By Nicole Fitzgerald
Whistler counts down three before the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games with a month-long celebration that showcases the best of arts and culture in Whistler for the month of February.
Whistler has a lot to be proud of with artists, musicians, filmmakers, athletes, chefs, dancers and writers rallying to the Olympic cause for the fifth and final year of Celebration 2010. Whistler is the only community in Canada to carry on a yearly Olympic cultural extravaganza, which will be assimilated into the VANOC Cultural Olympiad celebration in 2008.
The 2010 party kicked off with standing room only at Whistler’s coolest photography exhibition Out of Bounds: Tales from the Backcountry, showing for the rest of February at MY Millennium Place. Vote for Best of Show and get entered to win a heli-ski trip. Admission is free.
The official three-years-to 2010 countdown blows out the candles on the celebration cake on Monday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the 2010 Information Centre.
The outdoor party gets underway at 4 p.m. at the info centre and includes live performances from the Jocelyn Band, The Hairfarmers, Ali Milner and others. Artists Cary and Paulo will be on site to turn faces into living canvases. Just look for the fire spinners and the huge cake.
Olympic revelers can later make their way over to Lorne Elliott’s crazy, one-man comedy show at 8 p.m. at MY Place.
WinterPride is also getting into the 2010 spirit with a local artist showing daily until Feb. 11, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Telus Conference Centre. Local artists will also be hosting roving art shows at local hotels during February.
Learn about the different Olympic and Paralympic sport disciplines daily at the 2010 Info Centre starting Feb. 13 with speed skating. Education has never been more fun with sport demos, equipment displays and special guests.
Other Celebration 2010 events to look forward to include films, literature and Whistler history.
The Whistler Film Festival screens Pipe Dream, following Whistler local heroes Dan Raymond and Crispin Lipscomb in their quest for Olympic Gold, on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place. Tickets are $11.
Whistler Stories Under the Stars will screen additional mountain culture films outdoors on Feb. 18 at 5:30 and 6 p.m. at Skier’s Plaza. Six Whistler Stories films made by local filmmakers will be shown, including The First to Go Down, Whistler: An Olympic Story, normal, Eating Yourself Local, Sojourn and Heart of Whistler . Admission is free.
It’s Canada, Climbing and Beer on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place as part of the three-day Literary Leanings event. The evening includes readings from Noah Richler who shares stories that bind us as a nation. Warren MacDonald entertains with tales about his quest as a double-amputee to climb the greatest mountains in the world. Local scribes will also be on book, along with an opening reception starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
The Post Card Jam invites the public to vote for their favourite postcard story Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. at Three Below. Along with voting for Best of Show, audiences will be privy to the irresistible storytelling of Ivan E. Coyote — you don’t want to miss her sensational mix of enchanting and humorous wordplay. Admission is free.
Champagne Cocktails for the Glitterati and Litterati wraps up Literary Leanings on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.
Guest readers include David Gilmour, Annette Lapointe and John Vaillant as well as local scribes Stephen Vogler, Sara leach and Lisa Richardson. Dress up with the reception toasting bubbly at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $15.
The Whistler Museum and Archives presents the third film of the four-part series Community Now Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.
This year’s 35-minute documentary gives the dish on one of the most exciting times of Whistler — when ski bums, not corporate giants, ruled supreme. From “weeding” Whistler RCMP gardens with marijuana seeds to raising a family on umpteen jobs, Community Now follows Whistler from its wild child party days to a world class resort readying itself to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Get the intimate insider on what makes and breaks this town from politician Ken Melamed, artists Vincent and Cheryl Massey, Olympian Ross Rebagliati, journalist Leslie Anthony, ski coach Jordan Williams, The Hairfarmer’s Guitar Doug and many more.
The film celebrates and critiques, but most importantly gets honest with what this mountain town is about — a lot of amazing people.
Community Now films will be combined into a full-length feature presentation screened at the 2010 Games.
Admission is free.
For more information on Celebration 2010 events, visit whistlerartscouncil.com.