August 3, 2023 edition - Turns out we ARE actually fun

Plus: Mural Fest, Powell Street Fest, Happyland, and more

There’s nothing quite like the start of a brand new month—especially in the summer. Rent is paid, the social calendar is reset, and well, what d’ya know? A brand new issue of The Georgia Straight is piled high in newspaper boxes around the Lower Mainland.

Our August edition is officially out and up for grabs (for free as always) to any reader who may enjoy the now-nostalgic feel of a newspaper in their hands.

This month we explore the idea of Vancouver as “No Fun City” (spoiler alert: it’s totally not), with everything from a timeline of us becoming more chill, to a list of not-so-hidden speakeasies, to a deep dive on the city’s indie wrestling scene. A few stories from the issue are below (and so are lots of other great things).

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Vancouver Mural Fest’s Kelly Cannell hopes to give a new generation something to think about

The iconic Vancouver Mural Fest will be making the city a little more colourful from August 4 to 13.

We spoke with Coast Salish artist—and VMF contributor—Kelly Cannell about how she was first exposed to the power of art, and how those experiences influence her work today.


Life in plastic: it’s not so fantastic

Experts say new provincial legislation to tackle single-use plastic pollution is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

We take a look at the soon-to-be implemented single-use plastic requirements and explore where exemptions may be weakening the ban and its overall impact on an increasingly polluted planet.


A boundary-breaking Japanese legend gets a modern punk makeover in IzumonookunI

Powell Street Festival takes place at Oppenheimer Park on August 5 and 6, putting Japanese Canadian art and culture centre stage with free performances, workshops, markets, and more.

One such performance will be from choreographer Aretha Aoki and sound sculptor Ryan MacDonald, who pay homage to Japanese renegade Izumo no Okuni in the piece IzumonookunI.


The Truck Stop Concert Series at Red Truck Brewery is back for its final summer concert on August 12th - featuring headliner Ripe and an epic supporting lineup. Get your tickets today at!


MY!GAY!HUSBAND! makes Playland happy again

The all-day Pride celebration Happyland enters its second year on Sunday, bringing with it a cornucopia of party vibes: it’s part drag performance, part dance night, part theme park excursion, part comedy show, and part straight-up concert.

We spoke with event organizer Jason Sulyma about what makes the celebration so special, what can be expected from the party, and what’s to come for his own stage time as DJ MY!GAY!HUSBAND!


The 8th Annual Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts is set to storm the Lower Mainland Aug 17-31! Immerse yourself in provocative performances, experience vibrant cultural celebrations, get moving with high-energy dance lessons, hone your craft in professional development workshops, and enjoy the return of our street celebration, Punjabi Market LIVE!


A love letter to Black Canadians

Emancipation Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the abolition of slavery across the British Empire, took place earlier this week.

To mark the day, Stephanie Allen penned a poignant commentary piece on the individual and collective role that Canadians play in advancing freedom and equality for people of African descent in this country.

🗓 Events & things to do


  • The Really Gay History Tour: Drag kings, two spirit warriors, and queer church ministers—this walking tour is a celebration of the unsung heroes who forever changed the social fabric of our city. | To Oct. 30 | 10am | $29-$32 | Robert Lee YMCA

  • Drive-In Movie Nights at Lansdowne Centre: Watch your favourite movies under the stars every Wednesday night this month. | Wednesdays in August | 9pm | Free | Lansdowne Centre

  • Jazz in Coal Harbour Park: Catch a free performance from local musicians every Wednesday at Coal Harbour Park, with music ranging from Latin to swing. | Wednesdays in August | 7 to 8:30pm | Free | Coal Harbour Park

This week/weekend

  • Follow The Rainbow Brick Road - Pride in Gastown: Kick off Vancouver Pride weekend in true Gastown style with live music, dancing, and all of the love. | Aug. 3 | 4 to 8pm | Free | Maple Tree Square Plaza

  • Harmony Arts Festival: Harmony Arts Festival features 10 days of events and activities showcasing arts and culture during this celebration of summer on the North Shore. | Aug. 4 to 13 | Free | Millennium Park

  • Defeated Sanity: German tech-death titans Defeated Sanity take to the Rickshaw stage with guests Stabbing, ATRÆ BILIS, and Shattered Throne. | Aug. 4 | $20 | Rickshaw Theatre

  • 47th Annual Powell Street Festival: Celebrate Japanese Canadian art and culture at this free two-day event with live performances, a Japanese food and craft marketplace, panels and workshops, martial arts demos, children’s activities, and much more. | Aug. 5 to 6 | Free | Oppenheimer Park

  • VanPrideFest: For the first time, Pride is going to be a two-day affair. The stage at Concord Pacific Place will be buzzing both Saturday and Sunday, featuring performances from Fefe Dobson, Coco & Breezy, Madison Rose, and Prado Monroe on the main stage over the weekend. | Aug. 5 and 6 | Free | Concord Pacific Place

  • Enjoy a one-of-a-kind outdoor movie-viewing experience at Grouse Mountain. Watch Wayne's World with stunning mountain views this Friday, August 4th! Tickets only $25 after 7pm.*

  • Looking for some weekend fun? Vancouver's best cover bands take the Biltmore stage every Friday & Saturday night. Come join the party for only $10.*

Next week

  • Kendall’s Pride Recovery Brunch: Recover from Pride celebrations with a bottomless brunch and a drag show featuring Fairmont Pride ambassador Kendall Gender. | Aug. 7 | 10:30am to 1:30pm | $85 | ARC Restaurant, Fairmont Waterfront

  • Vancouver Queer Film Festival: Check out local and international films that illuminate, celebrate, and bring positive change for queer, trans, and two spirit people. | Aug. 10 to 20 | $14 | Various venues

  • Lobe Artist Residency Series: ZAMEEN-A: Cry [No More], ZAMEEN-A’s debut album, explores musical possibilities beyond the confines of conventional western melodic and rhythmic structures—and taps into some of the most universal yet rarely shared emotional states. | Aug. 11 | PWYC, $15-$30 | Lobe Studio

  • The Vines Festival is back! August 9th to 19th Vines brings free events to Vancouver parks, featuring music, poetry, dance, drag and more!*

Later this month

  • Nation of Language: Brooklyn-based synth auteurs play the Rickshaw with guests Curling. | Aug. 14 | 7pm | $21.50 | Rickshaw Theatre

  • Secret Sessions: Experience the thrill of discovering new talent in unique and intimate settings, with location details only revealed 24 hours before the show. | Aug. 16 | $25 | Location TBA

  • Blueridge Chamber Fest: Vancouver’s illustrious Capilano String Quartet reunites for an ebullient program of music by women composers. | Aug. 18 | 7pm | By donation | Orpheum Annex

Next month

  • Mo Lowda & The Humble: Philadelphia indie rockers head to Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret this September as part of its upcoming self-titled album release tour. | Sept. 6 | 7pm | $20 | Biltmore Cabaret

Find more things to do around the city in our events listings.

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