Dance House opens the season with Spirit.

Next week, DanceHouse, opens its 2019/20 season with the Canadian Premier of  Spirit, October 25 & 26, at the Vancouver Playhouse. 

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Presented in partnership with Vancouver-based Indigenous dance company, Dancers of Damelahamid, Spirit is from Australia’s acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre, a leader in the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance.

Choreographed by Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page and former Assistant Artistic Director Bernadette Walong-Sene, the retrospective piece is a fusion of nine of the company’s celebrated Indigenous and contemporary works that bridge past and present. Bangarra Dance Theatre has an authentic style of totemic storytelling reflecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; tracing the unbroken connection between people, the land, and creation itself. Established in 1989, the cutting-edge company has played a critical role in the resurgence of traditional dance expressions.

Bangarra Dance Theatre
photo: Edward Mulvihill

“Through this urgently vital work that celebrates ceremony and tradition, Bangarra Dance Theatre is helping to define identity within a modern global culture,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse. “Since Canada is the ancestral home of a diverse range of cultures and traditions, this performance is especially resonant. Spirit demonstrates the immense power of art to break down geographical barriers, sparking important dialogue on the preservation of the ceremonial rituals and storytelling forged by cultures over millennia.”

The atmospheric score for Spirit was composed by the late David Page, Bangarra’s long-time music director and prolific composer, and Steve Francis, an award-winning composer for film, television, theatre, and dance. A celebration of the sacredness of ritual from dawn’s first light to the setting sun, the lush score’s heady foundation is punctuated by the earthly rhythms and natural vibrations found within cultural customs, including a pulsing drumbeat, droning didgeridoo, and dynamic vocalizations.

DanceHouse, presents the Canadian Premier of Spirit, October 25 & 26, 2019 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse, showtimes and tickets available online at dancehouse.ca

Transform: A Cabaret Festival Takes Over The Cultch

The Cultch 2019/2020 season will kick off next week with a revolutionary new festival co-curated by Corey Payette (Artistic Director of Urban Ink) and Heather Redfern (Executive Director of The Cultch). Transform: A Cabaret Festival will contain performance in a multitude of disciplines—dance, music, comedy, burlesque, theatre, etc.—and include a wide variety of Indigenous, local, and international work.

Raven Transforming – Quelemia Sparrow photo: Emily Cooper

This inaugural year will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more. This varied group of multi-disciplinary performers take over The Cultch’s three theatres, including its lounges and lobbies from October 2-12, 2019.

Around the world, cabaret festivals emerged as a raucous and exhilarating way of expressing uprising during periods of change. “It’s been a platform for political discourse and for engaging in deep conversations all around the world,” says festival co-curator, Corey Payette. “It’s also a space where people can push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream.” Transform: A Cabaret Festival is inspired by a bold new concept to bring radical and lasting change to live performance in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. “I think that reconciliation is a really difficult subject matter, because we are not as far along as we should be,” says Payette. “What I know for sure, is that artists are always the ones to lead the way.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Virago Nationi

“You name it; it’s going to be part of the cabaret festival,” says festival co-curator Heather Redfern.  From Cirque Transforming (a night of circus performance), to Drag Transforming (a night of drag performance), to The Women of Comedy (featuring Martha Chaves, Steph Tisdell, Nour Hadidi, and Erica Sigurdson), The Cultch’s spaces will be alive with every imaginable type of show. Other not-to-be-missed events include Virago Nation: Stripping for Sovereignty (Vancouver’s all Indigenous Burlesque troupe), The Darlings (Vancouver’s multidisciplinary non-binary drag show), Journey to South Asia & Beyond (a collaboration with Diwali in BC), Family Drag Brunch and Dress Up (hosted by Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron), African Village Experience (hosted by Jacky A Yenga), Where the Two-Spirit Lives (Marshall Vielle’s one-person show), and The Flame: Cabaret Edition (Vancouver’s favourite storytelling series).

