Ryeberg Live Comes to Vancouver

Vancouver writers offer pithy commentary on their favourite YouTube videos

Credit: Flickr / John H

Ryeberg.com is the go-to place if you’re looking for a dissection of Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” video

Don’t miss what Charles Demers, Michael Turner, Miriam Toews and Stephen Osborne have to say about their favourite YouTube videos

The idea of watching a live presentation of what we view daily on our computers might not sound like the best way to spend an evening. But Ryeberg Live offers something else – writers not only presenting some of their favourite videos, but an explanation why they find them fascinating.

The show, which comes to the Waldorf Hotel Tuesday March 6, is an off-shoot of the Toronto-based site Ryeberg.com. There, you can find essays by writers and other cultural thinkers, along with the clips – everything from Hollywood stars’ old home movies to top 40 music clips to viral videos – that intrigue, delight or just plain annoy them.

Ryeberg Hits the West Coast

The first live Ryeberg presentation outside of Toronto, Ryeberg Live Vancouver 2012 features comedian Charles Demers, authors Michael Turner and Miriam Toews, and Geist Magazine publisher Stephen Osborne showing and talking about YouTube vids that have captured – for better or worse – their imaginations.

“Ryeberg is a kind of show and tell for writers, a place where they can discuss the interesting things they’ve found in the YouTube labyrinth,” writes Erik Rutherford, editor-in-chief of Ryeberg.com. “So I couldn’t be sure the four presentations would work well together. As it turns out, they’re perfectly complementary, and actually quite representative of the kinds of themes you find on Ryeberg.”

Find the Best of Ryeberg Online

Ryeberg.com is the go-to place if you’re looking for a dissection of Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” video by American author Mary Gaitskill, for example. In other pieces, Canadian novelist Russell Smith delivers a crushing blow to a hipster cover band, and Globe & Mail columnist Lynn Crosbie writes about crazed Michael Jackson fans.

It might not sound like it translates off the screen, but Rutherford assures us Ryeberg Live is worth checking out.

“As a live show Ryeberg is just magic,” writes Rutherford, who will host the evening. “There’s something incredibly powerful about watching a pixilated YouTube clip in a darkened room full of people, this twenty-first century activity that we usually experience alone.”

Vancouver was chosen partly because the site receives what Rutherford calls “a lot of encouraging feedback” from the city. He also found some enthusiastic partners in Lizzy Karp, a co-founder of Vancouver storytelling show Rain City Chronicles, and the Waldorf, which hosted a similar presentation in May of last year when Douglas Coupland discussed Marshall McLuhan in an age of YouTube.

Rutherford says we can expect “early TV commercials and historical footage as well as clips uploaded by insane video bloggers, and movie clips too.” And if we’re lucky, maybe a Lady Gaga video.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door; each ticket-buyer also receives a copy of Geist.