A repeating motif: noisy children, long hair, beaded leather jackets, and haida stitched mesh-back hats. It’s the Talking Stick festival, a celebration of First Nations.
After intermission, I slipped into the booth to watch a Columbian aerialist. Dressed in almost a medical corset and classic english brown pants, she looked like she’d been stolen from the change-room and glued to the wall. Instead of silks, she used bungee cord in loops that hung from the ceiling. She twisted, blindfolded, seemingly in agony, from various knots and swung widely over the audience, gracefully kicking. Strange effects, more a melding of modern dance with childhood danger than anything circus, that grew on me as I watched, until, by the end, a worn aching spark awoke in my chest. It must take skill to look so unhappy while doing something so insanely fun.
Michael arrived as I left the Centre after my shift was done and walked with me down to the Vancouver Convention Centre, where there was rumour of pyro strike work. From outside, the building looked deserted. The apparent emptiness of the space was welcome after the Granville street riot of club-fashionable women in glittery heels and the men trying to get them drunk, but I knew it for an illusion. I caught a man walking out dressed in blacks and dragging a case on wheels, an obvious tech, and asked about the strike as if I were confirming details. From him I got a name to use on the next person and directions to the after party. At the party, I discovered the name of the ballroom, and then struck out to find it. This is how I am a lot. So far, I’ve yet to be caught. The trick, I find, is to act like you’re already in the loop, but have misplaced your keys.
The named ballroom was empty, a staging area, but from there I smuggled us into the back kitchens. Past stacked trays of obscenely delicious looking left-overs and busy dish-washers, I stalked us straight into the right room, an immense hall with an impressive stage rigged up, one side of a square lined with mock iceburgs and filled with endless white tables covered in pale flowers and fake ice centerpieces, busy with housekeeping and techs tearing it all down.
More than anything else, it looked expensive. Large and expensive. And fun. A playground.