With the eyes of the world descending on Vancouver in less than three weeks, there’s a sense on the streets of cautious excitement. While worries over road closures, public access to events, and a lack of, yep, snow are causing many around the city to offer their words of despair, there is an upside – VanCity is going to be host to one hell of a party.
It seems that the cultural aspect of the 2010 Games is being advertised in magazines, newspapers, on billboards and on bus stops more than the Olympic sporting events themselves. However when one considers the quality and quantity of visual artists, musicians, dancers, and actors who will be taking part in Vancouver 2010’s Cultural Olympiad, all that advertising comes as no surprise.
And while many of the most popular performances will be by recognized Canadian acts – Nelly Furtado, Barenaked Ladies and Joni Mitchell (who, with the Alberta Ballet, has produced a superb ballet entitled The Fiddle and the Drum) – taking place around the city will be shows by native throat singers, African dance troupes, Russian ballet dancers, and all manner of visual artists. And the best part? Almost all the shows are free or relatively inexpensive (when compared to the sporting events), accessible, and spread out throughout Vancouver; not just in the downtown hub, but also in outer suburbs where certain sporting events will be taking place.
For those into their new technology, the Cultural Olympiad’s digital edition (CODE) offers entertainment in a less traditional setting. From Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Vectorial Elevation – a nightly show over English Bay, consisting of 20 robotic searchlights programmed by the public – to gigs by Montreal’s Chromeo & Team Canada DJs, Kid Koala, and a host of other local and international DJs and bands, the tastes of those chasing a little more innovation and technological embrace in their art are well-catered for too.
The cultural landscape in the city of Vancouver is set to change. While the hordes will come to watch the world’s best skate, ski and shoot (hockey, biathlon, whatever) their way to the podium, they will stay for the party. Restaurants, clubs, pubs and hotels are all looking forward to the chance to show off to the visitors, but outside in open spaces, up and down Granville St, Robson St, and from the sea all the way up to Whistler, in concert halls and auditoriums, and in stadiums around town, bands, artists, and organizers are gearing up for the greatest display of cultural prowess that this city has ever showcased.
For complete event listings, visit the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad’s website – http://www.vancouver 2010.com/culturalolympiad