At times cringe-inducing, at others unintentionally hilarious, Saturday night's Creative City Cabaret was a little like a high-school talent show—with slightly less talent.
Virtually the full slate of mayoral hopefuls took to the stage at some point or other, including a number of independents whose grip on reality proved questionable.
Scott Yee, for example, was basically booed off stage for his collection of increasingly sexist and homophobic “jokes”; Menard Caissy, dressed in an oversized ski jacket, listened to an MP3 player through headphones and began yowling, sometimes crouched in a semi-fetal position, to what he said was a track by The Stains, all the while punctuating the racket with disconcerting hacking coughs; and the decidedly odd Gí¶lí¶k Buday joined Yee in the naughty corner for a racist and misogynist one-liner that offended everyone in the room.
Leon Kaplan's stand-up bit was fairly amusing, as he explained that he would split the right-wing vote with his plan to take tasers away from the cops—and give them to the Downtown Ambassadors. And Bill Ritchie performed a rather effective three-minute play that encapsulated the lives of five Vancouverites, from the wealthy businessman to the Hastings Street addict.
The Nude Garden Party’s Patrick Britten did not, thankfully, appear sans clothing; in pyjamas and a bathrobe he sang "Don’t Fence Me In", then delivered Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Independent Marc Emery opted not to perform anything, instead delivering a rant about the economic crisis facing the city; and independent park board candidate Jamie Lee Hamilton delivered a bawdy set of one-liners: “I’ve counted 15 lesbians and 15 politicians here tonight—that makes 30 people here who don’t do dick.”
Vision Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson appeared alongside councillor Heather Deal and council candidate Geoff Meggs for some Tom Lehrer fun, and responded to a question about his top three skills by listing watering plants, flipping pancakes, and playing tuba.
Some highlights included good old Betty Krawczyk, the Work Less Party’s mayoral candidate, who brought the house down by tap dancing to Bob Seger’s "Old Time Rock and Roll"; COPE council candidate David Cadman’s well-written original song about oysters and sewage in English Bay; NPA council candidate Sean Bickerton's own political poetry; and NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner’s original catchy number, "Because of You", which he dedicated to all the candidates, and which included such lines as “Because of you, the traffic’s always backed up / Because of you, my dog can never run off-leash.”
Ladner also sang another original (with a melody suspiciously similar to Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin') that praised Judy Graves, the city's homeless outreach worker (scroll down to see video).
As for the turnout? Like the mayoral arts debate, it was disappointingly low. But rather than voter apathy, perhaps it had more to do with the fact that this was a Saturday night, when most arts groups are taking part in performances of their own. (Or maybe they were scared of what Britten might reveal?)