BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for February 2-8

This week in BC: Take in the sweet sounds of the Emerson String Quartet, hit the road with the EarlyBird RV Show, tickle your funny bone at the Vancouver Comedy Arts Festival, and more

The Secret Mask — Until Feb. 10

If you have ever tried to maneuver a loved one through the health care system — especially if that person has suffered a stroke — you’ll definitely relate to The Secret Mask. Based on the real-life experiences of playwright Rick Chafe, this “often funny, at times heartbreaking” production stars some of Canada’s top acting talent, including stage-and-screen veteran Jay Brazeau (shown). Tickets for the show, held at North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre until February 10, are available online or by phone at 604-990-3474.

Earlybird RV Show — Jan. 31 to Feb. 3

In the dead of winter, who doesn’t fantasize about setting off on a summer escape? So stop daydreaming and start planning at the Earlybird RV Show, held from January 31 to February 3 at Tradex Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford. Not only will you find all the newest RV models, but you can also pick up expert tips at seminars covering everything from family getaways to weekend roadtrips to cross-country adventures. Swing by from 10 a.m. for $8 at the door, with more details at 604-870-4678.

Credit: VFF Graphics

Victoria Film Festival — Feb. 1-10

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll be engaged, maybe even enraged. That’s because the cinematic selections at the 19th annual Victoria Film Festival, held from February 1 to 10, spotlight enough genre-crossing topics to appeal to audiences of all tastes. So whether you’re seeking cinema that’s educational or escapist, comedic or controversial, you can check out 40-plus screenings, along with industry workshops and social soirees like Sips ’n’ Cinema, Feast on Film and gala parties at various local venues.

The Emerson String Quartet — Feb. 3

The only thing constant is change, and that truism applies to everything — even long-standing musical institutions like the Emerson String Quartet. As this nine-time Grammy-winning chamber ensemble prepares to bid adieu to cellist David Finckel, who’s leaving the quartet for solo pursuits following their latest tour, audiences can see the original quartet in action for the final time at the Vancouver Playhouse on February 3, where they’ll perform works illuminating the essence of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, starting at 3 p.m. Tickets are $40, with membership and student discounts available.

Winter PRIDE — Feb. 3-10

B.C.’s gay and lesbian population may be in the minority, but that won’t be the case at Whistler’s WinterPRIDE, taking place from February 3 to 10. The LGBTs will definitely be the dominant demographic at this annual free-for-all, billed as “one of the biggest and best gay and lesbian ski weeks in the world.” Take your pick from an action-packed agenda ranging from parties, debates and dances to skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at the alpine playground voted “Number One Ski Resort in North America” by readers of SKI Magazine.

Credit: Uri Nevo

Chutzpah! Festival — Feb. 7 to March 3

Celebrate local and international Jewish cultural talent at the 13th annual Chutzpah! Festival, taking place in and around Vancouver from February 7 to March 3. Why go? Four reasons: electrifying dance performances, internationally celebrated music, award-winning plays and gut-busting comedies are all on the agenda, at various venues including Norman Rothstein Theatre and the Vogue.

Vancouer Comedy & Arts Fest — Feb. 7-17

For most of us, winter is like the weekday equivalent of a Monday morning. In other words, we could all use a laugh right about now — and you’re guaranteed to get one at the Vancouver Comedy & Arts Fest, running from February 7 to 17. This 10-day laughapalooza, which combines everything from music and stand-up to parties and podcasts, features the likes of Martin Short, Bob Saget, Margaret Cho and Jon Dore. Plus, check out the “suite deals” on room rates at 35 Vancouver hotels, with details online.

Credit: Flickr / Wonderlane

Fresh St. Market — West Vancouver

Eco-conscious consumers — with their “organic-this” and “sustainable-that” — can be a demanding market, which means modern retailers need to refine their approach or perish. And right on trend is West Vancouver’s Fresh St. Market (1650 Marine Drive), a new grocery store showcasing local, organic and sustainable fare such as Ocean Wise seafood, artisan cheeses, gluten-free baked goods and other hard-to-find products. Just as cool, on-the-go eaters can pick up ready-made meals created from recipes by Vancouver chef Karen Barnaby, formerly of The Fish House in Stanley Park.

O5 Rare Tea Bar — Vancouver

Although not quite as ubiquitous as coffee shops (yes, we’re looking at you, Starbucks), tea houses are gaining ground in Vancouver. The latest is O5 Rare Tea Bar (2208 W. 4th Ave), a high-end hideaway that’s sure to quench the curiosity of even the most uncompromising connoisseur. And while the décor may be minimalist, the teas sure aren’t — ranging from green and white to black and oolong, and hailing from plantations in India, Japan, China and Korea. P.S. While you’re there, we recommend trying the heavenly matcha macarons!

Beaucoup Bakery & Café — Vancouver

In French, “beaucoup” means “abundance” and that sums up the offerings at Vancouver’s latest boulangerie, Beaucoup Bakery & Café (2150 Fir St). And while it’s not a destination of choice if you’re watching your waistline — thanks to buttery croissants, deep-dish cakes and palm-sized cookies — skinny minnies and diet ditchers alike can go whole hog by taste-testing fresh-made fare like sweet and savoury tartines, scones, eclairs and tarts.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.