Cultural Calendar

Welcome to 2020, a brand new year – but is it also a brand new decade? There are two schools of thought on the matter: some people think a new decade starts in 2020, others think it starts in 2021. Canada’s National Research Council argues that because there is no year zero in the Gregorian calendar (the year 1 BC is followed by AD 1), all decades, centuries and millennia begin with Year 1. However, in everyday parlance, instead of marking decades calendrically, most people mark it culturally: “The 20s” refers to the years spanning 2020-2029. Whatever side of the debate you fall on – Team Zero or Team One – have yourself an amazing 2020!


* * *


David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978–1992

Jan. 9–Apr. 5

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC, University Endowment Lands

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery will be presenting the photographic and filmic works of American artist David Wojnarowicz from Jan. 9 to Apr. 5. The exhibition presents over 100 works including photographs, test prints, silkscreens, 16 mm and Super 8 film and collaborative video works. Wojnarowicz worked as an artist and writer merging found and discarded materials together with a deep understanding of literary influences into sophisticated combinations. The exhibit will reflect on his art-making and activism at a time of political and personal uncertainty, shedding light on a practice that has been exemplary and inspirational, not only for his contemporaries but also for current generations.


* * *

Flying white 飞白 explores the space between black and white, inhale and exhale, east and west. | Photo courtesy of The Dance Centre

Wen Wei Dance and Turning Point Ensemble

Jan. 10, 4 p.m.

Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver

Artist-in-Residence Wen Wei Wang, Artistic Director of Wen Wei Dance, shares excerpts from his latest work in an informal studio showing. A co-creation with Turning Point Ensemble, Flying white 飞白 explores the space between black and white, inhale and exhale, east and west and sound and movement. Six dancers and an intercultural ensemble of musicians interact on stage and with representations of elements including rice, paper, water, silk and ink.


* * *


January Exhibitions at Place des Arts

Jan. 10–Feb. 6

Place des Arts, Coquitlam

The Place des Arts Gallery is currently showcasing three new exhibits this month. Check out collaborative alchemy art by artists Pierre Leichner, Edward Peck and Phyllis Schwartz, who use plant-based materials to contemplate the full cycle of natural growth and transitions that are in an ever-changing state of permanence and impermanence. Watercolour artist Tammy Pilon’s exhibit showcases her latest abstract paintings. For Pilon, creating the paintings is therapeutic, allowing her to relax, experiment and push her creative boundaries. Finally, painter Alex Sandvoss showcases screenshots of social media influencers off YouTube and anonymized these individuals with the face of capitalistic heroine Barbie, intending to frame these venerated pawns of the advertisement industry in a more poignant light.

* * *

Benjamin Bagby will dramatize the awe-inspiring poem Beowulf. | Photo courtesy of Early Music Vancouver

Beowulf: The Epic in Performance

Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Vancouver Playhouse

“Hwaet!” commands the storyteller. Listen! And tremble at this fearsome tale! A millennium or more has passed since the superhero Beowulf appeared in the annals of epic poetry, yet the legend of his bare-handed conquest of the terrifying Grendel endures. As one of the world’s leading practitioners of historically informed music and theatre, medieval music composer and singer Benjamin Bagby will dramatize the awe-inspiring poem in the original Anglo-Saxon, while simultaneously accompanying himself on medieval harp, at the Vancouver Playhouse on Jan. 11.


* * *


Gluten Free Expo 2020

Jan. 11–12

Vancouver Convention Centre at Canada Place

On the weekend of Jan. 11, the Vancouver Convention Centre at Canada Place will host the Gluten Free Expo featuring numerous exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, dietitian presenters and, of course, plenty of tasty gluten free culinary dishes to sample. Listen to presentations from registered dietitians helping you to create healthier diets, and watch chefs create healthy gluten free versions of beer, pizza, perogies, breads and more. For tickets and further information, please check out their website.


* * *


2020 Chinese New Year Vancouver Carnival

Jan. 11–18

Aberdeen Square, Richmond

Bring your family and friends to celebrate the Year of the Rat with food and shows at Richmond’s Aberdeen Square! Co-hosted by Aberdeen Square & Mooby Yoho, the carnival will last eight days from Jan. 11 to 18. This annual event also celebrates the local history of Asian communities in the greater Vancouver area. This family-friendly event will feature cultural performances, authentic food and free New Year’s gifts.


* * *


Antarctic Traces

Jan. 16, 7 p.m.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Antarctic Traces, a documentary film showing at the Vancouver Maritime Museum on Jan. 16, is a study of the devastation caused by human exploitation of nature in South Georgia, Antarctica. Featuring the rough landscape of the coast, archival images of the whaling industry and numerous literary sources, this film explores the impact of the industrial slaughter of seals, sea elephants, and whales in the region. In an alternating rhythm of still images, moving pictures and individual camera pans, the film presents a disturbing portrait of penguins and seals making their homes in a dead, chilly landscape of glaciers, skeletons, industrial ruins and rusted ships.


* * *



Jan. 17–Feb. 1

Pacific Theatre, Vancouver

The Pacific Theatre will be presenting Gramma from Jan. 17 to Feb. 1. Korean-born Maki is excited to begin her new life in a Regina basement suite, but her elderly landlady seems determined to treat her as nothing more than a servant. Playwright and actor of Suitcase Stories Maki Yi returns to Pacific Theatre with a poetic new tale of human connection in the loneliest of circumstances. Check out the theatre’s website for tickets and more information.


* * *


Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2020

Jan. 17–Feb. 2

Various venues throughout Vancouver

Experience Canada’s largest annual food and drink festival this year at Dine Out Vancouver! This 17-day festival features over 200 restaurants with plenty of food, craft beer and cocktails to go around. Experience all the culinary expertise you could possibly want with guided dining tours, cooking classes, cocktail masterclasses, dinner and film pairings, craft beer tasting and much more. Check out the festival’s website for more info.


* * *


Pitha Utshob 2020

Jan. 19, 4–9 p.m.

Punjab Banquet Hall, Surrey

Come with your friends and family to experience Pitha Uthsob – the cake festival. Pitha is a popular rice cake in Bangladesh and are primarily made from a batter of rice flour or wheat flour, which is shaped and optionally filled with sweet or savory ingredients. When filled, the pitha’s pouch is called a khol (literally “container”) and the fillings are called pur. The Greater Vancouver Bangladesh Cultural Association is organizing this festival for everyone to enjoy this popular food in the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent.