Company‘s holiday performances often sell out. This year, they are making sure the zombie epidemic is sure to spread in their improvised show which highlights this garden city in all its haunted glory. Instead of the traditional ghosts to mark the season, they are drawing upon many decades of zombie material to form into a live show, complete with confetti blood!

Technically, the ideas come from the audiences, and they work it into their presentation. Folks in the know will be in stitches about how the Inner Harbour is linked by tunnels. In their first show, the survivors are holed up in a museum, and they are having a frightful night in it — and trying to escape the eventual invasion. This narrative will change at each show and to watch the team recreate the nuances of terror certainly proves to witness the action live all the more engrossing. To see it on celluloid can offer safety, but to have it up close — especially with the set created for this performance, the sound scape heightening the mood, the creative lighting design which feels straight out of X-Files (if not straight out of John Carpenter film). All of them combined adds to the terror. High marks go to the team of Theodore Sherman, Emma Dickerson and Don Godlovitch.

zmas group shot

Photo credit: Derek Ford Studios

Because improvised theatre tends to add humour to the situation, audiences are able to laugh along to the absurd elements randomly put in. The team — Christina Patterson, Nicole Olszewski, Brooke Cameron, Dominik Buconjic, Byron Kjeldsen, Chris Gabel, Monica Joan Ogden, Andrew Brimmell, Dave Morris, Scott Thompson and Missie Peters — certainly know their craft and are able to provide a meaningful narrative on the fly. Character driven tales are much more poignant than offering moments for viewers to laugh along. Just who will be on stage or who are the main characters or supporting will vary each day.

While the first show was not heavy on the Christmas theme, at least the day the zombies took over happened to be at Yuletide. Perhaps next time, I’ll have to shout out Santa’s Workshop to provide a more direct setting and wait for the chaos to begin. Although this company does not bring back past shows (I’m still waiting for the team to agree to bring back H.P. Lovecraft), at least I know I’ll be guaranteed to not see the same story twice. A tip must be mentioned though: the more absurd the idea is being pitched, the better the chance it will get considered to be part of the act.

This company has engaged locals since 2011 and have appeared at some events off the island. To keep up with their latest happenings, please visit their Facebook page.

Diving into Howard Lovecraft & The Undersea Kingdom

6 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom is the second chapter of a three-part saga. Here, the child version of this seminal writer (voiced by Kiefer O’Reilly) has to deal with untold dangers from more than one dark world. Youths can be introduced to H.P. Lovecraft before he became the recluse and derisive adult.

This film is  humourous at times. It’s also a safe product to teach young viewers the importance of never forgetting their elders, even when the world shuns them. When considering what the real-life figure was like, perhaps all he needed was more familial love.

After the events of the first film, he has to keep the three books from being put together to form the Necronomicon. He does not know of this tome’s secrets, but in what he learns — how to use magic — he has to use it to fight the minions mad Abdul (Jeffrey Combs) is sending after him! Although his father is committed to a sanitarium and his mother is possessed (and eventually kidnapped), this lad is proving to be able to take on the challenges from the mysterious city of R’yleh and other strange worlds which lays in this maddening multiverse.

This film is adapted from Bruce Brown’s work (original creator) which is published by Arcana Comics. The print edition (available on Amazon) is much more violent when compared to this cinematic version. The changes required to make this product accessible for youths does not distract. Even as I’m thumbing through my hardcover copy of the complete story while watching this film to find what writer and director Sean Patrick O’Reilly changed, general aspects of all three issues (when it was released as individual comics) are retained. He brings much-needed character development to Winfield Scott Lovecraft, the father. While none of this is true to the real life counterpart, to understand this individual offers to fans a hint at what could have influenced the boy to become the man with unsettling dreams.

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Rasputin, The Voice of the Dragon’s #2 Delivers More Questions than Answers

4 Dec

rasputin2By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Releases Dec 6th, 2017
* Spoiler Alert

A very enigmatic despot is finding clues in issue number two to make Rasputin the one and only Voice of the Dragon. Well technically, the introduction is to recap the events of the previous issue, and in what writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson are offering is tantalizing enough to keep tuning in to this very serialized tale a must. The imagery and work set by Christopher Mitten is like that of watching a Hammer film unfold. Here be spoilers in this very decent jumping in point for new readers to the Hellboy universe.

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