The Olympics are fast approaching but you didn’t have the foresight to score cheap tickets, heck you don’t even have the cheery red mittens. But you aren’t a curmudgeon, you like the idea that Vancouver is going to be hopping with energy in a matter of weeks. So what can you do to join the revelry beyond watching CBC at home? Lots. Thanks to the Cultural Olympiad there is no shortage of boisterous fun on its way:
Hawksley Workman’s new album Meat is full of eccentric, gritty devilishness. Pair that with his new digital album Milk, which is being released song by song over a 5 month period, and you have a lot of new material to add to his epic library of original song-writing. If you can’t get over to Victoria for March 6 (for some reason his tour bypasses Vancouver on this leg), check out one of his two free performances during the Games: February 16 at Whistler Live! and February 17 at Richmond’s O Zone (which by the way has a juicy line-up of free programming; think Wintersleep, Tokyo Police Club, Hey Ocean, Bedouin Soundclash and Kathleen Edwards to name a few more).
The Orpheum will be humming with grandiose talent. My picks include Feist and Hall Willner’s Neil Young Project (a host of special guests including members of Broken Social Scene and Iron and Wine with Lou Reed and Ron Sexsmith).
LiveCity Downtown (Georgia & Cambie) and Yaletown (David Lam Park) are two additional ways to soak it up freestyle. In addition to watching televised sporting coverage on a grand scale, each evening will feature live entertainment at the two locations. My top picks are Wilco (Feb 13). Mother Mother (Feb 14), Coeur de Pirate (Feb 20) and Wintersleep (Feb 23) – all at David Lam Park.
Out of breath yet? That is just the tip of the music offerings. In the performing arts the door is blown wide open by the little festival that could, the PuSh Festival. Macabre, boundary-pushing, zany – PuSh programming always has something for every discerning quirkster. Check out Jerk, So Percussion and The Show Must Go On.
And it is no coincidence that the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Leonardo da Vinci drawings show (The Mechanics of Man) happens to open just in time for the February-March blitz. Thirty-four of Leonardo’s pen and ink anatomical drawings will be on display, while upstairs Visceral Bodies will showcase contemporary artists who also examine the human body through a scientific lens. Looks like the gallery is going to extend hours nightly to 9pm and offer free admission during the games. While Michael Lin’s A Modest Veil has taken over the Georgia Street side of the building, the Robson Street facade features Cue, with more than 80 video art titles screened for passersby.
With this saturated artistic buffet, maybe it will lessen the sting that hockey games are not on my menu. In the meantime, I think I will still cling to the hope that I win a last minute ticket contest.
* Pictured is a mock-up of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Vectorial Elevation. Starting on February 4th, 20 robotic searchlights will illuminate the city’s sky and English Bay. The designs created by the searchlights will be controlled by audience participation from around the world via internet.
P.S. for more free events in and around Vancouver check out City Caucus