Culture: George Benson, Cherie Blair and Bard on the Beach

The Vancouver culture scene catches Cherie Blair going public about life with Tony. Plus: the TD Jazz Festival with George Benson and much ado about Bard on the Beach. Music // George Benson TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Going public about life with Tony Blair, jazz with George Benson, and much ado about Bill.

The Vancouver culture scene catches Cherie Blair going public about life with Tony. Plus: the TD Jazz Festival with George Benson and much ado about Bard on the Beach.

Music // George Benson

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
At the age of four, musical prodigy George Benson was already attracting attention and winning awards for his singing abilities in his native Pittsburgh. Since then “Little Georgie Benson,” now 67, has racked up 10 Grammys in a remarkable career that has spanned decades, crossed musical genres and broken records: “This Masquerade,” the title track from Benson’s triple-platinum 1976 album Breezin’, was the first song in history to reach No. 1 on the U.S. jazz, R&B and pop charts. Benson takes to the stage as part of the appropriately eclectic jazz festival, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary. June 25 to July 4, coastaljazz.ca

Bard on the Beach Vancouver

Theatre // Much Ado About Nothing

Bard on the Beach (Important: delay message.)
Canada’s largest not-for-profit professional Shakespeare festival enters its third decade at picturesque Vanier Park this year in what has become a veritable West Coast summertime tradition. The season kicks off on June 3 with the lighthearted rom-com Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Dean Paul Gibson. Also in the 2010 lineup: longtime Bard actor Scott Bellis makes his directorial debut with Antony and Cleopatra, ex-Playhouse AD Glynis Leyshon takes on Falstaff (a new adaptation by Errol Durbach of Henry IV, parts one and two) while actor-director Meg Roe puts her stamp on the epic Henry V. Vanier Park, June 3 to Sept. 25, bardonthebeach.org

Lecture // Cherie Blair

Unique Lives: Cherie Blair
As Britain marks a changing of the guard at No. 10 Downing Street, many anglophiles will undoubtedly be keen to hear what a former inhabitant has to say about life inside, political and otherwise. Critics of the former PM’s wife, of which there are many, had a field day upon the release of her 2008 autobiography, Speaking for Myself, which regaled readers with tales of her children’s conceptions, breastfeeding and her most intimate liaisons with Tony. While visitors to the Orpheum cannot be guaranteed such tabloid fodder, there will, no doubt, be some off-the-cuff commentary amid the more earnest spiel about working as a high-powered lawyer and human-rights activist. Orpheum Theatre, June 8, ticketmaster.ca