Free Professional Theatre (or nearly free)

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What if you need to reconcile with your family?

What if you did something unforgiveable; violated your own ethics and the expectations of everyone you know?

What if you left home in a blaze of glory, “I’ll do it my own way! Who needs your suffocating expectations?!”, then find yourself alone, friendless and dragging around your own personal bag of fail?

It is the plotline of so many films, the inspiration behind so much great art that we forget its genesis as a story called, “The Prodical Son”, told by probably the most famous storyteller who ever lived.  This story wears many different clothes and goes by many different names as it walks in and out through our collective conscience.

Maybe it is because our universal propensity to screw up everything .  Maybe it is because we all need to know that we can come home again.

Whatever the reason for the universal appeal of the uplifting message, it is getting a fresh treatment by the Saltmine Theatre Company.  The 3 person troupe, from the UK, is here for a few days touring the play, “A Long Way Home”, which is a comedic treatment of the familiar heart-wrenching subject.

It will be performed 5 times from January 29 to Feb 5 in various locations around Kelowna and you can find the info that you need at Willow Park Church‘s website.

As far as the Free/Almost Free note, it is not a ticketed event, rather, a by donation at the door event.  Usually this means that you donate within your means, $1 – $100, whatever. Pretty sure they won’t make a scene or turn anyone away if you don’t have a buck to pop in the box.

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Picasso’s Coffee Break

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A student studies at a table, savouring her tea as she pours over her books. Nearby, on  one of the comfortable stuffed couches, friends are in deep conversation as they sip their lattes.

Picasso’s Coffee Break is easily found on the corner of Rutland and Gray, with its unique and artsy exterior providing a warm welcome, even in the midst of winter. Once inside, the the warmth and atmosphere of this coffee shop immediately says, “c’mon in, relax, and stay awhile.”

The walls feature artwork by — naturally — Pablo Picasso, which adds to the artsy-and-comfortable appeal of Picasso’s. Rebekah, the cheerful owner, is happy to point out the many extra little touches that she has brought into the coffee shop in order to give it a “come in and stay” dynamic.

“Actually, I was a customer of Picasso’s for years,” Rebekah laughs, as we enjoy lattes and lunch. “The very first day that it opened for business, I applied for a job here, and I told the (original) owner, ‘You want to hire me, or you’ll be sorry!’ I didn’t get the job, but now I own the place.”

Rebekah loved the atmosphere of Picasso’s, and the relationships with the regulars who frequent the shop for lunch — “that’s our peak time, definitely!” — and once she took over managing Picasso’s, she added things like a bookshelf with novels, to increase the sense of connection and community within the shop.

Rebekah is also proud of the fact that Picasso’s promotes healthy living, by having all organic foods, with no processed meats or cheese for their sandwiches, and that everything is fresh on a daily bases. “And no nitrates.”

And Picasso’s continues to have its regulars, among them the staff from Interior Health, who stop by almost daily for lunch. Rebekah’s commitment to healthy, organic foods makes her very pleased that health workers would choose her place to eat on a regular basis. The sandwiches, soups, and desserts are always fresh.

Picasso’s is open Monday through Frieday from 7:00 AM till 5:00 PM, although increasingly, people are choosing to rent Picasso’s for special events and parties, as well. “It’s absolutely packed in here a lot of evenings for private events,” says Rebekah.

We had to ask, as our lunch time with Rebekah came to a close, what had ever become of the original owner, after not hiring Rebekah back when Picasso’s first opened. As it turns out, there’s a story to tell about that, as well.

“Jim really missed our regular customers,” says Rebekah, “and the relationships he’d made with them, so he un-retired, and now he works here again.” Jim’s experience, coupled with Rebekah’s creativity, drive, and innovation, has created a unique synergy.

Picasso’s Coffee Break is designed deliberately to create a warm, inviting place for people to stop by for lunch, and stay longer, put their feet up with a book or magazine and a latte with friends.

Definitely one of the gems to be found in Rutland.