The Week in Review: January 14

With PuSh Festival in full swing, gossip about the Golden Globes continuing, and the theatre season launching once more this month, the arts community is already buzzing in 2013. We present our first Week in Review of the year, highlighting some of the projects making headlines in Vancouver and beyond.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL CUTS 400 JOBS

One of Canada’s most popular artistic exports, Cirque du Soleil, announced it was axing 400 jobs from the company, beginning at the end of January and continuing until March.

The company cited a strong loonie, spiraling costs, and the worldwide economic downturn for the decision, which will affect around 10 percent of its 4000-strong workforce.

Cirque is still optimistic about their future, however. “We’re still pulling our rabbit out of the hat,” said Company spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard, calling the Cirque lucky in the current worldwide economic climate. “This being said, there’s also one of the factors that we let grow with our growth and that was our expenses.”

They may be the world's finest acrobats, but Cirque du Soleil are now walking a financial tightrope

ISRAELI TROUPE PERFORMS THEATRE WITHOUT SIGHT OR SOUND

Further afield, the acclaimed Israeli theatre ensemble, Nalagaat, is making headlines in North America with their US premiere of Not by Bread Alone in New York this week.

Made up of blind and deaf actors – some of whom are also dumb – the show opens on a long table where 11 bakers are kneading and shaping bread. A succession of sketches follows, ranging from the heartbreaking and poignant to comedic and carnivalesque. Interpreters convey the inner voices of the actors according to a script, with surtitles in English, Hebrew and Arabic also above the stage.

GIANT VANCOUVER WATERDROP PROTESTS ENBRIDGE

Opponents to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline can make their voices heard during the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project in Vancouver this week by participating in a community art project.  

Zack Embree, artist, and activist A.J. Klein are proposing people meet at Burrard and Nelson on Friday, January 18 to create “The Uberdrop” – combining 350 cardboard drops into one large, visual symbol of opposition.

WALDORF HOTEL FUTURE UNCLEAR

By now just about everyone in Vancouver is attuned to Monday's announcement and the developing situation around the Waldorf. Since the Waldorf Hotel announced it was closing its doors to make way for a condo development, outrage from community groups quickly spread across the city. Since then, steps have been taken to protect the landmark. An expedited assessment of the hotel was ordered by Vancouver City Council, on Tuesday, to determine if the 63-year old building deserves protection. Such a decision prohibits the building from being demolished or significantly altered for 120 days.

RUFF POLITICS COMES TO TORONTO

In a bizarre, mocking and charming display of absurdism, Australian Artist Bennet Miller presents the United Nations Commision of Human Rights… in canine form. At Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre from February 28 until March 3, Dashshund UN features 48 dogs each representing a member country. Designed to question our capacity to imagine and achieve a universal system of justice, the performances are free and open to all.

Each dog represents a member state in the Australian artist's acclaimed installation.

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