5 Can’t-Miss Events at Vancouver’s Indian Summer Fest

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

The term Indian Summer usually refers to a period of uncommonly warm weather in the fall, when summer’s hot days should be a distant memory.

In Vancouver, however, the Indian Summer Festival happens every July, with a week-long celebration of South Asian arts and cuisine in the Lower Mainland.  Staged at venues throughout the city, this year’s festival features nearly two dozen events that showcase performing, visual, literary and culinary arts from India.

Here are 5 can’t-miss happenings at the 2014 Indian Summer Festival:

A Culinary Tour of Asia by Vikram Vij, July 3Master chef Vikram Vij (of Vij’s restaurant fame) curates a foodie tour of Asia in the intimate confines of downtown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  The event features dishes from some of the city’s top restaurants (Blue Water Cafe, Bob Likes Thai Food, Bao Bei, Atithi, Cafe Kathmandu and Vij’s), paired with award-winning wines and signature cocktails.  While nibbling, guests soak up live performances from acclaimed musicians and poets. July 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden; $85. 

Mohamed100 Ways to Kiss the Ground, July 513th-century Sufi mystic Rumi is one of the most widely read poets in North America.  This is due in large part to the inspired translations of American poet Coleman Barks.  Barks offers live readings of Rumi’s poetry and commentary on his life in this rare Vancouver appearance at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church.  The readings are accompanied by live, traditional music featuring sitar and barbat (a precursor to the Persian oud).  July 5 at 8 p.m.; St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church; $30.  

 

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

Passages at MOV, July 6: 100 years ago, nearly 400 British Indian passengers on the infamous Komagata Maru ship were denied entry into Canada.  This special performance reflects on the incident in music, poetry and imagery.  The Neelmamjit Dhillon Quartet (sax, tabla, piano, bass) tells the Komagata Maru story in song. Three renowned Canadian poets link the quartet’s pieces with works on memory and remembrance.  Meanwhile, historical photos and narrative art by Orijit Sen are projected onstage. July 6 at 6 p.m.; Museum of Vancouver; $25.  

 

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

Photo sourced from Indian Summer Festival

Lunchbox Legends, July 10:  Everyday in Mumbai some 5,000 dabbawalas (lunch couriers) deliver 350,000 homemade lunches in metal lunchboxes.  Each lunchbox passes through the hands of at least 12 dabbawalas on its epic journey  and – amazingly – only one in 6 million ends up with the wrong person.  At this unique event, guests hear from two representatives of the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association and also see a short film about dabbawalas and their extraordinarily efficient delivery system.  July 10 at 6 p.m.; SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts; $25. 

Lit & Sound Cabaret, July 11: The revamped Fox Cabaret on Main Street (once a notorious adult theatre) is the venue for this mixed lineup of musical and literary talent. South Indian classical musicians perform with a hip-hop style beatboxer, while award-winning poets take the stage for spoken-word performances.  Other acts include a fusion ensemble (featuring Persian tar and Indian tabla, among other instruments) and a DJ spinning Indian club mixes.  July 11 at 9 p.m.; Fox Cabaret; $15.

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