Vancouver International Flamenco Festival Kicks Up Its Heels.

From September 13 to 29, The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival will bring Vancouver stages to life with a thrilling line-up of local and international flamenco artists.

Venues including Vancouver Playhouse, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Waterfront Theatre, St James Community Square, Vancouver Public Library will feature free workshops and ticketed performances throughout the festival. 

“Baile De Autor” by Manuel Liñán Company (Spain)

The 2019 Festival proudly presents the Canadian premier of Spain’s Manuel Liñán Company in Baile De Autor. Manuel Liñán is influencing the renewal of both Spanish and flamenco dance.  An accomplished performer and choreographer for other companies, BAILE DE AUTOR unites both of Manuel Liñán skill disiplines.  

The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival also features many of the finest Canadian and International Flamenco artists, program highlights include:  

  • La Musica del Flamenco” with Victor Kolstee and featuring Manuel Liñán Company Artists (Vancouver/Spain)
    Venue The Hall at St James Community Square, Friday September 13, 8pm
  • World Premiere “MAGNETIKAE – a personal journey” by La Otra Orilla (Montreal),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre Thursday September 26, 8PM
  • Vancouver Premiere “NRITYA” by La Caramelita Flamenco Company (France),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre, Friday September 27, 8PM
  • World Premiere “Nuevo II” by Flamenco Rosario & Guests (Vancouver/Spain),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre Saturday September 28, 8PM
“NRITYA” by La Caramelita Flamenco Company (France)

As one of few festivals devoted to Flamenco Art in North America, the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival has helped to develop an understanding of Vancouver’s multicultural audiences by nurturing the form’s hybridized roots in Sephardic, Persian, Gypsy and Indian cultures.  Since its 1990 debut, local producers Flamenco Rosario have grown the Festival into a two week long annual event filling the city’s stages with the vibrant art form. 

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival runs September 13th to 29th, line-up, information and tickets visit vancouverflamencofestival.org

Westward Music Festival Bring Music To The Street

This weekend, September 12 – 15, the 3rd Annual Westward Music Festival brings a stellar line-up of music to downtown Vancouver. Dozens artists from around the world, perform on 11 indoor and outdoor stages, all within close proximity to downtown Vancouver.  Westward Music Festival gets underway Thursday, September 12th with shows at Vogue Theatre, Imperial, Biltmore Cabaret, and Fox Cabaret. 

Some of the world-class acts performing over the weekend include; Toronto’s Owen Pallett, Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, The Wonder Years from Philadelphia, Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47, Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit, Japanese performer Joji, and many more. 

On Friday September 13th, the festivities move outside for the Yaletown Street Party Kickoff, the Music BC Beer Garden Stage at Yaletown Park finds performances starting at 4pm.  Saturday September 14th finds all of Mainland Street closed for Festival entertainment from noon until 10pm.  Two more stages join the Beer Garden Stage to add to the entertainment; Street Party Live Stage at Davie & Mainland, and the Street Party Electronic Stage at Nelson & Mainland.  In between the stages, find artisans and other vendors to keep you interested throughout the day. 

The Yaletown Street Party is free for all but theatre, cabaret and club stages require a Westward Festival Wristband which allows entry to all venues for the entire Festival weekend.  Many venues are all-ages but some are 19+, check venues prior to attendance.  Visit westwardfest.com for line-up, schedule and wristband information. 

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. 

Vancouver Bach Festival Brings Back Bach

The Vancouver Bach Festival, presented by Early Music Vancouver (EMV) returns to Christ Church Cathedral and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, July 30 – August 9, 2019. 

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) is regarded as one of the greatest composers in Western musical history. His legacy includes some of the most beautiful and well-crafted music ever written. Almost three centuries after Bach’s passing, his vast catalogue of works is still revered, studied, and reinterpreted by music lovers across the globe.

Ensemble Les Boréades de Montréal
photo: Hugo B Lefort

Celebrating EMV’s 50th anniversary, this year’s festival features performances by many the most gifted artists from across Europe and North America. For their second annual ensemble-in-residence program, EMV welcomes Montreal’s internationally acclaimed Ensemble Les Boréades, members of the ensemble perform in multiple concerts throughout the festival.

