Cultural Calendar

I hope everyone’s 2021 is going well so far! It’s cold and COVID is still out there, so try to stay warm and check out some of the events and festivals happening online from the comfort of your home.

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Vancouver Short Film Festival 2021

Available now until Jan. 31

The best of B.C. short films will be streaming online and available to watch until Jan. 31. There will be 61 films divided into seven thematic programmes, such as experimental films, dramas, animation and more. Check out the Film Guide on their website to explore the lineup of short films available to watch.

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PoMoArts: Jan–Feb Exhibits

Now showing until Feb. 15

PoMoArts is home to a contemporary art gallery that showcases the work of local, regional and national artists. During this time of COVID, the art gallery will host limited in-person gallery visits and online video exhibits. Until Feb. 15, PoMoArts will host three exhibits: Sonya Iwasiuk’s A New Resilience, a body of work examining one of the most pressing current world issues – people fleeing their turbulent homelands searching for peace and prosperity; Mat Holstrom’s Timeless Pastimes, sharing imagery and objects that reflect the interests and traditions that inspire the artist and many Canadians across the land; and Ghislain Brown-Kossi’s Are We Still Together?, aiming to understand how individuals interact with each other and how social relationships are transformed.

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Night of Ideas

Jan. 28

The sixth edition of the Night of Ideas, an international annual event dedicated to the free circulation of ideas and knowledge and coordinated locally by the Consulate General of France in Vancouver, will be held on Jan. 28 on the theme “Close(r).” At the time when the global health crisis is limiting international gatherings and mobilities, this edition will be an opportunity to feel ‘closer’ than ever, to strengthen connections and break down boundaries, to interact with other audiences, and to celebrate thinking without borders. In Vancouver, three online events will be held, with the Vancouver Public Library and the Alliance Française in Vancouver. For more information, check out the website of the Consulate General of France in Vancouver.

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Sundance Film Festival

Jan. 28–Feb. 3

The largest independent film festival in the United States of America is going virtual this year and they have a ticket category for Canadian / International audiences to participate in the festival. Discover innovative immersive experiences and experimental visions in a less-traditional format. With the festival’s Explorer Pass, international audiences will be able to enjoy the New Frontier Program and three Indie Series programs. For more information, check out the Sundance Festival website.

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Amir Amiri Ensemble

Jan. 29, 7 p.m.

Tehran-born, Montreal-based composer/santur player Amir Amiri arrived in Canada just over two decades ago and immediately began collaborating with jazz, western classical, and avant-garde musicians, dancers and theatre artists. A sought-after performer and educator from coast to coast, Amiri beautifully interlaces traditional Persian music with diverse modern elements. The 72-stringed santur is an ancient hammered dulcimer at the very heart of Persian music. Amiri’s relationship to the instrument is spiritual, almost symbiotic, and he moves across it with meditative agility. Hypnotic melodies arc across subtly complex rhythmic patterns as Amiri calls upon centuries of tradition with an instrumental voice very fluent in the musical dialects of the here and now. Watch his and his ensemble play online courtesy of the Chan Centre.

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Whose Chinatown?

Jan. 29–May 1

“Whose Chinatown? Examining Chinatown Gazes in Art, Archives, and Collections,” brings together an art history of Chinatowns and their communities by historical and contemporary Canadian artists. Drawing from private collections in Vancouver and across Canada, the show will also be augmented with public archives and collections. Complementing the artworks, artefacts and archival materials is a robust public programming. This exhibition aims to question how narratives are constructed around the idea of Chinatown and the colonial notions that underwrite some of these relations.

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Nouvelle Japonisme: Le Samouraï (1967) and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Cinematic Japan

Feb. 1, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

French New Wave, the art film movement that emerged in the late-1950s France, had a curious obsession with Japan. Cahiers du Cinéma’s adoration of Mizoguchi Kenji, Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) to name a few. By focusing on Jean-Pierre Melville’s acclaimed 1967 film Le Samouraï, this talk by Daisuke Miyao, Professor of Japanese literature at the University of California, San Diego, examines what Melville’s allusion to the samurai seeks to signify. Despite its title, Le Samouraï is not a jidaigeki (period drama) set in Japan but a story of Jef Costello, a contract killer in Paris in the 1960s. Melville’s conception did not only exist in the context of post-World War II France but also descended from the history of Japonisme in France since the nineteenth century.

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Erika Mitsuhashi

Dance enters the digital world with Erika Mitsuhashi. | Photo by Erika Mitsuhashi

Feb. 2–6

Where are the dances right now and how do these dances want to behave/exist/interface in a digital plane? Vancouver-based dance artist Erika Mitsuhashi asks these questions through an experimental livestream experience, Making It Up: The Meeting. Playfully using a livestream video feed and DIY-sonography, Erika reveals an imaginative microcosm: a world built in isolation, where a sacred meeting ensues between a cosmic vibrant-being and their assigned flesh-being on Earth. This is complemented by Being(s) in plain site, a collection of visual and text-based reflections – part-photo essay, part-blog.

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Do you want what I have got? A craigslist cantata

Feb. 5–7

Welcome back the cast of wild and wacky characters from the Craigslist community as they attempt to buy and sell online, all the while longing and searching for human connection. Revisit one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows to come out of Vancouver in the last decade! This time with a fresh, new perspective on social isolation and live-streamed from all around The Cultch – resulting in a witty and poignant exploration of physical distancing, then and now. Returning to bring the show back to life (performing again from their individual pods) are the incredibly talented local cast: Meaghan Chenosky, Josh Epstein, Chirag Naik, Amanda Sum and Andrew Wheeler.

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Space Debris Day – Webinar

Feb. 10, 1–2 p.m.

What is space debris and why is it a potential problem? Join the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre on “Space Debris Day” for a live Zoom webinar to learn about the science and politics involved in solving this astro-environmental issue, and why it is important for us to better manage what we leave out in space. Aaron Rosengren of the University of San Diego, and Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation in Washington, D.C., will be joining the Space Centre’s Astronomer Rachel Wang and Program Coordinator Michael Unger for a fascinating discussion on space debris. To participate in the discussion and for more information, check out the Space Centre’s website.