It’s sweater weather! And it’s going to rain/is raining!
Which means, of course, that all you want to do is snuggle up inside with a book, a cup of tea, maybe a pot of chili, and stay there until May. Which is understandable, but doesn’t take advantage of the great cultural and recreational boon the rainy season provides you: the weather sucks so you don’t need to be outside. Which means you can be inside, experiencing the many indoor cultural and recreational amenities Vancouver has to offer. You can enjoy indoor experiences like:
Physical fitness/recreation – Unless you’re pretty hardcore, you will likely be doing a lot less jogging, cycling, Ultimate Frisbee, etc. now that the sky will be pouring rain almost daily. Which means this is the perfect time to try some indoor fitness/recreation:
- The Vancouver Circus School – Obviously, I’m a bit biased, because I’ve been training there for years, but I will say that hot weather makes sweating it out upside down near the ceiling on a pair of aerial silks a particularly gross experience. Now that the air’s cooled off, I can warm myself up by working up a sweat and I don’t have to worry that I’ll pass out from heat exhaustion 15 feet above the ground. Fall/winter is the best time of year to try out circus, trust me.
- Hillcrest Aquatic Centre – I go there because they have a sauna, a hot tub, and an amazing feature called a “lazy river”–it’s a circular pool with a current where you grab a couple pool noodles and just float around in a circle. It’s hella relaxing and I could probably bob along like that for hours. Unlike at Wreck Beach, you have to wear a bathing suit, but I think it’s worth it. (For you fitness buffs, there’s actual lane swimming as well, but who needs that when you can float on the lazy river?)
Theatres – The 2013/2014 season is getting underway in Vancouver and, as usual, there is a lot going on. I recommend visiting the Georgia Straight’s arts listings (you can search for “Theatre” under the “Types” tab) for a fairly comprehensive list of what’s playing right now, but in particular there are two shows opening next week that have been on my radar:
- The Rocky Horror Show – Fighting Chance Productions, playing at the Jericho Arts Centre October 8 – 26, with previews October 4 and 5. I should probably disclose that I’ve been invited by the company to attend, but regardless I’m pretty excited about it because I’ve never seen a production of the Rocky Horror Show and it has such a cult following. If you want to get into the Halloween mood or just into an outrageous one, I have a feeling this will be fun. LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN!
- Corporations in our Heads – Theatre for Living, kicks off October 10 and 11 at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House before going on a BC/Alberta tour, returning for a Vancouver run in December. Again, I was invited by the company to attend, but I won’t be able to until its December run (however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about going next week). Though I haven’t yet seen the show I was so impressed and moved by Theatre for Living’s maladjusted this past spring that I can recommend this event without too many qualms. Whether you like it or not, I guarantee that you’ll have an experience (RSVP’s for the kick-off dates recommended–call 604-871-0508 for more info). If you, like me, can’t make the kick-off dates, you may want to keep Corporations in our Heads in mind for December.
Literature – There’s the obvious, you could stay in with a good book of course (it’s something I plan on doing a lot this winter). But you can also experience literature by leaving your house. Pretty wild, huh?
- The Vancouver Public Library – The downtown location is big, it’s beautiful, the selection is huge and there are lots of nooks and crannies where you can curl up and read a book if you so choose. There are also lots of smaller VPL locations scattered around the city so check them out if there’s a book you don’t own that you’ve been hankering to read.
- Readings and Discussions at the SFU Libraries – Did you know that the readings and discussions hosted by the Simon Fraser University Libraries are open to the public? They are! And you know what? They’re also kind of fun. I recently attended a reading by SFU Writer in Residence Madeleine Thien (this one hosted by the Department of English) and it was fantastic. These are authors, poets, and academics at the top of their game, and they’re willing to share some of what they’ve got FOR FREE.
- Jordan Abel launches Place of Scraps and Poetry is Dead Magazine launches their sound poetry issue – Vancouver poet Jordan Abel is launching his new book of erasure poetry, Place of Scraps, at the Western Front on October 10 (303 E 8th Ave., doors open 7:30) but FIRST (shameless plug alert), Poetry is Dead Magazine will be launching their new issue of sound poetry and I will be reading at it (same location/evening/time)! If you’ve never heard sound poetry before, you’re in for a crazy treat.
Museums – For such an outdoor-oriented city, there are actually a lot of museums in town. My recent favourite:
- The Museum of Anthropology at UBC – We went there last Sunday when it was pouring buckets outside, and it was such a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. The artifacts and exhibits are so gorgeous, and so lovingly and carefully housed. The showstopper is, of course, the Great Hall – a massive atrium full of mid-19th century totem poles and house posts carved by Northwest Coast nations. Artistically and architecturally, the effect is breathtaking. That’s not to say the other exhibits aren’t interesting–the museum is much larger than it first appears, housing collections of art and artifacts from cultures around the world (hint: pull open the drawers beneath the glass cases, they’re meant to be opened and are full of more neat stuff). My party and I sat in front the beautiful The Raven and the First Men in the Bill Reid Rotunda for a long time. I was so taken with this sculpture I’m only now realizing I forgot to walk all the way around it to see the whole thing. Silly me. Guess I’ll have to go back.
The thing is, the ideas above are just ones from off the top of my head–things I’d done or heard about. You probably know of quite a few cool things too. So between the collective minds of an interesting city, there’s really no excuse to spend the entire winter on your couch.