Cultural Calendar

Hopefully your January is going well and you’re warming up with hot drinks and taking in the snowy landscapes. I won’t blame you if you want to stay warm at home, amidst this cold winter, but if you do decide to go out, why not check out some of the city’s events and festivals – from cultural celebrations to captivating art exhibits, they add an extra layer of vibrancy to the chilly atmosphere. Stay safe and stay warm everyone!

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THE HEAT: An International Improv Comedy Showcase

Jan. 23–27

The Improv Centre is bringing improv troupes from around the world to perform for Vancouver audiences! Each show includes short form games, an international showcase of a visiting troupe’s unique style of improv and an “all-play.” Teams will continue to mix and mingle throughout the week during performances until closing night’s LOL-apalooza! Come enjoy improv from around the world and revel in the joy of ‘yes,’ and as the centre’s visiting players bring THE HEAT! For tickets and showtimes, check out The Improv Centre’s website.

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The Mirror: Gravity and Other Myths

Jan. 24–27, 8 p.m.

The corporeal glory of bodies, full of sweat, heat and power, forms the meat of The Mirror, the newest work from Gravity and Other Myths. The Australian company more than lives up to its title, suspending the laws of physics in order to generate a new kind of dance, infused with elements of circus, cabaret and a light spanking of kink. Offering much more than a metaphorical peek behind the curtain, The Mirror strips bare the architecture of performance itself. Scaling the heights of elegance before descending into near-Exorcist contortions, The Mirror loops in the audience for some gleeful conspiring, backstage access and a wee bit of interactivity. The feats of strength and balance are staggering enough, but in amongst the fleshy tangles of arms and legs is something more than raw spectacle. A spiritual dimension is also present, created by sheer bodily effort, it is the stuff of awe that soars towards the sublime.

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Tales of Ecuador

Jan. 24 –March 8

The UBC Liu Lobby Gallery will present a seven week-long exhibition featuring a photo-essay of conservation student and photographer Sofya Babak. In August 2023, Ecuador held an unprecedented national vote to ban oil concessions in Yasuní National Park. This win was made possible by people and for people – bringing hope for social and environmental justice. Protecting one of the most biodiverse places in the world means recognizing its intrinsic value, but it also means protecting vulnerable communities in the region and around the world. It means preventing and mitigating the consequences of deforestation and mining pollution. Within and beyond Amazonian rainforests – Ecuador continues to fight for conservation and social change. To share some of these stories, this exhibition showcases photographs from the Yasuní Biodiversity Research Station, as well as grassroots movements from three other different ecosystems of Ecuador.

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Pacific Agriculture Show

Jan. 25–27

The Pacific Agriculture Show will showcase the latest and most innovative equipment and technology available for use in the agriculture industry. Join thousands of farmers and agri-food producers in comparing and investigating what over 300 exhibitors offer to enhance food production. B.C.’s agriculture industry is unique in its diversity and the show attracts an attendance from all the livestock and horticulture sectors including: dairy, cattle, poultry, equine, hogs, llamas, alpacas, to vegetable, berry, grape, bulb, ornamentals, hothouse, flower and shrub growing and more.

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Lunar New Year Family Celebration

Jan. 27, 12 noon–3 p.m.

Celebrate Lunar New Year with the folks at Coquitlam Heritage at Mackin House on Jan. 27, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Learn about Lunar New Year traditions through stories and songs with Yuto Books, with story time sessions available throughout the day in three different languages (English, Mandarin, Cantonese). They will have English and Chinese books available from Yuto Books for browsing, as well as books in other Asian languages from the Coquitlam Public Library. There will be crafts and art activities available throughout the whole day, along with traditional new year snacks and drinks. There will also be an opportunity for you to have a Lunar New Year photo professionally taken at their photoshoot station decked out in traditional decorations and displays.

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Intersecting Orbits: Michael Morris and Joan Balzar

Jan. 27–May 5

Maureen Gruben. | Photo courtesy of Contemporary Art Gallery.

