During the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Presentation House Gallery staged The Candahar Bar off-site on Granville Island. Originally planned as a quiet retreat, The Candahar proved to be anything but, becoming one of the most active gathering spots of the Olympiad, and by the end of February, almost an institution in its own right – prompting Globe and Mail reporter Marsha Lederman to plead: “Can we get this installed here permanently, please?” Conceived by English artist Theo Sims as a recreation of a Belfast public house, The Candahar was part sculpture, part theatrical stage, and for seventeen days the backbone and backdrop for an ambitious series of nightly events that, as New York Times reporter Charles McGrath put it, blurred the distinction “…between the bar as mere watering hole and as self-activating performance space.”
We are particularly indebted to all of those who helped make The Candahar possible: Grouse Mountain Resorts, Whistler Water, Whistler Beer, Uli Laue, Marlene Madison and Robert Kerr of the Cultural Olympiad. Thanks to all the staff and volunteers at the Gallery, including Theo Sims, for their hard work realizing and managing what became our own little marathon, and to our two valiant Belfast bartenders Chris and Conor Roddy, who brought their twinkle and mischief. Thanks also to Vancouver author Michael Turner for programming The Candahar’s nightly showcase, and for hosting a diverse, surprising and inspiring series of events by international visual artists, musicians and writers.
A special red vinyl edition of 10 Riot Songs by Cranfield and Slade, performed and recorded live at The Candahar Bar February 19, 2010 is available here.