Harmony Arts Festival
The oceanside festival is renowned for its blocks-long art market, outdoor screenings of classic films and free concerts — this year by the likes of folk hero Valdy, Cajun bluegrass party The Paperboys, blues funk doyenne Dawn Pemberton and many others. New this year is the public art installation Home/Shelter/Belonging, a series of photographs by Syrian Hani Al Moulia — who, incredibly, is legally blind — depicting everyday life in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The vivid images are displayed in a Better Shelter emergency structure — living quarters that are sturdier than a tent but inexpensive and light, developed by the United Nations and the IKEA Foundation.
(West Vancouver: Aug. 4 - 13)
Gayblevision & Friends Video Screening
Before Sunday’s hugely popular Pride Parade and Festival at Sunset Beach, and Friday’s raucous Davie Street Party, there’s this classy soirée on Thursday. Sip Pink Dream cocktails while taking in queer video from VIVO’s archive, including excerpts from Vancouver's 1980's Gayblevision TV series, along with recent works by Vancouver artists Thirza Cuthand, Jae Woo Kang, Kristin Li, and Clark Nicolai.
(Vancouver: Aug. 3)
Powell Street Festival
Canada's largest Japanese festival is packed with performances and activities. Japan's Ensemble Liberta plays traditional instruments, Australia's George & Noriko blend guitar-blues with the lilt of the shamisen, and six taiko drum groups bring fresh approaches to an ancient art form. Along with jazz groups and choirs, sumo wrestlers, acrobats, karate experts, dancers, live calligraphers, and theatre troupes, you can also take in a couple of intriguing talks: Asato Ikea discusses wakashu, Japan's "third gender" frequently depicted in 17th and 18th century art, and Harvard professor emeritus Jay Rubin speaks of the challenges and discoveries of translating the iconic novels of Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84).
(Vancouver: Aug. 5 - 6)
Film noir fans can escape into the dark realms of 11 classics during The Cinematheque’s annual festival. This year’s line-up includes such icons of the genre as The Maltese Falcon, Kiss Me Deadly and Double Indemnity. But it’s not all hardboiled and cynical: opening night is a "courtyard wingding" with craft beer and DJs.
(Vancouver: Aug. 3 - 24)
Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts
Organizers of this event say it's Canada's only festival focused on performing arts by South Asians — even though South Asians are the largest visible minority group in the country. The second annual fest includes the acclaimed one-woman play Burq Off! by British-Pakistani actress Nadia Manor at The Cultch, the Indian classical dance drama Malaviya performed by Vancouver's Nrityenakatha, an evening of spoken word readings, and an improv workshop.
(Vancouver and Surrey: Aug. 6 - 13)
Vancouver Mural Festival
Celebrate 60 new murals in Mount Pleasant and Strathcona at a street party August 12, that will see five blocks of Main Street closed to traffic. Performers include pop-rockers Yukon Blonde, alt-country singer-songwriter Louise Burns, and disco DJs at an alleyway market. The five-day event also features an exhibition opening at Burrard Arts Foundation, club concerts, and the Painters Prom: "live art, dress-up paint-splatter glamour, and more murals-are-done mayhem" at the Beaumont Studios.
(Vancouver: Aug. 7 - 12)
50 Canadian Things
Author Jane Urquhart's 150th birthday gift to Canada is a collection of stories about 50 objects associated with Canada. Her book, A Number of Things, is the inspiration for this exhibition, featuring 50 Sunshine Coast artists, each of whom created a work inspired by an object in the book — which include a Nobel Peace Prize medal, a shoe that belonged to Emily Carr, and the rope said to have hanged Louis Riel. Urquhart will see the show when she visits Sunshine Coast Art Centre to read from the book, Aug. 10.
(Sechelt: opening reception Aug. 6; show runs through Aug. 20)