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Peach Cobblah & Isolde N Barron photo: Shimon

A cabaret festival would not be complete without plenty of great music and Transform: A Cabaret Festival will spotlight musicians such as Leela Gilday, Silla and Rise, JB the First Lady, M’Girl, Sandy Scofield, Veda Hille, and Corey Payette. In addition, festival participants are invited to join artists and VIPs each night at a festival club night, a creative space for festival artists to collaborate and test out exciting new and developing material, while enjoying the beats of DJ Kookum and DJ Skylar Love.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival takes over The Cultch Historic Theatre, York Theatre and Vancity Culture Lab October 2 to 12, 2019. Full line-up details and tickets are available online at transformcabaret.com

Picks of the Week – September 25, 2019

Summer has officially come to a close, autumn is upon us bringing cooler, wet weather and pumpkin spice…everything. Let’s see what entertainment picks the first week of fall offers us.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Jens Kristian Balle

Opening: Firehall Arts Centre opens their season with a presentation of SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment

Park: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park is filled with the sounds of Vampire Weekend on Wednesday night

Culture: The 10th Annual BC Culture Days celebrate arts & culture from September 27 to 29, in venues in every corner of the province.

Hub: This weekend, BC Culture Days CBC Culture Hub kicks off with Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning followed by dozens of free events Saturday and Sunday

Plaza: Haida-Tsimshian siblings Gillian and Robert Thomson are Sister Says, a pop/indie group performing outdoors at Jack Poole Plaza on Friday September 27th, at 1130, for BC Culture Days

Date: Explore a variety of artistic endeavours when you go on a Date with Culture, a free BC Culture Day event at Chain & Forge at Granville Island.

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

Dance: The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival continues to bring rhythm to Vancouver’s stages until Sunday September 29.

Doll: Celebrate BC Culture Days & Gateway Theatre’s upcoming production, China Doll, with a Chinese Arts & Culture Celebration at Gateway Saturday and Sunday

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Orange: BC Lions play host to Montreal Allouettes at BC Place on Saturday September 28th.

Away With Home:
L to R: Zefanya Hardhian (in front), Lucy Luo, Kevin Nguyen, Arjun Panesar and Lennox Johnston-Yu pic: Amanda Skuse Photography

Home: For two nights only, MISCELLANEOUS Productions, presents their 2018/19 new work, Away with Home at The Scotiabank Dance Centre

Film: Celebrate Culture Days and the 100th anniversary of Korean Film with four popular recently released Korean films, presented by the Korean Cultural Centre of Canada, at the Coquitlam Library Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Gallery: Transits and Returns, is an exhibition of twenty-one Indigenous artists from around the Pacific at the Vancouver Art Gallery, from September 28, 2019 until February 23, 2020.

Music: Explore the Feel-good Factor of Music at Polygon Gallery on Sunday during BC Culture Days, students and teachers will present a short informal performance featuring different styles and instruments.

VTS Back to School

Improv: Hit the books and laughs as Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays until October 12.

BC Culture Days Celebrates 10 Years

From September 27 to 29, 2019 take part in Canada’s largest public celebration the nation’s arts & culture, BC Culture Days.  BC Culture Days has helped facilitate a host of free engaging activities and events taking place throughout the region over the three day event. The weekend of artistic expression explores the intersection of creativity, the arts, and well-being. Featuring painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and beyond, BC Culture Days is a family-friendly weekend that builds community, encourages exploration and discovery, and celebrates creativity in all its forms. 

Drumming at Kamloops Edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Lori Jantz

“Creative expression is vital for the health and wellness of a community,” says BC Culture Days Manager Nazanin Shoja. “We are proud to shine a light on the essential role arts and culture plays across the province to boost community engagement, foster deeper social connections, and build an understanding and appreciation for the collective artistic experience. With hundreds of engaging and exciting community events taking place across British Columbia, I have no doubt there will be an event that will cater to every taste and interest, while encouraging exploration into new artistic ventures!” 

