Cultural Calendar

The coming third wave of the pandemic has forced another lockdown in B.C., which means fewer in-person events and festivals to go to. But we all know the drill: observe social distancing, go out for essentials only and enjoy events and activities from the comfort of your home. Follow the directives of the Office of the Provincial Health Officer – stay safe and have a great April!

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April 8–17

The Presentation House Theatre is livestreaming Affair of Honor’s Playthings, a thrilling, hilarious and daring tale of mortals and Gods. With the ongoing onslaught of the Trojan War, tensions between the Greek Gods come to a head. Ares and Athena, two Gods of War, vent their frustrations by playing with the lives, deaths, and sanities of two mortal Warrior-Queens. This original story flashes across eras and fight styles, providing a dazzling display of fighting prowess and ability, interspersed with the modern, lively banter of the Gods. Underneath the fiery exchanges of words and swords, the play takes a hard-hitting interrogation of what drives humanity to violence. For tickets and more information, check out the theatre’s website.

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More Than Dance, We Are A Movement

April 14–20

DanceHouse is proud to offer a new film celebrating Red Sky Performance’s 20th-anniversary story as a leading company of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide. More Than Dance, We Are A Movement contains excerpts from their award-winning work and interviews with collaborators who have participated in this remarkable journey. This film captures the creative drive of founder and Artistic Director Sandra Laronde and the exceptional artistic vision that propelled Red Sky Performance to prominence and critical acclaim. For streaming and more information, check out the DanceHouse website.

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Identity: From Holocaust to Home with Elke Babicki

April 20, 7–8:15 p.m.

What happens to a child as the offspring carrying the legacy of Nazi Germany and that of a Jewish Concentration Camp survivor? The war that should have separated the parents of Elke Babicki actually brought them together and made them rise above prejudice. In Identity: From Holocaust to Home, clinical counsellor Elke Babicki makes an unusual contribution to the literature of the Holocaust. Babicki weaves a story of survival and heroism in Nazi Germany and shows how this affects the next generations. Identity demonstrates it is not the hand we are dealt with that matters, but our resilience in the face of adversity, the ability to move forward despite. The book is for people interested in history, the Holocaust and the effects of immigration, attracting readers of bestselling memoirs and containing a spiritual component which speaks to readers who are seeking greater meaning in their life.

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Earth Day 2021

April 20–22

From April 20-22, join the world’s leaders for Earth Day 2021. Earth Day 2021 begins with a global youth climate summit, consisting of panels, speeches, discussions, and special messages with today’s youth climate activists. There will also be digital events examining climate and environmental justice, connecting the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality and the pandemic, all within a racial justice framework. World climate leaders, grassroots activists, nonprofit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers and the leaders of tomorrow will come to help push us towards a better world.

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The Crossroads of Cantemir

April 21, 7:30 p.m.

Ensemble Constantinople performs the music of Dimitrie Cantemir (1673–1723), a Moldavian prince, scholar, composer and diplomat. A fascinating historical figure, Cantemir’s compositions are considered part of the Ottoman music repertoire. More influential though are the over 350 instrumental works that he preserved in his book, Edvar-i Musiki, using his own innovative notation system, which remains as one of the most important collections of 16th and 17th century Ottoman and Middle Eastern music. To watch this online performance, check out the Early Music B.C. website.

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Playthings at Edmonton Fringe Festival 2019. Performers Elizabeth Young and Nathania Bernabe | Photo by April MacKillins Photography

National Canadian Film Day

April 21

Now in its eighth year, the National Canadian Film Day has taken root as one of the largest annual celebrations of Canadian culture. It is about giving Canadians an opportunity to gather together and celebrate the incredible achievements of our nation’s filmmakers. Every year hundreds of screenings take place on every conceivable platform and, in normal times, in every conceivable venue. There will be many streaming events on the day, including 11 original short films, dozens of screenings of Indigenious-made films and a tribute to the late Christopher Plummer. Check out their website for more information.

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Ethics of Ambiguity in Chan and Existentialism

April 22, 9–10:30 a.m.

Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies and University of Calgary professor Wendi L. Adamek will explore resonances and disparities between “doubt” as evoked in the dialectic of Buddhist Chan practice and the phenomenology of ambiguity that existentialist Simone de Beauvoir explored in her early work The Ethics of Ambiguity. Adamek will take de Beauvoir as a voice from the turning point into modernity, and amplify its resonance with voices from the Chan/Sŏn Buddhist tradition. Comparing the challenges de Beauvoir articulates with perspectives from Chan, Adamek will engage with the following perennially irresolvable postmodern questions: How might authentic grounding for ethical practice be argued while eschewing dualistic and objectifying universal propositions? Is it possible or desirable to be completely free from existential ambiguity and doubt in the world of consequential action? Or does one at best become free to make choices whose degree of skillfulness depends on the extent to which one recognizes the infinite tension of ambiguity?

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Verses Festival of Words

April 22–May 1

The Verses Festival of Words is a ten-day online festival featuring the best of slam poetry. The festival will include plenty of music and poetry, spoken word open mics, workshops and more. The festival contains several events, including Hullabaloo, a youth spoken word jamboree, masterclasses and The Canadian Individual Poetry Slam competition featuring several competing spoken word poets going head-to-head in intense matches in order to crown the slam poet champion for 2021! Check out the festival’s website for more information.

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UNION at Richmond Art Gallery

April 24–June 5

Featuring a new body of works created by interdisciplinary media artists Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber, UNION is a speculative sci-fi exhibition centred around a narrative of two beings discovering their ancestral memories through the longing for touch and the rituals practiced in their post-apocalyptic wedding ceremony. The exhibition incorporates XR, performance, sculpture, multi-channel sound and video installations. Drawing on parallels between our world and the speculative future while working through the artists’ diasporic identities, UNION is a potent critique of modern surveillance capitalism, but also a gesture towards hope through the generative possibilities of intimacy, performativity and presence.