Thursday, February 12, 2015

Michael Green

Lilac Festival 2012 - checking out the talent
Michael Green, 1957 - 2015

A huge hole has been punched in Calgary's creative community.  Michael Green co-founder of One Yellow Rabbit Theatre and the force behind the annual High Performance Rodeo winter festival was killed in a car accident near Regina two days ago.

The first time I saw Michael was when One Yellow Rabbit collaborated with local band Plaid Tongue Devils to produce the dark campy musical In Klezskavania. Michael played creepy, super-sweaty restaurateur Baron Leo VonTantamount. My date and I were seated at a cabaret-style table close to the stage, so were really close to the performers. In Klezskavania was like nothing I'd ever seen before. From the tributes I'm hearing on the radio, Michael loved the unusual and unexpected. (Will have to search "I'm the whaler" on YouTube.) Here's a video of In Klezskavania, produced by the Plaid Tongued devils.

The unusual and unexpected was especially apparent at the High Performance Rodeo. Michael's High Performance Rodeo made getting through Calgary's harshest winter month fun.  Every January, HPR showcased local and international performing artists at various venues. Ninjas, hoopdancers, masked mimes and musicians took over Olympic Plaza and the EPCOR Centre during the Snowblower Party.  An free outdoor party? In the dead of Winter?  Very cool.  Even caught a shot of Michael carving out his own ice sculpture.

Michael Green carving an ice sculpture at the 2012 High Performance Rodeo.
Even if you didn't attend the theatre or HPR, you may have seen Michael at festivals wearing his distinctive little hats, checking out the performers, possibly for future festival considerations.

Last night the Calgary Tower, the Langevin Bridge, and the lights along River Front Walk were turned yellow to honor Michael Green.


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