Cultural Calendar

Another year has gone by, and while we are all ready for this global pandemic to be over, with the rise of the Omicron variant, remember to observe provincial health measures as you celebrate the holidays with your friends and family. Have a safe and happy holiday and an amazing new year to come.

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Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures

Oct. 23, 2021–Feb. 21, 2022

If you and your family or friends are heading up to Whistler for the winter season, why not check out the Audain Art Museum’s current exhibit on Quebec painter Jean Paul Riopelle, The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures. The exhibit focuses on the artist’s engagement with Canada’s northern landscape and emblematic use of Indigenous motifs to construct highly complex paintings, prints and sculptures. On his frequent trips back to Quebec, Riopelle immersed himself in the province’s rugged northern terrain, while continuing a long held respect for contemporary and historic Indigenous art from British Columbia, Alaska, Quebec and Nunavut. The core of this exhibition and accompanying publication will examine Riopelle’s expansive production from the 1950s onward, with an emphasis on his rarely studied practice of the 1970s.

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East Van Panto: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is an amazingly funny and entertaining love letter to Commercial Drive | Photo by Emily Coooper

Nov. 24, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022

The Cultch is currently performing live in theatre and online, playwright Sonja Bennett’s East Van Panto’s Alice in Wonderland. When Alice follows the White Rabbit onto the Skytrain she finds herself lost in a Grandview-Woodlands Wonderland! Can she track down that elusive bunny and find her way home? She’ll have to keep her head, even after she meets the dastardly Queen of Hearts. Peppered with tons of East Van references throughout, this panto is an amazingly funny and entertaining love letter to Commercial Drive and liberal causes which will make you cheer for The Drive. For tickets and showtimes, please visit The Cultch’s website.

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Young, Single and Black

Premiering Dec. 5

Premiering Sunday, December 5th, 2021 on YouTube, the web series Young, Single and Black showcases six self-contained stories about Black millennials navigating love, sex, relationships and identity in Vancouver. Young, Single and Black can be characterized as a dramedy as it doesn’t stop at talking about being single but touches on mental health, divorce, sexuality, interracial dating and much more. The show features a very diverse cast of 17 and challenges tropes and stereotypes of Blackness while highlighting a need for more inclusive storytelling. Check out their channel on YouTube with the link above.

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Vancouver International Black Film Festival

Dec. 9–12

Scene from Late Spring. |Photo courtesy of The Cinématique

The inaugural Vancouver International Black Film Festival, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation will be hosting its official programming running entirely online from Dec. 9 to 12. Through films and impactful panels, this first edition promises to unite us all to celebrate Black artists who otherwise would remain invisible. The VIBFF will open with Erika Cohn’s Belly of the Beast, which tells the story of Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, which helped conceal the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. The festival will close with Ignacio Márquez’s feature film The Special, a narrative feature about a profoundly charming young man who must navigate the challenges of early adulthood with Down Syndrome as he seeks to build a life of independence from his troubled father. For a complete list of films, please check out their website.

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Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker: The Reality of a Dream

Dec. 10, 2021–Jan. 10, 2022

What is a holiday cultural calendar without at least one mention of The Nutcracker, even if it’s an online documentary? The Nutcracker is the brass ring of the ballet world, which young dancers everywhere seek to grasp on their way to the top. In the documentary “The Reality of a Dream,” five teen hopefuls prepare to participate in the biggest performance of the year, guided by prima ballerina Chan Hon Goh, their mentor at Canada’s world-renowned Goh Ballet Academy. This thrilling documentary goes behind the scenes to show what it takes to be extraordinary. The documentary will be available to stream online at the Goh Ballet’s website from Dec. 10 to Jan. 10.

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NEXT: New Dance in Development

Dec. 15, 4 p.m.

DanceHouse, 149 Arts Society and the National Arts Centre will virtually present NEXT: New Dance in Development – a residency and live stream sharing of works in progress from four emerging Canadian choreographers. All Bodies Dance Project artists romham pàdraig gallacher and Lance Lim, Shion Skye Carter, Ralph Escamillan and Zahra Shahab will livestream a 75-minute performance of their works in progress. To register to watch their livestream, check out DanceHouse’s website.

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Festive Cantatas: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.

This year, Early Music Vancouver’s Festive Cantatas features some of the most popular Christmas music of Germany in the 18th century by Johann Kuhanu and J.S. Bach. Kuhnau was cantor in the Thomaskirche of Leipzig before Bach and only recently has Kuhnau’s church music been given a bit of the attention it deserves. The quality of his work is an excellent argument for exploring more deeply the musical culture that preceded and influenced J.S. Bach. This cantata contains some of the earliest orchestral writing for natural horns and this may have inspired Bach to do the same in his cantata by the same name. Check out the Early Music Vancouver’s website for more tickets and more information.

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Christmas with Chor Leoni

Dec. 17, 18, 20

No one does Christmas like Chor Leoni, with an essential mix of holiday music to touch both the heart and the funny bone. Six brand new arrangements meet your holiday favourites, all wrapped up in the bow of guest fiddler, Cam Wilson. The spectacularly restored St. Andrew’s-Wesley United is the perfect venue to host this magical highlight of the holiday season where the soaring voices of Chor Leoni promise to fill you with comfort and joy. For tickets and more information, please check out their website.

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Hara Setsuko Centenary: The Noriko Trilogy

Dec. 23, 2021–Jan. 3, 2022

In celebration of the 100th birthday of beloved Japanese actress and icon Hara Setsuko, The Cinematheque and the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre will be presenting Ozu Yasujiro’s so-called “Noriko Trilogy,” the cycle of immortal masterworks, informally named after Hara’s onscreen counterparts, that endeared the luminous talent to movielovers the world over. Hara was one of the key architects of a new, more progressive woman in Japanese cinema. Her role in Kurosawa Akira’s first postwar film, No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) was groundbreaking in its positive portrayal of female agency over familial obligation. But it was her 12-year collaboration with Ozu Yasujiro, starting with 1949’s exquisite Late Spring, that cemented her legend and indelibly linked Hara with the nuanced, tenderhearted women she embodied in the Japanese master’s sublime domestic dramas. Check out The Cinematheque for showtimes and more information.