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Live Magazine St. John's show pumps up the Powerpoint punchlines

“The Dorito Pope,” part of Elling Lien’s performance at the recent Live Magazine Vol. 3, Issue 8 launch show in St. John’s.
“The Dorito Pope,” part of Elling Lien’s performance at the recent Live Magazine Vol. 3, Issue 8 launch show in St. John’s.

Advertised as a “multi-discipline, multi-curated, tons of fun” event, the Vol. 3, Issue 8 launch of Live Magazine lived up to its slogan.

Curated by Elling Lien, the Nov. 13 launch featured five presentations by five presenters, making a joyous mockery of Microsoft’s Powerpoint program. Spending nine seconds on each of the 19 allotted slides, we explored a number of varying topics, complete with visual aids.

First up was Amanda Bulman, a local comedienne, who presented a compelling piece centered around her bassett hound, Gabby.

“Gabby: A Nexus of Compassion — Dogs and their Abilities to be Good Boys and Girls” explored dogs as a concept. Strong points were raised, using a pyramid graph, photographic evidence, and hard hitting questions, like “What about cats though?”

The audience laughed throughout, and during the hilarious Q&A period, a trend that would continue throughout the night.

In a floral dress, a curly grey wig, and exaggerated makeup, Walter Mackey delivered “Art: An Exploration of High Art Discourse in Contemporary Society.” With slides featuring a number of 1990s items and provincial references, Mackey explored essentials of the local artist and arts scene, such as Costco poutine, Sobeys (and its liquor store), “Live Laugh Love” art, flannel shirts, the Dominos pizza tracker, and much more.

Douglas Leeman followed Mackey, with a stoner-inspired act to accompany his Powerpoint, “Foraging for Psychedelic Mushrooms in Newfoundland,” which invited the audience to join him on an educational experience learning “how to find drugs for free on the ground.” His comical coaching worked both as a how-to guide, and as a very wonky PSA — “shrooms won’t kill ya, but some of ’em will.”

The Q&A period was highly (pun intended) entertaining.

2017 mayoral candidate and certified badass Renee Sharpe was next, with “Love Under the Patriarchy.”

Although lighthearted and funny, this was the most serious piece of the night, as Sharpe detailed familial struggles, childhood hardships, finding a sense of belonging, true friendships, redefining relationships, and more, also touching on her recent work and political involvement in the city. Sharpe left the audience with a solid piece of advice: “We all deserve love.”

An abrupt change of pace came with Elling Lien’s presentation, “Are Your Doritos Trying To Tell You Something?”

Starting with the history of Doritos, Lien speculated about how Doritos are both good and bad, breaking down the mysteries of the salty snack. Drawing inspiration from anti-drug campaigns, this performance ended with a doctored photo of Lien as the Pope of Doritos, and a bags of Nacho Doritos for each audience member.

The final presentation came from Andrew Kay, who used this opportunity to explore a question he has been struggling with: “Am I in a Cult?”

Noting he had recently subscribed to a yoga regime from mystic Sahdguru, Kay described his yogi’s teachings and offerings, comparing those to cult-like behaviours.

Kay’s performance inspired an intense Q&A period, which he seemed to use as a gauge to determine whether or not he was in a cult. The answer was inconclusive.

Leaving the LSPU Hall shortly after 9 p.m., I said to my friend that my cheeks hurt from laughing.

Her reply: “Me too. I haven’t felt that since the last time I smoked weed, in 2014.”

I can’t write a better review than that.

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