Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
For the last 15 years, Jans has been jetting off to all corners of the globe, immersing himself in the cultures of people from all walks of life, camera in hand to capture every moment. Not one to be satisfied documenting from an outsider's perspective, Jans jumps in with both feet, interacting with the locals and learning the language to further connect with his new companions—he's learned nine so far, including Swahili, Vietnamese and Mandarin.
After his first trip, through several areas of Asia, he came home and regaled a small audience of friends with his tales. They encouraged him to do it again, and before long, the presentations grew in scope and size, with Jans now selling out 800-seat theatres with captive audiences ready to travel the world vicariously through his confessional and humorous multimedia recount of his immersive experiences.
Often in North American culture, Jans says, we are quick to assume the negative about people, feeling content in our own world. While approaching a stranger is often uncommon in our day-to-day lives, he says that overseas he's found people are receptive and open to sharing their culture—all it takes is a simple "hello."
"I'm not so much the guy standing back and documenting in the distance, I'll politely ask—often in the right language—'Hey, can I try this, too?'" says Jans, adding the answer is almost always "yes" and by taking that first step, it opens up a new world of experiences.
While there have been times he's been in over his head—like when he was flung off a cliff in Nepal by a yak—it doesn't stop Jans from making the most of the trip.
"I think that, despite the radical differences, and even in the most remote place, often the more remote I go the friendlier and happier the people are."
During his two Edmonton dates, Jans will be focusing on his 2011 trip to China and the Philippines, which included heading off to a secluded area of the Great Wall and spending the night on the famous structure, treacherous mountain hikes along the Huashan cliffs nearby and his trek through the Philippines, a journey that brought its own unique experiences, such as a visit to a surprisingly family friendly crucifixion festival in San Fernando, Pampagna. During Wednesday night's presentation, audiences travel to Africa as Jans goes through is experience living with the Masai tribe, which meant sleeping outdoors with only a small fence separating himself from the hyenas on the other side.
Sat, Mar 2 (7:30 pm)
Off the Wall in China
Wed, Mar 6 (7:30 pm)
Tales from Tanzania
Shaw Theatre, NAIT main campus, $21.99 (advance), $24.99 (door)
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