BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for March 26 – April 1

This week in BC: Turn out your lights, shop for automobiles or beads, enjoy the cherry blossoms and more

Thunder from Down Under performs their risqué review April 1 and 2 in Vancouver

What to do in BC this week

Catch Stewart Lemoine’s Evelyn Strange 
- March 23 – April 2
“A Dark Comedy about the Perils of Passion.” That’s the nutshell summary of Evelyn Strange, a film noir-inspired murder mystery penned by Canadian playwright Stewart Lemoine. Haven’t heard of him? You should get to know him — after all, he’s won the hearts of many a hard-nosed critic, including CBC’s Colin McLean who said: “Stewart Lemoine is an original. There is simply no one, anywhere, who writes like this Edmonton playwright.” Catch the Vancouver premiere of this Staircase XI Theatre production on Wednesday through Sunday from March 23 to April 2 at Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver). Purchase tickets, priced from $15 to $18 at the door, or order in advance by calling 778-834-3624 or emailing tickets@staircasexi.com

Beat it to the Fraser Valley Bead Show – March 25-27
The next best thing to bling when your budget is at rock bottom? Beads. And while it may seem like a niche interest to the uninitiated, you’d be surprised at how many crafty types are keen on the Fraser Valley Bead Show, taking place from March 25 to 27 at Executive Plaza Hotel (405 North Road, Coquitlam). B.C. is obviously big on beads because this biannual bash is the largest of its kind in Western Canada, featuring nearly 50 vendors and more than 20 jewellery-making workshops. Tickets are $7 per person, with free admission for kids under 12. Check it out Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Raise Funds at Motown Meltdown – March 26

Seems we’re inching ever closer to a cure, but until then, people suffering from HIV and AIDS could use all the help they can get. Enter Motown Meltdown, a fundraising fete for the Shooting Stars Foundation that unleashes a stellar evening of music and merriment on March 26 at the Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville Street, Vancouver). This celebrity-studded concert will definitely have you seeing stars as more than 30 acclaimed artists rock the house, including local luminaries like Bill Henderson, John Mann, Jaydee Bixby (shown), Bruce Greenwood and Jane Mortifee. Proceeds from the shindig, starting at 8 p.m., support direct-service AIDS agencies. Tickets are $30 from Ticketmaster or call 604-280-4444.

Turn Our Your Lights – March 26

Last year, more than 10 million people in 304 Canadian cities turned off their lights for Earth Hour. Time will tell if we can beat those numbers this year at the fourth annual Earth Hour on March 26. Just can your lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and you’ll be among the billion-plus people worldwide who’ll be taking part in this easy but effective step toward combating climate change. For some family-friendly ideas on how you can make this special hour fun — including a Dim Swim at Kamloops Tournament Capital Centre — visit earthhourcanada.org. And while you’re there, don’t forget to register online to be counted in the national participation poll.

Go Car Crazy at the Auto Show – March 29 – April 3

If you’re about ready for your beater to beat it, check out the 2011 Vancouver International Auto Show, motoring into the new Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place) from March 29 to April 3. Chances are you just might find your future ride as you browse all the latest models from the world’s leading manufacturers. You’ll also find new and improved electric vehicles and hybrids, along with special features like an on-site marketplace, multimillion-dollar SuperCars exhibit and collector cars showcase. Drop by from Tuesday to Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $15, with discounts for seniors and students.

Celebrate Cherry Blossoms – March 31

Here in Vancouver we don’t need Punxsutawney Phil to tell us how many weeks we’ve got left of winter. Not when a plethora of pink from our city’s 37,000 cherry trees gives us proof positive that spring has finally sprung. The short-lived sight of these pastel-pink petals is the inspiration behind the sixth annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, a floral fete that features everything from a Sakura Days Japanese Fair to a Haiku Invitational, along with a film screening, plein-air painting classes and Cherry Jam Downtown, a free outdoor concert hosted by CBC’s Jenna Chow on March 31 at Burrard SkyTrain Station, starting at 1:30 p.m. Call 604-257-8120 for more details. 

Get a Blast from the Past – April 1

If you grew up humming along to hits like “I’m Into Something Good,” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry Vlll, I Am,” you can enjoy a blast from the past on April 1 when iconic English rockers Herman’s Hermits take the stage at Boulevard Casino’s Red Robinson Show Theatre (2080 United Blvd., Coquitlam), starting at 8 p.m. Lead singer Peter Noone and his Brit back-up band haven’t exactly led a hermetic life since their 1960s heyday, still performing over 200 concerts a year to sold-out venues around the world. For tickets, priced from $34.50 to $49.50, drop by any Ticketmaster outlet or call 604-280-4444.

Check out the All Humour Show – April 1
When the cost of gas and groceries is skyrocketing, it can be tough to keep a sense of humour. To the rescue comes the All Humour Show on April 1 at The Stadium Club Theatre at Edgewater Casino (750 Pacific Boulevard South, Vancouver). Vancouver funnyguy and TV Week columnist Patrick Maliha hosts this local star search contest that gives wannabe comedians a chance to impress audiences with their funniest five minutes. At show’s end, you’ll also get to cast a vote for your favourite up-and-comer, with the winner receiving a $500 cash prize. Oh, and one last thing to get you smiling? Admission is free. Check it out starting at 8 p.m., with more details at turnermusic.com. 

Take a Garden Style Walking Tour – starting April 1

Nature may be a savage garden, but you won’t find anything remotely uncultivated at VanDusen Botanical Garden (5251 Oak Street, Vancouver), now offering guided walking tours where you can enjoy all the splendours of spring. Beginning April 1, tours run daily at 2 p.m. (plus Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.), with group tours also available if you book in advance. And good news for flower fans with limited walking ability; you can climb aboard a Cart Tour running daily at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., with advance booking suggested by calling 604-257-8666. All walks embark from the information desk, and are included with the price of admission.

See Thunder from Down Under – April 1-2

Talk about a force of nature. If you’re a fan of the male form, you won’t know what hit you when Thunder From Down Under rolls into the River Rock Show Theatre (8811 River Road, Richmond) on April 1 and the Red Robinson Show Theatre (2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam) on April 2. These buff boys played here last year to packed crowds, so we’re guessing lightning is bound to strike twice for this dream team that has performed their risqué revue to audiences in more than 15 countries and made appearances on such TV shows as Gene Simmons Family Jewels, The View and NBC’s Today. For tickets, call 604-280-4444 or visit ticketmaster.ca.

Head to Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort – until June 24
Harrison may get all the hype, but Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort (3609 Highway Three), located just north of Nelson, makes for an equally wow-worthy weekend retreat. The intimate 43-room hotel features three mineral pools and a cozy horseshoe-shaped cave boasting toasty temperatures topping out at about 35 C, along with picture-perfect views of the neighbouring Purcell Mountains and Kootenay Lake. And if you want to beat the heat? No worries: there’s also a stream-fed cold plunge guaranteed to chill you out in a hurry. Spring rates start at $129 per night based on double occupancy until June 24. For more information, call toll-free to 1-800-668-1171.

Go Whale Watching – anytime
What’s the point of living amidst all this rugged, West Coast wilderness if you never get to enjoy it? Cue to Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres, based in Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, which offer outdoor activities like whale, bird and bear watching tours, along with harbour cruises, hot spring cove excursions, scenic flights and surfing. And did we mention that wildlife sightings are guaranteed? For more details, call 1-800-667-9913 (Tofino) or 1-877-726-7444 (Ucluelet).

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