Joan Balzar (1928–2016) and Michael Morris (1942–2022) were foundational to the development of abstraction and conceptualism in British Columbia. To be within their orbit was to be part of a movement which shaped and internationalized regional visual art in the 1960s and 70s, and went on to become enduringly echoed and quoted. Intersecting Orbits presents works by both artists and from Morris’s collection and archive. A generation apart in age, Balzar and Morris studied with the same painters at the Vancouver School of Art. They achieved early success in the later 1960s, with expansively scaled, hard-edge abstract paintings and later, their conceptual explorations. Morris oversaw an art collection that forms a personal, yet important legacy of overlapping histories in Western Canadian contemporary art. The exhibit presents the art, archives and collections of Morris and Balzar to celebrate their converging influence on conceptualism on the West Coast.

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America’s Strategic Challenge of a Warmer Arctic Region

Jan. 29, 4–5:30 p.m.

The Arctic, home to more than four million people in eight countries, is undergoing a dramatic transformation due to climate change, with significant impacts on ecosystems, infrastructure, and livelihoods. As the Arctic warms, it will become more accessible for shipping, mining, energy development, fishing, tourism, and other human activities. It also poses new security risks for the United States and Canada. Recognizing the Arctic’s strategic importance, the Biden-Harris administration released a new National Strategy for the Arctic Region in October 2022. The U.S. Strategy addresses security, climate change and environmental protection, sustainable economic development, and international cooperation and governance. Join SFU on Jan. 29 for the next installment of Consular Conversations with Jim DeHart, Consul General for the United States of America, as he addresses the international challenges associated with a rapidly changing Arctic region.

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Contemporary Art Gallery’s February Exhibits

Feb. 2–May 5

The Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) will be presenting two exhibits starting in February: Diane Severin Nguyen’s “If I hadn’t created my own world, I would have died in someone else’s” and Maureen Gruben’s “The land that used to be.” Photographer Nguyen’s work depicts characters driven to express the enigmatic truths of their existence. Faced with the stultifying effects of historical trauma and the ungraspable nature of intergenerational memory, it explores her protagonists’ struggle to realize their agency in the present. Multimedia artist Gruben’s work balances the vastness of tundra with the scales at which its inhabitants live with it. Engaging traditional materials, techniques and knowledge alongside the detritus of modern life, Gruben places global ecological crisis in conversation with local Inuvialuit ingenuity, exploring the persistence of this ingenuity from past to present to future.

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Feb. 1–4

Long before Disney’s Cinderella, there was French composer Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet’s Cendrillon. Based on Charles Perrault’s 1698 version of the classic fairy tale, Cendrillon finds our titular hero, whose real name is Lucette, aching to go to the ball. With the help of some magic, she is whisked away on a carriage and transformed into an unknown beauty. Will true love prevail before the stroke of midnight? Check out the Chan Centre’s website for tickets, showtimes and more information.

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Celebrating Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America

Feb. 2, 6–7:30 p.m.

SFU will welcome Adrian De Leon as the Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History and celebrate the publication of his first scholarly book, Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America. In Bundok, De Leon focuses attention on the hinterlands of North Luzon and its Indigenous people, who have been in the crosshairs of imperial and capitalist extraction since the late eighteenth century. Combining the breadth of global history with the intimacy of biography, Bundok follows the people of Northern Luzon across space and time, advancing a new vision of the United States’ Pacific empire that begins with the natives and migrants who were at the heart of colonialism and its everyday undoing. From the emergence of Luzon’s eighteenth-century tobacco industry and the Hawaii Sugar Planters’ Association’s documentation of workers to the movement of people and ideas across the Suez Canal and the stories of Filipino farmworkers in the American West, De Leon traces “the Filipino” as a racial category emerging from the labor, subjugation, archiving, and resistance of native people. De Leon’s imaginatively constructed archive yields a sweeping history that promises to reshape our understanding of race making in the Pacific world.