Last Saturday, the bookends of my day were two more Edmonton entertainment traditions, thanks to invitations from improv-class friends.
In the morning I went to Saturday Morning Cartoons at the Garneau/Metro Theatre. For $12 (cheaper for kids, seniors, and students) you get to sit in the semi-dark theatre all morning and watch an odd assortment of cartoons and vintage Saturday-morning TV ads, while replenishing your bowl from the lobby buffet of cereal and milk. Many of the patrons were in pajamas or reasonable comfortable facsimile. The entertainment seemed to mostly be from the 1970s, and the familiar-seeming bits were as odd as the parts I’d never seen before. An ITV ad showing the attractions of modern Edmonton, on a backdrop of brand-new concrete and artificially-green grass. Scooby-Doo. A classic McDonaldland ad. American public service announcements reminding people not to litter, smoke cigarettes, or light forest fires. Kid Power, which was probably considered (by white people) to be a charmingly progressive treatment of post-racial society in 1972, but which kept us muttering to each other, did they really say that?? There were lots of choices of cereal and milk options. The lights in the theatre were dim but not extinguished, so that it wasn’t difficult to come and go during the screening. I would definitely go again.
I’d also definitely go again to Oh! Susanna, a late night variety show at the Varscona Theatre hosted by the character Susanna Patchouli, who bears surprisingly little resemblance to Mark Meer, and her assistant the Duchess of Capilano, who sounds a little like Belinda Cornish. The friend who was with me goes to the show regularly. He was unsurprised that part of the show involved a bartender concocting a tasty mixed drink for the hosts and giving the recipe, and then handing out tastes of it to the whole audience, and that then something similar happened with grilled sandwich bites. There were several other guests discussing other shows and entertainment options coming up soon in Edmonton, with the most memorable being James McClennan, a tenor who will be performing in the Edmonton Opera’s Eugene Onegin, and Lisa Norton, who will be playing Odysseus in the Citadel’s Penelopiad. Both of them were interesting to listen to and seemed to be having fun with both the conversation about the arts and the more bizarre aspects of the Game they competed in.