Picks of the Week – January 30, 2019

Can you believe it’s already the end of January! Those of us in the West are already seeing blossoms, early but just in time for the Spring Festival events included in this week’s picks.

Lunar: Check out some of the fun and traditional Lunar New Year Festivities underway now throughout the city, at Jack Poole Plaza, Fly Over Canada, Oakridge Centre and others.

Laughs:  Join Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, Queerprov, at The Junction for improv laughter tonight.

Yoga: Don’t miss your chance to take part in the last free Wednesday yoga class at Gateway Theatre before the opening of their upcoming Yoga Play.

Annie played by Camryn Macdonald photo: Emily Cooper

Orphan: Everyone’s favourite orphan comes to the Micheal J Fox Theatre, when Align Entertainment presents Annie, February 1 – 16

Rock: Prepare for grease-paint, leather and fireworks as the Kiss : End of the Road tour comes to Rogers Arena on Thursday evening.

Arts: The third and final week of 15th Annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival continues to fill our stages and venues with world-class performing arts to the city, before wrapping up on February 3rd

Showcase: Friday night, join Midtwenties Theatre Society at Havana Theatre for its first Open Performance Showcase, check out original performances and pieces of theatre, poetry, dance and more

Broth: It’s your last days to visit participating restaurants in the 1st Vancouver Foodster Soup Festival to taste and vote for your favourite soup.

Cocoa: Warm your heart and soul with sips from the Annual Hot Chocolate Festival filling cups throughout the city until February 14th

Dine: It’s your last week to try out a new or favourite restaurant, experience a one of the unique foodie event, and sample some of the city’s multitude of food trucks, before Dine Out Vancouver Festival, ends for another year on February 3rd

Wander: The Winter Wander at Vanier Park returns on Saturday, February 2nd, a family fun event with $5 admission opening the doors to Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver Maritime Museum, City of Vancouver Archives, and Vancouver Academy of Music with performances by Bard on the Beach and Vancouver Academy of Music, plus food trucks, prize and other fun all day.

Joni: Continue to enjoy the sounds of Circle Game: Reimagining The Music Of Joni Mitchell, at The Firehall Arts Centre until February 9th

Nicola Lipman & Ric Reid in The Matchmaker
photo: David Cooper

Dolly: Find out if it’s a match made in heaven, and see Dolly Levi in action as The Matchmaker (the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!) opens at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

5 Lunar New Year Events for 2019

Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is one of the major events for Asian families as millions make visits to their home countries, towns and family, to celebrate the Year of the Pig, New Year celebrations and traditions.  With Vancouver and Richmond’s large Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and other Asian communities, the cities are filled with events for who can’t make the trip home or are returning here to visit family.  The Year of the Pig begins February 5, 2019.

Events to commemorate the Lunar New Year Festival include:

Lunar Fest 2019 welcomes the whole family to events across the city, with celebrations at Jack Poole Plaza and šx????n?q Xwtl’e7énk Square (Vancouver Art Gallery) featuring entertainment, exhibits, crafts, markets, as well as events at Oakridge Centre and Vancouver Playhouse. Events run from January 29 to February 19, 2019

Fly Over Canada
Fly Over Canada – Flight Of The Dragon

Fly Over Canada – its annual double bill ‘flies’ over Canada and then follows through the peaks and valleys of China’s vibrant landscape in the Flight Of The Dragon, until February 24th

Year of the Pig Temple Fair at Dr Sun Yat Sen classical Chinese Garden, celebrates the New Year on February 10th with lanterns, food, and family activities

International Village MallAberdeen CentreOakridge Centre  and other Shopping Centres all around Metro Vancouver are hosting Chinese and Lunar New Year events;  Exhibits, Craft & Flower Market, Stage Performances, Dragon and Lion Dances, Kids Activities, Prizes and more fill the Malls through the New Year.

Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New Year Parade

Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival, rings in the new year with the snap, crackle and bang of firecrackers, drums and dancers on February 10th. Joins the thousands of spectators and revellers lining the route of the 46th Chinatown Parade from 11am, along East Pender, Gore and Keefer Streets. After the parade watch for ‘the Lions’ as they visit and perform for local Chinatown businesses to bring good fortune through the new year.

For more Vancouver and Richmond events and information visit lunarfestival.com

Make it a date night at Vancouver TheatreSports

Valentine’s Day is coming and Vancouver TheatreSports (VTS) is ready to make date night hilarious with Romance Week from February 5 to 14, 2019.

