Picks of the Week – January 3, 2018

2018 is here and we’re back in full swing looking for great entertainment picks of the week to get you through the first week of the new year.

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: It’s your last chance to help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre before is closes January 6th.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival  bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site until January 21st

Lights: Lights at Lafarge Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival, the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland keeps the lights on until January 21st

Canyon: Take to the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  until January 28th, 2018. 

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage welcomes Disney’s Beauty & The Beast until January 13th.

Train: This is the last week for Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train until January 6th

Heritage: Celebrate the way the Holidays were a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum  until January 5th

Garden: Wander through millions of lights and colours at Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden until January 7th

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports Throwdown International Theatresports Festival is on now. First up, until Jan 13th, local teams of VTSL players improv their way to the best of Vancouver, before taking on International Improv teams the following week.

10 Experiences for Last Minute Gift Giving.

If you’re still looking for Christmas gift giving ideas, time is running out, the shops are packed and delivery for online shopping is getting tight.  Why not choose a fun experience to give as a gift this year? A perfect gift for the person who has everythings, it’s also a green gift – no waste, no returns and no wrapping.

Here’s a few local experiences that are sure to suit someone on your Christmas list:

Theatre: Vancouver has a vibrant theatre scene, with theatre companies presenting shows for all tastes. Pick up tickets or a gift certificate from The Arts Club Theatre, Gateway Theatre, Firehall Arts Centre, The Cultch and more.

Cinema in Concert

Orchestra: There’s some great symphonic music experiences coming to town  that will make great gifts; Cinema in Concert with the China Broadcasting Film Symphony Orchestra, A Salute to Sinatra or A Classical Mystery Tour; Beatles Tribute with the VSO, Bach to the Future or other shows from Early Music BC’s spring line up

Cooking: Novices and experienced home cooks alike will each enjoy a cooking class at Cook Culture is just the ticket; learn some new skills or have a fun and tasty night out with a group of friends.

Mystery: Team building, a family challenge or an adventurous night out; Forbidden Vancouver take you on a walk through the city’s scandalous past or Vancouver Mysteries put you in the action to hit the street to solve a crime.

Pop: Tickets to a favourite concert are never a bad gift, with Bruce Cockburn, Lights, Portugal the Man, Milky Chance, Dua Lipa, Miguel and Katy Perry coming to town in the next couple months there’s plenty to choose from.

Canada Sevens

Sports:  First hand or arm-chair athletes will love a sports experience in their stocking; Canucks, Whitecaps, Lions or Canadians are great choices or Canada Sevens in March or get ahead with World Juniors Hockey Championships coming to Vancouver/Victoria in 2019

 

Festivals: Vancouver has some unique festivals that bring an ensemble of events together under one theme sure to appeal to someone on your list; PuSh Festival and Dine Out Vancouver are in January, DOXA Documentary Film Festival and Cherry Blossom Festival are in Spring, and many more gift options for passes and tickets run throughout the year.

Staycation: Everyone loves a getaway, even if it’s in your own town, a night at at a one of Vancouver’s great hotel can make an amazing change of pace at any time of year.

Pamper:  Spa, Floatation Tank, Salon gift certificates, even for just an hour can be rejuvenating as your recipient lets someone tend to their manicure, pedicure, massage or more.

Homecare: Almost everyone loathes having to do housework, why not give someone on your list a break with a gift certificate for housework, laundry or any household odd jobs,  do-it-yourself or hire a service to do it.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on experiences and events to put under the tree to fit your Christmas gift giving list.

A Christmas Carol at Gateway Theatre

This year, the Gateway Theatre holiday season takes a slightly darker tone as A Christmas Carol finds the Christmas spirit, or in this case four spirits.  It’s hard to tinker with a tale as familiar as Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, but this adaptation by Michael Shamata, directed by Rachel Peake, trims the play into a show that’s manageable for all ages and focuses on the ensemble and core spirit of the work.  All members of the creative team mention how they feel the play’s  message of finding and sharing good with your fellow man is especially needed in these current times.

Scrooge (Russell Roberts) & Marley (Allan Morgan)
Photo: David Cooper

Allan Morgan begins the play as narrator, talking directly to the audience to set the stage for what is to come, and has led to the moment we meet Russell Roberts’ Ebenezer Scrooge and Adam Olgui’s Bob Cratchit at work on Christmas Eve.  While the supporting characters are present, Peake has centred the production on the ghost story, and the message the spirits bring to Scrooge, starting with the eerie ghost of Jacob Marley bringing a warning to Scrooge of continuing his secluded, miserly way of life.  The simple staging by Drew Facey allows the audience to fill in the blanks as the ghosts take Scrooge from his past to present and future.

