Hungry for Something Good to Do? Try Our Culture Bento Box

Six tasty experiences to sample around BC or maybe just in bed.

By Dorothy Woodend 8 Feb 2019 |

Dorothy Woodend is The Tyee’s culture editor. Reach her here.

[Editor’s note: Every once in a while Dorothy Woodend, the Tyee’s culture editor, will be whipping up a Bento Box of tasty cultural morsels for your nibbling. Here’s one harvested from what’s available in your bathtub, on your TV, and around B.C. With a wee bit of wasabi thrown in. Enjoy!]

These Shoes Rule, These Shoes Suck (Vancouver)

Watch sneaker-heads in their natural environment this weekend, snarling and haggling like hyenas at the first-ever Sneaker Con at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The New York Times helpfully delineated the various sellers and buyers in an expansive essay that still didn’t fully capture the subculture’s fanaticism in all its jittery, mostly teen-driven mania. Play anthropologist or get some kicks of your own. Or just have a laugh at this.

Three Cool Film Fests (Freezing Even) (Victoria, Powell River and White Horse)

The Victoria Film Festival is entering its closing weekend, but there is a still a bevy of events on offer including director John Bolton’s orchestral opus That Higher Level. A little way up the coast, The Powell River Film Festival kicks off its annual run. And in Whitehorse, the mighty Available Light Film Festival offers a wildly eclectic selection of new Canadian cinema (Mangoshake) along with arthouse standouts (Barry Jenkin’s If Beale Street Could Talk). Having been to these events, I can say there is something unique and wonderful about each one, whether you’re watching your hair freeze in minus 35 degree weather or skipping along the daffodil lined paths of B.C.’s fair capital.

Bombed out books: Famous photo of the library of Holland House in London taken by an unknown photographer in 1940 after an air raid. The image is part of The Polygon’s new show with a theme that’s a bit dirty.

Iconic Photographs Dusted Off (North Vancouver)

For The Polygon’s new show A Handful of Dust: From the Cosmic to the Domestic, curator David Campany has cherry-picked photographic images from the previous century including works by Marcel Duchamp, Walker Evans, Gerhard Richter, Sophie Ristelhueber, and Vancouver’s favourite photo-conceptualist Jeff Wall. The connection? Damnable dust… growth and decay. The show is mournful, elegiac but also deeply beautiful. Curator David Campany will be offering a lecture on Saturday at the Gallery.

Read a Book, and Let a Book Read You (Your Bathtub)

David Shields is one of the most interesting people around at the moment, whether he’s turning out a documentary that consists of him fighting with James Franco or writing a tender yet deeply unsettling book on sex and marriage. The Trouble with Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power can be read during one extended session in the bathtub, but the repercussions of Shields’ collage of ideas feels like a thunderclap. In all honesty, I am not sure what to think about this book, but it burns down into your deepest and darkest places and remains there like wasabi for the soul. 

Trailer for Animal Behaviour, among Oscar-nominated short films showing at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver.

Short and Sweet Cinema (Vancouver)

In an otherwise dreary Oscar year, some bright spots are on offer at the Vancity Theatre starting this weekend. What they all have in common is that they are short films, divided into their Academy Award competitive categories — animation, live action, and documentary.

In Alison Snowden and David Fine’s animated Animal Behaviour the claws come out when the participants are forced to look at their true natures. Extraordinary short documentaries include Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s End Game, Rayka Zahtabchi and Melissa Berton’s PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE., Marshall Curry’s A Night at the Garden, Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn’s Black Sheep, and Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Moser’s Lifeboat. These films may be brief but they pack in worlds of experience.

Go to New York (Your Bed)

Sometimes you need to take to your bed with a box of wine and a family-size bag of chips. No judgement, we’ve all been there. In these situations, Netflix is your best friend. I would have missed the new Netflix series Russian Doll but for raves by The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum. The series, co-written by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, is an homage to the tribes of New York — downtown party girls, pansexuals, panhandlers, bodega cats, stockbroker bros, drugs dealers, scene stealers, academic wankers. Lyonne’s pop-eyed, curly-banged performance anchors this metaphysical tale of lost souls joining forces.  [Tyee]

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