VTS Romance Week

Cupid’s arrows bring love and laughter to The Improv Centre and straight to lovers’ hearts. Solo patrons may even a suitable single to bond with over titillated teehees. It’s common knowledge that romance thrives when sprinkled liberally with laughter.  Vancouver TheatreSports has been the spot for many first dates and there have even been some marriage proposals made during shows. 

So forget the boring box of chocolates for Valentine’s and bring your someone special for a week of ‘improv and chill’ as VTS celebrates with three special shows for Romance Week. 

The talented improvisers of VTS will win your heart and put the ‘ha-ha’ in ‘Ha-ha-ppy’ Valentine’s with the following shows:

  • Love Matches – classic TheatreSportsTM matches with a romantic twist.
  • Love Unscripted – an improvised rom-com celebrating all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in any romantic comedy as suggested by the audience.
  • Red Hot Improv – taking its cue from today’s hook-up culture. If you think OK Tinder is steamy, you’ll want to swipe left on Red Hot Improv’s xxx-rated hilarity. (NC17)

Romance Week ‘climaxes’ with My Funny Valentine – VTS’ special Valentine’s Day event on Thursday, February 14 – which will be hosted by none other than Cupid along with the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. My Funny Valentine features an all-out love battle of epic proportions as three ‘improv couples’ duke it out in an audience-inspired competition to prove that love conquers all. This full evening event will also include special roving characters, a ‘Love Astrologer’ who will check your ‘Love Chart’ (are your sun signs compatible?), personalized improvised love sonnets you can take with you, and drink specials such aspersonal-size bottles of sparkling Henkell Rosé.

Romance week isn’t just for couples, grab your single friends and celebrate your friendships on a fun night out. Memories created by an evening of laughter will last a lot longer than any bouquet of roses.

Create your memories as Vancouver TheatreSports presents Romance Week, Tuesday February 5 to Thursday February 14, 2019, at The Improv Centre on Granville Island. 
Ticket prices start at $10.75 (cheaper than chocolates!) and are available online at vtsl.com.

Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin is coming to Chan Centre

The 10-time Grammy Award winning artist, Bobby McFerrin is coming to the The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia on February 17, 2019.  The genre-defying artist is joined by Gimme5; McFerrin’s newest band comprised of veterans from his a cappella Voicestra group Joey Blake, Dave Worm, Rhiannon, and Judi Vinar, as well local choral ensemble musica intima is on the bill. 

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Carol Friedman

The concert supports Bobby McFerrin’s current Circlesongs tour centred on an Circlesinging, and improvised concert format based on McFerrin’s sweeping, soulful vocal language —a style encompassing elements from all genres including jazz, pop, R&B, classical, and world music. Requiring an innate sensitivity to surrounding participants the style results in a unique and spontaneous sound. Joined by the Vancouver-based eight-member choral group musica intima, McFerrin and Gimme5 will present an evening of sound that draws in the audience as co-performers.

“The music of Bobby McFerrin is rooted in his sheer joy of singing, and the delight he finds in the worlds of sound that exist within the human voice,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “His passion for the art form really shines through in these one-of-a-kind performances that take listeners on an incredible musical journey.”

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Petra Hajska

McFerrin was born to classically trained singers and into a world of music that took him from New York to Hollywood. His father, Robert McFerrin Sr., was the first African-American male to sing at the Metropolitan Opera and provided the on-screen singing voice of Sidney Poitier in the 1959 film Porgy and Bess. The younger McFerrin grew up playing piano and clarinet, surrounded by a hodgepodge of genres that ranged from Duke Ellington to George Gershwin, James Brown to Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until he turned 27 that he discovered a passion for singing — as well as an impressive range and the uncanny ability to transform his voice. As NPR noted: “Listen to Bobby McFerrin and it’s like you’re listening to an entire orchestra bubbling up through one man’s body. He becomes a flute, a violin, a muted trumpet, a percussion instrument, a bird, you name it.”  The popularity and accolades of 1988’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” brought McFerrin worldwide attention and he has been collaborating, recording and touring ever since.  Performing with orchestra’s across the world, and artists like; Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Dizzy Gillespie, and more.  

Join Bobby McFerrin, Gimme5 and musica intima for the spontaneous Circlesongs performance in the Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on February 17, 2019 at 7pm. 

Warm up to Hot Chocolate Festival 2019

Hot Chocolate Festival

Winter and Hot Chocolate are perfect match so what could be better than a whole winter month of Hot Chocolate! Presented by Cityfood Magazine, the 9th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is now  on until February 14th, 2019.

