Suburbia has gotten an upgrade.
Seriously folks, if you were doing anything other than listening to Lila Biali and her band live in concert in a renovated warehouse off of 64th Avenue and 202nd Street on Friday night, you missed out.
I can’t wait to casually take my big sister – who lives in the heart of Vancouver – to the next event hosted by the Bez.
I am not going to say anything and just let her eat her words.
She has always mocked me for living in the suburbs and often commented through the years about the absence of quality art and culture in cities like Langley and Surrey.
She has regularly provided our family with opportunities to come in from the “boonies” and get a taste of high-level artistic talent that come to Vancouver.
I have tried to defend my choice to live out here, saying that the suburbs offer different things such as… more space and cheaper housing, but I have to admit, I am usually a little stumped.
My sister is seriously concerned about my children’s lack of exposure to the arts.
I come from a family of artists – my mom is a writer, sister a designer, painter and now film producer, brother a writer/director and professor of theatre, me – I am or was, I should say, the dancer.
Because I found the trip to Vancouver onerous, I decided many years ago that I would just enjoy what my own community had to offer and support that.
I wasn’t really committed though and found that my enjoyment of the arts has been reduced to surfing the net and recently, listening to my son and his friends practise and record their new songs in our kitchen. I have been grateful, but I think that I have starved and neglected the artist in me.
So, Friday night was an awakening.
I feel like I have uncovered a fissure in the earth’s crust that leads to a secret underground oasis. Because of the dedication of a couple of artistic pioneers, Langley has its own pipeline to the global arts scene and I was there to experience it.
The Bez Arts Hub.
I don’t think that name captures what is going on there.
I think it should be called the Bez Arts Block or something bigger.
The energy and music that was pouring out from the open garage doors and windows was astounding. Transformational.
Lila and the Adams. I don’t know much about music, but I do know greatness when I see it. The generosity of the artists was palpable. Lila and the Adams laid it all down for us. They took nothing home with them. It was moving.
Apparently, there is a lot more to come.
I can’t believe that I am walking distance to this place. I think I used the word “awesome” 20 times in a row when I was describing the experience to my family.
Now, don’t all of you rush out and buy tickets.
The venue is small – 100 people maximum, I know that this is pretty risky sharing this with all of you. I don’t want to lose my place at the table.
But, I can’t help it. I am wired to be a herald of good things.
So, if I were you, I would leave the surfing to someone else, and get out and experience something real and alive. Something right here, just for us.
Chonna Leigh Munnalall, Langley