FEBRUARY 15-24 Experience the ‘joie de vivre’ of Festival du Voyageur. This renowned 10-day winter festival held in the heart of Winnipeg’s French Quarter celebrates Manitoba’s rich francophone heritage with fiddling, jigging, ice scuplting and a beard-growing competition, all kicked off by a boisterous opening celebration (pictured). Of course, it’s not kitchen party without food. Warm up with hearty pea soup and a sip of Caribou, a traditional Québécois blend of red wine and whisky that was consumed during caribou hunts, then satisfy a sweet tooth with crêpes and maple syrup at the Sugar Shack. Voyageur (Whittier) Park, 204-233-ALLO.
JANUARY 24-27 Winnipeg’s thriving music scene is spotlighted during Big Fun, the city’s newest indie music festival. Named after the fictious band from the 1988 cult classic Heathers, Big Fun showcases a diverse line up of local bands across genres, from indie rock to hip hop. Catch performances from such buzzed-about acts as dance-rock duo Phlegm Fatale (pictured) in venues throughout the city’s historic Exchange District.
JANUARY 8 & 9 Twenty-one dancers will take the stage as Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers honours company founder and modern dance icon Rachel Browne, who passed away in 2012 at age 77. Toward Light will highlight a range of Browne’s work, including an excerpt from 1964’s Odetta’s Songs and Dances right through to her most recent piece, 2012’s Momentum. The show will then tour to Toronto and Vancouver. Shaw Performing Arts Centre, 2 Forks Market Rd, 204-947-0394.
By Louise Phillips
From left: Aaron Craven as Jack, Craig Erickson as Charles, Kwesi Ameyaw as Henry and Marsha Regis as Susan in David Mamet’s Race. Photo by Shimon Karmel
Our politically correct society abhors prejudice, especially the racial variety. We profess colour blindness in our friendships and in our hiring practices. “Employment equity,” as it’s known in Canada, attempts to compensate for past exploitation. Behind closed doors, however, racist attitudes can surface in even the most self-styled liberal…of any colour. These are a few of the issues explored in Race, staged by Mitch and Murray Productions at Studio 16 until Dec. 1.
Strong performances by its four actors and tight direction by David Mackay make the most of a David Mamet script that moves along like a game of ping-pong in which there are no winners.
Read on for more about David Mamet’s play Race »
Gait to the Spirit 2012 celebrates Indian dancing
You may know the foxtrot, the pasodoble, and heck, you may even know krunk, but what about odissi or bharata natyam? Well, thanks to the Gait to the Spirit 2012 classic Indian dance festival, you soon will. Watch renowned performers in action, including Shalini Patnaik, former choreographer for Madonna and Ricky Martin, then attend a workshop to learn how to jingle and swivel on your own.—Jennifer Patterson
Brazil’s most famous novelist, Paulo Coelho, has some not-so-common tips for travellers: forget museums and hang out in bars. “People feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that travelling was about seeking out that kind of culture”, he says, whereas popping into a local pub and striking up a conversation is the way to really get to know a place.
Renowned local chef Vikram Vij
Bhangra beats, Bollywood legends and Vancouver’s star chef Vikram Vij (pictured): it may sound like the makings of a fabulous film, but it’s actually the line-up for the Indian Summer Festival (July 5 to 15). Be one of the lucky few to taste Vij’s cooking at the Opening Gala or private Starlight Dinner; listen to the the Queen of Bollywood, Sharmila Tagore, share stories of her five decades in Indian cinema; or learn some stylin’ new Bhangra moves with local dance teams.—Jennifer Patterson
Image courtesy of Noel Zinger
With over 600 eclectic, independent and alternative shops and services to explore, it’s little wonder Old Strathcona is regarded as the place to experience Edmonton’s finest live theatre and music, boutique shopping, dining and nightlife. Read on for some of our top spots in this historical district and then visit www.oldstrathcona.ca for even more. (more…)
The fall stage season is in full swing with numerous productions—rousing, provocative, humorous and more—presented by the city’s top theatre companies. BY CRAIG MOY
Paul Gross and Kim Cattrall star in Private Lives (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)
Whether it’s a brassy, crowd-pleasing musical you’re after, or an impressive performance by a star or two, Toronto’s largest company, Mirvish Productions, has you covered with Broadway-style shows.
SEPTEMBER 16 TO OCTOBER 30 Over the decades, many talented thespians—from Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor—have stepped into the shoes of Elyot and Amanda, a divorced couple who end up honeymooning with their new spouses in the same hotel. Canadian stars Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross portray the pair in this latest, straight-from-London revival of Noël Coward’s classic comedy of manners. Glamour and decorum give way to witty impropriety as the characters rekindle old passions—and dig up past resentments. (more…)
Under the Skin photo by Donald Lee
March 11 and 12
For the first time in two decades, Vancouver-based dancer-choreographer Wen Wei Wang returned to China. The result of this trip to Wang’s homeland is Under the Skin, a full-length collaborative work between Wen Wei Dance and Beijing Modern Dance Company. It explores the common ground of cultural and personal identity shared by performers from Canada and China. See this thought-provoking show at the Vancouver Playhouse.—Sheri Radford
Colourful dishes at Sala Thai. Photo by KK Law
Vancouver’s cultural diaspora provides an abundance of flavourful options. Wood-trimmed, artifact-laden Sala Thai (pictured) obliges with an extensive menu selection, from flower-shaped minced chicken and peanut-filled dumplings to peppery Tom Yum soup and a sweet-and-sour seafood platter. Nearby, Le Crocodile is a long-running, highly acclaimed French Alsatian stalwart where chef Michel Jacob blends classic and contemporary themes. All things Italian take centre stage—including the occasional live aria—at neighbouring Don Francesco, which also happens to sport one of the city’s best wild-game menus.—Tim Pawsey
Photo by Danielle Hayes courtesy Tourism Vancouver
The 2010 Winter Games leave Canada with much to be proud of, but the unprecedented involvement of Aboriginal peoples in the staging of the Games could be our longest-lasting legacy. The Four Host First Nations Society represents the Native tribes located in the immediate Vancouver area: Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Lil’wat and Squamish. Check out the stunning Aboriginal Pavilion at West Georgia and Hamilton streets for food, arts, performances and info on Native cultures across Canada.—Kristina Urquhart