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  1. until
    Nomadic Tempest: A Climatopian Spectacle September 14–23 A glimpse into a catastrophic future where climate migrants are escaping waterlogged coastal cities, Nomadic Tempest: A Climatopian Spectacle is a theatrical, rock-opera multi-media extravaganza staged on a 90-foot replica of a tall ship. Performed by The Caravan Stage Company, the globe-travelling show is replete with aerialists, projected video, giant butterflies, and all manner of politically-themed visual spectacle. Oh, and singers perform in five languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and Coastal Salish Hunqeminem), Describing the show as “Cirque du Soleil meets Occupy Wall Street,” a documentary of The Caravan Stage Company’s mobile production recounts this nearly-50-year-old Canadian troupe’s earliest incarnation, involving horse-drawn, gypsy-style caravan wagons. Founded in 1970 by Paul Kirby and his wife Adriana “Nans” Kelder right here in Victoria, the travelling troupe would arrive on the horizon like an 1890s circus coming to town, offering shows that drew from giant puppetry, circus arts, and agitprop street theatre to telegraph unapologetically progressive and provocative messages—somewhat akin to Bread and Puppet Theatre, a contemporaneous troupe from Vermont. The Caravan performed all over North America by this mode—from the ghost towns of British Columbia, to the city parks of San Francisco, from the seashore towns of Oregon to the streets of Toronto and Detroit and the malls of southern Florida, from hospitals in Alberta to the school yards of northern New York. In 1993, after spending a year creating and producing a spectacular seven-hour show on the state of the Earth’s environment, entitled The Coming, with performances at the World Theatre Festival in Toronto, the Caravan embarked on a new dream—the Caravan StageBarge. The performers became shipbuilders for four years, and subsequently took to the sea in the Amara Zee. This is no ordinary Tall Ship. Amara Zee, a flat-bottomed replica of a Thames River Sailing Barge, is home to the collective of 19 performers who double as crew. With a complete lighting and sound system, shows are staged on the deck, masts, rigging, and surrounding water and land. The audience views the performances from the shore, dock or riverbank. In the summer of 2013, after sailing and performing in Europe for eight years, the Caravan returned to North America to continue sailing US and Canadian seacoasts and waterways. Recently awarded a designation as a United Nations 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism Official Event, the troupe’s latest production, Nomadic Tempest, was created and rehearsed on land in Florida last winter, then performed in St Petersburg before moving along the southern US coast to performances in Louisiana and Texas. The Amara Zee then sailed the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast for performances on the Sunshine Coast and in Vancouver before arriving in Victoria for a two-week run here. Nomadic Tempest, an original production like all Caravan shows, is a Fable created for audiences of all ages. It will feature the mythic saga of a band of Monarch butterflies as a metaphor for refugee migrant characters struggling through their annual pilgrimage, journeying over a land caked with consumptive delights, clamorous raptures and raging racism—and all ruled by the monstrous Lord SwallowWart from his throne on top of the world (i.e. 40 feet above the decks of the Amara Zee). Roving about the earthlings on the shore is a mysterious narrator/singer, Kanandra, who can foresee the future but is cursed by SwallowWart so that no one will believe her prophecies. The Amara Zee gives ship-based performances all over the world, but it’s not been since the land-based wagon-show days that Caravan Stage Company has performed here in British Columbia. Seats for the Victoria show will get snapped up quickly. There is no charge though donations are welcome, and reservations are required. All shows are at 8:30-10pm with a recommended arrival by 8pm. Reserve seats at eventbrite.com. Head to the Wharf St parking lot below Bastion Square. www.caravanstage.org. —Mollie Kaye
  2. Robert Savignac: New Paintings

    Robert Savignac: New Paintings September 23–October 5 West End Gallery A native Montréaler and a graduate of Université du Québec à Montréal, Robert Savignac is a meticulous and detailed painter whose exhibitions are rare and highly sought out by collectors from across North America. Masterfully playing with colour, perspective and composition, his ability to capture truly magnetic scenes is undeniable. Painting landscapes from his travels through Provence, Montréal and the surrounding countryside, Savignac conveys a deep connection and understanding of his subject. Open daily. 1203 Broad St, 250-388-0009, www.westendgalleryltd.com.
  3. Emerging Writer’s Festival

