This is a reanimation of the Vicaribus blog as lived by Miro Kazakoff and Ehren Foss in 2004 and 2005.
The photos may be spotty.
Posted by Miro
Last night we saw the Northern Lights. They were spectacular for that time of year, at that latitude, spread out over the RV park. The best description I have for them is like a giant green translucent cloth spread out over the sky, flapping in the breeze. Most striking was how fast the flutters moved through the “curtain” of lights. An arc in the lights would almost race across the sky covering your entire field of vision in 20 or 30 second. Remember that in Calgary the our field of vision is almost flat horizon to flat horizon.
Today in the bus we were listing the spectacular natural phenomen we’ve seen:
-Gulfs (well, just one)
Pretty all that’s left on my list is seeing liquid, hot magma and experiencing an earthquake, and perhaps a total eclipse of the sun.
The Calgary Stampede was like a combination of the Big E, Pops ‘n Jazz, the 4th of July, costume party, carnival, and infomercial.
About 40% of the crowd was in cowboy hats and half that in full Western gear. I couldn’t resist and now my cowboy boots are joined by a cowboy hat, western shirt, ass-tight Wrangler jeans and a medium large belt buckle. Ehren just shakes his head when he sees me.
Almost all the gear was purchased in the 5-football-field-wide shopping concourse, which had almost every infomercial caliber product imaginable with live demonstrations. I almost bought a portable milk frother. Had I done so, I would have also gotten a second portable milk frother, a carrying case and stand, a half pound of Italy’s most popular coffee, a recipe book and a hearty handshake from Tim, the demo guy. Tempting.
Mom & Dad will, however, be getting a handcrafted Raku bowl. I retrospect I may have bought the tackiest thing to ever go in their home (the adult equivalent of the $5 jug perfume), or it may look nice. You can never tell with people whose dining room is fire engine red lacquer and has a mirror on the ceiling. It’s more tasteful than it sounds, trust me.
The Calgary Stampede grandstand show was surprisingly spectacular. It reminded me of Pops ‘N Jazz with a multi-million dollar budget, more prep time and a professional support staff. Pops ‘N Jazz is my high school’s singing, dancing and music playing spectacular; a jazz and swing oriented revue that among the more impressive shows I’ve seen put on by non-performing arts schools.
This actually blew it out of the water. I only make the comparison because most of the singers and pretty much of all the dancers in the show are high school students in Calgary’s Young Canadian Performing Arts program. The show is also similarly a musical revue, with more emphasis on singing and dancing. Most of the music is pre-recorded.
The theme of this year’s show was “100 Years of Alberta.” The cheesiness of the theme was overwhealming by the size of it. Why have 10 dancers when you can have 50? The whole show was synchronized with fireworks that were popping out from all corners of the stage and the grounds, perfectly timed with the music. I’ve also never seen a dance number that simultaneous incorporated ballroom, western step dancing, modern jazz, Irish Step dancing, Native American Pow-Wow dancing, Chinese dragon dancing, and Cirque d’Soeil style acrobatics. Even I managed to dig up some latent Canadian nationalism that I didn’t know was there during the finale: an orginal number whose only lyrics and title appeared to be “We love Alberta.”
Also of note, during an break between the traditional native dances at the Pow Wow competition, we were treated to a performance of Native Hip Hop. Two early 20s girls trying to fuse Native American imadgery with hip hop. They came out wearing all the right Hip Hop gear and the intro yet something like this:
“Yo! Yo! Yo! Let’s give it up for all the elders out thar! And a shout-out to the Creator for inspirin’ our dope beats.”
“Also, mad props to our MC, Gerald Raincloud for the hook-up here.”
“We are Ecstasy Rising, y’all. The first beats we gonna drop for y’all is inspiring by the dopest ride of all: the canoe.”
I kid you not. It was awesome.