“For our 50th anniversary we have spared no expense in order to bring our audiences a truly world-class offering of some of the finest artists working in period performance today,” says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “I think the personal, aesthetic, and intellectual connections one can make during a festival are the happy result of a ‘total immersion’ — multiple events in a shorter window of time provide a perspective and engagement that is otherwise near impossible to achieve. By offering concerts from a wide range of exciting composers like Strozzi, Shostakovich, Purcell, Faure, Poulenc, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, and of course, Bach, the opportunities to explore links and parallels are limitless.”

The 14-concert festival commences with Ensemble Les Boréades, bringing a spectacular two-night performance of J.S. Bach’s Complete Brandenburg Concertos at The Chan Centre. The Vancouver Bach Choir also partners with the festival for the first time to perform a programme featuring Faure’s beloved Requiem with a professional core of twenty of the region’s best professional singers, accompanied by award-winning organist Christina Hutten. This year’s Vancouver Bach Festival also collaborates with Vancouver Chopin Society, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (PBO), and Pacific MusicWorks.

Vancouver Bach Choir
Photo: Sophie Song

Further highlights include the return of audience favourite soprano Amanda Forsythe with Pacific MusicWorks, in a performance of Handel’s early cantatas, as well as sopranos Suzie LeBlanc and Dorothee Mields’ dramatic interpretations of female composer Barbara Strozzi’s 17th century musings on love and loss. The festival’s popular weekday afternoon concert series also returns, offering diverse and delightful selections of acclaimed musicians and performers.

The festival will come to a conclusion with the presentation of Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecilia at the Chan Centre, featuring six internationally renowned vocal soloists and the PBO led by Alexander Weimann.

To complement the musical lineup, EMV will compliment the festival with an array of thought-provoking film screenings and expert talks, which audiences can enjoy with wine and refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere. 

For tickets and a more details and a complete schedule of all Vancouver Bach Festival events, visit: earlymusic.bc.ca 

Honda Celebration of Light 2018 Park Stage Line-Up

Honda Celebration of Light organizers recently announced the line-up of acts taking to the Park Stage at Second Beach during the three days of music during the fireworks festival.

The Park Stage at Second Beach performers offer enjoyment for all ages and offer a full-day of entertainment leading up to the 28th annual fireworks show above English Bay on July 28th, August 1st and August 4th. The line-up features a diverse list of musical acts including Jully Black, Five Alarm Funk and Busty and the Bass.

Other acts joining taking Stage include Bend Sinister, DiRTY RADiO, Missy D & Friends, Ashleigh Ball, Schwey, The X Presidents, Sister Says, The Hairfarmers, Luca Fogale, Alex Maher and Niska Napoleon. 

The free festival at Second Beach will also features food trucks, the REMAX Family Zone, and other sponsor activations. Licensed from 2pm – 9pm the festival is the perfect place for friends and  family to enjoy the friendly and entertaining atmosphere with an afternoon of music, beverages, food, and (hopefully) sunshine.  

Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof

If the Park Stage at Second Beach isn’t your scene, Honda Celebration of Light offers plenty of ways to make the most of all that the longest-running offshore fireworks competition in the world has to offer, from the prime viewing at The Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof, the Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk or with guaranteed family friendly seating at the YVR Observation Deck. 

For a full schedule, event details and tickets visit hondacelebrationoflight.com

Picks of the Week – June 6, 2018

Yes, it’s already June, 2018 is nearly half over but the Summer entertainment is just beginning, here’s my picks of the week

Cabin Fever

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view June 9 to September 30, 2018.

Rock: Local legend, Bryan Adams plays Rogers Arena Wednesday night, June 6th

Bard: The Scottish Play opens Bard on the Beach 2018, as previews begin today with the opening night next week.

Body Language

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

Fest: Breakout Festival 2018 takes over the PNE Amphitheatre June 9 & 10 with Migos, Tory Lanez, 6lack, Lil Pump and many more over the weekend

Haida:  There’s just one more week to visit Museum of Vancouver for the exhibition, Haida Now. A collaboration with The Haida Gwaii Museum bring 450 works together in a one of a kind collection of Haida arts and culture, closing June 15.