To help celebrate its 10th anniversary, BC Culture Days has selected 10 emerging artists from across the province to act as cultural ambassadors in their respective communities, encouraging participation and presenting innovative activities across a broad spectrum of disciplines — including painting, animation, carving, poetry, theatre, and dance — as part of the weekend festivities. The 2019 BC Culture Days ambassadors are Tiffany Blaise (Vancouver), Brock Gratz (Kelowna), Molly Gray (Fort Langley), Alyssa Harms-Wiebe (Vancouver), Mundia Kabunda (West Kelowna), Julian Legere (New Westminster), Sebastian Nicholson (Prince George), Olivier Salvas (Vancouver), Emily Shin (Richmond), and Dyana Sonik-Henderson (Victoria). The artists’ biographies are available at: culturedays.ca/bc/ambassadors.

Dancing at Port Moody edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Bob Homer

BC Culture Days will officially launch with a provincial kick-off event in Mission, BC on Sunday, September 22, 2019 from 1pm–3pm at the Heritage Park Centre. Mission: A Mosaic of Cultures will showcase a broad range of cultural activities by notable and emerging artists from the Mission community. Beginning with the official opening ceremony, including a welcome by a representative of the Leq’á:mel First Nation, the public is invited to participate and experience artist demos, hands-on arts and crafts, artist talks, storytelling, workshops, and samplings from Mission’s vibrant culinary scene.

During BC Culture Days weekend, visitors are welcomed to seek out, create, participate and share the wealth of cultural activities to be found all around the region; from Music at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver, Claymaking in West Vancouver, Bellydancing in North Vancouver, Heritage bus tours around Burnaby, Art Demonstrations in New Westminster, Art In The Park in Coquitlam, and much, much more.   Visit culturedays.ca/bc to find out how to participate and for full details about all the events. 

Picks of the Week – August 21, 2019

For kids, the last half of August is always the time to squeeze in as much fun as you can before heading back to school. As adults we can to take in as much fun as we want from these picks of the week.

Cinema: Vancouver Civic Theatres are presenting the last of the free outdoor Wednesday evening cinema screenings at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza) outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tonight explore a whole new world, as Aladdin (2019) starts at dusk.

Movie: Downtown Vancouver presents the final free Wednesday night film of the summer tonight, see how the other half lives when Crazy Rich Asians is on at at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (formerly, Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza)

Waterfront: Thursday evenings, head to the North Point at Canada Place for Waterfront Cinema, this week watch Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse starting around 8:45pm

Poe: Until August 25th, Third Wheel Productions takes over The Cultch with a completely immersive theatre experience “Deep Into Darkness”, all 3 floors, 20 rooms, and 30,000 square feet of The Cultch will be transformed into a 19th-century Victorian world inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

Stars: Catch the last few performances of the 2019 season of Theatre Under The Stars presenting the entertaining musicals Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights

PNE Summer Nights Concerts

Fair: Summer’s biggest party, The Fair at The PNE bringing amusement, entertainment and fun for the whole family, and great Summer Night Concerts, until September 2nd.

Films: The 31st Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) runs until August 25th filling theatres with LGBTQ cinema from around the globe.

FlipFlopsThe Waste to Wonder exhibit at the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, runs until September 8th, consisting of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each made from more than 6,500 recycled flip flops by Ocean Sole Africa.

Shakespeare In Love l-r: Chirag Naik, Jennifer Lines & Paul Moniz de Sá | Photo: Tim Matheson

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage and Coriolanus joins the line-up on the Howard Family Stage this week.

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Pitches: The Vancouver Canadians host Salem-Kaizer for a 3 game home stand this weekend, including another fireworks extravaganza on Saturday

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Dahlias

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs until September 15th, with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

Orange: Saturday, Hamilton Tiger-Cats make a trip West to take on BC Lions at BC Place

Visit The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency

The public launch and first open house of the historic Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency on August 25, is the result of a campaign by grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and Creative Cultural Collaborations (C3) to revive the historic floating cabin at the Plaza of Nations in False Creek. 

The Blue Cabin in North Vancouver
pic: John Ward

Originally built in 1927 as a floating house in Coal Harbour, the Blue Cabin was re-located to North Vancouver for more than 80 years. Artists Al Neil and Carole Itter used the space as a studio from 1966 until their eviction in 2015, when the cabin’s site next to Cates Park was purchased by Polygon Homes. When the structure was scheduled for demolition, grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and C3 led a campaign to save, restore, and re-launch the cabin as a residency. Their success brought in artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos to repair the cabin and salvage its cultural history. In 2018, artist Germaine Koh and architect Marko Simcic were engaged to build a small 500-square-foot deckhouse; the energy-efficient structure features off-the-grid water and power systems.

