When I read that China’s Shaolin Warriors were coming to Toronto for a performance at the Sony Centre, I put it on my must-attend list. Growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I was treated to a constant yet healthy portion of kung fu televsion shows and cartoons featuring the calm, spiritual yet deadly men who inhabited the ancient temples of China. A great source of entertainment as a child, these warriors were mythical creatures who moved with the grace of a deer and struck with the precision of a cobra. It helped that the tv shows that these warriors inhabited often gave them super powers that would usually come out of their palms. Anyways, it was pretty kick ass stuff to watch when you were a kid. Better then the Sesame Street count to ten BS that families here feed their children, anyway.
As evident by the family oriented crowd that packed the sold out Sony Centre last Friday night, the amazement I experienced watching those kung fu shows as a kid still resonates today. The venue was completely packed with families all waiting to see real life Shaolin Warriors perform their craft live. Featuring what must have been a cast of at least fifteen warriors (including two children), the kung fu masters dazzled the crowd with a buffet of acrobats, weaponry, choreographed fights and feats of strength.
The theme of the show was to show the audience what a day in the life of a Shaolin Warrior was (probably from ancient times), but really, that just served as a platform for the performers to do their thing. Now you probably wonder how a bunch of dudes doing kung fu can sustain interest for a show that spanned ninety minutes. The answer to your question is audience participation. Over the course of the night, people would get invited on stage to do a variety of things. The most entertaining one was the one in the picture above, where the masters invited all the kids onto the stage to learn a few moves. The sheer excitement of the little ones being able to go on stage and do some kung fu was heart warming. Those things were legitimately off the moon happy for doing that. Kids have such simple pleasures. What happened to us? Kids just need to go up on stage and throw a few punches and then they are super happy, us adults … well, lets just say that wouldn’t make us happy. Getting old man, sometimes it’s just not that fun.
Anyways, aside from the audience participation, the show definitely had enough variety in the acts to justify the ninety minute show. I was thoroughly entertained and it brought me back to those days when I would sit at home and watch kung fu shows in the tiny Hong Kong apartment I grew up in. I’m sure most adults there would have thought the same thing.
Definitely recommended, especially if you have a family.
Road Trips are a delicate creature, especially with friends you have never road tripped with before. There’s so many questions to consider
a) are people talkers? are they sleepers?
b) is there a small bladder person? are we stopping often or going for broke?
c) who rides shotgun? what are their duties?
d) are there any personal topics that are off guard in conversation?
Of all the questions to ask, the most important one is obviously
e) who is in charge of music?
Most of the time when I’m on a road trip, it’s usually in my former roommates car in which the music selection was up to me. However, on this trip, I was on a trip with three other friends and this question was unclear. It didn’t matter, as we all forgot to bring an aux cable to plug our respective musical devices into. We were at the mercy of the radio.
As a non driver and infrequent car passenger, this technology has long been lost on me, thrown to the wayside with other seemingly obsolete technologies (VCRs, Gameboys, Discmans). Without an auxiliary cable for our ipods, it became our only source of music for the five hour journey.
Let me tell you something you may already know: the radio sucks.
However, as we have learned in previous adventures, every bad opportunity is an opportunity to write and that opportunity rose like Bruce Wayne as we approached Kingston. We luckily landed on FLY FM 98.3 and the E-Talk Top 20 Countdown.
I naturally decide to write down my thoughts as each song came on, and here it is.
20. Some Pink Song
Looking this up now, this song is apparently called Blow Me (One Last Kiss). At the time of listening, I thought it just sounded like Katy Perry’s Fireworks, only with Pink. For my books, Pink has been one of the most consistently mediocre pop stars of our era. She has always hovered in the second tier of stars – at first she was behind the likes of Christina Aguilera and Britney, now she’s behind the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna. I think her insistence on trying to pretend like she has personal issues/demons is what holds her back. Look at the lyrics of this song “Just when it can’t get worse, I’ve had a shit day / Have you had a shit day? / we’ve had a shit day” who do you think this targets? High school losers who’ve had shit days. The popular kids in high school don’t have shit days, and certainly wouldn’t identify with these lyrics and that is who all the losers in high school aspire to, so they’ll always be slightly embarrassed about listening to this track/Pink even if they really like her. That’s probably why she’s never broken through the ceiling.
19. Some band – Mariana’s Trench
I’m not even going bother looking up this song or band, I think they are Canadian and they sound emo. The music is deceptive, as it sounds like Katy Perry’s Fireworks with a male voice. I think every electro-pop tune with an anthemic chorus sounds like Katy Perry’s Fireworks though. What’s the deal with musical artist turning geographic locations into their band names? Flo Rida, Mariana’s Trench.. I can’t name anymore actually, but it’s dumb.