The Festival finds 29 participants around the city creating an offering of 70+ varieties of chocolate drinks.  The Hot Chocolate Festival gives guests the chance to explore Metro Vancouver’s favourite cafes, chocolatiers, patisseries, gelaterias, and restaurants in search of a new favourite Hot Chocolate blend. Created with Milk, Dark and White Chocolates, flavours range from single origin cups, vibrant and spicy blends, liquor and floral infusions, vegan or coconut milk options.

The Festival reaches across Metro Vancouver; Temper Chocolates & Pastry in West Vancouver, to Trafiq Café and Bakery on Main Street, and Gem Chocolates in Kerrisdale or Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby. Why not take in one of the Chocolate Cooking Class at the Trattoria in the Italian Cultural Centre. Visit hotchocolatefest.com to see what the participants have to offer and to download the Hot Chocolate Festival map and guide and see how Hot Chocolate Makes You Happy.

The Hot Chocolate Festival supports the PHS Community Services Society and East Van Roasters’ Downtown Eastside Women’s Job Training Program, Growing Chefs and Fresh to Families. 

Picks of the Week – January 16, 2019

We’re already ticking into the middle of January, the post-Holidays hangover has lifted and city’s entertainment scene is back in full swing. Let’s see what’s happening with these picks of the week…

Lights: It’s your last chance to hop the Millenium SkyTrain to Lafarge-Douglas Station and take in Metro Vancouver’s largest winter light display – Lights at Lafarge ending Sunday.

Canyon Lights
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon: Thousands of lights are spread throughout Capilano Bridge Park’s Canyon Lights, lighting up the bridge, Treetops Adventures, as well as 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree, until January 27th.

Laughs:  Join Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, Queerprov, at The Junction for improv laughter tonight.

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks play a trio of games at Rogers Arena this week; tonight vs Edmonton, Friday vs Buffalo, and Sunday vs Detroit

Noodlemania

Noodles: Tonight, join in the 6th Vancouver Foodster Noodlemania, a tasting tour of noodle dishes from around the world at restaurants all across the city

Queens: Friday night at the Commodore TFD & Live Nation present It’s Just Drag featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo & Farrah Moan plus a bevy of Vancouver’s talented drag queens hosted by Joan E.

Arts: The 15th Annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival gets underway on Thursday bringing world-class performing arts to the city until February 3rd

Improv: The sun has come out so it’s true that the laughter beats the winter blahs as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Stick: Catch Vancouver Warriors Lacrosse on Saturday at Rogers Arena when they host San Diego Seals

Dine Out – Street Food City photo: Carly Whetter

Dine: Canada’s largest food and restaurant festival, Dine Out Vancouver Festival gets underway this Friday, January 18 until February 3rd

Yoga: Don’t miss your chance to take part in a free yoga class at Gateway Theatre in support of their upcoming Yoga Play.

Dakh Daughters photo: Tetiana Vasylenko

Femme: At The Cultch, check out Dakh Daughters on stage at the York Theatre January 15 – 19, as well as the rest of the line-up in the 2019 Femme Series of shows

JFL NorthWest Promises Vancouver Laughs

Vancouver Just for Laughs Festival, JFL NorthWest brings 10 days of international comedy to Vancouver, February 14 – 23, 2019.

For the fourth year, JFL NorthWest fills the city with the best, boldest and most outrageous stars of stand-up, improv, podcasts, and sketch comedy. The Best of the West draws attention to up-and-coming breakout comedy stars of the future. The concurrent 2nd Annual Just for Laughs Film Festival projects comedy on the big screen, with feature and short film screenings, red carpet events, talk-backs, and panels.

Howie Mandel & Friends: February 14, 2019
Howie Mandel & Friends: February 14, 2019

The laughs kick off on Valentine’s Day with Howie Mandel & Friends at the Orpheum Theatre, and closes on February 23rd with shows like Michelle Wolf at Vogue Theatre, Nicole Byers at Rio Theatre and The Alternative Show with Andy Kindler at Yuk Yuk’s. In between, catch shows from Gabriel Inglesias, Aziz Ansari, Ken Jeong, Fred Armisen, Whitney Cummings, Steve-O, Antoni Porowski and more. Our local comedy scene are well represented by The Ryan & Amy Show, Little Mountain Improv, Nasty Women Comedy, Wes Barker and many more Best of the West.

Michelle Wolf: February 23, 2019
Michelle Wolf: February 23, 2019

The laughter plays out at venues across Vancouver, including the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Vogue Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Rio Theatre, Biltmore Cabaret, Fox Cabaret, The Comedy Mix, Yuk Yuk’s and many more spots around town.

JFL NorthWest takes place Thursday February 14 – Saturday February 23, 2019. To find the full line-up and book tickets for all shows visit jfrnorthwest.com