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What to See Vancouver

Seasonal Magic at the Vancouver Christmas Market

By CHLOË LAI

Carousel rides, candied apples and craft brews make for a classic Vancouver Christmas.

To Dec. 24, 2017 Nothing is quite as merry and bright as the Vancouver Christmas Market, brimming with unique gifts, festive foods and live entertainment. New this year is Canada’s first Walk-In Christmas Tree: visitors can step inside to find themselves surrounded by thousands of dazzling lights.

City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism

By SHERI RADFORD

Photo by Bill Keay/Vancouver Sun

To Feb. 18, 2018 Vancouverites are often portrayed as a laid-back bunch, more concerned with yoga and 420 than with anything “real.” We do, however, get riled up for worthy causes on occasion—and not just when our hockey team loses. City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism at the Museum of Vancouver explores our history of protest movements, from race riots in the early 1900s to the Occupy movement to last year’s demonstrations against oil pipelines. Hundreds of photos from the archives of two local newspapers, along with short films and large digital projections, document how locals have rallied for change over the last century.

Miraj Hammam Spa: A Steamy Affair

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Nov. 2017

Ready, set, rejuvenate.

Perhaps it’s the billowing clouds of steam or the mosaic-tiled hammam, but a trip to Miraj Hammam Spa is truly transportive. Upon arrival at this traditional Middle Eastern steam sauna, don a batik sarong and check your modesty along with your street clothes. Retreat to the hammam chamber, where steam envelops spa-goers to release toxins and stimulate the senses. Next, the gommage: recline on a slab of Jerusalem gold marble while the therapist scrubs your body with black Moroccan soap. Not ready to leave this steamy oasis? Indulge in a facial or massage, then relax in the Sultana Lounge and nibble Middle Eastern sweets. A truly regal retreat.

Making Moves: Dance In Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

In “Dialogue,” Wen Wei Dance performers make all the right moves. (Photo by Chris Randle)

Nov. 22 to 25, 2017 There are no missteps at Dance In Vancouver. This biennial celebration of BC’s best and boldest contemporary choreographers moves purposefully through a labyrinth of human experiences. Explore the primal need for connection in works like Wen Wei Dance’s powerful Dialogue (pictured), or gaze up in awe at the gravity-defying aerial choreography of Aeriosa’s Second Nature. Dancers from nearly a dozen companies do all the work, but you’re the one who’ll be moved.

Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Fluorescent Ring on Purple” by Jeremy Hof. (Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid)

To Jan. 1, 2017 When it comes to paintings, two perspectives are better than one. Which is why the Vancouver Art Gallery explores two diverse approaches in Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting. One strategy focuses on the idea or concept behind the work, while the other values the actions that go into its creation. See works by modern masters, including “doers” such as John Kissick and Sandra Meigs, and “thinkers” like Ron Terada and Jeremy Hof (“Fluorescent Ring on Purple,” pictured). Not two of a kind, but certainly twice as nice.

Excellent Exhibit: Emily Carr, Ted Harrison & more

By CHLOË LAI

“Gunderson Farm” by Ted Harrison. (Photo courtesy Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

Nov. 2 to 30, 2017 Ask a dozen people to pinpoint the true essence of Canada, and you’re likely to get 12 different answers—in a country this vast, there’s a lot to love. Need a starting point? Check out the Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s Fine Canadian Art/Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art. It’s a continent’s worth of work by national favourites. Discover the many colours of Canada, from Emily Carr’s iconic landscapes to Ted Harrison’s playful acrylic-on-canvas celebrations of everyday life in the Yukon (“Gunderson Farm,” pictured).

The Beautiful Brain: Art by a Nobel Prize-winning Neuroscientist

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Brainbow” by Jeff Lichtman, Joshua Sanes and Jean Livet.

To Dec. 3, 2017 It’s the thought that counts at Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. The gallery features The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, an exhibit of works by the Nobel Prize–winning Spanish neuroscientist, who is famed for discovering neuron cells. Learn how the brain works in 80 of Ramón y Cajal’s thought-provoking medical illustrations, alongside neuroscience imagery by contemporary scientists (“Brainbow,” pictured). Brilliant and beautiful.