Ghost of Christmas Past (Josh Chambers) & Scrooge (Russell Roberts)
Photo: David Cooper

The Gateway Theatre holiday show often serves as a mentorship to up and coming actors and stage crew. This production includes five members from the acting program at Langara College’s Studio 58, all playing multiple roles alongside the seasoned, professional players.  At just 110 minutes, including intermission, the production is compact and conveys the spirit of the Holiday favourite in a way that the whole family can enjoy.

A Christmas Carol is onstage at Gateway theatre in Richmond until December 24th.  For Information and Tickets visit gatewaytheatre.com/achristmascarol

Vancouver Christmas Concerts for 2017

Christmas has a long association with music;  carols, hymns and cantatas, bringing spirit to the Season’s concerts.  Calendars are filled with school and church concerts, and to help you get in the song-filled spirit, here’s a list of concerts around Vancouver to take in this Season for your listening pleasure:

Handel’s Messiah: Friday December 1 & Saturday December 2, 2017, Vancouver Playhouse
Early Music Vancouver presents Messiah for the first time, with Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Vancouver Cantata Singers.

Kenny G The Miracles Holiday & Hits Tour: December 3, 2017, Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Award winning instrumentalist Kenny G performs some of his biggest hits as well as holiday classics from his best-selling Miracles: The Holiday Album.

A Jann Arden Christmas with the VSO:  Wednesday, December 6, 2017, Orpheum Theatre
Join Canadian pop songstress as she joins the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for an evening of song and her quick wit.

A Traditional Christmas: Friday December 8, Saturday December 9, 2017, Sta Andrew’s Wesley Church, plus dates all around Metro Vancouver through December 17th.
Join the VSO and host Christopher Gaze (Bard on the Beach) for the 25th Anniversary of this Christmas favourite.

Making Spirits Bright with Vancouver Men’s Chorus

Vancouver Men’s Chorus are Making Spirits Bright:

Saturday December 9, Sunday December 10, Thursday December 14, Friday December 15, 2017, St Paul’s Anglican Church
Are you naughty or nice? Doesn’t matter the VMC will entertain you for their lighthearted Christmas concerts.

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir by Leigh Righton.

Good Tidings, a Good Noise Gospel Christmas:  Friday December 15 and Saturday December 16, 2017, Christ Church Cathedral
Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir with special guest vocalist Maureen Washington and the 90 voice choir bring joy of the season.

Christmas with Chor Leoni: Friday December 15 and Monday December 18, 2017, St Andrew’s Wesley Church (twice/night)
A Christmas tradition to gather friends and family together to enjoy old Christmas favourites and encounter new ones as sung by the men’s choir.

Festive Cantatas – Vivaldi – Gloria and Magnificat: Saturday December 23, 2017, Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts
Early Music Vancouver presents Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat as they were originally performed, by an all-female ensemble.

Holiday Light Displays for the 2017 Season

As the Holidays draw near, Metro Vancouver twinkles as people and places put up light displays all around the City. Some of the brightest and most festive displays are opening to the public in the coming weeks, here’s a list of light displays to enjoy the twinkle of the Holiday Season:

Lights of Hope at St Paul’s Hospital – Celebrating 20 years, St Paul’s Lights of Hope have illuminated the West End helping to raise much needed funds for the hospital. The 2017 Lights Of Hope lit up last week with a public event featuring fireworks, food trucks and family entertainment at St Paul’s Hospital on Burrard Street. Stroll past, admire the lights, look for the sponsor’s stars – Free Admission

Bright Nights
Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– Two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train. Ride the train, watch the dozens of festive displays while strolling the plaza sipping a hot cocoa, from November 30, 2017 to January 6, 2018 opening hours vary for Matinee and Night Trains. – Matinee Train tickets are $6 for all ages, Night Train tickets are $12(Adults) or $9(Children/Seniors). Admission Bright Nights Train Plaza only, is by donation (suggested $4, proceeds to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund)

Canyon Lights

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park opens November 23rd, 2017 and runs until January 28th, 2018. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $42.95, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment beginning at 4pm each day.

Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum – Celebrating a Heritage Christmas with the Holiday traditions of a century ago at Burnaby Village. Explore the illuminated Village looking for clues on the 12 Days of Christmas scavenger hunt, November 25th 2017 until January 5th, 2018 – Free Admission / Carousel Rides $2.65

Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Garden
Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Garden

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden run December 1st, 2017 to January 7th, 2018 opening at 4:30pm. Over a million lights turn the botanical gardens into sparkling winter wonderland.  Carolers, dancing gnomes and the popular Dancing Lights show (on the half hour) make this one of the city’s most popular and Instagramable #vandusenFOL Christmas Light displays – Adult Admission $15.24 (in advance) or $18.10 (at door)

Christmas at Canada Place – Port Metro Vancouver presents the 30th annual Christmas at Canada Place holiday event, from November 23rd to December 31st, 2017, stroll the festive fun along The Canadian Trail (west promenade) to see the new Canada’s North light display at the North Point of Canada Place, glimpse the iconic Woodward’s department store holiday windows, take in the Christmas fun at Fly Over Canada and don’t forget to look up to the Canada Place Sails of Lights. – Free Admission

