BeatRoute Magazine BC Print Edition February 2018


BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.

Currently BeatRoute’s AB edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton (by S*A*R*G*E), Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. BeatRoute (AB) Mission PO 23045 Calgary, AB T2S 3A8 E. BeatRoute (BC) #202 – 2405 E Hastings Vancouver, BC V5K 1Y8 P. 778-888-1120





Photo by Maria Ponce Berre

Takashi Murakami has collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Louis Vuitton.

It might still be rainy season in Vancouver, but

the Vancouver Art Gallery is already blooming.

Starting on February 3, the gallery will welcome

Takashi Murakami’s first major retrospective in

Canada. Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its

Own Leg showcases over 50 works spanning three

decades of the artist’s career.

The touring exhibition, first conceived

and presented by Michael Darling, the James

W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the Museum of

Contemporary Art Chicago, “offers unique and

dynamic insight into the visual world of Takashi

Murakami,” describes Diana Freundl, Associate

Curator, Asian Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“One that mines the cultures of folklore, comics,

anime, manga, fashion as well as both Japanese

and Euro/American art histories.”

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you’re

probably familiar with Murakami’s work outside

the museum realm. The artist’s cartoon-like

flowers and monsters are printed in Louis Vuitton

bags, on Kanye West’s 2005 Celebration album

art, and on Supreme skate decks, to name a few.

“Both he [and his work]effectively blur boundaries

between vernacular and fine art,” says Freundl. For

that, Murakami’s work seems to be more relatable

and democratic than most contemporary


Visitors can expect massive sculptures,

paintings from his earliest mature work to his

recent large-scale projects, including a newly

created five-metre-tall sculpture and three

multi-panel paintings designed exclusively for

the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition. In talking

about the hardships of installing a show of this

magnitude, Freundl says that the “energy and

effort required to finish one artwork should be

considered when mounting it, and hopefully that

gets translated when visitors walk through the


A range of events will also accompany the

show. There will be a now sold-out lecture with

Murakami, and a much anticipated Murakami’s

Birthday Bash on February 2. Celebrating both

the artist’s birthday (on February 1) and the

opening of his exhibition, the evening will begin

at the Vancouver Art Gallery, with an exclusive

exhibition preview with the artist, followed by a

seated dinner and after party at the Commodore


Grab your bag, blast Kanye on your

headphones, hop on your skateboard, and head to

the Vancouver Art Gallery, because this show will

be an epic one!

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery from February

3-May 6.




Boyd Benjamin picked up the fiddle for the

first time at 14-years-old. With the melody

of a song played at an old-time dance in Old

Crow still running through his head, he sat

down to try and recreate what he’d heard. That

experience — sitting with the fiddle, learning

to play a song that was played nowhere else —

launched a life-long passion for fiddle music

and for sharing the story of his home.

“It’s a unique way for me to express myself

because that’s sort of who I am,” he explains.

“It’s my upbringing and where I come from.

I was taught that our culture up North is

precious and [playing fiddle music] is a way to

keep that going.”

Known as the Flying Gwitch’in Fiddler,

Benjamin, along with singer/songwriter Kevin

Barr, has performed his music across the

country. This March will be the first time the

duo has performed as part of the Coastal First

Nations Dance Festival at the UBC Museum of

Anthropology. The festival, which runs from

February 27 to March 4, will celebrate the

songs, dances, and stories of the Indigenous

peoples of the Northwest Coast of North


Benjamin explains that Old Crow, a small


community just below the Beaufort Sea in

Northern Yukon, is known for its fiddle music.

Continuing this tradition, he says, is a way to

keep the culture of his community alive and


“Some of the music we play is only heard

in Old Crow, and some of the dances we

do only happen in Old Crow,” he says. “We

speak Gwitch’in, and the language is fading,

so my contribution to that part of culture

is the music that I play. I’m contributing to

our culture in a way so as to keep that alive


With his music, Benjamin is telling the story

of the cultural tradition of fiddle music in Old

Crow, of the dances and songs unique to his

community. In telling that story, and in sharing

his fiddle music, he keeps those traditions alive

— not just by playing some of the old-time

songs he’s heard since childhood, but also

by making new ones to continue that legacy

of bringing community together over fiddle


The Coastal First Nations Dance Festival runs

at the Museum of Anthropology from February

24-March 4.

Boyd Benjamin keeps his heritage alive through the cultural tradition of fiddle music.

Photo by Gary Bremner Photography

February 2018

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