The August 25 public launch will include the announcement of the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency’s first season of programming as well as tours of the facility, including the interiors of the Blue Cabin studio and the newly constructed sustainable deckhouse, every 15 minutes from 11:30am–5:30pm. Participants will be limited to 20 people per tour and will be first come, first served. Additional open house dates will be announced at the public launch. Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine and Rico n’ Lalo All Natural Frozen Bars will be on-site serving food and refreshments.

Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore features the following artists-in-residence:

  • Vicki Couzens (September 15–October 31, 2019)
  • Angela George (November 15, 2019–January 15, 2020)
  • Skwetsimeltxw Willard “Buddy” Joseph and Chepximiya Siyam Chief Janice George (February 15–March 31, 2020)
  • Debra Sparrow (April 15–May 31, 2020)
The Blue Cabin being relocated from near
Cates Park, North Vancouver
pic: Michael Jackson

The inaugural program Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore examines Coast Salish weaving practices and includes three research and residency periods by Angela George(Squamish/Tsleil-Waututh), Janice George and Buddy Joseph (Squamish), and Debra Sparrow(Musqueam). Australian Indigenous artist and activist Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) will be the first international artist-in-residence from September 15–October 31, 2019, presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts.

“The Blue Cabin is a culturally and historically significant work of architecture, and its launch in False Creek will encourage both artists and the public to appreciate the many complex histories that make up the community,” says Glenn Alteen, Blue Cabin Committee Member and Program Director of grunt gallery. “The cabin — and the broader region we now call the Lower Mainland — is inextricably linked to the colonial displacement of Indigenous peoples. As a heritage-focused project, one of our core values is to reflect and engage with the stories of the traditional owners of these lands: the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Master weaver Buddy Joseph considers weaving a catalyst that entwines language, storytelling, and ceremony; we curated the inaugural program to pay our respects while bringing together diverse publics. As a floating structure, the Blue Cabin provides a new way for artists and the public to look at the city — from the water.”

Rebuilding the Blue Cabin in Dry Dock. pic: Henri Robideau

“We are delighted to support the first Australian artist in the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency program,” says Dr. Wendy Were, Executive Director, Strategic Development and Advocacy at the Australia Council for the Arts. “Vicki Couzens is a First Nations multimedia artist and cultural leader who will share her arts practice and cultural knowledge in a unique and culturally significant location. This prestigious opportunity ensures that Australia’s highly respected First Nations’ arts, culture, and stories continue to be shared with new audiences across the world, and strengthens our deep connections between Australian and Canadian First Nations peoples.”

The public opening of the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency’s first season of programming takes place August 25.  Free tours of the facility, located at Plaza of Nations Aquabus stop, take place every 15 minutes from 11:30am–5:30pm (on a first come, first served basis). 

Visit thebluecabin.ca for more information on the Blue Cabin, partners and residency program. 

16th New West Cultural Crawl

Now in its 16th year, the New West Cultural Crawl is an annual arts & culture festival that celebrates and exhibits the vast creative talents across New Westminster. For two days, August 10th and 11th, New West artist studios and venues open their doors to welcome thousands of visitors from across Metro Vancouver.

This family-friendly event invites young and old to explore the city’s neighbourhoods; Downtown, Uptown, West End, Sapperton and Queensborough. Map guides allow visitors to explore at their leisure while checking out works by the city’s professional and emerging artists. Sixty + venues, from Galleries, and Community Centres, to Theatres and even a Brewery open the doors to welcome the exploration of the Arts. 

In 2018, the Cultural Crawl welcomed over 4000 visitors, learning about 150 artists. Find out what’s new and up coming in 2019 by exploring New West Cultural Crawl August 10 – 11, 2019. Visit newwestculturalcrawl.com to download the weekend’s brochure and map guides to the five neighbourhoods.