BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for February 12 – 18

This week in BC: Catch the Chutzpah Festival, take a Valentine's Day carriage ride, get a little wellness and more

Ballet BC’s VOLO is a collection of three new riveting works

What to do in BC this week

Catch the Chutzpah! Festival – February 10-27
We all know the meaning of “chutzpah,” right? And when this Yiddish colloquialism for “audacity” is applied to an arts festival, you know the result is guaranteed to bust some boundaries. The 11th annual Chutzpah! Festival invites Jews, gentiles and everyone in between to catch a roundup of artists from B.C. and abroad unveiling edgy new works in dance, music and theatre from February 10 to 27. Check it out daily at various Vancouver venues, including Venue, Commodore Ballroom, Scotiabank Dance Centre and Presentation House Theatre. Tickets range from $16 to $30, and can be purchased online at ticketstonight.ca or by phone at 
604-684-2787. For a full schedule of events, 
call 604-257-5145.

See Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
 – February 10 – March 12
Thought Peggy and Al Bundy had a dysfunctional family? They’ve got nothing on George and Martha, the masochistic marrieds living unhappily ever after in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And we’re guessing no one might be more afraid than newlyweds, who just may need a stiff drink after catching this modern classic about a marriage on the rocks, running from February 10 to March 12 at Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston St., Vancouver), starting at 7:30 p.m. 
Tickets for this raw portrait of coupledom are priced from $29 to $49, inclusive of taxes and fees, through the Arts Club box office at 604-687-1644.

See Fab Films in Victoria – February 12-13
Planning to check out the Victoria Film Festival? Then heads up: You’ve got until February 13 to take advantage of the special film fest package at The Fairmont Empress (721 Government Street). The heritage hotel invites you to enjoy one night’s accommodation, along with an a la carte breakfast, film tickets and cocktails for two, from $149, based on double occupancy. What’s the best of the fest? It’s a tough call, but we like Sips ‘n’ Cinema, a matinee screening followed by treats and tipples, on February 12 and 13 at Empire Theatre (805 Yates Street), starting at 2 p.m. For more details on this package, call 1-800-441-1414.

Attend the Victoria Tea Festival – February 12-13
It’s said Victoria is steeped in British tradition. And so, appropriately enough, is its fifth annual Tea Festival, taking place February 12 and 13 at Crystal Garden (713 Douglas Street). There’s no bigger exhibition of its kind in North America, which means tea totalers can expect scores of tastings, food pairings and demos by industry experts. And, of course, you’ll have plenty of chances to whip out your charge card, too, thanks to the hundreds of tea-related items on offer. Equally cool: Proceeds from the event, running from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, benefit Camosun College Child Care Services. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, with more information by phone at 250-370-4880.

Take the Kids to See Bird Brain – February 12-27

Two words can sum up Carousel Theatre’s latest production: kids’ stuff. But that’s not a putdown — it just defines the desired demographic for Bird Brain, a feel-good fairytale penned by Governor General Award-winning playwright Vern Thiessen. Running from February 12 to 27 at Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island, Vancouver), it’s about a well-meaning man who finds himself in a fix after he decides to secretly shelter baby birds under his hat. All’s well until he’s forced by royal protocol to either take off his topper for the Queen or spend time in the slammer. For even more fun, catch a special dress-up matinee on February 19, starting at 2 p.m. For tickets, call 604-685-6217 or go to carouseltheatre.ca.

Take a Valentine’s Day Carriage Ride – February 14

On Valentine’s Day, flowers are fab and candy is dandy. But if you really want to think outside the chocolate box or beyond the bouquet, why not treat your honey to a horse-drawn carriage ride by Victoria Carriage Tours? Choose from several Victoria-based equine excursions, including By the Sea, Beacon Hill Park, The Royal Tour and Our Very Best, ranging in length from 
30 to 90 minutes and in price from $90 to $210 per carriage. And 
to score some real brownie points with your better half, you can even arrange for pick-up or drop-off at one of the city’s award-winning restaurants. Sound like fun? Call toll-free 1-877-663-2207 for details.

Feed Your Valentine – Febraury 14
So what if you’ve got a rock-bottom budget that rules out spoiling your sweetie with baubles, bling or Blahniks this February 14. You can still make a great impression for just $36 per person at Griffins Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 W. Georgia St., Vancouver), serving up a Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea featuring savoury petite sandwiches, raisin scones with Devonshire cream and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Or, for $55 per person, check out the Valentine’s Day Dinner, a multi-course, regionally inspired meal full of executive chef Robert LeCrom’s personal favourites. Both offers run from February 12 through 14, are exclusive of tax and gratuities, and can be reserved by calling 604-662-1900 or visiting opentable.com.

See Ballet BC’s VOLO – February 17-19 

Gone are the days when ballet consisted solely of prim pirouettes and elegant arabesques performed by troupes in tight buns and tulle. These days, it’s become an edgier art form, with dancers daring to step beyond the bounds of classical choreography. Case in point is Ballet BC’s VOLO, a collection of three new works, each one “solid, inventive and riveting,” premiering at Queen Elizabeth Theatre from February 17 to 19. The pieces offer “fresh choreographic voices,” along with a special-treat guest performance by principal artists from Netherlands Dance Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at 604-280-3311 or online at ticketmaster.ca.

Catch Classic Crooner
 Michael Bolton – February 18
If you made a list of performers who have sold more than 53 million records, won multiple Grammys, earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and sold out arenas worldwide, Michael Bolton would be on that list. But if you add up all the artists who have sung with Luciano Pavarotti and Ray Charles, written songs with Bob Dylan and Lady Gaga, penned hits for Barbra Streisand and KISS, the only name on that list would be Michael Bolton. Catch the crooner on his One World One Love tour on February 18 at River Rock Casino Resort (8811 River Road, Richmond), starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $69.50 to $89.50 by Ticketmaster at 604-280-4444.

Get a Dose of Wellness at the Wellness Show – February 18-20
Thirty thousand health nuts, hypochondriacs and everyone in between are expected to turn out for the 19th annual Wellness Show, taking place from February 18 to 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building, 1055 Canada Place). Even if you’re as fit as a fiddle, you’ll still benefit from the wealth of health products, services and information offered by more than 300 exhibitors, plus educational sessions and entertainment showcases covering everything from green living and self-healing to hot yoga, plus sushi-making sessions with Vancouver’s own Tojo (shown). General admission is $12.50, with discounts for seniors, students and children.

Eat Something New – until February 28

Ever tried periwinkles, sea urchin or herring roe? The Blue Water Café (1095 Hamilton St., Vancouver) is encouraging diners to leave their culinary comfort zone with its seventh annual Unsung Heroes Festival, a month-long promo that eschews over-fished species like halibut and salmon to spotlight lesser-known, but equally tasty, seafood. Until February 28, executive chef Frank Pabst is serving up a variety of small plates full of big taste that have been specially chosen to delight adventurous eaters. Plus, 10 per cent of the proceeds from this special menu will go to Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. For reservations, call 604-688-8078 or visit bluewatercafe.net.

Ski for Free
 – every Thursday
It’s a known fact that women pay more than men for everyday essentials like dry cleaning, hair styling and clothing. So, gals, let’s give thanks to Hemlock Valley Ski Resort (20955 Hemlock Valley Road), located two hours from Vancouver, for helping to balance the inequity by hosting Ladies Ski Free every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until March 31. Not only will you receive a free lift ticket, you can pocket even more savings at Molly’s Pub, site of free appetizers, drink specials and prize giveaways starting at 5 p.m. Call 1-866-567-6866 for details.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.