In the violet shadows of the Red Gate Arts Society, a crowd formed under the shine of a single disco ball. Though everyone was enjoying catching up, a definite buzz of anticipation built. Punctuated by the crack of beer cans, the background pop tunes faded out as the Millennial Line left the station.
After an introduction by producers Savannah Erasmus and Tin Lorica, Millennial Line’s third instalment began with comedian Ryan Williams, the first white man in the event’s history. Williams appropriately opened with, “…you come to a show that supports diverse voices and it’s like, ‘hah, April Fools!’” Though it was a deviation from the event’s norm, his jokes were well received.
Pam Choi continued the comedy. Her observational and sometimes devastatingly self-deprecating humour kept the crowd enthusiastic throughout her set. Whether it was her parents’ expectations, her therapist’s advice or her small town’s racism, her jokes landed routinely with the audience.
Next, Dominique Wakeland read their self-described “millennial-introspective” poetry. The audience maintained high energy as they read passages from their “summer sex journal.” Wakeland’s set ended with a spirited call and response poem; the audience echoed their chorus of “too many, too many, too many, too much for you!” Both triumphant and forlorn, their words lingered in my head long after they left the stage.
After an intermission, host Savannah Erasmus warmed up the audience with jokes about being an Indigenous comedian at her boyfriend’s house of white doctors, and her plan to wear Axe Body Spray to subvert the patriarchy.
Soo Jeong followed with a polished set. Despite being the only performer outside of the millennial generation, Soo had no trouble connecting with the audience; her bits on racism in Vancouver and coming out to her traditional parents landed effortlessly.
The final comedian of the evening was Nima Gholamipour. After introducing himself as an improv comic, actor and writer, he quipped, “What I’m saying is I’m experienced in being poor.” By the end of his set, his energetic demeanour and sweet delivery captured the audience’s heart.
Poet and astrology memer Aja Moore closed the event. As footage of Vancouver’s Millennium Line train played on repeat, we heard her musings on desire and grief. The audience sat in reverie as she led us through smoke-filled late summer days. Her debut poetry collection, Hotwheel, will be released this month by Metatron Press.
Perhaps what made Millennial Line so special was the audience. Soo Jeong, admitting she had just missed the age cut-off, gushed over the crowd’s “fresh faces.” But more than just age bound the audience — during the sets, the crowd remained hungry for both the highs and the lows, navigating the shadowy distance between the dark and the light.