In Los Angeles where I live, the people I know tend to resist going outdoors when it's raining. Why not cancel your appointments and wait for a better day when traffic won't be so terrible because of the puddles? There will be lots and lots of days when the sun shines. In Vancouver, however, where I'm currently visiting my daughter, most folks take it for granted that you gotta have a little rain sometime. Much of the time, that is. But in this Canadian city it's not just raining rain just now, it's also raining culture. My visit happily coincides with the Cultural Olympiad now taking place at many venues as part of the "Countdown to the Olympics 2010." First-rate cultural groups have been flocking in organized fashion from all over Canada to show their wares, so to speak. From the many groups -- dance, music, theatre, comedy, technology --that have appeared and will continue to appear over a period of months, some of them will get bookings during the two weeks of the Olympics. The collaborative linkages spurring on these artistic groups are really awe-inspiring. Last night, for example, I was part of a highly appreciative audience (on their feet hand-clapping, foot tapping, and actually dancing)for much of an energetic performance by the Klezmatics, a group that has been jamming together for 22 years. What made this evening so memorable was the way the jazz-inspired renditions of Jewish melodies were tied to soul music. You haven't heard Klezmer music until you've listened to Josh Nelson (who is both black and Jewish) belt out a gospel version of the Hebraic "Micha Mocha Baelim Adonai" (roughly "How great are you, O God") or "Hine Matov Uma Naim"("Here we are gathered together") to the strains of "When the Saints Go Marching In." The associations that banded together to present the concert were a thought-provoking combination as well. The concert was presented by Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre as part of their annual "Chutzpah Festival" in association with the Cultural Olympiad for Olympics 2010 and the Chan Centre (part of the architecturally splendid, and comfortable, Chan Complex devoted to the Arts)on the University of British Columbia's stunning campus. If all this sounds like a commercial for Vancouver's upcoming Olympics, as well as the cultural diversity that now exists in this city, it is -- albeit an unsought one. It's worth going out umbrella-less (like many Vancouverites)in the rain to be here this February. I say this, of course, knowing that I'm returning to sunny California next week.