By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
The celebration of Indigenous artists and their many-sided contributions to our shared culture takes another step forward with the tandem anniversary editions of the Rubaboo Arts Festival and the Dreamspeakers Film Festival today through May 7.
Rubaboo, named in the Michif language (a mixture of Cree and Métis French) for a traditional multi-ingredient stew to feed the soul, celebrates 10 years of multi-disciplinary showcases. First up Friday evening, after the 4 p.m. cedar smudge opening ceremonies, is Rocko & Nakota. Josh Languedoc’s solo show, which premiered at the Thousand Faces Festival and crossed the country at Fringes last summer, is framed by two characters, a little boy sick in the hospital and his grandfather Rocko, who arrives with a cache of traditional (and specially created) Indigenous stories.
In the course of his hit show, the multi-talented Languedoc conjures a dozen characters, humans, spirits, animals, even trees. It flips back and forth between past and present, in which Rocko is telling his own stories. The Theatre Prospero production directed by Barry Bilinsky runs at the Alberta Avenue Community Centre, 9210 118 Ave. tonight through April 30.
Other Rubaboo highlights include Kaha:wii Dance Theatre’s Blood, Water, Earth; an indigenous burlesque, Sovereign Bodies, starring Vancouver’s Virago Nation with local artists Iskotew Iskwewak and Audra Dacity, and film by Janet Rogers; and Making Treaty 7’s Kaahsinnoniks. There are workshops, visual arts exhibitions, musical offerings. Ah yes, and the annual Rubaboo Cabaret, which as its name suggests, embraces every art form and then some. But you’ll need to check out the entire lineup (and schedule) of shows, workshops, and panels at dreamspeakers.org.
The 25th anniversary edition of Dreamspeakers, wide-ranging, international in scope, and crammed with choices, includes such features as Falls Around Her, a Darlene Naponse film starring Tantoo Cardinal (Saturday, 8 p.m. at Metro Cinema) and Carla Ulrich’s Three Feathers (Sunday, 7 p.m. at Metro). The full annotated lineup is at dreamspeakers.org.
Rubaboo tickets are at the door of the venues. Dreamspeaker tickets are at metrocinema.org.