    Emerging Writer’s Festival ...at Open Space, October 20-22. See www.openspace.ca for details.
  4. Victoria Festival of Authors

    Victoria Festival of Authors September 27-October 1, the Victoria Festival of Authors kicks off with an opening night focused on the shortlisted authors for the Victoria Butler Book Prize 2017. Asked about the Gala on September 30 that involves jazz musicians Jan Sterling and Barbara Black “responding” to writing by Gurjinder Basran, Sharon Butala, Zoey Leigh Peterson and Barbara Gowdy, artistic director of the 2017 Victoria Festival Vanessa Herman says she was inspired by generations past, in which “musicians would take poetry and other writings and compose music to it…we were able to integrate that into the Saturday night gala at the Metro Theatre.” Herman explains that this is not improv; the musicians have been “working away” for months creating their musical impressions. Events take place all over the downtown Victoria area. Herman says, “We chose an arts school and art gallery to host events in, and we chose theatres downtown—not only because of their [seating] capacity, but because of what they represent in the community of the arts.” Writers featured in the Victoria festival (besides those mentioned) include John Gould, Esi Edugyan, Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane, Yvonne Blomer, and Carleigh Baker. See www.victoriafestivalofauthors.ca.
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    The Sidney & Peninsula Literary Festival: A Celebration for Readers and Writers… takes place at the Mary Winspear Centre, September 22-24. It kicks off with a “Wine, Words and Music” Friday evening, featuring writers Gary Barwin, M.A.C. Farrant, Katherine Govier, Kevin Patterson, and Jack Knox. Workshops on such topics as memoirs and the writer’s life, along with readings with the likes of Robert Wiersema, Jan Zwicky, and Pat Carney take place on the Saturday. There’s also a couple of bound-to-be stimulating panel discussions with locally-based novelists Pauline Holdstock, Kevin Patterson and Yasuko Thanh in the afternoon, and, in the evening, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Anosh Irani, Pat Carney, Scaachi Koul and Jan Zwicky. It all wraps up with a “breakfast with the authors” on Sunday. See www.sidneyliteraryfestival.ca.
  6. Cantores: 14th C. Music

    Cantores:14th Century Music from the Pope’s Chapel in Avignon October 14 On October 14 at 8pm, the Early Music Society of the Islands presents Cantores:14th Century Music from the Pope’s Chapel in Avignon, a concert performed by French a capella male vocal ensemble Diabolus in Musica (Latin for “the devil in music”), directed by Antoine Guerber. The handful of personnel cover a four-octave range (impressive for male voices) and the music is early polyphony at its fluid finest. At this point in history, the wealth, splendour, and power of the French popes attracted all manner of royal admirers and Medieval artists. The singers will offer selections of music created within this Papal opulence, including many works being sung for the first time since the 1300s. At Alix Goolden Hall, with doors opening at 6:45 and a pre-concert talk at 7:10. Tickets: 250-386-6121 or www.earlymusicsocietyoftheislands.ca.
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    Steffani: Duets of Love and Passion September 30 On September 30, 8pm, celebrated soprano Amanda Forsythe brings her doe-eyed, sensuous delivery of Baroque chamber duets by composers Steffani and Handel. She is joined by the strapping Colin Balzer, who imbues his rich tenor with an almost baritone-like depth and substance—which seems quite appropriate coming from his rugby-esque frame. The two young singers bring to life the plaintive, languid, lusty aspects of coupling and ardor during the late 17th century in Steffani: Duets of Love and Passion. The Early Music Society of the Islands has flown this hot stuff in from Boston (they are touring the West Coast). Accompanied by a harpsichord and small ensemble of other instruments from the period (some of which are quite a sight to behold), these top-notch singers have ample opportunity to show off their limber, acrobatic virtuosity as vocalists—and their clear delight in embodying the various duet lyrics’ simmering cauldron of emotional flavours. With everything in place to tell the story, yet nothing extraneous to spare, it’s like a tiny opera in a jewel-box. At Alix Goolden Hall, with doors opening at 6:45 and a pre-concert talk at 7:10. Tickets: 250-386-6121 or www.earlymusicsocietyoftheislands.ca. —Mollie Kaye
  8. Antimatter Festival

