Early this year I was asked by Minna Schendlinger, the Managing Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, to MC a roast she was organizing for the 10 year anniversary. I was thrilled to be asked and so very nervous to do it. Those of you who know me, know I’ve worked for the festival for the last 5 years in some facet or another. It’s a festival very dear to me.
The event took place last Sunday, January 19. I had a lot of fun, despite the hours of fretting I put in wondering if I was too mean or not mean enough.
For those of you who are interested here are my script notes for the evening. I’m sure I said things a little differently, but this is the gist.
TAKING THE PISS OUT OF PUSH
Hi, I’m Sara Bynoe and I will be your host for this evening’s Sunday Roast. Before I begin I’d like to make one thing clear– No! we will not be serving Yorkshire puddings or roast beef.
A roast is an event, in which an individual (or organization) is subjected to a public presentation of comedic insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes as a mock counter to a toast.
It’s a Sunday Roast because it happens to fall on a Sunday. If you don’t get that cheeky wordplay/joke , we are in big trouble.
This evening we are here celebrate the tenth anniversary of the PuSh festival by taking the piss out of PuSh.
Now many of you might be asking yourself who the fuck am I? Well, I’m here because Charlie Demers was unavailable. Also, because we all know CTV anchors make worst hosts for live events – but they look so darn pretty while they read … from… their … scripts (awkward fake smile).
Seriously, it’s my honour to be your MC this evening. I’ve been involved with the PuSh festival for the last few years. I assisted Theatre Replacement in casting 100% Vancouver or as I liked to call it the search for a 60-year-old unmarried Indian man who and speaks Cantonese and lives in Shaughnessy. I also produced the opening galas in 2012 and 2013 – also known as the fun ones.
Honestly though, as far as PuSh is concerned it’s my job to be the last person on the dance floor of every party. It’s strange, as much as PuSh supports dance, they rarely participate in it. Guys, I’m not getting any younger. It’s time for me to pass the torch! I know, I know, the SFU kids are working on it, but they’re still in “process.”
I think the real reason I’m here is that I’m also a host and comedic performer about town. I am always taking the piss out of things. Screw it, I’m also a shameless promoter so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about two shows I’ve been running in this city for many years. The first is a confessional comedic storytelling event called Teen Angst Night where adults read from their teenage diaries and the second is my monthly comedy show Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing a show where funny people read from the worst books ever published. They’re so edgy Norman Armour has never been to either one.
I’ve been a fan of the PuSh Festival since my formative years, growing up in Calgary when it was the High Performance Rodeo. Congrats to One Yellow Rabbit for celebrating its 28th annual HPR. PuSh is the largest January interdisciplinary international arts festival in Western Canada? You mean, west of the Rockies, right? Because I know at least 1/3 of the programming is shared with the HPR.
Yeah, that’s right. I said it. It’s called the PuSh Festival Roast – We’re going to cross the line tonight.
What is PuSh? Besides a typographic nightmare? – P for Pretentious, capital S for bullShit.
What if I told you could see grown men get naked and throw their shoes at each other, then fight and get so sweaty that they wipe themselves off with the Dance Centre’s curtains. What if I told you that’s art?
What if I told you would pay $45 to be blindfolded and have a stranger lead you around the city, and get you to molest buildings and bushes?
What if I told you that people actually like to watch modern dance?
What if I told you the most amazing performance piece you’ve ever seen was it town and you MUST GO AND SEE IT – only … it’s sold out.
Would you believe there would be a five minute speech before every show thanking sponsors and donors and then a huge ask for money from an audience full of underpaid unemployed artists.
In the dark, dark, dark, cloudy, grey, depressing, mildewed, leaky condo, bedbug infested pioneer village that pretends to be a world-class city that we live in there is a festival that intrigues the arts community and confuses the hockey-rioting people of Surrey.
PuSh is an opportunity to see Vancouver theatre legends get drunk in this very room.
Ok, enough of me. It’s time for me to hand over the roast.
Look up here – see the few brave souls who are ready to roast our beloved PuSh.
You might be thinking, “Hey! There are only two women on that stage and everyone is white.” Relax, it’s just a representation of this year’s programming.
I love PuSh. Lots of great shows in the next few weeks. Make sure you see something. Seriously, I’m seeing a lot. Just check my Twitter feed or ask me for recommendations.
James Franco in a recent photo by Terry Richardson
Who wore it best?
I recently went to London, England and reconnected with some lovely people there. One of those people is my friend Kim. We made this short film based on a poem I wrote.
I hope you enjoy it. I look very different. Thank goodness my hair finally grew out.