Parade of Lost Souls to live on by returning to roots
Alas and alack, all good things, as the saying goes, must come to an end. But then again, there are some things that live on in a glorious afterlife.
Yes, true believers, this is the last year that the Parade of Lost Souls will be coproduced by the Public Dreams Society. But fear not—it will continue on in the trusty hands of its other coproducer, the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret.
The parade's artistic director Kat Single-Dain, also cofounder of Dusty Flowerpot, told the Georgia Straight that the Public Dreams Society, which also produced the Illuminares Lantern Procession, is closing due to debt.
"The solution for them right now is to end the time that they've had as a lead producer of community events and pass it on to other organizations that have more…availability and resources and connected networks," Single-Dain said by phone.
Although the parade's appropriate theme this year is transition, Single-Dain added that they're reconnecting with the event's roots.
"It's back to the original inspiration, which is the Day of the Dead [Dia de Muertos] ceremonies and all of the harvest festivals that happen all around the world at this time," she said. "We're really trying to bring it back to the community so it's a community-involved event, which it always has been…."
The parade, which was launched in 1995, became a victim of its own success. At its peak in 2008, attendance rose to over 30,000 people, costing up to approximately $50,000 to stage. It was cancelled in 2009 due to the provincial government's arts-funding cuts. A downsized reincarnation was revived in 2010, which saw Dusty Flowerpot getting on board as coproducers.
This year's production is budgeted at around $20,000, and Single-Dain said they're expecting about 8,000 to 10,000 people to attend. It'll be held on Saturday (October 26) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The parade's secret location will be announced at midnight on October 25 at the Public Dreams website and Twitter account.
Single-Dain said they're calling it a "gathering" this year "partly because the focus is more on a single location rather than in previous years where we do it through the alley."
And what can attendees (who Single-Dain advises to dress in their "dead best" or "formal skeleton wear") expect? Try interactive performances, shadow play, aerial dancers, a 100-feet diameter labyrinth (with a tour), a Thriller flashmob, a fireshow, and a main stage with skeleton tapdancers and Mexican folk dancers for starters.
While there are trademark features such as the shrine that participants can bring offerings to, new this year is an adult-only sideshow stage with burlesque performances. There'll be a guided parade at the end to cap it off.
But that's only part one. Things continue on at the Parade of Lost Souls Dance Party—featuring musical acts C.R. Avery, The Tailor, DJ Briden, DJ Prom Night, Manhai, and Matty From Life. This time it'll be held at the Hangar (577 Great Northern Way) from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Single-Dain described the party, coproduced by the Work Less Party, as an underwater playground "for lost souls to find themselves".
Single-Dain emphasized that the event is for everyone to get involved, and she hopes to encourage that participation into the future.
"It's a place for exploring inspiration and…[we're there] to help shape that and help connect people. I'm always really happy to work with new people who have new ideas and help grow those seeds….I would like to build relationships in the neighbourhood so we can bring it back to a place like it was in the very beginning where people would year after year be involved…so that it becomes more of a community-hosted event in a way."