    Antimatter Festival • October 13–28 Anyone craving authenticity loves to access “underground” things that are either ironically out of context or decidedly off-beat, and discovering the Antimatter festival feels a bit like that. Todd Eacrett has been festival director for all 20 years of Antimatter. Along with curator Deborah de Boer, he brings Victorians the best of worldwide experimental film, video, audio. Events include screenings of short and longer films at Deluge Contemporary Art Gallery (636 Yates), which transforms into an elegant, 50-seat viewing space complete with a bar. “We also do a number of video or media installation pieces,” Eacrett says. Some are in gallery spaces, but there’s also “larger-scale projection mapping, where the projection is digitally mapped to a surface, like a building or object outside.” Eacrett has a background in filmmaking and film studies, and, with de Boer is passionate about finding “work that is unusual, not what you’d see on television or in the cinema. It’s work made by artists and individuals, rather than a committee. It’s personal work, idiosyncratic.” Is it challenging? “Yes and no,” he says. “Some of it can be…some of it definitely has a sense of humour and is entertaining. We’re not trying to feed people medicine,” he adds with a laugh. Another aspect of the festival is film or video that’s being manipulated in real-time by the artist. Toronto-based artists Leslie Supnet and Henning Malz will present “a live, expanded cinema multi-channel film and live music thing,” says Eacrett. “Leslie is someone we’ve shown a lot of work from; she’s primarily known for animation-based work but has been doing a lot more live-action stuff as well.” Antimatter seems to have found a sweet spot in terms of accessibility. “It’s all pay what you can, turn up, put some money in the box—or not,” says Eacrett, who also notes the lack of a box office has simplified things for the organizers and “broadened the audience. It’s not the most mainstream programming, so you want to make it accessible for people.” Thankfully, he adds, “Our revenue has actually increased.” See www.antimatter.ca or call 250-385-3327.—Mollie Kaye
  9. Martin Budny

    Martin Budny September 23–October 7 Peninsula Gallery Martin Budny is an artist, actor and travel enthusiast. Much of his work adapts anthropological strategies to explore narratives from personal and cultural experiences that surround our everyday life. He says, “I’m drawn to the intuition of Fauvism, joy of folk art (Central and Eastern European), and the pleasure of a well balanced Japanese flat picture plane. The works are inspired by a desire to channel and aestheticize our inner world, make sense out of contemporary life.” Opening reception with artist, September 23, 1-4pm. 100-2506 Beacon Ave, 250-655-1282, www.pengal.com.
  10. Birth of a Family

    Birth of a Family When is a family reunion not a reunion? When your family has never met. Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in the deeply moving documentary, Birth of a Family by director Tasha Hubbard. Caught up in Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop, in which 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families, all four siblings are now middle-aged, with no shared memories. But at a meeting in Banff, they piece together their history, deepen their connections, and take the first steps in building their family. The Victoria Premiere screening of Birth of a Family is being hosted by Indigenous Perspectives Society (IPS) as part of Aabiziingwashi (WideAwake): NFB Indigenous Cinema on Tour. Throughout 2017, the NFB is offering the films in its collection of 250+ Indigenous-made works for community screenings. These are the stories of our land, told by First Nations, Métis and Inuit filmmakers from every region of the country. It is hoped they will initiate and inspire conversations on identity, family, community, and nationhood. In Victoria, the film launches a new fundraising campaign to help Indigenous Perspectives Society deliver capacity-building training to underfunded communities and organizations. IPS Associate Director Rachelle Dallaire says, “We get a lot of requests from frontline service providers and communities wanting to make positive changes, but they do not have the budget to support their learning needs.” Indigenous Perspectives Society is a 22-year-old charitable and not-for-profit social enterprise that offers training programs and services that help foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous perspectives, cultural differences, and the need for self-determination. The film will be shown at The Vic Theatre, 1215 Blanshard Street at 7pm on September 21. Tickets are by donation ($10 suggested). To learn more see http://ipsociety.ca/. A trailer for Birth of a Family is at https://vimeo.com/206479691.
  11. Kimberly Kiel: Impasto

