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Calgary Entertainment

15 things to do in Calgary in February 2019

By SHAUNA MCGINN

YYC HOT CHOCOLATE FEST
What better way to weather the season than with a whole month of celebrating everyone’s favourite winter beverage? In support of Calgary Meals on Wheels, some of the city’s best cafés, restaurants and chocolatiers will compete for the coveted title of Best Hot Chocolate. Participate by sipping sweet or savoury varieties from February 1 – 28 and helping decide which one will reign supreme.

Photo courtesy Calgary Meals on Wheels.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Celebrate with the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre at their annual event to ring in Chinese New Year. There will be live performances, a marketplace, firework displays and more from February 2 – 3. Admission is free to this great family-friendly event, where it will be time to mark the change from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.

Photo courtesy Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre.

EVEREST OPERA
This moving opera about one of the deadliest days in Mount Everest’s history is having its Canadian premiere with the Calgary Opera, and will be on the stage select dates from February 2 – 8.

CHRISTIAN DIOR
An exhibition dedicated to one of the world’s top fashion houses is coming to Calgary on February 3, and will run until June 2. Christian Dior at Glenbow is a retrospective of the fashion legend’s haute couture from 1947-1957.

LAND’S END ENSEMBLE CONCERT
The award-winning Canadian classical music ensemble is bringing a night of original music with this performance on February 8.

THE ARKELLS
The beloved indie rockers hailing from Hamilton, Ontario will be on stage at the Saddledome on February 9 with American alternative group Lord Huron.

DE.VI.ATE
Watch talented artists from the Alberta Ballet in a triple bill meant to push the boundaries of dance, art and performance. This year’s de.Vi.ate includes back-to-back spectacles: Caelestis, Futureland and A World Premiere, each blending cutting-edge choreography with modern multimedia elements for an awe-inspiring show meant to provoke artistic innovation. Watch from February 13 – 16. 

Photo by Hayna Gutierrez.

SMOKE
From February 13 – 23, watch a thought-provoking play about intimacy, love and violence from Albertan playwright Elena Belyea, put on by Downstage theatre.

THE HARPOONIST & THE AXE MURDERER
The Vancouver-based rock and blues duo are gracing the stage at the historic King Eddy hotel from February 15 – 17 for exclusive performances, as well as the recording of a live album. Head to this legendary venue for “three nights of swaggering, soul-scorching, boogie-laced blues.”

SYMPHONIC FAIRYTALES
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting a repertoire of must-listen pieces geared toward younger audiences, including Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb and Mother Goose Suite, on February 17.

SHAD
The Toronto-based rapper and former host of CBC’s Q is performing at Calgary’s Commonwealth Bar on February 19. His highly anticipated LP, Short Story About A War, was released this past October, joining his repertoire of critically acclaimed musical works like TSOL and Flying Colours. Drawing on themes of home, migration, violence, politics, the environment and more, Shad’s work further exemplifies his ability to deliver thought-provoking, socially conscious art.

Photo by Justin Broadbent.

LITTLE BIG TOWN
The award-winning American country music group are taking the stage on February 23 with their heartfelt, chart-topping tunes.

THE SCARLET LETTER
From February 26 – March 23, see the play based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, written and adapted by Phyllis Nagy and presented by Theatre Calgary.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
If you’ve been itching for a Harry Potter marathon, be sure to incorporate this incredible live experience of the second film. Watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as musicians from Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra perform the original score live. This unique way to view an all-time favourite is not to be missed. From February 28 – March 1. 

TRAILBLAZERS: ALBERTA 
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), is showcasing Alberta’s musical groundbreakers in a new exhibit. Trailblazers: Alberta makes use of video interviews, concert footage and more to showcase big names hailing from Alberta, including Tegan and Sara, Feist and Chad Kroeger. Emerging artists and their accomplishments are also featured, from country singer Lindsay Ell to The Static Shift, a trio of Calgary-based blues-rockers.

Q+A: Backstage at the High Performance Rodeo with Kelly Reay

Kelly Reay is currently the festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, but a decades-long career has seen him travel across many of Calgary’s renowned stages. (Photo courtesy of the High Performance Rodeo.)

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

Like so many performing artists before him, Kelly Reay, festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, was obsessed with storytelling from a young age. He dreamt of following his passion right to Hollywood’s doorstep, and first began working in Calgary’s theatre scene in hopes that the experience would make a perfect stepping stone to the silver screen. But an unexpected lesson learned early on later made it impossible for him to leave the stage behind.

“There is a richness and a uniqueness in this medium that you can’t achieve in any other, in film or TV,” he says. “Theatre is very much a communal experience—you’re there with this group of strangers, collecting shared experiences, and that rawness is ultimately one of the big things that drew me to theatre and made me stay. That idea of how visceral seeing a live performance is, and sharing that specific performance, on that night, with whosoever is in the audience.” (more…)

High Performance Rodeo: 6 Shows You Have to See

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

Onegin will play at the Max Bell Theatre in Calgary from Jan 5-7 and 9-13. (Photo by David Cooper.)

Looking to get out and experience the best of what Calgary’s other rodeo has to offer? Check out these high-impact performances at the High Performance Rodeo, which stampedes into town January 3-28. (more…)

25 Things To Do in Calgary in December

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

A Tribe Called Red will bring their revolutionary sound to The Palace Theatre Dec. 1. (Photo by Matt Barnes.)

For some of you, Christmas has been top of mind for the past several months—but now that we’re just weeks away, the rest of us can no longer deny: ’tis the season! To help get you and yours’ in a festive mood, here are 25 of our favourite local celebrations and holiday traditions that you can take part in to count down the days until Christmas!

