Cultural Calendar

Don’t miss the Festival du bois’s 30th anniversary festivities.| Photo by Stephanie Lamie.

Welcome to the spring season! I am finally able to recommend some outdoor events to you, such as the high energy Norooz Fire Festival at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park and a spiritual medicine wheel ceremony at VanDusen. And with the cherry blossoms in bloom, why not also celebrate spring with O Hanami at Nikkei? Have a great season everyone!


Norooz Fire Festival

Mar. 19, 5–10:30 p.m.

Ambleside Park, West Vancouver

The 29th annual Persian New Year celebration includes live music, fire jumping, amazing food and dance performances. This event is based on traditions regarding the last Wednesday of the Persian Calendar known as Chaharshanbe Suri. Everyone is invited to come to the celebration! Fire jumping will take place from 6–10:30 p.m. For more information, please check out the West Vancouver website.


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Surviving Vancouver: Gathering in our City

Mar. 20, 7 p.m.

Museum of Vancouver

The philosophy of plants for food, medicine and cultural resources are found in the very cities we live in. Despite popular belief, people need not travel outside of urban centers to discover a robust world of eco-diverse plants and animals that contribute to the health and vitality of our well-being. Traditional technology and knowledge of harvesting belongs to Indigenous peoples’ beliefs and ways of knowing, rooted in their relationship to the land. Join panelists Lori Snyder, Woody Morrison and T’uy’T’Tanat-Cease Wyss at the Museum of Vancouver on Mar. 20 as they engage in an exploratory and educational discussion about Indigenous food systems, abilities to subsist, survive and live with traditional food sources and healing properties of the natural world.

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Fatoumata Diawara

Mar. 20, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Kay Meek Arts Centre, West Vancouver

Fatoumata Diawara’s new album, Fenfo, focuses on the challenges of migration and family – challenges she experienced firsthand, fighting for her independence by leaving Mali to pursue a career as an actress and singer/songwriter. Now hailed as “one of the most dynamic voices in Afropop” [PopMatters Magazine], she uses her voice to tell stories about the challenges facing migrants. In perfect symmetry with her lyrics, her music blends a variety of international styles while staying true to African roots, mixing stinging guitar lines with traditional African strings including the kora and kamale ngoni and traditional percussion.

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30th Annual Festival du Bois

Mar. 22–24

Mackin Park, Coquitlam

The 30th annual Festival du Bois runs Mar. 22 to 24 at Mackin Park in the Maillardville area of Coquitlam – the centre of francophone culture in B.C. Come join the party! It’s a weekend celebration of francophone and French-Canadian culture. Enjoy amazing music and dance, great traditional food, shows for kids, fun activities and more. The festival opens on Friday with a free Contra Dance in the Grand Chapiteau (Big Tent) in Mackin Park. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival welcomes outstanding music artists from B.C. and beyond, including Vishtèn, Comté de Clare, Les Tireux d’Roches, Seconde Nation, Shauit, Alpha Yaya Diallo, Jou Tou and more!


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Medicine Wheel Ceremony

Mar. 24, 12 noon–3 p.m.

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

People from varying backgrounds and spiritual traditions are invited to gather to celebrate the beginning of a new season in a beautiful outdoor setting at VanDusen Garden. The medicine wheel is a symbol of holistic
teachings based on the cycles of nature. Drumming, singing and prayers will be shared. The ceremony concludes with a potluck (the sharing of food). Please bring weather-appropriate clothing, a small stone to leave at the wheel and a potluck item to share! Check out the VanDusen website for more information.


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Fifth Annual Vancouver Badass Film Festival

Mar. 29–31

Vancity and Rio Theatres, Vancouver

The Vancity and Rio Theatres will host the Fifth Annual Vancouver Badass Film Festival, which features the best in new extreme-genre film from around the world. The festival highlights new films from maverick film legends old and new, showcasing a variety of international and Canadian horror, neo noir, wild action and avant-garde films. Festivities include interactive sessions with visionary filmmakers and cast, an awards gala, and unforgettable spectacle and parties. Please visit the website, for tickets and showtimes.


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Simon Mayer: Sons of Sissy

Apr. 4–6, 8 p.m.

Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver

Sons of Sissy delves into the heart of the Upper Austrian countryside, where traditional folk dances and music reign supreme. These traditions are joyously subverted when four versatile performers/musicians reformulate Alpine dances to liberate themselves from convention. Defying categorization and pigeonholing, the Sons of Sissy live up to their name as they conduct themselves as part weird folk music quartet, part experimentally playful ritual dance combo, using humour to radically disrupt hackneyed male role models. An accomplished choreographer, dancer and musician, Mayer offers an irreverent and affectionate take on his heritage, while demonstrating impeccable timing, bodily control and musicality.


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Cherry Docs

Apr. 5–28

Pacific Theatre, Vancouver

The Pacific Theatre will be presenting a play by Canadian playwright David Gow, Cherry Docs, this April. Danny is an ambitious Jewish defense lawyer who believes in the common good. When he is assigned the case of an unrepentant neo-Nazi accused of murder, Danny finds himself defending the life of a man who wishes him dead. The play shows how two antagonists can work through radical differences towards a better understanding of themselves and each other. For tickets and showtimes, please visit the Pacific Theatre website.


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Deanna Bowen: A Harlem Nocturne

Apr. 5–June 16

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver

Deanna Bowen is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist whose practice examines race, migration, historical writing and authorship, who will be hosting A Harlem Nocturne, a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery from Apr. 5 to June 16. The exhibition comprises two separate trajectories of research that follow the artist’s maternal lineage in Canada and takes up many of the concerns currently shaping discussions in photography and Black visual studies. Her artistic practice concerns itself with histories of Black experience that remain below the threshold of visibility, not because they are impossible to see but because they are difficult for the majority culture to acknowledge. Mining overlooked archives and forgotten documents, Bowen makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures to bring traces of a complex, deeply personal and often violent past into public visibility.


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Liberation: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Apr. 5, 8 p.m.

Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will be performing the works of German composers Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn on Apr. 5. Wagner’s music was appropriated by Nazi Germany, used for inspiration and a road map to a “vision of the future” of Germany – particularly his extraordinary Ring Cycle. Götterdämmerung, recounting the final fate of Earth and the Norse Gods, closely paralleled what the Nazi command envisioned of their Reich. During the time of the Nazi party’s ascendancy, the music of Mendelssohn was banned, but in a concert that declared liberation from the Reich, his was the first music performed by the Berlin Philharmonic after the end of the war and the defeat of Nazi ideology.