See a concert you won't soon forget as tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain performs his jaw-dropping hybrid of musical styles, from classical Indian ragas to contemporary compositions, along with the Masters of Percussion (at the Chan Sunday, ticketmaster.ca). For a living legend of a completely different sort, make your way to the River Rock for a concert by "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight (Saturday, ticketmaster.ca).
John K. Samson
Catch one of Canada's most beloved musicians as master songwriter and Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson plays songs from his debut solo album Provincial – an image-rich homage to his home province of Manitoba that touches on everything from dying villages to hockey skates (at the Biltmore Saturday, ticketweb.ca).
For more indie sounds that are causing serious buzz, hear blow-to-the-gut blues, soul and rock as Vancouver's No Sinner releases its debut single (at Chapel Arts Saturday, ticketweb.ca), then soak up harmony-fueled old-time roots when the Lumineers roll through town Sunday (at the Media Club, northerntickets.com).
Learn about a little-known piece of Canadian history as renowned Vancouver writer, actor and director Lucia Frangione shines a light on the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War II in Fresco, a play that's set in an old rickety Strathcona house when it comes time for the family to sell (Saturday, thecultch.com). For more thought-provoking theatre, don't miss Boca del Lupo's The Voyage, a 20-minute audio journey about human trafficking that's set in a shipping container on Granville Island (Saturday, bocadellupo.com).
Catch Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani, who has appeared on The Colbert Report and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, toured with the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, and often sets his comic sights on race and politics – including U.S. news footage from Iran, which often shows men shouting and burning flags. "Just once, I wish they would show us baking a cookie," he joked in a recent show, "because I've been to Iran, and we have cookies" (at the Vogue Saturday, voguetheatre.com).
That Which Makes Us Haida
Discover the rich and varied Haida language, and the people who are striving to keep it alive, at That Which Makes Us Haida, a new exhibit at the Bill Reid Gallery that features striking photographic portraits and interviews with elders about how native words link them to land and sea (until Sept. 9, billreidgallery.ca). More feasts for the eyes? You'll find Tate Modern curator Mark Godfrey speaking at the Contemporary Art Gallery (Sunday, free, contemporaryartgallery.ca), and a new exhibit by photographer Scott McFarland at Monte Clark (until May 5, monteclarkgallery.com).
Jump For Joy!
See top Vancouver jazz musicians join some of the city's best classical artists at Jump For Joy! – a Turning Point Ensemble concert that features the music of Duke Ellington and Igor Stravinsky, the premiere of a work by New York contemporary composer and trumpet luminary Dave Douglas, and a new commission by local favourite Brad Turner (at SFU Woodward's Sunday, turningpointensemble.ca). For more elegant sounds, don't miss the Vancouver Bach Choir as they perform the triumphant choruses and achingly beautiful arias of Haydn's masterpiece The Creation (at the Orpheum Saturday, vancouverbachchoir.com).
See some of the city's favourite blues, soul and old-time rock musicians – including Jim Byrnes, Roy Forbes, Bill Henderson, Sibel Thrasher and many more – as they perform soul music's greatest hits at Motown Meltdown, a benefit for the Shooting Stars Foundation (at the Commodore Saturday, ticketmaster.ca). For more music with a charitable heart, don't miss Aunt Leah's 10th annual Lonely Hearts Club Band, featuring local luminaries Van Django, Rich Hope, Sarah Wheeler and more – all raising funds to help at-risk women and youth (at the Polish Community Centre Saturday, auntleahs.org).
Kick back on the Garibaldi Lift Co. patio or watch from Skiers Plaza as top riders vie for top honours at Whistler's Showcase Showdown, a long-running snowboard competition that comes with a waffle breakfast, a Double Dog BBQ, big air, massive tricks and a steamy afterparty. More high-flying feats? Catch the National Large Hill Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships – also in Whistler (Saturday, whistlerblackcomb.com).
Leave the lights off at home and celebrate Earth Hour with a special screening of City Dark, an award-winning documentary that explores light pollution and its effect on people and the planet (at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Saturday, spacecentre.ca). For more fun with the lights off, see award-winning Québecois film The Salesman at Vancity Theatre (until April 5, viff.ca), a stunning documentary about influential Canadian painter Tom Thomson at Pacific Cinémathèque (April 1, 2 and 11-12, cinematheque.bc.ca).
Canucks Autism Network Family Festival
See the Olympic flame lit in honour of World Autism Day at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival, an all-ages fest that features a charity walk, live music, exhibitors, tasty food, and visits by Canucks GM Mike Gillis as well as alumni Stan Smyl and Orland Kurtenbach (at Jack Poole Plaza Sunday, canucksautism.ca).
Fred Penner and Friends
Need waterproof entertainment for the wee ones? Join legendary children's entertainer Fred Penner and Vancouver theatre veteran Jay Brazeau for songs and plenty of goofy fun (at the Playhouse Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m., cash-only tickets at the door, vancouverplayhouse.com). Or enjoy a free, family-friendly movie night at the beach – blessedly an indoor one – featuring Cars 2 and Puss in Boots (in Richmond Saturday, 6packbeach.com).