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Arts News

ArtWalk returns and that means more walking

As if walking weren't exciting enough, you'll soon have creative stimulation to keep up that stride. ArtWalk is returning for the eighth time from June 20 to August 31 and the Whistler Arts Council has released all the necessary dates and related information in order for you, excitable art fans, to save enough pennies for a new pair of walking shoes.

This year will feature over 50 Sea to Sky artists in over 50 galleries, restaurants, hotels and shops around Whistler, along with enough live music and live painting around the Village Stroll to keep you motivated in case you get a cramp and feel like calling it quits.

The opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. between Marketplace and Town Plaza. There will be live music from Dr. Dave, Watasun, Jon Burr and the Human Statues; live paintings by Stan Matwychuk, Laurel Terlesky, Lanu Imre, Susie Cipolla, Andy Anissimoff and graffiti artist Liks; performances by Whistler dance group Become One; children's activities like craft stations; and most importantly by far, catered food and drinks.

If all that bubbling creativity is making you antsy, there will be a sketch crawl hosted by the Whistler Life Drawing Group, where ArtWalkers can make their own sketches at various points along the stroll. For those afraid of getting lost along the way, free, guided tours by the Lady in Red will be offered. Still no word on whether she will dance with us, cheek to cheek.

A second reception has been scheduled for Thursday, July 14.

And back by popular demand, the Arts Council is bringing the Function Block pARTy back to Function Junction on Friday, August 5. There will be artisans, food vendors and a street hockey game. True to British Columbian liquor laws, there will be no drinking of booze along the block itself - which negates the purpose of a block party in our humble opinion - but there will be live music.


Rock Bar Rock Star has been discovered

After 10 long weeks, Squamish's Rock Bar Rock Star has finally been named and she's a 38-year-old mother of two who loves Neil Young.

Suzanne Baker, a craniosacral therapist, won the Squamish karaoke contest last Saturday at Chances Boardwalk Casino with renditions of "Me and Bobby McGee" and Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home." She beat out five competitors, who, Baker says, are karaoke regulars at the casino.

"I was kind of the dark horse because no one knew who I was but they knew everyone else," she says.

She admits she won on a "fluke" after winning a qualifying round two months ago during a girl's night out. She had never before sung karaoke until that night.

"They let me in at the last moment for the competition and then they said come back (for the semi-finals)," she says.

She did as she was told and beat everyone in the room for $500, a chance to perform on Mountain FM and three hours of studio time at Sound and Soul Studios in Squamish.

The studio time could be a dream come true for budget-strapped daydreaming rock star wannabes, but Baker says she has no plans to pursue a music career. Instead, she plans to use the studio time to record songs with her two children, for a little bit of fun.


Jazz fest announces workshop details

A festival is never complete without some kind of community participation and so Jazz on the Mountain, Whistler's newest festival, will be offering guitar workshops for aspiring music students.

The Master Class Series is open to 70 students across North America currently studying guitar. The six 90-minute workshops will run from September 2 to 4. The students will learn from professional jazz musicians already performing at the festival, including former The Tonight Show bandleader and artist-in-residence Kevin Eubanks; inventor of the "two-handed finger tap" Stanley Jordan; The Rippingtons guitarist Russ Freeman; guitar virtuoso Lorne Lofsky; combustible jazz-fusionist Greg Lowe; and former director of Jazz Studies at the University of Miami, Stan Samole.

The most improved students from these workshops will be selected by the instructors to perform with them in an All-Star Jazz on the Mountain At Whistler Jam, to be held on Sunday, September 4 at Village Square.

An online application must be completed by Friday, July 22 and will include a letter of reference from the applicant's music teacher and two solo recordings, which must be uploaded to complete the application.

Tuition for the Master Class series is $950 plus HST. To apply, visit

Tickets for the Master Class sessions will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Millennium Place on the day of the class, for a minimum donation of $5 to the festival's charity partner CNIB.


Take poppa to Britannia for Father's Day, OK?

It's no secret that men like sifting through silt for slivers of gold, so what better way to celebrate Father's Day than panning for gold at the Britannia Mine Museum?

The museum is hosting a Father's Day party at its new family play area while professional gold-panner Yukon Dan demonstrates how to do what he does, as if your dad didn't already know.

There will also be sack races, tug of wars, face painting and balloon twisters because nothing says, "I love you, Dad" quite like a tube-balloon giraffe.


LUNA event coordination program deadline looms

Every year since 2004, LUNA has offered a Community Events Coordination (CEC) internship where young adults learn many of the skills required for organizing and marketing an event. Up to 12 people between 18 and 35 years of age assist with LUNA's events operations and promotions for 10 months, and at the end throw an event of their very own.

Magda Kwaterska, manager of marketing and communications for the Whistler Arts Council, completed the program in 2006 and says the experience is a good way for young professionals to decide if this is a career path they'd like to venture down. Once she completed the program, she decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in communications.

"I tried to gauge whether it was events that I wanted to get into. I was really interested in it, so it did help me gauge which direction to take my career in," she says.

The program is free - always a benefit for people living in Whistler -and gives participants the opportunity to engage with and inject themselves in the community in a way that may not have been possible before. Kwaterska says her participation in the program helped her get her current position at the WAC.

"It's a 10 month program so you have to commit to it," she says, "but at the end of it, it's definitely rewarding."

Participants receive a RMOW-and-RCMP endorsed CEC certificate and receive bonus perks, including a LUNA hoodie, dinner snacks from Nesters Market, media appearances and "that tingly feeling you get from helping to make your community a better place."

Applications are due on June 19. To apply, visit .


Canada Day Parade registration deadline also looming

Parades are weird, OK?

With that said, registration for this year's Canada Day Parade is due June 24. Businesses and community groups can submit their ideas for parade floats and are encouraged to interpret this year's theme, "Our Town - Celebrating Whistler's Vibrancy, Lifestyle and Achievements," as creatively as possible.

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce states that while these entries can be as large and elaborate as people see fit, "simple and creative designs are often the most effective."

We disagree. Float designs should be as loud and cumbersome to maneuver as possible.

Anyway, the Chamber will offer prizes and bragging rights to the best interpretation of the parade's theme; most team effort, involvement and enthusiasm; best innovative approach to sustainable entry; and best musical entry.

For the record

In last week's feature, "Is Function Junction Whistler's Soho?" we stated that cultural tourism consultant Steven Thorne had recommended that the town nurture Function to become Whistler's own version of Soho in London, England.

In fact, Thorne had written in his cultural tourism report A Tapestry of Place that Function is "Whistler's SoHo," meaning SoHo in New York City. This was not made clear in his email response to Pique 's request for an interview, and we regrettably assumed he meant Soho in London.

With that said, we could have replaced all references to Soho in London with SoHo in New York and the scope of our article would not have changed. Regardless of which city Thorne was referring to, both neighbourhoods are cultural centres in world-class cities. The point of the feature was to demonstrate how Function Junction, given the time, could very well become a different type of neighbourhood than it is today if it is allowed to develop that way.

Given the nature of this mountain town, it will likely never resemble a New York or London street but instead would develop into a cultural centre completely unique to Whistler.