Culture: Jazz on the Mountain, Great Canadian Beer Festival, Kings of Leon and More

Pushing the cultural envelope with good ol’ boys gone bad, damsels in distress and marimbas from hell. Music // Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler

Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler | BCBusiness

Pushing the cultural envelope with good ol’ boys gone bad, damsels in distress and marimbas from hell.

Music // Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler

It promises to be a welcome change of scenery for many B.C. jazz fans: instead of The Cellar’s low ceiling and dim lighting, Jazz on the Mountain promises dazzling performances against the backdrop of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Kicking off the Labour Day weekend festivities will be a free Friday afternoon outdoor concert in Whistler Village by Vancouver’s famed Five Alarm Funk, a 10-piece high-energy stage storm some might remember from last year’s explosive post-game performance at Hockey House when Canada took Olympic gold. In fact, a few of the weekend’s most anticipated performances are free, including the nightly Jazz Jam sessions in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s plush Mallard Lounge featuring festival headliners improvising together until 1 a.m. One of the artists who’s worth paying to see, however, is guitar master Stanley Jordan. You can witness his remarkable two-handed tapping technique Friday at Millennium Place, then learn how he does it on Saturday as part of the intimate Master Class series. Whistler, September 2-4.

Beer // The Great Canadian Beer Festival

A good reason to spend one of your last summer weekends enjoying Victoria’s Great Canadian Beer Festival is the growing dominance of the home team. With emerging heavy hitters Phillips Brewing backed up by a deep bench of innovative brewpubs, including the veteran Spinnakers team and upstarts The Moon Under Water, Victoria’s brewers are on their game. The Island has long been the locus of Canada’s craft beer culture, in part because locavoracious Island drinkers were among the first to count the kilometres their tipples travel. The devoted following of hometown fans with refined palates has vaulted such celebrated local brew crafters as Driftwood Brewery (whose Farmhand Ale made a splash last year) into the big leagues. But Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery and Seattle’s Elysian Brewing lead an impressive U.S. contingent – it’s anybody’s game. Look for cask-conditioned ales and special batches to make the most of your tasting time. Royal Athletic Park, Victoria, September 9-10.

Film // Latin American Film Festival

Image: Brendan Albano

The world knows Rio’s carnaval as a festival of flesh, feathers and sequins. But behind the costumes is an equally compelling story. Many dancers and musicians hail from the favelas, where community samba schools provide an escape. Brazilian filmmaker Georgia Guerra-Peixe probes the ties between samba and poverty in one hilltop favela in her documentary The Samba Within Me, showing at this year’s Latin American Film Festival. The 50-film lineup includes an ambitious range, with everything from an elegant look at Pinochet-era Chile through the eyes of a mortuary worker (Post Mortem) to a mockumentary about a Guatemalan heavy metal xylophone band (Marimbas del Infierno). The eight featured documentaries are competing for a $3,500 grand prize awarded by Al-Jazeera. September 1-11, various venues,

Music // Kings of Leon

As rock back stories go, this one is almost too good to be true. Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill, the three brothers who make up the core of U.S. southern rock band Kings of Leon, spent their childhood roaming the Deep South while their itinerant Pentecostal preacher father delivered sermons. The boys were home-schooled by mom and forbidden from listening to secular music. But after their parents divorced and the brothers resettled in Nashville, fire and brimstone 
gave way to Led Zeppelin, drugs and Johnny Cash and the brothers formed their own very secular rock band in 2000. In the decade since, their raw rock sound, infused with influences as diverse as punk and boogie-woogie, has garnered multiple platinum albums and a Grammy for the 2008 radio hit “Sex on Fire.” Commercial success has dimmed the Kings’ babes-in-the-wood appeal, but they continue to draw zealous crowds on their current world tour. September 28, Rogers Arena,

Theatre // Vancouver International Fringe Festival

In the chill, murky waters beneath the Granville Island ferry dock, Nita Bowerman nearly drowns every night at 9 p.m. She thrashes in a sopping dress before slipping below False Creek’s dark surface, to applause. Her onsite performance piece, a 50-minute work called Wreckage, is part of that beloved yearly installment of theatrical weirdness on Granville Island, the Fringe Festival. Cramming 600 performances by 89 groups into 11 days, the Fringe espouses a uniquely populist approach to drama. Participating acts – from adult-themed puppet shows to musical farces and spoken-word poetry – are selected by lottery from a pool of entrants and presented uncensored. The real fringe of the Fringe eschew stages altogether and use reality as their backdrops: the fire escapes, back alleys, ponds and even wharves around Granville Island. Indeed, surprise encounters between buttoned-down, stroller-pushing tourists and unhinged thespians account for half the fun of the festival. September 8-18, Granville Island,