Urban Conspiracy Cabaret

An evening of arts for civic revolution

On Thursday 20th September, as part of the Alone Together 2012 Community Summit, the SFU Public Square, with support from SFU Woodward's Cultural Unit and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, presented the Urban Conspiracy Cabaret - an evening of arts for civic revolution! The event featured CBC Debaters' Charlie Demers and Richard Side, and a fabulous cast of co-conspirators: Colin Browne, Gamelan Gita Asmara, the High Society band, Veda Hille, Paul Keeling, Project Limelight and Margo Kane. The event used comedy, music and poetry, and left the audience feeling uplifted, "liked" and enlightened!

Metro Vancouver, its residents are more addicted to social media than the rest of Canadians, has a reputation for being unfriendly and disengaged. The Urban Conspiracy Cabaret was out to explore and combat these notions with what Vancouver does best – entertainment!

With comedic angst and political abandon CBC Debaters’ Charlie Demers and Richard Side took charge of a relevantly irreverent showcase that's cheaper than therapy and more powerful than a Facebook relationship status update. Using comedy, music and poetry, The Urban Conspiracy Cabaret left you feeling uplifted, "liked" and enlightened!


This event took place 7:30 pm at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.


Featuring a fabulous army of co-conspirators:

Colin Browne is a writer, filmmaker and a professor in The School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU. His most recent book is The Properties (Talonbooks, 2012). 

Gamelan Gita Asmara was founded as a student ensemble in1996 by Michael Tenzer but has since evolved into a community arts society. Using a new kind of Balinese gamelan set called Semaradhana, the group learns Balinese repertoire on an intensive practice schedule. Members bring long-term focus and commitment to rehearsal and performance. Over the years, Gita Asmara has commissioned several new works from its first guest artistic director Dewa Ketut Alit (in residence 2001-04), its current director I Wayan Sudirana, and composers Colin MacDonald and Jocelyn Morlock. Gita Asmara is a dedicated collective committed to mastering this challenging music together, the rewards of making something of aesthetic and social value, and the joy of sharing this with their audiences.

High Society is an unstoppable, dramatic rockin' Soul and Blues band, eager to fill your eyes and ears with euphoric excitement and inspiration. Based out of Vancouver, B.C. the band's unique and contemporary take on old school performance has been heard in theaters, pubs, cafés, street corners and on the radio across Western Canada. They have been building a regional reputation for close to two years playing a blend of R&B, Soul, Blues, Folk, Hip Hop, and Jazz. High Society is fronted by intrepid Adam Farnsworth on keys and vocals alongside the inimitable, Chelsea D.E. Johnson on vocals and guitar. Their solid rhythmic foundation is held down by Cory Sweet on baritone saxophone, tuba and various wind instruments; and Kenan Sungur on drums, upright bass, and vocals.

Veda Hille was born August 11, 1968 into a nice family in Vancouver, Canada. Started playing piano in 1974. Childhood interests included plants, books, microscopes, science fiction, and psychiatry. Attended art college in the late 80′s and started writing music. Now makes records, writes musical theatre, scores films, teaches songwriting, tours, and generally keeps busy.

Pianist Paul Keeling grew up in San Diego, California, in a musically gifted family hearing live classical chamber music played by his own siblings and rehearsals of the University of California San Diego Madrigal Singers (directed by his father) in the living room. In his teens, he became interested in jazz and eventually became a member of west coast trumpet star Gilbert Castellanos' quartet for many years during the 1990's. After a three year stint playing in the U.K., he moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 2006 and recently recorded his debut CD "The Farthest Reach" with a top-notch Canadian quintet. Keeling's musical language is informed by bebop and 1960's era hard bop, but also reaches into the more stratospheric colorings of ECM recording artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett.

Project Limelight is about inspiring children to look inside themselves and discover their inner strengths, explore their hidden talents, develop confidence and form lasting friendships.  Above all, Project Limelight is about having fun!

Motivated to give back, sisters Maureen Webb and Donalda Weaver founded Project Limelight to support the East Vancouver community where they were raised.

Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux) is an interdisciplinary artist and a leading figure in Aboriginal performing arts. Over the past forty years, she has been recognized as a storyteller, dancer, singer, animator, video and installation artist, director, producer, writer, and teacher. Her desire to create work that has meaning for her people is the catalyst for her extensive travels into both rural and urban Aboriginal communities across Canada, and fuels her commitment to performance that is not only socially relevant but empowering, as well.