Cultural Calendar

Welcome to Autumn 2021 everyone. Another summer has come and gone, the Canadian federal election has just concluded and the fourth wave of COVID is going strong in parts of the country. It’s been a tiring slog, but we have to keep going, try to keep healthy and stay home if you’re feeling ill or sick. In the meantime, check out some of these events – all of these events feature outdoors, online or limited indoor venues following health guidelines. Stay safe everyone and have a great Fall season!

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Revolving: A Family Tale

Sept. 16–Nov. 27

Revolving: A Family Tale is a multimedia exhibition by Iranian-born artist Sona Safaei-Sooreh and presented by Centre A that revisits the semi-colonial history of the Iranian Oil Industry. In part, it takes the form of a comic script, printed in traditional tabloid-size newspapers, attempting to compare the story of the nationalization of the Iranian Oil Industry with present-day political affairs. For more information on the exhibit, check out the Centre A website.

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Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 2021

Sept. 21–26

Did you know the Mid-Autumn Festival goes back to the custom of moon worshiping during the Shang Dynasty, and has a history of over 3,000 years? Explore the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrating the harvest moon, family and togetherness. Wander through this world-renowned Ming-dynasty inspired garden, enveloped by live music and colourful lantern decorations. Events last between Sept. 21 and 26, and includes mooncake tasting, tea ceremony demonstrations, live music, crafts, storytelling and moon-watching with the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre. Online pre-bookings are recommended. Walk-ups will depend on space and availability.

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Sept. 21–28

RiverFest 2021 returns for its 19th year! This free week-long festival is a great way to enjoy the beginnings of fall on the New Westminster waterfront by the Quay. Since its inception, the festival has continued to grow steadily with new and exciting components that highlight and celebrate the environmental, economic and socio-cultural importance of the Fraser River. This year, the Discovery Centre is planning online workshops and a weekend of community spirit, talented performances and other family-friendly activities! For more information, check out their website.

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B.C. Culture Days

Sept. 24

Culture Days is a nationwide event celebrating and showcasing local arts and culture in Canadian communities. Traditionally held over a weekend, because of the global pandemic, Culture Days has been extended to a month-long interactive, immersive arts and culture experience happening across Canada in-person, where possible, and online. Here in Metro Vancouver, many municipalities and cultural centres will be hosting hundreds of virtual concerts, live shows, exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and more. Culture Days hopes to instill appreciation for the role artists, historians, designers and creators play in the creation of art and the enrichment of our cultural fabric.

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Come to the Cabaret: Where to Look for Cosmopolitan Egypt

Sept. 24!view/event/event_id/25174

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies will be presenting award-winning editor and translator Raphael Cormack from the University of Edinburgh to speak about Cosmopolitan Egypt. The conventional history of cosmopolitan Egypt has its traditional heroes – Lawrence Durrell, Constantine Cavafy, E.M. Forster – and is usually based in Alexandria. Cormack’s talk tells a different story of Egyptian cosmopolitanism, one that took place in Cairo’s Arabic-speaking nightclubs, theatres and music halls. Here, Egyptians, Greeks, Armenians, French and more, all came together to put on the shows that came to define this golden age of Egypt’s entertainment industry. This talk looks at some of the characters of that period and attempts to reconceptualize the image of “Cosmopolitan Egypt.”

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Mandinka Pilgrimage ft. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko, Kora

Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.

From the 12th century up to today, the Griots, known as “the Bards of West Africa,” have transmitted their music and knowledge from generation to generation through a sophisticated and unbroken oral tradition. This concert, presented by the Kay Meek Arts Centre, explores the epics of the Mandinka Kingdom, together with the griot master of the kora, Ablaye Cissoko. Montreal’s Ensemble Constantinople will support Cissoko with their signature flair to create a cosmopolitan sound that blends West Africa with Persia. For tickets and more information, check out the Early Music B.C. website.

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Haiku from the Tashme Japanese Canadian Internment Camp

Sept. 26, 4–5 p.m.

On Sept. 26, Word Vancouver will be hosting a reading that offers a window into a little-known community of poets in the midst of a dark time in Canadian history. Participants will hear selected poems by Sueko “Sam” Sameshima and Torao Takeda, written while they were incarcerated in the Tashme Japanese Canadian internment camp near Hope, B.C. during the Second World War. Beginning with a short introduction to internment camps, their haiku groups and the process of translating from Japanese to English, each poem will be read in the original Japanese, followed by an English translation. The translations were undertaken as part of a haiku history and translation project by Michiko Kihira, Jacquie Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio.

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Chapter 21

Sept. 29–Oct. 3

Chapter 21: Dance meets strength and courage in the face of adversity | Photo courtesy of Erik Zennstrom

In this dance/theatre piece choreographed by Starr Muranko and directed by Yvette Nolan, Chapter 21, being held at the Firehall Arts Centre from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, explores what happens when a vibrant, active artist comes face to face with a crippling collision of events. Chapter 21 is a reflection on the days that have come to pass, and the art of becoming. For tickets and cast information, please check out the Firehall Arts Centre website.

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Dog Without Feathers

Sept. 29–Oct. 11

Brazilian choreographer Deborah  Colker delivers a powerful work blending elements of contemporary, classical and traditional dance. Based on the poem Cão Sem Plumas (“dog without feathers”) by Brazilian writer João Cabral de  Melo Neto and enhanced by the striking images of filmmaker Cláudio Assis, this show portrays on stage the course of the Capibaribe River, where the natural habitat and the local population are threatened. Performed by 14 dancers of astonishing physicality, the choreography interweaves classical, contemporary, popular and ritual dances, set against black and white projections captured during a journey where the dance company immersed itself in the world of the Capibaribe, its mangroves and its inhabitants.

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Vancouver International Film Festival

Oct. 1–11

The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) announces its 40th edition, showcasing more than 110 feature films and events, including boundary-pushing Canadian work, adventurous East Asian cinema, inspiring documentaries, elevated genre cinema and festival favourites. The festival is being held in a hybrid format, with some films screening in cinemas and others being available throughout the province of British Columbia on the VIFF Connect streaming platform. To explore VIFF’s 2021 programming, and to purchase Single Tickets and Subscriptions, visit the festival’s website.