Adam Frank / Sam Shalabi Overpass! A Melodrama

To live in one city for any amount of time is to eventually become both its defender and/or critic, depending on circumstances. Overpass! is Adam Frank’s multi-personality, dichotomous love/hate letter to Vancouver. Rather than a song cycle, Frank (a teacher of American Lit at UBC) chooses a sort of radio play, or "melodrama,” as he describes it, supported by music from Montreal’s Sam Shalabi. The narrative centres upon the experience of Vancouver through the eyes of newcomer Antonia, a kind of toughly modernist version of Alice through the looking glass. She interacts with Merv, assistant to the city engineer, and the voices of architects, publishers and even the sound engineer provide various facts, figures and feelings on the peccadilloes of Vancouver’s haphazard modernisation. These eventually focus on the overpass in question. Shalabi’s music, played by a small rock ensemble, by necessity remains in the background, occasionally driving the story or alternately mirroring the difficulty of progress. While specific to Vancouver, Overpass! can speak to anyone who suddenly tunes in to their urban surrounding and what makes it work, or fail. (Alien8)