(If Christmas just isn’t your cup of holiday cheer, never fear! We threw in a couple of chilly activities, sans festivities, down below for getting out around town and making the most of our city at this jolly time of year—so keep scrolling, and get ready to bundle up!) (more…)

20 Things To Do in Calgary in November

By MICHAELA RITCHIE and SILVIA PIKAL

Corb Lund comes to Calgary on Nov. 2. (Photo courtesy of Corb Lund.)

Just because the weather is quickly taking a turn for the worst here in Calgary, doesn’t mean you and yours have to be stuck inside this month! Here’s our recommendations for getting out around town and making the most of what Calgary has to offer in November: (more…)

An Insider’s Take on The “Four Letter Word” Festival

By RACHAEL FREY

(Photo: courtesy Kerry Clarke)

(Photo: courtesy Kerry Clarke)

One of the city’s biggest and most anticipated events, Calgary Folk Music Festival, is a four-day, family-friendly, cultural and musical jamboree that has been going strong for 38 years. More than 53,000 music lovers (not to mention a small staff and an army of community volunteers) take over Prince’s Island Park to revel in genre-bending music and ground-breaking collaborations. (more…)

GET TICKETS: 8 Music Festivals

By ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH

Calgary Folk Music Festival (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Calgary Folk Music Festival (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Calgary has a limited number of days when concert promoters can safely plan an outdoor music festival, so when the weather is hot and the sun is shining, the city turns into a hub for both big and small scale music festivals. Whether fans are looking to get their fix of country, hip-hop, or opera, music festivals abound all summer long. (more…)

Your Guide to Summer Festivals

By JAMES YOUNG

(Photo: Courtesy Marda Loop BRZ)

Marda Gras Street Festival (Photo: Courtesy Marda Loop BRZ)

Take advantage of the nice weather and long days this summer to explore what Calgary’s festivals have to offer. (more…)

Guess Who’s Here?

By RACHAEL FREY

(Photo: Calgary Zoo)

(Photo: courtesy Calgary Zoo)

From the island of Madagascar off the east coast of the African continent to the island of St. George in the Bow River, spritely lemurs are taking up residence in the Calgary Zoo’s brand new Land of Lemurs exhibit on July 5. The enclosure takes advantage of the wooded area at the eastern tip of the island, near the Destination Africa exhibits, so the lemurs can climb and play to their hearts’ content in the trees. Guests can enter the lemurs’ world in a barrier-free setting, and it is the only walk-through habitat of its kind in Canada. It is home to 13 lemurs of three species: ring-tailed, red-fronted, and black-and-white ruffed. (more…)

Discover GIRAF: A World of Independent Animation

Don't miss The Congress on Sat, Nov 9. Photo: Courtesy GIRAF

Don’t miss The Congress on Sat, Nov 9. Photo: Courtesy GIRAF

With a moniker as long as a certain spotted African animal’s neck, Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival, Calgary’s very cool animation event goes by GIRAF for short. Quickdraw Animation Society presents dozens of new films by the world’s top animators, November 6 – 10. The festival includes six short film packages, four feature-length movies, two visiting artists and several workshops for burgeoning animators of any skill level.

The fest’s engrossing gala screening features Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ari Folman’s live-action-meets-cartoon mashup The Congress. In his follow-up to Waltz with Bashir, Folman delivers a scathing critique of Hollywood via innovative animation. Actress Robin Wright (playing herself) agrees to have her body and voice scanned to be reanimated time and time again in future Hollywood productions, including commercial projects she had previously turned down. The film also stars Harvey Keitel, John Hamm and Paul Giamatti. The Congress screens at The Globe Cinema on Wednesday, November 6 at 7 pm.

For children of all ages, don’t miss the charming Ernest et Celestine. Based on the children’s book series by Belgian author Gabrielle Vincent, the film follows the unlikely friendship between a bear living on the fringes of bear society and an orphaned mouse he welcomes into his home. Presented in French with English subtitles, the film delighted audiences at Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival. Ernest et Celestine screens at The Globe Cinema on Saturday, November 9 at 3 pm.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.giraffest.ca

5 Top Picks for the Calgary International Film Festival

By RACHAEL FREY

The Grand Seduction kicks off CIFF Thursday, Sep 19. Photo: Marlne GŽlineau Payette  /  Max Films, courtesy CIFF

The Grand Seduction kicks off CIFF. Photo: Marlne GŽlineau Payette / Max Films, courtesy CIFF

The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) kicks off with a gala screening of The Grand Seduction (September 19, 7 pm at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium) directed by Canadian indie film icon Don McKellar. The film tells the story of a disgraced big city doctor, played by Taylor Kitsch, who ends up in a tiny Newfoundland town where the locals are determined to make him to stay. CIFF executive director Steve Schroeder calls it “one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.” (more…)

Big City Laughs: Guide to the YYComedy Festival

By ADELE BRUNNHOFER

Alternative comic Andy Kindler performs in Calgary. Photo: courtesy YYComedy Festival.

Alternative comic Andy Kindler performs in Calgary. Photo: courtesy YYComedy Festival.

Following a successful launch last year, the YYComedy Festival is back and even bigger. September 9 through 15, the festival features over 80 comics at 15 venues.

Whereas last year’s festival was largely a showcase for local talent due to its association with the Calgary 2012 Cultural Capital campaign, this year’s roster has expanded to include several big names from across North America. “It really opened the doors for us to bring in whoever we want,” says festival organizer Harry Doupe of its inaugural 2012 success. (more…)