Glow Christmas – For the first time, Milner Village Garden Centre in Langley sets the Fraser Valley aglow with a half-million lights over four Christmas Gardens, Food Trucks & Bar, Craft Market and more from 4-10pm, November 23rd to December 30th, 2017 – Admission – Adults: $19.99 (in advance) $25 (at door)

Lights at Lafarge – Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival is the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies, a Holiday Market and of course Santa are all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station, from November 25th, 2017 to January 21st, 2018 – Free Admission

Chanukah in the City – Celebrate with music, hot chocolate, doughnuts and gelt as the Silber Family Menorah, Canada’s tallest, lights up the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza from December 12th to celebrate the first of the 8 Days of the Chanukah Festival Of Lights

Holiday Market from Vancouver Foodster

‘Tis the season for shopping and browsing the Holiday Markets around the city and on December 6th Vancouver Foodster introduces a Holiday Market like no other.  A night of tastings to celebrate the Holiday Season, Vancouver Foodster’s Holiday Market explores a trio of neighbourhoods to see what merchants have in store.

South Granville, False Creek and Kitsilano welcome holiday explorers to visit a selection of markets that will feature various vendors offering a  selection of savoury and sweets, plus beverages for guests to enjoy and peruse.  Market visitors will have a chance to browse, try and perhaps purchase many different foods and beverages throughout the event, meet some new food loving friends, meet the producers and chefs, and learn about each of the participating vendors and markets.

Guests will check in at Milano Coffee Roasters, at 156 West 8th Avenue to receive their Market Passport and Menu before setting off to explore the rest of the Holiday Market.

In addition to Milano Coffee Roasters the Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market also includes;

Meinhardt Fine Foods
3002 Granville Street, Vancouver

Be Fresh Market Cafe
1900 West First Avenue, Vancouver

Silk Road Tea
2066 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

Tickets for Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market are on sale now from Eventbrite.
Ultra Early-Bird: $18 per person before November 22, 2017
Early-Bird: $25 per person after November 22, 2017
Regular $30 per person after November 29, 2017

12 Christmas Craft Markets & Holiday Fairs for 2017 Gift Shopping

We’ve only just put away our Halloween costumers but the Holiday season is racing towards us. Along with the Holiday season, comes shopping.  Skip the malls, experience one of the fun and festive Christmas Craft Markets to find something unique and handmade.

Here’s Twelve Christmas Craft Markets to get you in the festive spirit.

Circle Craft Christmas Market : November 8 – 12 – Vancouver Convention Centre West, the biggest market of them all, kicks off the Christmas Craft Season. Admission $15

Christmas at Hycroft : November 16th – 19th – For 45 years the annual fair at the Edwardian Hycroft Manor plays host to decor, artisans, family fun, entertainment and Santa. Admission $15

VCM at Jack Poole
Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza

Vancouver Christmas Market : November 22nd – December 24th – The popular Holiday Market moves to a new and larger waterfront location at Jack Poole Plaza for the 2017 season. Admission $10

 

West End Holiday Craft Fair : November 25th – 26th – West End Community Centre hosts 55 artisans and vendors selling only handcrafted gifts.  Admission: Free

Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair : The 35th edition, on November 25th – Hundreds of artists and vendors at Dunbar Community Centre with crafts, edible gifts, and entertainment. Admission $5 at door / $4 presale online

Strathcona Winter Fair : November 25th – The Annual Strathcona Winter Fair finds 50+ neighbourhood artists and non-profit vendors at Strathcona Community Centre at 601 Keefer – Admission $2 / Kids under 12, Free

Portobello West Handmade for the Holidays Market : November 25 & 26 – Portobello’s annual market  returns to Creekside Community Centre in Olympic Village with live music, food trucks and vendors for all your local shopping needs. Admission $2 / Kids under 12, Free

River District Winter Craft Fair : Sundays November 26, December 3, 10, 17 – expanded to 4 weekends, visit vendors at the River District Centre on Kerr Street. Free admission

Toque: December 1st to 3rd – The Western Front Annual Fundraiser and Craft Sale has great options for shopping as you support for the Wester Front’s year-round arts & music programs. Admission by donation

Make It! The Handmade Revolution Holiday Show: December 7th – 10th at PNE Forum, join the handmade revolution with over 250 crafters, artisans and makers. Weekend admission $8 / Kids under 12, Free ($1 off coupon online)

Got Craft? Holiday Market : December 9th – 10th – At the Maritime Labour Centre is the place to be for DIYers, crafters and handmade enthusiasts to come together. Admission $5 at the door / $3 with coupon

Shiny Fuzzy Muddy : December 9 – 10, 2017 – The Arts Collective’s annual Holiday Show fills Heritage Hall on Main Street with vendors. Admission $3

Get out and get shopping, have fun! Happy Holidays