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Arts News

Buy tickets to the writer’s festival right now

So the Whistler Readers & Writers Festival is happening next week from Friday, Oct. 14 to Sunday, Oct. 16. This is a good thing for Whistler because, although it doesn't have a rich literary culture, we're celebrating what we do have, which is a spirited and enthusiastic community of writers with something legit to offer.

But despite all this, ticket sales for this year's festival are a bit low. The Festival includes some high profile authors and some of its most interesting workshops yet. Here are some of the festival highlights so you, the good people of Whistler, can jump on some tickets in order to ensure the festival's returns next year:

- Opening Night Gala, Friday, 8 p.m.: the Opening Night Gala will include readings from bestselling author Miriam Toews, whose 2004 A Complicated Kindness was a regular fixture on "Staff Picks" lists in bookstores all over the country for years. Authors Madeline Sonik, Antanas Sileika, John Glenday, Angie Abdou, Randy Boyagoda and Sarah Selecky. If you've only heard of two of these writers, let us assure you they're worth your time. Stephen Vogler, who all Whistler locals have probably heard of by now, will moderate the evening. Admission: $20.

- Getting Past the fear, Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: Yes, it's a bit early for a weekend but this workshop with Madeline Sonik, will offer aid to writers and amateur writers alike in how to use real life stories in your writing. Admission: $25.

- Why Fiction Matters, Saturday, 9 a.m.: This panel discussion will include writers Antanas Sileika and Randy Boyagoda touching on, well, why fiction matters. Admissions: $25.

- How to Create and Push Around Your Characters, Saturday, 1:15 p.m.: Angie Abdou will offer advice on how to get aggressive with stubborn and stereotypical characters. Admission: $25

- Creative 5 Eclectic, Saturday, 8 p.m.: Stephen Vogler's open mic, beat poetry concept will include special guest Barbara Adler. Admission: $10.

- Lit Grit Tribute Breakfast, Sunday, 10 a.m.: Miriam Toews, Wayne Johnston and 2011 Whistler Writer-in-Residence Sarah Selecky discuss their careers over breakfast and readings with moderator Andreas Schroede. Admission: $35.

- PechaKucha, Sunday, 8 p.m. : Whistler's latest (sort of) craze returns to Maxx Fish. A mix of show and tell and open mic, 10 speakers will show 20 slides in six minutes and 40 seconds, touching on topics from architecture, to sculpture, to Poo Font (guess who that is). Admission: $10.

This is only a portion of what will be offered over the weekend. For more information, visit


Whistler Exposed launches 2012 calendar

Do you like slender women in bikinis? Do you like raising money for a good cause? Do you like calendars?

Then come on down to the 2012 Whistler Exposed Bikini Calendar launch at Tommy Africa's tonight (Oct. 6) where all the models will be present for autographs as well. Last year the calendar raised $10,000 for the Canadian Spinal Cord Research Organization and organizers hope to meet or beat that this year.

Body-painted models will also serve hors d'oeuvres (pronounced or-derves , FYI). Everyone's asked to "dress to impress," which I think means "scantily" for the women, given the theme of the evening, and "anything with a collar" for the men, because, let's face it, Whistler's anything but impressively fashionable. Just sayin'.

Goooooooo bikini calendars!

Ali Milner nails Cover Me Canada

Ali Milner, Whistler's favourite redhead, effectively killed it on Sunday night's Cover Me Canada.

Based on the judge's reactions alone, her performance was one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of the evening for covering the Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm."

Milner swapped the morose balladry of the original for a more uplifting country-tinged, um, ballad that, as usual, showcased her oh-so-sultry vocals that had the judges buzzing.

"Best remake of the night, if you ask me," said judge Jordan McKnight. "It's such a hard song to interpret and you did it so, so well, it put me in a trance."

"You made a believer out of me with that song," said judge (and token diva) Deborah Cox. She praised Milner for the tone of her voice, the "little inflections" of that voice and her bands' arrangement for the song.

Ron Fair, the competition's resident hard ass, called it a "very clever arrangement" and "proved the point of Cover Me Canada ."

So even though immunity went to fellow B.C. contestant Georgia Murray (what's up with that , Whistler?), Milner is safe for another week based on her talent.

The Simpson Brothers were the second act to be booted off.

Visit to vote for Ali Milner and held her secure immunity for the next episode. Cover Me Canada airs on CBC on Sunday nights.

Oh yeah and, we learned a little bit about Milner's father, Councilor Ted Milner. In a video clip showing her rehearsal of this week's song, Ali told a story about how her father would listen to Crash Test Dummies in the car on drives between Whistler and Vancouver. So, the plot thickens for Councillor Milner. Does this impact your vote? It should, somehow.

Music Therapy Ride sets record

The 2011 Music Therapy Ride raised over $65,000 - its most successful ride to date. The 10 th annual ride took place on Sept. 17, with over 80 passengers and riders rolling from Vancouver to Whistler for the cause.

The proceeds from the ride will go toward the creation of Bandwagon 2, the first mobile recording unit to tour Metro Vancouver, offering music therapy services to hospices, extended care residences, rehabilitation facilities and other institutions.

So far, the Music Therapy Ride has raised over $500,000 for the Canadian Music Therapy Fund, which has helped finance music therapy services and research, as well as Bandwagon 1, a recording studio built in BC Children's Hospital.

Good news all around.