Cultural Calendar

Family Day, Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year all happen this month, which would normally mean there’d be lots of events and festivals happening. But, since this is 2021 and the world is still in a pandemic… well, let’s just say there are still a lot of online events and activities to check out. Stay warm and stay safe everyone!

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Powell River Online Film Festival

Feb. 5–16

This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Powell River Film Festival and the first festival online, continuing to bring the best of international, Canadian and locally produced films to Powell River and British Columbia. Check out a documentary about plastic pollution, a drama about living under a repressive governmental regime and the sequel to the award-winning documentary, The Corporation. For more details about these and other films playing at the festival, check out their website.

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Un/settled: Reading Black Women, Art, Poetry and Place

Feb. 10, 7–8 p.m.

Join artist-writer Chantal Gibson, poet Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, and SFU librarian Ebony Magnus for a night of readings and reflection, as they discuss un/settled, the towering, photo-poetic art installation at the corner of Hastings and Richards that drapes Black womanhood over 240 square feet of SFU Belzberg Library’s street-front windows. In conversation, the panelists will consider what it means to centre Black bodies in the downtown landscape, and to reimagine how spaces closed by the pandemic can open dialogues about justice, solidarity and the beauty of Black lives.

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Shadow Buffet at Museum of Vancouver

Opening Feb. 12

The Museum of Vancouver will be unveiling Shadow Buffet in Gallery 11 on Feb. 12. The installation features a series of round, plate-shaped paper food suspended from the ceiling just above eye level, hovering over a long white table. Each piece is top-lit so that its shadow – a collection of food items – is cast onto the tabletop below. These paper cut-outs not only reference food, they connect to moments and places associated with the experience of eating. By inviting audiences to take on an active role in creating their own cut-outs and animating the work, these immersive environments explore audience/performer relationships and the opportunity for interplay between the two. By combining multiple hand-held light sources, the artists and their public audiences animate the artwork, playing with the size, scale and intensity of the layered shadows.

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Chinese Shadow Puppetry Workshops

Feb. 15 & 21, 1–3 p.m.

Did you know Chinese shadow puppetry dates back more than a thousand years? Through a trick of the light, this ancient practice can pique your curiosity, promote cultural values and entertain whole communities. Embrace a time-honoured artform this Lunar New Year – join theatre and puppetry artist Annie Katsura Rollins at the Gateway Theatre’s online workshop to discover magic in the shadows. Uncover the mysteries of this ancient artform. With Rollins as your guide, you’ll learn about the origins of Chinese shadow puppetry, discover how these extraordinary puppets are made and catch a glimpse of their intricate details up-close.

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Body and Soul

Feb. 17–23

DanceHouse will present the online Canadian premiere of Body and Soul, choreographed by Vancouver’s Crystal Pite and performed by the Paris Opera Ballet. A work in three distinct parts, the show articulates Pite’s ongoing fascination with conflict, connectedness and the embodiment of the human spirit. The performance begins with voice-over text that describes, in purely physical terms, a scene of conflict between two individuals. As the performance progresses, the script’s meaning morphs and deepens with each iteration: conflict creates a vital, compelling tension between individuals, between groups, between species. The company’s mastery as an ensemble is evident in Pite’s complex choreographic swarms; individual dancers are virtuosic in breathtaking solos and duets. The dancers evoke scenes of epic protest, profound personal struggle and collective survival.

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NASA Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

Perseverance will land at the Jezero Crater on Mars on Feb. 18. | Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Feb. 18

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis. Perseverance will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. Watch Perseverance touch down on the surface of Mars on a live broadcast on Feb. 18. Check out NASA’s website for more information.

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Feb. 18–24

Beneath layers of identity, can blood equal belonging? What of our culture lives within us, and how much is determined by our upbringing? If a part of your identity has never been nurtured, do attempts to rekindle it amount to appropriation? Seeking answers to these questions, our gender-questioning and mixed-race protagonist, Max, meets the famed Mz Nancy, our host for the night. Witty and glamorous, Nancy seems to have an answer for everything… but, as Max discovers, things are never black and white. This boundary-pushing, bouffon-inspired work explores what it means to be mixed-race and Black in the world today. Using bold risks, sharp comedy and African mythology, Mx cracks open struggles of identity and belonging through the lens of a character stuck in the in-between. Streaming online from The Cultch from Feb. 18–24.

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Winter Jazz

Live Streaming Feb. 19–21

The Coastal Jazz and Blues Society will be hosting Winter Jazz, the annual free celebration at Performance Works on Granville Island. This year’s edition takes place Feb. 19, 20 and 21, as live-streamed, online performances. In the tradition of Winter Jazz festivals past, events will be available free of charge. The schedule of performances includes two evening concerts and four daytime presentations. Check out the Coastal Jazz’s website for more times and more information.

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Feb. 20, 8 p.m.

L’Amant (The Lover) by French author Marguerite Duras was published in 1984 and won the Prix Goncourt that same year, and the Ritz-Paris-Hemingway award in 1986. This autobiographical fiction tells the story in the form of a voyage into the author’s memory, her adolescence in French Indochina. The decline of the French Empire is the backdrop to this tale of passion between a 15-year old girl and a man from north China. Actress Anaïs Pellin brings us fragments of the novel by Duras, the story of an ambiguous passion and a wrenching family destiny. Le Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver will be hosting a live-streamed on Feb. 20. Check out the website for tickets and more information.