Vancouver Olympics opening ceremonies: the top five surprise artsy moments

Usually Olympics opening extravaganzas are about pomp and ceremony—big stars and obvious symbolism.

So imagine the Straight's arts section's surprise to see some genuinely eccentric, even subversive choices on the roster at last night's big bash at B.C. Place Stadium—and no, we're not talking about Bryan Adams.

Here, then, are the top five moments that made us proud:

1. A visit by Brock Jellison, former Tap Dog, head of Vancouver's Ruckus Company Productions: great to see this rock 'n' roll rebel in tap shoes.

2. A surprise appearance by Shane Koyczan, representin', unimaginably, for the city's thriving slam-poetry community—a gang usually relegated to coffee houses.

3. Jean Grand-Maí®tre's inventive choreography: hard to know if it translated to the folks watching it live at B.C. Place, but the Alberta Ballet maestro crafted some truly transcendent moments.

4. One-time cowpunker k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah: sublime, in the most un-extravaganza-ish way.

5. Mohawked fiddler-bad boy Ashley MacIsaac stomping his combat boots and kicking up his kilt .




Feb 13, 2010 at 1:02pm

Who were the other fiddlers that preceded Ashley ??????????????

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Feb 13, 2010 at 2:24pm

It was a pleasant surprise. Unlike lots of natives, french before English announcements, french before English country signs carried by the athletes. We have all the minorities covered. Who represented the BC taxpayer who is footing the bill?

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calen caldwell

Feb 13, 2010 at 3:29pm

It was an amazing event the subtle became the fierce and pwerful kd lang flying boy and joni mitchell captured the still moment with the ever expanding spirit of life everything was so well crafted and thought out, the torch that did not rise was, to me, a respectful act of nature to honour the untimely death of an athlete. Life, to me, is accepting what happens in life and not wishing for something else.

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ashley macisaac

Feb 13, 2010 at 7:24pm

the othere fiddlers were-daniel lapp-he has the big mohawk-from victoria
samanthan robisho-nb
april verch-west
sierra nobel-metis
and quebecois fiddler-andres brou
calvin valroth also played -he wrote the other fiddle tunes and was another part of the stage
honoured as a canandian to be asked as part of this

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Carmen (Scheller) Anderson

Feb 13, 2010 at 10:23pm

Ashley!!!! So thrilled to see you perform last night. Your performances have such a special place in my heart, and evoke memories and emotions that are wonderful. Glad to see you having such an amazing time, while making us all so proud. Best wishes for a happy birthday later this month. Love always, Carmen (of the Kim, Kelly, Carmen and Marty party.) xo

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Feb 13, 2010 at 11:13pm

The young man from the Northwest Territories - he was pretty good - unfortunately there seemed to be a glitch at the end - only he seemed to know he had finished.

KD Lang - wonderful!

Having French included was lovely - but since we're mostly an English speaking BC, as hosts perhaps English could have come first. (Amazing how many people in the world now think French is the first language of all Canadians).

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Another list please:

Feb 15, 2010 at 2:59pm

Can we please now list the cheesiest parts? Like the awkward 20ft bear?
And Bryan Adams on a drum? Hello!

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Feb 17, 2010 at 8:34pm

French is an official language of the Olympics. It is used with English at every Olympic Games along with the host country's language. It wasn't used to alienate English speaking Canadians.

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Feb 17, 2010 at 8:51pm

Loved it all! I was very touched by the Inuit / First Nations ethnic flavor throughout-- especially since they were here first.
The Arctic and the enormous polar bear were captivating, I could really feel the cold, icy; but magical north.
kd lang topped the night. That woman has got pipes like nobody else!

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Feb 18, 2010 at 2:29pm

I was so very impressed. Instead of hauling out the Big Guns, like Celine Dion and Michael Buble, it was so understated, and emotional. Having a fairly unknown teenager sing the national anthem, and sing it so well, was brilliant. And the highlights for me definitely were bare-footed k.d. lang and the beautiful artistry of the Joni Mitchell song and the flying boy. Bravo.

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