Pole carving ongoing at SLCC

Make sure you set aside some time to visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in Whistler where Squamish Nation master carver Ray Natraoro and Lil'wat Nation carver Delmar Williams are creating a new welcome figure.

When completed, the new pole will present the First Nation legend of how the creator sent bolts of thunder to the earth carrying lightening snakes, which then gave the Squamish and Lil'wat people the tools and skills needed to hunt and trap.

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Born in North Vancouver, Natraoro creates Salish art in a contemporary style, with works including the Xaays canoe - a 40-foot ocean canoe - located in the SLCC's Great Hall.

Williams, from the Lil'wat Nation, is a well-know local mountaineer and guide with deep familial roots to the Whistler area. He' s assisting Natraoro with the commissioned work.

Anyone can visit the carvers at the SLCC every Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of February. People can watch the pole take shape, ask questions and learn more about the story that inspired the piece. Go to www.slcc.ca for more info.

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FUNDRAISER FOR AUSSIE FOOD VICTIMS: A group of local Australians have banded together to host a fundraiser for their loved ones back home who've had to deal with devastating floods this year.

The event happens on Wednesday (Jan. 26) at Merlin's starting at 5 p.m. Expect live music (band TBA), raffles of cool prizes and oodles of people with those amazing accents we all love.

There's a $2 cover at the door, and all proceeds from the door and raffle go towards flood relief efforts in the local Aussies' home state of Queensland.

The fundraiser actually takes place on Australia Day, which has traditionally been a big celebration in Whistler. Despite the hardships back home, local Australians will likely be out in force and you should join them.

Over at Tommy Africa's you'll find the club hosting a 12-hour Australia Day celebration with a Miss Australia wet T-shirt contest, music, games and prizes galore. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Maxx Fish opens at 4 p.m. and is offering the annual "Strayan Barnburner" Aussie celebration happening at the same time as its popular Ministry of Sound tour.

And at Garfinkel's there's a $500 DJ contest running all night, plus a few other surprises for those celebrating Australia Day. Doors open at 10 p.m.

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WATER ON THE TABLE AT CINEMA POLITICA: Delve into the fascinating politics and policy surrounding Canada's fresh water resources on Friday (Jan. 21) with Water on the Table, the next documentary film in the Cinema Politica series.

The film explores Canada's relationship to its fresh water, and follows activist Maude Barlow's crusade to have water declared a human right.

The documentary also features Whistler's own Pina Belperio, a director on the board of the Council of Canadians, a researcher, community activist, writer and founder of citizen watchdog group Whistler Watch. Belperio will be at the screening as a discussion facilitator afterwards.

Presented by LUNA (Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives), Cinema Politica's screening of Water on the Table happens Friday (Jan. 21) at the Lost Lake PassivHaus with admission by donation. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the screening gets underway at 7.

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ENTRIES SOUGHT FOR VARIETY'S GOT TALENT: Children's charity Variety is looking for B.C.'s best vocalists leading up to the annual Variety Show of Hearts telethon Feb. 12 and 13at the Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam.

From all the entries, only ten performers will be chosen to perform before a live audience at the theatre on Feb. 4.

The winner of that competition, as selected by a panel of celebrity and industry judges, goes on to appear on the telethon and will also have the opportunity to perform in one of Great Canadian Casino's lounges and/or perform a special concert at the Red Robinson or River Rock theatres.

If you want to enter and are between the ages of 13 and 29, go to the Variety website atwww.variety.bc.ca. But be quick - auditions close at noon on Jan. 28.

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