The Grand Anniversary
I am convinced, there is no rivalry to the work the Emotions Team puts in for Vancity artistry. Positive direction and constant drive are attributes that the Emotions Open Mic continues to strive for. To experience the passion of emcees and vocalists; the enchantment of interpretive dance; the beautiful harmonization between guitar and drum, and the keen representation of artistic design- is a blessing in itself. The “Creativity Under The Surface” (CUTS) crew ventured across northern borders once again, only this time, to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of the dopest showcase around.
On a rainy Sunday night– photographer Ryan Summers, female vocalist Tasha Wahlenberg, and I, showed our ID’s and Press Credentials at the front door of the “MIA Nightclub” in Downtown Vancouver. As we climbed down the obstacle of stairs, we were led to a long hallway dressed in LED lights and mirrored walls. The main room wore a similar dress- forming a triangle between the Cabanas for Bottle Service, the DJ Booth, and the Main Stage. Dead center harbored the designated seating for the audience, which filled with haste as groups of people entered into the venue. As Ryan grabbed his camera and did what he does best, I too, grabbed a Heineken and followed the same suit. Soon enough the lights began to dim, the old-school hiphop faded out, and the house band began the show.
Hosts Floetic and Alan each grabbed a mic and welcomed everyone to the One Year Celebration. The introduction to the event is always filled with lighthearted humor and crowd interaction, but for us, this time was different. This time, we came to the realization that we were truly a part of a profound moment. For any show to run strong an entire year is alone an impressive feat. But to see Vancity come out in the dapperest of ways each time, to view art as a whole- speaks volumes. Emotions… Every Last Sunday of the Month. This is a solidified form of tradition, and here marked the day it had completed a lap around the calendar. Floetic and Alan would download their appearances in between each performance until the Emotions file was complete- fluidly in with an introduction and out with the featured presentation. The opening artist, Nick Hope, looped a beatbox rendition of “Just Friends” by Musiq Soulchild and began to strum his acoustic guitar to a well articulated cover of the actual song. The rhythmical bars of emcee Kid Fresh and CUTS Alumni, Juls, accompanied each other for parts of performances, but also displayed pieces of their own individual works. Vancity rapper Arami, also exhibited his aggressive rhyme-style for the event, commanding the stage with his unique abrasive approach and hard-bodied vitality. Having seen each of these artists at previous events, I was pleased to watch them representing for such an honorable night. The artistic value within a well orchestrated presentation has a deeper meaning than just “watching a show”. When the strengths of performers create a sense of unity for the audience, we lose ourselves, allowing each participant to offer positive elements to the symbiotic chemistry.
To be entranced by the curly hair and angelic voice of Lia Liza; or drawn to the earthy fashioned apparel of beautiful vocalist Claire Mortifee, gave balance to the night with gentle cadences and soulful spunk. The gradient of the entire picture was being progressively stylized by the artistic hand of independent production. We all laughed when Comedian Gavin Matts bombarded us with his classic racy anecdotes, leaving no details unspoken about his childhood and “B*tch Ass Granny” (lmao). I stared wide-eyed as David Morin gave a piece of himself through the strings of a guitar, and remained composed once technical issues became his adversary. Vancity Blogger Josie Baik (who was experiencing the show for the first time) tapped me on the shoulder after Morin’s performance with a “Wow, he was really good”, complimenting the special touch of David’s voice. Choreographer Marisa Gold, encapsulated the crowd by submerging herself in the waters of interpretive dance, urging us to swim on the waves of her astound movements. The divine power woven between the threads of professionalism is quite apparent across the wide array of talent, invoking a clear connection to each particular performance. Chanel Sattara and Alivea Arele, whom make up the duo known as “IAH RA“, ended the celebration with a phenomenal display of vocal presence, and unrequited excitement that drifted us back into the arms of our beloved hosts.
The Emotions Open Mic 12.0 was an immense success. The grounds that Emotions promenades across is rich in kinetic crafts and experiential talent. The CUTS Team and friends enjoyed the entire night, feeling fulfilled as the after-party proceeded to unfold. Shout out to the beautiful ladies over at Loyal Coalition, and Self Hired who collectively sponsored the event, as well as offered exclusive clothing from their brands to a few lucky crowd participants. And shout out to Raiel and his crew of goons too (below). See you all next time we venture out to Vancity.
Although the main stage was accompanied by crafts of the more “active” nature, there was also a little taste of paint hindering in the back halls of the venue. Designed by the artistic mind of Marianne P, canvased renditions of the elite hiphop world occupied the intimate lit space, and sat comfortably amongst the surrounding elements. The walls made way for a perfect foundation for the pieces to truly shine, as well as the enclosure allowing enough privacy to few the art separate from the show. Take a look.