18. Rihanna – Where Have You Been?
I wrote “Sounds like Rihanna with a less skillful producer than Calvin Harris” However, I looked this up and Calvin Harris co-produced this track, so not his best work. I’ll actually put all the blame on Dr. Luke. Take a look at his discography and you will understand why. I don’t think anyone has benefited from good producers more then Rihanna in the past ten years, but to her credit she picks the right tracks to sing. However, seeing as how she only seems to spend time instagramming herself in a bikini these days, I’m sure the people at whatever record label she is on have already created a machine to replicate her voice and produce new albums.
Flashback! K’Naan – Waving Flags
This track is the perfect example of why it would suck to have your song tied to some large event. Now everyone thinks about the Olympics/World Cup (forgot what it was) anytime this song is played. That might be okay you think, but you know what this makes this song sound? Dated. Not good for longevity, great songs are timeless however, this song is associated with 2010. Not timeless. I actually don’t like this track anyway, as it’s one of those rare songs that sound good in the first minute and then gets exponentially more annoying with each passing minute until you are ready to impale yourself with a flag by the time the last saccharine chorus ends.
17. Alanis Morrisette – Guardian
I didn’t even know she was making music, but this song sounds a bit like Hands Clean. It’s still kind of catchy but let’s face it, she’ll never recapture You Oughta Know. Don’t feel sorry for her though, that album sold 33 million copies. To put it into perspective, Katy Perry’s album sold 7 million.
16. Some Hip Hop Track
At the time I wrote “Sounds like crappy Roll Deep. I’m guessing it’s Pit Bull since I associate him with mediocre club level hip hop tracks”. I was correct.
15. inoffensive pop song with a catchy chorus
I’m guessing Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez. Never did found out because Tanya Kim and Ben Mulroney’s heads were both stuck up some celeb’s ass and they forgot to say what song this was. Apparently this was Karmin.
14. Another inoffensive Euro flavor pop track
This seems like a trend, pop songs with euro flavored beats. The singer’s voice seems to be drowned out by the beat for a majority of the songs. Apparently this was Hedley.
13. Heartbreak Coverup – Jesse LaBelle
When the announcer first said, I thought it was a Heartbreak cover song by Jesse and Belle. Not sure what to think about this track, but I can’t get over the lazy drum machine in the background. I think this is for teenagers to listen in their bedrooms for some reason . the use of the word “alcohol” makes the song seem more deep then it is.
12. Kelly Clarkson
Still trying to top her hit single from eons ago. Not gonna happen. I will say she is the master of self affirming pop hits, no one gets more mileage out of the whole “this is me, I am flawed, accept me for who I am, rawr” pop tracks then Kelly Clarkson does.
At about that time, we lost reception. So, that’s it.
Overall, as one would expect, the songs fell into three categories
a) club tracks that are primed for dance floor/remixes
b) sappy songs for teens to emote to
c) songs for unpopular kids to feel good about themselves
The Olympics are fun and all, but it’s getting kind of stale. Every four years it’s the same same sport. How many triple flips can you see before you become bored?
It’s time to inject some life and drama into the tournament and I am here to provide some suggestions. I have a bunch but here is the first.
Escalating High Dive
This is a new “sport” and tests one of the most human elements – fear as well as the ability to dive accurately. The venue will be an outdoor pool of about thirty feet deep. Here is how it will go
A celebrity judge (since it’s in London, let’s say… Pete Doherty) will spin a wheel with some numbers, 15,25,35,45. Whatever number the pointer lands on is the starting point. Let’s say it lands on the starting point of 25. The diving board will be elevated to 25 meters. Pretty easy, most contestants will dive off 25 meters. Each contestant will then perform their dive off 25 meters and they will be judged accordingly.
Eliminations will occur in one of two ways: a) every round, the diver with the lowest score will be eliminated
b) a diver decides the height is too much and opts out of diving.
After the 1st round, the diving board height will once again be raised. But the real question is..by how much?
This will be determined by the diver with the highest score from the previous round. The diver will be given the mic and ask how much they want the diving board be raised. It is up to the divers discretion to decide (at least increments of 5 meters). They can pick to raise it by 5 meters, or 20.
So this will go on and on until there is one diver remaining, and they get the gold medal.
Think about the excitement. What if after one round, the diver decides to raise the diving board 20 meters? how many divers would drop out? How scared will the crowd be if there’s two divers duking it out on a 60 meter diving board?