Creative Current – A stand up treat for wannabe comedians

Nadine Davenport's bi-monthly roundup of arts and entertainment in the Ashcroft-Cache Creek-Lillooet area.

Get ready to laugh

Winding Rivers Arts and Performance Society presents a number of Winter and Spring events. They hope to see you and appreciate your support of Live Music and the Arts throughout the year!

Local Director/Actress Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan and Stand Up Comedian Tracey Knihnitski will facilitate a Theatre Improv and Stand Up Comedy two-day Workshop on Jan. 12 and 13 at the Ashcroft High School Library and four subsequent weekly performance nights in the months of January and February. The workshop will be followed by four nights at a local dinner venue (tba) at which both audience and performers are welcome.

Do you know what’s weird about Stand-Up Comedy? Most of us are afraid to look stupid! Stand Up Comedians do it on purpose to get a laugh! If you: imitate your family members behind their backs, make people laugh when you’re mad, and  have all kinds of opinions about the absurdities of the world, you might have what it takes to do Stand Up Comedy!

In addition,  for those of you who LOVE physical comedy and shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyways”, feel free to join us for Theatre Improv. We’ll get creative, have some laughs and bounce some scenes around thru improvisation. No experience necessary! Imaginations welcome!

Learning to develop improvisational skills is fun for everyone! Improvisation has that boundless potential to unleash your creativity, instill the ability to solve problems and allow you to collaborate with others. It can increase your confidence, improve public speaking skills, enhance acting abilities, gain comfort in social settings, improve listening and observation skills.

Plus of course for those in the Arts, it can help make you a better performer, whether you are acting, writing or doing stand up comedy. A minimal cost will be charged for the workshop and everyone is welcome! Check for posters around town for exact workshop details. For more info and to register by phone (250) 453-9100 or email

Ashcroft Dessert Concerts continue in March

Coming in March on Friday the 22nd is a man and wife duo with some old-time sweet harmony. Pharis and Jason Romero reside in Horsefly, where Jason makes his own guitars and banjos. You can expect some beautiful, striking duet singing with acoustic and National guitar and banjo on originals and well-loved songs from others.

Coming from a thousand miles and a border apart, Pharis and Jason Romero met in 2007 at an old-time fiddle jam. Both had been playing music for decades – Pharis her whole life – and both were drawn to early country, old time, blues, and bluegrass. In 2010 they moved their home and the J. Romero Banjo

Company north to Pharis’ hometown, the small interior B.C. town of Horsefly. In this wilderness hamlet they build their finely crafted banjos, and write and sing old time country – the songs and tunes, new and old, they adore.

Writing songs about ageless characters, hard living, loss and love, Pharis’ songs have been played on radios around the world, and she was called a “historical treasure” by the BC Folklore Society. On stage from a very young age with her family’s country music band, she was a co-founder of the western Canadian outfit Outlaw Social, an award-winning and innovative roots-folk band that released two celebrated albums from 2005 to 2009. Jason was a fixture on the Arcata, CA bluegrass and old-time scene, and is “one of the best old-time banjos players I’ve ever heard” ( He’s fluent in banjo styles from early fingerstyle to clawhammer to bluegrass, and when not playing banjo, his resophonic and acoustic guitar playing is a distinct texture, melodic and percussive.

Community Latin Mexican Fiesta Jan. 18

Creative Cow presents a Mexican Latin Fiesta with Vancouver based band ‘LOCARNO’. Don’t miss a community celebration with food and dancing at Ashcroft’s St. Albans Hall (501 Brink St.) on Friday, Jan. 18. Locarno plays a danceable groove of heavy mix of Mexican Folk, Cuban Son and Latin Soul. Front man, Tom Landa – who was born in Mexico, is one of those rare talents who cannot only lyricize in both English and Spanish; he can contextualize the words musically with authentic cultural reference.

Locarno may be the name of a beach in his hometown of Vancouver but the project rings with true Jarocho rhythms from Veracruz on the Mexican Gulf. Featuring the finest of BC’s Latin musicians, the eight piece band includes Tom playing a guitarrón (Mexican ukulele), fiddle, trumpet and trombones for that authentic Mexicana sound.

The night will be a community celebration with food and dancing at St. Albans Hall (501 Brink St.) on Friday, Jan. 18. Potluck Mexican feast starts at 5:30 pm with music at 7:30 pm. All ages event with a cash bar – alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available. Tickets in advance at the Liquor Store and the Ashcroft Bakery or by calling Andrea and Nadine at (250) 453-9100.

Lillooet Music presents traditional music string band Annie Lou

Lillooet Music Society presents four piece string band ‘Annie Lou’ on Jan. 24 at the Lillooet Masonic Lodge (251 Taylor Rd.). Doors open at 7 pm, show at 7:30 pm. Tickets available at Created By Design, KC Health and IDA. Check out their website for more information.

Annie Lou is an original music, rooted in tradition, – a vibrant celebration of our culture and our times that moves the heart as well as the feet. Annie Lou’s heart-moving, homegrown tunes are ringing out across the North American roots music stage, gathering audiences coast to coast and garnering Juno, WCMA, and Galaxie Rising Star nominations.

Annie Lou is built around the original songwriting of Anne Louise Genest, who spent 20 years living in the Yukon woods. Now relocated to the balmier shores of Vancouver Island, Genest carries the spirit of an old storyteller inside her, and this voice, mixed with the stringband sounds of fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and upright bass, traces a journey through days gone by to the here and now.

Genest founded Annie Lou after finding herself drawn to old time mountain and traditional country music. “This music has a profound edge to it – there in the voices and in the playing is the lament we all carry as people trying to get by in this beautiful, terrible world,” she says. “Joy and grief are two sides of the same coin. The older music expresses that tension so perfectly.”

Genest’s first outing as Annie Lou brought 2010 Juno and WCMA nominations, and her much anticipated sophomore release “Grandma’s Rules for Drinking” delivers the same great energy, with an added elegant touch and subtle maturity. Produced by multiple Juno-nominee Andrew Collins (Creaking Tree String Quartet), the album features some of Canada’s finest acoustic musicians, including John Showman (New Country Rehab), Kim Barlow, and Max Heineman (Foggy Hogtown Boys). Beautifully crafted songs range from rousing and boisterous to gentle and poignant, and map a homescape of hard-drinking grandmas, rural dancehalls, blue collar fashions, and the deep snows and silences of a Canadian winter.

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