The locals’ favourite night for the arts, Creative 5 Eclectic, returns to Whistler Friday (Nov. 23) for its first show of the season, featuring Vancouver jazz artist Simon Stribling.
Creative 5 Eclectic is a cabaret-style showcase for Sea to Sky artists to strut their stuff during a night of live music, spoken word and theatre performances.
“I wanted to create an avenue for artists in the valley to be able to showcase what they’re really working on,” said Stephen Vogler, who has organized the event since it began in early 2011. “I wanted something that could be for musicians, writers, actors, filmmakers and visual artists to talk about their work. I thought that would be exciting to connect those artists with the public and whatever it is they were working on at the time.”
To kick off the first showcase since the summer, Vogler has brought in multi-instrumentalist Simon Stribling, who has played in many jazz festivals around the world, and Jordan White, keyboardist for the Southern rock-inspired band, She Stole My Beer, from Vancouver.
“Simon Stribling plays in a jazz band all the time but here he’s going to do his own little show where he’s speaking about his music and the instruments he plays and presenting it to the audience in a unique way,” said Vogler. Stribling is a proficient saxophone, trumpet, clarinet and trombone player who will be accompanied Friday by his New Orleans Ale Stars bandmate, guitarist Josh Roberts.
“(White’s) always playing in a band and he’s a great keyboardist, but he will step out a bit and put himself front and centre,” said Vogler. “He will do a bit of playing on his own and then join in the jam so that’s also kind of stretching his comfort zone a little bit.”
Vogler, who will kick off the night performing spoken word alongside bassist Rajan Das, hopes Creative 5 can be an open forum for local artists to experiment in front of a welcoming audience.
The cabaret night, which will run twice a month throughout the winter, has been held to great response from the community at several locations since its inception; initially at Player’s Chophouse before that restaurant turned into Doc Branigan’s and then at Dusty’s Bar, its current home.
“I think the real strength of the event is that it’s so unique from anything else that goes on in town, so the people who I’ve talked to really love that,” said Vogler, who welcomes all aspiring performers to come out and show off their stuff during the open mike portion of the night.
Vogler has been a fixture in the local arts scene for years, having founded The Point Artist-Run Centre on Alta Lake, and currently sits on the steering committee for the Whistler Arts Council’s upcoming Community Cultural Plan, which seeks to provide a framework for Whistler’s future cultural development.
The Creative 5 Eclectic soirées, which Vogler hopes will continue into the summer once ski season is finished, are a prime example of the small but continually emerging arts community in Whistler.
For his part, Vogler would like to see a more dedicated effort from resort stakeholders to promote and nurture the arts in Whistler at a time when more opportunities for cultural development — most notably the recently announced Audain Museum — are presenting themselves.
“It seems like we’re on a bit of a cusp where we could push (the arts) to the next level and the artists in the valley could actually get a real boost of support from the municipality and the powers that be, and that could really lead to a great cultural renaissance in Whistler,” he said. “There’s always been the talk about ‘Oh we want to become a cultural centre, we want more arts and culture, we want to support our cultural artists,’ so now I think we need to see if the town or the powers that be are willing to put some real support behind that.”
The first Creative 5 Eclectic showcase of the season starts at 9 p.m. Friday at Dusty’s Bar in Creekside. Admission is by donation.