A&E » Arts

The King and a cultural troupe

Cultural Cabaret showcases humour, music, dance, theatrics and spoken word at MY Place



What: Cultural Cabaret

When: Sunday, Feb. 12

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $10

From the moment he picked up the phone, anyone could tell that the Bocephus King was more than a musician – he was an animated storyteller first and foremost.

He rattles away in his deep vibrato voice, something about a five-pump Chai latte at Starbucks, a misunderstanding escalating to ugly with a military-trained counter person ready to fire and a quick talking wordsmith who settled the situation without incident. A voucher truce brought the incident to a close.

The West Coast Music Award nominee then likened the shaping of his career to his music manager’s makeover of her guitar store from a funky downtown place to a boutique shop situated in a posy of art galleries.

"Well maybe I am somewhere in the two," he said of his music. "I’m an absurdist – a vaudevillian mix that runs amuck. Somewhere in the middle ground that fills the void between Kama Sutra lullabies and dirges for a doomed world."

Did anybody else catch that?

Humour, creativity, individuality and talent are at the root of this Vancouver musician, all qualities acting as a common thread, tying together an evening of cultural acrobatics, ranging from musicians and poets to dancers and comedians, at Celebration 2010’s pièce de résistance, the third annual Cultural Cabaret Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.

By 19 years old, the Bocephus King was already working in Nashville, the songwriting capital of the world, or as he calls it, "the place where he got his heart kicked in and his soul munched away." Despite his best efforts to pen new country, a genre he saw likening more to ’80s heavy metal than anything Johnny Cash or Hank Williams would throw down, the Bocephus King set out solo to create music for himself. Encounters with She Stole My Beer, Zubot and Dawson, and the Harvesters (then Crazy Fingers) led to signing on with New West Records. Five European tours followed, along with four albums, most recently All Children Believe in Heaven , which was released through Tonic/Maple/Universal. A fan of soundtracks, his new album pays homage to old Hollywood with soundscapes and characters you might find in a classic Bogart film.

"The music is almost cinematic – a story set against a lush sound background that tends to create a scene," he said, noting the story component draws an enthusiastic European fan base.

"They really dive into the lyrics there. Even though there is a groove, they are looking for lyrics. They want something that is built to last: things with background and stories to them."

The stories don’t stop with the Bocephus King. Whistler scribe Stephen Vogler, a CBC favourite and Globe and Mail freelancer, will also perform, transforming the written word into theatrics with the help of bass player Rajan Dass.

Comedian Peter Kelamis dials up humour for the evening. To date, improvising one on one with Robin Williams is his greatest success. He’s also shared stages with the likes of Howie Mandel and Dennis Miller. If you didn’t catch him on CBC’s Comics or Madly Off in All Directions , you might remember his slapstick antics in the movies Happy Gilmore or Best in Show .

With the audience’s funny bones well warmed up, the Vancouver award-winning comedy troupe Rock Paper Scissors will get crowds into the 2010 spirit with hilarious sketches, including A Day in the Life of a 2010 Organizer. The troupe is ready to go, after entertaining Canadian peacekeepers in Afghanistan.

Other guests such as the Eagle Song Dancers, Public Dreams Society of Fire and Dance, Soul Funktion Dance and much more will fill the rest of the playbill for an evening of all that its name implies.

Tickets for the 2010 Celebration Cultural Cabaret are $10. The event sells out every year, so call 604-935-9410 for advanced tickets.