The Rickshaw Theatre continues to honour the late David Bowie with a virtual “Bowie Ball”

The annual fundraiser showcased local talent and raised over $10,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation

Space Junk performing for the Bowie Ball 2021 livestream. Image courtesy of The Rickshaw Theatre

By: Charlene Aviles, Peak Associate

On January 9, 2021, the Rickshaw Theatre and Stable Genius presented the 6th Annual Bowie Ball, an annual BC Cancer Foundation fundraiser featuring local bands performing David Bowie’s classic hits. Since Bowie’s passing in 2016, the Rickshaw Theatre has kept the tradition alive. The livestream incorporated a montage of music videos of various bands including Cass King & The Cassettes, Secret Asian Man, and Jimmy Baldwin’s Bowie Ball Band, and ended with a live performance from Space Junk

Normally, my music playlist consists of Ed Sheeran, 90s R&B, and boy bands, such as NSYNC and Boyz II Men, so the Bowie Ball was a chance for me to expand my music taste. This was my first Bowie Ball, and I intended to make the most out of it. As I waited for MCs Aaron Chapman, Tony Lee, and Dennis Mills to start the event, the livestream displayed a photo of David Bowie saluting. Beside him was a quote, “The future belongs to those who can see it.” This inspiring quote not only made me excited for the event but also reminded me to adopt an optimistic outlook for 2021. 

The very first Bowie song I heard at the event was “Heroes.” A slideshow of frontline health care workers played on screen, while Cass King & The Cassettes played their rendition of the song in the background. As I heard the lyrics “Oh we can be heroes, just for one day,” I immediately thought of my many relatives who are serving in the health care system. The fact that the slideshow indicated that the first song was a tribute to health care workers was very touching. Seeing the photos of their daily sacrifices reminded me of their courage and dedication to their patients.

The second song that caught my attention was “Dancing in the Street.” Eric Lowe and Tony Lee, known on stage as Secret Asian Man, sang in front of a green screen with changing backgrounds ranging from Vancouver streets to the running of bulls in Spain. At the same time, one of the two members of Secret Asian Man danced for the audience. His clapping and hip-swaying made me smile, and I found myself clapping along to each of the lyrics too. I also appreciated how he made the song his own by substituting some lyrics to incorporate various cities in the Metro Vancouver area, such as Surrey and Burnaby.

Later, when the Jimmy Baldwin’s Bowie Ball Band performed, the saxophonist Tim Sars’ talent immediately blew me away. During his soothing saxophone solos, it felt like time stopped. I was almost in a trance-like state, mesmerized by how he effortlessly hit all the notes.

After the fundraiser, the Rickshaw Theatre exceeded their goal of $10,000. In total, they raised $10,443 for the BC Cancer Foundation. You can still make a contribution to the BC Cancer Foundation and support the Rickshaw Theatre’s event production costs by donating through their respective websites.