If Susan Holden ever had any doubt of the unyielding support Whistler's female musicians have for each other, it was squashed four years ago when she hosted the resort's first ever International Women's Day open mic.
"Everyone came together and helped each other out — we just couldn't get enough of each other," says the local musician and GM of Arts Whistler.
Celebrated March 8 every year, International Women's Day commemorates the movement for gender equality. For the past few years, Holden has organized a musical showcase of some of the Sea to Sky's top female performers to coincide with the global event, with proceeds going to the Howe Sound Women's Centre.
This year, the event moves from Dusty's to the Maury Young Arts Centre, and Arts Whistler will add a professional development component leading up to March 8 aimed at local musicians and their backing bands.
"Many people will be offered the opportunity to perform. Everybody will be offered the opportunity to connect and receive professional development," Holden explains. "While I can't get everyone onstage, I can offer something to everybody who wants to come out."
In all, Holden is looking for around 25 to 30 adult-aged female performers to take part, along with about half a dozen youth female musicians. Anyone is welcome to apply, whether vocalist, instrumentalist, or anything in between.
"Even if people aren't an act all their own, and they're just a singer and want to perform, I can probably find them a piano player, a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer. We can support them," she adds.
Despite its progressive reputation, Whistler of course isn't immune to the inequality that persists in the wider male-dominated music industry.
"I see that in music all the time. I go to an open mic and I'm the only woman getting up onstage. And I'm sure it's the same for (local female musicians) Lozen, JennaMae (Togado), but we all find a way," says Holden. "The female artist community is very supportive, very talented, and looking for more. I think we can give them more."
Anyone interested in performing and/or participating in the professional development workshops is asked to email Holden at email@example.com.
Village 8 screening Crocodile Dundee to raise funds for underprivileged Cambodian families
Just in time for Whistler's other national holiday, Village 8 Cinemas is hosting a special screening of everyone's favourite gator hunter from Down Under, Crocodile Dundee.
Set for the week before Australia Day, the village theatre will show the 1986 box-office hit starring Paul Hogan as the rugged bushman, Mick Dundee.
The event doubles as a fundraiser for Heartprint, an Australian-based charity dedicated to improving the living standards of underprivileged families in Cambodia. Through donations and fundraisers like this one, the organization is able to provide housing, education support and work opportunities to impoverished citizens of the Southeast Asian nation. To learn more, visit heartprint.org.au.
The film will screen on Jan. 18 at 4 p.m., followed by an afterparty at Garfinkel's. Tickets are $25, and include a drink and popcorn. Pick yours up online at www.eventbrite.ca/e/crocodile-dundee-fundraiser-tickets-41204329258?aff=es2.