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Where to Go Vancouver

Amy Grant

By SHERI RADFORD

Christian pop artist, Amy Grant

Christian pop artist, Amy Grant

After more than 25 years in the biz, Amy Grant is practically synonymous with Christian pop music. In addition to her string of Grammy Awards and Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, she’s one of only two Christian artists with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. See this legendary artist perform live with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Apr. 14 at the Orpheum Theatre.

Il Divo: Broadway’s Best

By SHERI RADFORD

This quartet is well-versed in making beautiful music

This international quartet is well-versed in making beautiful music together

“Some Enchanted Evening.” “Tonight.” “Memory.” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” Hear these hits from South Pacific, West Side Story, Cats, The Lion King—and more—as Il Divo brings A Musical Affair: The Greatest Songs of Broadway Live to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Apr. 10. Joining the international quartet on stage is Lea Salonga, the Tony Award–winning actress and singer. Making beautiful music together? Sounds like a winning combination to us.

Film Noir, Live

By SHERI RADFORD

Helen Lawrence is film noir like you've never seen it before. (Photo: David Cooper)

Helen Lawrence is film noir like you’ve never seen it before. (Photo: David Cooper)

To April 13

Equal parts theatre, film and visual art, Helen Lawrence uses computer-generated sets as the backdrop for a hard-boiled film noir tale set in 1948 Vancouver. Bring your favourite femme fatale—or hardworking private detective—to this world premiere. At the Stanley.

Vibrant Musical Performance

By SHERI RADFORD

Hearing and seeing the blues

It’s impossible to feel blue with this group in town

There’s no need to sing the blues when the Blue Man Group comes to town. This trio of bald, blue performers always brings on the laughs in provocative, difficult-to-define shows that push the boundaries of live theatre. What will they do next? Who knows, but it’s sure to be thought-provoking—and at least a little peculiar. Catch all the bizarre blueness Mar. 25 to 30 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Check Into the Chelsea Hotel

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Listen to the music of Leonard Cohen in a new way at Chelsea Hotel. (Photo: David Cooper)

Chelsea Hotel takes the music of Leonard Cohen and adds dance and theatre. (Photo: David Cooper)

Singer-songwriter. Poet. Novelist. Leonard Cohen’s artistry has made him a Canadian icon. Now the Firehall Arts Centre takes his haunting lyrics to the theatre stage in Chelsea Hotel (Mar. 18 to 29). Against a backdrop of music and dance, a tortured writer sifts through past and present relationships in his search for inspiration. It’s Cohen’s music in a brand new light, and a hotel that visitors won’t want to check out of.

Classes by the Glass

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Keen students raise a glass at Vancouver Urban Winery

Keen students raise a glass at Vancouver Urban Winery

March 16, April 13

Bring out your inner oenophile at Vancouver Urban Winery’s Sunday School. Intended to demystify wine, the irreverent and laid-back seminars are decidedly not stuffy—ideal for connoisseurs and the inexperienced alike. The classes feature multiple flights of wine served blind, and themes range from price to region to food pairings. This month, join experts David Stansfield and Lisa Cook as they pit their favourite wines against each other in the Sommelier Smack Down: The Rematch. Even if the seminars don’t fit your itinerary, the elegant venue is ideal for sipping selections from the tasting bar. Relax by the stone fireplace with a glass of your favourite, or—better yet—let the sommelier choose a flight of wines to sample.

Luck of the Irish

By SHERI RADFORD

You don't have to be Irish to enjoy CelticFest Vancouver. (Photo: Viatcheslav/Dreamstime.com)

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy CelticFest Vancouver. (Photo: Viatcheslav/Dreamstime.com)

Explore your heritage as the 10th annual CelticFest paints the town green from Mar. 8 to 16. Even if your ancestors didn’t hail from Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you can still join in the Celtic fun. Sample high-end whiskies at a tasting. Sing along at a concert by Ireland’s Hermitage Green. Have a rollicking good time at a ceilidh. Purchase treasures at the street market. And bring the whole family to the parade, which winds around downtown on the festival’s final day. Erin go Bragh!

Vancouver International Dance Festival

By SHERI RADFORD

China’s Guangdong Modern Dance Company. (Photo: Guilherme Rafols)

China’s Guangdong Modern Dance Company. (Photo: Guilherme Rafols)

Even (perhaps especially) those with two left feet can appreciate the skill and grace of the performers in the Vancouver International Dance Festival (Mar. 7 to 29). This annual fest showcases dancers from both around the world and around the block, including China’s Guangdong Modern Dance Company (pictured) and Germany’s Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase. Dance on!

Vancouver International Wine Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Raise a glass to French wines and bubbly at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. (Photo: ©Ljupco Smokovski/Dreamstime.com)

Raise a glass to French wines and bubbly at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. (Photo: ©Ljupco Smokovski/Dreamstime.com)

February 24 to March 2

Raise a glass: 178 wineries from 14 countries are pouring 780 wines at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. This year promises to be especially effervescent, with themes focusing on “bubbly” and France. Attend galas, seminars, gourmet dinners and international tastings, all in support of the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Perennial favourites include Wine & Food Grazings and the Vintners Brunch. We’ll drink to that.

Brent Butt: A Stand-Up Guy

By SHERI RADFORD

Canadian comedian Brent Butt takes to the stage, Mar. 6

Canadian comedian Brent Butt takes to the stage Feb. 6

Brent Butt has repeatedly been called one of the funniest Canadians ever—a bold statement, considering the True North Strong and Free also lays claim to Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd, Tommy Chong, Catherine O’Hara, Russell Peters and Eugene Levy, among many others. Butt first attracted the public’s attention with his award-winning sitcom Corner Gas. On Mar. 7, his dark comedy-thriller No Clue hits theatres. Catch his stand-up act Feb. 6 at the Vogue Theatre.

Jets & Sharks

By SHERI RADFORD

Sing along to classic songs such as "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." (Photo: ©Carol Rosegg)

Sing along to classic songs such as “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.” (Photo: ©Carol Rosegg)

February 4 to 9

It may not be easy for a Montague to fall in love with a Capulet—or a Jet to fall in love with a Shark—but it sure makes for entertaining drama. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the Tony Award–winning musical West Side Story explores the tragic love affair between Tony and Maria, who are connected to rival street gangs in 1950s New York City. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Monster Truck Mania

By SHERI RADFORD

Grave Digger roars into BC Place during the Maple Leaf Monster Jam

Grave Digger roars into BC Place during the Maple Leaf Monster Jam

Grave Digger (pictured), Northern Nightmare, Double Trouble and their gargantuan brethren roar into town Feb. 1 as the Maple Leaf Monster Jam takes over BC Place. This family-friendly evening of speed and power really puts the pedal to the metal as the trucks crush cars and perform mind-boggling stunts. Who will be this year’s master of destruction?