The third and final edition of Vancouver 2010’s Cultural Olympiad festivals will start on 22 January 2010 and run throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, concluding on 21 March. The extensive programme will include more than 600 ticketed and free performances and exhibitions in 60 venues in Metro Vancouver and British Columbia’s Sea to Sky corridor.
The shows announced today join the 55 Cultural Olympiad projects previously announced for 2010, including highlights such as The Blue Dragon/Le Dragon Bleu by Robert Lepage, Delusions by Laurie Anderson, Moon Water by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Chinese Taipei, and Tundra Songs by the Kronos Quartet featuring Tanya Tagaq.
If a theme can be applied to this diverse mix of artists, it is collaboration and connection between iconic artists with up-and-coming musicians. On 23 January, country and rock musician Steve Earle pays tribute to an equally gifted songwriter in Townes Van Zandt, with Canadian alt-pop crooner Joel Plaskett opening. In Hal Willner’s Neil Young Project, Willner uses Broken Social Scene, Joan as Policewoman, Ron Sexsmith, and Iron and Wine to illuminate the hits and obscurities from Young’s massive catalogue of work. The music list is rounded out by Juno-nominated breakout Canadian band Stars, known for its atmospheric, literary pop; the Hilario Duran Latin Jazz Band, led by a man who learned his craft at the centre of Cuba’s vibrant Latin jazz scene, performing with saxophonist Jane Bunnett, pianist Phil Dwyer and master percussionist Changuito — all band leaders and international jazz icons in their own right; and the double-bill of K’Naan (a young Somali-Canadian rapper) and Tinariwen (a collective of poet-guitarists that has rocked the south Saharan since the late 1970s).
Spain’s María Pagés, lauded for her development of modern flamenco, reveals her Flamenco Republic at the Orpheum, while the Spirit of Uganda, a company of 22 young artists orphaned by AIDS or civil war, brings their uplifting and spirited East African dance and music to Canada for the first time. Go down the rabbit hole in Alice and Other Heroes, where Daniel Janke’s Whitehorse-based ensemble plays a live score for a series of short films, including vignettes from the animated classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For a taste of something closer to home, the National Arts Centre does the country and its more than 30 million inhabitants proud with Made in Canada, a concert celebrating the rich cultural landscape of the Great White North through music, dance and song.
Step back in time and view a Vancouver Island Aboriginal family’s history and stories through beautifully painted ceremonial curtains in Backstory: Nuu-chah-nulth Ceremonial Curtains and the Work of Ki-Ke-In, or watch cutting-edge videos and films by some of the world’s best visual artists on a huge screen on the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Robson Street façade during CUE. For a unique meld of avant-garde music and art with a personal twist supplied by the audience, seek out Metcalfe/Lewis: Ikons. In a forest walk like no other, be entranced by the provocative sculptures of Vancouver’s Eric Metcalfe while listening to a composition of acoustic sounds by New York-based trombonist George Lewis. The forest and music respond to the actions of the people around it. Get lost and found again in Tracing Night, Ed Pien’s maze-like installation that turns day into night, using fanciful creatures pulled from Chinese and Inuit mythology to confront uncertainty and fear.
For digital innovation, look no further than CODE Live, an 18-day event that is part of CODE, the Cultural Olympiad’s digital edition. It will showcase a diverse range of works fuelled by digital technology and audience interaction. The exhibitions and performances are in venues around Vancouver and most are free.
About the Cultural Olympiad
The Cultural Olympiad is a series of multidisciplinary festivals and digital programmes showcasing the best in Canadian and international arts and popular culture. Launched in 2008, the programme culminates in the 60-day Cultural Olympiad 2010 (22 January to 21 March 2010), which begins before and continues throughout the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. CODE is the Cultural Olympiad’s digital edition, a series of programmes developed to creatively engage national and global audiences through the use of digital technology.