Kicks: Can Whitecaps FC build on the momentum of last week’s win to put another W in the column? Find out Saturday when they host Orlando City FC.

Doc: Victim Impact is a unique live documentary from Theatre Conspiracy directed by award winning Jiv Parasram, taking the stage at The Cultch Historic Theatre from June 8 – 17.

Ballet: Coastal City Ballet closes out its 2018 season with a remount of Irene Schneider’s ballet, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  onstage at June 8 at Surrey Arts Centre

Abba: Does your Mother know you’re having a great time at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

Culture: Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Haida are collaborating for the first time so you can learn more about the cultures of these First Nations and the importance of their cultural centres at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s exhibition Culture at the Centre, until October 8th.

Resist: Also until October 8th at MOA, the new exhibit, Arts of Resistance: Politics and the Past in Latin America, invites visitors to take a closer look at the political and social significance of Latin American artistic traditions to express political realities.

Italy: Musica Magnifica! is the theme of 2018’s Italian Day on The Drive, celebrating Italian music and its impact, plus of course lots of food, this Sunday June 10th

Singer: Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd brings his unique sounds to Malkin Bowl on Saturday night.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Punk: Spend the weekend with punk rock legends Social Distortion as they take over the Commodore Ballroom for a two night stand, June 9 – 10.

Babelle Theatre reveals 2018 Season.

East Vancouver based Babelle Theatre has revealed its 2018 season of new works aimed for millennial and young audiences.
Co-directed by Marie Farsi and James Gordon King Babelle Theatre has a mandate is to produce experimental and ambitious theatrical works; inspired by multiple cultural traditions, the company aims to push borders of space and language and to assemble the common from the dissimilar. Babelle also seeks to nurture next generation of theatre artists through collaborations with other artists from all disciplines around the creation of theatre.   “Part of our success in producing original work is that Marie and I remain consistent in our collaboration process. We work in a way that is more integrative: the specificity of a performance space is integrated into a design concept, design concepts are integrated into play’s narration, actor’s personality traits are integrated into their roles.” says co-Artistic Director James Gordon King

For 2018, Farsi and King have created adventurous new works that investigate our relationships to the wild within and the wild without.

This, Here 
By James Gordon King. Directed by Marie Farsi
July 12 – 14, 2018 — Gibsons Heritage Hall (Gibsons)
July 18 – 28, 2018 — The Culture Lab (Vancouver)

A vacation slideshow at an intimate party unpacks big existential questions.

Torontonian couple, Alison and Maddie, just got back from a trip to Gibsons, BC to visit Alison’s father, Brian, who she hasn’t seen in three years. Recalling events as photos are projected, their trip submerges into a murky world of decomposing appearances and unresolved issues as the distinction between wild and civilized elides. As Alison re-discovers her natural environment, she re-examines her connection to the people she loves, and in turn, her relationship to herself. Through the simplicity and intimacy of an informal gathering, This, Here asks audiences to consider who we are in relation to each other and our environment.

All My Friends Are Animals
By James Gordon King. Directed by Marie Farsi
A co-production with Axis Theatre
September 2018. Russian Hall, Vancouver.
50 min. Ages 10+. Attendance free for school groups and the community.

An all-ages romp from the city into the wild.

When a bear wanders from the mountains into the city, natural boundaries are blurred and a perplexed teenager named Jo struggles to makes her way home. On her adventures, she crosses paths with coyotes, raccoons, and mice, and learns the importance of trusting her instincts. Loosely based on the real-life story of a bear that entered downtown Vancouver in the Winter of 2011, All My Friends Are Animals is about the extraordinary nature of these encounters and the primal feelings they awaken. Featuring performances from four youth aged 15-24, and intended for audiences aged 10 and up, this is a playful little piece that ignites a youthful spirit and sense of delight.

Visit babelletheatre.com for tickets and more information on the 2018 Season.

Babelle 2018 Season Trailer from Babelle Theatre on Vimeo.