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Whistler2020 on the Ground

Hardly a weak week

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Whistler's got culture. And it's not just the yogurt you put on morning granola. It's no-holds-barred documentary films, local artisan food, political theatre and good old rock 'n' roll. There's nary a night where our resort community doesn't offer something affordable, intellectual and fun.

Prevailing over all the fun is the Whistler Arts Council's Winter Arts Festival - a dynamic two-month program of live music, aerial dance, snow sculpting, film screenings, art and photography exhibitions, literary soirees - under the sun or under the stars. The Whistler Arts Council is doing a great job of showing and proving why the federal government has named Whistler a 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada.

But many small organizations are adding quality programs to the streets and seats in Whistler as well.

On Monday, 40 people checked out the amazing theatre at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) for Cinema Politica - and the first screening of the season, Garbage Warrior. Co-produced by the SLCC and LUNA, Cinema Politica is a weekly Monday night film series highlighting important documentary films. The third Monday of each month will feature a First Nations film and speaker. Films will be screened every Monday evening to April 27, and discussions will follow each screening. Admission is by donation and is open to everyone. Bannock, traditional fried bread, will be available when doors open at 6:30 p.m. Films begin at 7 p.m.

"These films shed light on important Canadian and international issues that are underrepresented by media. Attending a screening is more than just that - it's a chance to deepen understanding and offer chances to take action," says Kiran Pal Pross of LUNA.

Tuesday is the night for all the folks in Whistler who were complaining about the lack of communication and engagement during the fall RMOW election campaign. Whistler Council meetings are open to the public and occur every second Tuesday. Since Whistler Council meets on the stage at MY Place, starting at 5:30 p.m., the whole scene has a bit of a theatrical look to it. There is a public question period at the start of every meeting. Free, fun and engaging.

Local bon vivants Scott Pass and G.D. Maxwell bring the noise on Wednesday evenings with Turn Up Winter, a weekly cinematic voyage through the annals of rock history. Pass reports the turnout for their first event "Stop Making Sense" featuring the Talking Heads was a little light, but they brought the heavies out of the dugout for the second inning, screening Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same." According to Maxwell: "The sound system in Millennium Place is worth the price of admission... we're gonna roll up a few eyelids and beat a few eardrums with that sucker." Ten bucks.

Thursday evening feel free to stroll through the Westin Whistler Resort for the newly minted Artisan's Market, 4-8p.m. According to Bryce Beatty, Operations Manager of the Westin, the market was a great success in its first week with over a dozen vendors and lots of people purchasing wares and chattels. More vendors are sure to come on board as the market matures, Beatty says.

"We see it as a great place for the community to come into our hotel, mingle with guests and hopefully support the local artisans," says Beatty.

How about we take Friday and Saturday evenings off to spend time with family and friends? Then head to the wildly successful Winter Farmer's Market at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre which starts at 10 a.m. every Sunday, a great place to start and end an engaging week. Excellent local food from excellent local producers in a breathtaking building which can only be described as, well, excellent.

What an excellently engaging town Whistler is. Get out, enjoy it and thanks to all the folks who put in the hard work to sustain these affordable on the ground events and programs.

To KNOW MORE about actions that are moving our community toward Whistler2020 visit www.whistler2020.ca.

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