Equinox Gallery: New Works

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Day Residue” by Ben Reeves. (Photo courtesy the artist and Equinox Gallery)

Oct. 20 to Nov. 25, 2017 On the palette, paint is…well, simply paint. But on the canvas, it becomes much more. That duality is what interests Vancouverite Ben Reeves. The local artist explores both the physicality of paint—whether a blob, splash or smear—and what it means when paired with other bold brushstrokes. Discover his lush, colour-drenched world with recent paintings such as “Day Residue (Blue Ebb)” (pictured) in New Works at Equinox Gallery.

Review: Thanks for Giving

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2017

Caacumh – Aaron M. Wells, Tom McBeath, Deneh’Cho Thompson, Leslie Dos Remedies, Tai Amy Grumman and Margo Kane in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Like many Thanksgiving feasts, this one is stuffed a bit too full for comfort, though it does ultimately satisfy. Written and directed by Governor General’s Award–winner Kevin Loring, Thanks for Giving tells the story of Nan (Margo Kane) and her family. Nan is a First Nations woman whose second husband, Clifford (Tom McBeath), is a white man and avid hunter who never even attempts to understand the issues facing Indigenous people. Nan’s daughter, Sue (Andrea Menard), battles addiction and pain of both the physical and physiological varieties. Nan’s grandchildren John (caacumhi – Aaron M. Wells), Clayton (Deneh’Cho Thompson) and Marie (Tai Amy Grauman) each have their own demons to face. Also taking a place at the strife-filled Thanksgiving table is Sam (Leslie Dos Remedios), Marie’s lesbian lover who is posing as her roommate.

Shyama-Priya and Tom McBeath in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The action kicks off with Clifford shooting a bear, an act that has repercussions both in the family and in the greater world, as Clifford ultimately faces prison time and a fine substantial enough to bankrupt the family. The first act takes place during one long Thanksgiving dinner full of drama and revealed secrets, while the second act skips through the following years. Throughout the two-hour run time, the play examines issues relating to the treatment of Indigenous people, Native storytelling traditions, the lingering effects of intergenerational trauma, homosexuality, family secrets, addiction, violence, colonialism and more—a lot to swallow, indeed. Thanks for Giving is at its best when showing small, relatable family interactions, especially involving the stellar Margo Kane, whose deadpan delivery garners huge laughs, and her on-stage husband, Tom McBeath. But the play falters when it veers into lecture territory, in particular one long diatribe delivered by Tai Amy Grauman over the dinner table, which feels like it was lifted directly from a university textbook. Despite these flaws, the play is such an enjoyable meal overall that it might even be worth a second helping.

Margo Kane and Tom McBeath in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The world premiere of Thanks for Giving runs until Nov. 4 on the Granville Island Stage.

Deer Lake Gallery: Horror Vacui

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Find pieces by artists like Mallory Donen at the Horror Vacui exhibit.

Oct. 7 to 28, 2017 Do empty spaces give you the creeps? Deer Lake Gallery has the cure: the exhibit Horror Vacui. The art principle—also a fear, called kenophobia—takes an aversion to white space and fills the void with visually busy, dynamic art that encompasses the entire canvas. Meditative and time-consuming, these works demonstrate intense attention to detail through mark-making and repetition. Take in a collaborative mural, plus drawings, sculptures and paintings by artists such as Mallory Donen (pictured).

Art: Masters of the Northwest Coast

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Get a glimpse of something truly spectacular at the Masters of the Northwest Coast exhibit.

To Sep. 30, 2017 There’s no denying that the Pacific Northwest is easy on the eyes. There are stunning coastlines, majestic mountains and, of course, eye-catching First Nations art. To see works by some of the best Indigenous artists in the West, head to Douglas Reynolds Gallery for Masters of the Northwest Coast. The exhibit features masks, sculptures, jewellery, carvings and more by famed artists like Bill Reid, Beau Dick and Robert Davidson. Pure eye candy.

Schmooze with Sea Lions

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

It’s always a roarin’ good time at Steller’s Bay. (Photo: Vancouver Aquarium)

Looking to meet some locals? Then head to the Vancouver Aquarium for an introduction to some of the most sociable West Coasters around: Steller sea lions. Like any true local, they love seafood, sunbathing and ocean swims. Find them enjoying all their favourite things at Steller’s Bay, the Aquarium’s latest exhibit. Not only is it the perfect place to meet and greet these charismatic creatures, but it’s also an active research station that helps scientists understand why wild Steller sea lions are disappearing. We can’t think of a better reason to get up close and personal.