We rule! 

Whistler Arts Showcase carries on spirit of Celebration 2010

Last year at this time, we had something to prove to the world.

When we heard officials from the International Olympic Committee were coming a-callin’ we shined our shoes, combed our hair, and ironed our Sunday best.

With the help of the folks at the Vancouver/Whistler Olympic Bid Committee, we put on a three-week extravaganza of the local arts community – film, music, theatre, culture, visuals and more – hoping to prove what an excellent, diverse and dynamic venue we would be for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

They came, they saw, we hoped they were impressed. We watched their limos drive away. And then we waited for July 2, to see if our efforts had been in vain.

Of course, they were not. We got the Games and the attention of the world.

Even though there are no officials to impress this year, the spirit of celebration lives on. In the years leading up to 2010, the Whistler Arts Council will continue to mobilize the growing arts and cultural community for the annual Celebration 2010 Whistler Arts Showcase.

"This year the initiative came from us, rather than someone else," said Arts Council Director Doti Niedermayer.

"Last year it was produced by Celebration 2010, which was the city of Vancouver and the province. This year, we want to do this for ourselves, and we want to do it every year. It’s more about us."

We rule. Got it.

Drawing funding from both the provincial government and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Celebration 2010 events will have their official launch with this Thursday’s Cultural Cabaret at MY Place. The invitation-only event features performers from the Whistler Children’s Chorus, Whistler Dance Academy, Short Skirt Theatre, Bushwoman Productions, plus a variety of local musicians and other performers. Showcase events continue through to March 1.

Niedermayer added that while this year appears to be a rather homegrown affair, the Arts Showcase has its sights set further.

"I think the goal ultimately as the years go on is to spread our wings more and more and work with people from the outside more and more," she said.

While guest artists at this year’s Showcase hail mainly from the Lower Mainland, Niedermayer says in the years to come she projects artists from across the country, and eventually all over the world, working alongside the international Olympic Arts Festivals.

"The focus," she emphasized, "is to look outward."

Celebration 2010 Events

What: Snowflakes

Where: MY Place

When: Feb. 1-29

A Whistler Museum and Archives satellite exhibit at MY Place featuring displays on the science and history of snowflakes, as well as photographs from the Rasmussen & Libbrecht Collection.

What: Whistler Images Photography Presentation

Where: Various locations

When: Feb. 12-March 1

A high resolution DVD of Whistler images compiled by the Whistler Photographic Society to be screened as a 30-minute show in conjunction with various events throughout the Whistler Arts Showcase.

What: Frozen Time: Glaciers in the Coastal Mountains

Where: Whistler Museum

When: Friday, Feb. 13-March 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A Whistler Museum and Archives exhibit on glaciers and their role in the natural ecosystems, featuring data from the David Suzuki Foundation’s Melting Mountains project, photographs by Terry Nash and mountaineering equipment on loan from the Alpine Club of Canada.

What: Hearts and Kisses

Where: Whistler Public Library

When: Saturday, Feb. 14, 10:30 a.m.

A special storytime for 3-6 year olds featuring rhyming games, songs and crafts. Pre-registration required. Ph: 604-932-5564.

What: Uzume Taiko

Where: MY Place

When: Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m.

Inspired by the traditions of Japanese music, a combination of dance, ceremonial percussion, energetic choreography, costumes, jazz-style improvisation and world beats. Tickets: $20/adults, $17/students and seniors, $8/children. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: Scavenger Hunt

Where: Whistler Public Library

When: Sunday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.

An evening for the 9-12 year old set to test their detective skills with questions, clues and puzzles and win prizes. Snacks provided. Pre-registration required. Ph: 604-932-5564.

What: Whistler Public Art Committee Workshop

Where: MY Place

When: Thursday, Feb. 19, 4 p.m.

A workshop for artists seeking participation in the Whistler Public Art Program, providing the opportunity to work with other Sea to Sky region artists on presentations to public art competitions. The workshop includes tips on presenting to competition juries, and a panel discussion featuring artists, jurors, and public art program administrators. Pre-registration required. Ph: 604-935-8419.

Who: Colin Angus — Lost in Mongolia

Where: MY Place

When: Thursday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m.

Angus presents slides and will talk about his book, Lost in Mongolia, documenting his harrowing 5,500 km journey along the remote Yenisey River from Central Asia to Siberia. Tickets $4-$7. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: Adventure Film Showcase

Where: MY Place

When: Friday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

A special screening of two hit adventure films from the third annual Whistler Film Festival last December. Films selected include In the Shadow of the Chief, a Squamish-set historical climbing documentary and People’s Choice Award winner, and Pororoca: Surfing the Amazon, runner up for the ZeD TV People’s Choice Award for best festival short. Tickets $10. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: Whistler Youth Fear Factor

Where: Whistler Youth Centre — MY Place

When Saturday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.

A gross-out, daring feat contest for local teens modeled after the popular TV reality series. Tickets by donation. Ph: 604-935-8187.

What: Celebrity Hockey Game

Where: Meadow Park Sports Centre

When: Saturday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m.

Former NHL stars and Olympians take on an all-star celebrity team, with proceeds donated to the Athletes at Work Legacy Fund for Canadian amateur athletes preparing for international competition.

What: Comedy Night in Canada

Where: Telus Conference Centre

When: Saturday, Feb. 21, 8:30 p.m.

Hockey-themed comedy featuring top Canadian comedians and ’72 Summit Series alumnus Dennis Hull. Tickets through TicketMaster. Ph: 604-280-4444.

What: Whistler’s Youth Authors Reading

Where: MY Place

When: Sunday, Feb. 22, 5-6:30 p.m.

Award-winning writers under the age of 17 read from their work, plus a discussion led by Vancouver writer Kevin Chong. Presented by Whistler Writers Group. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: Literary Leanings

Where: Uli’s Flipside Restaurant

When: Feb. 22 & 23, 8 p.m.

Two evenings of food, drink and literary discussion featuring established Vancouver writers Karen X. Tulchinsky, Kevin Chong, and Lee Henderson, and emerging Whistler writers. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: Blue Earth

Where: MY Place

When: Saturday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.

Whistler Dance Theatre performance includes guest dancers from the Lower Mainland and photographic visuals. Ph: 604-935-8410.

What: revive, REJUVENATE, renew

Where: MY Place

When: March 1-31

A juried exhibition of art and photography in MY Place’s upstairs gallery. Exhibit reception March 4, 4-7 p.m.

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