Kitsilano: State of the Arts: Khatsahlano! festival goes big, gets arty

Third annual festival along Fourth Avenue showcases local bands, art and history

The third annual Khatsahlano! has not only doubled the number of bands that will perform on West Fourth Avenue July 13, but the free music and arts festival is also showcasing the work of established and emerging artists with an exhibit called This Happened Here.

While the Pack A.D. heat up the street with their blistering brand of rock, Governor General award-winning artist Paul Wong will invite passersby into his air-conditioned shipping containers to help document the happenings using smart-phones and social media.

With their #OMGSMAZ social media art zone, Wong and On Main Gallery will use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other applications to help visitors document the day.

"It's our version of face painting," Wong said. "The smartphone has only been around a few years and it's become such an extraordinary part of our lives, so I'm doing all these events these days, it's all recording devices welcome."

The former creative team from the Waldorf Hotel, now called Arrival Agency, has helped manage this year's festival and curated This Happened Here with the intent of showcasing key moments of Vancouver's recent history.

Bev Davies' photos of Vancouver punk pioneers will be showcased against a backdrop of the music of the time in one of the 10 containers in an "art village" between Stephens and Trafalgar streets. The documentary What Happened Last Summer, which chronicles Kitsilano's hippie heyday of the 1960s, will play in another, and illustrator Bob Masse will present rare psychedelic poster art from the '60s. A retrospective of Marv Newland's animated work, including his critically hailed Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969) will fill one container as will an interactive exhibit about the history of neon lights in the city, presented by the Museum of Vancouver. Sean Starke has created Transpo: Vancouver 1986, a video installation that's a critical meditation on Expo 86 for Khatsahlano! and Neil Wedman's film Forget Me, made up of screen tests shot in the 1970s and set to music by the Cure will screen in another.

"[Wedman] was in art school and he did these sort of screen tests of his classmates and so they have this very kind of late '60s early '70s kind of nostalgic quality to them," said Thomas Anselmi of Arrival Agency. "It's just a really moving piece."

Anselmi was keen to expand the predominantly music-dominated street party with visual art.

"It's really celebrating the local and elevating it," he said of the festival.

"At Arrival and at the Waldorf, part of our project has always been to make people aware history of the place that we live in," Anselmi added. "In Vancouver there's not enough sense of history, we tend to demolish and rebuild all the time."

Khatsahlano!, named for Squamish Chief August Jack Khatsahlano, Kitsilano's namesake, runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Burrard to Macdonald streets with 10 stages featuring multiple genres of music that include pop, rock and electronic acts. The inaugural festival in 2011 showcased more than 25 bands. This year's festivities will include 50.

Anselmi looks forward to checking out band Gold & Youth. "It seemed kind of melancholy," Anselmi said of their sound. "I kind of liked it."

Merchants, the Portobello West and Blim markets will also take to the street.

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