    Kimberly Kiel: Impasto September 21–October 22The Avenue GalleryIn 2003, Kimberly Kiel left a successful financial planning business to devote herself full-time to art. Now her artwork is showcased and sold in galleries from BC to Quebec, as well as in Switzerland. Colour is a major source of inspiration and she greatly enjoys playing around with the surface on the canvas, getting different layers and textures all with the goal of creating something subjective, intriguing and stimulating. She wants her art to touch and engage heart, mind and soul.Kiel loves her work. She says, “I paint as an expression of joy and energy. It is pure delight to squeeze out huge piles of oil paint, squish it around, have it blend, meld, combine. Wet paint, layer upon layer, morphing into a tangible and interesting surface–thick, creamy, an array of gorgeous impasto marks. I strive to leave much to the imagination, for the viewer to fill in the blanks. To go from a blank, white canvas to one filled with brilliant, glorious colour–there is a huge sense of satisfaction in that.”Artist reception September 23, 1-3pm. 2184 Oak Bay Ave, 250-598-2184, www.theavenuegallery.com.
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    Blu Smith: The Path of Least Resistance October 26–November 6 The Avenue Gallery In his 4th solo exhibit at The Avenue, Blu Smith’s abstract paintings play with light, colour and form, channelling new and powerful perspectives. His mature style as an abstract painter began as an exercise to free himself from the technical constraints of realism. His early influences included such abstract expressionists as Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell. With recent shows in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, Smith’s international reputation is growing exponentially. Artist reception Oct 28, 1-3pm. 2184 Oak Bay Ave, 250-598-2184, www.theavenuegallery.com.

    GILLIAN REDWOOD: THE FERRY September 19 - October 7 Gage Gallery Gillian Redwood’s large, dynamic canvases document journeys by ferry through the Gulf Islands, the San Juan Islands, and further south into distant communities. Unlike a journey by car or plane, a ferry passenger is in contact with the elements—wind, water, rain, heat and cold—plus a delightful stress-free transition into a different culture. Often following ancient routes, the ferry offers local access to isolated places—and time to learn the map and drop into a new world. Opening Sept 21, 7-9pm. Daily Tues-Sat 11am-5pm. 2031 Oak Bay Ave, 250-592-2760. www.gagegallery.ca.
  14. Edging Forward

    Edging Forward: Reconnection, Reconciliation, Regeneration October 10–November 10 Robert Bateman Gallery By blending art with science, this multi-media exhibit shares how collaboration and compassion can help us leap forward to a more sustainable world. There is enough evidence and innovation to act now, but what is holding us back? How do we leap towards new sustainable pathways? Responding to the themes in Dr Ann Dale’s forthcoming book, artist Nancyanne Cowell explores how love, emotion, and science work together. Opening, Oct 12, 7-9pm. 470 Belleville St, 250-940-3630, www.batemancentre.org.
  15. Meghan Hildebrand: LoraFauna

    Meghan Hildebrand: LoraFauna October 14–28 Madrona Gallery “Lorafauna” pays tribute to the marvels and mysteries of the coast and forest. Using animal and mythical motifs, symbolic landscape elements, and a highly-tuned colour palette, these paintings portray the stories of dark and light just under the surface of familiar places. Watercolours, in addition to acrylics, will be featured in this exhibit for the first time. Hildrebrand has had over 40 solo shows, and her work has been acquired by permanent collections internationally. She is based in Powell River. Opening Oct 14, 1-4pm. 606 View St, 250-380-4660, www.madronagallery.com.